Hailsham Millers stride to hockey win
A large East Grinstead HC contingent were welcomed by Millers' supporters as they gathered in good spirit to watch this top of the table clash on a surprisingly rain–free Saturday afternoon. At 2pm the two teams stood toe to toe and the whistle blew to signal the start of what would be a pulsating game. Both the top of the table visitors and Hailsham Millers started brightly.
Both teams appeared respectful of the other and despite playing deep and in numbers, both gained ground and exchanged blows bringing both keepers into action. Hailsham appeared to have the slight edge on the pressure at 10 minutes but it was EG who secured a short corner and scored. Unperturbed, the hosts pressed and made it level when Myles Hook pounced on a deflection during a Hailsham short corner and fired the ball home inside the left upright from close range.
Hailsham gained the ascendancy but EG continued to press with some flowing hockey. Hook worked tirelessly to successfully disrupt the capable EG defence and midfield and give them no time on the ball. Charlie Cable came on up front for Hailsham and continued the work of Ollie Whitling. He took a high position stretching the pitch and this opened up a space for Myles Hook to run into. EG continued to press and made some progress but failed to exploit the width and with Paddy Smith Alisha Gurr, Louis Whitling and Eddie Cassleden defensively secure, threats were snuffed out and Josh Pinard mopped up at the base of a diamond midfield. Hailsham ended the first half 2-1 up when Hook got his second, latching on to a Ben Barden sneaky reverse flick and burying it inside the left post.
Millers came close but failed to capitalise on their chances created by the tireless play of the midfield quartet of Dan Ruthven Josh Pinard, Ben Barden and Kieran Gurr. The visitors pressed but the last ditch defending meant the score remained unchanged for 10 minutes but when a well taken short corner squeezed past impressive Joe Gander in the Millers goal, it was all square.
With Hook injured, Ollie Whitling returned to the front line. Just inside 20 minutes, the Millers player of the match Louis Whitlings’ close range flick from another short corner put daylight between the two teams at 3-2.
Hailsham came close again and Charlie Cable remained a good outlet but the home side failed to take advantage. The game was set out of reach when a fast moving passing counter attack came after a last ditch Richy Buckingham jab tackle shut the door on another EG attack. The ball arrived at Kieran Gurr on right side of the EG 23. He continued his run down the right beating a few players, picked his spot and flicked past the very capable keeper to make it 4-2 and secure their 13th consecutive win in the Sussex Development league this season.
Both teams played some fantastic flowing hockey with great individual skills and team play on display. The Millers look forward to welcoming East Grinstead to Hailsham next time.