Category Archives: mens Vets reports

Report – Men’s O50s – Sunday 12 March 2017

Harleston Magpies Men’s O50s 1 Reading Men’s O50s 4

Magpies knew they were going to have a tough game against a younger Reading side including several former full internationals in this England Hockey Cup semi-final clash and so it proved. The home team included Jon Aldridge and Bob Skinner both defying injuries and they and the rest of the squad, including goalkeeper Andy Palmer who made some good saves, fought hard but class told in the end. Magpies were unable to retain possession unlike their opponents who scored two goals in each half before a second half consolation by Jon Wells. This defeat should take nothing away from Magpies who have once again had a good run in this event under team manager Peter Dolton. Reading, who beat Magpies in the 2015 final, now play Ben Rhydding.

Match report – Men’s Over 40s – Sunday 12 February 2017

Cambridge City Men’s O40s 2 Harleston Magpies Men’s O40s 2

Magpies won 4-2 on penalty strokes

Magpies are through to the semi-finals of England Hockey’s Men’s Over 40s Cup after this narrow and hard-earned win over a Cambridge City side which played better as the game progressed. Magpies seemed in total control of the game at the Cambridge University ground when Matt Brand put them ahead from close range on five minutes and Gavin Cole added a second from further out three minutes later.

magpies men over 40s
Back row L to R. David Francis, Eric Davy, Andy Smith, Dan Kinsman, Gavin Cole, James Smith, Gus Wilkinson, Murray Graham (GK) Front row L to R. Martin Reader, Stuart Peters, Matt Brand, Tristan Baynes (captain), Bill Williams, James Stacey

But City gradually came into the game and they pulled a goal back at a penalty corner in the twenty-second minute. Magpies responded with their best move of the game only to see the resulting shot go just wide of the post. Shortly afterwards Eric Davy cleared the ball off the line to ensure that the visitors went into half time with a narrow lead.

City dominated much of the second half but Magpies kept them at bay due to some impressive tackling, notably a double effort by Andy Smith, some good saves by goalkeeper Murray Graham and a goal line clearance by Stuart Peters.

With four minutes to go Magpies forced a penalty corner but their shot was blocked and in seconds the ball was in the net at the other end for a deserved City equaliser.

In the penalty stroke decider Magpies were indebted to calm conversions by Matt, Gavin, David Francis and the clincher by captain Tristan Baynes after a good save by Murray and later a post had denied City.

Match report – Men’s O40s – Sunday 4 December 2016

Luton Town Men’s O40s 0 Magpies’ Men’s O40s 6

Both sides showed attacking intent in the opening stages of this EH Cup Round 3 game before Magpies began to get on top with a flurry of penalty corners. On twenty minutes their routine bore fruit with Matt Brand slipping the ball to skipper Tristan Baynes – who was in commanding form in midfield before tearing a hamstring in the second half – and his shot crept into the net off a defender’s stick. Shortly afterwards Magpies’ goalkeeper Murray Graham made a good save to prevent an equaliser. Approaching half time Matt found Gavin Cole with a well-judged through pass and Gavin finished the move in typically clinical fashion. A minute later Gus Wilkinson won a penalty corner at which Tristan slipped the ball to Gavin to make it 3-0 at the break.

Magpies continued to dominate in the second half and Roger Kent tapped in at the right post following a pass from Tristan. A few minutes later Gus fired in the fifth before Luton had their best spell of the game during which Murray made two more class saves. Roger completed the scoring from a pass from Matt who was enjoying himself in a forward role. It was another tap in by Roger making the total distance from goal of his two shots no more than eighteen inches but goal scoring is all about being in the right position at the right time as someone once said! This was an excellent and controlled performance by the Magpies’
‘eleven’ who will be hoping for some of their injured team-mates to be fit, including Tristan, for the quarter-finals to be played on Sunday 12 February.

MD

Match Report – Men’s O50s – Sunday 27 November 2016

City of Peterborough Men’s O50s 1 Magpies Men’s O50s 3

Magpies looked the better team in the opening stages of this EH Cup Round 3 game but they were unable to make the breakthrough against a very steady defence. Peterborough gradually came into the game and they were rewarded with the opening goal in the twentieth minute when they took advantage of a rare lapse in the Magpies’ defence in which goalkeeper Andy Palmer was in good form throughout the game. Magpies were back on level terms within two minutes when skipper Jon Aldridge, with a typical piece of skill, worked his way into a shooting position and his effort was deflected home by Roger Kent. Three minutes later Phil Cobbald fired them ahead at their first penalty corner.

Seconds after the break Phil threaded a pass through to Roger who was in acres of space and he skilfully rounded the keeper before shooting into the empty net. Andy Caston then went close to adding a fourth for Magpies. By now Phil was off the pitch with his leg injury troubling him again and for most of the rest of the game Magpies, who were already without Andy Law following surgery and with player-manager Peter Dolton confined to bench duties through injury, were forced back on defence but thanks to some excellent tackling and a friendly left post they were able to thwart the best efforts of the home forward line. Unfortunately Clyde Camburn took a nasty blow on a thumb in the closing minutes and he went to the nearby hospital with a suspected break*. In a generally sound Magpies’ defence Eric Davy, having graduated to the team this season, was again his ever-reliable self in this good win. The quarter-finals will be played on Sunday 19 February.

*Update – not broken luckily but heavily stitched. Best wishes Clyde.

MD

Match report – Men’s O40s – Sunday 13 November 2016

Magpies Men’s O40s 5 City of Peterborough Men’s O40s 0

After a bye in the first round Magpies were making their debut in the EH Cup when entertaining City of Peterborough at a bright and dry Weybread. Remembrance Sunday was marked with traditional respect before the game.

In various states of fitness and match practice Magpies were soon into their stride and by the time the majority of spectators had left the clubhouse they were ahead when Neil Toulson brought back memories of his first team days with a neat finish. Soon afterwards Gavin Cole added a second and it seemed that the home side were on their way to a handsome victory. But Peterborough had other ideas and they gradually came into the game and approaching half time they had their best spell of the game forcing Steve Halliley in the home goal to make a series of fine saves.

After the break Magpies reasserted their dominance moving to a comfortable 5-0 win with a goal by Matt Brand and further efforts by Neil and Gavin.

For the record the Magpies’ squad on this notable occasion was –

Tristan Baynes (captain), Steve Halliley, Eric Davy, James Smith, Andy Smith, Phil Cobbald, Bob Skinner, Jerry Blackmore, David Francis, James Stacey, Matt Brand, Martin Reader, Neil Toulson, Gavin Cole, Angus Wilkinson.

In the next round Magpies are away to Luton Town on Sunday 4 December.

Photos courtesy of Pat Leate

David Francis
David Francis
James Stacey
James Stacey
Martin Reader
Martin Reader
Neil Toulson (with ball) and Matt Brand
Neil Toulson (with ball) and Matt Brand
Phil Cobbald
Phil Cobbald
Tristan Baynes
Tristan Baynes

Match report – Men’s O50s – Sunday 6 November 2016

Magpies Men’s O50s 3 Ipswich Men’s O50s 1

Harleston Magpies are through to the 3rd round of England Hockey Men’s Over 50’s Cup after this home win over old adversaries Ipswich. The teams were well matched in a goalless first half although Ipswich, with Chris Palmer prominent in midfield, had a goal disallowed for an infringement in the circle. They were then denied by two good saves by Andy Palmer in the Magpies’ goal. The home team took control of the game after the break when captain Jon Aldridge scored with a spectacular shot into the top corner of the Ipswich net. By now Ipswich were tiring and right midfielder David Blackmore put Magpies further ahead with a firm shot from the edge of the circle. Roger Kent made the game safe for Magpies after good work by Andy Caston. Ipswich pulled a goal back five minutes from time when the prolific Andy Cook converted a penalty corner. Magpies’ player-manager Peter Dolton unfortunately had to miss the game due to a family illness.

Match report – Men’s O50s – Sunday 16 October 2016

Men’s 050s England Hockey Cup Round 1 – Sunday 16 October 2016

Bury St Edmunds 3 Harleston Magpies 3
Magpies Won 4-3 on strokes

It is good to know that this group keep maintaining their youthfulness if only by hiding a team mate’s shirt before the game and laughing at the poor victim’s panic.

Making their season’s debut were Jon Wells, Roger Kent and Clyde Camburn who all arrived professing they had a variety of ailments while Magpies were lacking captain Jon Aldridge, Ali Williamson and injured marque signing Andy Law.

Magpies played some classy possession in the first half but lacked accuracy in the final pass while Bury were much more direct. There was a contrast between Harleston having more of the hockey skills and the younger age Bury team being faster around the pitch. Magpies took the lead from their second short corner with a well-directed shot by Phil Cobbald but then conceded a short corner after a looping ball into the circle was deemed to be played dangerously. This was against the run of play as Roger Kent and Duncan Cogdell were causing problems for the Bury defence.

A shaky spell mid-way through the second half culminated in a scramble close to the Magpies’ goal giving a Bury forward a simple chance for them to take the lead. With ten minutes left Magpies equalised when a Cobbald shot took a deflection off a defender’s stick on its way into the goal. Magpies pressed for a winner and a goal bound shot from Roger Kent was stopped by a defender’s foot but the umpire decided that there was another defender behind him and awarded a short corner. Perhaps justice was done as Duncan Cogdell scored following up the rebound.

Always anxious to give the crowd full value Magpies conceded in the very last minute to send the game to strokes. Andy Palmer made a superb save from Bury’s fifth stroke. Harleston then scored and so are through to the next round which is on Sunday 6 November – the draw to be made on Monday 17t October. Magpies will be pleased to have Jon Aldridge and Ali Williamson back in the squad as well as mascot Graham Ramm.

Match Report- Men’s O50s – Sunday 13 March 2016

Harleston Magpies 1 Richmond 2

Harleston Magpies are out of the England Over 50s Men’s Masters Cup after their 2-1 home defeat by Richmond, their conquerors in the 2014 final. Richmond went ahead in this semi-final clash early in the first half when Mark Precious converted a penalty corner. Magpies were soon on level terms when Jon Aldridge set up Andy Caston for the equaliser only for Richmond to edge ahead again just before the interval through Chris Rule. Magpies were the dominant side in the second half but the ball would not fall for them in several goalmouth scrambles. Richmond now meet Ben Rhydding of Yorkshire in the final on Sunday 1 May.

Match Report – Men’s O50’s – Sunday 3 May 2015

Harleston Magpies 0 Reading 3

Magpies were hoping to make it three times lucky in the England Hockey Men’s Over 50’s Cup Final, played at the Lee Valley Sports Centre, after defeats at the same stage of the competition to Richmond in 2012 and Ben Rhydding last season but it was not to be against a very strong Reading side.

Reading went close to scoring in the opening seconds and in the fifth minutes they forced Murray Graham in the Magpies’ goal to pull off a good save at a penalty corner. Reading continued to look the more dangerous side and Jerry Blackmore, who had an outstanding first half in the Magpies’ defence, had to be at his best to nullify the threat of former England centre forward Rob Thompson. Magpies gradually came into the game and they went close to scoring in a couple of breaks led by Phil Cobbald but they wasted their twentieth minute penalty corner by over-elaboration. Reading won their second penalty corner on the cusp of half time but Magpies were out quickly to smother the shot.

In the fifth minute of the second half Magpies wasted another penalty corner by again not taking a direct shot at goal only to see Reading take the lead a minute later through Thompson with a fierce shot from the edge of the circle high into the top left.

As the game progressed Magpies were relying more and more on the long ball and while some got through to their forwards most were cut out by the Reading defence. On fifteen minutes Reading increased their lead with a carbon copy of their first goal with this time Roger Wall firing in from the right edge of the circle. Five minutes later Magpies were denied a penalty stroke when skipper Jon Aldridge was fouled in the circle but shortly afterwards the umpire blew in their favour following a similar incident. Player-manager Peter Dolton stepped up to take the stroke only to see his effort saved by the Reading keeper. Undeterred Magpies continued to seek the elusive goal but with two minutes to go Tim Armitage made it 3-0 to Reading following a penalty corner. Magpies had tried their best but it was not good enough on the day against, as David Blackmore said after the game, the best team they had played over the years.

Magpies are obviously disappointed to have lost but the squad can be proud of what they have achieved again this season. They have done the club proud.

While beaten on the pitch Magpies were not beaten in the stands as their enthusiastic travelling support was far greater in numbers and volume than that of Reading.

MD

Match Report – Men’s O50s – Sunday 19 April 2015

BARFORD TIGERS 4 HARLESTON MAGPIES 6

Harleston Magpies Men’s Over 50s are through to the final of the England Hockey Masters Cup for the third time in the past four years. On Sunday in the semi-final they beat Barford Tigers in Birmingham by six goals to four and they will play Reading in the final at the Lee Valley Sports Centre on Sunday 3 May. Magpies welcomed back Bob Skinner and Alistair Williamson to their squad after injury but were without David Blackmore following his recent knee operation.

Roger Kent and skipper Jon Aldridge put Magpies two goals ahead early in the game following flowing moves before Barford enjoyed a good spell of play during which Magpies’ goalkeeper, and club chairman, Murray Graham was called upon to make a series of fine saves. But he could do nothing to prevent an expertly taken and fully deserved Barford goal. Magpies responded with two goals just before half time with Philip Cobbald combining with Andy Law, who was again outstanding in midfield, for the latter to make it 3-1 before Cobbald converted a penalty corner with a typically fierce shot to give Magpies a slightly flattering 4-1 lead. On the resumption Magpies using the full width of the pitch, in contrast to their opponents, took full control of the game with Andy Caston setting up in-form Kent for his second goal of the game. The hard running Caston then scored to put Magpies five goals ahead.

With the game won and Cobbald off injured Magpies also made several other changes to their line-up and Barford took advantage with three goals in the last action-packed five minutes. Their first was smartly taken from close range, the third gifted to them by an uncharacteristic defensive blunder outside the circle and the third came with a penalty corner conversion with the last hit of the game. Despite the ending this was a fine win for Magpies who will hope it is third time lucky when they take on Reading who beat Stourport 4-0 in the other semi-final. Three years ago Magpies lost to Richmond in the final and last year they went down to Yorkshire club Ben Rhydding. This season the squad has been strengthened by the inclusion of Roger Kent, Simon Bardwell, Andy Caston and Rob Bensly who have just become eligible for inclusion.

Match Report – Men’s O50s – Sunday 15 March 2015

England Hockey O50s Masters Cup – quarter final

Harleston Magpies 6 West Wilts 0

With West Wilts having beaten Richmond in the last round, Magpies expected a close game and were determined to start well and take the game to the opposition. This they did in the first minute when having won the ball off Wilts it was moved rapidly through three or four players. The resulting shot at goal was saved but before the ball could be cleared a short corner was won. Although this came to nothing Magpies had put down a marker.

The youthful combination of Simon Bardwell (who apparently arrived at Harleston straight from a modelling shoot for Motty style sheepskins) and Roger Kent were causing many problems for the visitors’ defence. Magpies took the lead when Roger followed up a shot from Philip Cobbald and scored from the rebound.

As well as playing the ball through midfield and dominating possession, Magpies in the form of Andy Law launched an aerial bombardment that needed Barrage balloons to repel it. Younger readers might have to use Google at this point. Magpies doubled their lead with another Kent effort but gave away a short corner just before half time from which goalkeeper Murray Graham made a good save.

The first goal of the second half was going to be important and it took Magpies three minutes to score through the artistry of Jon Aldridge after which West Wilts became overwhelmed and Jon completed a hat-trick in not many minutes.

Thereafter the game became more stretched with Magpies always seeming to have players in space and only profligacy in front of goal stopped the goal tally increasing. The final goal – a reverse stick shot by Philip Cobbald – was the cherry on a well-iced cake.

This was a very good team performance. The draw for the semi-finals is made on Monday 16 March with the games due to be played on Sunday 19 April.

Once more thanks go to Kirstin for the culinary delights and the supporters for their comments.

PD

Harleston Magpies over 50s

Over 50s KO Harleston Magpies 4 Ipswich 3

This game resembled BBC Saturday night TV; before the game – Casualty, the first half- Match of the Day, the second half -Dads Army, after the match-Celebrity Master Chef.

Magpies started the week with a full fit squad of 15. Before the match started this was reduced by three in Roger Kent, Jon Wells and Jerry Blackmore, the latter two in the brutal carnage of the 5ths vs 6ths on Saturday. There was even a hoax call off.

We were very grateful to Harry Flatt for answering a late hour call so that at the start we had 13; fit’ players present. This was reduced to 12 when Phil Cobbald was hit by a raised short corner but he returned ten minutes later. Shortly after Doc Elston’s hamstring objected to what he wanted him to do.

When Magpies moved the ball quickly they looked dangerous with Andy Law responsible for an aerial bombardment and, for once managed to get a goal from each of their first three visits to Ipswich’s circle- all by Jon Aldridge though unfortunately there was an Ipswich goal between the second and third. Then a minute before half time Andy Caston anxious not to be outscored by his offspring this weekend harried the Ipswich defence and was rewarded with a goal.

Ipswich pressed hard in the second half. Murray made one outstanding save and several others. Magpies managed to put three shots narrowly wide. A penalty stroke deemed by several to be harsh reduced the lead and then with eight minutes left Ipswich scored a third. In that time Ipswich had four successive short corners until Phil Cobbald came away with the ball and that was enough to send Magpies into the next round.

All that remained was for potential Master Chef winner Kirstin to serve up a meal for all present and I leave you with the question- Is Mike Denham on a reverse 5-2 diet and only eats on Saturdays and Sundays when at the clubhouse?

The draw for the next round which is to be played on 22 Feb 2015 will be made early next week.

Harleston Magpies Over 50s

Magpies over 50s play Ipswich at Weybread on Sunday 30th November 1.30 start in what will be a hard fought local derby.

Please support the elderly!

Any umpires in the club might be interested to know that well known umpires’ assessor Ray Allum will be in action with a whistle.

Most of the Magpies squad can be found from the clues below. Answers to me please. The person who gets the most correct will have the honour of a mention in the match report.

A village in Norfolk
A valley in Somerset
The setting of the film Hot Fuzz
A village in Suffolk
A not very pleasant king
A village in Nottinghamshire
The side of Los Angeles nearest the Pacific
A town in the west Midlands
Sounds like a county in Scotland
A village in Devon
A valley in Dorset
A county
The End

Match Report – Men’s O50s – Sunday 9 November 2014

O50s HA Knock Out

Cambridge City 2 Harleston Magpies 5

Magpies assembled in good time at Cambridge but then spent an hour sharing a car park with two condemned filing cabinets and four rubbish skips because, although Cambridge is the high tec centre of East Anglia you still need a key to unlock the changing rooms and you also need someone to bring the key to the ground. As it was the mild weather meant there was no problem changing outdoors.

Magpies welcomed Roger Kent, Andy Caston and Simon Bardwell who are now nearer seventy than they are to thirty, to the team to join the others who have nearly reached seventy. Also we have a summer signing, Andy Law who must be good as he has the same design of stick bag as Jon Aldridge.

Urged on by the loyal support of Lorraine Aldridge, Graham Ramm, Mike Denham and Bardwell junior, Magpies started brightly and it does help when we can score a goal of high quality within three minutes as JA did controlling a high ball and then putting it past the goalkeepers right shoulder. One became two from a well worked short corner by Jon Wells and finally Phil Cobbald before Jon Aldridge made it three. There was confusion in the Magpies ranks when a substitution involving two Peters and two Jerries did not go as expected.

A short corner converted by Cambridge a minute before half time meant no complacency but a swift move involving JA and Andy Law ended with the latter scoring. Cambridge got back to 2-4 before JA completed his hat trick and enabled the last few minutes to be played out in some comfort.

A good number of pluses came from the game, Bardy stayed on the pitch the whole time, the youngsters up front worked very hard, Wellsy passed the ball and it didn’t rain.

Magpies are now drawn against Ipswich at home on Sunday November 30th

Harleston Magpies o50 2 Indian Gymkhana o50s 0

Over 50s Semi final Harleston Magpies 2 Indian Gymkhana 0.

On a delightful day at Weybread (I refuse to call it the Nest as a Magpie’s nest is an untidy array of sticks topped with mud and dried grasses), the Over 50s took on Indian Gymkhana from west London with a place in the final for the winners.

Frighteningly our opponents had disposed of Jersey 8-1 in the previous round so Magpies realised that they were in for a tough afternoon and took the field with Bob Skinner’s words stressing discipline for the entire seventy minutes and Jon Aldridge saying something more pointed and that we encourage each other and not criticise (apology accepted)

The first half was even with Magpies creating chances on the break but nothing clear cut and I Gym having several short corners that came to nothing and the best open play chance of the half that was wide of a post.

The pace of the game together with the age of the participants meant that gaps would appear as the second half progressed and the opposition began to get frustrated with the umpires, the Magpies and themselves in almost equal amounts.

Magpies took the lead when a short corner was only cleared as far as Jon Wells on the edge of the circle and his shot hitting the back board was cheered wildly by Bedwell’s very Barmy Army on the touchline.

Indian Gym did have most of the possession but we had most of the players as in succession three were shown yellow cards. As legs tired more gaps appeared and a flowing move involving Jim Stather and Philip Cobbald meant that the final pass saw Jon Aldridge pass the ball into an guarded net to another explosion of noise. This was repeated minutes later when an Indian Gym short corner saw the stopper pass the ball to an unmarked corner flag.

Another save from Murray Graham and it was over.

In an excellent team performance Ian Absolon deserves a mention for in his words ‘not making a tackle in the second half’ but did succeed in keeping his winger out of the game.

Magpies now play Ben Rhydding from Yorkshire at Beeston Hockey Club Nottingham on Sunday 4th May.- it’s the day over the Bank Holiday when there is no hockey at Weybread. The match starts at 2pm. Follow the website for further details of transport/accommodation.

Over 50s Cup

Over 50s Cup Chelmsford 2 Harleston Magpies 2 (Magpies won 6-5 on strokes).

Magpies started off slowly; the thought processes were slow, the ball speed was slow and the movement off the ball was slow. Gradually the slumbering was cast off and some good hockey was played culminating in two breaks in each the ball found Philip Cobbald unmarked and in each case a first time shot found the backboard. Further chances came in the form of three short corners all of which came to nothing.

A half time lead of two goals evaporated in the first minutes of the second half through sloppy defending and then it was game on.

Magpies were reduced to ten when a yellow card was shown for advice being given to an umpire (who a few minutes earlier in a stoppage in play had actually asked what he should do). Chelmsford could not make this numerical advantage tell as Magpies dug in.

Jon Aldridge put the ball in the Chelmsford net only for a discussion group amongst the officials to decide that a free hit on the half way line some seconds before had wrongly gone to Magpies.
Magpies managed some pressure in the last few minutes- attacks down the left being held up by Al Gae making changes of direction difficult.

The final whistle went without further goals and so to strokes. After five from each side it was four apiece with each miss hitting a post. In sudden death, Magpies scored when the goalkeeper dived way too early, Chelmsford scored. Then Philip Cobbald’s effort was six inches under the cross bar. Murray Graham then made the save that won the tie.

Magpies have been drawn home to Chester in the quarter final with the game to be played on Sunday February 23rd at 2pm.

Magpies Vets

Canterbury Over 50’s 2 Harleston Magpies Over 50’s 1.

The fates were not kind to Magpies as they went out of the knock out in this semi final.
The first half saw Magpies in the form of Keith Alexander and Jon Wells each see their deflections hit a post. At the other end a Canterbury short corner was well saved by Murray Graham and Pete Finnie took obvious delight in keeping Sean Kerly in check. The interval was reached with the game scoreless.

Magpies took the lead fifteen minutes into the second half when the ball was moved across the Canterbury circle until it reached the unlikely figure of centre back Jerry Blackmore who scored. The lead was held relatively comfortably for ten minutes but then a shot that was not particularly threatening took a deflection off a Magpies stick and gave Murray no chance.Worse followed with three minutes remaining, when a hard struck ball into the Magpies D was deflected high into the goal.

Magpies pushed forward and a run by Jon Aldridge in the circle was abruptly ended by a stick tackle. Expecting a penalty stroke, Magpies were awarded a short corner. With time now up, Phil Cobbald received the ball, laid it off to Jon Wells and went for the return pass; only to be taken out by a defender who had run into Phil’s path. The umpire decided that the collision was accidental despite the defender turning in the opposite direction rather than one that would have had him going for the ball. After some moments confusion when it was thought that the umpires were consulting, it was apparent that time had been blown.

Magpies could be proud of the effort and their performance but the ending was rather unsatisfactory. Thanks go to Philip for organising us off and to some extent on the pitch and to the band of supporters who made the journey.

(We would like to apologise to Mrs Ramm in not managing to give her another Sunday with Graham out of the house,)

MAGPIES O50s v ISCA O50s – Sunday 24 February 2013

At great expense the club commissioned roving reporter, distinguished hockey umpire, club VP and bird table builder Graham Ramm to pen a few words from Bisham Abbey. Here is his exciting and atmospheric report.

In front of a capacity crowd (3) Magpies got off to a good start and within 15 minutes, following forceful play from the forwards, took a 2-0 lead from strong shots the ‘keeper struggled to hold. Magpies looked comfortable and another goal would have seen off the opposition. But………..

Isca came into the game more and more and with Magpies’ passing going astray pulled a goal back before half time. On the restart Isca scored again and were in the ascendancy. Magpies continued to disappoint with wasted passes and were certainly not at their best. Isca went into a 3-2 lead and as the game went on it seemed likely that it would not be our day. Two very near misses warmed the crowd somewhat then surprisingly Isca defended more deeply allowing Magpies the opportunity to press in the last 10 minutes. With two minutes to go Magpies forced a shortie which was cleared. All seemed over but in the final seconds a shortie was forced home. Magpies were out of jail!!

The electric atmosphere warmed the crowd who willed every Magpie stroke to hit the net. One miss either side and it was 4-4…….sudden death!!

Up stepped the skipper who dispatched his stroke with such ferocity that the net groaned in agony. Up stepped the Isca man sending his stroke high to our custodian’s left. Out went his hand. The shot was parried and Magpies were through.

A good day in the end!! Now for Canterbury!

GR