It is the Sussex Hockey Men’s Cup Finals weekend this weekend, and Lewes have two teams in their respective finals, being played on the water based pitch at East Grinstead.
The 2nd XI – following their excellent 3-0 win over Brighton in the semi final – play host club East Grinstead in what will be a tough match on Saturday at 3pm.
The Veterans play in their first final since 2007 when they take on Brighton on Sunday at 10.30am. Lewes qualified having won their group in the semi finals.
There are a total of seven finals being played over the weekend which will culminate with the 1st XI final on Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm, when Lewes 1sts’ semi-final conquerors, Brighton, will play the holders, Chichester.
Lewes 1st XI exited the Sussex Men’s Senior Cup at the semi-final stage on Saturday when they lost 2-1 at home to Brighton.
This game had the makings of a fascinating contest, with Brighton having secured promotion to the National League and Lewes being promoted into the league that Brighton had just won.
Lewes were at a slight disadvantage, having had to play their outstanding league game away to Marlow on the previous evening – a game they lost 5-1.
The opening exchanges were fast and furious, with both sides playing excellent hockey and seeking to gain an early advantage.
For a while Lewes were on top but were unable to score from the penalty corner opportunities that they earned, and gradually the strength of the Brighton defence turned the tide – and they finished the half with a series of attacks and penalty corners which Lewes did well to defend. It was honours even at half time.
The Brighton attack was well drilled and several passing moves were unlucky not to be rewarded with goals.
Lewes defender Matt Needle, later voted the players’ player of the season, was awesome but the pressure told and Lewes conceded a penalty corner.
There was a defensive melee and from the after-play, a penalty stroke was given to Brighton and this gave them the lead.
However, this prompted Lewes to respond with a series of attacks – with their ever present skipper Matt Clark and winger Chris Spruce playing major roles. From one of these they earned a penalty corner and Alex Warner flicked the ball powerfully just under the crossbar to level the score.
In the final period of the game indiscipline cost Lewes dearly and for a time they were reduced to nine men on the pitch. With one or two others showing signs of fatigue, the balance of play tipped towards Brighton who now camped in the Lewes half.
A series of penalty corners were for the most part well defended but a lucky deflection gave them the winning goal. Lewes were brave in their final efforts but they could not break down the strong Brighton defence and it is they who go to Sunday’s final.
Lewes now have to prepare for their National Trophy final against Guernsey over Bank Holiday weekend.
This will be played in Wakefield along with the other cup finals and it is hoped a good band of supporters will be able to make the trip.