Retaining the services of teenage talent Alex Pendle, pictured, comes as a significant boost for Chichester on the eve of the West Sussex club’s England Hockey Eastern Conference curtain raiser at Bedford on Sunday.
The highly rated youngster, selected for the England development programme at U23 level, had been widely expected to move to Premier Division giants East Grinstead or Surbiton, but has remained loyal to Chichester, where his father Neil will be first team manager. Pendle junior has been on fire in the pre-season friendlies, scoring six times. He also hit the target playing for England U18s in an International tournament in the summer.
Since being on the receiving end of a 9-1 mauling from Fareham, Chichester have beaten Teddington 4-3, Brighton & Hove 3-2 and been edged out 4-3 by Oxted.
They have recruited Jack Knight and Joe Nelmes and have Richard Blakeley back, but otherwise will rely largely on the side that struggled in the Western Conference last term.
Chris Bristow has returned fresh from the summer break and is aiming to maintain his previous high standards, while Alex Baxter, Alex Messenger, Alex Holton and Cameron Ryall look to play considerable roles in the team’s ambitions.
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