Saxons face big challenge in county semi-final

Andrew Acott on the ball for South Saxons during their most recent match against Kings & Alleyns. Picture by Simon Newstead
Andrew Acott on the ball for South Saxons during their most recent match against Kings & Alleyns. Picture by Simon Newstead

South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team will begin the new year by facing a team which plays three levels above them.

South Hockey League Kent/Sussex - Regional 2 side Saxons will host Premier - Division 1 big guns Horsham in a Sussex Cup semi-final this coming Saturday.

Alex Coombs closes down a Kings & Alleyns opponent during Saxons' 4-3 victory on December 10. Picture by Simon Newstead

Alex Coombs closes down a Kings & Alleyns opponent during Saxons' 4-3 victory on December 10. Picture by Simon Newstead

“It’s going to be a very tough game,” admitted Saxons captain Jamie Busbridge. “We’ll just hope to keep it tight and see where we go. We’re going to have to play the best hockey of our lives, and hope they’re maybe missing some people and not quite on it.”

Regardless of the result, Saxons will get some valuable game-time after the festive break and a chance to work on the counter-attacking approach they are likely to employ when they resume their league campaign at home to third-placed Old Williamsonians next weekend.

“I think the key thing is to get a good run-out,” continued Busbridge. “We just want to get some fitness back and sharpness this week, and build up to the Williamsonians game. Hopefully everyone will have a good run-out against good opposition.”

Saxons, who returned to training on Tuesday, expect to field a large squad of 15 players, including the rare luxury of a substitute goalkeeper, for a match which will get under way from 12noon at Horntye Park.

Saxons have enjoyed a very good season so far and lie fifth at the midway stage of their league campaign. All bar one of the 16 points they’ve picked up has come at home.

“I’m ecstatic to be fifth in the league at this stage,” added Busbridge, whose side drew away to Horsham’s second team last month. “If we maintain that in the second half of the season, I think that will be an outstanding result for us.

“The target is still to stay up. We don’t want to look too far ahead because it’s a tough league and there’s no easy points available. We’ve got to work out how to carry that home form into the away games.”

Although the seconds are without a fixture this weekend, Saxons’ men’s thirds will make the long trip to Middleton II in Sussex Open Hockey League Division Three and the fourths are at home to Southwick III in Division Four.

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