Category Archives: chairman’s chat

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 3 November 2009

1sts RETURN FOR TRICKY ACTION

This weekend the 1st teams return to action after a week off and both have tricky looking fixtures with the Ladies away to Chelmsford (12.00) on Saturday and the Men at home to Indian Gymkhana on Sunday (2.15).

Chelmsford Ladies were relegated from the Premier Division at the end of last season having lost several of their star players but have recovered well to stand second in the league two points ahead of Magpies having dropped just three points when they were beaten 4-2 away by leaders Ipswich. Meantime Indian Gymkhana, long standing members of the national league, have only a win over Chelmsford Men to show from six games to date but with their renowned stick skills can give most teams a tough test on their day. This is a game that sixth-placed Magpies need to win to maintain a comfortable distance from the bottom two spots.

Last Saturday we had only four matches at Weybread (with the majority of the ladies’ teams still on half term) and all ended in welcome victories for Magpies. The Men’s 4ths started the ball rolling with new dad Gavin Cole grabbing both goals in the 2-1 win over Lowestoft Town and next up were the Ladies’ 2nds who deservedly won for the first time this season with a comfortable 2-0 victory (‘keeper Flora Marfleet didn’t touch the ball in the entire game!) over Long Sutton. The result was never in doubt after Lucy Chubbock put the team ahead in the first half and Eilbhe Whelan made the game safe with a splendid second after the break.

The Ladies’ 6ths (the league organisers presumably felt they didn’t need or deserve the week off!) then beat Thetford 2nds 3-2 but they made things hard for themselves twice surrendering the lead. The highlights of a good team performance were the first half goal by skipper Katie Webb, who thumped the ball home following a good run, and a penalty stroke save by ‘keeper Kristina Erith. The other scorers were Anna Lacey and Emma Lacey – the latter popping up to score the winner with a few minutes to go.

Last and certainly not least was the splendid 7-2 win by the Men’s 6ths over 10-man Pelicans 3rds. With skipper Kevin Ridley in top form in the middle the young members of the team showed their outstanding promise time and time again with some marvellous touches which were a joy to watch. The match featured yet another welcome father and son duo in Alistair and Toby Williamson.

I take a break from the hockey to remind you of the Harleston Fireworks Spectacular being held at the club this Friday (6 November) – gates open at 6.00pm. This event is run by a committee comprising Harleston Lions, Scouts and Hockey Club with the profits shared equally by the three groups. So please come to help with this fund raising but just as important to enjoy the BBQ, Bonfire and Fireworks etc. with your family and friends. Tickets will be on sale at the gate.

The Men’s 2nds have centre stage at Weybread this Saturday when they entertain table topping Wapping (12.30) and it is to be hoped they make a quick recovery from their 6-3 defeat at Letchworth last Saturday. Also at home will be our (but for goal difference) table topping teams, namely Ladies Development who play Yarmouth (10.30), Men’s 3rds who entertain fellow 100%ers Norwich Dragons (1.45), after hat trick man Joel Nelson inspired them to a 5-2 win last Saturday away to North Walsham, and Ladies’ 3rds who welcome Evergreens at 2.15. Also at home are Men’s 5ths who play Norwich City 3rds (3.15) and Men’s Veterans who entertain Bedford (4.00). Good luck to all our teams in action this weekend including on Sunday the U11 and U13 Boys who play in the Minis tournament at home (9.45) and the Men’s Veterans who travel to take on Ipswich & East Suffolk in the EH Masters Cup (12.15).

Finally – congratulations to the following for their achievements last week:

· Calianne Clark and Cherry Seaborn who played for the Saxon Tigers U18 squad which finished as runners-up to Mercia Lynx in the England Hockey’s Futures Cup at Cannock. The event aims to give U16 and U18 players who have progressed along EH’s Single System pathway first hand experience of an international tournament environment.

· Philip Cobbald and Jonathan Aldridge who won gold medals playing for England Over 45s and England Over 50s respectively in the International Masters Tournament in Hong Kong. I have spoken to Philip since his return and he thoroughly enjoyed the event played in humid conditions at the Hong Kong Football and Happy Valley Clubs on Hong Kong Island. He played in all five matches, in either defence or midfield, during which England Over 45s beat Austria, Hong Kong (twice) and Australia twice including 3-1 in the final. Meantime England Over 50s beat Australia 1-0 in their final after victories over Singapore, Scotland, New Zealand and Malaysia and a draw with Australia in the group stages. Please see www.englandhockeymasters.co.uk for more details.

With kind regards and best wishes Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 3/11/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 17 JUNE 2009

Final ‘Chat’

Chairmans come and chairmans go and as I am ‘going’ at tomorrow night’s AGM (Thursday 18 June, 8.00pm in the clubhouse) this is my last ‘Chat’. I have enjoyed my six years as chairman of a club of which we can be justly proud and I have also enjoyed preparing these bulletins and receiving your very welcome feedback. While I am looking forward to a reduction in my workload on behalf of the club I hope to continue to serve as Commercial Manager and editor of the handbook and of the national league programmes. So I’m not intending to disappear!

I take this opportunity to thank all officers and officials of the club with whom I have worked very closely over the last six seasons for their invaluable support. I have been very lucky in this respect, as I know my successor will be, and I am very grateful to them all. I have made many new friends and cemented old friendships amongst the membership, for which I am very grateful, during my term of office and during the preceding two years when several of us were actively engaged in the planning and financing of the water-based pitch.

I am also grateful to have got to know so many parents – and other supporters – and to enjoy their company on the touchline and to appreciate all they do for the club in the support of their sons and daughters.

Over the years I have bothered some members on what they must have felt to be an almost daily basis and I would particularly like to acknowledge my indebtedness to them. I have in mind (in no particular order) Andrew Longe, David and Judy Cobbald, Jose Tibbenham, Philippa Taylor, Kirstin Cumming, Nick McAllen, Irene Bicker, Nigel Bedingfield, Robert Stimpson and Daphne Beckett. I also bothered David Alexander a lot while he was president. I am extremely grateful to them all for their patience, help and guidance.

This is my final chance to draw your attention to the following events for which your support would be much appreciated. David Alexander or Daphne Beckett would be delighted to hear from you regarding the Strawberry Luncheon if you have not already been in touch and I would be equally pleased to hear from you if you would like to attend the Dixie jazz event (with your picnic). Tickets are, frankly, going very slowly for the latter event which is causing me some considerable concern – so please give me a call if you would like to come.

Strawberry Luncheon (Sunday 21 June, 12 Noon)

This year we return to Ivy House, Alburgh by kind permission of Malcolm and Sue Blackham for one of the most enjoyable events in the club’s social calendar. The event is once again being masterminded by David Alexander (Tel: 01508 530237) and Daphne Beckett (Tel: 07850 709297). Tickets are £10 (adults), £5 (children 7 to 12) – with children under 7 free – and are obtainable from David or Daphne so please give them a call if you have not already done so.

Jazz On A Summer’s Afternoon (Sunday 5 July in the Ball marquee)

A picnic while relaxing to the cool sounds of the Dixie Jazz Bandits, one of East Anglia’s leading traditional jazz bands – what better way can there be to enjoy a summer’s afternoon?! So please bring your picnic and be entertained by the high quality Dixieland jazz of ‘Suffolk’s favourite stompers’ at this event which is being organised by Harleston Lions, Scouts and HMHC. Gates open at 3.00pm (licensed bar) with the live musical entertainment commencing at 4.30pm. For tickets – £10 adults (accompanied Under 18’s free) – please phone Mike Withinshaw on 01379 852002 or me on 01603 506925. Profits from this event go towards the cost of the annual Fireworks Display following which in 2008 all three organising groups received £1500.

NB. I have one final point to draw to your attention please. The paint on the lines on the water-based pitch have flaked in some areas and discussions are taking place regarding the best way of removing these small particles and the build up of the excess paint (which has given rise to the problem) prior to repainting. I therefore ask for the patience of members should this work interfere with their use of the pitch for a day or two.

See you next season – if not before!

With kind regards and best wishes to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 17/6/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 11 JUNE 2009

Social Summer

My penultimate ‘Chat’ is hockey-free and if you flatter me by reading on you will rightly conclude that I’m banging on again about the social events I’ve already advertised in previous weeks. Sorry!

I need hardly say (but I will!) that these events are important for the club both socially and financially so your support would be most welcome. If you have already bought your ticket(s) or indicated your support I am pleased to give you a big ‘thank you’.

So here goes. The events are as follows.

Strawberry Luncheon (Sunday 21 June, 12 Noon)

This year we return to Ivy House, Alburgh by kind permission of Malcolm and Sue Blackham for what I always say (and mean) is one of the most enjoyable events in the club’s social calendar. The event is once again being masterminded by David Alexander (Tel: 01508 530237) and Daphne Beckett (Tel: 07850 709297) to whom I am very grateful. Tickets are £10 (adults), £5 (children 7 to 12) – with children under 7 free – and are obtainable from David or Daphne so please give them a call if you have not already done so. For members and club supporters who have never been I can assure you that we get far more than just strawberries for our money!!

Summer Ball celebrating the club’s 50 years at Weybread (Saturday 4 July)

We are fast approaching our target of selling 300 tickets for this prestigious event but a few more singles and couples could still be squeezed in so please contact Jose Tibbenham (01379 854160) if you would like to come. An enormous amount of hard work is being put in organising this event with Jose, Philippa Taylor, Tracy Reeve and Mary Wright leading the way and I am very grateful to them. Strictly in the line of duty we spent part of this week’s meeting tasting the wines to be served!

Jazz On A Summer’s Afternoon (Sunday 5 July in the Ball marquee)

A picnic while relaxing to the cool sounds of the Dixie Jazz Bandits, one of East Anglia’s leading traditional jazz bands – what better way can there be to enjoy a summer’s afternoon?! So please bring your picnic and be entertained by the foot-tapping and high quality Dixieland jazz of ‘Suffolk’s favourite stompers’ at this event which is being organised by Harleston Lions, Scouts and HMHC. Gates open at 3.00pm (licensed bar) with the live musical entertainment commencing in the marquee at 4.30pm. For tickets – £10 adults (accompanied Under 18’s free) – please phone Mike Withinshaw on 01379 852002 or me on 01603 506925. NB. Profits from this event go towards the cost of the annual Fireworks Display following which in 2008 all three organising groups received £1500.

HMHC Golf Day (Thursday 13 August 2009)

This will be the seventh Golf Day organised by the club at Bungay GC and entries are invited in teams of four in men’s, ladies’ and mixed categories. The entry fee is £100 per team for which players (who must have a handicap certificate) get a round of golf, a carvery luncheon with sweet and a chance to win prizes. What more could one ask for?! The event is limited to 26 teams. Please give me a call on 01603 506925 if you would like to enter a team for this very popular event which during the last six years has raised over £7500 for club funds.

Thank you if you have got this far having read all of the above! I hope you will be able to support at least one of the events. You will be very welcome.

NB. Annual General Meeting – Thursday 18 June at 8.00pm in the clubhouse.

With kind regards and best wishes to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 11/6/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 2 JUNE 2009

Thanks, ‘highs’ and events


I thank all officers, committee members, team captains, coaches and managers of the Club for all their hard work during the past few months in what was an outstandingly successful season and I show below some of the ‘highs’ while overlooking the few inevitable ‘lows’. They are listed in no particular order and I apologise in advance for any serious omissions!

· Men’s 1sts win East League undefeated and by 11 points and gain promotion back to the national league after an absence of eight seasons.

· Ladies’ Development and Ladies’ 6ths also win their leagues with promotion for the latter.

· Ladies’ 2nds, Ladies’ 4ths, Men’s 2nds and Men’s 5th finish as runners-up in their leagues and also gain promotion.

· Ladies’ 1sts win Division 2 of the national indoor league.

· U16 Girls win national indoor title.

· U13 Girls have a remarkable season winning eight Mini events including the East Championship before finishing in third place in the national finals.

· U11 Boys have an encouraging season winning three Mini events.

· U9 team make their debut in the YAZOO National Youth Hockey Festival.

· Men’s 1sts retain their place in the Premier Division of the national indoor league.

· Club hosts very successful East minis for second successive season.

· Cherry Seaborn plays for England U18s and Philip Cobbald for England Veterans (Over 45s).

· Superb website again kindly sponsored and maintained by Nigel Bedingfield of www.WaveneyValleyBlog.com

· Excellent and invaluable support also received from all our other sponsors.

Congratulations and best wishes to:

· Richard Smith and Sophie Robinson on their wedding last Saturday.

· Frances Taylor on becoming overall champion in the handling classes at the Suffolk Show last week parading her calf Streamlet Shottle Beauty.

I may have mentioned before (!) the following events to which you are cordially invited:

· Thursday 18 June – Annual General Meeting (Clubhouse, 8.00pm).

· Sunday 21 June – Strawberry Luncheon, Ivy House, Alburgh (by kind permission of Malcolm and Sue Blackham). Tickets are £10 (adults), £5 (children 7 to 12) – with children under 7 free – and are obtainable from Daphne Beckett (Tel: 07850 709297) or David Alexander (Tel: 01508 530237).

· Sunday 5 July in the Ball marquee – Jazz On A Summer’s Afternoon. Bring your picnic and relax to the cool sounds of the Dixie Jazz Bandits. Gates open 3.00pm. Tickets £10, accompanied U18s free – please contact Mike the Mender (Withinshaw) on 01379 852002. This event is being organised jointly by Harleston Lions, Scouts and Magpies HC.

With kind regards and best wishes to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 2/6/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 28 MAY 2009

magpies


DAUNTING – OLD AND NEW

The Men’s 1sts face some potentially daunting opponents, old and new, when they make their return to the national league next season via Conference East. While Bromley & Beckenham (as Bromley only), Chelmsford and Indian Gymkhana come into the first category most fall into the latter, namely Canterbury, Holcombe, Old Loughtonians (albeit old East opponents), Oxted, Sevenoaks and Southgate.

Meantime the opponents of the Ladies’ 1sts are also known and with the loss from Conference East of Reading (promoted to the Premier League), Barnes & HE and Staines (both transferred to Conference West) and Maidstone (relegated) the team will be heading to Cambridge City (promoted as East champions), Chelmsford and Ipswich (both relegated from the Premier League) and Northampton (Midlands Champions) sometime during the 2009/10 season. So while the travelling will be less demanding for our team the same cannot be said about the likely standard of their opponents!

While the dates of the fixtures are awaited England Hockey have deliberated on the results of the extensive consultation undertaken concerning the desirability of moving Men’s national league matches from Sunday to Saturday and the following is an extract from the statement issued yesterday with the approval of EH’s Board.

“Three men’s EHL dates will move to Saturdays for the 2009/10 season to free up players and coaches for JRPC (Junior Regional Performance Centres). They are the 26th September, 10th October and 24th October. Clubs may switch these games to the relevant Sundays of those weekends if both teams agree. However, player and coach priority will be with the JRPC activity. The only other Saturdays to be used for Men’s EHL games allow for Cup and Performance activity on the Sundays of those weekends. A further review will take place at the end of the 2009/10 season.

EHL Clubs will be encouraged to trial Friday and Saturday evening games where they have appropriate floodlight lux levels, if required, in agreement with England Hockey.

England Hockey will undertake further scoping work on how it could be planned to ensure there were sufficient umpires IF a complete move to Saturdays was introduced in the future, for example in 3 years. This work will be undertaken with the EH Umpiring Committee and the NPUA (National Programme Umpiring Association). England Hockey will scope the investment require.”

As a club we will need to study the implications for us of the above. The full statement can be found on England Hockey’s website.

Congratulations and best wishes to:

· Tristan Baynes and Rachel Suckling on their wedding last Saturday.

· Philip Cobbald who has been selected to play for the England Veterans (Over 45s) team in Germany this weekend when their opponents will be Germany A, Germany B, Austria and a team representing the former German Democratic Republic.

· Ros Marsh from Essex who has been honoured for her outstanding services to hockey with the first Lifetime Achievement Award given by England Hockey.

You are cordially invited to the following:

· Sunday 21 June – Strawberry Luncheon, Ivy House Alburgh (by kind permission of Malcolm and Sue Blackham). Tickets are £10 (adults), £5 (children 7 to 12) – with children under 7 free – and are obtainable from Daphne Beckett (Tel: 07850 709297) or David Alexander (Tel: 01508 530237).

· Sunday 5 July in the Ball marquee – Jazz On A Summer’s Afternoon. Bring your picnic and relax to the cool sounds of the Dixie Jazz Bandits. Gates open 3.00pm. Tickets £10, accompanied U18s free – please contact Mike the Mender (Withinshaw) on 01379 852002. This event is being organised jointly by Harleston Lions, Scouts and Magpies HC.

Time to vacate the chair

I hope you will allow me to finish this ‘Chat’ on a personal note. After six years as club chairman (following two years of close involvement with other members in the funding/planning for the building of the water-based pitch) I have decided not to seek re-election at the AGM to be held on 18 June. My enthusiasm for the club is undiminished but with the advancing of the years (and following twelve months of health niggles) I want my club involvement to be less intense while not wishing to slip into full hockey retirement!


With kind regards and many thanks to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 29/5/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 19 MAY 2009

TOP TIGERS & THIRD SPOT

Highfields Hockey Centre in Nottingham was the place to be last weekend when the annual YAZOO National Youth Hockey Festival provided fun, excitement and anxiety – and some fine hockey for hundreds of young players, parents and other supporters to enjoy under sunshine and showers.

Saturday featured the Under 9 Wild Festival and playing as Tigers the HMHC team, under coach Helen Brook and manager David Brook, played some good hockey to win all their games against Wolves (Wakefield), Swans (St Neots Wombles), Reindeer (Cheltenham) and Star Fish (Stockport). Our promising team of boys and girls proved how well they had been coached and tutored (thank you Helen and David) in the techniques and rules of the game and it is to be hoped they continue to enjoy their hockey. In all 40 teams, including Kangaroos (Norwich City), played in eight groups of five in this innovative event with no overall winner.

On Sunday it was the turn of the U11 and U13 Boys and Girls to take centre stage in their respective national mini finals with the HMHC U13 Girls, as East Champions, looking to win their ninth event of a remarkable season. Their first match was against Lichfield HC and after dominating the first half they lost to a breakaway goal after the interval. This was a setback but wins in their remaining three matches could still give the team a good chance to retrieve the situation. Next up were Dean Close Prep School and after going behind a goal by Holly Baker quickly got Magpies level before running out comfortable 4-1 winners.

A tense 2-0 win, with both goals by Sarah Brook, over Wakefield GHS kept the team on course and with other results keeping us in touch we went into our last match against Kingston Grammar needing a win by any margin to take the championship instead of our opponents. After going 2-0 and 3-1 up things looked promising but a goal by Kingston seconds before the interval and another two immediately afterwards turned the game on its head and our chances now looked bleak. Holly pulled a goal back near the end but the outstanding Kingston team, and deserved championship winners, had the last word with another goal at the final whistle to win 6-4. With Lichfield disobligingly winning their last game our team was pushed down into third place in the round-robin event.

However, the squad and coach Nick McAllen and manager Nigel Wooltorton can take great credit for their performance which did the club proud. To be the third best team in the country is a tremendous achievement. My thanks and congratulations to Nick and Nigel and to every member of the squad including captain Sarah Brook (Player of the Tournament) and Holly Baker the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals. My thanks also to Heidi Wooltorton for making so efficiently all the hotel arrangements for the squad and supporters and to Neville and Sarah Chubbock for their sponsorship of the players’ commemorative tops.

The 2008/9 season is now over and the U13 Girls have played their full part in making it one of the most successful in the history of the club. I hope all members of the club are able to recharge their batteries over the summer before getting back into pre-season training!

Other comments in brief:

· Congratulations to Old Loughtonians HC on winning the Boys’ U13 Minis on the adjacent pitch to our girls.

· It was good to see ex-Magpies Tim Whiteman and Alex Smith playing for Beeston and Reading respectively in the EH Cup Finals at Highfields on Saturday afternoon. Both finished on the losing side as Reading beat Beeston 3-1 in an exciting men’s final and Reading Ladies lost 2-1 in a closely fought game against the all-conquering Bowdon Hightown. But there are consolations for both Tim and Alex as Beeston have qualified for next season’s Euro Hockey League and Reading Ladies have been promoted to EH’s Premier Division following their league exploits this season.

· Summer Ball (Saturday 4 July 2009). If you have not already paid to confirm your place/table would you please do so a.s.a.p. please to Jose Tibbenham. A few places are still available for singles/couples – please contact Jose (01379 854160); you will be very welcome.

You are cordially invited to the following:

· Sun/Mon 24/25 May – Topcroft Open Gardens (10 in all), 11am-5pm. Refreshments, Cake Stall, Raffle – £3 entry with proceeds to St. Margaret’s Church, Topcroft. Why not go and try to find some weeds in club secretary Daphne Beckett’s garden?!

· Thursday 18 June – Annual General Meeting (8.00pm) – agenda to be issued next week.

· Sunday 21 June – Strawberry Luncheon, Ivy House Alburgh (by kind permission of Malcolm and Sue Blackham). Tickets are £10 (adults), £5 (children 7 to 12) – with children under 7 free – and are obtainable from Daphne Beckett (Tel: 07850 709297) or David Alexander (Tel: 01508 530237).

· Sunday 5 July in the Ball marquee – Jazz On A Summer’s Afternoon. Bring your picnic and relax to the cool sounds of the Dixie Jazz Bandits. Gates open 3.00pm. Tickets £10, accompanied U18s free – please contact Mike the Mender (Withinshaw) on 01379 852002. This event is being organised jointly by Harleston Lions, Scouts and Magpies HC.


With kind regards to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 19/5/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 13 MAY 2009

FITTING FINALE

The 2008/9 season comes to a close this Saturday and Sunday and with the future of the club in mind there could be no more appropriate way than with some of our most promising young members playing in the YAZOO National Youth Hockey Festival being held at Highfields Hockey Centre (Beeston HC) in Nottingham.

On Saturday our team, coached by David Brook and managed by Helen Brook, will be playing in the YAZOO U9 National Wild Festival as the Tigers. All 40 club teams (playing in eight groups of five) are named after wild animals – a magpie obviously doesn’t count for this purpose! In this fun event (with no overall winner) we play Wakefield (11.30), St Neots (12.15), Cheltenham (1.30) and Stockport (2.15).

On Sunday our U13 Girls, coached by Nick McAllen and managed by Nigel Wooltorton, will be hoping to continue their highly successful season when they play in the YAZOO National Mini Championship Finals as East Champions. A further victory would be a deserved reward for the squad which has played some sparkling hockey all season in winning their eight events to-date but most of all I hope they, like the U9s, enjoy the excitement of playing in such a big event. There is more to sport than winning especially when one is so young. Starting at 11.00 we play Lichfield HC before taking on Dean Close Prep School (12.00), Wakefield GHS (14.00) and, finally, Kingston Grammar School (15.30).


Good luck to all our players, team managements, parents and other supporters this weekend.


You are cordially invited to the following:

· Thursday 18 June – Annual General Meeting (8.00pm) – agenda to be issued later this month.

· Sunday 21 June – Strawberry Luncheon, Ivy House Alburgh (by kind permission of Malcolm and Sue Blackham. Tickets are £10 (adults), £5 (children 7 to 12) – with children under 7 free – and are obtainable from Daphne Beckett (Tel: 07850 709297) or David Alexander (Tel: 01508 530237).

· Saturday 4 July – Summer Ball. Tables are going quickly. Please contact Jose Tibbenham (Tel: 01379 854160).

· Sunday 5 July in the Ball marquee – Jazz On A Summer’s Afternoon. Bring your picnic and relax to the cool sounds of the Dixie Jazz Bandits. Gates open 3.00pm. Tickets £10, accompanied U18s free – please contact Mike the Mender (Withinshaw) on 01379 852002. This event is being organised jointly by Harleston Lions, Scouts and Magpies HC.

· Thursday 13 August – HMHC Golf Day at Bungay GC: playing in teams of four in men’s, ladies’ and mixed categories – £100 per team. Please contact me (01603 506925) for more details.

With kind regards to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 13/5/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 6 MAY 2009

Magpies’ Tournament – with my thanks!

Another excellent weekend enjoyed at the club. Following on from the East Minis it was the turn of the annual Magpies’ Tournament last Saturday and Monday and I thank all the teams (16 on Saturday and 24 on Monday) for their vital support. Saturday was warm for the Open Mixed Challenge and Monday overcast and cooler for the Ladies’ and Men’s Club XIs day.

As Phil Appleyard, the late President of the old Hockey Association, used to say events don’t just happen – they need organising. In that respect there are a lot of people to thank which I did over the weekend and I am very pleased to do so again although there are far too many members and supporters involved to name individually here.

But I’m sure that everyone who attended the two days of friendly rivalry would expect me to single out a few members for their hard work. I have in mind James Smith and Kirstin Cumming, for their overall management of the event, Daphne Beckett and her splendid team in the kitchen, Robert Stimpson and Katy Osborn behind the bar, Lawrence Baynes as Monday’s Master of Ceremonies, David and Philip Cobbald for all their much appreciated work on the pitches and Drs Graham Clark (Saturday) and Jenny Blyth (Monday) for looking after the First Aid. For no particular reason Jenny was far busier than Graham – but both get the same fee (our thanks!). I also thank members (and non-members) who umpired over the weekend under Kirstin’s management and all members who helped with the car parking and those who stayed behind on the Monday to assist with the speedy dismantling of the marquee and the general tidying up.

As for the hockey there was much for players and spectators to enjoy including seeing the HMHC Below Par men wearing their fetching pink tutus! These did not stop them and the similarly attired ladies going on to beat Loddon 4-0 in the Cup Final on Saturday in which Barney King of Loddon was the POTF (Player Of The Final). In the Plate final another HMHC side beat the UEA Elite 1-0 with Tim Barker of the UEA the POTF.


On a particularly busy Monday (and with our thanks to Mr Robert Wharton for the use of his car park) Beccles won the Ladies’ Cup Final on penalty stokes over Bury with Lorraine Greenwood, the Beccles GK, the POTF. Loddon beat Thetford in the Plate Final with Wendy Jennice of Loddon being chosen as the POTF.


In the Men’s Cup Final Thurrock (paying a very welcome first visit to the tournament) beat Ipswich 1-0 with Robert Sebon of Ipswich receiving the POTF award and in the Plate Final Trent Old Gits beat Norwich Dragons by the same score. And who should be called up as the POTF – the Old Git himself, James Smith!

Congratulations to:

· Cherry Seaborn who has been selected for the England U18 squad who are playing three matches this weekend (Friday to Sunday) against Germany in Cologne. Best wishes Cherry!

· Rachel Clifford who will be presented next week with her award as the Martin & Acock Norfolk League Division 2 leading scorer of the season with 23 goals.

You are cordially invited to the following:

· Sun/Mon 24/25 May – Topcroft Open Gardens (10 in all), 11am-5pm. Refreshments, Cake Stall, Raffle – £3 entry with proceeds to St. Margaret’s Church, Topcroft.

· Thursday 18 June – Annual General Meeting (8.00pm).

· Sunday 21 June – Strawberry Luncheon, Ivy House Alburgh (by kind permission of Malcolm and Sue Blackham.) Tickets are £10 (adults), £5 (children 7 to 12) – with children under 7 free – and are obtainable from Daphne Beckett (Tel: 07850 709297) or David Alexander (Tel: 01508 530237).

· Saturday 4 July – Summer Ball. Tables are going quickly. Please contact Jose Tibbenham (Tel: 01379 854160).

· Sunday 5 July in the Ball marquee – Jazz On A Summer’s Afternoon. Bring your picnic and relax to the cool sounds of the Dixie Jazz Bandits. Gates open 3.00pm. Tickets £10, accompanied U18s free – please contact Mike the Mender (Withinshaw) on 01379 852002. This event is being organised jointly by Harleston Lions, Scouts and Magpies HC.

· Thursday 13 August – HMHC Golf Day at Bungay GC: playing in teams of four in men’s, ladies’ and mixed categories – £100 per team. Please contact me (01603 506925) for more details.

With kind regards to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 6/5/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 29 APRIL 2009

U13 Girls – East Mini Champions!!

What a couple of days we had at the club last weekend! Not only did we host the Yazoo East Regional Mini Championships for the second successive year but our U13 Girls won their event on the Saturday and will now represent the region in the national finals at Nottingham (Beeston HC) on Sunday 17 May. They will be joined at Nottingham by the other East champions, namely Gresham’s Prep School (U11 Boys), Bishop’s Stortford College (U11 Girls) and Old Loughtonians HC (U13 Boys).

Our girls started a little slowly by drawing 0-0 in their first match against Kent College of Canterbury but thereafter their skill and fitness told as they went on to win their other five matches in fine style while conceding just one goal in the process. It was certainly a very exciting day watching our team progress through the event and at times I found myself acting like a parent – cheering them on and being anxious in equal measure!

Many congratulations to the squad and the coaching/management team of Nick McAllen, Nigel Wooltorton and David Brook on this outstanding victory. Together they have had a remarkable season of success and it continued when they won the Norwich City HC minis on Sunday! Best wishes to them at Nottingham in two week’s time.

Bill Felton, the East President and Tournament Director, has kindly sent his congratulations to the club on our hosting of the two sunny and very well attended days and I join him in thanking all our members who helped with the organisation, i.e. Kirstin Cumming and her catering team, my car parking squad, David Cobbald (ground arrangements) and Nick and Shirley McAllen for their pitch watering – not a straightforward task as it had to be carried out within a tight match schedule on two quickly drying days.

This weekend we turn our attentions to the annual Magpies Tournament with play on Saturday featuring the Mixed Challenge and on Monday the day is devoted to Ladies’ and Men’s Club XIs. If you are not playing why not come along to watch the last play at Weybread for this season? Sunday is a day of rest.

News and comments in brief:

· A reminder that the AGM will be held in the clubhouse at 8.00pm on Thursday 18 June.

· Please let Jose Tibbenham (01379 854160) know as soon as possible if you intend to reserve a table at the Summer Ball to be held on Saturday 4 July. Tables are going quickly!

· A Young Umpire Day (aimed at players aged 10-13) is being run at Dereham HC on Sunday 17 May. Please see www.activenorfolk.org/events for more information.

· Congratulations to our U11 Boys who finished their fine season with victory last Sunday in the Norwich City HC Minis.

· Jazz On A Summer’s Afternoon (Sunday 5 July in the Ball marquee). Bring your picnic and relax to the cool sounds of the Dixie Jazz Bandits. Gates open 3.00pm. Tickets £10, accompanied U18s free – please contact Mike the Mender (Withinshaw) on 01379 852002. This event is being organised by Harleston Lions, Scouts and Magpies HC.

· HMHC Golf Day at Bungay GC (Thursday 13 August) – playing in teams of four in men’s, ladies’ and mixed categories – £100 per team. Please contact me (01603 506925) for more details.

With kind regards to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 29/4/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 21 APRIL 2009

Cheers for our U13 Girls in East Minis

This weekend – Saturday/Sunday 25/26 April – (and for the second successive year) the club is hosting the Yazoo East Regional Mini Hockey Championships featuring the seven U11 and U13 Boys’ and U11 and U13 Girls’ county champions with the winners of each event going on to represent the East in the national championships in Nottingham on Sunday 17 May.

The U13 Girls’ event on Saturday includes the Magpies’ team which has enjoyed a very successful season (including winning the Alex Hill Memorial Tournament at Dereham last Sunday) so please come along to cheer on our team. Win or lose I hope our girls enjoy the event. Their first match is against the Kent champions at 12 noon.

I thank everyone who attended last Saturday’s very enjoyable and successful End of Season Bash and everyone involved in the organisation – including Philippa Taylor, Mary Wright, Jose Tibbenham, Chris Reeve, Tracy Reeve and Laura Betts (marquees, lighting, patio heaters, food etc.), Andrew and Lyn of All Seasons Hog Roast, ginger tom & the GO cats (music) and Robert Stimpson, Carl Sitch and Danielle (bar). I also take this opportunity to thank Harleston Lions for the free loan of their marquee – they have their uses!!

Last week I thanked Harry Flatt and his team for all their hard work on the club’s grounds and this week my thanks are due to:

· Tony and Sue Williams (for their help with Danish Oiling (new verb?!) of the clubhouse balcony)

· David and Philip Cobbald (preparation of grass pitches for May Tournament, etc.)

· George Hunter (cutting of banks)

· Andrew Longe (tidying of bonfire site)

Comments in brief:

· Congratulations to Ben Gowing and Ben Wright for their inclusions under Framlingham College in the 2009 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

· It is also congratulations to our U9 team which followed up their recent win at Watton with victory last Sunday in the Dereham event.

· A reminder that the AGM will be held in the clubhouse at 8.00pm on Thursday 18 June.

· Please let Jose Tibbenham (01379 854160) know as soon as possible if you intend to reserve a table at the Summer Ball to be held on Saturday 4 July.

· If you are available to umpire or to help in the kitchen at the May Tournament (Saturday 2

and/or Monday 4) and have not already volunteered would you please contact Kirstin Cumming

(01986 788439).

With kind regards to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 21/4/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 15 APRIL 2009

PLEASE COME!!

Whether or not you have a ticket please come to this Saturday’s End of Season Bash. Tickets will be on sale at the entrance to the marquee. If we don’t celebrate at the end of the season we have just had we are never likely to celebrate again!! So I remind you of the event as follows. Please come along.

End of Season Bash (7.30pm Saturday 18 April – at the club)
Tickets (Adults £10, U13s £5 including hog roast etc)
Dancing to ginger tom & the GO cats


In the last week or so a lot of work has been carried out at the club including the repair of the scoreboard, the tightening of the carpet at the clubhouse end of the water-based pitch, the spreading of nearly 15 tons of shingle on the car park and the tidying up of the banks on two sides of the sand-based pitch. These are the sort of jobs which are required from time to time if we are to keep our facilities in top class order.

The car park maintenance and bank tidying was kindly carried out by Harry Flatt and his expert team of David Alexander, Jerry Blackmore, Neville Chubbock, Giles Flatt and Robin Hayward and I am very grateful to them.

I was sorry I was unable to be present during their labours to offer them unwanted guidance as I was on my way to a very sunny Hamburg to see the Last 16/8 rounds of the Euro Hockey League which is now in its second year. Round 1 in October involved the top 24 teams from across Europe with eight eliminated at that stage. Fortunately the three English clubs, Cannock, East Grinstead and Reading made it to Hamburg.

As well as seeing some of the best players in the world in action once again, including Teun de Nooijer of HC Bloemendaal, Holland (three times the FIH World Player of the Year and the best player I have ever seen), Pol Amat (Club Egara of Spain, the 2008 World Player of the Year), Taeke Taekema (Amsterdam’s and Holland’s penalty corner specialist), Sohail Abbas (the legendary Pakistani penalty corner ace who now plays for Rotterdam) and Richard Mantell (Reading’s outstanding defender), I was able to witness for the first time the new free hit rule which was used in the European League last season and which will be a mandatory experiment in all hockey from 1 September 2009. It enables a player to make a self-pass at any free hit and is particularly useful in the attacking half of the pitch as a player is permitted to hit the ball along the ground for not less than one metre before running with it. It has the potential if used properly to make the game of hockey even more exciting.

East Grinstead, who had earlier beaten St Germain HC of Paris, were caught out by a Bloemendaal player who having been fouled just outside the circle took the ball back to the dotted five metre line (as is required) before bursting into the circle to fire into the net. EG, for whom player coach Mark Pearn was in top form, eventually lost 3-2 to Bloemendaal (the conquerors of Cannock who were without injured top scorer Gareth Andrew) and Reading, who had earlier edged passed RC Polo Barcelona, lost 2-1 to KHC Leuven of Belgium whom they should have beaten. Frustratingly EG and Reading were both defeated by late goals. Following a feast of superb attacking hockey Bloemendaal now play Rotterdam and Leuven play reigning champions UHC Hamburg in the semis on Saturday 30 May with the final the next day; the Dutch venue to be announced shortly.

The teams were allowed one referral per half to the video umpire and more often than not the teams were successful including once instance where the umpire incorrectly deemed the ball to have crossed the goal line! If this system becomes common practice in big hockey events it has the potential to make or break umpires’ international reputations. However, I am confident in saying the system is some years off in being used at Weybread!

Best of luck to all our teams in action this Sunday (19 April) at the Dereham Minis – please click on Reports-Blog on the Home page of the club’s website for more information.

Last but certainly not least I extend commiserations to Andy Palmer who broke his upper left arm playing in goal for the Vets at Pelicans last Thursday. Andy went down early in the game to make a save and after recovering from some discomfit in his arm played on before sustaining another knock which necessitated a visit to Kings Lynn hospital. Andy is likely to be incapacitated for some weeks and I know I speak on behalf of all members when I wish him all the very best for his recovery.

With kind regards to all HMHC members and supporters.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 15/4/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 7 APRIL 2009

LET’S CELEBRATE!!

Another league season is over except for one match involving the Men’s Veterans – but we would expect them to be off the pace wouldn’t we?! They play their final match away to Pelicans at 7.45pm this Thursday (9 April).

What a league season it has been with promotion for the Ladies’ 2nds, 4ths and 6ths and for the Men’s 1sts, 2nds and 5ths! In addition the Ladies Development won their league at a canter with the Ladies’ 3rds and Men’s 3rds and Vets also ‘on the podium’ with third spots in their leagues. Bill Felton (East President) has kindly asked me to pass on his congratulations to the club for our fine season.

We have, therefore, a lot to celebrate so please do it (or continue to do it!) at the End of Season Bash. Details are as follows. Please get your tickets asap!

End of Season Bash (7.30pm Saturday 18 April – at the club)

Tickets (Adults £10, U13s £5 including food) are available

from Mary Wright (07747 795481) or Jose Tibbenham (01379 854160)

Dancing to ginger tom & the GO cats

The Ladies’ 2nds deservedly clinched their promotion with a good away win against Bury St Edmunds 2nds in the beautiful surroundings of Nowton Park last Saturday. Amy Tuffs calmed the nerves when she thumped in a penalty corner after 25 minutes and Jose Molloy made the game safe when her shot trickled into the net early in the second half. But they all count equally and the win was rounded off in style when Laura Parker waltzed down the right wing and her centre was swept home by Kathryn Bullen. Well done to Laura Betts and her team, and coach Jason Harness, on their fine season in which they conceded just 11 goals in 22 games.

Congratulations also to Tracy Reeve and her 4th team colleagues. I made only passing reference last week to their triumph which has seen them go undefeated since early November during which time they have won ten times and drawn three times while scoring 44 goals and conceding only 8. The Ladies’ 2nds and 4ths certainly have very mean defences! But neither can match the Development team which let in just three all season!

News and comments in brief

· The Men’s 1sts completed their triumphant season with 6-0 and 6-3 wins over Ipswich 2s and Peterborough 2s respectively taking their goals tally to 88 shared by 11 players with Andy Hipwell leading the way once again with a splendid personal haul of 30. It was good to see such a large attendance for the floodlit game against Ipswich.

· The Royal Air Forces Association thanks everyone who kindly donated towards the collection of £74.51 made recently at the club. Any suggestions who might have given the penny?!

· The three men’s teams – Magpies, Fareham (South) and Harborne (Midlands) – which missed out in last season’s one-off play-offs have now made the national league by winning their respective leagues again this season. They are joined Deeside Ramblers (North) and Plymouth Marjon (West)

· Commiserations to Dereham Ladies on missing out so narrowly on promotion to the national league at the end of their excellent season in the East Premier.

· Well done to the Mixed team on their run in the EH Trophy which came to an end last Sunday with their narrow 2–1 defeat at Southgate.

· Best wishes to Ipswich Vets (narrow winners over Magpies in the last 16) when they play Barford Tigers in the EH Cup Final on Sunday 26 April.

With best wishes to all HMHC members and supporters.


Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 7/4/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 31 MARCH 2009

LADIES 2NDS ON THE BRINK

The league season ended for six of our teams last Saturday and for the other eight the conclusion is reached this weekend with the most important match being the Ladies’ 2nds away to Bury St Edmunds (12.00) on Saturday. Victory for Laura Betts and her team will ensure their deserved promotion which looked threatened by their shock defeat by Sudbury 2nds early in March before three successive wins, including last Saturday’s 2-0 away win over Norwich Dragons 2nds, has helped the team to regain the initiative.

Before then the Men’s 1sts will be in action against Ipswich 2nds at home tonight (Tuesday, 7.45) hoping to return to winning ways after their 1-1 draw at Havering before they play City of Peterborough 2nds at Weybread on Saturday (2.15) to complete their triumphant and, hopefully, undefeated season. Meantime the Men’s 2nds travel to play Ipswich 3rds on Saturday (3.00) with a depleted squad after their crushing 18-0 win over St Neots who to their credit never gave up trying as every Magpies’ player, apart from goalkeeper John Livings, tried to get on the score sheet. And ten of the squad succeeded including Craig Snelling who touched in an already goal bound shot! Will Martin made a very promising debut.

The Men’s 6ths game against UEA 3rds was notable for the three Graham brothers, Charlie, James and Tom, playing together for the first time and with the rest of the team, led by Kevin Ridley, playing well in the 3-1 win over UEA 3rds. This week the team is away to Bury St Edmunds 4ths on Sunday – the time still awaited.

News and comments in brief

· The Ladies’ 6ths tasted defeat for the first time last Saturday at the end of their highly successful season but they were in good company as Bowdon Hightown (EH Slazenger Premier League Champions) and Reading (EH Slazenger Conference East Champions) did likewise.

· The youth section held another successful cake etc stall last Saturday despite the wet and cold weather resulting in many of the goodies being sold at the club instead of in the town. I can recommend apple and raspberry crumble for breakfast! My thanks to all involved and belated thanks also to Caroline Peters for the excellent coffee morning she ran the previous week.

· Matt Brand (Men’s 3rds) took his goal tally for the season to 41 last Saturday (he still doesn’t pay me for mentions!) but his hat-trick was overshadowed by James Goodson’s thoroughly deserved first of the season in the team’s 4-1 victory over UEA 2nds. Unfortunately the team have narrowly missed out on promotion at the end of an excellent season under the leadership of Joel Nelson.

· Angie Wheelhouse scored her 15th goal of the season in the Ladies’ 1sts narrow 2-1 defeat at Southgate. Congratulations Angie on finishing the season as the second highest scorer in EH Slazenger Conference East.

· Congratulations also to our two U9 teams which did so well at Watton last Sunday and to skipper Tracy Reeve and her Ladies’ 4ths for their promotion.

· The Men’s Veterans have a double-header at home this weekend when they play Bedford on Saturday (12.30) and City of Peterborough on Sunday (12.00) while the Men’s 3rds and Men’s 4ths complete their programmes this Saturday away to Bury St Edmunds (1.30) and at home to Gorleston (4.00) respectively.

· The Mixed team travel to Southgate this Sunday (1.00) seeking a quarter-final place in the EH Trophy.

* * *


End of Season Bash (7.30pm Saturday 18 April – at the club)
Please come along – we have a lot to celebrate this season!!!
Tickets (Adults £10, U13s £5 including food) are now available from the clubhouse bar, Mary Wright (07747 795481) or me. Dancing to ginger tom & the GO cats Please get your tickets asap!


* * *


Best wishes to all our teams and supporters this week.


Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 31/3/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 24 MARCH 2009

Promotion! Promotion! Promotion!

What a weekend we’ve just had! It was surely one of the most memorable in the history of the club with the Men’s 1sts, Men’s 2nds and Ladies’ 6ths gaining promotion on the Saturday and the U13 Girls winning the Norfolk Minis in fine style on the Sunday. On Saturday we also had the Ladies’ 1sts gaining their third successive win and the Ladies’ 2nds and 4ths winning to keep alive their promotion prospects. And on the Saturday in glorious weather I was invited to join Mr and Mrs Moore and Mr and Mrs Sitch for their picnic in the car park. It was almost like being at Henley!

After eight years the Men’s 1sts are back in the national league and after the disappointments and frustrations of the three previous seasons in East Premier A (2nd, 2nd, 1st (but no promotion)) they thoroughly deserve this fine achievement. And on a personal note it is no secret that Saturday’s 7-1 win over Wisbech came as a considerable relief to my nervous system!

Congratulations and thanks to manager Robert Stimpson, player-coach Richard Gill, coaches Philip Cobbald and Les Howlett and captain Leigh Sitch and vice-captain David Ling and all other members of the squad for their great success. It has been achieved by a combination of thorough planning led by Robert and outstanding commitment by all involved on training and match days. A word of praise and thanks must also go to former coach Bob Skinner who laid some of the foundations of the present success and who has assisted Robert on home match days this season.

My congratulations and thanks also go to coach Matt Brand and captain Lawrence Baynes and the rest of the Men’s 2nds and to captain Shirley McAllen and the Ladies’ 6ths on their promotion. Both squads have played some excellent hockey this season and like the Men’s 1sts deserve their success.

The U13 Girls and coaches Nick McAllen and Nigel Wooltorton did the club proud on Sunday by winning the Norfolk Minis with six wins from six games and they now go forward to the East Minis which the club is hosting over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 25/26 April. Congratulations and best wishes.

Last Saturday the Ladies’ Development lost their final match of the season (their first loss since the formation of the Norfolk Development league at the beginning of last season) but with managers David Brook and Nigel Wooltorton everyone who has played for the team can look back on another season with pride. And there is more to sport than winning – although it does help one’s enjoyment!

A weakened Men’s 5ths also lost last Saturday but with promotion assured the previous weekend Ed Watson and his team were able to approach their game in the knowledge that they had also had a fine season and with only four points dropped in the previous eleven games they too had deserved a move up the leagues.

The season still has a little way to go with the Ladies’ 1sts completing their programme at Southgate on Saturday (12.00) where a win would ensure them of at least fourth place in EHL Conference East while the Men’s 1sts have a tricky looking game away to Havering where they will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to 31 matches (including the last 11 of last season) with two more (home) games next week – versus Ipswich 2nds on Tuesday (7.45 (pm!)) and City of Peterborough 2nds on the Saturday.

Before then the Ladies’ 4ths play Harriers at Weybread tomorrow night (Wednesday, 7.45) and they complete their season on Saturday (3.30) away to Pelicans Colts. A win against Harriers would assure them of second place and promotion before they face the league leaders on Saturday where another win would give them top spot.

The Ladies’ 3rds and Men’s 2nds and Men’s 3rds have centre stage at Weybread this Saturday with the Ladies’ 3rds playing Pelicans 2nds (12.15) while at 2.15 the Men’s 2nds play St Neots (who won their first points of the season last Saturday) and the Men’s 3rds play UEA 2nds (4.00). The Men’s 3rds will be hoping that they can win this match and next Saturday’s – and that the UEA 1sts lose both their last two matches – if they are to clinch the second promotion spot behind Felixstowe. Meantime the Ladies’ 2nds are away to Norwich Dragons 2nds (10.30) and they need to win this game and that against Bury St Edmunds 2nds on Saturday week to be certain of second place and promotion.


* * *


End of Season Bash (7.30pm Saturday 18 April – at the club)
Please come along – we have a lot to celebrate this season!!!
Tickets (Adults £10, U13s £5 including food) are now available from the clubhouse bar, Mary Wright (07747 795481) or me. Dancing to ginger tom & the GO cats Please get your tickets asap!


* * *


Best wishes to all our teams and supporters this weekend.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 24/3/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 17 MARCH 2009

Rhian puts the 6ths on the verge!

It was quieter than usual at the club last Saturday with only four games to watch in contrast to the nine in prospect this weekend. The Ladies’ 6ths got the ball rolling with another good win (4-0 over Loddon 3rds – congratulations to Rhian Earrye on scoring all four!) which puts them on the verge of promotion. They were followed by the Men’s 3rds who gave an untypically poor performance in drawing 3-3 with Pelicans 2nds thereby damaging their promotion prospects. But to their credit they rallied well from being three goals down at half time. It was good to see Deben Nelson watching after his recent surgery including an appendectomy. Best wishes for your recuperation Deben. In the clubhouse after the game a jealous reference was made to the number of times I mention Matt Brand in this column. I can assure everyone, including Andy Smith who is one of my most avid readers, that I would always give plenty of mentions to someone who can score 37 goals in 19 games!!

We then saw an entertaining game between the Men’s 2nds and Cambridge University 2nds and the 1-1 draw (another goal for leading scorer Martin Fields) left Lawrence Baynes and his team needing one win from three games for promotion alongside Letchworth. John Livings had another good game in goal and Louis Steven made the tackle of the season to deny the students what looked like a certain winner.

To round off the day the Men’s 6ths had a comfortable 3-0 win over Bury St Edmunds 5ths. In the meantime we had the excellent news that the Ladies’ 1sts had won 2-1 at Horsham, to extend their fine run of form, and the Men’s 5ths had won 8-1 against UEA 3rds to secure promotion (congratulations to Ed Watson and Richard Allcock and their squad) and the frustrating news that the Men’s 1sts had conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Bedford.

In this Saturday’s hectic home programme the Ladies’ 1sts entertain St Albans (12.30) in their last home game of the season looking to banish the memories of their 4-1 defeat when the teams met in November and the Men’s 1sts will be seeking the three points they need (from their remaining five games) for the East Premier A title and promotion when they host Wisbech (2.15). Also on Saturday the Ladies’ Development are at home to Yarmouth (10.45) in their final match of the season hoping to extend their remarkable unbeaten run to two full seasons. My thanks go to team managers Nigel Wooltorton and David Brook for looking after the squad so expertly again this season.

In a busy day at Weybread on Sunday the club hosts the Norfolk U13 Girls’ Minis starting at 9.30am (good luck to our team) to be followed at 12 noon by the annual match between the Senior Men’s Veterans and the LX Club (organised by our deputy president Tony Williams) and at 2.15 by the Men’s 1sts playing Bedford in their once abandoned and once postponed league match.


_____

Ladies Norfolk Summer League Hockey – April to July

(For those playing Norfolk League standard only)

If anyone would like to run a team in this league for Magpies please contact Julie Podd, Ladies’ Club Captain, to discuss on 01379 855041.
______

News and comments in brief

· Best wishes for speedy treatment and recovery to Jose Tibbenham who is on crutches due to a dodgy knee. I must ensure the club’s stairlift is working on Saturday!

· David Francis scored his first hat-trick in 15 years with the club at Witham on 7 March and I failed to record this achievement last week! My apologies and congratulations David!

· Talking of hat-tricks congratulations also to Roger Kent on his achievement away against Bedford Vets last Saturday and to Tristan Baynes for his trio in the 5-1 win for the Mixed team at Bedford last Sunday. Gavin Cole came close to a hat-trick in the same match but sportingly conceded that Tristan’s shot was fractionally over the line before he rightly made sure it was! The Mixed are now away to Southgate on Sunday 5 April in the national trophy.

· This Saturday at the club a collection will be made on behalf of the RAF Association.

· Tickets (Adults £10, U13s £5) for the End of Season Bash (7.30pm Saturday 18 April) are now available from the clubhouse bar, Mary Wright (07747 795481) or me. Please come along – you will be very welcome.

Best wishes to all our teams and supporters this weekend.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 17/3/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 11 MARCH 2009

Three of the best!

Three team performances stood out last weekend at Weybread and I would rate them equally in their respective ways. On Saturday the Men’s Veterans achieved a rare win over old adversaries Shefford and Sandy. Roger Kent put Magpies ahead and after S & S equalised from a penalty corner Stuart Peters and John Wells scored to give their team a much sought after 3 – 1 triumph. What we will never know is whether the outcome would have been different had the S & S players not visited Scole Inn before the game and had the umpires – Mike Tipper (S & S) and Chris Humphreys (HMHC) – been brandishing their sticks as they would have preferred instead of blowing their whistles!

Next up were the Men’s 1sts and they played splendidly to defeat fourth place Blueharts 6-0 with some really exciting goals – the pick of which were a blistering shot from James Fanger and a reverse stick shot from Andy Hipwell which rocketed into the net. In a fine squad performance it was good to see youngsters Ben Wright and Craig Snelling (making his senior debut) playing so well. Four points are now needed from six games for the East title and promotion.

The third outstanding performance was achieved by the Ladies’ 1sts on Sunday when they entertained second placed Barnes Hounslow & Ealing. After early pressure by the visitors Magpies took control of the match with goals from Frances Sumner and Angie Wheelhouse and with Charlie Harrison (back thankfully after her hand injury) and Ellie Catchpole in top form at left and right half (in old money) respectively their teammates behind them were less busy than usual. Angie, who was continuing her good form from the Mixed match the previous Sunday, made the game safe at 3-1 with ten minutes remaining to banish any lingering relegation concerns.

This Saturday the Men’s 1sts are away to Bedford (2.30) while the Ladies’ 1sts travel to Horsham (12.30) looking to complete a double over the Sussex side. With ten of our teams playing away the Men’s 3rds and Men’s 2nds will share centre stage at Weybread when they seek to maintain their promotion bids against Pelicans 2nds (12.30) and Cambridge University 2nds (2.15) respectively. Last Saturday both teams recorded good wins with the 2nds beating Witham 8-4 and the 3rds overcoming Norwich Dragons 2nds 4-1 with another three goals from the prolific Matt Brand.

News and comments in brief

· My thanks to Rowan Gormley and his colleagues from Naked Wines and to everyone who attended for making last Saturday’s Wine Tasting Evening so enjoyable.

· The Spring Prize Raffle was drawn at the Wine Tasting and the main prizes were won by Les and Angela Howlett (1st), Stuart Naunton (2nd) and Mrs June Moore (3rd). When Les’s name was announced I was urged to re-draw the 1st prize but in deference to Angela I decided against! The raffle made a profit of £1445. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who bought and sold tickets.

· Congratulations to Reading on winning EHL Women’s Conference East with three games to spare. Following the misguided (in my view) reorganisation of the national league structure they will have to play off with three other teams for two places in next season’s Premier Division. League winners should in any structure be rewarded with automatic promotion.

· A new menace (after the inevitable bottles and cans) near the pitchside shelters – dirty used tissues which require picking up before they disintegrate into many slimy pieces.

· England Hockey is seeking a replacement sponsor for Slazenger who have decided not to renew their sponsorship of the sport when it expires at the end of August this year.

· Tickets (Adults £10, U13s £5) for the End of Season Bash (7.30pm Saturday 18 April) are now available from the clubhouse bar. Please come along – you will be very welcome.

Best wishes to all our teams and supporters this weekend.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 11/3/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 4 MARCH 2009

Leigh at last!

Last Sunday the Mixed team played their first match in this season’s EH National Trophy when a strong squad took on Long Sutton away resulting in an 11-1 win for Magpies. Angie Wheelhouse put Magpies ahead early in the game following an excellent pass by Artemis Clark. Thanks to a remarkable performance by the Long Sutton goalkeeper, who throughout the game must have made 25 saves, the second goal took several minutes to materialise. Thereafter goals came at regular intervals in a very sporting match. The highlight for the six Magpies’ supporters (in the ‘crowd’ of nine at its peak) was the tenth goal. It was something the vast majority of his devoted fans have never seen and most still haven’t – a goal by defender Leigh Sitch! He picked the ball up on the edge of the circle and smashed it high into the net on the reverse stick after which he immediately left the pitch to contemplate his achievement! Scorers were (subject to revision) – Angie 3, Artemis 2, Tristan Baynes 3, Gavin Cole 2 and (lest we forget) Leigh. In the next round we play Bedford away on Sunday week.

We also had plenty of goals to enjoy at Weybread last Saturday with the Ladies’ 2nds beating Dereham 2nds 3-0; the Men’s 2nds, for whom Louis Steven made an excellent debut, defeating Wapping 2nds 6-2; the Ladies’ 4ths easing past Old Buckenham 2nds 3-1 and the Men’s 3rds getting back to winning ways by beating Norwich City 3rds 6-1 with Matt Brand scoring twice to take his tally for the season to a superb 33. But as I said to him after the game two goals is only one goal every 35 minutes!

Away from home the Men’s 1sts played extremely well in beating Cambridge City 7-1, with a remarkable five goals by Andy Hipwell, to move to within seven points (from seven games) of retaining their East Premier A title and with it promotion while the Ladies’ 1sts moved a little closer to safety at Staines despite the frustration of conceding another late equaliser in their 2-2 draw. Meanwhile the Ladies’ 3rds extended their unbeaten run to eleven games by beating Watton 2nds 4-0 and the Ladies Development made it 15 wins from 15 games with a 5-0 win at Pelicans.

This Saturday’s home matches include the Men’s 1sts taking on fourth placed Blueharts (2.15) and the Men’s Veterans entertaining Shefford and Sandy (1.45) in their most eagerly anticipated match of the season. Most, if not all, of our squad have never beaten S&S who could well be without their injured mastermind and chief tactician Mike Tipper.


On Sunday (12.30) the Ladies’ 1sts host second placed Barnes Hounslow & Ealing. Best of luck to all our teams in action this weekend including the U11 Girls in the Norfolk Minis at Norwich City HC on Sunday.

Congratulations to Nigel Bedingfield (the club’s website sponsor and expert) and son Logan and wife Sue who did very well in last weekend’s Taekwondo Welsh Cup. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and Nigel and Logan are Welsh Open Champions for individual sparring in their categories while Sue got a silver medal for patterns (as did Nigel) and a bronze medal for sparring. Patterns are a series of moves that have to be shown in the correct stances and in sequence while sparring is meant to be semi-contact but does involve making contact with the head or body with kicks or punches to score points!


POLITE REMINDERS

1. If you have not already returned your Spring Prize stubs and money to Tracy Reeve (thank you if you have) would you please do so by this Saturday (7 March) – either direct to Tracy or over the clubhouse bar.

2. Please come to the Wine Tasting Evening at the club this Saturday (7.30pm). There is no obligation to buy any wine!

Best wishes to all members, supporters and friends of HMHC.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 4/3/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 25 FEBRUARY 2009

1-1 x 2

Both 1st teams managed to keep their supporters anxious and involved until the final whistles last Saturday with their contrasting 1-1 draws. The Ladies played well throughout against a gritty Old Loughtonians but again failed to find a vital second goal before Rebecca Halle, the league’s leading scorer, deflected home the equaliser with eleven minutes to go. In contrast the Men took some time to get going against a very strong Cambridge University side after their enforced 3-week break and after spurning a good chance early in the game almost immediately fell behind following an uncharacteristic mistake in defence. The last minute equaliser came as an immense relief to the team and crowd following some sustained pressure.

This Saturday the Ladies are away to Staines (1.30) looking for the win to secure mid-table safety while the Men are away to Cambridge City (2.00) seeking three of the ten points needed from their last eight matches to secure the championship.

Last Sunday the Men’s Veterans went out of England Hockey’s Veterans Cup by three goals to one away to Ipswich but not until they had put up a tremendous fight in the sporting scene of the word. Missing four regulars and relying on the same eleven players throughout the match they went ahead when skipper Phil Cobbald banged the ball home after 13 minutes. However, it was Ipswich who had most of the play and the evergreen Andy Cook put them ahead with a couple of good goals early in the second half. Magpies were denied an equaliser with five minutes remaining by a goal line clearance and in the dying seconds Ipswich converted a penalty corner to complete the scoring. Outstanding for Magpies in a fine team effort were goalkeeper Murray Graham and midfielder Simon Bardwell. However, the umpires felt they could manage the last minute of the game without anymore of Simon’s advice by which time, like many of his teammates, he was in need of a rest!

News and comments in brief

· Congratulations to Simon Bardwell and Paula on their marriage last week.

· My thanks to David and Phil Cobbald for all the maintenance work they have put in on the two pitches over the last few days.

· Please have a look, via the link on the top right of the Home Page of the website, of the video interviews of Leigh Sitch and Colin Wheelhouse carried out last Saturday by Nick Wells, the Sports Editor of the Diss Express.

· The best goal I saw last weekend was Guy Paul’s fine effort when he went round the goalkeeper to give the 4ths a hard fought win over Bury St Edmunds 2nds.

· We have several teams in form at the moment including the Ladies’ 3rds under the captaincy of Jose Tibbenham. With 7-1 and 7-3 wins in their last two games they are now challenging for promotion.

· Other teams in form are the Men’s 2nds, as demonstrated by their 10-0 demolition of St Ives, the Men’s 5ths who secured their sixth successive win by beating Bury St Edmunds 4ths 11-0 and the Ladies Development with their 15th successive win (this time 3-0 over North Walsham) to maintain their 100% record.

· Congratulations to our U11 and U13 Boys and Girls Mini teams which did so well again last Sunday – this time at Pelicans. The U11 Boys and U13 Girls came 1st, the U11 Girls came 2nd and the U13 Boys finished 3rd. This Sunday the Boys’ teams will be competing in the Norfolk Championships at Gresham’s School.

· On the injury front it is bad news that Andy Bedwell will be out for the rest of the season but encouraging news that Charlie Harrison is making good progress following her hand injury.

· It was good to hear from David Blackmore last weekend wishing the Vets well at Ipswich. David will be back in a few months after he has tired of the ski slopes of France!

· I can report that the electronic scoreboard was suffering from amnesia! I hope all will be well this weekend now it has been reminded of the signal it should receive from the remote control.

· After their bye against Broxbourne the Mixed team are away to Long Sutton (11.30) this Sunday in the EH Trophy.

· It would be much appreciated if you would kindly return your Spring Prize Draw books (with money!) as soon as possible please.

· I think I may have mentioned (!) the Wine Tasting Evening to be held in the clubhouse at 7.30pm on Saturday 7 March. Please come along.

Best wishes to supporters and friends of HMHC and to all our teams playing this weekend.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 25/2/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 18 FEBRUARY 2009

I couldn’t believe it!


When I got to the club last Saturday I could hardly believe that yet another game for the Men’s 1sts had fallen victim to the cold weather. This time Ipswich HC’s Henley Road pitch was the problem or to be more accurate the shadow cast by the adjoining tennis centre. As a result the team goes into this Saturday’s vital home match against Cambridge University (2.15) without a game since their excellent away win over St Albans three weeks ago. However, the team has continued to train hard including an extra session last Sunday. It is to be hoped that they will soon find their stride against the students and they will need to do so to retain their one hundred percent record and with it their domination to-date of East Premier A.

Apart from the above disappointment last Saturday turned out to be a most successful one for the club at Weybread as we were able to enjoy wins (with plenty of goals) for Ladies’ 1sts (1-0), Ladies’ 2nds (3-1), Ladies’ 3rds (7-1), Men’s 2nds (6-1), Men’s 3rds (7-1) and Men’s 6ths (1-0) to go with away wins for Men’s 5ths (1-0) and Men’s Veterans (5-1).


After the opening few minutes the Ladies’ 1sts completely dominated their match against Sevenoaks and it was a mighty relief to see Angie Wheelhouse bang in her 10th goal of the season. I have to confess I saw little of the excellent win by the Ladies’ 3rds (sorry ladies!) as I was anxiously willing the 1sts to victory after failing to get the electronic scoreboard to work. But stuck on 0-0 it was accurate for 63 minutes!


The Men’ 2nds played extremely well in the second half against the ten men of Cambridge City 2nds while the Ladies’ 2nds, apart from a misunderstanding in defence which allowed Norwich Dragons to draw level for a few minutes, played some of their best hockey of the season. Next up were the Men’s 3rds and their first and seventh goals were scored by Will Main and Phil Cobbald. The latter was making a rare appearance for the team (having managed the 2nds to victory) and his shot rifled into the net from a narrow angle. But the star of the show was once again Matt Brand who continued his goal filled season with another five. It is just as well for the club that the transfer window has been closed for a few months!

This Saturday the Ladies’ 1sts play Old Loughtonians (12.30) looking for another home win after their away defeat by table topping Reading last Sunday. Meanwhile the Men’s 2nds travel to St Ives (2.00), the Men’s 3rds are away to the UEA (1.00) and the Men’s 5ths entertain Bury St Edmunds 4ths (4.00) with all three teams seeking to maintain their respective promotion bids.

News and comments in brief

· Congratulations to our U11 and U13 Boys and Girls Mini teams which did so well last Sunday at Watton and especially to the U11 Boys and U13 Girls who came first. All four teams will be in action again this Sunday at Pelicans.

· Roger Kent hit a hat trick last Saturday for the Vets and a repeat this Sunday (1.30) would be most welcome when he turns out for the Vets in their EH Cup clash at Ipswich (Henley Rd).

· It would be much appreciated if you would kindly return your Spring Prize Draw books (with money!) as soon as possible please.

Important date for your diary please; Saturday 7 March – Wine Tasting Evening. You are cordially invited to this free event being held in the clubhouse at 7.30pm. The evening is being run by a brand new local company called Naked Wines. We hope you will be able to attend to hear about and, more importantly, sample their wines!

Best wishes to supporters and friends of HMHC and to all our teams playing this weekend.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 18/2/09

CHAIRMAN’S CHAT – 10 FEBRUARY 2009

I’ll say no more!


What a frustrating couple of days we had last weekend and especially over the loss of the two games for the Men’s 1sts with our pitch fit for play. But I will say no more in case I say something I regret!

On the bright side four of our fixtures survived the weather producing three wins so the weekend was not a complete wipe out. The Ladies’ 2nds unfortunately lost 2-1 at Yarmouth thereby losing ground near the top of East Div 2NE while the Ladies’ 5ths won 2-1 away to Norwich City 4ths to maintain their very satisfactory form. Meantime the Ladies Development maintained their 100% record with their 14th win of the season thanks to a 3-0 home win over Dereham. This was the squad’s twelfth clean sheet – a record of which the Manchester United goalkeeper would be proud!

Until the second half, when I was joined by Tim Johnson, I was the ‘crowd’ for the match between the Men’s 5ths and Sudbury 3rds. And it was a match worth defying the cold for with Richard ‘Chopper’ Allcock managing the 14-strong 5ths squad to a memorable victory. He was the master of his technical area skilfully marshalling his well balanced squad of youth and experience (with one or two in between). After going behind the team soon recovered when skipper Ed Watson grabbed a fine equaliser and Tom Miller popped up to score just before the break by which time the frozen electronic scoreboard had consented to work. In the second half the team took control with some exciting play and deservedly ran out 8-2 winners, in a sporting game well umpired by Phil Alexander and James Smith, to retain their place at the top of East Div 5NE. The only disappointment of the game for me was to find by the time I got to the kitchen that all the chilli (chilly?) had gone!

This weekend the Ladies’ 1sts have a double header when they entertain Sevenoaks (12.30) on Saturday before travelling to Reading next day to play last Saturday’s postponed game. In the first half of the season the Ladies beat Sevenoaks and drew with table topping Reading so a repeat this weekend would be most acceptable! Meanwhile the third placed Ladies’ 2nds will be keen to get back to winning ways when they host second placed Norwich Dragons (2.15pm).

The Men’s 1sts are away to Ipswich 2nds (1.30) after the frustrations of last weekend, the Men’s 2nds entertain Cambridge City 2nds (1.45), the Men’s 3rds welcome Ipswich 4ths (3.15) and the Men’s 5ths travel to Bury St Edmunds (10.30). All four teams will be looking to further their promotion bids.


Best wishes to all our teams this weekend including the U11 and U13 Boys and Girls in the Watton Minis on Sunday.

News and comments in brief

· Angie Wheelhouse with nine goals is the second highest goal scorer this season in EH’s Women’s Conference East.

· The recent bad weather has given a lot of hard work to our fixture secretaries Irene Bicker (Ladies) and Merna Merrett (Men). Thank you Irene and Merna. Merna monitored the weather so often last week she must have thought she had joined the Met Office!

· Please let me know if you would like to borrow the club’s copy of the recently published history of Weybread. It is an excellent read and includes wedding photographs of Mr and Mrs Stuart Naunton and Mr and Mrs Nick Tibbenham looking even more youthful than they do today!

· Please return your Spring Prize Draw books (with money!) as soon as possible.

· Broxbourne have withdrawn from the national mixed trophy giving the club a walkover into the second round. The game was due to have been played this Sunday.


Important date for your diary please:

Saturday 7 March – Wine Tasting Evening. You are cordially invited to this free event being held in the clubhouse at 7.30pm. The evening is being run by a brand new local company called Naked Wines. We hope you will be able to attend to hear about and, more importantly, sample their wines!

With kind regards and best wishes to all members, supporters and friends of the Club.

Mike Denham Tel: 01603 506925 E-mail: MDenham975@aol.com 10/2/09