Category Archives: mens 2s reports


Mens 2nds v Norwich Dragons 1 (Away (L) W 2-0)

The mens 2nd 11 went into this weekends game vs Norwich Dragons full of confidence after winning 16-0 the previous week.
However a hard working a determined Dragons team made it hard work for the magpies front line to convert their chances. Jude Pottruff’s classy reverse stick finish was the only shot good enough to beat the inspired Dragons goalie.
An edgy second half was settled in the last minute when team veteran Matthew Bensly popped up back post for a tap in. Man of the match went to Morgan Hey Manly, who was making his league debut for the 2nd team.
Magpies need to be better for next weeks top of the table clash against Pellies


Mens 2nd Team v Cambridge University 3 (Home (L) W 5-3)

Magpies went into the game with high confidence having not dropped a point all season and securing a crucial win away to City of Peterborough last week.
Magpies were not hesitant to show the young Cambridge side how they wanted to play the game, and within only 40 seconds, young Sammy Moore opened the scoring with a difficult finish into the bottom corner. Spirits were high as substitutions were made, but Cambridge managed to squeeze one past goalkeeper Leeky off a well worked short corner. But the Magpie’s heads did not drop as they quickly stung back with another well worked goal finished off by Robbie Kinsella. Magpies now looked like scoring many more past a slightly weaker Cambridge side. The defence was kept busy by the quick and nimble Cambridge front three until half time.
After a detailed team talk, Magpies stepped back onto the pitch to begin the second half, once again they didn’t wait too long as Jamie Legg squeezed the ball in off a fantastic shot from a tight angle. Magpies now seemed firmly on top, although a free roaming Cambridge side meant the Magpies midfield had to keep on top of the game as Magpies sat safe on a half court defensive press. Soon intensive Magpies pressure led to a (may I say) fantastic dive from ‘captain’ LB to win magpies a short corner. Tristan Baynes’ drag flick was deflected magically by man of the match Jamie Legg into the top corner. This strengthened the Magpies lead to three goals as the half began to get scrappy. A great piece of individual skill earned Martin Fields a goal as the game entered the final ten minutes. But a determined Cambridge side gained two back before the end. The game finished with ‘the best tackle ever made’ from Dickon Taylor and some faint chances. Magpies remain unbeaten at the top of the league as they prepare for a firmer test away to Bury St Edmunds next week!

Mens 2nd Team Match Report 7th October 2017

Mens 2nd Team vs Dereham 2nd Team (Away (L) W 7-0)

We started off strong with some brilliant link up play, which was finished off by a slick finish from Bensley after just 34 seconds.
We carried on this momentum all throughout the first half. By keeping it simple and working hard off the ball we created 3 more goals before the half time whistle. 1 by Sam and 2 from Marti. We took a slow start to the second half, despite conceding a few short corners our defence stayed strong, and sniped the ball off Dereham’s attack at any given moment.
Our fitness proved vital in the later stages of the game, as we were able to get in and behind the defence for 3 more goals. 1 more from Bensley (set up superbly by Jake) and 2 from Ben.

Mens 2nd Team Match Report 30th September 2017

Mens 2nd Team vs Mens 3rd Team (Away (L) W 11-3)

The highly anticipated seconds vs thirds game was upon us and it didn’t disappoint!

The beginning was very tense with the seconds pushing hard to get the opener however a quick counter from the thirds resulted in a goal with his 2nd bite at the cherry. Not to be disheartened the seconds quickly got back on level terms with a superb team goal with Jamie Legg to finish it off, after getting the first goal the seconds quickly gained an advantage from a penalty won by Stu Field which was then calmly tucked into the top right corner by Marty Fields.

 As the first half was coming to a close the seconds stepped up a gear and quickly put 3 goals away coming from a lovely diving effort from Leggy, a worldy deflection from Sam Moore, and a clinical finish as per usual from Richard Larkin. The half time score 5-1 to the formidable second team!

 After a good performance in the first half the seconds looked to carry on this form into the second half and it didn’t take long for Jamie to complete his hat-trick with a reverse hit into the bottom corner. The floodgates then opened as the seconds went on to score 3 more in quick succession as Leggy picked up another reverse goal, Stu Field grabbed himself a goal with a lovely finish into the net, and a well taken back post goal from Matt Bensly (who unfortunately couldn’t go on to get a triple triple) left the seconds 9-1 up with 15 to go.

 The thirds then decided to turn up and started to play some good hockey which lead to them nicking 2 goals against a rocky seconds defence. Have the thirds managed to find a way back in? No, as was soon found out as the seconds scored 2 well worked counter attacks with the scorers being Jamie Legg to get his fifth for the day and Marty picking up his second. All the seconds had to do now was keep the ball and let the game come to an end however Matt Bensly decided otherwise and put a horrific tackle in to only get shown a yellow card. The final whistle blew with a result of 11-3 to the Men’s seconds!

 MOM – Jamie Legg

 Any thirds looking for counselling after their traumatic loss please call the helpline 113 113!!

Mens 2nd Team Match Report 23rd September 2017

Mens 2nd Team vs UEA 1st Team (Away (L) W 6-0)

The first game of the season went to plan for the two’s with a solid three points. Magpies seemed to the first half with two quick goals from Matt Bensley. Some great work from the Magpies back four made sure that UEA didn’t have much of a chance to grab a goal back before the half was over.

The second half stated off pretty much the same with the Magpies grabbing another goal in under a minute with a lovely strike from Jamie followed by a goal from Greg Jagger, who should have had two goals but decided to miss an open goal (just trying to get Robbie on the score sheet!). Which followed shortly by being sent off for a poor challenge and possibly the reason why I have been set the task of writing this match report!

With great play from the Magpies team, Matt was able to get his hat trick with a very well taken goal. UEA’s team seemed to be defeated and started to make mistakes all across the field. And the final ten minutes saw Magpies running the show with Sam Moore grabbing the last goal of the match.

Well played to everyone in the team and hopefully we can carry this on to next week when we face Magpies thirds in the league.

Man of the match – Matt Bensley

Mens’ 2nds vs Cambridge City

On a bleak February afternoon  Magpies 2’s took the relatively short trip to Cambridge in a game that only three points would do. A brief but intense warmup we went into the start confident of a result. We were moving be ball around well and the back line of Francis, Cumming, Taylor and Herschel-Shorland had very little to trouble them in the early passages of play. A timely substitution and a quick thinking sideline taken by Martin Fields found Matt Bensly in acres of space and once he’d taken five touches to control the ball dispatched it calmly into the bottom corner. Cambridge continued to press well and a broken down short corner which Leek cleared well went straight to a Cambridge player who quickly sent back into the D leaving Leek stranded with nothing he could do for their tap in. Half time came and Magpies were confident that their hard work was going to be rewarded. We went into the second half with a positive intensity and pressed well winning the ball in the Cambridge half. Some good skills form Tom Hughes and a bit of faffing allowed the ball to bobble to Tris Baynes who with all his years experience slotted the ball into the bottom corner. Some tense passages of play kept magpies clinging on for the points and it was a few minutes from the end when Magpies pushed Cambridge back to their centre half and a roaming Rob Kinsella went on the offensive and the back pass to the keeper was then kicked to Kinsella just outside the 25, who then surged at the D rounded the keeper and then dispatched the ball into the top left corner to seal all three points. Magpies can take the positivity into next week’s home game against Long Sutton.

Men’s 2nds Vs East London

With almost 2 months since their last league game, the make-up of the second team changing room in East London looked somewhat different to how it looked prior to Christmas. Tom Hughes and Pete Bale both stepped up to complete the first team line up, while Jack Hobbs and Goalkeeper George Baldwin had school commitments. Vincent Leruth was providing Brando with some Belgian flare and Sol Barker had a Uni open day; so returning to the field of play were Martin Fields, James Osbourne and Duncan Roberts, with Declan Cobb taking the number 1 spot. It was evident that hockey had been just a distant thought for many weeks, when at 8 in the morning LB got a phone call from Dave explaining that he’d be 10 minutes late having left the house without his stick. Ad was late as per usual and eventually we set off for London.

Misunderstanding was at the forefront of our first game of the New Year. On arrival LB calmly announced he’d forgotten the balls and following a rather relaxed warm up 5 minutes into the game we were sill two players short. Control, passes and fitness were all far from perfect but eventually things started to settle down. Magpies were on the back foot for much of the first half, and despite weathering the storm it was evident that it was not going to be an easy game. The press looked unorganised at times and the back four of Ima, Dickon, Jonty and Adam were being pulled from side to side endlessly. Deservedly East London took the lead halfway through the half, when an unmarked East striker picked up the ball well within the D, slotting it passed Declan’s left foot. East London added a second to their tally in a similar manner, this time passing it round the goalkeeper for an open goal tap in. The half time score, 2-0.

The second half started much more positively, LB had now had the chance to explain the press to the full 12 players and all players had managed to find their touch again, within reason. Ozzy had a couple of good opportunities which he was unlucky not to convert, as did Marty Fields who having been sent clean through took a wild swing at the ball – missing it entirely. Just as it looked as if a goal was on the cards for Magpies, the East left back excellently picked a Dave through ball, setting a counter attack which saw East London further increase their lead. The Magpies cause wasn’t helped when Dickon ‘slightly’ missed judged a tackle, seeing him have a 2 minute sit down – then just as we were returned to full strength a rather angry looking Matt Bensly rugby tackled someone from behind – another sit down. East London did add another to their tally in the dying moments – the final score 4-0.

Next week the 2’s are at home to mid-table Bishops Stortford, looking to pick up where they left of before Christmas.

MOTM: Jonty Herschel-Shorland

Mens’ 2’s vs Blueharts

9 points apiece at the bottom of the table, Magpies travelled to Blueharts this weekend, who earlier in the season beat Harleston 3-0 at The Nest. With this in mind, the 2’s were determined to finish the first half of the season on a high, and after last week’s fantastic performance away to League leaders Wapping, Magpies were keen to pull it out of the bag. Sol Barker and Vincent Leruth were reintroduced to the line-up, in place of Duncan and James.

After the usual away match stopover and pre-match coffee, Harleston arrived in good time and got a solid warmup under their belt. Attacking with the sun behind them, Magpies made a good start to the game. Both sides enjoyed spells of possession, and created chances at both ends before things started to settle. The breakthrough came from the first short corner of the game, when Tris flicked low and hard to the right of the keeper, the perfect start. Blueharts were not to be put off, and the back four of Jonty, Imma, Dickon and Adam were able to withstand a multitude of short corners – with George making numerous great saves. Magpies were then able to double their lead, with an excellent long corner move. Tris, taking the ball quickly, played an overlapping ball to Jonty on the left flank who narrowly picked out Bensly at the near post, touching it onto Vince for his first 2nd team goal. The score remained 2-0 until half-time, with both sides creating chances.

The second half underway and Blueharts came out of the blocks racing, setting a high and aggressive press. This was not to last for long though, as with barely 5 minutes played of the second half Tris picked up the ball midway into the opposition’s half, and once up to speed there was nothing to stop him; having beaten ‘at least’ two players he rifled home from the top of the D into the bottom corner – was a hat-trick on the cards? This question was soon answered. After withstanding a spell of pressure Matt Bensly superbly ran the baseline and won a short corer. Tris then scored what, in my opinion, was his best flick yet – rifling it into the top left corner to complete his hat-trick in style. Sol Barker then came close to scoring before the keeper smothered the ball, and conscious that there were still 15 minutes to play the game became stretched. Unfortunately Magpies were not able to keep a clean sheet, as with just seconds to go Blueharts finally converted a short corner, but this didn’t dampen the delight at a 4-1 win!

MOTM – Tris Baynes

Mens’ 2’s vs Wapping

With a trip to the Olympic Park in sight, Magpies set off for London with the return of Jack Hobbs and, for the second week in a row, Duncan Stevens and James Osborne, to take on promotion hopefuls Wapping.

From the outset Magpies knew it was going to be a tough game and, by with standing early pressure, gradually found their feet. Chances were being created however, and occasional breaks saw many of the forward line well within the opponents half. Unfortunately, Magpies, with an already small squad, were reduced to just 12, when Ad Lascelles stumbled awkwardly on his ankle, rolling it and putting himself out of action – for moments the bench was unaware of this, and Wapping were posing a real threat on goal, but the back three were able to weather the pressure before reinforcements arrived. It was only a matter of time before a very strong Wapping side were able to take the lead, when a Wapping striker was able to lose his marker to deflect the ball past goalkeeper George (who played excellently all game). This was deserved, but it did not take long for Pies to draw level. With about 25 minutes on the clock Matt Bensly stole the ball in the offensive D, which resulted in the ball falling kindly for Rocket who fired home from close range, bringing things level again. Superb hockey from both sides meant that the first half closed 1-1 and Magpies could take a rest knowing they were doing their job.

With the score at 1-1, an exciting second half was to ensue. Both sides continued to pose attacking threats and chances went begging at both ends. Although Wapping enjoyed much larger spells of possession, and did exploit their pace up front, Magpies continued to create chances on the counter. A fantastic aerial from Jack Hobbs saw Rocket beyond the Wapping back line and with no one to beat for pace, he momentarily looked lost. Soon well inside the Wapping D, and after almost taking it around the keeper, his shot form a tight angle was excellently saved. This was to be as close as Magpies came to taking the lead. For with only 30 seconds on the clock the umpires insisted that a Wapping short corner was retaken, and having held the hosts to 1-1 for the majority of the game, a well-executed drag flick was to end those Magpies’ hopes.

Though of course the boys were disappointed, nothing was to detract from what was probably the best performance thus far, which will play in Magpies favour next week when they take on Blueharts, who beat Magpies at home 3-0.

Men’s 2’s VS Upminster

Magpies Men’s 2nds 6 Upminster 1

A hat-trick of home wins was certainly on the cards for the 2’s this week, and looking to put last week’s poor performance to local rivals Norwich City behind them, the boys welcomed the addition of James ‘Ozzie’ Osborn and Duncan (Rocket) Steven replacing Sol Barker and Jack Hobbs, as they took on Upminster.

A solid warm-up was reflected in a fantastic opening few minutes of the game which set the tempo for the rest of the match. The ‘just reward’ was soon earned when returnee ‘Ozzie’ latched onto the end of a Tris Baynes flick to deflect it past the keeper. And not long later Robbie wrote his name on the score sheet with a goal in his first appearance for the 2’s this season. A well-weighted ball into the D found RK perfectly, who managed to finely squeeze it between the keeper’s legs. The score remained 2-0 until half time and Upminster had only posed a small threat down the flanks, which was easily snuffed out by a well organised press.

The second half was soon underway, and with the positive words of captain LB ringing in their ears, and a handful of supporters on the side line, Magpies needed no time to settle – picking up where they left off. Very soon a short corner was awarded following a Matt Bensly run, and with Tris Baynes stood at the top of the D there was only ever going to be one out-come – rifling it past the keeper. Top goal scorer Tris added another to his name, making it 4-0 before the visitors were able to pull one back. A goal that definitely deserves a mention, deliberate or not, which took a perfect deflection into the side netting of George’s goal. Unfazed by this, Magpies continued to push for more, and never looking like losing, Tom Hughes scored his second of the season, putting it past the keeper before finding himself face first in the water. Topping off a perfect afternoon Robbie was generously slipped a ball at the top of D, who, after carrying it a bit closer, coolly flicked it past the keeper.

The final Score, 6-1! And next week Magpies travel to Wapping 2nds, who beat Blueharts 2nds 8-0 on Saturday and are now second in the league, so a good performance will be vital.

Men’s 2’s VS Norwich City

With both teams struggling for points at the bottom of the table the 2’s travelled to Norwich City for their local derby, with an air of confidence following their win at home last weekend. Magpies were only a point above their opposition with 6 points and as such no one needed telling that this was a crucial tie.

Wind, rain and floodlights are never a good sign at 2:30 in the afternoon and unfortunately this was only foreshadowing what was to come. Not long after push back an unmarked City striker was able to convert a back post deflection following a good spell of possession. Harleston were not doing themselves any favours, and when they did get the ball it was turned over all too fast. However, as per usual Tris Baynes was able to add his name to the score sheet, after converting a well won penalty flick by Birthday boy Jack Hobbs. Not able to settle having drawn level, City were able to break down the press and convert a short corner very well. The half time score was only 2-1, and after a re-shuffle of the press Pies were ready to take the game to Norwich.

Unfortunately, Norwich added another to their tally, when a misconnected defence to midfield pass fell kindly to a Norwich striker, who finished coolly. Magpies didn’t let their heads drop. And after starting to move the ball well, link up play down both flanks started to stretch the City defensive set up. Matt Bensly and Sol Barker created a handful of chances by driving the baseline and after winning a short corner Tris rifled one into the top of the net. 3-2. Leaving it late seems to be a recurring problem for Magpies, and by pushing for the equaliser they exposed themselves at the back, conceding a further 2 goals. The final score, a 5-2 loss.

Men’s 2′ vs City of Peterborough

Despite LB’s best efforts an early meet rapidly turned into a manic warm up in the last few moments before push back. Our sluggish start- capitulated by the club captain forgetting his shirt- transpired into a nervy first few minutes. Against the run of play Magpies took the lead thanks to a darting run from the skipper being neatly converted by Tom. This was the start of the Magpies dominance, although as the half went on play became scrappier and chances became few and far between.
At half time, the Skippers words were firm to ensure work rate remained high. Dominance continued deep into the second half but with little end product. Peterborough began to assert themselves once more on the game and equalised from a sloppy piece of defending at a short corner. The boys continued to fight and reaped the reward when Matt Bensley- Goal machine- smashed home in acrobatic style from a Tris Baynes drag flick. Pies successfully held out strong pressure toward the end, even when down to ten men; to record the second win of the season.
Confidence was gained from what was overall a very positive game of hockey.

Match report – Men’s 2nds – Saturday 29 October 2016

Bourne Deeping 2 Magpies’ Men’s Two’s 1

Riding on the wave of positivity from last week’s win at home to Cambridge City 3s, the Men’s Two’s travelled to Bourne Deeping, who drew last weekend. Magpies travelled without Jake Sewell (who is awaiting news on his broken thumb) and Jack Hobbs (on holiday), but welcomed the introduction of Sol Barker – making his third appearance for the twos.

Unfortunately Magpies started the game as they warmed up – slowly! And although Pies created a handful of chances they were unable to reap the necessary reward. By committing an extra man to their front line Bourne Deeping ruffled the feathers of the Magpies defence – and in the end they were able to convert a short corner. With an injection of life after conceding, the two’s started to play their own hockey, and with a re-organisation at the back the side entered the break 1-0 down.

Wise words from captain LB saw Harleston start the second half considerably stronger. The press looked much better and dramatic dives from Baler, a close contender for Man of the Match, meant that Magpies were able to steal the ball back on the halfway line. Both Matt and Tom were unlucky not to latch onto fantastic balls into the D from Tris and Sol, and as an equaliser was looking likely Magpies were caught short at the back, conceding a counter attack goal. With less than 5 on the clock Tris rifled a short corner passed the keeper’s head, only to discover it had been disallowed, and the proceeding debate led to the dismissal of key defender Dickon. A period of shaky play ensued, and if it wasn’t for George in goal no doubt the score would have been much higher. A consolation goal was to come, when Tris threaded a lovely ball through to Matt Bensly, who kept his head and took it round the keeper. The final score, 2-1.

Next week the two’s welcome the City of Peterborough 3rds, who are two points behind Magpies in the league – so points will be vital!

MotM: George Baldwin

Mens’ 2nds Vs Cambridge City 3’s

This week Magpies welcomed the Cambridge City 3’s, and with Myles making his Prem A debut, Simon Hipwell stepped into the side for his first Second team game of the season. The earlier meet time of 12.45 meant that Captain Lawrence Baynes had time to run through a new and improved system, and the side were able to get out onto the pitch in good time.

After an intense warm-up, Magpies started the game well, and enjoyed long spells of possession. A strong and aggressive press set-up on the half way line by Magpies meant that little was getting through, and solid tackles from the back four assured that what was getting through wouldn’t become a threat. Overall Magpies dominated the first half, and created many unconverted chances. Great leads from Matt, Jake, and Hobbs allowed Dave and Jonty to thread balls down the line, and good overlapping link-up play between the midfield three created yet more chances. Pies were dealt an early blow though when Jake went off injured – and a later trip to hospital confirmed that he had broken his thumb. At half-time the score was 0-0, but a breakthrough was looking likely for Pies.

With the second half underway Harleston stepped up a gear, pressing high up the pitch and winning the ball deep in the Cambridge half. It didn’t take long for the break to come, when Toms’ shot was first saved, and Hobbs’ rebound was cleared off the line by a defenders body – an inevitable flick was given. Having converted two strokes already this season (but none as crucial as this one) Tris stepped up to the mark. Never looking like he’d miss, he powered the ball to the right of the keeper. 1-0 Harleston. Not long later, a fantastic ‘no look pass’ from LB found Goal Scorer Tris, who got his second of the game and 9th of the Season, by rifling it between the keeper’s legs on his reverse. With moments to go Cambridge were gifted an opportunity back into the game, but a world class save from goalkeeper George ensured a clean sheet. The final score 2-0.

With 3 points now on the board, the 2’s travel to Bourne Deeping next weekend, where they will look to continue where they left off yesterday.

MOTM: Jack Hobbs

Mens’ 2nds VS Bishop’s Stortford

After a very positive performance at home to East London last weekend, the Magpies second team travelled to Bishop’s Stortford this week, still in search of their first points of the season. The only change saw the reintroduction of Jonty Herschel-Shorland, who was away last week, replacing Imma (unavailable).

Harleston started the game the better side, and created a number of chances. Within minutes Magpies were ahead, when a clever flick on from Tris found Mylo one-on-one with the keeper, who coolly dummied a shot before taking it round the keeper, slotting it home from a tight angle. The positivity within the side was evident and despite shipping two goals, Harleston continued to play good hockey. Approaching halftime Magpies started to lose their shape and although Magpies entered the break 2-1 down, the side knew that they were very much still in the game.

Harleston started the second half as they finished the first and Bishop’s Stortford scored first, but Pies were soon able to retake a hold of the game. Tris was able to convert his 3rd short corner of the season midway through the half and just as Magpies were looking as if they might find an equaliser, a defensive misunderstanding resulted in the Stortford striker getting through on goal making it 4-2. It soon became 5 for the home side and although Tris scored a penalty flick the home side took advantage of their lead, winning a short corner that Dickon was very unlucky not to save. The final score 6-3, but many positives are to be taken from the game.

Next week magpies are at home to Cambridge City, who lost 5-3 yesterday.

Magpies 2s vs Lindum 1s

This was the 2’s second league game of the season against Lindum hockey club at home. Magpies wanted a win this week after an interesting game against Dereham the week before, so were ready to work hard. With a good warm up and Sam Tea making the pitch just in time for the start, Magpies started the game strong with lots of great movement off the ball playing up the pitch. The midfielders Pheobe, Alice and Katie Woollatt all worked hard tracking back to help the defence and then with help of Lucy Chubbock, who worked hard in the middle they helped the ball work its way up the pitch for the forwards to create some great play upfront. This was a great start to the game, and with the defence being as strong as usual from Shev and Charlotte Seaman, Lindum were kept out of the game. However this was not to last as with a quick break from Lindum resulting in a short corner, they managed to score their first goal of the game. However magpies battled on and with some practice on Tuesday night Magpies had some great penalty corner routines lined up for the game, which was shown when Lauren Mickleburough who came down to help us out scored the first goal. The ball was injected quickly and then slipped to Alice Woollatt who made a fantastic strike onto the goalie where Lauren was waiting and managed to deflect it up into the top of the net, meaning Magpies were drawing 1-1. Magpies worked relentlessly trying to score a second goal however the score stayed the same and the first half finished 1-1.

With a good team talk at half time the 2’s started the second half with the aim of getting another goal. They worked hard with Jess Howland, making some great hits down the middle of the pitch, to Laura Tibbenham who made some skilful runs up front using her speed to get round the players. However they were unsuccessful, and didn’t manage to score, even though they had lots of opportunities from short corners created by Sophie Child and Amy de Selincourt who worked hard up front, giving the oppositions defenders lots of work. The team pressed high and with more quick breaks Lindum started putting Jade to the test who kept her cool and made some great saves. However, Magpies managed to keep Lindum to one goal with Plumb in defence for her first game back after injury who worked hard in the middle of the pitch with Jess Howland keeping the ball out of the goal, meaning the game ended in a frustrating draw 1-1.

For next week with another home game at 12:00 against Norwich Dragons 2’s, which will undoubtably be a tough match, the girls need to work on player positioning which will hopefully help them to secure three more points.

Lady of the Match: Alice Woollatt, who worked hard all game in midfield beating many players with the ball using her fast skills.

Match Report – Mens 2nds Vs Shefford and Sandy

This week the Magpies Mens 2nd team travelled the long journey to Shefford and Sandy – who last weekend beat Bourne Deeping 4-1 away from home. The team welcomed debutant Jack Hobbs into the midfield and Adam Lascelles back into defence; and after last week’s positive performance at the nest, Magpies were ready to put some points on the board.

Unfortunately Magpies started slowly, and unforced errors all over the pitch resulted in unnecessary turnovers that put Harleston under pressure. Unlike last week however, Magpies were able to break the deadlock first. A well worked midfield move allowed Tom Hughes to thread a fantastic ball in behind the Shefford and Sandy defence, for Matt Bensly to trip over and concede possession! Not to be defeated, quick thinking allowed him to regain possession immediately and slot it through the keeper’s legs from a tight angle – giving Magpies the lead within 5 minutes. This turn of fortune didn’t last long though, and the home side soon found the goal. A back post deflection and well worked short corner routine saw the hosts 2-1 up, who before the break were able to add another to their tally. The half-time score, 3-1.

Determined to take the game to Shefford and Sandy, Magpies started the second half brightly, and pressed much higher up the pitch. This change in dynamics allowed Hobbs time in final third to pick out an excellent ball into the D, for Tris Baynes to calmly deflect under the keeper. One goal simply wasn’t enough for Tris, and moments later a short corner allowed him to rifle a drag flick into the roof of the net. At this point a winner was looking likely for Pies, but questionable umpiring meant that Adam Lascelles soon found himself having a sit down for a shoulder barge. This wasn’t the end of the controversial decisions, as no sooner had Adam returned to the field of play goal keeper George Baldwin was shown a yellow card for taking out an attacking player one on one. After checking the rules, a lot, with the umpires Dickon bravely stepped up to the mark of kicking back; but was unable to save the resulting penalty stroke. Shefford and Sandy took full advantage of having an extra man, and very quickly converted a penalty corner.

Magpies were unable to find the net again, despite the best efforts of Jake and Jack who led tirelessly all game. The final score 5-3.

Mens’ 2nds – Match Report vs Blueharts (17/09/16 )

Harleston Magpies 2’s began their season at home to Blueharts, a game that they knew would be tough but well within their capability – and making a good first impression on the league was vital. The 2nds, captained by Lawrence Baynes, were coming off a brace of friendlies and welcomed the introduction of George Baldwin, Tom Hughes and Vincent Leruth. Pies started the game well and pressed high up the pitch, with fantastic spells of play that allowed Myles, Jake, Bensly and Richard to exploit the gaps in behind the Blueharts defence. Opportunities continued to come and Magpies were able to win a multitude of Penalty Corners but they were unable to capitalise, which allowed Blueharts to find their feet in the game. Goalkeeper George was soon called into action, making a fantastic save at the top of the D to prevent a counter attack goal. He continued to control his defence, comprised of Ima, Dickon, Tris and Jonty who transferred the ball well to stretch the opposition’s front three, and after a positive first half the score was still 0-0. Again Magpies started the half well, reverting to a half-court defence which meant they could control the ball nicely. Attacking circle entries soon started coming as Pete Bale wriggled around the Blueharts defence and a Myles King drag flick was deflected onto the post by Matt. Unfortunately it was Blueharts who drew first blood – after the ball was given away high up the pitch leaving Magpies exposed at the back. This spurred them on and soon after they had added a further two goals to their tally, through another open play goal and a penalty corner. If it wasn’t for George at the back the score could have been much higher, and as such he was deservedly awarded Man of the Match. The final score 3-0, a tough loss to take for the boys – who will need to keep their heads high if they are to win away from home next weekend.

MoM: George Baldwin