Saxons scrape into play-off

Paddy Cornish
Paddy Cornish

South Saxons scraped into a promotion play-off by the width of a goal post on Saturday.

Saxons clinched the win they needed in their final game of the South Hockey League Sussex Area - Division One season to pip Lewes III on goal difference for the runners-up spot.

But only just because hosts East Grinstead IV were denied a 3-3 draw when a shot from a penalty corner with the final play of the game struck the upright before Saxons scrambled it to safety.

Saxons opened the scoring through a Dave Draper drag flick from a penalty corner after five minutes and Paddy Cornish made it 2-0 some 10 minutes later. Grinstead pulled one back, but Cornish made it 3-1 at the break.

The visitors continued to press during the second period, yet were unable to kill the game off and Grinstead again got within one goal to set up that dramatic finale in which Saxons hung on by the skin of their teeth.

Saxons’ reward is a winner-takes-all showdown against South Hockey League Kent Area - Division One runners-up Tunbridge Wells at East Grinstead this coming Saturday.

Final standings (all played 22 matches): 1 Lewes II 63pts, 2 SOUTH SAXONS 50, 3 Lewes III 50, 4 Penguin 43, 5 East Grinstead IV 34, 6 Brighton & Hove III 32, 7 Middleton & Bognor 23, 8 Southwick 23, 9 Crawley II 17, 10 Eastbourne III 17, 11 Crowborough 16, 12 Worthing III 15.

A full report and preview will appear in Friday’s Hastings Observer.