South Saxons began their season with an extra-time ‘golden goal’ 3-2 victory away to Crowborough on Saturday.
The Hastings hockey club recovered from two-down to set up a Sussex Plate semi-final against Hailsham at the end of the campaign.
With injuries, illness, family commitments and departures out of the area, Saxons were fielding a very different team from the one that ended last season. There was a debut for Tudor Stainsby and Julian Bules returned.
The home side drew first blood when the ball broke down in the Saxons half and a quick breakaway resulted in a simple tap in. Crowborough doubled their advantage with a controversial strike at the start of the second period.
Saxons pulled one back against opposition from their own league inside the closing 15 minutes when Paddy Cornish capitalised on a defensive mistake and Busbridge levelled with a reverse stick shot five minutes from time.
Away goalkeeper George Deaves was then sin-binned for something he said and Pete Watters was deployed as a ‘kicking back’, saving one shot on the line to take the tie into a 15-minute period of golden goal extra-time.
Deaves was still sidelined for another five minutes, but it was during this time that Saxons came up with the winner. They broke down the right and the ball was played inside for Cornish to fire home from the top of the D.
Saxons: Deaves; Watters, Reed; Cornish, Cload, Burnett; Coombs, Orr; Busbridge, Stainsby, Buss. Sub: Rogers.
Saxons will contest a friendly away to Folkestone seconds on Saturday before beginning their South Hockey League Sussex Area - Division One campaign at home to Penguin on September 29.
See Friday’s Hastings Observer for the full article.