It was a week of fours and fives for various teams at Chichester Hockey Club. The men's firsts beat Isca but three of the ladies' teams lost. Read all the reports below.
Chichester 4 Isca 0
National Conference West
It is unusually hard to truly win games against demonstrably poorer opposition.
A garden variety win will lead observers to say that ‘that was expected all along’; and anything like a draw or a loss would be interpreted as the proverbial ‘end of the world’.
This situation that confronted Chichester at home to Isca. The Exeter-based team had not managed to win a single game this season and the expectation was for a Chichester win.
Chichester were well warned this game could be a banana skin. The start of the game proved exactly that. Chichester started in a low tempo, hindered by a pitch that played unusually slow in the spring sunshine, and Isca were able to apply early pressure on Chichester keeper Chris Bristow.
As the substitutions started to come on, the game started to turn. Andrew Sparshot injected a little energy and, after some magic from Alex Holton and a great pass from Ollie Baxter, was rewarded with the first goal.
This seemed to settle the team and within ten minutes they created another opportunity for Baxter, who was upended. The penalty stroke was missed my Alex Pendle, who initially failed to reward himself for his recent selection into the GB development squad but then produced a well-taken field goal two minutes later.
The second half really was mostly one-way traffic. An increasingly desperate Isca side sat deep inside their own half, trying to fend off wave after wave of Chichester attacks.
Luke Emmett; Alex Messenger and Alex Holton started to find each other with increasing ease in midfield but what was lacking were additional goals.
In the end, Matthew Sewell, captain for the day as Alex Thakore is nursing a broken rib, broke the deadlock to make it 3-0. It was the start of a ferocious period from Chichester though confused umpiring and sloppiness kept the score to 4-0.
Chichester Ladies 0 Haslemere 4
Chichester lost to Haslemere in a critical game as they battle to avoid the relegation play-offs. (See pictures from the match in the slideshow above)
Chi dominated the opening play with lots of linked passing and with excellent defensive skills from Victoria McAllister, linking with Demelza Peake and Jess Gleeson, Haslemere were kept out.
A lucky break eight minutes in brought a goal against keeper Claire Goodger-Greenway. With some fine running from the forwards and a fantastic pass from Katie Rose, Chichester were unlucky not to level as Sally Bradley could not make the final conversion.
The midfield of Rachel Meayler, Meg Hattemore, Meg Goring and Sam Mann fought hard to ensure Chichester were very much in the game going into half-time.
After the break Lottie Greenlees took a painful blow to the knee but she battled on. Chichester were awarded several short corners for Claire Greenway to try to find her range but Haslemere blocked them.
Meg Hattemore defended bravely but stopped the ball on the line with her foot and Haslemere converted the penalty flick. As Chichester tired Haslemere added two more to secure their victory and push Chichester into the play-off position.
Chichester travel to Teddington this week hoping to secure their first win.
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Mid Sussex Ladies 4 Chichester Ladies 2s 1
Sussex Ladies premier div
Chichester had to improve on last week’s form and so they did, but were still beaten.
Although short of players, Chi set up well and defended to the best of their ability. Inevitably Chichester were under pressure for the majority of the game.
The home side spread the ball well but Chi were up to the task and held them at bay for about 20 minutes, then they broke through and scored.
The Chi defence of Kate Woods, Jackie Baxter, Tracey Austin and keeper Julie Abson were working overtime but Mid Sussex scored again.
Chichester were pushing forward more and throwing everything at the Sussex defence and from a penalty corner Sarah Jessop scored with a lovely reverse-strike past the Mid Sussex defence.
In the second half Chi had more of the ball and possession was 50/50 until the one of the umpires gave Jessop a yellow card for an alleged stick tackle which looked a fair one.
She was off for five minutes, which put more pressure on the visitors. Mid Sussex had the edge with younger and fitter players and they scored twice more. A better display from Chichester, who have only two games left.
Chichester Ladies 2s: Abson, Austin, Parrott, Baxter, Trent, Hurd, Jessop, Hallier, Woods, Mundy, Holdstock, Dilnot-Smith.
Hamble Ladies 2s 5 Chi Ladies 4s 1
It was clear from the off that Hamble would be able to dominate the game.
Chi refused to be daunted and although the weather and some questionable umpiring decisions impeded some of the play, Chi matched Hamble in attacking moves.
Hamble used their pace to take the lead but on the stroke of half-time, Kelly Lilywhite drove towards the Hamble goal before being taken to the ground by the keeper’s dive – but Teresa Willway was covering to tap the ball in.
Chi felt debatable decisions cost them the game as Hamble monopolised the short and long corners. However, Chi continued to press and some amazing saves from star player Jo Dunlop kept Chi looking to get the ball up the other end and score.
Hamble deserved the win although Chi were disappointed with the deficit.
Chi Ladies 4s: Dunlop, Cox, Priddle, Cruttenden, HY Johnson, Litchfield, Ashton, Whittington, Austin, Howarth, Homer, Willway, Lilywhite.