All change at Horsham in bid to battle the drop in new year

Horsham's successful indoor team that qualified for the next round of the National Division 2 South competition
Horsham's successful indoor team that qualified for the next round of the National Division 2 South competition

Changes are afoot at Horsham Hockey Club in their bid to battle relegation in South Premier Division 1 after Christmas.

Captain Andy Isaacs told his squad last week that he will be stepping down from his role and replacing Tenjinder Hanspal as coach.

Stalwart team manager Al Campbell, who stepped down at the end of last season, will also be returning in the new year.

Prolific National Legaue scorer Hanspal was appointed as the club’s head coach at the start of the season, but while continuing to play for Sevenoaks, it has been decided to take the coaching back in house.

Horsham have gone into the midway point in the season sitting second-to-bottom in the table. It is again expected that only one team will be relegated this year and they have a game in hand and a five-point advantage over basement boys Henley.

Isaacs has always been positive that they can pull away from trouble and thinks the changes will aid their plight.

The outgoing skipper said: “The indoor campaign (where they men’s team were successful at the weekend) has aided morale and we push on with positivity and confidence in the ambition of notching points early doors to help reignite our quest.

“I will be taking over the coaching until the end of the season and a new captain will be confirmed in the coming weeks.”

Their next outdoor game is their Sussex Cup quarter-final which takes place on Tuesday, January 9, at Eastbourne.

The South Premier campaign then resumes on January 13 against Indian Gymkhana.

And Isaacs thinks a positive spell of indoor hockey during the break will be of benefit.

Horsham were one of the two sides from the six competing that qualified for the next round of the National Division 2 South event played over the first weekend in January in Canterbury.

They beat Croydon and Old Whitgiftians 5-2, Chichester 1-0, Winchester 2-1 and Woking 4-1 to seal qualification.

Their only defeat at that stage was 3-1 to eventual winners Trojans. Horsham were actually level on points, goals scored and goal difference, but Trojans won as a result of the head-to-head match.

Goalkeeper Isaacs added: “The lads played superb indoor hockey which is tactically a very different game and executed the game plan brilliantly when it mattered.

“We had indoor specialist Mo Rahman as one of our permitted guest players.

“In the next round we will be using Richard Barlow, who plays at Chichester and is director of hockey at Christ’s Hospital, and Sam George, who played Premier League for Canterbury last season.”