Brilliant performances and results: Hassocks boss Westlake on Robins’ best tally

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Hassocks boss James Westlake has hailed his players for a memorable season in which the Robins racked up their best-ever points tally in the Southern Combination premier.

They reached the play-offs afer finishing fifth, losing 2-0 in last week’s semi-final away to eventual winners Eastbourne Town. But though disappointed not to have won the play-offs, Westlake says they have achieved so much.

"Going into the season our target was to better our points tally and finish position from the previous season,” he said. “If we could do that, we thought we might hover just below the play-offs.

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Hassocks battle with Haywards Heath Town in what was a record-breaking season | Picture: Ray TurnerHassocks battle with Haywards Heath Town in what was a record-breaking season | Picture: Ray Turner
Hassocks battle with Haywards Heath Town in what was a record-breaking season | Picture: Ray Turner

"As the season progressed, we believed that getting into the play-offs was a realistic target and I was so pleased for everyone at the club that this was achieved.

"What we appeared to do really well this season was bounce back after a difficult performance or result. After our defeat on Boxing Day, we then went and won seven games in a row.

"It was at this point we realised we was in the thick of a play-off race and competing with the best teams and biggest budgets in the division.

“We finished on 78 points, which is a club record in this division, and there were some brilliant performances and results along the way.

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“Beating Peacehaven away to move to seven wins in a row and equal the club record was a brilliant day. Winning away to the eventual league winners, Steyning Town, and beating Newhaven at home on the final day of the season were also two fantastic performances and key highlights of our season.”

Westlake said every player and member of the management team had played their part in the success.

But he added: “Special mention has to go to the retiring Pat Harding. The way he's led the team on and off the pitch and still been able to score the goals he has for us just shows how much of a miss he's going to be for us next season.

"He’s had a fantastic career and we have been so fortunate to have him over the past few seasons.”

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Westlake said once they got to the play-offs, they wanted to win them.

"Our intention was to go down to Eastbourne Town and have a proper go at winning the game. Unfortunately, the effort to get there took it out of us and we weren't able to perform to the level we wanted to be at.”

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