Our first weekly hockey round-up of the new season features a narrow defeat for Chichester’s men’s first XI but a mixed bag of results for other local teams.
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Brighton 3 Chichester 2
South open premier division one
Chichester beat Brighton a fortnight ago in the cup and were confident of another victory - but came unstuck.
The first 30 minutes were all one way, with Brighton hitting Chichester hard and showing the desire which Chichester lacked.
Brighton were soon 2-0 up and although the third goal was fortunate they deserved the lead.
Chichester managed to pull one goal back before the break as player-coach Jason Collins sent a searching ball into the D and it deflected off a Brighton stick into the goal.
Chichester took full advantage of the new rule which allows own goals to be scored.
Chichester came out after the break looking a different outfit.
They started to pressurise the opposition and got themselves back into the game after skipper Richard Blakesley broke down the left and played in Olly Robinson, who fired the ball into the Brighton goal.
The remainder of the half was all Chichester and chances came and went but Chichester were unable to make their pressure count.
Chichester Centurions Ladies 0 Chichester Ladies 3
With several new players in the squad, Centurions were prepared for a tough game - and Chichester Priory Park, with Mel Howarth their new captain, knew they were favourites.
Chichester applied pressure from the outset but were unable to convert five short corners. Centurions fed Louise Thew but her strike from the edge of the D was tipped over by the goalkeeper.
Centurions keeper Chantelle Strudwick made numerous excellent saves to keep the score even but on 25 minutes, Chichester PP went 1-0 up through great work by Helme and Van der Stap to set up Hudson.
Chichester soon doubled the lead through a Van der Stap penalty corner. For Centurions, a powerful shot by Thew hit the post just before half-time.
In the second half Centurions’ Kerry Eames showed strength and pace in midfield. Centurions repelled seven short corners as Chichester moved through the gears and they struck again through player-of-the-match Beth Marks to increase the lead to 3–0.
Centurions battled to the final whistle, with Thew, Claire Mealing and Anna Pordage playing well.
CENTURIONS: Thew, Dixon, Eames, Pordage, Edge, Mealing, Brown, Strudwick, Johnstone, Williams, Wake, Hurford, Sarson.
CHICHESTER: Young, Austin, Howarth, Strang, Chaplin, Helme, Kuntze, Marks, Hudson, Benison, Knight, Greenway, Floor, Van Der Stap.
Eastbourne Ladies 7 Bognor Town Ladies 1
For the first league match of the season, new captain integrated several new players into the team.
Barbara Murray’s Bognor debut was also her first-ever game.
Cox, Simmonds and Hitchcock worked hard in midfield to contain the Eastbourne attack, linking well with new players Clare and Tilly in defence.
First blood went to Eastbourne when a shot from the top of the D crept through a crowd - and that was followed by a second just before half-time.
Despite determined tackling and marking, notably from Alice Hitchcock and Sue Perry, Eastbourne snatched a quick third at the start of the second half.
Clare McKnight worked hard as a solo centre-forward and Bognor threaded the ball through the defence to force a short corner, which Karen Harmer converted to put Bognor on the scoreboard.
Eastbourne added another four goals which did not reflect the balance of the game. Bognor take away the knowledge there is again a wonderful team spirit to build on.
BOGNOR: Woodall, Tilly, Gammon, Arnold, Hitchcock, Cox, Simmonds, Perry, Harmer, McKnight, Rogers, Murray.
Chichester II 4 Yateley 1
The first game of the season for Chichester started brightly. They defended well and incisive passing down the left of the D allowed Oli Lane-Smith to open the scoring with a powerful flick from a tight angle.
Chichester looked to break through the weak Yateley defence but they failed to capitalise.
After the interval, Neil Pendle drove forward and passed to Lewis Strudwick, who hammered the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Yateley countered, scoring with a very neat deflected short corner.
The visitors pushed forward while Chichester soaked up the pressure well, with goalie Tom Strudwick enjoying a fine 70 minutes between the posts.
Solid work from the back four and great work-rate and distribution in midfield allowed Chichester to break.
Strudwick returned the earlier favour with a great pass to Pendle, who beat the keep at his front post.
Strudwick fed Tom O’Boyle, who latched on to the long ball, slipping it passed the on-rushing keeper.
Chichester Ladies II 1 Burgess Hill II 1
Chichester started well and an impressive goal from Sally Thew gave them the lead.
Towards the end of the first half, Burgess Hill mounted an attack and one umpire blew for a Chichester free hit, then amended the call to a penalty corner, which was upgraded to a goal for Burgess Hill.
This was a tough reminder of a new rule this season that means any ball touched in the D which crosses the goal line is a goal.
Both teams battled hard for the win and the game was a played at an impressive tempo until the end.
Chichester Ladies IV 0 Lewes Ladies V 10
The fourths are primarily ladies new to the sport and young girls playing their first games in the adult leagues. Jenny Horton was a driving force in the centre of the pitch, supported by club legend Chris Riley. However, Lewes showed considerable individual skill and made the most of any mistakes.
Lewes were relentless and Chichester were driven back into their own half for most of the second half.
This forced Chichester’s novice goalkeeper Danni Dunster to make some impressive saves and required the unwavering defensive skills of Kayleigh Carter, Sheena Lake, Tracy Upfold and Lauren Soden-Bridger.
Chichester walked away proud of their performance despite the scoreline.
CHICHESTER: Lake, Upfold, Tyler, Carter, Dunster, Buckley, Soden-Bridger, Horton, Trent, Smith, Riley.
Chichester Chipmunks 0 St Francis 2
Chichester were overwhelmed in the opening minutes with Hetherington left exposed.
St Francis always appeared to have an extra man in the middle of the park and were rewarded for their efforts when a flicked penalty corner was deflected in.
Man of the match Elliott Sturdy worked tirelessly in midfield but a second goal followed before half-time.
The second half was different. Chichester matched St Francis with an extra midfielder.
The Hindmarches in centre midfield saw much more of the ball and Ashley White and Jamie Gleeson backed them up.
Chichester hit the post from a penalty corner but the Chipmunks could not find the net.
CHICHESTER: Hetherington, Creswick R, White, Gleeson T, Woodruff, Sturdy, Hindmarch C, Gleeson J, Lowther, Hindmarch T, Sowden, Stemp, Kathegesu, Creswick A.
Chichester under-12 girls (pictured at the top of the article) travelled to the Horsham HC tournament with a new-look side.
After losing to a late Burgess Hill goal, a draw against Mid-Sussex was followed by a 4-0 win against Guildford with goals from Tabitha Trend (2), Jess Gleeson and Rachel Trent.
Chichester backed this up with wins over Guildford II, East Grinstead and Lewes.
Jenni Horton dominated the defence and the hard-running midfield harried the opoosition. Katie Rose scored on her debut in the win over East Grinstead.
A draw against East Grinstead II saw Chichester start their final game against home side Horsham in with a chance of honours. Their discipline shone through, giving Trend a chance to score and seal the win.
Chichester were runners-up with five wins, two draws and one loss. Their performance exceeded all expectations and set them up for a promising season.
CHICHESTER: Batchelor, Horton, Stemp, Lock, Trent, Gleeson, Trend, Savory, Wain, Rose.