Mid Sussex win keenly fought contest in dramatic shootout

Mid Sussex 2nd XI from L to R back row: Laurence Kelly, Hamish Middleton, Sam Candfield, Justin Maynard, Jack Hagger, Mike Dovey, Jason Morgan.  Front row: Alex Hardwicke, Jason Fitzpatrick, Stephen Hillier (Capt), Miles Bryant, Tom Wylie.  Pictured with the Paddy Henry Memorial Trophy
Mid Sussex 2nd XI from L to R back row: Laurence Kelly, Hamish Middleton, Sam Candfield, Justin Maynard, Jack Hagger, Mike Dovey, Jason Morgan. Front row: Alex Hardwicke, Jason Fitzpatrick, Stephen Hillier (Capt), Miles Bryant, Tom Wylie. Pictured with the Paddy Henry Memorial Trophy
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Local rivals Mid Sussex and St Francis 1sts clashed in a keenly fought annual contest for the Paddy Henry Memorial Cup, in memory of the St Francis stalwart and local councillor.

Both sides had key players unavailable but the first 25 minutes or so saw complete domination by Mid Sussex.

They moved the ball around effectively and created numerous openings. It was not long before veteran goal-scorer Mike Dovey did some goal-line poaching to take advantage of a Tom Wylie strike. More pressure and penalty corners ensued and finally one of these was converted with aplomb by Hamish Middleton who slid the ball in from a tight angle to give Middies a 2-0 lead.

Following half-time Mid Sussex started to get sloppy with their passing and St Francis clawed one back.

The contest started to warm up, as did the players in the sunny, humid conditions and then Mid Sussex put together a glorious passing ensemble from the back to the front where Jason Morgan finally picked the ball up on the left, drove towards the D and passed to Justin Maynard who dribbled deftly into the D and sent a fine shot at the far post which Wylie deflected neatly in. However, although 3-1 up, Middies seem to lose their way - a likely indictment of their fitness levels and St Francis found their mojo and started to threaten.

Though youngsters and joint MoM, Laurence Kelly and Sam Candfield, kept the quality of their contributions up, others began to misplace passes and failed to work as an effective defensive unit. As a result St Francis pulled two back to see the full-time whistle blow with the score at 3-3.

A nail-biting penalty-stroke shoot-out followed with each team missing only one of their first barrage of five. The same players then retook their strokes but sudden-death was now the name of the game. Mid Sussex scored their first three but St Francis saw their third strike saved to give the game to Mid Sussex with a final aggregate score of 10-9. As usual a keenly fought game played in good spirit and a fitting tribute to the late Paddy.

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