South Premier Mens Division 2
Lewes 1st Xi 1 (Roberts)
Oxford University 1st Xi 6
The final nail in Lewes’ Premier League coffin was duly applied by a well drilled second placed Oxford University side at the Southdown Club.
Knowing a victory was a minimum to have any chance of staying up Lewes simply could not cope with the fit University team who dominated throughout. Missing defender Tom Stratford and talisman forward Toby Price the hosts knew it was likely to be a long afternoon. Oxford were two goals up within fifteen minutes from a penalty stroke and close range effort before Lewes could get any foothold on the game. Skipper Matt Clark released Sam Worlidge in on goal but his effort was smothered by the goalkeeper just before halftime and then the University scored with the last play of the half from a penalty corner to go in 3-0 up.
The second half was no different, not helped by Lewes going down to ten players on two occasions, getting frustrated with umpires decisions. The University did not need a second invitation and utilised the extra player scoring two further goals from open play and a penalty corner. Defenders Tom Newman and Mike Wood held firm as Oxford looked to score more goals and it was scant consolation in the last minute when Rory Jervis crossed for Dave Roberts to convert for a consolation goal for Lewes.
A return to the Kent/ Sussex league awaits Lewes next season and hopefully an upturn in fortunes following two successive relegations.
Sussex Open Mens Division 3
Lewes 4th Xi 3 (Stillman, Godwin, Spruce)
Brighton 5th Xi 2
Lewes kept their faint hopes alive of winning the league with a narrow victory over Brighton.
In a hard fought encounter Lewes dominated to start with and Martyn Stillman scored after fifteen minutes latching onto a poor pass out of defence by Brighton rounding the last defender and slotting home. Brighton dug in and it needed some good saves from goalkeeper Chris Sharpe to keep the lead intact but they were rewarded just on half time when they equalised from close range as the hosts defence left players unmarked.
Lewes camped in Brighton’s half at the start of the second half and a lovely move involving Danny Poulsen and James Coplestone saw Ben Godwin free in front of goal and he slipped the ball under the goalkeeper to regain the lead. This was short lived as again Brighton equalised with a well taken effort a minute later. Lewes knew only victory would keep their title chances alive and the scene was set for veteran Paul Spruce to bring time down on his 47 year history at the club by scoring the winner in the last five minutes deflecting in Will Champness’s short corner strike to the delight of his team mates.
Chichester are a point ahead with two games remaining and are unlikely to slip up with Lewes having their final game on Saturday at Eastbourne.