Champions Horsham Men’s Hockey 1sts finish season in style

Skipper Duncan Howarth
Skipper Duncan Howarth

With the league title safely secured, Horsham Men’s 1sts rounded off their super season with victory to put a dent in Old Bordenians’ own promotion hopes.

Having come from a goal down to lead through Dominic Male and Jack Dean strikes, the hosts stood firm to close out their campaign with a 20th victory from 22 league games.

Skipper Duncan Howarth said: “It was always going to be a difficult game against a side placed second in the league and whom will qualify for the play-offs if they win their remaining games.

“With the league won, our performance level had wavered in our last game against Marden Russets, but it was a much more professional and committed effort returned for Old Bordenians.”

With the travelling team playing a similar deep and defensive press, most of the early hockey was played in the middle quarters of the pitch.

Few chances were created in the first half, but when Old Bordenians were awarded a rather dubious penalty corner, a flick deflected away from the excellent Ed Heathcock off the foot of Akande and the ball hit the back of the net. Horsham went close on a couple of occasions at the other end, but went into the interval trailing after a tight half.

Coach Male asked the Horsham forwards to adopt a more attacking press, and when possession was won by Howarth, Horsham quickly attacked and John Burroughs found Male at the top of the D to strike a composed finish under the keeper.

With renewed energy, the Horsham front five continued to press the Old Bordenians’ defence and shortly after picking up the ball on the left wing, John Kimberley played an excellent reverse stick cross onto the back post for Jack Dean to poke in.

The visitors looked for an equaliser but Horsham stood firm with excellent discipline and work-rate to earn a highly satisfying three points from what had been one of their toughest matches of the season.

Howarth beamed: “It showed tremendous character to come back from a goal down against a side with everything to play for, and speaks volumes once more for the progress we have made this year. It’s been a truly magnificent season and despite needing a well-earned rest, we can’t wait to get stuck into South Premier hockey next year!”