Mens Indoor Jaffa Super 6’s
After the first weekend, Harlestons men’s indoor team, sponsored by Durrants, found themselves sitting in a respectable fourth position. However closer inspection of the table saw Magpies sitting just one point off the bottom with the bottom six teams separated by just one point. Harleston knew that they had to replicate the excellent performances they had produced against St Albans and Beeston on the first weekend and avoid the poor first halves that had cost them points against Ipswich and Southgate.
Magpies 3 – 10 Canterbury
The weekend started poorly when the squad was reduced by a man before the squad had even departed for Bristol. Despite missing his alarm, thus giving himself some extra shut eye, the normally rugged and sturdy Stu Leate found himself too ill to travel. Things then got worse as in the 5th minute and already a goal down, Archie “facemasks are for wimps” Winter chose to charge down a Canterbury short corner with his gunshield. This resulted in the young U18 England international having to go to hospital where he enjoyed 20 stitches for his troubles. In the game Magpies failed to control the tempo and a flurry of individual mistake and slick opposition play meant they entered the half time break six nil down. A stern half time team talk saw the team resolve come out fighting. The response was swift with goals from Sam Patterson and Chris Barber arresting the arrears. However eventual champions Canterbury struck back with 3 short corner goals in quick succession to deny any possible come back. Sam Patterson scored again late for Magpies with the final score 10-3 to Canterbury.
Magpies 6 – 5 West Herts
The second game of the day saw Magpies face old indoor rivals West Herts. Harleston knew that a win here would go a long way to securing their Div 1 status for next season. Magpies got the better of the opening stages and took an early 2-1 lead through Simon Hipwell and Aaron Hibell goals. Much of the first half went by without further goals but magpie felt they were in control and only some wasteful finishing prevented them from stretching their lead further. A late flurry of goal ins the first half saw West Herts strike twice with only a Timmy Whiteman goal in response for Harleston. Magpies knew that they deserved to be ahead at the break and were determined to force the game in the 2nd half. Spi Hipwell struck early to give Harleston the lead but again despite controlling the game Harleston were unable to pull clear of the opposition. Finally magpies got their just rewards. Spi Hipwell secured his hat-trick and a deft deflected goal from Richard Larkin gave Harleston the cushion they required. A late field goal and an overtime penalty corner reduced the deficit but Magpies ran out deserved winners.
Mapies 2 – 7 Hamstead & Westminster
The Sunday started with a sense of deja-vu for Harleston. Having already lost Archie through injury and Stu through illness, the Sunday dawn brought news that Harleston’s resident Canadian, Elliot Marsh, had succumbed to a fever. Elliot is well known to love riding the pine but unfortunately his night of riding the porcelain had rendered him unable to play in Sunday’s fixtures. Harleston knew the game against unbeaten Hamstead & Westminster would be tough but a disciplined performance saw the underdogs frustrate the league leaders and half time game with Hamstead only 2-0 up. Had Magpies once again not been quite so profligate in front of goal the score could have been even closer. The second half saw Magpies continue their solid defensive display but the lack of subs meant tiredness soon crept into their play. Some slick skills and tidy attacking patterns from Hamstead meant they cruised to victory 7-2, Hibell and Patterson getting the goals for Harleston.
2pm saw the start of a crucial hour for Harleston Magpies as a club. At Bristol, St Albans played Canterbury, where a loss for St Albans meant that Magpies were certain of retaining their National Div 1 status for a 3rd successive year. Meanwhile, in Nottingham, the Ladies were also playing St Albans knowing a win for them would mean they retained their Div 1 status as well. In Bristol St Albans provided stubborn early resistance but Canterbury slowly took a stranglehold on the game and goals at regular intervals saw them romp home to a 9-1 win. Meanwhile in Nottingham the Ladies also enjoyed a relatively stress free 4-0 win.
Magpies 5 – 4 Bowden
The last game of the weekend saw Harleston take on Bowden. Neither team could go up or down but Magpies were determined to put in a performance worth of all the hard work and effort that they had put in. Manager Kevin Ridley had given some inspiring words before the game that certainly galvansied the Magpies strike force into action. Magpie started strong and led early through a Chris Barber goal. Bowden pegged them back but goals from Whiteman and Hibell extended the lead. Magpies had to weather a period where Spi Hipwell saw green then yellow to take two short breaks in the sin bin. A second goal for Bowden saw the half time score 3-2 to Harleston. Hipwell then made amends for his earlier misdemeanours by extending the lead to 4-2. Bowden however fought back with 2 goals to level the scores at 4-4. However, with time ticking away and Kevin Ridley’s personal encouragement still ringing in his ears, Chris Barber found space in the corner of the D to slot home the winner with only seconds left to play.
Thanks go to all the players and supporters and management who put in their time, effort, money and energy to making this another successful indoor campaign. Thanks to the Mens and Ladies Sponsors Durrants for their support also.