A young South Saxons Hockey Club side got new captain Jamie Busbridge off to a winning start on Saturday.
Saxons recorded a comprehensive 3-1 victory away to lower league opposition Littlehampton in round one of the Sussex 1st XI Plate.
The visitors began the game at a high tempo, with powerful runs from the midfield trio of Jon Meredith, Alex Coombs and Tudor Stainsby causing problems for the Littlehampton back line.
Saxons continued to dominate possession with the majority of the team camped in the Littlehampton half, but it was the home side who took the lead against the run of play, scoring from their first real chance of the game.
Despite the setback, Saxons continued to create chances and were eventually rewarded for their persistence as sharp passing around the D allowed James Bunday to score into an empty net.
Bunday added a second shortly after when Busbridge found him at the top of the D and a clever touch past the onrushing goalkeeper enabled him to add a simple finish.
The second half saw Saxons win a string of short corners as they sought to kill the game. Eventually, an alternative routine proved successful as man of the match Meredith picked out Busbridge at the far post and the skipper deflected it powerfully into the goal.
While the defence of Chris Meredith, Julian Buss and James Riley remained untroubled, at the other end of the pitch Saxons struggled to convert chances into goals, including two misses from the penalty spot.
But there were encouraging signs from a number of new players as Saxons set up a semi-final away to Southwick at the end of the season in April.
Saxons will hope to deliver another positive performance in a friendly at Folkestone this coming Saturday before beginning their quest for promotion the following weekend.