HOCKEY: hockey Saxons make light of absentees in Horntye goalfest – But Ladies slide to disappointing defeat
South Saxons Men 7, Marden Russets 2;
South Saxons Ladies 0, 2
On a wet afternoon at Horntye last Saturday, Hastings’ top hockey sides, the respective men and ladies of South Saxons, played with contrasting fortunes. The men’s team made it 21 goals in four matches, becoming leading scorers in their league, Kent/Sussex Regional 2, and consolidating third place behind South London team Kings & Alleyns, and Ashford. The ladies on the other hand lost a key game in the Sussex Premier League to fellow strugglers Horsham and now face a difficult end-of-season run-in.
The men’s win, 7-2 over Marden, was particularly impressive as the team were missing at least five regular players. These included Andy Cornish and Paddy Orr, both sent off in the final minutes of a bruising 5-4 defeat the previous week against promotion rivals BBHC for challenging umpiring decisions, and automatically suspended for 30 days. (For those whose main understanding of sports discipline comes from watching Premier League football, where virtually every toot of the referee’s whistle engenders vociferous objection and players routinely express overt dissent, the strict regime in the South Hockey League would come as a shock.) But with the Saxons’ defence largely untroubled this time out and Alex Coombs and Andrew Acott rampant on the counter-attack the visitors simply couldn’t match the skill, pace and overall energy of their hosts. Saxons went 3-0 up, conceded from a short corner in the last play of the first half, but then scored twice more early in the second to open up a 5-1 lead they
were never in any danger of squandering.
With seven games left to play, including a match away to second-placed Ashford on 3rd March, by which time both the suspended players and other absentees should be back, they will feel they are well placed to secure promotion as one of the top two teams in the division.
The Ladies fought hard in their game at home to Horsham with keeper Lynn Upfold excelling, particularly in stretching to her right to keep out a penalty flick when the game was still in the balance. Over the course of the league season only runaway leaders Chichester have conceded fewer goals. However a lack of firepower up front – few chances created and, when they were, somewhat feeble shooting –rendered Horsham always the likely victors once they scored a breakaway goal early in the second half. Tomorrow’s match, again at Horntye against Crawley, who are now one league place above Saxons after winning last week, looks like a must-win contest for the home team: a goal or two may be enough, but someone needs to score it.
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