Hockey: Chichester cut short Hawks’ flight

Jason Collins on the ball for Chichester against Oxford Hawks  Picture by Kate Shemilt C131708-7
Jason Collins on the ball for Chichester against Oxford Hawks Picture by Kate Shemilt C131708-7

Another win over Chichester’s men’s first team and a narrow defeat for the University of Chichester feature in our final pre-Christmas hockey round-up.

Chichester 3 Oxford Hawks 1

South Open Premier division one

Chichester got back to winning ways when they welcomed Oxford Hawks to Kingsham.

Having lost at Oxford University the week before, Chichester were keen to go into the Christmas break on a high.

Chichester were sluggish for the opening 20 minutes and paid the price when Hawks won a penalty corner which was expertly converted.

Going behind was exactly what Chichester needed as it seemed to wake the team.

Chichester started to pass and move and Matt Cox went on a trademark dribble leaving defender after defender in his wake to win Chichester a penalty comer. A well-worked routine saw the Hawks keeper make a fine save only for Alex Thakore to score his sixth rebound of the season and make it 1-1.

This was a real game of two halves as Chichester came out looking like a completely different outfit. They moved the ball with purpose and the movement off the ball by all was superb.

What followed will be a worthy contender for goal of the season. The ball was passed out to the right, where Andrew Sparshott picked up the ball and fired a pass into the D for the masterful Matt Cox to deflect into the bottom corner from the top of the D for a 2-1 lead.

Chichester continued their dominance and soon made it 3-1 when Thakore got his second of the game and seventh of the season from a well-worked routine.

Chichester go into the Christmas break in second place and two points off top spot.

Chichester captain Jack Lerwill said: “As a team we are happy with how the first half of the season has gone. Although we’ve had a couple of results going against us, the team are playing well and we are in a good position to go on and mount a serious title challenge in the new year.”

Chichester resume their title challenge on Saturday, January 18, at home to Eastbourne.

University of Chichester 2 Middleton & Bognor 3

The University were expecting a difficult game against a team previously top and now second.

Chichester started strongly, moving the ball easily up-field and making two early attempts on goal, both narrowly missing a final tap-in from the university’s attacking players.

Several breakaway plays saw pressure on the university’s defence, but solid play by Sean MacEnri and Ross Williams in goal helped deny the opposition.

In the final few minutes of the first half, another breakaway resulted in Middleton & Bognor’s first goal.

The opposition were puzzled by the strong resistance shown by the University, currently in the bottom part of the league.

Middleton pushed off hard in the second half, continually attacking the University’s defence, scoring another goal. A strong piece of play from the University saw Alex Bolton charging up the right wing and score an almost impossible goal from what appeared to be a curved shot right off the opposition’s baseline into the goal.

Chichester continued to attack and a nice piece of teamwork saw Dan Elliot put the final hit on another goal for the University to level the score at 2-2.

In the final few minutes, Middleton & Bognor scored another to win it; however the University were very pleased at the pressure they’d placed on one of the top teams.

CHI: Harry Finn, Ross Williams, Sean MacEnri, Andrew Kibblewhite, Jacob Burch, Max Rivers, Alex Bolton, Michael Riglar, Jamie Cashman, Kostantinos Tsiamis, Sam Bentley, Dan Elliot, Ben Middlemost.