Saints make the most of their limited possession to take a step closer title

Hockey. Burgess Hill II v Middleton and Bognor
Hockey. Burgess Hill II v Middleton and Bognor

St Francis continued their impressive run as they completed a 4-0 victory over a strong East Grinstead side on Saturday.

Saints now lead the Sussex Open League by 11 points with just six matches remaining.

With the visitors having strengthened in recent weeks, it was never going to be easy for Saints and their technically gifted opponents enjoyed a much greater share of possession. But Saints defended superbly as a team, with MoM going to Tom Harvey.

In the first half Saints were grateful to ever-impressive goalkeeper Mark Butcher and the classic defensive work of experienced defensive quartet Eric Rimmer, Nigel Nuttall, Richard Ward and Peter Mowforth.

The opening goal by Chris Batchelor knocked back EG and the same player added another before half time.

In the second half the expected onslaught by EG failed to materialise although they still saw more of the ball.

But Saints broke with pace and purpose and doubled their tally with a third for Batchelor and one by Alex Waters. George Bazire’s pace troubled EG all match and Patrick Alvgren’s awareness in the centre of midfield was also vital.

Mid Sussex bounced back after a string of disappointing results since the turn of the year as they edged out high flying Cliftonville 4-3 to stay third. It was a ding-dong clash with Ferguson puttting them ahead but then Cliftonville twice breaching a back line without Leadbitter and Voller.

The equaliser was an Andy Klein own goal and then Adam Carter, replacing the absent Myers, pulled off a string of spectacular saves before being given no chance by sizzling strike.

Richardson then captialised on the self-pass rule to equalise and Middies went back in front with a well-worked penalty corner goal by Couves.

The Kent-based opposition levelled on the counter but Middies had the last word when Richardson capped a strong personal display with his second.

A superb display of team hockey, their best of the season, enabled Mid Sussex 3rds to beat Hailsham 2nds 4-1.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring and despite Middies then seizing the initative, they failed to score before half time.

But after the break an early goal set up a comfortable win. Cocks was the scorer with a scrambled goal before R Manger then struck either side of a Trigwell effort.

Burgess Hill did Premiership survival hopes a power of good by winning twice over the weekend.

The pressure was on to get a positive result at struggling Eastbourne on Saturday and it came with a 4-0 scoreline courtesy of Lynne Simmons, Lily Williams, midfielder Zoe Griffiths and the impressive Charlotte Childs.

Two goals came in each half and there was a starring performance by Sam Crichton at the heart of the defence.

On Sunday Hill followed up be defeating visitors Crawley 2-1.

Captain Georgia Aloof had a hand in both goals, scoring the first early in the second half and later setting up Childs. The Crawley reply came two minutes from time as excellent keeper Harriet Dakin was finally beaten.

Hill’s 3rd team romped to a 9-0 victory over Penguins at the Triangle.

There were hat-tricks for Rebecca Chee (3) and Tammy Falls (4) plus one apiece from Becs Parker (the goal of the season) and Micky Daniel.