South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team will finish the season in third place.
Saxons scored a late equaliser to earn a 3-3 draw away to Hailsham in their penultimate game of the South Hockey League Kent/Sussex - Regional 2 season on Saturday.
The Hastings club made a typically rapid start and soon opened the scoring. Some great link-up play down the right-hand side led to Jamie Busbridge scrambling the ball home.
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Hailsham dug in, though, and were back level by half time after scoring an opportunistic equaliser which stemmed from a Saxons short corner.
Saxons came out of the gates firing in the second half, showing glimpses of the form which took them on a remarkable 10-match winning streak either side of the festive break. They quickly won a short corner, which Alex Coombs converted, to put Saxons 2-1 up.
The team struggled to continue firing on all cylinders, however, and despite great work from the likes of Jon Meredith and Paddy Cornish, Saxons conceded again from a Hailsham counter-attack.
Saxons responded again, with Coombs in particular showing his ability, but the Hailsham defence proved difficult to break down. Hailsham then scored from a short corner to take a 3-2 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
Saxons were not finished yet, though. Showing the team spirit which has pulled them through so many games this season, they began the push for an equaliser. It eventually came when Coombs unleashed a rocket of a penalty flick into the left-hand corner.
Saxons pushed for a winning goal in the closing moments and won a last gasp short corner, but they couldn’t quite convert and had to settle for a point.
A disappointing and frustrating afternoon for Saxons, albeit with some glimpses of their true ability. Man of the match was Meredith.
Saxons will wrap up a very successful season with a home game against sixth-placed Southwick this coming Saturday eager to end a run of three matches without a victory.
South Hockey League Kent/Sussex - Regional 2 top five (played-points): 1 Ashford 20-53 (+53 goal difference), 2 Marden Russets 19-46 (+42), 3 SOUTH SAXONS 19-40 (+22), 4 Canterbury  Pilgrims 19-31 (+23), 5 Gillingham Anchorians 18-30 (0).