Jamie Busbridge netted a hat-trick as South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team finished its splendid season in style with a 4-3 win away to Kings & Alleyns.
Saxons’ fourth straight victory lifted them above their victims to fifth in South Hockey League Kent/Sussex - Regional 2, although Kings still have two games left.
The away side settled in quickly with some early pressure resulting in Alex Coombs’ deflected pass finding its way to the returning Busbridge to score at the far post.
Shortly after that Saxons doubled their lead. Good work in the middle from Jon Meredith and Andrew Acott led to Olli Beal picking up the ball at the top of the D before playing a clever reverse pass to Busbridge, who finished through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Kings then came back into the game, partly due to a harsh yellow card for Chris Meredith. The home pressure told as Kings pulled a goal back before half time from a short corner.
The pattern continued into the second half and the same player scored two further short corner goals to give Kings a 3-2 lead.
Some good defending from centre-back pairing Gavin Cload and Toby Reed, as well as a string of fine saves from Nate Webster in goal, kept Saxons in the tie despite the umpire finding reason to brandish another yellow in Meredith’s direction.
Saxons were not done, however, and won a short corner of their own. Reed was well found by Beal and he teed up Busbridge to deflect home for his hat-trick, the ball only crossing the line by the smallest of margins.
Saxons piled on the pressure as they went in search of a winner. Bailey Wright fired a fierce shot at goal which resulted in a penalty flick as it struck a defender and Coombs duly stepped up to convert.
Despite some late pressure from Kings, Saxons managed to see the game out helped by some good work from Tudor Stainsby in the middle. Man of the match was Busbridge in his final game as captain.
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