Hockey: Chichester keep up pressure on leaders

Chichester's first and third teams and Bognor Town Ladies all won in the latest round of local hockey games.

Matt Cox drives Chichester forward against Sutton Valence  Picture by Kate Shemilt C131518-4
Matt Cox drives Chichester forward against Sutton Valence Picture by Kate Shemilt C131518-4

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Chichester 8 Sutton Valence 2

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South Open Premier division one

Chichester added fuel to their title challenge by returning to the form that saw them go 11 months unbeaten at home and hitting eight past Sutton Valence.

It’s been good victories on the road that have helped them secure second spot and with Sutton Valance doing well after promotion, Chichester knew they couldn’t be complacent.

On a grey autumnal day, Chichester didn’t come out of the blocks quickly and both teams struggled to control possession and make an impact in the final third.

However Matt Cox broke the deadlock and Tom Phillips doubled the advantage shortly after. This settled Chichester but Sutton Valence were doing their best to disrupt the flow.

Before the half was over there was time for Luke Matthews, from left-back, to produce a moment of brilliance, half-volleying a bouncing ball on his reverse side into the bottom right corner. Unfortunately his celebration didn’t match his finish.

Chichester conceded before reinstating their three-goal advantage through Dan Brook, profiting from a goalmouth scramble at a penalty corner.

In the second half a lovely move nearly resulted in a goal from the push-back. Unfortunately Chichester gave away a penalty corner within minutes of the break, which left Dan Godsmark in goal with little chance.

For the next five minutes, Chichester had a real game on their hands with the ever-present duo of Kieran Henn and Jason Collins halting any Valence chances.

In a few minutes of madness the visitors were soon down to eight players. Chichester used their three-man advantage wisely and scored four in quick succession to put the game to bed. Goals were scored by Ollie Robinson, Dan Brook, Matt Cox and Bejay Ranger.

This wasn’t Chi’s greatest display but showed a different side to their game - a strong resilience and perseverance that will stand them in good stead for future battles.

This week Chichester welcome Staines to Kingsham (1.30pm).

CHICHESTER: Dan Godsmark, Luke Matthews, Kieran Henn, Jason Collins, Dan Brook, Jack Lerwill (a), Alex Thakore, Matthew Cox, Tom Phillips, Bejay Ranger, Ollie Baxter, Ollie Robinson, Andrew Sparshott.

Bognor Town Ladies 5 Southwick Ladies 2

Still enjoying the high of the fightback a week earlier in the Vase, Bognor won well when they played host to Southwick in the league.

Southwick hassled well in the midfield and Bognor struggled to string cohesive passes together.

Two well-worked goals came from set-piece midfield-to-post deflections courtesy of Charlotte Cox supplying one each for June Rogers and Karen Harmer, and these were the highlights of the half.

Bognor lost Jackie Okonta for a five-minute penalty for an uncharacteristic failure to retreat five metres. Despite desperate efforts from the defence, Southwick managed to force a penalty flick when Hlyianski inadvertantly caught a Southwick forward with the hook of her stick as she attempted to bypass her at speed on the offside.

Southwick managed to wrangle a second through a forest of Bognor players sticks, making it 2-2 at half-time.

Not for the first time this season, the second half saw a renaissance from Bognor and renewed belief in their abilities.

Sara Coulson and Debbie Cox took control of the midfield and distributed the ball effectively, allowing Charlotte Cox free range to run at the defence and cause major problems for the defence.

A disallowed short-corner strike gave warning that the threat had escalated from Cox and a trademark individual run and reverse-stick shot delivered her first goal of the game.

An uncharacteristically-rash decision to race out and slide-tackle Karen Harmer cost the Southwick keeper a five-minute yellow and Charlotte Cox had her second scoring opportunity from the spot. She scored with aplomb.

Bognor tried hard to capitalise on the keeperless opponents but stalwart defending from Southwick and strong decisions from both umpires maintained the score.

Then Charlotte Cox went on another an individual run and shot which finally defeated the reinstated keeper to complete Bognor’s contribution and seal her well-deserved player-of-the-match award.

BOGNOR: Hylianski, Wadey, Agate, Okonta, Perry, Cox C, Cox D, Cooper, Coulson, Rogers, Harmer. Sub: Woodall.

Crowborough 4 Chichester Ladies II 2

This fixture has always been tough one and even though at the start of the match Crowbourough were at the bottom, this did not show in their determination to win.

The weather was wet and miserable at one time it was questioned whether the pitch would be playable. As it was, the rain subsided and the pitch cleared.

Chichester did not seem to be in the right frame of mind but did take the lead halfway through the first half through Sarah Jessop lurking on the back post. They needed to keep their concentration but this failed them and the opposition broke through and scored.

Towards the latter end of the first half, Chi picked up their play and put Crowborough under pressure.

In the second half the heavens opened but Chi were still on the offensive.

With some great defensive work from Mel Howarth and Mel Reeves, the ball got worked up the pitch and with Jessop and Mandy Armstrong making a nuisance of themselves in the opposition D, Armstrong scored with a cracking strike.

Again, though, it didn’t take long for Crowborough to come back and equalise. Chichester’s heads were all over the place and with some dubious umpiring added into the mix, Crowborough scored again.

As much as Chichester tried and with some resolute defending from the home side, Chi could not breach the opposition defence. While their heads were down, Crowborough rubbed salt into the wound and scored a fourth.

This week is the battle of the two Chichester ladies’ teams - the firsts versus the seconds.

CHICHESTER: Ruth Duckers, Laura Smith, Mel Howarth, Mel Reeves, Mandy Armstrong ,Tracy Austin, Alice Shoebridge, Tina Keartland, Hollie Gyles, Sarah Jessop, Sarah Pack.

Chichester III 5 New Milton 1

Hampshire League div two

Chichester got back to winning ways in wet conditions with an impressive home performance.

They struck quickly through Tom O’Boyle’s flick within the first minute, but New Milton responded within ten minutes as a deflected hit from outside the D went in via a foot.

Following a slick short corner move, Dan Moon slipped the ball to the impressive O’Boyle to flick into the far corner, restoring Chichester’s advantage.

After half-time Chichester dominated possession and chances, their hard work paying off ten minutes in with Patrick Sowden setting up Ben Richardson after a scramble in the D.

Sowden added to the lead when Richardson set him up from a short corner. Chichester finished things off with a good interchange between Woodruff and Clark resulting in the latter scoring with another deflection inside the D.

CHICHESTER: Strudwick, Hagell, Farr, Clark, Gleeson, Simmonds, Richardson, Sowden, Woodruff, Moon, O’Boyle

Chichester Canons 2 Horsham Hotstars 4

Canons came off the half-term break firing on all cylinders against league leaders Horsham Hotshots.

Excellent linking from defence through midfield saw Gleeson put the Canons ahead in the first ten minutes.

Horsham piled on the pressure, which was absorbed by midfield, and a strong counter-attack found Lock in the D to net Canons’ second.

A lapse in concentration saw Horsham reply with a well-struck goal, followed in quick succession by a second to make it 2-2 at the break.

Horsham took advantage of a break from midfield to gain a third and while Canons fought hard to get the score back in their favour, Horsham’s fitness and finesse paid off with a fourth just before the whistle.

This was a valiant effort from the Canons, who can be proud of their progress to date and who look forward to playing Eastbourne this Saturday.

Joint players of the match were Stemp and Horton.

Chichester Chipmunks 0 Southwick 0

This was a vey exciting 0-0 draw. From the word go Chichester played at a high tempo and put the pressure on Southwick.

Chichester passed the ball with speed and created good attacking opportunities. But they were not able to make the pressure pay by creating clear-cut

scoring opportunities or short corners.

The Chichester defence was solid and Alex Jolley had a great game covering the two central defenders.

During the second half, Chichester took more control and Joe Dannatt created good attacking opportunities down the left.

Up front, Matt Benison, Alfie Shaw and George Stremes worked tirelessly but couldn’t get the ball in the net.

In the last 15 minutes Chichester outplayed the opposition but still couldn’t make the pressure pay.

This was a good performance and the team are certain the goals and points will come.