Chelmsford 1 Sevenoaks 8

Slazenger England Hockey Men's LeagueConference EastChelmsford 1 Sevenoaks 8SUNDAY, March 22 was to be the day of reckoning for the Chelmsford Hockey Club 1st XI Men's team.

Slazenger England Hockey Men's League

Conference East

Chelmsford 1 Sevenoaks 8

SUNDAY, March 22 was to be the day of reckoning for the Chelmsford Hockey Club 1st XI Men's team. With a win being sufficient to avoid relegation, or the dreaded play-offs. Sevenoaks were coming off three consecutive defeats, so Chelmsford were optimistic at being able to manufacture a result.

The game started at a frenetic pace, with the Chelmsford side working hard in defence to try and limit their opponents' space and attacking drive. With some stern words before the game and high expectations of great improvements from the previous game, Chelmsford were able to hold Sevenoaks for prolonged periods through hard running and great endeavour. Chelmsford's ball movement and quick transitions saw them able to mount several attacking drives and put the Sevenoaks defence under pressure. Unfortunately, Sevenoaks were able to score two goals in relative quick succession to see them hold a 2-0 lead at half time.

The second half saw a sluggish start from Chelmsford and consequently, Sevenoaks were able to score very early on in the half. From this point, they scored several goals in very quick succession through some skilful movement and individual skill as well as some costly turnovers and indecision in defence. Chelmsford however, did not give up and continued to put great effort in defensively; and made some great strides leading into the final game of the season.

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Chelmsford scored a consolation goal near the end of the match through a penalty corner. It saw the very secure corner play of a left slip to Geoff Mills for an Adam 'Emu' Hunter deflection, who is understandably receiving lessons on deflections through offensive penalty corner specialist coach, Anna Smith. Sevenoaks scored the last goal of the match and with an 8-1 scoreline, proved they were a quality side that are unlucky to not be higher on the table.

Ollie Wickham played his first match as a starting player and played remarkably well. Through some very impressive feats on the training track he was rewarded with a starting position and at no time did he look out of his depth during the game. The ever-courageous Ian 'Seve' Belchamber was an extremely busy player throughout the day and the skilful Luke Mepham was again a presence in midfield, providing a number of great attacking thrusts. A particular highlight for the afternoon was that no one was on the receiving-end of a traditional Luke Mepham ear bashing! Something he will need to continue, leading into next week. On a positive note, Chelmsford saw the successful returns from injury of Geoff Mills and Elliott Seleska, and will be hanging on the fitness of key defender David Hunter who appeared to break a toenail, and Josh Mepham from a long-term ankle injury.

The final game of the season takes place next Sunday, March 29th at Ipswich Hockey Club. This match will be played with extremely high intensity and under a great deal of pressure, as both sides are in direct competition for the ever-important eighth position on the league table, with everything to play for next weekend. With Ipswich sure to have a great number of home fans, it would be great to see as many Chelmsford fans make the journey as possible, as it is a vitally important day and match for the club and their long-term future in the National League.

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