David slays Goliath as Chichester make Menís Cup Final.

Chichesters Jack Lerwill breaks forwards

The Road to Lee Valley took in an unexpected twist this afternoon as Sussex side Chichester Priory Park dumped out much fancied Surbiton with a 1-0 semi-final win to make the final of the Men’s Cup for the first time.

With Chichester struggling at the foot of the West Conference, facing the dreaded relegation playoffs and Surbiton qualified for the Premier Division playoffs in second place; this was a real David vs. Goliath clash. And so it proved.

“Surbiton are the second best side in the country at the moment so we were massive underdogs, but we really wanted to prove to people that getting this far wasn’t a fluke.” said Chichester captain Kieran Henn. “We defended really well as we knew we’d have to. They had a lot of chances and a lot of penalty corners but we produced an outstanding team display.”

A 24th minute goal from Tom McCarthy, a beautiful backhand strike after a turnover in midfield made the difference between the two sides, but as well as McCarthy’s thunderbolt, Henn reserved special praise for the defence and goalkeeper Macieja “Magic” Pacanowskiego.

“Magic is an outstanding goalkeeper. Whenever we concede a penalty corner he lights up because he knows it’s a chance for him to excel. We all rally round him and his performance definitely spurred us on. Our post men picked some as well, I think they had about 16 penalty corners but we saw them off.”

Henn, one of a number of players to come through the ranks at Chichester admitted that Chi’s struggles in the league alongside their brilliant cup run had made this season “weird” but having won five out of their last six and having defeated Surbiton to reach the cup final they have good momentum going into what the skipper described as “three cup finals.”

“If we were to stay up via the playoffs and then win the cup I think I would retire! It’d be an amazing feeling. No one expected us to get this far and now we get to play against another great side in a great stadium. We have three cup finals coming up and I can’t wait for all of them!” he adds "We're not getting carried away. Of course we're enjoying this achievement but we'll be back to training on Tuesday and concentrating on our next task, which is to stay up."  

Waiting for Chichester in the final are another Premier Division outfit Beeston. The Bees, who have won the competition four times, saw off a spirited display from City of Peterborough in the other semi final. A double from Richard Lawrence in the space of two second-half minutes as well as goals from Mohan Gandhi, Mark Wadsley and Hamish Imrie gave Beeston a 5-1 win. Peterborough’s consolation came from Robbie Muir in the 69th minute.

The last of Beeston’s cup final wins came in the 2011-12 season and they will be hoping to make it a fifth cup win this time around. Chichester however will be raring to go and claim another Premier Division scalp, their third of this magical cup run to go alongside Hampstead and Westminster and Surbiton.

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