South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team made a triumphant start to the season with an enthralling 8-7 win at home to Lewes.
Saturday’s victory over a team which last term played four divisions above them has put Saxons through to the semi-finals of the Sussex Cup.
Knowing it would be a tough game, Saxons came out with all guns blazing and it wasn’t long before they found themselves a goal up through Harry Reece.
George Eldridge then slotted home two short corners either side of setting up skipper Jamie Busbridge to put the home side 4-0 up.
Lewes pulled a couple back before half time as players started to tire, but Saxons were still very much in charge at the break.
Lewes fought back after the turnaround and managed to go 5-4 ahead, but an Eldridge throughball to Ollie Beal quickly levelled the scores.
Alex Coombs then latched onto a Tudor Stainsby pass, and executed an audacious spin and chip past the goalkeeper to put Saxons - last season’s Sussex Open Hockey League champions - 6-5 up.
Eldridge - whose return to the club having been away at university for the last few years is a major boost - completed his hat-trick with a stunning goal. Eldridge ran at the Lewes defence before finishing with a sublime reverse stick shot into the far corner from the left-hand side of the D.
After Lewes pulled one back, Coombs coolly netted his second to put Saxons 8-6 up with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Despite a defensive error leading to one further Lewes goal, the Saxons defence held strong until the final whistle to clinch a notable victory.
Paddy Cornish was immense at the back, but narrowly missed out to Eldridge in the man of the match vote. Saxons’ reward is another home tie against Horsham in a match scheduled for Saturday January 7, 2017.
The Horntye Park-based club will begin its South Hockey League Kent/Sussex - Regional 2 campaign with a trip to Old Williamsonians on Saturday October 1.
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