Eastbourne Hockey Club need to ‘push just a little bit more’ if they’re to stand a chance of staying in the South Premier Division One this season.
The squad put in a much improved performance against promotion-chasers London Wayfarers on Saturday and hope to carry that into this weekend when they face a crucial clash away at Banbury.
Free-scoring London Wayfarers took the lead within 20 minutes at The Saffrons, but Eastbourne’s Andy Edwards managed to equalise just before the interval.
However, a goal ten minutes from time and a last-minute penalty ensured the visitors left with a 3-1 victory.
Last time the two sides met, London Wayfarer thrashed Eastbourne 8-0 and team manager David Adelston believes the most recent score line is testament to how far the team have come since then.
“Our concentration was much better than it has been. It’s just frustrating when we’re putting in good performances but not getting the points.
“It was a very good performance, especially from Rob Cornell, and I think the match was a lot less one-sided than the shoreline suggests.”
As Eastbourne continue the hunt for their first win since November, they come up against the side who were their last victims; Banbury.
Like Eastbourne, Banbury are struggling at the foot of the table and Adelstone believes the outcome of this match will determine the fate for the losing side.
“The side that loses will probably go down, whereas the one that wins will still have a chance of survival. It’s an absolute must-win match.
“It’ll be an early start for us and we’ll just have to see what happens on the day, but I hope we win.”
Eastbourne Men’s seconds also put in a very good performance last weekend, winning 6-2 against Penguin firsts, and now face Brighton and Hove Albion Men’s thirds on Saturday.
Eastbourne Ladies firsts narrowly lost out as they slipped to a 4-3 defeat to Lewes Ladies firsts. They face London Wayfarers Ladies firsts this weekend.
Middleton & Bognor 2
Hailsham Men’s 1st XI 2
THE Hailsham men’s first team had to settle for a draw on Saturday after opening up a two-goal lead.
Hailsham fielded an altered line-up in this South Hockey League Sussex Area - Division One fixture with youngster Josh Headey having an excellent game on his first start.
Despite the bleak weather, Hailsham made a positive start with Dan Ivemy slotting home a loose ball midway through the first half. Hailsham grabbed a second soon after through a precise flick into the top corner by George Cyster.
Hailsham had goalkeeper Richard Burraston to thank for keeping them in the lead with a string of fine saves, but the defence were breached just before the half time whistle when Burraston was beaten by a fine finish.
The home team were lucky to remain with 11 players for the second half after a Middleton player was seen and heard threatening a Hailsham man.
The second half saw continued pressure from Hailsham, but despite powerful flicks from Sam Headey which struck the post and bar, the visitors couldn’t capitalise.
Middleton & Bognor didn’t allow this to go unpunished and after two Hailsham players were sin-binned, the visitors were humbled by a last minute equaliser after some scrappy play in the D.