Mens 1st Team v Spalding (Away (L) W 10-2)
Harleston sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops travelled to Spalding on a warm spring day. Harleston welcomed back Mark Flatman after a spell on the sidelines with injury. After an inspirational team talk from player coach Tim Whiteman the team knew that they had to play through their attacking channels and get their flair players on the ball in the name of Tom (David Silva) Ridley and Tim (Kevin De Bruyne) Whiteman.
Spalding pushed back and Harleston quickly won the ball with a good interception from Jonty Gosling released the ball through Elliot Marsh who fed Tom Ridley. The young midfielder quickly accelerated through two challenges before unleashing a fierce reverse stick shot across goal where a Spalding defender turned it into his own net. Harleston continued to win the ball in midfield allowing quick counter attacks at the Spalding defence and within 8 minutes were 3 goals up and the game was out sight. Mark Flatman scored a neat deflection before Matt Bensley smashed home from close range following a good save from the Spalding goalkeeper.
Against the run of play Spalding did pull a goal back when the ball unfortunately found Stuart Leate’s foot in the circle, the resultant corner was dispatched with a low and powerful drag flick. Harleston started to turn the ball over a little too often as they tried to play forward at every opportunity. Despite not stringing many passes together at times there were still patterns of unbelievable hockey. A neat one-two from Elliot Marsh and Thomas Ridley allowed the vice captain to score his second of the afternoon before Mark Flatman grabbed his second.
Harleston were awarded a stroke just before half time when a powerful Tim Whiteman drag flick hit a defenders body on the line. After some confusion in the rules as to whether Matt Bensley was allowed to take the stroke Matt Richardson stepped up with a swagger and dispatched the flick into top left hand corner of the goal leaving the goal keeper handcuffed.
The team went into half time pleased with their efforts and the performance level. Tim Whiteman asked for more composure at times on the ball and to keep scoring goals.
Harleston were very composed in the second half, keeping the ball for long periods of play and deciding when to hit Spalding on the counter attack. Many good patterns starting from Tom Sumner and Leigh Sitch in a new centre back pairing.
Mark Flatman quickly completed his hat-trick from a close range deflection. Leigh Sitch then got on the score sheet from open play (a rarity) with what the umpire described as goal of the season. The dynamic centre back started off the move by carrying out from centre back he eliminated two players before feeding the ball back to Tom Sumner. As the ball was transferred across the back and up the right through Matt Richardson and Thomas Ridley the athletic centre back carried on his run leaving Spalding players in his wake. The ball eventually found Richard Larkin on the right just outside of the circle and looking up, with delight, he saw Sitch arrive. The ball was played across and Sitch had to use all of his attacking flair to deflect the ball skillfully into the roof of the net off his back foot. A loud cheer from the majority of the team showed the significance of the vital 8th goal.
Harleston continue to press forward and soon added their 9th and 10th goal. Firstly Thomas Ridley completed his hat-trick with a reverse stick thunderbolt before Tim Whiteman found space in the circle to slot home. There was still time left for Spalding to grab their second goal. Stuart Leate slotted in at centre back as Leigh Sitch and Tom Sumner were rested for the final few minutes. After a Spalding counter attack Leate was adjust to have brought down the attacked as he raced through on goal. Spalding dispatched the stroke to make the final score 10-2.
Harleston have a week off next week before travelling to Blueharts were they will look to replicate their best performance of the season.
Mens 1st Team v Bedford 1 (Home (L) W 4-1)
After last weeks disappointing result against City of Peterborough Magpies M1st sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops were determined to show the home crowd the fight skill that had seen them nearly salvage a draw rather than the lacklustre effort that had led to them falling behind. Frosty weather had curtailed the weeks training and even put the fixture in doubt. Fortunately Magpies manager and part time pitch inspector, Kevin Ridley, had prepped the pitch Friday night with his patented anti-frost measures. Come Saturday morning the tarpaulin was removed and a bouncy soft green astro was revealed ready to welcome an always dangerous Bedford team.
Magpies started the game at a high tempo with the energetic forward line harassing and hassling the Bedford back line. On the ball the midfield were linking well. Marsh, Ridley, Whiteman and Leate were distributing the ball with calm authority and the Magpies forwards and half backs were finding space down the wings. Magpies created the first chance of the game when excellent work down the right saw the ball slid into Simon Hipwell whose first time snapshot agonising flew wide of the far post.
Magpies midfield and defence were coping well with the Bedford aerial threat and the forwards continued to find circle penetrations although no end product could be found. With ten minutes gone Magpies knew they needed to make the pressure count and sent on supersub Andrew Bedwell to step up the pressure. No more than two minutes after the robust full back had come on and the deadlock was broken. Coincidence? A Bedford counterattack was smartly rebuffed and Magpies replied with a counter of their own. Good passing down the pitch ended with Spi Hipwell finding space in the D, with his usual calm confidence in front of goal, he smashed a trademark reverse stick finish into the bottom corner.
Magpies continued to threaten with their slick passing skills and strong ball carrying from midfield and another smart passing move found Richard Larkin free at the back post to double the advantage. Bedford were always dangerous on the break but Jon Livings and the back line were up to the task. Bedford were never allowed any clean shot at goal and were limited to a couple of short corners.
After an encouraging team talk Magpies were determined to put the game to bed in the second half. More magpie pressure resulted in a penalty corner and after the initial routine broke down Sam Moore was quickest to react. A smart spin and shot from the returning forward snuck under the gk and past the post man to give the home side the lead they deserved.
Magpies were controlling the game but with skillful players across the pitch both teams found themselves with chances to score. John Lvings had made a fine save to deny the visitors but good work down the Magpies right led to the away team converting a cross on the back post. This could have been a nervy time for Harleston but the home team refused to sit back and let Bedford dominate. Magpies continued to press aggressively across the pitch and turnovers were happening more and more. One such turnover led to a slick passing move that went from right to left before Simon Hipwell was left with a simple tap in after the Goalkeeper had been eliminated. This sealed the win for the home side although there was still time for another excellent passing move to find Tim Whiteman at the back post with and open goal. Unfortunately the ex GB player summoned up his international goalscoring form and deftly flicked the ball wide.
The final 4-1 result was justification for a very professional display from the home team who now look to end the season strongly.
Mens 1st Team v City of Peterborough (Away (L) L 3-4)
It was a blustery day at Bretton Gate which saw a top of the table clash between Peterborough and Harleston Magpies, sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops. As action got underway it was the home team asserting their dominance, capitalising on a slow start from the visitors. Some well placed aerials kept Harleston on the back foot and caused a tactical headache for the Magpies. This bombardment resulted in the Peterborough forwards having the lions share of possession which eventually materialised in the form of a short corner. Peterborough had a slick routine which saw the ball moved quickly to the far post for an easy tap in, giving the home side an early lead. Unfortunately for the visitors they struggled to play at their normal tempo, passing too often going awry and although there were some small flashes of good link up play, it was the Peterborough which struck next. Some good build up play on the wing resulted in a harsh short corner decision for a slightly miss-times tackle. Again the home team moved the ball around well and scored another deflected short corner routine. Heading it to the half time break it was 2-0 and looked like it could be a long day for the Harleston players as they failed to mount any serious momentum. Harleston player coach Tim Whiteman had some stern words for his team and demanded more as the team were on the receiving end of some much needed hairdryer treatment. Harleston reverted to their aggressive full press stance and as the second half got underway the pep talk looked to have done the trick as the team started to link up and play the fast assured hockey they are renowned for.The visitors looked like a different team as some flowing moves were starting to ask questions of Peterborough’s defence. Magpies defender Sam Paterson was having a sterling game and managed to find himself in the opposition’s area after some good link up play with midfielder Pete Bale. As he tried to round the last defender a cynical foul resulted in a penalty flick and a glimmer of hope for the Magpies. Shouldering the responsibility himself, Sam was quick to dispatch the penalty flick and Peteborough found they had now had a game on their hands. Harleston had now found their feet and fired in a quick second when Archie Winter dispatched from close range.Peterborough continued to push forward but were rebuffed, Leigh Sitch making an outstanding 1v1 tackle to keep his team in it. It was Peterborough who found the break through though when a reverse stick shot found it’s way to an attacker to finishe from close range. Harleston were not done and player coach Tim Whiteman stepped up to wobble his way around 4 defenders at a short corner and calmly slotted home. Harleston continued to press and created two more clear cut chances, one cleared off the line and one a near post miss. With the game clearly at bubbling point Stuart Leate was fourtunate not to see yellow for a rough stick tackle.Peterborough managed to hang on and claim a vital 3 points. Harleston again left feeling disappointed that they left themselves too much to do in the second half of a game. Next week they face Bedford at home at midday.
Mens 1st Team v Letchworth 1 (Home (L) W 6-0)
Magpies had a small squad of 14 for their second home game since Christmas sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops, a few unavailabilities would mean that the home side would have to work hard in order to beat a physical Letchworth side.The game began with both sides trying to find their feet. The deadlock was finally broken by Magpies through an Andrew Bedwell short corner strike which the perplexed defence could do nothing about. The home side capitalised on the now frustrated Letchworth defence by quickly converting another corner through a powerful Sam Patterson drag flick, taking Magpies’ much maligned routines to 100% converted for the day. The team in black and white continued to look threatening upfront with Richard Larkin leading the press very effectively, backed up by strong 1v1 defence all over the rest of the pitch. A moment of inspiration from the excellent Thomas Ridley took the score to 3-0 with a high quality reverse stick hit, which the keeper could do nothing about. This catalyst spurred man of the match Ridley to score again, this time scoring in less spaectacular fashion to take the score to 4-0 at half time.The second half began not as Magpies had hoped with personal indiscipline leading to numerous cards. Magpies weathered the storms, with only 9 players at points, and reasserted their control of an end to end game. Matt Bensley shone with a long reverse stick carry finding Simon Hipwell in the circle who, when about to score, was upended by the goalkeeper. Bensley stepped up to score the resulting penalty stroke. As Letchworth grew increasingly frustrated, Magpies put together their best passing move of the match, playing many quick passes with Elliot Marsh smashing home with an aggressive shot from a tight angle, taking the score to 6-0. No more goals would come leaving the home crowd happy with the 3 points and a clean sheet.Next week, Magpies travel to Spalding to hopefully continue their excellent run of form since indoor.
Mens 1st Team v Chelmsford (Home (L) W 5-0
Harleston Magpies 1st Team sponsored by Dynamic Sports Shop hosted Chelmsford on a wet and windy day.After a disappointing draw away, the hosts were keen to put in a good showing for the magpies faithful who had decided to brave the elements. Pies started with great intensity with the midfield of Thomas Ridley, Tim Whiteman and Matt Richardson putting immediate pressure on their midfield and asserting their dominance. Before long the deadlock was broken after some silky skills from Whiteman created space for Simon Hipwell to slide the ball into the D. Ben Watson was on hand to deflect the ball under the chelmsford keeper to claim his first goal for magpies. Magpies continued to push forward and the second goal came after Richard Larkin slipped the ball under his arm to Hipwell who moved it across for Richardson to calmly slot the ball into the top corner. Half time finished 2-0 to the hosts.
Magpies started the second half as they finished the first and continued to pressure the opposition. The back line looked composed as they repeatedly denied Chelmsford the opportunity to get back into the game. Pies scored their 3rd after quick thinking from Andrew Bedwell at a short corner who spotted Richardson on the back post. Richardson took his time but eventually slotted the ball home. Keen to continue the pressure, the whole magpies team harried the opposition looking to win the ball back as soon as possible. It wasn’t long before man of the match Thomas Ridley showed his class in the D and slipped the ball under the keeper for hipwell to deflect home. Richardson almost completed his hat trick with the last play of the game but a determined Richard larkin was on hand to steal the final goal, and glory, with the last touch of the game. The final score finished 5-0 after a really encouraging performance from a slightly depleted magpies team.
Mens 1st v Saffron Walden ( Away (L) W 7-4 )
Harleston Magpies sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops finished the first half of the season by taking flight to Saffron Walden Hockey Club. It was a brisk morning and after a nervy pitch inspection was cleared, the wagons rolled from Harleston with the team determined to put in a good performance after two weeks without a game due to the cold weather.Harleston began the game brightly with the midfield and forward line finding themselves in threatening positions and within five minutes the pies had won themselves two corners but failed to capitalise. Then, with Harleston looking to mount another attack, a misplaced pass let Saffron Walden start a counter attack which they finished emphatically to take the lead. Harleston reposed well though and man of the match Archie Winter scored two high quality goals. The first a rocket on the back-hand from the top left corner of the circle into the bottom right corner of the goal and the second, another classy finish, with a two-touch finish in the circle struck hard, once again passed the keepers left foot. Harleston then faced a mini-collapse with individual defending errors letting Saffron Walden score two quick goals to take the lead 3-2. Harleston however responded well and went into the break 5-3 up with two deflected goals. The first coming from Stuart Leate who converted a deflection with the natural finishing ability he is famed for after a superb delivery crashed in by captain Leigh Sitch. The second from Pete Bale who again deflected a hammer blow of a ball in from fellow full back Andrew Bedwell. Both goals coming with celebrations fitting with their superb finish. The third was a sharp finish from Jack Hobbs from close range after good work on the right from Sam Patterson.Understandably, Harleston were disappointed with the defensive naivety shown in the first half and after clear boundaries were set, came out with a much improved and controlled performance that saw them score two more goals. The first was arguable Harleston’s best of the season. It started deep in their own half with Bedwell playing the ball into Hipwell, who then became the pivotal figure in a 6 person move of minimal touches that resulted in the returning Will Martin finishing from 6 yards out. A run away goal from Saffron Walden once again reduced the arrears but it was to be Harleston day when they scored from a short corner with Tim Whiteman latching onto a bullet delivery from Archie Winter with a single-handed deflection from an impossible angle that rifled passed the ears of the man on the line. Final score 7-4.
Man of the match Archie Winter reflected afterwards: “we were extremely disappointed to have let in so many soft goals today but overall our attacking intensity and ball retention was massively improved from recent weeks. It was great to welcome Jake Sewell and Will Martin back into the side which demonstrates the strength of our squad. Overall it’s been a great first half of the season and despite the odd result, we have played some expansive, attacking hockey that has been enjoyable to play in.
Mens 1st Team v St Albans 1 ( Home (L) L 1-2 )
Magpies welcomed St Albans to the nest in what promised to be the game of the season. Both teams vying for promotion, with St Albans top but Harleston just behind with an unbeaten record in the league. The game started at a fast pace, with both teams pressing high up the pitch. It was Harleston who had the majority of possession and nearly took the lead with a short corner on 15 minutes with Sam Patterson beating the keeper for pace but unfortunately also the outside of the post. Half-way through the game St Albans began to assert their authority and it was Harleston’s turn to absorb pressure but thankfully Harleston went into the first half with the scores even due to goal keeper John Living’s crucial save and Andrew Bedwell, Giles Flat and Leigh Sitch’s telling interceptions.
Harleston started the second half extremely brightly and after a prolonged period of pressure broke the deadlock after patient build-up play against a deep lying defensive. It was captain Leigh Sitch who provided the pass into the circle and former Canadian international Elliott Marsh who deflected the ball into the goal. St Albans reacted strongly and immediately turned up the heat and within five minutes the scores were even after they converted a penalty corner to make it 1-1. As the half wore on Harleston once again began to dominate proceedings with Thomas Ridley and David Gilbert showing attacking intent that nearly earned the team a goal. With fifteen minutes to go Harleston had a barrage of short corners but despite their efforts they lacked the potency of their rivals and failed to score from 13 penalty corners over the course of the game. As the game entered the final moments there only looked like one winner with Harleston camped in the opposition half rallying attack after attack. Then, with 1 minute to go the unthinkable happened and a counter attack from St Albans resulted in only their third penalty corner of the game and crucially their second goal: this time from the right castle into the bottom left corner. With 20 seconds left Harleston mounted one more attack but it was all too late and the final whistle blew on not only the game but possibly Harleston’s East Premier League title ambitions.
A devastating way to end a game in which the Harleston guys showed so much heart and determination. Player coach Tim Whiteman commented after the game, “this was an absolutely gutting result and didn’t reflect the effort or quality the lads demonstrate today. It does however illustrate the importance of penalty corners in tight games of hockey and on reflection we didn’t execute our corners as well as our opposition. This performance does however demonstrate huge progress and myself and the club are extremely proud of their efforts today.”
Mens 1st v Cambridge University 1 (Away (L) W 2-1 )
It was a cold and windy day as Harleston, sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops, made the relatively short journey down to Cambridge university. After a professional warm up of cricket and duck duck goose, the boys were raring to go.Harleston yet again started the game slowly with Cambridge piling on pressure early on. Despite this, the defence stayed solid and absorbed all the pressure. As the game descended into chaos, it was actually harleston who took the lead. Under high pressure from Dave Gilbert, the cambridge defender chucked an aerial off the side of the pitch. The resulting sideline was then the basis for an exhilarating attack in which Dave Gilbert and Jack Hobbs bounced the ball around between each other before Gilbert’s shot was deftly volleyed home by Sam Moore.Having taken the lead, Harleston couldn’t find a way to extend their lead despite having multiple chances and this allowed cambridge to slowly claw their way back into the game. Harleston defended resolutely and repelled Cambridge whilst being unable to score themselves, thus leaving the score at 1-0 to the pies at half time.As the teams lined up for the second half, all Dave Gilbert could think about was rinsing the entirety of the Cambridge team from pushback and scoring a screamer. Needless to say this did not happen. Again the game became an end to end affair with chances coming at both ends.It was Cambridge who scored the next goal when a well worked move resulted in one of their forwards finding himself unmarked with only the keeper to beat and slotted home comfortably.Harleston looked to bounce back and had a plethora of chances zip past the back post with no result. However Cambridge also found themselves with chances to score, the only things preventing them from doing so being some brilliant saves by eventual MOTM John Livings and a couple of excellent goal line clearances by Andrew Bedwell.Whilst Harleston expertly kept the Cambridge boys from scoring, the forward line surged forwards desperately looking for a winner. The goal finally came when Archie Winter threw a huge aerial over the top of the Cambridge defence to boyfriend Jack Hobbs who expertly controlled and sliced the ball past the keeper.The sides then returned to their relentless onslaught on the opposing defence but alas there were no more goals to come.The game finished 2-1 to harleston. Despite a very below average performance, the team must be commended on their willpower and determination to pull through and get the result. Next week the pies go against St Albans in a top of the table clash. Definitely not one to miss.
Mens 1st Team v Blueharts 1 (Home (L) W 5-0)
Mens 1st Team Match Report, Sponsored by Dynamic Sports Club.
The Mens First Team Squad started their Saturday morning with a pants only photoshoot to raise awareness of Testicular Cancer. ‘It’s On The Ball’ raises the importance of checking yourself and more information can be found on their website (Link). As expected numerous members of the club came to laugh and mock, but the boys were all in good spirits. All photos can be seen on the website if you dare to look.
This weekend’s action saw game number 9 of the season for the Men’s 1’s. They themselves were looking to get back to winning ways after drawing last week away in Bedford. The squad felt confident going into the game against rivals Blueharts who have struggled to pick up points this season in Premier A.
Harleston started the game strong with early dominance in possession and intensity. With many tactical and formational changes implemented from player coach Tim Whiteman, Pies managed to play with freedom when out-letting and carried the ball forwards with real purpose. This indeed created much chaos for Blueharts who were unable to cope. A fellow Pie Giles Flatt was also unable to cope as he subbed himself on for nobody and Harleston played a small period of time with 12 players on the pitch. This went unnoticed by a blown out Blueharts team.
With magical spells of play Magpies were the team to take an early lead. Dave Gilbert pass don’t dribble approach found himself with plenty of time and space in the opposition circle. He calmly slapped the ball first time over the shoulder of the opposition’s goalkeeper into the ‘top right corner’ of the goal.
Pies then added a quick 2nd, which came from a particular powerful carry along the Blueharts baseline from Sam Moore, he looked up and passed the ball eventually to an unmarked Giles Flatt in a power position were he placed the ball into the goal. 2-0 Magpies. Promoting defenders forward and getting ahead of the ball was instructed by manager Kevin Ridley and this was how Andrew Bedwell found himself with the ball in the Bluehart circle. His effort towards goal was stopped on the line by a body of the Blueharts defender. Penalty-flick was awarded from the umpire. Youngster and England boy Archie Winter capitalize with a powerful push down the centre of the goal after handcuffing blueharts goalkeeper.
Blueharts tried their very best to reply by scoring themselves but found it impossible to get past Harleston’s solid defence. In particular Jonty Gosling showing Coach Whiteman why he shouldn’t be dropped with a stunning first half display. From this counter attacking fencing dual between the two sides, Dave Gilbert added his second for the day and Harlestons 4th by rounding the ball past Bluehart GK in classy style. Magpies went into half time 4 goals to the good.
After an encouraging first half display of hockey magpies looked to mirror that stunning first half performance in a quest to score more. Chances came in enormous fashion in the second half for Harleston from individual such as ‘drag-flicking specialist’ Sam Patterson who didn’t convert past the Blueharts goalkeeper with a number of short corners he had. Simon Hipwell was another who missed three consecutive attempts to score from 3 yards out with the post stopping his final effort.
But alas, Simon made up for his effort with a ‘wonder goal’ reverse stick shot from the top of the circle and made the vital 5th goal for Harleston’s tally.
With this Blueharts knowingly shut up shop and made life difficult for Magpies to play as goal difference maybe something both teams treasure come the end of the season. Harleston closed-out the game in a professional manor and the final whistle blew. Jonty Gosling in particular showed his young talented class right until the very end and was deservingly man of the match. The majority of the team came off the pitch in disappointment after having a handful of chances but were unable to capitalise upon them. However another solid performance and clean sheet builds towards next week’s away fixture against Cambridge University.
Dave (UEA) Gilbert (2FG)
Giles Flatt (1FG)
Archie Winter (1PF)
Simon Hipwell (1FG)
MOM: Jonty Gosling
Mens 1st Team v Bedford 1st (Away (L) D 1-1)
On a brisk, yet beautiful, armistice autumn afternoon Harleston, sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops, started the game brightly but were matched by Bedfords intensity. After a cagey 15 minutes the game turned more chaotic, with both sides seeing players spend time on the naughty step.Although determined, both sides lacked enough quality to break the deadlock and one would be forgiven for thinking that they were watching a ping pong match. It was Magpies, however, who first managed to find the net after excellent play by Archie Winter to show great composure after a corner-breakdown to find unretired Canadian international (52 caps) Elliott Marsh in the perfectly placed power position, guiding the ball phenomenally in and lighting up the game.But alas, Magpies lead was short lived. Bedford replied with a goal of their own coming from an unexpected aerial which wasn’t dealt with by Captain Fantastic Leigh Sitch (3900 Magpies caps). After collecting the ball the attacker powerfully crossed the ball which escaped the outstretched foot of goalkeeper Chris Leek, and found Magpies’ very own Jonty Gosling, who in a charitable frame of mind, diverted the ball into the goal to level the score and make it 1-1 at halftime.After an inspired team talk, Harleston quickly found themselves 2-1 down after some poor defending and missed tackles allowed Bedford’s calm and collected forward to drive the ball base line and goalkeeper Chris Leek, who targeted both man and ball, came away with only man: penalty stroke. Magpies turned to Chris Leek to keep them level but was handcuffed by a bullet that drifted past him into the net. The goal sent Bedford into a 2-1 lead and put the crowd into a state of and ecstasy, which was only broken the reverberations felt all the way back in Harleston from which an angry roar was heard from the veteran 5th team development coach.A spirited response saw Magpies group together to fight against the grain and withstand an aerial bombardment. Magpies managed to get back on to level terms after a rare piece of quality provided by Sam Patterson to find level-headed lumberjack Pete Bale in the most powerful of power positions to sweep home the equaliser.With the score tied at 2-2, temperatures rose on the pitch with both teams once again losing players to cards. Despite Magpies knocking on the door with an intensity which was earlier missing in the game, genuine chances were too few and too far between to find the goal once more. The game finished 2-2 and Magpies retired to the clubhouse to enjoy watching some boxing on the big screen.
Mens 1st Team v Spalding 1 (Home (L) W 13-0)
On a wet and blustery day, Harleston sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops welcomed Spalding to the nest, hoping to continue their good run of form and keep the pressure on league leaders St Albans. Magpies immediately started the game with intent committing players forward and looking for an early breakthrough. It was Spalding though that had the first clear cut opportunity of the game. A hopeful aerial from the back eluded both Leigh Sitch and Tom Sumner in defence and an opportunistic Spalding player raced behind the flapping defenders to set up a one on one with Chris Leek in the Magpies goal. Unwilling to give up his clean sheet so early in the game, Leek showed excellent composure to force the striker wide and then safe the shot with his trailing leg. Magpies responded well and it wasn’t long before Matt Richardson, showing that the best players can play in any position, powered the opening goal past the Spalding keeper. With their tails up, it wasn’t long before the Magpies lead was doubled when Sam Patterson, the self-titled league’s best flicker, added some credibility to his claim with a bulleted drag flick that flew in off the crossbar. Patterson shortly added his second goal as he showed excellent close control in the D to make room for himself to slide in from his reverse. The goals continued to flow for Magpies as Archie Winter got in on the act, first almost knocking the Spalding keeper over with a vicious shot before adding another as he followed up his own short corner with a composed volley into the net. 5-0 to Harleston at half-time.Some spurring words from player-coach Whiteman (adding new meaning to the term ‘Pep-talk’) had Magpies starting the second half eager to continue the good form of the first half. After missing what can only be described as a boat-load of chances in the first half, Simon Hipwell – proving that if you give a monkey enough chances at goal even he will score – finally added his name to the score sheet as he followed in on a short corner. Sam Patterson then completed his hat-trick when he added Magpies’ 7th of the game. At this point in the game Harleston could have taken their foot of the gas but if anything they increased the energy further and continued to push for more goals. The excellent Tom Sumner was commanding from the back, stepping in front of the opposition on numerous occasions to win the ball back and set Magpies off on the attack. Veteran defender Andrew Bedwell could only watch this man-of-the-match performance from the side lines and must be worried at the emergence of this young, athletic talent. With Tom Sumner dictating from the back and the midfield working tirelessly to build attack after attack Dave Gilbert soon added two more goals for the Pies, showing a strikers instinct to be in the right place at the right time. Jake Sewell was quickest to respond after his first shot was saved to pounce on the rebound and ensure that he got a goal to reward his excellent play. Jack Hobbs added two more goals to the Magpies tally as Harleston continued to pile on the pressure, not letting Spalding have any time on the ball. The day’s scoring was completed as Sewell added his 2nd, and Magpies 13th, with an excellent back post tap-in. This rounded off a fantastic performance from the home side and the excellent effort from the whole team leaves them looking to continue the good form next week as they travel to Bedford for what will be a very tightly contested game.
Mens 1st v Letchworth 1 (Away (L) W 5-1)
Harleston sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops travelled to Letchworth for what promised to be a tough encounter. Harleston welcomed Giles Flatt to the squad for the first time this season and welcomed back Elliot Marsh who had recovered from his virus but travelled without veteran defenders Andrew Bedwell and Richard Larkin.With most of the squad arriving in plenty of time Harleston started the game well with Dave Gilbert showing his intent and dribbling ability from the push back on a particularly sticky pitch. Despite starting well Harleston struggled to find the break through that their play and pressure deserved and it was Letchworth who took the lead through a powerful drag flick at a short corner. Harleston however, showed character in a chaotic period of the game and snatched a deserved equaliser when Dave Gilbert bundled the ball home from close range.Harleston were dealt a blow at 1-1when dynamic centre back Elliott Marsh hamstring blew out which meant his afternoon of hockey was done. Despite this Harleston continued to press forward and grabbed their second goal following good play down the left the ball was passed to Pete Bale in the circle who calmly found Tim Whiteman who used all of his international experience to finish powerfully into the top left hand corner of the goal. Harleston continued to battle hard in the first half but at times carried into flat sticks which saw attacks end without a final outcome.At half time coach Whiteman asked for more composure on the ball amongst the chaos and more patterns of play that had lead to ‘the best goal Prem A had ever seen’ from himself.Harleston started the second half well and soon extended their lead when Dave Gilbert grabbed his second of the game from close range. Harleston were now completely in control of the game with the midfielder enforcer Thomas Ridley putting in a man of the match performance he was able to break up many of the Letchworth attacks allowing Harleston to spring forward.Harleston had chances to extend their lead, Simon Hipwell went close after out muscling two defenders in the D his powerful shot was well saved. Archie Winter and Tim Whiteman also went close before Jack Hobbs finished smartly from close range. With the game virtually put to bed Harleston manger Kevin Ridley was able to update the supporters at home with many tweets about the game.Letchworth stepped up their game and tried to press Harleston but the defensive line of Leigh Sitch, Tom Sumner, Jonty Gosling, Sam Paterson and Giles Flatt were able to play out well. To release the pressure Tim Whiteman dropped back to rain some huge aerials down on the Letchworth defence which they couldn’t handle.Following one of these aerials Letchworth were able to counter attack and John Livings had to make two smart saves before feeding the ball into midfield to start a counter attack. The ball eventually fell to Dave Gilbert in the circle who was allowed two attempts to finish and complete his hat-trick much to the joy of his loyal band of travelling fans from Buckinghamshire. The match finished 5-1 with Harleston wrapping up their first away victory of the season.Next week Harleston take on Spalding at home with the push back at 12-00pm. Spalding sit second bottom of the league currently on one point.
Mens 1st Team v Ipswich 1(Home (L) W 8-0)
Saturday was hockey’s very own derby day as Harleston Magpies sponsored by Dynamic Sport took on local rivals Ipswich Hockey Club for bragging rights in the area. Harleston started very brightly and within five minutes had taken the lead with David Gilbert, finishing low into the right corner. Gilbert was at it again moments later sweeping in a one-time shot underneath the keeper after good work on the right from Matthew Richardson. A storm was brewing at Webread but not just the weather, it was clear this Harleston team were determined to put last weeks disappointing result to bed. After more pressure Harleston went 3-0 up before half-time with Tim Whiteman, making in first appearance of the season after 12 years away from the club, lifting the ball over the keeper after excellent work from Jonty Gosling and Archie Winter. Half time: 3-0.
In the second half Magpies remained relentless in their pursuit of a fourth, which was found in an unlikely manner with defender Andrew Bedwell finding the net via a Thomas Ridley pass after a short corner break-down. Harleston continued to pass the ball around confidently, finding space in the circle and after good pressure from Stuart Leate and the excellent Thomas Sumner, Sam Patterson was released to slap in for the fifth. Patterson then added his second and the teams sixth with an accurate finish into the bottom corner. Mid-way through the second half Ipswich went down to ten and Harleston applied further pressure and after an excellent turnover in midfield found Whiteman who scored his second with a back-hand finish low into the near corner. Gilbert, Leate and Bale all went close shortly after and eventually Harleston added a 8th with Archie Winter rounding off a fine game by guiding the ball in at the far post.
Coach Tim Whiteman commented after the game, “after letting a 2-0 goal slip last week we were searching for an immediate reply and we certainly got it. This was a performance we can gain significant confidence from as it demonstrated huge progress from previous weeks efforts, particularly on the ball with our passing game.”
Next week Harleston travel to Letchworth who currently sit mid table in the league. M
Mens 1st Team vs Chelmsford 1st Team (Away (L) D 2-2)
An injury depleted Harleston Magpies team sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops travelled to Chelmsford, full of confidence after an unbeaten start to the season.
Magpies however, were not able to inject some of the intensity that player coach Tim Whiteman had instilled into the team since the beginning of pre season. The first 20 minutes for magpies players was arguably some of the worst of the season.
However, the squad reflected on the values of what it means to be a ‘pie’ and managed to raise the intensity to a respectable standard. This was rewarded by some brilliant build up play down the right hand side through Tom Sumner who appears to be maturing likes fine wine. Simon Hipwell managed to use his assets to block off defenders after a breakdown of play in the D whilst a rip roarer of a strike from eventual MOM Matt Richardson gave Magpies the lead.
After a warning at half time from Player Coach Whiteman, who demanded more from his team, and reflected on the fact he himself needs to engage with the spirit of the game, Magpies were keen to convert more chances and put this game to bed.
Magpies back 4 headed by self coined ‘veterans’ Leigh Sitch and Andrew Bedwell raised the tempo of transfer. This gave subsequent room to new signing Jonty Gosling at left half who linked up with new Vice Captain Thomas Ridley, who linked with the forward line well to win a short corner. A slip flick from Thomas Ridley was deflected off a Chelmsford player and Magpies were 2-0 up.
With 4 minutes to go, Chelmsford weren’t disheartened and chased the game hard. After a magpies turnover and subsequent Chelmsford breakaway resulted in a goal, the home team had theirs tails up. Chelmsford won a shortcorner after full pressing a tired magpies side, which they neatly finished to end the game 2-2.Magpies players felt disheartened after having most of the possession during the encounter. However, the result was probably a fair one with magpies far from their best on the day and knew they are capable of much, much more.
Next week Magpies host a struggling Ipswich in what promises to be a riveting East Anglian derby. Push back is at 2:00pm at Harleston.
Mens 1st Team vs City Of Peterborough 1st Team (Home (L) D 1-1)
It was a grey day at the nest as Magpies welcomed City of Peterborough who were unbeaten heading into the game. The game started with real intensity and Magpies picked up where they had left off the week before with a real dominant showing in the first 10 minutes but not coming away with a goal. The game became very even with chances at both ends. Magpies were first to strike though with a dinked reverse stick ball from Sam Paterson through to Archie Winter who calmly slotted a reverse sweep through the keepers leg from an angle.
The game became slightly more in favour of Peterborough towards the end of the first half and they were soon to equalise through a nice well worked team goal. The game became very heated towards the end of the half and Magpies found themselves unfairly down to 10 when Archie Winter was shown green with a minute to go.
The second half started in the same vein as the first but with Peterborough in attack and as Magpies relieved the pressure through the pairing of Andrew Bedwell and Leigh Sitch the ball found it’s way to Pete Bale who managed to pick out Archie Winter who was fresh on from the card. He was left with a 1v1 and who coolie slotted a reverse from a tight angle to put the pies 2-1 up. The game became back and forward with both teams having chances and Peterborough were next to take the chance from a well worked short corner and a good deflection which ended up going in off a magpies players body.
As the game ticked by the chances started to build up for magpies but they were unable to convert any of them. The game ended 2-2 with Magpies rueing a few chances but they look forward to next week away at Chelmsford next weekend where the aim will be to pick up maximum points.
Mens 1st Team vs Saffron Walden 1st Team (Home (L) W 6-1)
Harleston Magpies Men’s 1s sponsored by Dynamic Sport welcomed Saffron Walden to the Nest on a late September sunny afternoon. The pies welcomed back Will Martin and Tom Sumner to their first league game this season after missing last week due to various commitments.
Harleston started with an intensity that Saffron Walden were shocked with but one they could not match. It wasn’t long till this intensity paid off, Will Martin started a mazy run in midfield beating numerous players then ending with a turn on the base line to deliver the ball across the D to the eagerly waiting magpies attackers. After the cross being rebounded off the keeper, Will Martin once again found it at the end of his stick only to slot the ball in the back of the goal. This excellent intensity continued and was rewarded with Magpies being awarded a short corner, and up stepped Sam Paterson (the self-proclaimed best flicker in the league), who delivered to his name and rifled in the ball into the roof of the net. Magpies continued to assert their dominance with numerous circle entries from long phases of continually possession of the ball, and it wasn’t long till a short corner was won through Jack Hobbs placing the ball on a defenders foot. With Paterson off the pitch UEA Dave stepped up and slotted the ball in-between the goalie and the postman to add to his ever increasing tally for the season.
The intensity began to die down and the Pies allowed Saffron Waldron to string a few passes together, Saffron Walden were then awarded a short due to some poor knowledge of the rules. After an aggressive number one run the Saffron Waldron player glided past him, to send the ball towards the bottom corner, alone for a big left kicker from last weeks Man of the Match John Livings to save it. But the danger wasn’t cleared and a cross into the danger area was ricocheted off a Saffron Waldron stick into the back of the net, 3-1 to Harleston. Magpies responded in the best way possible by going on the attack and winning another short, with the first shot being saved, the ball fell to the feet of Andrew Bedwell, who calmly slotted the ball into an empty goal for his first goal of the season!! The umpire’s whistle blew and at half time it stood at 4-1, after a positive team talk from coach Tim Whiteman, it was the home team that came out once again with the greater intensity. The second half started will with a number of good passes being stringed together starting all the way from the back, after a wide lead from the Birthday Boy Jake Sewell he collected the ball and composed himself to cross the ball into the D to find UEA Dave, who collected it and finished the ball with calmness and composure to score his second of the game.
It wasn’t long once again till Magpies had another short corner, Sam Paterson had the chance for another, but fluffed his flick and the ball ended up at the feet of Simon Hipwell, who topped his shot but it was the bobbling ball that deceived the post man who missed it completely. The pressure continued with numerous short corners being won, giving Patterson the chance to add to his tally, but all his flicks shot over the bar, with some nearly clearing the fence behind. The final whistle then went with the score ending 6-1 to the Magpies, a very good start to the season with the first home game.
Next week the Magpies welcome City of Peterborough who drew 4-4 with Wapping this weekend. The match promises to be very competitive so lots of support welcome please. Push back at 2:00pm.
MOM – Will Martin
Mens 1st Team vs Wapping 1st Team (Away (L) D 1-1)
It was a blustery day at the Lee Valley hockey stadium which saw recently relegated from National League Wapping take on fellow promotion candidates Harleston Magpies sponsored by Dynamic Sport. The magnificent £30 million pound arena situated in the Olympic Park was prepped and ready for what would surely be one of the season’s top clashes. As action got underway it was the home team Wapping asserting their dominance and winning a short corner within the first 5 minutes. However, they were unable to convert and found that in open play, whilst they retained the lion’s share of possession, Harleston’s stalwart defence stood strong. The visitors soaked up the pressure and had several counter attacks that in truth should have been capitalised on, notably coming from some superb work from Dave Gilbert and Jack Hobbs.
The best chance of the half came when the ball broke to Harleston midfielder Pete Bale who showed a deft touch inside the circle to win a penalty corner off of the opposing defenders foot, however advantage was played and Matthew Richardson capitalised with a ferocious shot that went narrowly wide of the back post. The umpire’s whistle blew and at half time it stood at 0-0, Wapping given their possession probably slightly frustrated not to be ahead. However, as the second half started it was Harleston that came out firing. They clearly had a plan to work harder than their opposition and to apply pressure all over the pitch and it paid off as they started winning possession further and further up the pitch.
The game was at fever pitch, both teams working incredibly hard to break the other down but it was the visitors that struck first with new signing Dave Gilbert breaking through with a 1 on 1 before calmly gliding around the flailing keeper and sliding the ball into the net. The game looked done and dusted with Harleston snatching 3 points at a venue which in truth should drop very few points this season. With 30 seconds to go the Wapping centre back took charge and went on a strong run into the Harleston half before riding several tackles and being scythed down by a slightly reckless challenge by Jack Hobbs. The final whistle went and the home team had a short corner to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat. A well worked routine saw a deflection end up in the back of the net and the game ended 1-1. A fantastically played first fixture that means two big teams failed to capitalise and gain ground on their rivals.