Horsham surpass expectations in England Hockey League

JPCT 061012 Hockey, Horsham ladies v Bromley & Beckenham. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 061012 Hockey, Horsham ladies v Bromley & Beckenham. Photo by Derek Martin

Horsham have exceeded expectations in the opening half of the EHL Conference East season, and coach Paul Johnson expects his ladies to push on after the mid-winter break.

Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Ipswich left Horsham fifth in the Investec England Hockey League Conference East, and with no league action again until February, Johnson said his side are nicely placed, as the indoor season starts.

“It has been a successful start,” he declared. “I think we have probably over achieved given the targets we set. We wanted eight or ten by now, and the fact we have 15 means we can go into the rest of the season focusing on our position rather than looking over our shoulder, and possibly trying to move up the table a bit.

“Having played every side now, we have lost just two games, narrowly, and I don’t think we are too far off being at the top end of the league.”

Against their third-placed hosts, Horsham can count themselves unlucky not to have taken more than a point. Jess Dean fired Horsham ahead in the 15th minute from a short corner, but that was cancelled out ten minutes later when Francesca Tew gave keeper Hannah Simpson no chance with a blistering strike.

It stayed that way until the break, although Fran Crossley did hit the crossbar as the visitors continued to match Ipswich.

The hosts claimed the lead early in the second half however, Lizzy Aldous converting a penalty corner for 2-1.

That advantage did not last long though, as five minutes later Gill Adams applied the finishing touch to Suzie Clapp’s strike with a neat deflection. Dean then almost won it for Horsham in the dying moments but was denied by a superb save from the Ipswich keeper.

Johnson added: “Both teams deserved something out of it, it would have been tough on either side if the other had won.”