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Mission accomplished - BHHC secure top six place

By Alice Webb

Men's weekend review - nervy final day ends with joy, relief and a spot in Division One for next season

After a tense 70 minutes on the pitch and a few more anxious moments after the game, Brighton and Hove finally claimed sixth place in the MHL Conference East on Sunday and with it a spot in the new Division One (South) for next season.

Coach Jon Royce, team manager Jon Williams and the Brighton players were delighted and relieved after an absorbing 1-1 draw with Teddington at Blatchington had left them sweating on City of Peterborough's result, a big win for whom could have seen them overtake BHHC.

Although Peterborough won to pull level with both Teddington and Brighton on 21 points, they failed to score sufficient goals to elevate themselves from seventh place.

With so much at stake, Brighton's encounter with Teddington was a cagey and physical affair, with both sides knowing a defeat would likely be costly. BHHC deservedly drew first blood after 25 minutes when Robbert Schenk converted their second short corner, his 15th goal of the season.

Teddington lost their influential ex-international Alistair Wilson to a cut above the eye and Brighton kept the dangerous Matt Daly in check as the half ended with the home side narrowly in front.

Adam Flett and Tom Langston broke up a number of potential Teddington attacks and one of several fine plays from Luke Owen set up the chance for a second Schenk short corner goal but his shot was well saved shortly after the break.

When Charlie Brooke levelled with a deft flick past the goalkeeper and reward a good spell of Teddington pressure with 12 minutes to go, thoughts began to turn to the progress of Peterborough's match at Cambridge. As the game at Blatchington finished all square, news began to filter through that Peterborough had won, but only by 2-1, leaving Brighton to celebrate mission accomplished for this season.

Peterborough now face a playoff against Fareham and Preston - the other seventh-placed teams in their respective conferences - over three April weekends for the two final places in Division One next season.

Old Georgians finished as Conference East champions and now go to a promotion playoff for a place in the Premier League following a 2-2 draw with Canterbury, who claimed third place behind Oxted, 3-1 winners against fourth-placed Southgate. Richmond's 5-2 win at Old Loughtonians came too late for them to avoid the drop with their opponents and bottom club Cambridge.

Of the BHHC teams still finishing their Sussex League seasons, the 7s went down 3-0 at division four runners up St Francis 2s while the 8s thumped Chichester 6s 4-0 to end up tenth, four places behind their clubmates.

Updated 09:51 - 3 Apr 2019 by Alice Webb

Where next?

Good luck to all BHHC teams in Sussex Cup finals Seven club sides in end-of-season showpiece at Hurstpierpoint College next Saturday - come and support
Starlings and Gulls soar above the rest Juniors weekend review - Emily C and Sophie E among the goals as Brighton's sides finish in style

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