Sevenoaks fall to Brighton & Hove on a warm October evening

ENGLAND HOCKEY DIVISION ONE SOUTH: SEVENOAKS 1 BRIGHTON & HOVE 2

BY CHRIS BARKER: On a warm October evening Sevenoaks Men’s 1st team hosted Brighton and Hove in their first Saturday night game of the season. In a match previously containing plenty of goals this was set to be a cracker. Sevenoaks wanted to build upon their unbeaten start to the season, following a win against Havant and last week’s draw with local Kent rivals Canterbury, but were missing a few players due to injury and notable absentee Nick Barker who was running the Manchester marathon.

The first quarter started in similar fashion to previous weeks. Sevenoaks controlled the tempo and possession of the game throughout the first quarter with Brighton living off scraps. With minimal mistakes made, Sevenoaks dominated the quarter and created plenty of chances through some majestic team play from back to front. However, they unfortunately were not able to convert these chances and take a lead into the break.

The second quarter followed similar trends with Sevenoaks creating more chances through some excellent interplay, special mentions to Max Deniff and James Thomas who managed to find themselves in pockets of space causing havoc with the Brighton defence. This pressure started to take its toll, and Sevenoaks managed to convert one of their short corners with an elegant slicing shot from Co-Captain Chris Baker to give Sevenoaks the lead. Brighton did however start getting into the game and managed to win a couple of short corners close to half time. Fortunately for Sevenoaks their corner defence stood strong and managed to keep Brighton out and take a 1-0 lead into half time.

The third quarter started with Sevenoaks looking to extend their advantage. However, as the quarter progressed Brighton became more threatening and a speculative crash ball into the circle that took a couple of deflections ended up in the back of the Sevenoaks goal levelling the game up at 1-1. Brighton, enthused after drawing level, kept pushing and managed to win consecutive short corners as the end of the quarter approached. The pressure started to build on both teams and following a wild injection Brighton managed to get a shot away which somehow squeezed into the bottom right corner giving Brighton a 2-1 lead.

With the resumption of the game and the start of the final quarter, Sevenoaks came out the blocks flying. Oaks played some fantastic hockey, zipping the ball around the pitch, but similar to the previous three quarters, chances kept coming to the men in purple and somehow the ball would not find the back of the net. Following some great inter play between Chris Barker and Edward Matts, Sevenoaks were awarded corner after corner and following the theme of the game the ball kept finding the keeper or just narrowly going wide. This however didn’t dampen the hearts of the Sevenoaks team and more chances kept coming with balls played into the circle narrowly missing the back of the net. Unfortunately, the final whistle was blown and after a frustrating day at the office Sevenoaks finished the game 2-1 down.

A tough result to take following the dominant display but lots of positives to take into next Saturday’s home game against Southgate at 5pm.