Category Archives: Mikes-Musings

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 5 October 2010

FIRSTS FOR TOBY AND BEN
After last Saturday’s splendid 5-1 win over free-scoring Oxted – especially notable for first national league goals by Toby Tibbenham (a superb individual effort) and Ben Wright – the Men’s 1sts travel to play Indian Gymkhana this Saturday (2.00) and a win could see them move above their hosts to the top of the early season league table. But a tough game is assured, in what is increasingly looking to be a very competitive league, as a strengthened Indian Gym have made a fine start with three wins from three games after their surprisingly poor 2009-10 season.
Simon Hipwell had a fine all-round game for the 1sts and he took his form into last Saturday’s Curry-Oke where many other splendid vocal performances included those from Richard Larkin, Robbie Kinsella and the Ladies’ 2nds. Thanks are due to all who attended for helping to make the evening so enjoyable including jukeboxjon and Philippa Taylor and her curry making team. The food was even better than the best of the singing!
But back to the hockey which last Saturday included wins for the Ladies’ 3rds, Ladies’ 4ths and Girls’ Development and a 1-1 draw for the Ladies’ 5ths against Pelicans 2nds, a feature of which was a fine goalkeeping performance by Ellie O’Sullivan. Meantime the Men’s 3rd team skipper Matt Brand not only inspired his team but also himself with his half time motivational talk after which he scored twice and Toby Hughes once to turn a deficit into a good 3-1 win over Ely City.
On Sunday we were treated to two really promising youth performances which saw the U16 Boys beat Ipswich 11-5 and the U18 Boys defeat Bury St Edmunds 9-2 in their respective EHB Cups. Tom Graham scored a hat trick for the U16s including two splendid individual goals taking the ball from the half way line on each occasion but he was eventually outscored by Mitchell Tompkins who netted a fine four! Later Ben Wright ran the U18 Bury defence ragged during which he went one better than Mitchell and scored five times. Although I have highlighted the major goalscorers these were two very good squad performances and a delight to watch.
The Ladies’ 1sts and Men’s 2nds have centre stage at Weybread this Saturday where both teams will hope to secure their first points of the season. The Ladies’ 1sts, after their encouraging performance away to Horsham last Sunday, entertain Old Loughtonians (12.30) and the Men’s 2nds take on Cambridge Nomads (2.15). Other home teams include the Boys’ Development (10.45) and Girls’ Development (12.15), both of whom have made excellent starts to the season, and the table topping Men’s 7ths (4.00) who have yet to retrieve the ball from their own net!
News and comments in brief:
·         Congratulations to Dickon Taylor and Emily Brown on their recent engagement.
·         Last week the headline on this column read Jugs Will Come! – after splendid feats by two of our Vets. The exclamation mark should have been a question mark as we are still waiting!
·         Have you paid your subscription and, if applicable, your training fee yet please?  
·         My erratic and much ridiculed scoreboard operating performance last Saturday was due to technical and not manual dexterity problems – honestly!
·         It is good to see Peter Butcher umpiring again this season – thank you Peter.
·         I thank our teams playing away for ringing in with their match results for the clubhouse board.  ‘No Mr Dolton’ it is not necessary to ring in if you have just played at home!
·         As in previous seasons discarded bottles around the pitches are still not levitating into the bins!!
·         Please note your diary – Harleston Fireworks Spectacular at the club on Friday 5 November.
Good luck as always to all our teams in action this weekend (please see website for all fixtures) including the Men’s Vets who are at home on Sunday (12.30) to Norwich City in the EHB Cup.
With kind regards and best wishes    
Mike Denham   01603 506925    MDenham975@aol.com 5/10/10   

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 28 September 2010

JUGS WILL COME!

With three of our top four teams losing last Saturday it was a generally disappointing day for the club – a little like the much cooler and wet weather at Weybread. But again like the weather there were some bright spots and these included wins for the Ladies’ 2nds (their second successive league win), the Ladies 4ths (albeit at the expense of our 5ths), the Ladies’ 6ths, the Girls’ Development and the Men’s 7ths for whom skipper Murray Graham had things so much under control in their 8-0 win he even ensured the game was played in the dry!

I must reveal that in the win for the 7ths David Blackmore added a hat-trick to the one he scored the previous weekend for the Veterans and later in the day we learned that Roger Kent had scored a double hat-trick for the Men’s 5ths in their remarkable 19-0 win away to a young Pelicans’ 3rds. So with fingers firmly crossed I told David and Roger ‘Jugs will come!’ But only time will tell! 

The Ladies’ 1sts playing at home for the first time this season matched Surbiton for long spells of the game but were undone by the class of former international Helen Grant while the Men’s 2nds were well beaten by a strong looking Dereham side. It is to be hoped that the Ladies’ 1sts will be heartened by the fact so far this season they have lost to the top two teams in their league while the Men’s 2nds will hope for reinforcements from the 1st team squad especially when the 1sts are playing on a Sunday.

It was good to see Angie Wheelhouse and Lucy Hayman watching the Ladies’ 1sts and it is time this column paid tribute to the enormous contribution both have made to the team over the past ten years and more. Despite playing at opposite ends of the pitch both have similar records. They both joined the club at an early age, both went to university, both rarely missed a match and both were undoubtedly the best ladies to play in their positions in the history of the club.

For season after season Angie was the team’s leading scorer with nearly 100 national league goals alone to her credit while Lucy (a former England U18 outdoor and England U21 indoor international) was quite outstanding in goal giving confidence to her fellow defenders with her skill and calm approach to her play and through her ability to read a game. It is to be hoped that Angie will play again next season after the birth of her baby in March and it is good to know that Lucy, who is concentrating on her demanding career, will be available to help out in an emergency as well as doing some coaching.

This Saturday the Men’s 1sts are at home to Oxted (2.15) hoping to get back to winning ways after their narrow defeat away to Holcombe while both second teams are away – the Men to Ramgarhia in London and the Ladies to St Ives (in Cambs not Cornwall!). Meantime the Men’s 3rds, after their encouraging 2-2 draw at Spalding, entertain Ely City (1.45) while the Ladies’ 4ths, 5ths, 6ths and Girls Development are all at home.

On Sunday the Ladies’ 1sts have a long trip to play Horsham (1.15) seeking their first points of the season while the U14 Boys play Bury (11.50) and Norwich City (12.45) in the East League at Bury while at home in their respective EHB Cups the U16 Boys play Ipswich (12.00) and the U18 Boys take on Bury (2.00).  Best wishes as usual to all our teams this weekend. Please see website for all fixtures.

News and comments in brief
·         Good luck to the England Ladies’ and Men’s squads in the troubled Commonwealth Games.  
·         At Weybread last Saturday it was good to see Tom Sumner (who is now working in Lyons and getting to grips with the French language) and Neil and Anna Toulson with baby Alexis. Anna’s comeback was, sadly, cut short by injury in the warm-up!
·         Lowestoft Town have, unfortunately, withdrawn from East League 4 NE meaning that our Men’s 5ths now have no game on 30 October or 19 February.

NB.  CURRY-OKE IN THE CLUBHOUSE THIS SATURDAY (7.30PM). PLEASE COME!!

With kind regards and best wishes    
Mike Denham   01603 506925   
MDenham975@aol.com 28/9/10   

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 21 September 2010

GOALFEST AT WEYBREAD

We had goals galore at Weybread last weekend – no less than 57 in 7 games! Five of the seven games were friendlies before all our teams are in league action this coming Saturday. The goalfest presented my small and dedicated team of scoreboard operators with an early season test of their concentration and dexterity and I’m pleased to say they came through with flying colours!

The Ladies’ 3rds got Saturday off to a good start with a 6-0 win over Watton 2nds and next up were the Men’s 6ths who beat Dereham 5ths 4-2 helped by two rocket-like goals by skipper Kevin Ridley. The Men’s 2nds came from behind to beat Long Sutton 6-3 assisted by a couple of goals by Martin Fields and a well taken effort by Robbie Kinsella who has started the season in fine form. However, the icing on the goal scoring cake was the clash between the Men’s 3rds and Dereham 2nds, who included former Magpie Mark Braybrook, and from 3-3 at half time the game eventually finished 6-6. Did I hear a reference to spot-betting on the touchline?!

But in many ways the most significant match on Saturday was the first game for Magpies in the inaugural Norfolk Boys’ Development League when they played Dereham. Teams are allowed two adults, as in the comparable Girls’ league, but we went with just David Brook giving excellent on-pitch guidance to his young team-mates. In an excellent game with plenty of promising hockey being played Magpies went behind before Tristan Hipper had the distinction of scoring the first goal for his team just before half time. He added another in the second half and although Soloman Barker later put Magpies 3-2 up after a second Dereham goal, three goals late in the game gave a strong Dereham side, with two adults, a 5-3 win in a league where just playing must always be more important than the results.

The goals continued on Sunday when a strong Men’s Vets side beat Southgate 12-0 with hat-tricks from Martin Reader (all from a yard out!) and David Blackmore before the Men’s 1sts got their league season off to the perfect start by beating Southgate 3-1. In the squad’s best performance since returning to the national league at the start of last season it was particularly pleasing to note the impressive performances of Duncan Graves (after his illness), Richard Harms (outstanding in goal), Will Martin (on his league debut) and Carl Sitch and Toby Tibbenham on their return to the club.  This Saturday the squad will hope to build on this fine win when they travel to play Kent side Holcombe (2.00).

The Ladies’ 1sts have centre stage at Weybread on Saturday when they take on newly-promoted Surbiton – who are coached by former GB and England international Brett Garrard – and they will hope to put their 5-0 defeat at Chelmsford firmly behind them. Please note the game starts at 12 noon and not 12.30pm. Other home matches include the Ladies’ 2nds who entertain Pelicans (2.15) after their promising 2-1 league win away to Ipswich 3rds; the Men’s 2nds who play Dereham (1.45), now coached by former Magpie Peter Hogg, and the Girls’ Development who play Pelicans (12.15) after their 0-0 away league draw with Dereham last Saturday.

Good luck to all our teams in action this Saturday including the Ladies’ 4ths and 5ths who play each other at 10.00am (not 10.30am). Please see the Home Page of the website for a full list of fixtures.  

Each year we say a reluctant farewell and very best wishes for their studies and hockey to members going off to university for the first time. This year they are Clemmie Ardley-Forder, Artemis Clark, Calianne Clark, Ben Gowing, Lucie Hadley, Cherry Seaborn (who unfortunately is out of action with a broken finger), Craig Snelling, Duncan Steven, Louis Steven and Jessie Withers. They know they will always be very welcome back at the club during and at the end of their studies. Also going to university with our best wishes are Katrina Warnes and Siobhan Wooltorton who is now thankfully recovered from her long-term injury. I am pleased to say that Katrina and Siobhan will still be able to play for the club.  

The England Hockey Board (I must say I’m still coming to terms with this new title for England Hockey) rightly adopts a zero tolerance policy to doping offences in our sport and this has been highlighted by the two-year ban given to a player following a dope test after a league match in March 2010. Anabolic steroids were found in his urine sample. Please see the EHB’s website for full details. 

For your social diary please:
·         Curry-Oke Night (Saturday 2 October, 7.30pm) – tickets on sale at the clubhouse bar.
·         Fireworks Evening – Friday 5 November.

With kind regards and best wishes    
Mike Denham   01603 506925    MDenham975@aol.com 21/9/10   

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 14 September 2010

LEAGUE START FOR SUPER SIX
After last weekend’s fourteen friendly matches (7 won, 4 drawn and 3 lost) the season takes a big step forward this coming weekend with six of our teams in league action for the first time while the other nine have their final friendlies in preparation for their turn on the starting line on Saturday week.
The six league games this weekend include the young Ladies’ 1sts who kick off their twelfth successive national league campaign (in this spell) away to Chelmsford on Saturday (12.00) under new coach Leigh Sitch after a promising build-up. A big challenge for the squad will be compensating for the loss of three players – namely Angie Wheelhouse, Cherry Seaborn and Artemis Clark – who contributed 25 of their 33 goals last season. I will say more about these members and the other losses to the squad in due course. Meantime the Ladies’ 2nds are away to Ipswich 3rds (2.00) encouraged by their 5-2 win last Saturday over Watton and the Ladies’ 6ths entertain Thetford 2nds (12.30).
Also on Saturday the Girls’ Development start their fourth league campaign (the previous three saw Magpies finish as champions) at Dereham (11.15) while the brand new Boys’ Development League gets underway with our team managed by Stuart Peters taking on Dereham at Weybread (10.30). The benefits of the Girls’ Dev League is clear when one sees the progress made by many of our players who have moved up to higher teams since the formation of the league.
Our final league team in action this weekend is the Men’s 1sts who after some good pre-season results entertain Southgate on Sunday (2.15). Southgate did the double over us last season so some friendly revenge would not go amiss as the squad embarks on their second season back in the national league under new chief coach Bill Williams. As a curtain raiser to the 2.15 game the Men’s Vets play Southgate (11.30) building on the good relationship built up between the two teams in the Southgate Masters (the new description of Vets hockey) Tournament won by Magpies during the summer. The bar opens at 12 noon. Please come along to cheer our teams to victory!
Good luck to all our teams in action this weekend. For a full list please see the club’s website
News and comments in brief:
· Congratulations to chief coach Danny Kerry and his England squad on their splendid bronze medal in the Women’s World Cup in Argentina.
· Hannah Macleod who scored for England in the semi-final against Holland won the Chris Loveday Award in 2001-2 for her outstanding contribution to Schools and Youth Hockey in the East while at Bedford HC.
· In this season’s Men’s East Conference St Albans and Wimbledon join as champions of the East and South respectively and Wimbledon in particular are likely to pose a big threat to Magpies as in addition to ex-England and GB player Ben Marsden (as player/coach) they have signed current England and GB internationals Ben Hawes and Rob Moore!
· Meantime in the Women’s Conference East Surbiton and Dereham (only the second national league club ever in Norfolk) are welcomed as South and East champions respectively at the expense of bottom placed Northampton and Southgate who did not survive last season’s play-offs.
· Members are asked not to practice in the end goals on the two pitches. Please use the side goals to minimise wear and tear on the main circles.
For your social diary please:
· Curry-Oke Night (Saturday 2 October, 7.30pm) – tickets on sale at the clubhouse bar. If you buy in advance it helps to encourage the organisers both in morale and with the catering!
· Fireworks Evening – Friday 5 November (yes – really, this year!)
With kind regards and best wishes  
Mike Denham 01603 506925 
MDenham975@aol.com 14/9/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 7 September 2010

Invaluable sponsorship support once again
As the new season proper draws ever nearer I am pleased to announce that our main sponsors are kindly supporting us once again. They are Hunton Legg (R.G.) Ltd, Kitchen Sense of Harleston, Banham Graham, Larking Gowen and www.WaveneyValleyBlog.com. Our thanks are due, respectively, to Mark and Annie Legg, Val and Sue Tolhurst, James Banham and Murray Graham, Brian Pring and Nigel Bedingfield.  Their support and that of all the other friends of the club who help us by way of pitchside advertising boards and advertisements is invaluable in the general running of the club and in the development of our facilities.  
If you know of any business which might be interested in having a pitchside advertising board please let me know.
Congratulations to:
·         Gareth Furlong, last season HMHC’s young player of the year, on his selection to play, in a very busy summer, for Wales U18s (as captain), for Wales U21 in the Celtic Cup in Belfast and in the EuroHockey Junior Nations Tournament in Vienna (where the team finished second to Scotland gaining promotion to the Championship) and for the Wales senior squad for the Test series against the USA in Cardiff.
·         England on reaching the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup in Argentina where they will meet, almost certainly, Holland on Thursday. The England coach is ex-Pelicans HC member Danny Kerry.
·         Richard (Ratty) Alexander, ex-HMHC, on his selection to play for England in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India between 3 and 14 October.  
News and comments in brief:
·         Some enjoyable inter-club games were played at Weybread last Saturday and our thanks go to Philippa and Julian Taylor for their organisation of the BBQ and Graham Clark and Mary Wright for the running of the BBQ. Two sausages and a roll for £1 was excellent value!
·         This Saturday sees most of our teams in friendly action as they continue to prepare for the new season with ten of our teams playing at home. Please see the Home Page of the website for the full list of matches.  Meantime the two 1st teams are away on Saturday following their encouraging results last weekend when the Ladies beat Northampton 3-1 and Cambridge City 1-0 and the Men lost 3-1 and drew 3-3 with Canterbury, last season’s Conference East champions. This Saturday the Ladies are at the PLUM tournament at Old Loughtonians and the Men play Staines and St Albans at Chelmsford. The Men are in action again on Sunday playing Bishops Stortford at home at 1.00pm. 
·         Best wishes to all our team captains for the coming season including those in charge for the first time, namely Melissa Hunter (2nds), Kristina Erith (4ths), David Ling (1sts), Matt Brand (3rds), Will Main (5ths) and Murray Graham (7ths).
·         The Men’s 7th team replaces the Men’s Veterans due to the lack of players available for the latter team. The Veterans will, however, continue to play in the England Hockey Masters Over 40s Cup and they play Norwich City at home in the first round on Sunday 10 October.   
·         Tom Hart has unfortunately suffered a bad knee injury playing mixed hockey during the summer and could well be out of action for many months.
·         Mariette Rix who played a starring role for South Africa in their 2-1 defeat by England in the Women’s World Cup at the weekend played in goal for Ipswich against Magpies at home last season in a game made memorable by monsoon-like rain which halted proceedings for some fifteen minutes.  
·         When members pay their annual sub (and if relevant your training fee) they will receive a copy of the club handbook to treasure! I thank Irene Bicker and Merna Merrett and everyone else who provided information for inclusion.
Next social event for your diary please 
Curry-Oke Night (Saturday 2 October, 7.30pm).

With kind regards and best wishes    
Mike Denham   01603 506925    MDenham975@aol.com 7/9/10


MIKE’S MUSINGS – 1 September 2010

Big Weekend Ahead

This coming weekend is an important one as preparations for the new season are stepped up with the Ladies’ and Men’s Club Day at Weybread on Saturday and with the Ladies’ 1sts, now being coached by Leigh Sitch, taking on Cambridge City and Northampton in Cambridge on Saturday and with the Men’s 1sts playing at Canterbury on both Saturday and Sunday, albeit with a weakened squad due to the non-availability of several players.

Last Sunday the Men’s 1sts followed up their 3-3 draw at Olton and West Warwicks with a 6-5 home win over Cambridge City, coached by Nick Thompson the former GB and England star, leaving new coach Bill Williams, manager Robert Stimpson and the squad with plenty to work on defensively before their opening national league match at home to Southgate on Sunday 19 September (2.15). 

Saturday’s Club Day gets underway with the Ladies playing at 10.30am followed by a BBQ from 12.30pm with the Men starting at 1.30pm. If you are a male Magpie currently at university or due to go this year please come down for a game in the Magpies’ Men’s Student XI at 3.00pm (please arrive by 2.15pm). If you are interested please let James Smith know as soon as possible on either james.smith@targetfollow.com or 07780 663100 or 01379 898767. Please spread the word about this match. There will be also be a BBQ after this game.  

A friendly and familiar face will be missing from officiating for the club this season with the news that after being closely involved with hockey for 55 years and umpiring for 35 years Alan Cogdell has decided to hang up his whistle. As I said to Alan when he told me of his decision he deserves a break! In a very active hockey career Alan played in the RAF during national service and while working for Eagle Star and later Norwich Union he played for Carrow, Bury YMCA and Broxbourne where he also served as club chairman and later, for many years, as chairman of the Broxbourne Sports Club as well as serving three years as President of Hertfordshire County HA. In 2000 Alan and his wife Moira sold their insurance brokerage which they had bought in 1972 and moved back to Suffolk. In November 2001 Alan came to Weybread to watch a game and got roped into umpiring for HMHC! Thank you Alan for your much appreciated service to the Magpies and especially for the help you have given to the Men’s 4ths and best wishes to you and Moira. You will always be very welcome at Weybread and next time you come Alan don’t bring a whistle!


In the first Musings of the season I thanked everyone who had helped with the redecoration of the clubhouse (I hope you have noticed the good work!) with new curtains to follow. This week I thank members of the Ground Team for their much appreciated recent work, namely George Hunter for the cutting of the hedges and grass, David Alexander for his pitch maintenance, Jeremy Podd for his strimming of verges and banks and weed spraying and Philip and David Cobbald for their maintenance of the fences around the pitches and especially for the erection of the new netting behind the near goal on the sand-based pitch.

Our thanks are also due to all those who have organised and supported the following fund raising and social events since the end of last season with the money raised shown in brackets – Magpies Tournament (£3000), End of Season Bash (£140), Strawberry Luncheon (£700) and Golf Day (£1460). In the Men’s section of the Golf Day HMHC Vice-Presidents John and Mike Barber were members of the team coming second and the team of Peter Thornett (captain), Andy Hipwell, Andy Bedwell and Tim Bedwell finished in a highly creditable fourth place just ahead of the team representing the old Norwich Union HC winning £5 each – not quite enough to turn professional!

Next social event for your diary please – Curry-Oke Night (Saturday 2 October, 7.30pm).

Please see the blog on the website for Bob Skinner’s report of the Veterans’ Southgate triumph.

With kind regards and best wishes   Mike Denham   01603 506925    MDenham975@aol.com 1/9/10   

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 20 August 2010

Here we go again!

Another season is almost upon us. Where have the past five months gone?! This is what I hope will be the first of a series of punchy, informative and, on occasions, provocative columns (similar to last season) to be issued weekly with effect from early September.

I am sorry to commence the column with the very sad news of the death due to cancer of David Vinson on 9 June at the age of 66. David, who was no stranger to HMHC, was a former England coach and was Southgate HC men’s first team coach for many years producing some of the country’s finest players. David, who played his club hockey for Pelicans, was a major figure in the coaching world and was the fourth person to be appointed as an FIH Master Coach. David was also well known for his range of DFV hockey sticks. Hockey is much the poorer for his passing.

Congratulations and best wishes to:
David Francis and Debbie McAllen on their recent marriage.
Anna and Neil Toulson on the birth of Alexis.
David Ling and Sophie Durrant on their marriage.
Skipper Simon Bardwell and the rest of the Magpies team on winning the inaugural Southgate London Masters tournament.
Nigel Bedingfield on his revamping of the club’s website which is now better than ever! Thank you Nigel.

Facilities update
The lines on the water-based pitch have been repainted and the social and kitchen areas of the clubhouse have been redecorated. The latter project was masterminded by Tony and Sue Williams and John Pestell and our thanks are also due for their assistance to Simon Bardwell and sons Ewan and Oliver, Irene Bicker, David Brook, Louisa Greenacre, Richard Larkin, Robert Stimpson and Mitchell Tompkins. We had a couple of enjoyable days trying to be useful! In addition the pump house roof has been re-felted thanks to John Pestell and his now seventy year old assistant! NB. The netting behind the near goal on the sand-based pitch will be replaced shortly.

News and comments in brief
The Lampard ‘goal’ in the FIFA World Cup would have been awarded in hockey thanks to the FIH’s enlightened adoption (unlike that of FIFA’s) of video referrals and with this encouragement England might, just might, have beaten Germany!
Steve Mayhew, the East hockey umpire, is a regular line judge at Wimbledon and he was in action during the epic 70-68 fifth set between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. 
Thousands of vuvuzelas being blown simultaneously at the World Cup may have been a pain but having been to the Women’s Champions Trophy in Nottingham I can say that listening to just three or four being blown at once is far worse!
Good luck to the England team as, boosted by their bronze medal in Nottingham, they attempt to win the Women’s BDO FIH World Cup in Rosario, Argentina starting on Sunday 29 August. In their Pool they play Spain (29/8), China (31/8), Korea (2/9), South Africa (4/9) and favourites Argentina (6/9).  

Did you know?
Last season three HMHC members did the club proud by captaining their respective Norfolk teams, namely Kira Wooltorton (U13s), Elizabeth Jones (U14s) and Sarah Brook (U15s). Well done girls!
At the national league play-offs at the end of last season Canterbury Men were promoted, Ipswich Ladies were not promoted, Indian Gymkhana Men survived and Southgate Ladies were relegated. 

The next Musings will include a social update, more about the Vet’s Southgate triumph and an appreciation of more of the ‘behind the scenes’ work being done in preparation for the new season.

Needless to say I hope you have been able to enjoy the summer.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham  01603 506925    MDenham975@aol.com   20/8/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 21 April 2010

U10 Boys – East Mini Champions!

We had two excellent days at the club last weekend hosting the Yazoo East Regional Mini Championships played in glorious sunshine and the ‘icing on the cake’ came with the Magpies’ U10 Boys winning their Sunday event in fine style.

After a slow start in their first game against Old Loughtonians, which resulted in a 1-0 win, they were soon into their stride against Ipswich with a 3-1 win and thereafter there was little doubt they would go on to win their six–team round robin event which they did with convincing wins over Spalding (4-0), Cambridge City (8-0) and Broxbourne (7-0). This was a fine squad performance under coach Stuart Peters. Congratulations to all involved.

On the Saturday the U12 Boys were unfortunate to play the eventual champions Bury in their first match going down 3-1. A subsequent 1-1 draw against Blue Hornets and a good 4-1 win over Louth were not sufficient to see them into the semi-finals. The next day the U12 Girls were in a tough group going down to the eventual winners (Old Loughtonians) after a keenly fought game and to runners-up (Canterbury) while beating Grasshoppers (from Suffolk) 5-0 before playing well to beat Hertford (2-0) and Ipswich (3-0), the other third placed teams from their respective groups.

The players in all our three teams will have gained invaluable experience standing them in good stead for the future. Three members were, unfortunately, absent due to the Icelandic volcanic ash problem.

While the running of the championships was the responsibility of East Hockey I take this opportunity to thank the considerable number of HMHC members who did so much to help to make the two days such a success by their hard work with the catering, car parking, preparation of the grass pitches for the fun Quicksticks event and the essential tidying of the grounds (by the grass strimming etc.)

For full reports of all the above events please go to the Home Page of the website and click on Reports-Blog on the top left.

On the Saturday with Norwich City FC playing their vital game at Charlton one could understand why our clubhouse manager (and keen City supporter) was keeping more than one eye on the reports of the game being made on Sky Sports News and especially so after his disappointing visit to Leyton Orient a few days earlier! But it all came right at the end of a seemingly 60 minute second half for Robert and NCFC. Congratulations to NCFC and, equally, to Norwich City HC for winning the U10 Girls event!

Congratulations also to –

§ The very young U11 Girls side which finished third last Sunday at Dereham and to the U13 Girls who won the Alex Hill Memorial Trophy at Dereham for the second year running by beating Pelicans 1-0 in the final. Please also see website for reports.

§ Ben Gowing and Ben Wright for appearing in the Framlingham College entry in the 2010 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Part of the entry reads ‘They were captained ably by Ben Gowing, and the player of the season was Ben Wright’. (Ben W scored 800 runs at an average of 80!)


In my last weekly Musings of the season I advise/remind you of the following events for your diary please –

Saturday 24 April – U9s (Pelicans)

Saturday and Monday 1 & 3 May – Magpies Tournament

Saturday 8 May – U9s/U13 Boys & Girls (Norwich)

Saturday 8 May – End of Season Bash

Sunday 9 May – U9s (Watton) and U11 Boys & Girls (Norwich)

Sunday 27 June – Strawberry Luncheon

Sunday 11 July – World Cup Family Lunch

Thursday 29 July – Golf Day (Bungay GC)

I thank everyone who has given me help and encouraging feed-back with the Musings over the season and I hope to be back before the start of the next. In the meantime I hope you are able to have an enjoyable summer.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 21/4/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 14 April 2010

IT’S A MINI WEEKEND AHEAD!

Mini hockey takes centre stage this weekend with the club hosting the East Club Championships in which we have teams in three of the four competitions. On Saturday the U12 Boys compete in their event while on Sunday it is the turn of the U10 Boys and U12 Girls.

The U10 Boys and U12 Boys qualified as Norfolk Champions, winning all their matches with a hatful of goals with Kieran Peters (10) and Archie Winter (5) leading the way for the U10s while the leading scorers for the U12s were Jack Hobbs and Tristan Hipper with 8 and 7 respectively. Both defences also did well with the U10s conceding one goal in their three matches and the U12s letting in just two in their five matches. The U12 Girls qualified after finishing third in the Norfolk Championship. We have no team in the U10 Girls’ event being played on Saturday.

The winners and runners-up in the U12 events progress to the national finals to be held in Nottingham on Sunday 16 May.

The East Championships are always popular and a considerable number of spectators are expected to witness the exciting hockey with play commencing at 10.25am each day. While the club is hosting the championships the organisation is largely the responsibility of the team of enthusiastic young helpers recruited by East Hockey.

The HMHC teams are as follows:

U10 Boys – Joshua Butler (GK), David Cadman, Will Donsworth, Alex Kilbourn, Sam McCluskey, Kieran Peters, Will Simpson, Archie Winter. Coach: Stuart Peters.

U12 Boys – Sol Barker, Matt Bensley, George Donsworth, Will Hall, Jonty Herschel-Shorland, Tristan Hipper, Jack Hobbs, Alex Lawrence, Jolyon Summers, Jordan Wiseman (GK). Coach: Stuart Peters.

U12 Girls – Eliza Bell, Katie Crawford, Nicole Eaves, Elle Eglington, Beatrice Flatt, Emily Hunt (GK), Kara Kilbourn, Imogen Meynell-Anderson, Verity Tomson. Manager: David Crawford. Coach: Nick McAllen.

Meanwhile in another busy weekend for the club the U11 and U13 Girls are competing on Sunday in the Dereham Minis. Good luck to all our teams.

Other news and comments in brief

§ Congratulations and best wishes to Mark Lewis and Heather on their wedding last Friday.

§ Please note your diary with the End of Season Bash (disco and hog roast & pudding) to be held at the club on Saturday 8 May (7.30pm). Tickets – Adults £10 and U13 £5 – are available from me. I have not been knocked over in the rush for tickets so far!

§ As expected Norwich Dragons won their last match to pip the Men’s 3rds to the 3NE title by one point. However, both teams are promoted and will once again battle it out for supremacy next season after both of their games this term ended in draws.

§ Congratulations to the U14 Girls who finished as runners-up in last weekend’s East Championship to round off another excellent season.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 14/4/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 7 April 2010

LADIES’ 2NDS TO FINISH THINGS OFF!

The league fixtures are completed this Saturday when the Ladies’ 2nds entertain Ipswich 2nds (12.30). Skipper Laura Betts and coach Jason Harness and their squad have enjoyed an excellent run of form with five wins and a draw in their last eight games which has taken them well clear of relegation and a win on Saturday over their local rivals would round off the season very nicely.  A shortage of goals early in the season was a problem but an average of two per game since Christmas, combined with a continuing impressive defensive record, has seen the squad move up the table to seventh place.  

On Sunday at Old Loughtonians HC the U14 Girls compete in the finals of the East Championship where in their pool they play Amersham (1.30) and Southgate (3.30). The pool winners go on to play the winners of the other pool comprising Old Loughtonians, Wycombe and Norwich City at 4.50pm. Good luck to our girls.

HC Rotterdam (with 2450 members!) was the venue last weekend for some top class club hockey with the staging of the Last 16 KO Round of the European Men’s Hockey League. But it was disappointing to see the three English teams – Beeston, Reading and East Grinstead – go out one after the other on the Friday. Beeston were particularly disappointing in losing 3-1 to Leuven of Belgium as they were a goal up at half time while Reading felt the absence through injuries of Richard and Simon Mantell in their 2-1 defeat by Polo Barcelona. East Grinstead, meanwhile, gave their fans hope of victory after equalising at 2-2 against Amsterdam from a penalty stroke awarded by the video umpire but with their one permitted referral of the half used they could do nothing about the Amsterdam winner which came after the ball went out of play.

This event showed several things:

§  with many of the top players in the world playing in the competition teams need 18 class players in their squad and not just ten or eleven.
§  with three penalty strokes given on referral to the video umpire and one overturned even the best umpires can make bad mistakes.
§  Teun de Nooijer (Bloemendaal of Holland) and Mark Pearn (East Grinstead) at the ages of 34 and 33 respectively are still outstanding players – and my favourites! Seeing de Nooijer take the ball from the half way line against Alster (Germany) to beat the goalkeeper with a reverse stick shot was worth the trip alone!
§  The self pass rule (due to opposing players having to concentrate on the game) and the two minute green card (when in operation) have reduced the number of yellow cards given in top class hockey.
§  even world stars such as Jamie Dwyer (Australia and Bloemendaal) and Ronald Brouwer (Holland and Bloemendaal) can miss at one-on-one penalty shoot-outs against opposing goalkeepers.

After 12 outstanding matches the four teams going through to the semis/final to be played over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 22/23 May are Amsterdam (including penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema), Polo Barcelona, Rotterdam and Hamburg who beat (sadly as far as I’m concerned) Bloemendaal on penalties after a wonderful 3-3 draw which included ten minutes of extra time.

Other news and comments in brief 
§  Congratulations and best wishes to Tom Miller and his girlfriend Annie on their recent engagement. Tom selected an interesting location for popping the question – the edge of a windy cliff in Cornwall!
§  The Men’s 2nds, Men’s 3rds and Ladies’ 3rds scored in all their league matches this season.
§  Please note your diary with the End of Season Bash (disco and hog roast & pudding) to be held at the club on Saturday 8 May (7.30pm). Tickets – Adults £10 and U13 £5 – are available from me – please!!  

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham   01603 506925    MDenham975@aol.com    7/4/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 31 March 2010

Shaky at the back!

‘They’re shaky at the back’ is a refrain aimed at visiting defences by one particular supporter at Weybread but on Sunday it applied uncharacteristically (but unspoken) to the defence of the Men’s 1sts at Sevenoaks who found themselves three down after just over twenty minutes. The team’s cause was not helped by an early injury to Tristan Baynes and the absence of three other players due to illness and bereavement. Nevertheless the team fought back well and the eventual 5-2 defeat was harsh especially when we were unfortunate not to be given a second half penalty stroke. On the plus side it was good seeing a first national league goal from James Legg who has forced his way into the team of late with some very promising performances. I was blamed after the game for our defeat (due to my very presence apparently!) and promptly fined a pound by the skipper who all season has been promising to score a goal. Frankly I have had as much chance of finding the net this season as Leigh!

Meantime there was real drama elsewhere in the league with Oxted’s last second equaliser against Old Loughtonians depriving the Essex side of taking advantage of Canterbury’s defeat at Holcombe and with it the league title while at Weybread on Saturday Sevenoaks Ladies (yes – Sevenoaks again) needed one more goal after equalising against the Ladies’1sts to win their league. In the event leaders Ipswich equalised late in their game against, ironically, Old Loughtonians to take the league on goal difference.  Magpies played some of their best hockey of the season in the first half against Sevenoaks and only a bad couple of minutes immediately after their second goal cost them the win they deserved.  

In a very busy week the Ladies’ 3rds beat Norwich City 2nds 3-0, Panthers 3-1 and Pelicans 2nds
1-0 to clinch an admirable second place in their league; the Men’s 3rds beat North Walsham 6-1 (in a match which started ten minutes (tut-tut) before the advertised time – luckily the devoted scoreboard operators were already in place!); the Ladies Development beat Pelicans 7-0 to record their fifteenth win of another remarkably successful season and the Ladies’ 5ths beat North Walsham 2nds 3-0 to reinforce an excellent second place in their league.

On another bright note the Men’s 4ths beat North Walsham 3-1 to underline a very satisfactory season during which a number of young players – including Charlie Blandy, Gus Carpenter, Ewan Cumming, Giles Flatt and Alex Slater – have made excellent progress following their promotion from last season’s 6ths. Meantime the Men’s 5ths, after their 2-0 defeat away to promoted Thetford, beat Watton 6-0 in an exciting display to avoid, combined with other results going our way, relegation. Pete Thornett opened the scoring before Will Main got in on the act to be followed by Andy Johnson. Will later completed his hat trick with goals each side of one by Tom Graham.  Unfortunately the Men’s 2nds ended their season by losing 3-2 to Letchworth despite goals by Lawrence Baynes and David Francis – but they can be pleased with much of the hockey they have played this season and with the way the team has boosted the first team squad when required.

On a bitter sweet note the Men’s Veterans beat City of Peterborough 2-1 in what looks like being, sadly, the last ever match for the Saturday Vets’ team. The intention is to replace the team next season, due to a shortage of veterans, with a seventh team within the normal East structure.  This would be the end of a proud chapter in the club’s history.

The league season is now over except for the match between the Ladies’ 2nds and Ipswich 2nds at Weybread on Saturday 10 April (12.30). While I expect to say a little more about the season in future Musings I take this opportunity to thank fixture secretaries Irene Bicker and Merna Merrett for all their hard work during the past eight months (and especially with the rearrangement of fixtures caused by the bad spell of weather) and Nigel Bedingfield who once again has given vital and much appreciated help to the club through his hard work with and sponsorship of the website. I hate to think what we would do without the website.

Comments in brief
§  Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Duncan Graves who until his recent illness was enjoying an excellent season with the Men’s 1sts.
§  Congratulations to ex-GB and England goalkeeper Simon Mason on his election as president of England Hockey.
§  ‘Well done’ also to Craig Snelling on his award of Sportsman of the Year at the East Norfolk 6th Form College.
§  Finally, congratulations to Dereham Ladies for gaining promotion to the national league.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham   01603 506925    MDenham975@aol.com    31/3/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 23 March 2010

U10’s to O70’s

As we know one of the joys of hockey is that it is a sport for all ages and this was never truer than last Sunday when the club fielded teams with the ages of players ranging from under 10 to over 70!

So where better to start this week than with congratulations to the U10 Boys and U12 Boys, coached by Stuart Peters, for winning their respective Norfolk Championship at Gresham’s School. And they did so with victory in all their matches with plenty of goals for and very few against. They now go on to represent the county in the East Club Minis Finals being hosted by the club over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 17/18 April.

At the other end of the age range (although not all the players were over 70!) the Senior Veterans entertained England LX for their annual encounter expertly organised as usual by Tony and Sue Williams. Thank you Sue for the splendid luncheon! The visitors deservedly won 3-0 to make the overall record five wins apiece with two draws. The pace was fairly sedate (although some skilful hockey was played) and I couldn’t help saying to John Pestell, the Magpies’ right winger, that he was allowed to break into a walk if he so wished! It was an enjoyable game to watch in welcome sunshine and good to see some ex-HMHC regulars, such as Keith Alexander, Peter Halls, Les Howlett, Dick Ling, Dick Naunton and Kim Steggles, back in action in addition to Tony Williams playing as usual for the LX.

The day before, as part of another busy weekend at the club, the Ladies’ 2nds did well to draw 2-2 with league champions Lowestoft and the play was a credit to the respective coaches (Jason Harness for Magpies and Clyde Camburn for Lowestoft) with Lauren Mickleburgh thumping in the penalty corner equaliser for Magpies with two minutes to go. Next up were the Men’s 1sts who beat Oxted 1-0 in a match notable for another commanding game in the middle by Richard Gill and two outstanding goalkeeping displays – by Richard Harms for Magpies and by Ben Shorten for Oxted, with the latter playing surely the game of his life. Congratulations to Simon Hipwell for finding a way to beat Ben in the first half. Best wishes to Stuart Leate who was taken ill shortly before the match.

The highlight of the Men’s 3rds 7-1 win over Bury 2nds was skipper/manager (and soon to be married) Mark Lewis coming off the bench for his first action of the season to convert a penalty stroke in fine style before immediately cart wheeling off the pitch – and we all thought he had a bad back!

Meanwhile the Men’s 2nds were in generous form away to Ipswich 2nds allowing their opponents to progress from minus one point for the season to plus two (!) before returning to form on Sunday with a hard earned but deserved 1-0 win over Harpenden (in a match excellently umpired by Ray Allum and Trevor Norman) with leading scorer Robbie Kinsella converting a penalty stroke on his 30th birthday. Many happy returns Robbie!

Other news and comments in brief


§ Congratulations to Gareth Furlong (who has enjoyed an outstanding season for the 1sts) on being selected to represent Wales U18s against Scotland in a three-match series in Largs over Easter.

§ Well done to Andy Palmer who scored his first ever goal while playing for the 6ths last Saturday!

§ With the regrettable relegation of Dereham Men there will be no Norfolk team in next season’s East Premier A – a sad decline in Norfolk hockey for those of us with fond and long memories of playing against Norwich Exiles, Norwich Grasshoppers and Norfolk Wanderers when all three sides were among the best in the East.

§ It would be a big boost to the club if Dereham Ladies take a point (or better) against Saffron Walden in their last game to win promotion to the national league after missing out so narrowly last season.

§ The Men’s 5ths gained an excellent 4-3 win over league champions Ipswich Crane last Sunday with Craig Whipps converting a vital penalty stroke soon after accidentally hitting Rob Goodson in the face. Fortunately Rob is OK after being glued up in hospital!

§ Please note your diary with the End of Season Bash (disco and hog roast & pudding) to be held at the club on Saturday 8 May (7.30pm). Tickets – Adults £10 and U13 £5 – are available from the clubhouse bar.

With the exception of the Ladies’ 2nds who play Ipswich 2nds on Saturday April 10 this weekend sees the end of another league season. On Saturday the Ladies’ 1sts (after their narrow defeat at Ipswich) entertain Sevenoaks (N.B. 2.00) who still have a chance to overtake league leaders Ipswich while the Men’s 1sts are away to Sevenoaks on Sunday (2.00) looking for at least the draw to enable them to stay above their opponents for an excellent 6th place. Please see the Home Page of the club’s website for a list of all this weekend’s matches. Good luck to all our teams.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 23/3/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 17 March 2010

£4701 TAKEN!

What a result from last Saturday’s Auction of Promises! On behalf of the organising committee I thank everyone who supported the event – including, of course, our excellent auctioneers Lawrence Baynes and Robbie Kinsella, the Lot donors and bidders (both successful and unsuccessful – the latter are invaluable at auctions provided you are not a buyer!) – for making the event such a success both financially and socially. From the above figure (which excludes bar profits) there are only a few expenses to be deducted making it a highly successful event for the club.


For a list of what each Lot made please click here. The successful bidders have been given, where appropriate, the contact details of their donors.

I also take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported the Spring Prize Raffle which made a healthy profit of £1300. The draw was made during the A of P with the major prizes and congratulations going to Verity Blyth (£150), Phil Cobbald (£75) and Mike Pepper (£25).

Earlier in the day there were less wins than usual for the club – just three from 13 games. The Ladies’ 2nds continued their fine form, which has brought them five wins from their seven games since Christmas, by beating Ipswich & ES 2-0 away while the Ladies’ 5ths beat Loddon 2nds 3-1 and the Men’s 3rds eased past Lowestoft Town 9-1 during which Matt Brand took his total of goals for the season to 39 and his total for the past three seasons to 101. Some record! Matt – I must have missed the celebration drink!

In five other matches 2-2 was a popular – or unpopular – result with the Ladies’ 1sts letting slip a two goal lead against Old Loughtonians thanks in no small part to Debbie McAllen having to leave the field after a nasty knock on her head which required stitches (luckily she is OK but had to miss the Mixed team’s 3-1 defeat at Wisbech last Sunday); the Men’s 2nds conceding a goal in the last few seconds, like the Ladies’ 1sts, against City of Peterborough 2nds; the Men’s 6ths extending their unbeaten run to four games away to IES 3rds and the Men’s Veterans taking a point from their away trip to Pelicans. The Vets thus maintained their unbeaten run going back to October 17 – all of eight matches ago! But by far the most meritorious 2-2 score line was that achieved by the Ladies’ 3rds when for the second time this season they held league leaders Loddon to a draw.

In some ways the most significant win last weekend was achieved on Sunday by Oxted who beat Indian Gymkhana 4-2 thereby removing any chance of relegation for the Men’s 1sts who continued their good form in losing narrowly away to second placed Old Loughtonians by three goals to two. Andy Hipwell scored the two goals to take his season total to 16 and in doing so consolidated his position as the league’s leading scorer (with 13) of open play goals. Many congratulations to manager Robert Stimpson and captain Leigh Sitch and the rest of the squad, including the coaches, on retaining their status following their first season back in the national league.

Magpies May Day Weekend Hockey Festival (1 & 3 May 2010) – calling all HMHC members including those away at university and former HMHC members. You are invited to enter a team. Please see the top right link on the Home Page of the club’s website for entry details.

This weekend’s home matches on Saturday include the Men’s 1sts hosting, by coincidence, Oxted (2.15) in their last home match of the season; the Ladies’ 2nds playing league leaders Lowestoft (NB 12.15); the Ladies’ 3rds taking on Dereham 3rds (12.15) and Ladies’ Development playing Yarmouth (1.45) in their penultimate match of another hugely successful season. On Sunday the Ladies’ 1sts are away to Ipswich (2.00) in a match of huge significance to the home team as they attempt to cling on to top spot; the Men’s 2nds entertain Harpenden (2.15) in what should be a tougher match than their visit to Ipswich 2nds the previous day; the Men’s 5ths host Ipswich Crane (12.30) and the Senior Vets play their annual match at Weybread against England LX (12.00). Good luck to all our teams in action this weekend including the U10 and U12 Boys in the County Mini Finals at Gresham’s School on Sunday.

News and comments in brief

§ I am delighted to say that social member and good friend of the club, Brian Perks, who had an accident due to a heart attack while at the wheel of his car last Saturday week, is well on the way to recovery (and now home from hospital) thanks to the staff of a passing ambulance (!) who saved his life. Brian – it will be good to see you back at Weybread next season.

§ The highlight of the Ladies’ 1sts draw with the OLs last Saturday were the two goals scored by Angie Wheelhouse which took her national league career total to a remarkable 99. I apologise (again) to Angie and her mother, Jenny, for shouting out ‘fluke’ when her second goal flew into the net. I thought the cross from Emily Wilford went in off a defender’s stick!

§ Commiserations to England men for missing out on a medal in the World Cup in New Delhi. Their cause was not helped by the withdrawals through injuries just before the event of forwards Matt Daly and Simon Mantell and during the event of key defender Richard Mantell.

§ Please note your diary with the End of Season Bash (disco and hog roast etc) to be held at the club on Saturday 8 May (7.30pm). Tickets – Adults £10 and U13 £5 – are available from the clubhouse bar.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 17/3/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 9 March 2010

BIG STEP FOR MEN’S 1STS

There were significant wins for some of our teams last weekend and none more so than those achieved by the Men’s 1sts and Ladies’ 2nds and 3rds.

The Men’s 1sts took a big step in retaining their national league status by beating Indian Gymkhana 3-1 away and with three games to go they lead Indian Gym by nine points and with a goal difference advantage of 27 but my cup is always half empty so another point is needed. This was a vital win for the team and congratulations go to all involved including John Livings and Richard Harms who shared the goalkeeping duties with two first class displays. It is to be hoped that Tristan Baynes’ injury is not as bad as first feared. Fortunately he was still able to come off the bench to put away a penalty stroke! A point or three at Old Loughtonians on Sunday (2.00pm) would remove any lingering concerns over next season.

Meantime the Ladies’ 2nds were beating Bourne with goals by Lauren Mickleburgh, Kathryn Bullen and Sarah Brook – the latter with her first (and certainly not her last) for the team since her very recent promotion from the 3rds. The team is now nine points above City of Peterborough with three games remaining so relegation fears have been eased very considerably. This Saturday the team are away to Ipswich & ES (2.30) who they beat 1-0 back in November.

I was remiss in omitting reference to the Ladies’ 3rds last week. This young team are in a rich vein of form having won their last five matches including Saturday’s 4-1 win over Thetford (with goals by Lizzie Jones, successfully promoted from the 5ths since Christmas, Lucy Chubbock (2) and Frances Taylor) which leaves them seven points behind Norfolk Premier Division leaders Loddon with a game in hand. It so happens they play Loddon away this coming Saturday (3.00) and a repeat of the performance they put up against Loddon earlier in the season when they drew 1-1 could see them come away with a vital win.

Another fine win last weekend was that achieved by the Ladies’ 1sts – for whom Debbie McAllen was in top form – when they completed the double with a 3-1 victory over Chelmsford helped very considerably by a second minute goal, and her first for the team, by Ellie Bale. This Saturday (12.30) the team entertain Old Loughtonians looking for another double over Essex opponents to cement their third place in a league in which leaders Ipswich are faltering hotly pursued by Sevenoaks.

News and comments in brief. The Men’s 6ths, under the enthusiastic leadership of Kevin Ridley, recorded their third successive win last Saturday when beating Sudbury 4ths 4-3; the Men’s 2nds beat Norwich City 5-1 with leading scorer Robbie Kinsella netting twice to take his total for the season to fourteen and the Men’s 3rds, with promotion already assured, lost for the first time when beaten 2-1 by Pelicans 2nds. Good luck to England Men in their World Cup semi-final on Thursday.

The organising committee very much hope you will be able to attend this Saturday’s Auction of Promises (7.00) or else submit a postal bid or two. As promised last week I show below the additional Lots which have kindly been submitted and the amendment to Lot 10 (my mistake).

10a Graham Ramm
One hour GCSE mathematics lesson

10b Graham Ramm
One hour GCSE mathematics lesson

30a Gill Hipwell
2 dozen chocolate brownies baked to order

63 Mark & Debbie Kilbourn
A service and MOT or a service to the value of £150

www.kilbourns.co.uk

64 Miranda Mitchley
“Who do you think you are?” 4 hours help with tracing
your ancestors – including copies of censuses 1841 – 1911

65 Tiger Young
One hour gliding experience at Tibenham Airfield

66 Gill Hipwell
2 dozen chocolate brownies baked to order

67 Alison and Mark Wilford
Two tickets donated by Aviva for the Norwich City v Stockport
County game on Easter Monday (April 5th) in the Community Stand

Being indisposed last weekend gave me plenty of opportunity to compare the merits of hockey and football on television and hockey won by the proverbial mile! The skills shown by the players in the Men’s World Cup, superbly covered by Zing (digital channel 789), were considerably superior to those of the Premiership footballers and the FIH’s embrace of technology added to one’s enjoyment and understanding of the hockey on the day FIFA rejected any goal-line technology and Birmingham City had a clear goal against Portsmouth missed by the officials! A quick video referral at the request of the players as in the hockey would have righted the wrong.

Good luck to all our teams in action this weekend (please see the Home Page of the website for a full list) including the Mixed team at Wisbech on Sunday (12.00) and our U10 and U12 Girls in the Norfolk County minis we are hosting on Sunday (9.45).

NB. If you have not already done so (and thank you if you have) would you please kindly return your Spring Draw raffle tickets with money either direct to promoter Tracy Reeve or over the bar at the clubhouse by 3.00pm this Saturday (13 March). The draw will be made during the Auction of Promises.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 9/3/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 2 March 2010

Lots, drinks and nibbles

Just in case you don’t get as far as the bottom of this article (!) I would like to remind you of the Auction of Promises to be held in the clubhouse at 7.00pm on Saturday 13 March. This is the club’s major fund raising event of the 2009/10 season and you will be very welcome. Entry is free with a glass of wine (or soft drink) on arrival with nibbles later in the evening. To-date I have received no postal bids so I assume you are all coming! Next week I will advise you of the additional Lots which have been gratefully received.

Another reminder please: to kindly return your Spring Draw raffle tickets with money either direct to promoter Tracy Reeve or over the bar at the clubhouse by 3.00pm on Saturday 13 March. The draw will be made during the Auction of Promises.

Last weekend was another busy one and the highlights included the Ladies’ Development beating Norwich City 2-0 to claim their third consecutive league title (well done girls!); the Ladies’ 1sts excellent 3-0 win away at St Albans where they lost heavily last season; the Ladies’ 2nds crucial 2-1 win at City of Peterborough to ease their relegation fears (four teams go down from their league); the Men’s 6ths 4-3 away win over Ipswich Cranes 2nds, which included James Graham’s first goal of his career (as younger members will know he usually plays in goal), and the fine late penalty stroke save by Murray (James’s Dad) which ensured the Men’s 5ths got a vital home point off ISE 2nds following their 2-2 draw during which another notable achievement was a goal by skipper Richard Allcock on his return to the team despite his back injury.

Meantime the Mixed team played well to beat Bedford 4-1 (Duncan Steven 2, Robbie Kinsella and Jamie Legg – with the girls doing most of the defending!) in the EH Trophy – they now have another away game on Sunday 14 March against Wisbech – while the Men’s 3rds eased to a 11-1 win over Norwich Dragons 2nds with goals by Matt Brand (5), Gavin Cole (2), Will Martin and a three from James Stacey who was in sparkling form having dropped himself from the 2nds. With this win and Norwich Dragons 1sts dropping two points against Pelicans 2nds the already promoted 3rds are now slight favourites to win their league but they have to travel to play Pelicans this week (12.00) where they will be assured of a tough game.

In other matches the Men’s 2nds let slip a 3-0 lead to draw with Long Sutton (having seven days earlier pulled back from three down against leaders Wapping) and the Sunday Men’s Veterans gave a good performance despite their 3-0 defeat by Holcombe in the EH Cup during which Stuart Baker pulled a fetlock to prove his body conditioning still has a little way to go and Simon Bardwell played his second game of the weekend without receiving a yellow card! The game was played in cold and wet conditions (the worst of the season in my view) and things were only a little better when the Men’s 1sts played extremely well in going down 5-3 to joint league Canterbury. Both sides played some superb hockey which was exciting to watch and Andy Hipwell took his season’s goals to an impressive 13. If the video referral system which England used to good effect in their excellent 3-2 win over Australia in the World Cup on Sunday (the event is available on digital channel Zing 789) had been in operation at Weybread Canterbury’s second stroke would almost certainly have been ruled out!

Two other matters before a brief further comment on this weekend’s matches: my apologies to James Fanger for not mentioning his first national league goal last week (he has forgiven me!) and your forbearance please with the erratic scoreboard on the water-based pitch. It is not the fault of my well trained and devoted small team of assistant operators! But it could well be due to the board not liking the recent cold spell of weather any more than us! I’ll keep you advised of developments.

On Saturday the Men’s 1sts have a vital trip to Isleworth in Middlesex to play close rivals Indian Gymkhana (2.00) and a win would banish any fears of relegation while the Men’s 2nds are away to Norwich City (1.00) with any hopes of promotion now realistically over. Meantime the Ladies’ 5ths, after their eighth consecutive win last Saturday, are away to Sprowston 2nds (12.30) as they continue their title bid. On Sunday the Ladies’ 1sts entertain Chelmsford (12.30) seeking to complete the double over the Essex team while the U18 Girls are away to Wycombe (1.30) in the EH Cup and the U16 Girls travel to play Havering (11.30) in the EH Plate. Good luck to all our teams in action this weekend including the U11 and U13 Boys and Girls in the Watton Minis on Sunday.

Finally, I have been asked by Serena Sitch to draw your attention to a basic first aid course she hopes to run, in conjunction with St John Ambulance, before the end of the season or at the beginning of next. It would be good to have a member from each team trained (or retrained) in first aid so if you are interested please add your name to the list on the clubhouse notice board. A minimum of 12 people are required for the course.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 2/3/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 22 February 2010

GOALS GALORE WITH KAY LEADING THE WAY

There were goals galore last weekend in the matches involving the Ladies’ 4ths and the Men’s 1sts, 2nds and 3rds and while only the Ladies secured a win there was satisfaction for all four teams. But pride of place must go to the Ladies’ 4ths who beat Pelicans 3rds 10-0 with five of the goals coming from Kay Dennis who scored three times in the first twenty minutes. Is this the quickest hat trick by a member this season? Did Martin Fields do better while scoring five for the Men’s 2nds against Broxbourne in January?

The Men’s 1sts got a good point in their 4-4 away draw against Bromley and Beckenham but after conceding all four goals to penalty corners will need to tighten up on that part of their play when they entertain second placed Canterbury this Sunday (2.15). In Kwan Browne, the Trinidad and Tobago international, Canterbury have without doubt the best player in the East Conference and corner taking is part of his outstanding repertoire of hockey skills.

When Plan A failed the Men’s 2nds against Wapping it was just as well they turned to Plan B being three down with fifteen minutes to go! Robbie Kinsella, Lawrence Baynes and Dave Francis then scored to pull off a remarkable 3-3 recovery against the then league leaders (and still clear favourites) down by the River Thames. It is to be hoped that Plan A will have been consigned to the rubbish bin before they host Long Sutton on Saturday (2.15) with victory essential if any hope of promotion is not to be extinguished.

Meantime the Men’s 3rds had a much shorter trip to Loddon where they were soon a goal down to championship rivals Norwich Dragons before Matt Brand made it 1-1 at the interval. Magpies, cheered on by their supporters who outnumbered the home ‘crowd’ by an estimated 20 to 3(!), took temporary control of the match soon after the break with quick goals by Will Martin and Philip Cobbald only for Dragons to force the pace thereafter with the away team rarely showing as an attacking force. But with goalkeeper Ross Briggs making some remarkable saves in the closing stages a win for Magpies looked the likeliest result only for Dragons to score twice in the last four minutes for a draw their fight back deserved. This result leaves both sides still unbeaten this season with Dragons slight favourites to win the league but unless something untoward happens both teams are assured of promotion. Well done to Mark Lewis and his team. This Saturday the 3rds entertain Norwich Dragons 2nds (4.00) looking for plenty of goals which could yet decide the championship.

The Ladies’ 1sts deserved their hard fought win over Horsham after dominating the match for long periods only to be let down by their finishing and they nearly paid the price when Horsham hit a post before Cherry Seaborn scored for the ninth time this season with what turned out to be eight nervy minutes remaining. This week the team is away to St Albans who they beat 5-1 in late October with three goals from Angie Wheelhouse and two from Cherry.

The Men’s 4ths continued their improved form by beating Ipswich 4ths 5-0 for their third consecutive win and this week they are away to Gorleston (2.30) while the Men’s 6ths are away to Ipswich Cranes 2nds (1.00) boosted by their 3-0 win over UEA 3rds. Meantime the Ladies’ 2nds return to action after their half term break with an away double-header when they play City of Peterborough in a vital relegation clash on Saturday (1.00) followed by a visit to fourth placed Wisbech on Sunday (11.30 or 1.00). Good luck to all our teams in action this weekend including the Mixed who play Bedford (12.00 away) in the EH Trophy on Sunday and the Men’s Veterans who entertain Holcombe on Sunday (11.45) after their match was frozen off last weekend.

News and comments in brief

§ Best wishes to the England men’s team who begin their FIH World Cup campaign in New Delhi on Sunday against Australia. Also in their tough pool are South Africa (2/3), Pakistan (4/3), India (6/3) and Spain (8/3).

§ I hope by now you have seen a copy of the catalogue for the Auction of Promises to be held on Saturday 13 March (clubhouse 7.00pm). If not please go to the Home Page of the club’s website and click on Auction of Promises on the top right and then click on HERE. If you would like a hard copy please let me know.

§ I also hope you are able to sell your Spring Draw tickets and return the stubs with money a.s.a.p. please. The draw will be held during the Auction of Promises which promises (!) to be a very exciting evening. So please come along.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 22/2/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 16 February 2010

MORE WOE AND WORK FOR IRENE AND MERNA

Another seven league fixtures need to be rescheduled by our long suffering fixture secretaries, Irene Bicker and Merna Merrett, following last Saturday’s frost and snow in Weybread’s microclimate. In contrast all of our away matches were played including that of the Men’s Veterans who hit the road for the first time since November 14 – when drawing 2-2 at distant Bury St Edmunds! One match survived at Weybread with the Ladies’ 4ths beating Reepham 3-1 on the sand and it was also ‘well done’ to the Men’s 4ths who beat Lowestoft away by an identical score.

With three games completely lost on Sunday at Weybread (when the weather could not be blamed), including the U18 Girls EH Cup clash with Old Loughtonians, due to the latter’s 9.00am concession, it was left to the Men’s 1sts to provide the highlight of the weekend with their much needed 3-2 win over Chelmsford. The team did well to hit back after going behind to an early penalty corner strike when Andy Hipwell scored from close range after good work by Tristan Baynes and Richard Gill put us ahead early in the second half when he anticipated an opportunity coming from a superb piece of close control from Simon Hipwell. Andy added a third when he squeezed the ball past the goalkeeper from a narrow angle following a run begun from well outside the circle. What a goal! At times the game resembled musical chairs with a succession of players being sent to the sin bin – with one returning within seconds of getting back on the pitch! – but it all ended well for Magpies, for whom Gareth Furlong was in fine form, despite another successful penalty corner strike by Chelmsford very late in the game which did nothing to calm nerves on the touchline!

Congratulations also to the U16 Girls who beat Chelmsford 4-0 away to progress to the quarter-finals of the EH Plate where they have an away game with Havering on Sunday 7 March.

There are several big matches this Saturday with perhaps the biggest being at the top of East League 3NE where at Hobart School in Loddon (3.00) the Men’s 3rds, as league leaders, play Norwich Dragons who are three points behind with a game in hand and with a superior goal difference. With both teams well ahead of third placed Pelicans 2nds and having dropped just two points each all season (when they drew 2-2 at Weybread in early November) this match will almost certainly decide the winners of the championship. Good luck to Mark Lewis and his team – who last Sunday were given a 3-0 walkover by Dereham 3rds. Meantime the Men’s 2nds (in fourth place) travel to London to play unbeaten leaders Wapping (2.30) needing a win to retain a realistic hope of promotion from Premier B while the Ladies’ 1sts will be looking for a win to kick start the second half of their league campaign when they entertain Horsham (12.30). The teams drew 1-1 earlier in the season with Magpies winning the corresponding match 2-1 last season.

To round off the weekend there are two big games on Sunday with the Men’s 1sts seeking to build on their win against Chelmsford (now 9 points behind Magpies) by beating Bromley and Beckenham away (1.30). Bromley and Beckenham are now four points behind Magpies following their 3-2 defeat by Indian Gym who remain five points behind Magpies. Meantime the Men’s Veterans entertain Holcombe (12.00) in the fourth round of the EH Masters Cup.


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

News and comments in brief

§ Jeremy Podd is the club’s acting chairman until Mark Legg resumes his duties next month. Until then any matters for Mark should be referred to Jeremy. Please see page six of the club’s handbook for his contact details.

§ The U18 Girls are away to Wycombe in the quarter-finals of the EH Cup on Sunday 7 March.

§ I hope the Auction of Promises to be held on Saturday 13 March (clubhouse 7.00pm) is noted in your diary! The catalogue will be sent out by email later in the week.

§ And another hope! This time that you are able to sell your Spring Draw tickets and return the stubs with money a.s.a.p. please. The draw will be held during the Auction of Promises.

§ Last Saturday Amy Tuffs (who is away at university) played for Northampton Saints against the Ladies’ 1sts. Have we received the transfer fee yet?!

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 16/2/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 9 February 2010

COUNTLESS HOURS

As many members, past and present, will know David Cobbald has spent countless hours at the club over many years working on the club’s grounds and pitches. His job title has rarely been properly defined but I know David would not complain at being called groundman’s assistant, i.e. assistant to his son Philip.

In this capacity DC has worked tirelessly for the club and we all owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for all he has done in this and numerous other capacities going back over 50 years.

All good things must, sadly, come to an end and DC has finally, after a few recent health concerns, listened to his wife, Judy, and family and has reluctantly decided to take life at an easier pace.

This has necessitated a fresh approach to the maintenance of the club’s grounds and pitches with the establishment of a Ground Team under the co-ordination of Jeremy Podd. The various members will be responsible for specific tasks which include grass cutting and rolling, hedge cutting, strimming of banks, repair and replacement, when necessary, of the rabbit fencing, spraying of weeds, brushing of the artificial grass pitches, etc., etc. I am pleased to say that both David and Philip will continue to assist the club as members of the team. If you have comments to make regarding the grounds and pitches or would like to join the Ground Team please have a word with Jeremy (please see page 6 of the club’s handbook for his contact details).

Results last weekend were a real mixed bag with the Men’s 1sts and 2nds both losing; the Ladies’ 1sts drawing 1-1 (congratulations to Emily Wilford on scoring her first national league goal) despite dominating Cambridge City for much of the game; the Men’s 5ths pulling out of their match due to several late call-offs and eight of our teams winning. The Ladies’ 2nds took another step away from relegation by beating Norwich City 2-1 with goals by Jesse Withers and Melissa Hunter; the Ladies 3rds beat Evergreens 3-1 with a hat trick by Keira Booty, who was recently promoted from the 5ths, and the 5ths won 6-0 against Evergreens 2nds with Jess Howland scoring four. Did Dad Paul ever score so many in a match? He tried to tell me on Sunday that it was a regular occurrence! All I can remember were his somersaulting goal scoring celebrations!

There was another win for the Ladies’ Development (their tenth successive victory!); an eighth successive win for the Men’s 3rds (with two more goals by guess who?) and a welcome three points for the Men’s 4ths who beat Norwich Dragons 2-1. And the Men’s Veterans got themselves into action for the first time since November 21 and gained a 2-0 win over Cambridge City. I missed the two goals so I was left watching a lot of huff and puff with no end product. I enjoyed using this phrase after the game hence a repeat here! But to be fair they played some delightful flowing hockey but missed the goal power of the injured Roger Kent who was in the ‘crowd’. But the game I enjoyed most over the weekend was the 7-0 victory of the Mixed team on Sunday over Norwich City in the EH Trophy. Robbie Kinsella steadied any early nerves with a deft touch and thereafter more goals flowed from Bryony Lund, Verity Blyth (2), Daniel Legg, Lucy Fields (a cracking shot high into the net from distance) and Robbie again.

After their 4-1 defeat away to Holcombe the Men’s 1sts will have been relieved to learn that bottom team Chelmsford (now six points behind Magpies) had beaten Indian Gymkhana (still five points behind) and to take full advantage of this result the team needs to beat Chelmsford at Weybread this coming Sunday (2.15) where in previously postponed fixtures the Men’s 3rds entertain Dereham 3rds (12.30) while the Men’s Vets take on table topping Ipswich (3.15). Also at home on Sunday will be the U18 Girls who play Old Loughtonians (11.45) for a place in the quarter finals of the EH Cup.

But before then we have twelve teams in Saturday action with the Ladies’ 1sts travelling to play Northampton Saints (12.30) who they beat 5-1 earlier in the season. It was good to see Charlie Harrison easing herself back into the team last Saturday following the birth of her second child. Meantime the Men’s 2nds have centre stage at Weybread when they entertain Letchworth (12.30) – to whom they lost 6-3 earlier in the season – with the Ladies’ 2nds playing Ipswich 2nds (1.45) and the Men’s 3rds taking on North Walsham (2.15). Please see the Home Page of the website for a full list of this weekend’s matches. Good luck to all our teams.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 9/2/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 2 February 2010

MERNA AND IRENE –THANK YOU

When Merna Merrett, the Men’s Fixture Secretary, emailed me in the middle of last week anticipating bad weather for the weekend I thought she was being unduly pessimistic but as we all know by now her pessimism was totally justified with only the Men’s 6ths fixture away at Sudbury surviving yet another wintry blast. Merna kindly took on the job at the beginning of last season since when she and Irene Bicker, the Ladies’ Fixture Secretary, have had more postponements to deal with than for years. So I am sure I speak on behalf of all members when I thank Merna and Irene, and the various team captains, for all their hard work necessitated by the postponements and subsequent rearrangements.

The forecast for this weekend is far more promising and for the first time in ages we have eight matches scheduled at Weybread on Saturday. After their successful indoor exploits the Ladies’ 1sts will need to adapt to what is generally recognised to be the main form of the game when they resume their national outdoor campaign by entertaining Cambridge City (12.30). The team will be mindful of their two defeats just before the mid-season break and City’s improved form since Magpies won 2-0 at Cambridge early in October. Next up will be the Ladies’ 2nds who play Norwich City (2.15) looking to improve on the good point they got away from home in the first half of the season following a 2-2 draw. Meantime the Men’s 2nds are away to Cambridge Nomads and a repeat of their 7-2 win back in October would be most welcome as the team attempts to keep in touch with Cambridge City and Wapping near the top of their league.

On Sunday the Men’s 1sts are also back in national league outdoor action for the first time since the end of November when they travel to Rochester in Kent to play Holcombe (1.30) seeking their first 3-point haul since beating Chelmsford on October 10th. When the teams met earlier in the season the result could have gone either way with Magpies settling for a 1-1 draw having defended two penalty corners from former England centre forward David Mathews in the dying seconds.

Meantime the club will be busy on Sunday hosting the Suffolk Junior Academy Centre after the Mixed team start their England Hockey Trophy campaign, under the captaincy of David Francis, by playing Norwich City at 12.15pm. Please see the Home Page of the website for a full list of this weekend’s matches. Good luck to all our teams.

News and comments in brief
§ Congratulations to East Grinstead on retaining their national indoor title when they beat Surbiton last Sunday at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham. While I have no argument with Chris Mayer’s decision to make Ashley Jackson Sky TV’s Man of the Final I thought he was pushed all the way by his teammate and former GB and England star Mark Pearn. I have been an admirer of Mark ever since I saw him make his international debut in the Champions Trophy in Berlin in 1995.

§ It is difficult to keep Ashley Jackson (surely England’s most talented player for many years) out of the news and last week he gained another honour by being named the UK Hockey Player of 2009 following the annual poll conducted amongst the British members of the Hockey Writers’ Club. Helen Richardson was winner of the women’s award. Ashley’s award came as no surprise as not long ago he was named the FIH’s World Young Player of 2009!

§ If you wish to follow the forthcoming FIH Men’s World Cup please go to www.worldhockey.org/worldcup

§ It is still not too late to kindly offer Promises for the Auction of Promises to be held on Saturday 13 March. I would be delighted to hear from you. But most importantly of all please put the date in your diary and come along on the night!

§ Many thanks to everyone who supported last Saturday’s very successful Rioja and Roll Evening in Tibbenham’s Barn and congratulations to the Fund Raising and Social Committee for the splendid eats and drinks.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 2/2/10

MIKE’S MUSINGS – 26 January 2010

EXCELLENT PITCHES BUT NO HEAT

I’ve just returned to my desk to complete this week’s Musings following a stroll over Eaton Park in Norwich. It brought back happy memories of many games, both as a player and spectator, on the excellent natural grass pitches where older readers will remember Norwich Exiles, Norwich Grasshoppers and Norfolk Wanderers (as well as Norfolk CHA) playing their home matches. Less happy will be the thoughts of the concrete floored and unheated changing rooms in the middle of the park!

Your attention please!

§ I take this opportunity to remind you of the Rioja and Roll Evening to be held this coming Saturday (30 January) at 7.30pm in Tibbenham’s Barn, Weybread. If you cannot attend – or even if you can – the organisers would be delighted to receive a prize for the raffle. If you are not coming but can help with a prize would you please give Irene Bicker a call on 01379 853475.

§ It is still not too late to kindly offer Promises for the Auction of Promises to be held on Saturday 13 March. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Now for the very busy last weekend and what a weekend it was for indoor hockey with our three teams all doing well in their respective ways in national events. Pride of place must go to the U18 Girls in the club championship in Sheffield where they reached the semi-finals despite a series of injuries including, sadly, a broken arm for Jazz Bartlett and a broken hand for Bryony Lund. Coach David Brook was extremely grateful for the assistance of Dr Jenny Blyth on the bench. This was a fine effort by the squad and augurs well for the future. Meantime the Ladies’ 1sts, under coach Nick McAllen, were without three of their team who were in Sheffield (no thanks here to England Hockey for this clash of events) but they still won their concluding two games in Croydon to finish a highly creditable third in Division 1 of the national league conceding just eleven goals in eight games.

Some further 80 miles to the south the U18 Boys’ squad, under coach Stuart Peters, competed well and learned a lot in their club championship finishing with one win from their four games in Eastleigh. This experience will be extremely beneficial to the squad for next season. The club can be proud of the efforts of our three indoor squads under their dedicated leaderships.

Outdoors it was dull and overcast at Weybread last Saturday where the Ladies’ 6ths went down narrowly to Herlings before the Men’s 4ths played well to secure a 2-2 draw with Dereham 3rds with goals by Tom Hart and Alex Slater. The Ladies’ 2nds were next up and after getting back to 2-2 eventually lost 4-2 to St Ives although I have to confess I was distracted for a considerable part of the game trying to get the temperamental scoreboard to work properly after the recent cold weather! I returned with a new battery for the remote control (it was only a partial success) to see the Men’s 6ths push league leaders Felixstowe 2nds all the way in an exciting game before losing to two late goals after missing at least one good chance ourselves.

Away from home the Men’s 5ths returned with a useful point after their 0-0 draw against Dereham 4ths while the Ladies Development won 4-0 at North Walsham to stay eight points clear at the top of their league and the Ladies 5ths secured their sixth successive win (and fourth successive clean sheet) by beating Old Buckenham 2nds 4-0. Meantime the Ladies’ 4ths went down 3-1 against Watton 3rds; the Men’s 2nds had a remarkable 7-4 win at Broxbourne, thanks in no small part to five goals from Martin Fields, to keep in touch near the top of their league and the Men’s 3rds beat Gorleston 4-1, with two goals apiece from Matt Brand (24 now for the season) and Gavin Cole, to maintain their unbeaten record and top spot in their league. Unfortunately the Men’s Veterans were forced to postpone their match away against Shefford and Sandy due to injuries including a broken hand sadly sustained by Roger Kent while playing the previous week. Frankly the future of the Veterans side is not looking too good especially if we are unable to honour our away matches despite the hard work of skipper Simon Bardwell.

This Saturday the Ladies 3rds, who had an excellent 5-1 win away against Watton 2nds last Saturday, and the Men’s 2nds have top billing at Weybread with the Ladies playing Panthers (12.30) and the Men entertaining Harpenden (2.15). Please see the Home Page of the website for a full list of this Saturday’s matches. Good luck to all our teams.

News and comments in brief

§ The decision of the coaching committee to cancel the Men’s Club training session on Mondays due to lack of support (both numerical and financial) has not been well received by those members now affected. If you would like the session reinstated please contact Jordan Ball on 07769 202771.

§ You may have seen the splendid new trophy cabinet in the clubhouse kindly donated, with all the new furniture, by Janet Reader. If you have any trophies at home associated with the club please bring them along one weekend – after cleaning them!

§ Congratulations to ex-Magpie Richard ‘Ratty’ Alexander on his selection for the England team to play in the FIH World Cup beginning on Sunday 28 February in Delhi.

§ Last Sunday the Men’s 1sts had a very encouraging 4-1 away friendly win over Southgate as part of their build-up to the league resumption on Sunday week.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 26/1/10