Horsham men left sweating on league survival

Young talent Jack Dean scored both Horsham's goals on Saturday oin their final game
Young talent Jack Dean scored both Horsham's goals on Saturday oin their final game

Horsham Hockey Club’s men’s first team are relying on Brighton to do them a favour to ensure they avoid dropping into a relegation play-off.

A tough last month of an extremely positive first season in the South Premier 2 following promotion last season has left them sweating on their status.

Saturday’s final game of the season was a 4-2 defeat to Barnes, a fourth loss from a winless final five games.

At the end of February the side were well on course for successive promotions. But an unprecedented amount of injuries and suspensions to key players, some agonisingly close defeats and some questionable umpiring decisions have all played their part in a dispiriting March.

It means Horsham finish eighth in Division 2, and even though four sides finished below them, the unusually high number of teams from the south dropping down from the National Leagues has made Horsham’s position precarious.

One of those team above, Brighton, have to win a round-robin play-off against two other sides to stay up and in turn prevent Horsham from facing their own play-off.

Brighton won their first game against Isca 4-1 on Saturday, but Horsham need them to also beat Kalsa on Sunday March 14 to be guaranteed safe.

Horsham player John Burroughs said: “We are sweating on Brighton’s result but we’re quietly confident that whatever happens we’ll maintain our status in this league.

“Even if we do have to go into a play-off, we’ll be confident of beating sides from the leagues below us. We’ve had a very good season, five matches ago we were second but everything that could have gone against us has done.”

That was again the case at home to Barnes on Saturday, as two dubious short corners were put away by the visitors. Key player Jack Dean - whose four-match suspension particularly hit the side - bagged both of Horsham’s goals.

“We still rate ourselves as one of the best sides in this league,” Burroughs added. “At the very start of the season we had ambitions to get promoted and with so many good young players coming through I’m sure we’ll be thinking the same next season.”