Saturday 24th January
Magpies 6s v Ipswich 3s
The reverse fixture saw these two sides have very different afternoon, with Ipswich running out with a battering win of 11-1. The same nearly happened in this fixture. We made the mistake of scoring first again, which only seemed to wake sleeping tigers. By half time it was 6-1 to Ipswich.
This is not to take away the individual skill of James Webster upfront for Magpies who opened the match scoring with a well placed, powerful reverse stick shot. James has been a very useful addition to the 6th team this year, long may his contributions continue.
Ipswich were fielding, in the words of one of their players, “their strongest 11 of the season”, and apparently, a certain ‘mr.cook’ was playing his first game for Ipswich since September. Needless to say, his brilliance was by far and away too good for Magpies.
Ipswich added 4 more goals to their first half total, and Magpies, added another reverse stick shot goal, again from James Webster. 10-2 final score. It did highlight a slight error of judgement in Magpies HC decision making, in my opinion. Why, when the scoreboard was added the the sand pitch this season, does it not have the facility for double figure scoring? In this day and age of fast, flowing, free scoring games, I feel it is a necessity, especially when the Mens 6th team are playing :).
Steve in goal yet again played well, keeping the score much lower than it could have been. He remembers Ipswich having 31 shots in the away fixture. I believe it was a similar amount in this meeting.
MOTM; James Webster
Reporter; Tom ‘magic’ Miller
“Legends are made like this!”
Saturday 31st January
IES 4s v Magpies 6s
Driving to Ipswich, knowing what weather had been forecast, we were all wondering if any hockey would actually be played. Temperatures were of extreme coldness. Before I even ventured out to the pitch, I stood up in the bar watching another match being abandoned due to the snow. Going outside to join the rest of the team, the snow just got heavier, and snow stuck to hockey balls being rolled around the pitch. The Umpires decided to wait for the snow to stop.
The snow did cease, and play started. Almost immediately the snow started again. However it was more sleet&rain than snow. The effect of 24 people running around the pitch seemed to be enough to assist with the melting process of one of the ‘smurf’ pitches which IES Hockey Club now have the use of.
Once all players had got used to the sub zero temperatures, normal hockey was played. IES took the lead from open play after a double save from keeper Steve rebounded kindly to an IES player for an easy tap in.
Much to the credit and determination of the Magpies team, and quite against the run of play. Skipper Eric found himself with the ball at the top left of the D and with the out rushing IES keeper, Eric skilfully hit a reverse stick shot into the goal. 1-1, and with it, the last 3 goals the 6th team have scored have all been reverse stick shots!
IES took the lead again about 10minutes after the Magpies equaliser. From a stupidly conceded (Hamish!) short corner, IES regained the lead. Half time was one of the briefest breaks I have ever had during a hockey match, about 2minutes. Most players just wanted to keep moving to keep warm.
The 2nd half resumed in a similar vein at the first, with Magpies spending 90% of the time defending. However, with about 10 minutes to go, an assist from Eric to Vice Captain Joe, perfectly weighted in speed, allowed joe to pass the ball past the on rushing IES keeper, to draw the scores level at 2-2.
Magpies had two other golden opportunities to score again. First Jon Wells, having made a mazy run beating 4 players, lobbed the keeper, only for the skilful above head stick intervention of an IES defender to stop the goal. Roger Kent also had a good shot saved, and after good harassing from Marc Ash, the ball was passed back to Roger for another go. Unfortunately, the pass hit his body in helping him control the pass, so the move went no further.
With less than 2 minutes remaining, the whistle blew awarding IES a short corner, seconds before they put the ball in the back of the net. The umpire then changed his mind awarding the goal. However after immediate protests from the Magpies players, the umpire reversed his decision again, going back to his original short corner decision. Two short corners later, the final whistle blew and Magpies ‘smash and grab’ was complete against the joint 2nd in the league team. A brilliant team effort in horrendous weather. A similar performance will be required again next week away at the league leaders.
A quick mention to a brilliant reaction save from Steve, the ball was fired into the D by IES, their striker stuck out his stick which diverted the ball heading for the bottom corner, making Steve pull off a remarkable save with his outstretched right foot.
Magpies Mens 6s fact; in the last season and a half, whilst being the bottom mens side at the club, this is the first league match which we have drawn!!
MOTM; Jon Wells, Roger Kent, Andy Smith, Steve Halliley.
Reporter; Tom ‘magic’ Miller