Sport

Catastrophic decision penalises Horsham 

Saturday February 1

Premier Division 2 East – Horsham Men 1-3  Old Georgians   

Hockey

Martin Read – Sports Reporter

Photo by Nick Evans

In the corresponding away fixture, current runner up Old Georgians overwhelmed Horsham, but this time it was a far closer encounter and, but for a regrettable piece of umpiring, Horsham might well have shared the points.

Horsham applied pressure from the start, earning two early short corners, but they went behind when OGs manufactured a goal from nothing, a cross being banged in from close range in the tenth minute. But, parity was quickly restored after a chase up field enabled Zak Chinn to supply Joey Humphreys, who composed himself before rocketing the ball into the top right corner, for what seasoned supporters claimed to be the goal of the season. Then, a long ball found Humphreys again, only for the danger to be averted. Action switched to the other end, and Freddie Campbell cleared a threatening OG foray. A controversial OG short corner followed just before the half hour mark, a cruel deflection giving Horsham keeper Richard Hancock no chance. Short corners were awarded at either end of the field, Horsham’s excellent strike being parried away. A ruinous decision followed when first one and then another OG player confronted Hancock with physical contact, clearly forfeiting the assailants’ right to remain on the pitch and they were both duly sin binned. But, bewilderingly, the umpire by the far goal, a long, long way from the incident, ran the whole length of the field for a prolonged discussion – not the first of the game – with his colleague, and after a considerable delay Hancock was sent off for retaliation, which had escaped the notice of observers near the scene of the crime. Now goalkeeper-less, Horsham shot just wide before being awarded their fourth short corner, the score remaining 1-2 at the imminent break.

Right at the start of the second half, the visitors went further ahead from a short corner, Horsham having 5 defenders on the line, but no keeper. As soon as the corner was completed, Hancock was allowed to return, but the damage had been done. As the game progressed, Horsham proved to be the better side, with a series of shorts – the majority – and had OGs worried into playing panic hockey, and although Horsham were unable to get the ball in the net again, it was impossible to avoid the feeling that the result had been decided by the umpires, rather than the players. For OGs, the league’s leading scorer Jack Rednap, scored twice, increasing his seasonal tally to 16.                    On Saturday Horsham travel to 5th-placed Lewes in need of some wins to lift them out of the relegation zone.

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