Chelmsford suffer Cup exit

Olton & West Warwicks 1 Chelmsford 0Chelmsford bowed out of the HA Cup at the fifth-round stage with a single-goal defeat at Olton just a week after beating the same team 2-1 in the league.

Olton & West Warwicks 1 Chelmsford 0

Chelmsford bowed out of the HA Cup at the fifth-round stage with a single-goal defeat at Olton just a week after beating the same team 2-1 in the league.

Chelmsford suffered from a lack of penetration up front, failing to earn a single short corner.

The midfield battle was even, but the home team created the better opportunities, including a number of short corners.

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The only goal was a scrambled affair after a goalmouth melee in the 15th minute, with Mandy Gatherer's final shot just rolling over the line.

Chelmsford hopes were further hit by illness and injury. Tracey Willmore missed the match due to a pulled hamstring suffered against Olton the previous week, while Lisa Wooding was forced from the field in the second half with the after-effects of her bout of pneumonia.

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In addition Nat Haynes had knee cartilage problems and spent the night at A&E at Stevenage Hospital.

Wooding should be fit for this weekend's EHL Premier Division double-header against Clifton (away) on Saturday and Leicester at Chelmer Park on Sunday (both 2pm starts), but Willmore and Haynes are both doubtful.

Lynn Bollington received a yellow card for dissent and within five minutes was shown another card for a stick-tackle and was sent from the field for five minutes.

Chelmsford's hard-working midfield did well to keep Olton out, with Chloe Rogers, Tammy Nancoo, Kirsty Smith, Bollington and Tracey Comber doing most of the work.

n Chelmsford's bid for indoor glory ended with a 5-2 defeat at the hands of eventual winners Slough at Crystal Palace on Friday night.

Chelmsford were very much in the match as they trailed 2-1 at half-time, and although Slough quickly scored again, Lisa Wooding's second goal made it 3-2 after 34 minutes.

Slough then scored again and, with Hayley Heggie introduced as a kicking-back to boost the Chelmsford attack, added two more goals to clinch their final place.

They then took the title for the fourth year in a row, and for the seventh time in eight seasons, with a 7-2 win over Canterbury in the final.

A highlight for Chelmsford was the form of reserve goalkeeper Shelley Haslam.

The 17-year-old pupil of Helena Romanes School in Dunmow, standing in as Katy Roberts took a break over the indoor season, was in top form. Haslam may only be 5ft tall but she proved to be a commanding presence and saved penalty flicks from England internationals Jane Smith and Leisa King as Chelmsford qualified for the play-offs.

n The weather was the winner on Saturday as Chelmsford Hockey Club's long-awaited return to EHL Division One action was delayed by a thick covering of snow and ice on the Chelmer Park pitch.

Visitors Stourport were spared a potentially tricky cross-country journey when the pitch was declared unfit as early as Friday. The decision was vindicated by the slow thaw, which did not completely clear the pitch until Sunday. Chelmsford are back in league action when leaders Old Loughtonians visit Chelmer Park on Sunday (noon start).

Chelmsford II's visit to Crostyx in Printwize East League Premier Division A on Saturday was also postponed due to an unfit pitch.

Kings College London 0 Essex University 1

Essex University gained revenge for a 2-1 defeat at home just before Christmas with a narrow win at Kings College London on Wednesday. Essex pressed hard from the start, and with their new formation of playing four across the midfield, dominated possession.

They restricted Kings to their own 25 for the first 15 minutes with Constance Bedingfield and Faye Barrow impressing from the outset.

When Kings finally broke through, the Essex defence held firm with strong tackling from Claire Stoakes and Dawn Atherton.

The elusive breakthrough arrived after some slick interplay between Beth Reeves and Jac Smith on the right flank, which led to a firm cross being swept home by Nic Upton at the back post.

In the second half Essex continued to pressure the Kings defence, winning a string of penalty corners, but good goalkeeping and desperate defending prevented Essex from extending their lead. Essex are now tied for second place in the inter-university league, and with two games to play are hopeful of securing the runners-up position.

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