As has become customary over recent years, St Francis and Mid Sussex 2nd XI kicked off their seasons with a match to commemorate and celebrate the life of former St Francis player and local councillor, Paddy Henry.
As ever it was a good-natured affair played in a competitive spirit that Paddy would have approved of.
Mid Sussex, fielding a strong side only missing a couple of regulars, took an early lead through Tom Wylie following a big aerial from the unexpected quarter of young Jack Hagger that caught everyone by surprise.
Mid Sussex dominated the first half pretty much completely and the goals rolled steadily in and half-time arrived with the score at 0-5 to the visitors.
The second half continued in a similar vein but St Francis gamely stuck to the task and started to ask questions of Middies young goalkeeper, Sam Nash, and eventually a quality exchange of passes from their forwards resulted in a goal. Undeterred, Mid Sussex continued to press and play flowing, quick and incisive hockey and a series of chances went begging, the most spectacular of which was a rifled shot from Mike Marchant that rattled the goal post.
Jo Iles began to turn on the style with some fine close-controlled dribbling and eventually was rewarded with his first goal of the season.
Jack Hagger bagged one himself as did the industrious defensive midfielder, Dominic Hillier. Simon Hughes had an outstanding game at left half spraying fast accurate passes that split the opposition open and on the other flank Andy Burchett followed up his solid tackling with powerful runs from defence into the heart of the opposition.
Veteran Mike Dovey has started the season looking sharp and hungry and the defensive partnership of Stephen Hillier and new skipper, Alex Hardwicke, looked solid and largely composed.
Capita Man of the match was Tom Wylie whose efforts bagged four goals to give him an early lead for the season’s top-goalscorer prize.
David Heine did not attend.