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SOUTH PREMIER DIVISION 1
LEWES 1st XI 5 (BAXTER (2), CALLOWAY, FULLER, WOOD)
OXFORD UNIVERSITY 3
Lewes continued their recent encouraging displays with their second league victory of the season. It leaves them level on points with Henley and three ahead of bottom team Staines.
In wet and blustery conditions at the Southdown Club Lewes played some of their best hockey in the first half and blew the University away. As early chances were wasted it was from their first penalty corner that they took the lead when James Calloway’s low flick found the back of the goal. Lewes dominated midfield and their pace up front was too much for a lethargic Oxford and it was no surprise when a low cross was converted from close range by the alert Alex Baxter after fifteen minutes. Skipper Matt Clark and youngster Ed Firth were dominant and after twenty minutes Chris Spruce beat two defenders and his hard cross was deflected home by Mike Wood at the far post. Oxford finally got some momentum and scored from close range after a break down the right but Lewes made it 4-1 just before halftime when James Fuller skilfully dribbled past defenders and from the top of the circle scored with a fierce shot.
Lewes are not used to winning games and they lost their momentum early in the second half giving possession away and conceding territory. Oxford needed no second invitation and they converted a penalty corner to make it 4-2. With the hosts under pressure they were indebted to defenders Tom Stratford and new player Harvey Waller, who has returned to Lewes, for their strong tackling and distribution out of defence. With fifteen minutes remaining Waller found Spruce just outside the circle and his accurate pass found Baxter in front of an open goal and he converted his second and Lewes’s fifth. Oxford came back strongly and a deflected penalty corner and a well taken close range strike brought it back to 5-3 with five minutes remaining. Lewes held firm and goalkeeper Josh Pewter made successive saves from penalty corners in overtime. The only bad news in this victory was a broken finger for defender David Roberts who took a ball on his hand just on the final whistle and he will now be unavailable until the new year.
Skipper Clark was pleased with the performance. “We started really well and actually converted our chances in the first half when we dominated possession. When we had to, we dug deep in the second half and defended our lead. We now need to take this performance and victory into our final two matches before Christmas.” They start on Saturday away at Milton Keynes.
Sussex Ladies Division 1
Lewes 3’s 0
East Grinstead 2
Ladies 3’s are languishing at the wrong end of the table with only 1 win all season. East Grinstead are top and had a huge amount of possession, yet created few chances in the first half, ending the half only 1 goal to the good. Their goal came for a short corner strike that was crisp and clean. Lewes worked hard and there were some excellent performances with Freya Merritt and Anya De Silva covering the whole pitch. Naomi Blackwell at centre back tackled everything that moved and was outstanding but EG had too much and put the game to bed late in the second half.
Sussex Girls Development League
Burgess Hill Ambers 0
Lewes Lionesses 3 (Williams, Rus, Inglis)
The Lionesses are second in their league, playing some excellent passing hockey. The graveyard slot at The Triangle on a wet and windy afternoon would test their metal but they had too much pace and skill for a young Burgess Hill team. Hannah Williams, Isobel Inglis and Amany Rus all scored and Lewes could have scored again with a little more composure on the ball. Catriona Milne and Emily Chevassut are strong in defence and even when the Lewes Goalkeeper had to leave the pitch through illness, they never looked liked conceding. They play EG (top of the league) in 2 weeks time, in what could already be a league decider.
Sussex Ladies Division 2
Burgess Hill 2s 10
Lewes 4s 0
This was always going to be a tough fixture but not least because Lewes were missing the illustrious Captain Mould. The early pitch slot at the Triangle saw the sun shining but not for the Lewes ladies. The first half was dominated by Burgess Hill who all seemed to surge forward with every attack, leaving the Lewes defence fighting for every ball. Marshalled by the usually calm and collected ‘Pro Bruce’ (Sports personality of the week) and guarded by the hard working gatekeeper Dionne Gooding Lewes managed to keep the defecit to 7 before the break.
After an inspired team talk from side lined Mouldy, the ladies regained some composure and decided an all out attack was the way forward. This strategy worked to a point and gained them more chances over the halfway line, a shot at goal and a penalty corner strike by Zoe Richards which was unfortunately saved. Lewes were relieved to only concede 3 in the second half and by lunchtime were seen in the pub sipping tea from Royal Denby cups and declaring they were “over it”.