Having enjoyed their Christmas break, Horsham’s Youth players have been put through their paces in the past few days in preparation for tomorrow’s return to action, with all but one of our teams scheduled to play.

For those who enjoy their Sunday mornings at The Camping World Community Stadium, we have two offerings for you. Getting us underway at 10am are Arun & Chichester League Division B leaders U15 Greens, who will be hoping to avoid any slip-ups against third-from-bottom Lancing Rangers. Lancing have not played since being knocked out of the League Cup on November 17th but put in a good performance in that tie, taking second-placed Loxwood to extra-time before bowing out 3-1. The week before that they collected their first win of the campaign against mid-table Worthing Town, having only gone down 3-1 to Horsham in September’s reverse fixture, so this one might not be as cut and dried as the league table would suggest. The Hornets will, themselves, have gone nearly a month without playing but will recall their most recent outing with good reason, having put eleven goals past Chichester City.

That’s followed at 11.30 by our U11s who, after a season so far dominated by cup ties, will play only their third Development League match of the campaign when they take on Bognor Regis Town. The two teams met in Bognor back in October and the boys will want to gain revenge for defeat that day, one of only three suffered by Barry Ashton’s side this term.

A place in the semi-finals of the Stan Beattie Memorial (County Cup) is at stake when U15 Amber travel down to East Grinstead for a 10.30 kick-off. The two sides are rivals in the Mid-Sussex League but have yet to meet this season, with both league matches scheduled later in the calendar. Yet by a strange quirk of fate, they will also come face-to-face next Sunday when they again meet in a quarter-final tie, this time in the League Cup. The HornetsΒ  currently hold a seven point lead at the top of the table but East Grinstead are well-placed in fourth, having played four fewer matches than Tony Massimo’s side and just eleven points behind. Having beaten Crawley & Maidenbower Panthers 13-0 earlier in this competition, The Wasps found things a little harder in the third round when they needed extra-time to overcome stubborn Hassocks Juniors 5-4, while Horsham enjoyed a rather more comfortable passage when seeing off Hangleton Rangers 5-1.

Our U13s will go above second-placed Selsey if they win their Arun & Chichester League match down on the coast tomorrow. Despite their lofty position, Selsey have been beaten four times in their nine league games to date, including a 5-3 loss at the CWCS at the end of October, and a repeat of that success would continue the improved form shown by the Hornets since suffering back-to-back losses in November.

It has been a frustrating first half of the season for our U14s who, when not seeing matches postponed due to the weather, have suffered the disappointment of having their opponents pull out of matches on no less than FOUR occasions. Although the points from three of those unfulfilled fixtures have been awarded to the Hornets by default, enabling them to head the Mid-Sussex League Division One table, it is no replacement for actually playing matches so they will hope for better fortune tomorrow when they make the trip to Crawley Down Gatwick. And what a match it promises to be, with Crawley Down the Hornets’ closest challengers. Tucked in behind Alex Bethell’s squad in second place, Down would close the gap to just three points if they were to become the first side to inflict defeat upon the Hornets this campaign. Ironically, CDG were one of those sides unable to field a team for their scheduled match at Horsham earlier in the season, thus handing their opponents a three point advantage. The match kicks off at 10am.

Our final match comes at Cuckfield where the U16s can go nine points clear of second-placed Eastbourne Borough with victory over the local Cosmos side. The match is the reverse of the opening fixture of the Mid-Sussex League programme in which two goals from Aden Radojevic helped Horsham to a narrow 3-2 success. Radojevic currently tops the goalscoring charts with 15 in all competitions but has been ably supported by his team-mates, with a total of twelve players having got on the scoresheet this season. Cuckfield won their most recent game, against Lewes Juniors Pumas, to move off the foot of the table with what was only their second success of the campaign.

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