South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team consolidated its six-point lead at the top of the table by seeing off the bottom side.
A first half hat-trick from Olli Beal put Saxons on the road to a 7-1 victory away to Worthing II in Sussex Open Hockey League Division One on Saturday.
The centre-back pairing of Paddy Cornish and Toby Reed were on a stag do and midfielder Jon Meredith had work commitments so in came Ed Hooten, Ed Stroud and Dom Ford.
A quick start from Saxons saw Beal break free and set up captain Jamie Busbridge for a good finish to put the away side ahead. Beal then rounded-off a move as Saxons went two-up within the first 10 minutes.
A lapse in the Saxons defence meant Worthing got one back, but Saxons responded soon afterwards as Beal coolly slotted home another. Some good hockey from the experienced Ford and Stroud led to Alex Coombs finding Beal with an aerial to complete his hat-trick.
Saxons went in at half time 4-1 up and the second half was a bit more open with Worthing enjoying some time on the ball, but good defensive play from Chris Meredith and James Riley meant that nothing came from it.
As the game went on, Andrew Orr was more involved, breaking into the Worthing D and causing problems for the opposition defence. A classic Gavin Cload run ended with a pass to Tudor Stainsby and his throughball found Busbridge, who scored with a delightful touch through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Saxons tried to push on as the game drew to a close. Good work from Orr and Stroud found Coombs and his reverse stick shot was fired into the top of the net.
The last goal came from a classic Beal break and a good bit of skill found Hooten, whose ‘shot’ found its way into the bottom corner as Busbridge distracted the goalkeeper.
Some good saves from Saxons goalkeeper Mike Sutton at the end made sure of a comfortable victory. Coombs was man of the match.
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