Boys U14 v Blue Hornets (Away (L) W 4-3)

Magpies Boys made a rare trip to Essex to take on Blue Hornets at Braintree Hockey Club in the England Hockey league tier one junior competition.
Hornets started quickly and soon pinned Magpies in their own half with Hershel-Shorland and Emms having to work hard scrambling in defence, and Chapman stopping well in goal. After 10mins of sustained pressure Magpies broke out as captain Brice started to gain control in the centre and after some good interchange with Currie and Wicks, he picked up the ball on the edge of the D and scored on his reverse stick to quieten the Hornets, 1-0 Magpies.
With the opposition playing a more physical game than Magpies are used to, the boys started to settle into the match ahead. Brice, Currie and Wicks were soon enjoying playing Taylor through into space which was creating panic as he ran at the Hornets defence. It wasn’t long before debutant Hayward intelligently won Magpies first short corner, and Taylor jumped in to smartly put away the rebound from Brice’s strike, making it 2-0 Magpies.
Shortly after this the Hornets keeper kicked the ball outside of his D, but with no replacement and in good spirit by the umpires, he was allowed to stay on with an outfield player sent to the bin for 5mins. Magpies failed to capitalise on this and lost Currie themselves for 2mins just before half time for a stick tackle. With Hornets back to full strength just before the whistle, pies were caught by a counter attack, exposed for lack of pace at the back but still went into half time 2-1 ahead.
Magpies by now knew they were in a tough and feisty game, with no love being lost between both sides. Hornets started the second half the more organised and soon scored 2 goals in the first 10mins with fast breakaways, to take a 3-2 lead for the first time in the game. During this time there were breaks for Ed and Ollie being knocked over again by Hornets players, as Emms repelled the Hornets centre forward literally over his shoulder from one lunge tackle in defence. Cooper, Daniels and Bardwell were kept busy at left and right backs, subbing on and off and working hard all game pushing up and down with play.
The game was starting to open up and Magpies were now playing the better passing hockey. Bardwell fed Wicks, then Kinsman down the left, and Taylor was on hand again to run through the holes appearing in the defence to score his second and level it at 3-3. Hornets looked rocked and with Brice and Hershel Shorland now bossing the centre of the field, Brice drew the keeper out from his line and slipped to Hayward who eliminated his marker and shot low to score on debut and regain the lead for Magpies 4-3.
This left Magpies with a nervy 10mins to close the game out, with the game continuing the be counter after counter until the last 5 mins. Inevitably the game finished with a series of Hornets short corners, with Brice and Currie getting out to intercept and frustrate the attackers and Fairweather relishing the contest in goal. The final short corner was awarded just before the final whistle, with all Hornets players up on the D this was cleared by Emms and Shorland and the game finally finished 4-3 to Magpies.
This was a good result against a primarily school side who play regularly together, and puts Magpies top of their league after winning their first two games.
Thanks to David Johnson again for umpiring, and to Simon Bardwell for occupying the opposition managers during the game.

Mark Emms.
Boys Development/U14’s Manager.