After the weekend postponement of their match with City of Peterborough, Brighton will return to Men's Hockey League action this Sunday at Old Loughtonians with the battle for a top six place in the Conference East hotting up.
Old Loughts hit Oxted for six on Sunday, including a hattrick of short corners from Aleix Reyner, to put themselves within striking distance of Brighton, who now occupy the sixth and final place in the table needed to gain a spot in the reorganised two-conference structure next season.
Teddington's 4-1 win over bottom club Richmond moves them fifth above Brighton on goal difference with Southgate in fourth also level on points after their 2-0 home defeat by Canterbury. Just four points cover the clubs from second to sixth in the table.
Brighton's game with City of Peterborough was called off on Saturday because of travel difficulties for the visitors caused by last week's snow. Brighton's next home game is on Sunday February 17 at 1pm against Southgate.
The 2s were thrashed 6-0 by Gore Court 1s in the Kent/Sussex Regional League and remain two points adrift at the bottom of the table.
In Sussex League division one Brighton 3s shared six goals and the points with South Saxons 2s in a mid-table battle.
"BHHC M3 faced a Saxons team who sat just three points below and we had drawn with in the previous encounter," reports skipper Andrew Bromley. "Brighton discussed the effective counter attacking tactics of Saxons but unfortunately were a bit sleepy at the back, meaning goals from Ed Bending and Kenny Rogers were cancelled out.
"Saxons then took the lead against the run of play, causing Brighton a few minutes' panic. Some driving runs from Josh Hancock and Andy Wheeler finally paid off, meaning Chris Page could pounce on an opportunity from a crash ball and volley home his 11th league goal of the season. Man of the match was Phil Orriss for some solid defending."
Despite plenty of second half pressure the 4s went down to the only goal at Worthing 2s.
"The 4s were looking to kick start the second half of the season against Worthing 2s, who had added some experienced players to their side," reports captain Carlo Missirian. "The game started at a quick pace and in the early exchanges Worthing created some half chances. Twenty minutes into the game Worthing scored a scrappy goal and despite some half opportunities the 4s could not draw level in the half.
"The second half started poorly for the 4s with some wayward passing and we had to soak up pressure for a 10 minute period with Pixie making some crucial saves. The momentum of the game changed and the 4s started a prolonged attacking period. Gaz on several occasions crossed the ball fiercely from the left for deflections which just failed to go in and Dave struck the post after an attacking run into the D. Unfortunately Worthing were able to hang on for a 1-0 win."
The 5s impressive run of form continued as they took on and beat East Grinstead 3s to leapfrog them into second place in division two after a 2-1 win, their fourth straight victory.
"Level on points but with EG having a significant goal difference the 5s knew that only three points and a win would do," Michael Kyle reports. "The game started quickly with both sides battling for control. The 5s, missing their talisman defender Ramzy, weathered the storm with the strong capabilities of Dean and James in defence.
"Goalkeeper Phil Orriss made some fantastic saves but unfortunately EG struck the first blow and went 1-0 up. Undiscouraged Brighton (and Hove) went on the offensive with Big Dog Alex grabbing the game by the scruff of its neck and pushing forward whilst his gf watched from the side. Some fantastic midfield play from Will Ireland, Jamie Morris and Lloyd Easterbrook ensued and suddenly the ball found its way to Jonno in the D who quickly flashed the ball across for Warren Plasket to come bursting into the D and equalise.
"With the game 1-1 at half time both teams felt they could win. The game again started quickly and the 5s defence again stood strong with Tyler Easterbrook and Joe Simmonds picking off the silky skills of the EG players. The 5s top scorer Sam Nichols then got hold of the ball and uncharacteristically passed it for Jonno to put Brighton 2-1 up. The 5s saw the rest of the game out with relentless work rate from all especially from Phil Turner and Kylie. 2-1 the final score and Brighton are second in the table."
The 6s lost 3-2 away at Crawley 3, putting in a creditable performance but bemoaning the high flying hosts having to rely on some consistently "supportive" umpiring, reports Myles Ford.
"Brighton took the lead after Gaëtan‘s right wing cut back was finished by Si Corrie. Crawley then equalised with a fluid passing move and then went into the break 3-1 up after the umpires permitted a series of contested aerials and questionable short corners on the edge of Hazelwick’s invisable D.
"After the break Brighton came out strongly and pulled a goal back from Si’s short corner strike, but couldn’t get a deserved equaliser despite continued Brighton pressure."
In division four the 7s remain in fifth place after a 2-2 draw at home to Worthing 6s.
"In spite of the cold weather the north pitch was in pristine condition for this entertaining encounter between two evenly matched teams," reports skipper Richard Barnes. "M7s edged the first half and led at half time thanks to a Gary Revelchion strike from a SC. Worthing came back strongly and scored a couple in quick succession ten minutes into the second half.
"M7s fought back and worked an equaliser with Phil Withers following up on an SC strike from Jason Bryant. Chances then went begging at both ends with Steve Shorrocks going close and Dave Hodgkin making late crucial saves to secure a deserved point."
Four second half goals saw the 8s lose away 5-2 to Horsham 5s after a good first half display saw them level at the break, Duke cancelling out Horsham's early goal.
"A goal by Horsham after 40 seconds of the restart put us on the back foot," reports Matt Sale. "They scored another shortly afterwards and while we battled against some robust play we conceded again. Laurie scored our consolation goal in the second half."