Football has been making news in Chichester in recent years and the past few months have proved no exception.
Chichester City’s men’s club plays in the South East Division of the Isthmian League. Their performance to date in the league has been good but nothing spectacular. They currently sit in seventh place with 39 points.
Whyteleafe are in sixth place with 45 points. Then, in fifth place are Herne Bay with 48 points. Nothing remarkable in that so far. But, clubs finishing in second down to fifth will play off for promotion places.
Now, what is interesting from Chichester City’s perspective is that they have four games in hand over Whyteleafe and three over Herne Bay. If they win all their games in hand, they could leapfrog into a potential playoff position. Okay, that in itself isn’t headline-worthy news, but their amazing run in the FA Cup was.
The cause of all the excitement was the fact that City got through four qualifying rounds in the FA Cup to finally reach the second-round proper of the competition. The amazing thing was that playing in the eighth tier of the EPL, they were the lowest-ranked team left in the competition. Despite the fact that they lost their second-round match against Tranmere, they did their city proud.
Meanwhile, the Chichester City ladies weren’t to be outdone. Over the past five seasons, Chi City ladies have grabbed the headlines by winning the Sussex Cup on two occasions. Even though they lie at the bottom of the FA Women’s National League, Southern Premier Division table, they made it through to the Sussex Cup final for the third time in five seasons.
If they had beaten Crawley Wasps, they would have won the cup for an impressive three times in five years. But alas, it was not to be. Wasps are top of the league, six points ahead of second-placed Watford, although Watford do have two games in hand.
But as the current league leaders, Crawley Wasps are in fine form and they were always going to be difficult to beat. And, so it proved. But, Chi City ladies did themselves and their City proud by taking Wasps all the way through to penalties.
Regrettably, the Wasps ran out 4-3 winners, but Chichester ladies can hold their heads up and they deserved their headlines of “Chichester City Ladies put up a brave fight before Sussex Cup Final heartbreak.”
The latest headlines to come out of the Chichester City football machine relate to two Chichester College students being selected to represent England in the Colleges’ women’s and men’s national squads for an international tournament being played in Italy. Their names are Nicole Robinson and Dylan Jelley.
The Executive Principal of Chichester College expressed his delight saying that Dylan and Nicole are the most recent players to be chosen in what is a long line of players from the College being selected to play for their country at college level.
Whatever the level of football, bringing new young players through is the game’s lifeline. At the highest level, the England senior men’s national team recently made a point of highlighting why the under 21s matter. When all is said and done, they are the future.
This sentiment is also something that can be applied with regard to the Chi City ladies’ team. Yes, they might be holding all the other teams up at the bottom of the table, but they have a very young team. The average age is only 21.
By comparison, Crawley Wasps have many more experienced players in their side. When they took on Chi City ladies earlier in the season, they beat the young side by 7-1. The fact that just a few days ago Chi ladies took the more experienced Wasps to penalties in the Sussex Cup final shows how much they have already improved.
The good news is that in the league Chichester City Ladies are only one point adrift of Hounslow – the team immediately above them. They are also only five points behind Keynsham Town, the team above Hounslow. If Chi ladies can roll out more performances of the quality they showed in the cup final, they have every chance of avoiding relegation.