High-scoring Horsham are backed for national glory

Freddie Campbell
Freddie Campbell
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Horsham Hockey Club’s mixed team travel to the Olympic Park this weekend in a bid to claim National Knock Out Cup glory.

The men and women are just two victories away from winning the prestigious competition at the Lee Valley pitch in London at the finals weekend.

They face Bedford in the first of the semi-finals on Saturday and are hoping to progress to the final itself on Sunday and then go one better than their 2011 runners-up finish.

If all goes to form they would hope to meet West Hampstead and Westminster in the final as long as they overcome their last four opponents Harleston Magpies, a prospect mixed-team manager Paddy Humphries is looking forward to.

He said: “We’re old rivals in this competition. This will be our third clash in five years and with the score currently standing at one apiece we have everything to play for.”

Humphries has his full outfield squad available, bolstered by goalkeeper Andy Isaacs who plays his league hockey elsewhere but chooses Horsham for his mixed exploits.

A keeper of individual style, his signature move is to lift the ball off his stick and toe-punt it high in the air 75 metres down field giving Horsham an unusual attacking option.

And Humphries thinks this is the most balanced team Horsham have ever fielded, “Throughout the early rounds the ladies in the side have shown they are every bit as competitive and skilled as the men at finding the back of the net,” he added.

“We’ve let very few goals in, and keep on scoring more than the opposition – it’s a bit of a cliché but that’s what cup finals are all about.”

The mixed team will get together to train this week on the newly-laid Astro at Windlesham House School in preparation for the games.

Horsham’s men warmed up for the finals weekend at the Olympic Park with a fine display against the president’s XI in the annual summer fixture at Broadbridge Heath on Sunday.

Despite losing an early goal to Welsh international and ex-Horsham colt Jamie Whitehouse, they ran out comfortable winners 7-3.

A first-half hat-trick from Jack Dean was the highlight as Duncan Howarth was also on target and Freddie Campbell, who will take on short corner duties in London, looks to have developed a useful drag-flick. Other goals came from John Burroughs (two) and Peter Neave.

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