LEWES 1st XI 1 (Wood)
CANTERBURY 1st XI 1
Canterbury won 4-3 on penalties
Lewes were just five minutes away from knocking out National league side Canterbury in a compelling cup tie on Sunday at the Southdown Club. Canterbury, bottom of the National League, have struggled this season and a trip to a lower league side was the last thing they wanted.
In front of a large crowd Lewes played some of their best hockey of the season matching their illustrious opponents for the majority of the match. Lewes were always going to have to absorb a lot of pressure and their defence held firm in the early exchanges. Goalkeeper Josh Pewter was outstanding throughout making numerous saves and with Canterbury being profligate in front of goal in the first half Lewes grew in confidence. They were not helped losing skipper Matt Clark to a hamstring injury after twenty minutes resulting in a reshuffle. Defenders Dave Roberts, Ian Whiting, Tom Stratford and youngster Sam Heinzl tackled and defended bravely and as Canterbury became frustrated,not being able to convert their possession into goals, Lewes broke and from a penalty corner the alert Mike Wood pounced from a rebound off the goalkeeper to give Lewes the lead at halftime.
The pattern of play was similar in the second half with the hosts defence working overtime to quell the Canterbury attacks. James Callaway and James Fuller were forced to play deep protecting their narrow lead as Lewes relied on breakaways from defence and from one of these Chris Spruce released Ben Cooke whose speed took him in on goal but a fine save by the Canterbury goalkeeper thwarted what would have been a crucial second goal. As players tired both sides lost players temporarily to green and yellow cards. As the minutes ticked away, Canterbury utilising their large squad of players, camped in the Lewes half and forced a penalty corner with five minutes remaining. The resultant low flick found its way into the goal to give Canterbury a deserved equaliser on the balance of play. Lewes held out in the final minutes and so the match went straight to penalty flicks where their National league experience saw Canterbury win 4-3 to make it into the last 32.
A good weekend for Lewes winning their first league game of the season and pushing Canterbury all the way. Skipper Matt Clark said ” This was a great battling display against a National League team two leagues above us. Everyone will have gained from the experience of this match which I hope we can take forward in the next few weeks in our league matches”.
South Premier, Div 1
Lewes 1st Xi – 1 (C. Spruce)
Staines 1st Xi – 0
Heading into their fifth game of the season without a point, it is perhaps too early to label games as must win, however with Staines visiting the Southdown also void of victory, this was one Halloween Lewes did not want to end in a Horror show,
The game started as a cagey affair with Staines applying a half court press, looking to catch Lewes on the counter. The home side wasted a penalty corner early on and then were hit with a huge setback as Alex Warner was taken off with a back injury.
The Lewes flanks of Jimmy Fuller and Chris Spruce caused no end of problems for the Staines defence, however despite countless circle penetrations, a combination of good goalkeeping from the Staines number one and a lack of clinical finishing meant the game went into half time all square.
The 2nd half was much of the same and whilst Lewes pressed ahead for an opener, they frequently left themselves exposed to the counter. The return of Matt Rickson proved a welcome one as he made a number of fine tackles at the back. The times Staines did enter the D, their chances were thwarted by an in-form Josh Pewter in net.
With several more penalty corners blocked out well by the Staines defence, the encounter looked in danger of fizzling out, however it took a moment of individual skill to break the deadlock. Chris Spruce broke into the right side of the D, jinking past two defenders and lifting the ball over the advancing keeper to wild celebrations from the home faithful.
The closing stages of the match became a nervy affair. Lewes having squandered advantageous positions in the last three matches, the crowd were noticeably nervous. The home side were then reduced to 10 as Dave Roberts saw yellow and Staines kicked on for the equaliser. However calmness and intelligent defending was key, especially from young players Mike Wood and Sam Heinzl and Lewes held out for their first win of the season.
Lewes take on Banbury next week away from home.
Sussex Division 2
Chichester Priory Park Chipmunks 0
Lewes Men’s 3s 4 (Meacher 2, Worlidge, Dakin)
The nine men of Lewes trudged the long trek to Chichester. Deploying the 4-3-1 formation hoping to salvage a draw out of nowhere. The match began in a predictable manner with Lewes firmly camped on the back foot, but with an experienced centre-back Lewes managed to survive the first 10 minutes.
Out of nowhere Sam Worlidge found some time and space and with perfect execution found the lone ranger up front Jack Meacher, who with four defenders around him found himself with the goal at his mercy, and smashed the ball into the bottom corner. Now with Chichester desperately needing a goal before half-time Lewes were yet again pushed back into their own half, and with a succession of Chichester short corners the inevitable looked to be coming. But some great saves from keeper Bertie Warren and some last ditch tackles Lewes held on.
Five minutes before half time Lewes had possession, then left-back Ed Phillips decided to take matters into his own hands. An excellent run, taking on several players down the left hand side of the pitch found himself outside of the Chichester D. He managed to pick out the Duracell bunny up front Jack Meacher who yet again found the back of the Chichester goal. 2-0 Lewes at Half time.
Start of the second half and the lack of players was starting to show with some of the Lewes players gasping for air. The second half was a full on bombardment from Chichester but the midfield and defence managed to withstand the onslaught, with Darren New leading the way at the back. But halfway through the second half Jack Meacher took on the Chichester back line single handedly and picked out Sam Worlidge in space in the D, who expertly put the ball away. Then after withstanding more pressure from Chichester Lewes managed to break away again, the the work horse Pete Dakin finding the back of the net this time.
SUSSEX DIVISION 2
LEWES 4TH XI 4 (Jervis 2, Marchant 2)
BRIGHTON 3RD XI 2
Lewes gained a deserved victory over local rivals Brighton this week. The hosts took the lead when Rory Jervis reverse hit a powerful shot from the top of the circle but Brighton responded scoring twice from close range before half time to lead 2-1.
Lewes took control in the second half dominating midfield and utilising the skills of Mike Fuller on the left wing. Chris Marchant equalised from close range before striking home a penalty corner shot to give Lewes the lead midway through the half. Five minutes from time Jervis struck home to clinch victory.
Sussex Division 3
Lewes Mens 5s 1 (Troak)
South Saxons Mens 3s 6
For the first 15 minutes of this game Lewes were on top and were rewarded at the end of a fluent passing move when Jack Troak dribbled across the D, drew the keeper, rounded him and slotted home. Looking for more goals Lewes pushed forward and were quickly caught out as South Saxons found their mojo, scoring twice before the break.
The home side came racing out of the blocks again in the second half and the Lewes Skipper soon found the back of the net, connecting with a fiercely struck free hit from Cookie. Unfortunately, both Lewes umpires spotted the ball had not travelled 5 yards before being struck into the D and the goal was rightly disallowed.
The game then turned into a well-mannered and hard fought end-to-end affair favouring the visitors. Whilst it felt ‘a lot closer’ for those involved, each Lewes attack was thwarted and turned into a counter-attack where the South Saxon’s defence quickly found their unmarkable playmaker Rob Mercer, who orchestrated 4 further goals including one for himself.
Lewes 5s travel to Worthing next week hoping their own mojo might return and stay around for a while.