Written By Paul Spruce
Sussex 1st Team Final
LEWES 1s, 0
CHICHESTER 1s, 2
For the second year running Lewes were runners up to Chichester in the County Cup Final. Lewes could have few complaints with the result as despite a competitive final Lewes only rarely threatened the Chichester goal throughout. Conversely Chichester, who dominated possession for long periods, scored the all important early goal which allowed them to settle into the final.
For once over the weekend the wet weather relented and the sun shone during the final in front of a crowd of over 250. Lewes were pegged back early on and had already been warned when a break down the right saw the ball flash across the goal when again after ten minutes the same happened and the ball was flicked into the open goal at the far post to give Chichester a deserved lead. Lewes briefly responded when youngster Harvey Waller released Matt Hickman down the left and his reverse stick shot from an oblique angle was well saved by the Chichester goalkeeper. For the rest of the half Lewes could not get any possession in midfield and were under pressure but keeper Sam Brooks was equal to penalty corner shots and open play strikes at the Lewes goal.
Lewes needed to get some control of the game in the second half but too often valuable possession was given away on the rare occasions they got the ball. The Lewes defence held firm with Jack Fox, Matt Needle and Alex Warner outstanding repelling the Chichester attacks. A number of Chichester penalty corners came to nothing but the pressure on Lewes told with two yellow cards for breaking down the play leaving them down to nine players at one stage. Creditably Lewes held firm and Chichester missed a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 when their forward missed an open goal and the ball went in off his foot rightly disallowed by the umpire. At last Lewes exerted some control in midfield with ten minutes remaining and put some pressure on the Chichester goal with Andrew Birch having a shot saved and then a Warner penalty corner flick saved. Just when Lewes thought they could get back into the game Chichester broke and scored from close range to seal a deserved victory with five minutes remaining. Lewes had a chance in the final seconds to grab a consolation but successive penalty corners came to nothing and Chris Marchant’s point blank flick from in front of goal was well saved by the goalkeeper.
Whilst Lewes will be rightly disappointed with the result they can at least take credit for reaching the final for the second year and pushing Chichester from a higher league all the way. A number of the Lewes youngsters will gain by this experience for the future.
Sussex Under 21 Final
LEWES U21s, 9
WORTHING U21s, 2
(SPRUCE, HICKMAN, DONALDSON, WALLER, MURRAY, LLOYD, PARRINGTON-BERSKI)
Lewes won the Under 21 final for the third successive year in wet conditions. Whilst the scoreline suggests an easy game this was far from the case as Worthing were worthy opponents for an hour of a skilful and entertaining match.
Worthing took the game to Lewes in the early exchanges and deservedly scored first from a penalty corner after ten minutes. Lewes keeper Sam Brooks had to make some good saves as they struggled to gain any momentum and appeared to be waiting for things to happen rather than making them happen. It took a Chris Spruce strike after twenty five minutes to level things and then, somewhat harshly on Worthing, Lewes took the lead when Matt Hickman and Spruce brokeaway and exchanged passes for Spruce to score just on half time.
Coach Chris Marchant’s harsh words at half time had effect as Lewes dominated the second half but it still took fifteen minutes before Alex Lloyd scored after a well worked penalty corner routine and then Angus Donaldson scored with a rebound into the roof of the net to make it 4-1. Goals flowed as Worthing tired and Matt Hickman scored at the far post before Worthing grabbed their second with ten minutes left to make it 5-2. In the last ten minutes Lewes scored four more with Hickman’s skilful reverse stick shot into the roof of the net being the highlight and other goals for Nicoli Parrington-Berski and Sam Murray. Photo of team attached.
Lewes’s commitment to youth has borne fruit with this victory and the Under 18′s go to Oxford Hawks this Sunday for the Mercian finals day hoping to go one better than last year when they were runners up.
Sussex 3rd Team Final
LEWES 3s, 5
WORTHING 3s, 3
(KIFFORD, THOMAS, MARCHANT, WHITING, REA)
Lewes won the third eleven final in a tight match against Worthing. Lewes started well and were 3-1 up by half time with goals from skipper Chris Marchant, James Kifford and Sam Rea. When Pete Thomas converted a loose ball from a short corner early in the second half it looked all over but two defensive errors let Worthing back into the game at 4-3. Lewes had to sit back and absorb Worthing pressure with keeper Joe Davies making important saves before Ian Whiting made the game safe for Lewes with five minutes remaining with a fierce shot from the top of the circle.
Sussex 4th Team Final
BRIGHTON 4s, 3
LEWES 4s, 2
Lewes were runners up in a scrappy game with goals from Chris Whiting and Sam Anderson. They competed well but Brighton were the more clinical converting their chances to ensure victory.