The CHS boys travelled to Ardingly to play in the U18 Sussex tournament in very cold conditions. The standard of play was a real step up from anything they have played before, especially as they found themselves in a pool with Lancing College, Bedes, Eastbourne College and Bishop Luffa.
Opening against Bedes (a team that later went on to make the final), CHS started well and took the lead – Alex Pendle tore through the defence and scored a well driven goal between the post and the Bedes keeper. However, Bedes settled into the game, got an equaliser and then tapped in three quick goals from short range. The boys picked themselves up at half time and in a solid and very respectable second half, prevented Bedes from scoring any more goals.
The second game saw a familiar foe in Bishop Luffa. The boys went into the game in a more positive mindset and worked the ball well, eventually running out 2-0 winners, both goals from Alex Pendle.
In the third game, against Eastbourne College, again Chichester drew first blood and again it was from the stick of Alex Pendle. Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long and ultimately the game ended with a 6-1 loss. Luke Denyer made some fine saves, and the defence absorbed waves of attacks, preventing an even higher score. The boys were were not downhearted and dusted themselves off for their last game against Lancing College.
Lancing needed a draw or a win to make it through to the semi-finals. Chichester played some flowing hockey and looked confident from the outset. Lancing held a slender lead at half time, but again the Chichester defence was solid and Lancing were unable to test Luke Denyer in the second half. This hard work was rewarded with a well worked goal, as the ball was passed upfield and Ollie Summerill found himself in front of goal to tap in from close range. The game played out for a very well deserved 1-1 draw.
There were loads of positives to take from the tournament and seeing these boys compete at such a high standard and being competitive has been a real pleasure. Not bad for a group, where the majority of the team only started playing a year ago!
This is a summary of a longer report on the Chichester High School website, which you can read here.