Tony Holden fired a hat-trick against Hassocks to send Burgess Hill into the RUR Cup final.

With only three goals in his first 10 games since arriving from Worthing, Holden was desperate to make a big impression and he did just that to earn a meeting with Saltdean at Lancing on March 7.

Hillians' assistant manager Geoff Pook admitted Holden's contribution was a real highlight and justified the gamble in playing three men up. "We knew we were taking a bit of a chance but it paid off and it was good to see the forwards scoring all the goals," he said.

Hassocks looked like making a game of it in the early stages and with James Laing getting the better of Marc Cable on a couple of occasions the signs were promising. Joe Fernley shot weakly straight at Richard Waters after a slick Hassocks break and then Laing started and finished the move but again failed to cause the Hillians keeper any undue concern.

Any early Hassocks hopes were soon dashed, however, when on 16 minutes Holden ruthlessly punished Ashley Low's hesitation in clearing after a good covering tackle on Roy Pook. The tie only gently ticked over after that until Ashley Carr tested Paul John from fully 30 yards.

At the other end, the lively Luke Phipps produced some fancy footwork to creat a shooting chance he put just wide. But Hassocks were left with plenty to do, when Holden struck again three minutes before half time, prospering as John could only push out a Carr cross shot.

It became a mountain to climb 13 minutes into the second half when Cable headed on a Paul Williams corner and Carr scored with an overhead kick from close range.

Before that Waters had handled well as he was fully extended by Fernley 30-yarder and on 63 minutes he was picking the ball out of the net when former colleague Scott Langridge scored a soft goal after Hillians failed to defend a free-kick.

But hopes of a comeback never looked viable and as the rain cascaded down on a crowd of 380, there was more joy for Holden on 82 minutes when he scored again after keeper John had denied Carr.

Hassocks boss Dave John had no complaints, saying: "I couldn't fault my players for effort. but we gave away soft goals at bad times."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.