Category Archives: mixed reports

Mixed Team National Success

Harleston Magpies Mixed team sponsored by Parson Estate Agents have regained the National Mixed crown following a weekend of exciting hockey at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in London.

The squad that have been together for 5 seasons now have won the competition for the second time in three years.

The squad had a few changes from last season’s adventure at Lee Valley, they were without Katrina Sitch, James Meek, Dickon Taylor, Frances Taylor and John Livings and had picked up Jess Howland, Katherine Ridley, Thomas Ridley, Lucy Belsey, Chris Leek and Laura Tibbenham.

Semi-final Harleston Magpies 4 Spencer 1 

In the semi-final that took place on the Saturday the team faced Spencer on a baking afternoon in the capital. Harleston started well and dominated the early stages of the game. The team eventually get their just rewards when Maria Andrews converted a penalty corner with a hard low shot that left the post man with no chance. A lack of concentration 15 minutes into the game allowed Spencer the chance to equalise as they took a quick free hit the ball found Duncan Graves in the circle where the ex-Magpie turned and fired an unstoppable shot with his reverse stick. This goal caused a swing in the momentum and it was now Spencer who looked the more dangerous side. However, the back line for Harleston of Jess Howland, Leigh Sitch, Andrew Bedwell, Katherine Ridley, Lucy Belsey and Lauren Mickleburgh stood firm and limited the number of shots that Chris Leek had to face.

Against the run of play and with 30 seconds remaining of the half Harleston retook the lead when Maria Andrews grabbed her second of the day with a reverse stick finish. Harleston went into half time knowing that they had the lead but hadn’t played to their full potential.

In the second half Harleston found their rhythm and soon extended the lead with a flowing move. Thomas Ridley and Tim Whiteman shifted the ball right early on in Harleston’s own half before they found Lizzie Clymer who fed the ball into Lucy Whiting. Lucy beat one player before she found Simon Hipwell just behind the penalty spot. The dynamic midfielder steamed into the circle and with a diving slap dispatched his goal superbly.

Harleston soon rounded of the scoring and a convincing win when Robbie Kinsella and Richard Larkin combined to win a short corner with a few minutes left. Maria Andrews stepped up again to smash the ball home to complete her hat-trick.

In the second semi-final of the day Khalsa came back from two goals down to beat Stourport 3-2.

Final Harleston Magpies 1  Khalsa (Warks) 1
(Magpies won 3 – 2 in the penalty shootout)

In the final on the Sunday Harleston faced a strong Khalsa side. The two teams had met last year at the quarter-final stage at the Nest with Harleston running out winners. The 2017 Khalsa side looked like a stronger outfit than the one that Harleston had faced previously.

Harleston made the worst possible start to the game with only 3 minutes on the clock they found themselves a goal down following a loose ball breaking to a Khalsa forward in the circle who at the second time of asking was able to beat Chris Leek in goal.

Despite this set back Harleston grew into the game and started to create chances of their own. Thomas Ridley blazed over the bar after beating three Khalsa players and Maria Andrews deflected a couple of efforts just wide of the goal following a couple of balls being crashed into the circle. Khalsa then had a glorious opportunity to extend their lead but the half volley effort sailed just wide of the post. 2 minutes after this miss Harleston drew level when Tim Whiteman and Leigh Sitch played out of the left releasing Simon Hipwell who found Tim Whiteman again. The ball was played into Maria Andrews before she found Lizzie Clymer who calmly slid the ball past the advancing keeper.

With the teams level at the break an open second half ensued with both teams creating but not converting chances to snatch the lead. Andrew Bedwell was in commanding form at the back for Harleston as he marshalled the defensive line again ensuring that Khalsa attacks were repelled well by Jess Howland, Lauren Mickleburgh, Katherine Ridley, Leigh Sitch, Lucy Belsey and Richard Larkin. When called upon Chris Leek in goal was in outstanding form quickly closing down angles and making two world class saves to keep Harleston in the game. As time ticked on Harleston started to take control and finished the better team, a good ball from Lauren Barber allowed Maria Andrews to fire a reverse stick shot destined for the top corner to be turned away by the diving Khalsa goal keeper.

With minutes left Robbie Kinsella and Lucy Whiting combined to find Simon Hipwell whose reverse stick effort went narrowly wide of the post. A thrilling final finished 1-1 and the trophy would be decided on a penalty shuffle competition.

Harleston took an early lead as Tim Whiteman converted his shuffle and Khalsa missed. The two teams continued to trade blows with Chris Leek making two excellent stops and Robbie Kinsella (drawing on his vast experience) converted his shuffle to leave the teams tied again at 2-2. Sudden death and now Harleston’s turn to go first. Tim Whiteman converted his chance and Chris Leek then forced the Khalsa forward to fire wide meaning that Harleston clinched the 2017 Mixed National Trophy Title.

It has been a long mixed season for the squad who have performed well in all of the rounds and it is thanks to all the players involved.

The squad in turn would like to thank Parson Estate Agents for their continued support, the huge crowd of supporters who made the long journey to Lee Valley to support the team (once again Harleston were the best supported team there) and lastly and by no means least to the two Magpie Mascots – Nick Moss and Sam Moore.

Squad – Leigh Sitch (C), Chris Leek (GK), Andrew Bedwell, Jess Howland, Katherine Ridley, Thomas Ridley, Simon Hipwell, Lauren Mickleburgh, Lucy Belsey, Richard Larkin, Tim Whiteman, Maria Andrews, Lucy Whiting, Lizzie Clymer, Robbie Kinsella, Lauren Barber, Laura Tibbenham, Katrina Sitch (Coach) and Kevin Ridley (Manager).

Photos are courtesy of England Hockey and Ollie Denton

Magpies Mixed Finals Preview

Harleston Magpies Mixed team sponsored by Parson Estate Agents travel to Lee Valley on the 3rd and 4th June looking to regain the National title that they won in 2015. The squad who have been one of the most successful teams in the clubs recent history will play Spencer in the first Semi Final on Saturday 3rd June pushing back at 1-30pm. The second semi final will take place on the same day pushing back at 3-30pm between Stourport and Khalsa. If the team can navigate their way past Spencer then the Final will be played the following day at 4-00pm with the 3rd/4th place match starting at 2-00pm.

The squad reached the Semi Final stage with wins over Bedford (2-1), Bourne Deeping (6-0), Letchworth (4-1), Dereham (walk over) and, in the quarter final, a 7-1 win against Horsham. Spencer have also had a good run to the finals weekend scoring 30 goals and only conceding 10. Magpies will need to continue to be strong in defence to prevent Spencer adding to their 30 goal tally. Magpies will be hoping that their experience of four Final’s appearances in the last five years will guide them to their second National Mixed Trophy title. The squad are strengthened by the fact that eleven of the players that played last year remain in the squad and the team continues to be captained by Magpies Men’s First Team Captain, Leigh Sitch. Magpies have welcomed Katherine Ridley, Jess Howland, Lucy Belsey, Laura Tibbenham and Tim Whiteman to the team.

The squad travel to the weekend in high spirits having continued their strict training regimes in the lead up to the event.

Magpies would like to thank Parson Estate Agents for their continued support of the Mixed XI.

Squad from – Chris Leek (GK), Leigh Sitch (C), Andrew Bedwell, Katherine Ridley, Jess Howland, Thomas Ridley, Simon Hipwell, Lauren Mickleburgh, Lucy Belsey, Richard Larkin, Tim Whiteman, Lizzie Clymer, Maria Andrews, Robbie Kinsella, Lucy Whiting, Laura Tibbenham, Lauren Barber, Katrina Sitch (Coach) and Kevin Ridley (Manager).

Harleston Magpies Mixed match report

Harleston Magpies mixed hockey team sponsored by Parson estate agent travelled to Horsham to play the quarter finals of the Mixed cup. Despite the early start the players, along with our faithful supporters, arrived in fine spirits eager to reach a 4th finals in 5 years.

With several players carrying injuries (and some extra Easter weight) Pies knew that they needed to get off to a strong start and assert themselves early in the game. They did just this when the lightning-quick Simon Hipwell pounced on a loose ball and raced through for a 1 on 1 with the keeper. Keeping his head, Hipwell coolly slid the ball under the keeper to put the visitors in the lead. Magpies continued their pressure, with Thomas Ridley in typical commanding form in midfield pulling the strings. After some sustained pressure Simon Hipwell converted his, and Magpies, second of the game. With the ball bobbling loosely in the D he managed to bundle it over the line at the 3rd attempt.

The good play continued as Katherine Ridley and Lauren Barber caused Horsham problems down the right hand side of the pitch and Maria Andrew was looking menacing up front. Before long Magpies had extended their lead further when a wild, and probably dangerous, reverse stick shot from Richard Larkin was expertly deflected at waist height into the back of the net by Lucy Whiting. Horsham looked dangerous on the counter attack but strong tackling from the dynamic duo of Leigh Sitch and Andrew Bedwell rebuffed many Horsham attacks. Horsham did have a chance to reduce the deficit before half time but as their player was about to pull the trigger in the D Katherine Ridley expertly nicked the ball from the end of his stick before cheekily putting it onto his foot and removing the threat. Half-time Horsham 0 – 3 Magpies.

Magpies started the second half with the same attacking intent as they ended the first. Player-of-the-match Jess Howland pushed forwards at every opportunity and it seemed only a matter of time before the Pies scored their fourth. As Magpies committed more players forward Horsham broke quickly and creating a 2 on 1 situation pulled a goal back. Magpies were soon back in control when Tim Whiteman played a quick one-two with Hipwell before sneaking between 2 defenders and deftly lobbing the keeper with his reverse stick.

This goal spurred Magpies on further and they began playing some of their best hockey of the match with some excellent one and two touch passing. Magpies were reduced to 10 men with Whiteman lucky to only receive a green card after a malicious stick tackle. Undeterred the Pies immediately scored their fifth of the game when quick passing between Hipwell and Ridley gave Ladies East National League player of the season Maria Andrews an easy tap in. The lead was further extended when Robbie Kinsella, who had been running like a man half his age all game, slipped Hipwell through in the D who passed it to Tibbenham who was perfectly placed to add her name to the score sheet.

Despite the commanding scoreline Magpies were given a scare when their influential midfielder and talismanic goal scorer Simon Hipwell received a harsh yellow (possibly due to Whiteman’s earlier indiscretion) for a clean tackle. Despite this heavy blow the team managed to rally and Robbie Kinsella rounded off the scoring with a beautifully struck strike into the side netting after a lung bursting run across the pitch. The game finished Horsham 1 – 7 Magpies with Harleston playing their best hockey of the season.

Thank you to Kevin Ridley for managing the team and to all the travelling supporters who helped cheer us to victory. The team now travel to Lee Valley on the weekend of the 3rd and 4th June.

Harleston Magpies mixed match report

Harleston magpies mixed vs Letchworth

Letchworth 1 – 4 Harleston magpies mixed

After a good win in the last round Magpies sponsored by Parson Estate agents, travelled away to Letchworth full of confidence for another victory. This round Lizzie Clymer and Richard Larkin were unavailable, leaving Archie Winter to step up in his debut for the mixed team. Before magpies could get under way a spare pair of shoes had to be found for Tibbenham who realised she had left her Astros at magpies, luckily Maria had some trainers.

Magpies started strong from the whistle, and Letchworth responded with lots of good transfers round the back making life difficult for magpies. Shortly Into the first half after some well worked play down the pitch, Maria Andrews picked up the ball at the top of the circle. A strong reverse strike well executed found the backboard taking magpies 1-0 up. Letchworth responded to the goal pushing forward and causing trouble in Harleston’s defending circle. A threat to Andrew Bedwell of no food afterwards if he didn’t score led to him lobbing the ball over his own goal keeper, unfortunately Chris Leek could not quite get to it, 1-1. Determined not to let Letchworth back in the game, Harleston had to up their game. Magpies started working the ball around well from the middle with Archie Winter working well and distributing the ball. Late on in the first half Robbie Kinsella picked up the ball on the 25, with some slick moves he beat one player and passed the ball on to Laura Tibbenham in the D, who then slipped it right for Maria to pop it home, 2-1.

In the second half magpies had more of a grip on the formation Letchworth were playing forcing them to work the ball round the back. Play continued with magpies looking like the more dominant team. Leigh Sitch soaked up any pressure from the back and distributed to Lauren Barber and Lauren Mickleburgh wide on the wings. Magpies were looking for another goal to extend the gap Thomas Ridley and Simon Hipwell pushed forward. Some lovely passing between man of the match Archie Winter and Maria Andrews saw magpies in the D again and a cross from the right to Laura Tibbenham on the post to pop in, magpies 3-1. Magpies didn’t waste anytime attacking again Maria Andrews hassling the goal and managing to slip the ball right for Laura Tibbenham to get her second of the day, 4-1.

Another good result for the mixed team, next fixture is at home date and opposition to be confirmed.

Harleston Magpies Mixed report

Bourne Deeping Mixed 0 – 6 Harleston Magpies Mixed

After a tough fought victory away to Bedford in the last round, Harleston, sponsored by Parson Estate Agents, travelled to Bourne Deeping in hope of more success. With a strong side on show, the team was feeling confident. Magpies asserted their dominance from the start, having the majority of possession and entering the opposition’s circle on several occasions but without being able to convert our chances. The away side then went through a few minute spell of short corners but none of which found the goal. Magpies eventually found some success down the right, with a ball hit across the D finding Maria Andrews to control and turn to slot the ball past the keeper’s right foot for 1-0.

Shortly after, Maria had another goal to her name from a well hit short corner burying the ball into the bottom right of the goal. Chances for Harleston kept coming with Lauren Barber and Lucy Whiting looking dangerous down the right hand side but some strong flat sticks stopped the ball from entering any further into the circle. Laura Tibbenham was looking dangerous upfront combining well with Lizzie Clymer but a congested circle and a strong opposition keeper meant they weren’t able to extend the lead.

Bourne Deeping did have a few counter-attack opportunities but failed to get into our circle due to some strong defensive work from Leigh Sitch, Andrew Bedwell, Lauren Mickleburgh and Jess Howland who also put her body on the line to prevent the opposition from getting any further. Half time score 2-0 Harleston.

The second half began similar to the first with Harleston having a huge proportion of the possession with the back four pushing higher and higher looking for crash balls in for the forwards to get on the end of. A few more corners were won by the travelling side with Maria finishing off her hat-trick with another well hit shot leaving the keeper with no chance. Soon after it became 4 and 5-0 with a back post deflection from Lizzie off a corner and then a couple of minutes later, Lucy got on the end of another corner deflecting the ball into the roof of the net.

Magpies remained strong especially across the middle with Richard Larkin, Tom Ridley and Robbie Kinsella keeping things tight and providing options for the ball carrier. The play of the game was for Harleston’s 6th goal, with a free hit won in the middle of the pitch and with some quick thinking from Richard Larkin popped a beautiful ball over the top into space for Simon Hipwell to run onto, beating one player and slotting a ball across for Lucy to get her second of the day. Bourne Deeping had a late chance but Chris Leek in goal stood firm to keep his clean sheet intact and the game finished 6-0.

The next round is on the 5th March with Magpies away to Letchworth.

Match report – Mixed team – Sunday 29 January 2017

Bedford Mixed 1 – 2 Magpies Mixed

Magpies started this year’s mixed campaign with a much changed team from the one that made the finals last year. Only Andrew Bedwell and Robbie Kinsella returned from the team that went to Lee Valley. Making their mixed debuts were Jess Howland, Rhe Lascelles, Adam Lascelles, Tom “Trousers” Hughes, Charlotte Seaman and Chris Leek. Stu Leate also joined the team once despite a canine dental emergency delaying his arrival.

The team travelled to Bedford, a consistently strong mixed outfit, after a cancellation last week due to a sharp frost. After a thorough warm up the team started well. Tom Ridley was dominating the midfield with Katie Woollatt and Jess Howland combining well down the right hand side. Magpies held the opposition at bay restricting them to few clear cut chances and always looked dangerous on the counter attack, with Sarah Legg and Laura Tibbenham roving across the front line.

As the half progressed Magpies resolutely defended a number of Bedford short corners before a high deflection off the keeper was batted in by the Bedford injector. One love Bedford. This stung Magpies into life and they hit back almost immediately. Bedwell who defensively was proving too wide for the Bedford ladies to go round started an attack with a traditional rhino forward, passing the ball onto Trousers Tom who neatly slipped the ball to Tibbenham who popped it in at the near post, 1-1. Magpies continued to press with Robbie working hard in the middle. Magpies were unfortunate not to take the lead when a slick passing move was just out of Tibbenham’s reach. Shortly afterwards Magpies did take the lead with another flowing move. Howland passed the ball into Tom Ridley who after some slick stick skills released the ball to the Magpies forward line, Tibbenham then calmly rounded the goalie and coolly slotted the ball home, 2-1.

Magpies continued to pass the ball around and work as a team to soak up any remaining pressure to go into half time 2-1 up.

After half time Magpies found themselves under constant pressure, with Seaman and Howland making an array of impressive tackles. Legg, Tibbenham, Rhe Lascelles and Kinsella continued to hassle the Bedford back line. As the half wore on Bedford were pushing for a goal and Magpies were reduced to occasional counter attacks. Bedford went all out for a goal at the end but Adam Lascelles and Stu Leate proved to be a solid wall in front of Chris Leek in goal. Despite some nervy moments Magpies hung on for a well fought victory. Thanks go to Kevin Ridley for managing and running the bench and to the supporters that turned out to cheer us on.

The next mixed match is on the 19th of Feb away at Bourne Deeping

Match Report – Mixed Finals – Saturday/Sunday 4/5 June 2016

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MAGPIES MISS THEIR STROKES
AND HAVE TO SETTLE FOR BRONZE

Defending champions Harleston Magpies, sponsored by Parson Estate Agents, had to be content with third place in this season’s England Hockey Mixed Trophy at the Lee Valley Sports Centre over the weekend when losing to Formby on strokes after a 0-0 draw and beating Bristol Firebrands 6-2 for the bronze medals.

Magpies never hit top form against Formby on Saturday but they would have taken the lead had they converted a penalty stroke midway through the first half which they shaded on possession. There were few goal scoring chances for either side in the second half although Magpies did find the net as the final hooter was sounding. Magpies, with captain Leigh Sitch in outstanding form at the back, looked the slightly better team and should have secured victory before the uncertainty of the penalty shootout.

Goalkeeper John Livings then made two good saves for Magpies in the exciting and fluctuating shootout and after five strokes apiece the score was 3-3. Formby then went first in sudden death and scored before Magpies missed leaving the team pondering what could and should have been in a game they looked the slightly better team albeit one which failed to create its usual number of chances.

Observation – all ten penalty stroke takers were men. Question – even if the lady players were happy with this why in a mixed game do the rules not require a 3/2 split either way? Not the world’s most burning issue one has to admit – but surely a question worth asking?

Against Bristol Firebrands on Sunday Magpies were near their best and they were soon into their stride forcing early penalty corners and following the fourth, won by Leigh Sitch in a rare sortie upfield, Maria Andrews put them ahead on five minutes. Lucy Whiting made it 2-0 on fourteen minutes and after Firebrands, who possessed some hard running forwards, pulled a goal back approaching half time in their first attack Lucy was on hand to make it 3-1 to Magpies at half time leaving their enthusiastic band of sun-kissed supporters in good heart.

Eleven minutes from time they were even happier when Lucy completed a splendid hat-trick but they were wondering if a male member of the team, in which Dickon Taylor was playing well at the back, was going to find the net. The opportunity duly arrived three minutes from time with Firebrands now reduced to ten players following a yellow and playing with a helmeted kicking back. ‘Veteran’ Robbie Kinsella, as he was described over the public address system, saw his opportunity and unerringly pushed the ball into the unguarded net. Cometh the hour cometh the man! 5-2 then came 6-2 when Lauren Barber, who was again playing extremely well in support of the attack, completed the scoring.

An entertaining final was won by Banbury who, after beating Firebrands 3-1 in the other semi-final, were worthy winners following a 4-3 win over Formby who scored with the last hit of the game to make the contest seem closer than it was.

Fact 1. Magpies played seven games in this year’s competition culminating with their bronze medals (a very worthy achievement with special thanks to Leigh Sitch and Katrina Sitch for organising the team once again) during which they scored twenty nine goals with just four against.

Fact 2. Leigh Sitch and Richard Larkin played for a very high proportion of each game and while they were on the pitch they pointed out their opponents failed to score. But as they were reminded “It is not all about them!!”

Fact 3. With only four goals against in total the other Magpies’ players must also have played their part!

MD
6/6/16

Match report – Mixed team – Sunday 15 May 2016

Harleston Magpies Mixed 5 Khalsa (Warks) Mixed 0

In this quarter-final of the England Hockey Mixed Trophy Magpies, the defending champions, played their best hockey of the season to beat Khalsa who had started the game brightly. Magpies thereafter dominated for much of the rest of the game, without conceding a penalty corner, except for a ten minute spell early in the second half when the visitors put the strong home defence under some pressure.

Sam Moore finished off a sweeping move from close range to put Magpies ahead in the seventeenth minute and eight minutes later he scored again with a thumping shot from the edge of the circle. The home team continued to attack, with Lauren Barber and Lizzie Clymer to the fore, and Robbie Kinsella made it 3-0 at half time when he slotted home at the far post following an accurate pass from skipper Leigh Sitch.

Khalsa enjoyed their best spell of the game on the resumption and they hit the bar and post with a fierce reverse stick shot without the ball crossing the line. The visitors’ felt hard done by this correct decision and they lost their concentration for a few minutes. This allowed Magpies to return to the attack and with ten minutes left Lucy Whiting swept the ball into the net at chest height and in the last two minutes Simon Hipwell ran into the circle before smashing the ball passed the goalkeeper, who had earlier made some good saves, for the fifth and final goal in an impressive home performance.

After the game James Meek was voted MOTM for his all-action performance while 2-goal Sam Moore received the opposite accolade (which due to club policy must not speak its name) for his second half efforts which included a yellow card. These were deemed by his cruel team-mates, to put it politely, not to match his first half display!

Before the match the players and spectators stood in memory of Vaughn Dearling.

Magpies now advance to the finals weekend (4/5 June) at the Lee Valley SC determined to retain their crown.

MD

7-a-side Comic Relief tournament – UEA – Sunday 20 March 2016

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A hastily assembled mixed team arrived at UEA sporting hangovers and sunglasses to represent Magpies at the 7-a-side Comic Relief tournament.

The round-robin event consisted of seven games per team and Magpies won all their seven. They thought it was then over but UEA decided they needed a semi and a final which after energy tablets the team mustered the strength to play!

After more than 2.5 hours pitch time the team somehow found the legs (and heads) to play two more games which they also won to be crowned Champions!

The team consisted of Lucy, Lewis, Lauren, Andrew, Rhea, Adam, Sam and Holly.

Harleston Magpies Mixed match report

Harleston Magpies Mixed started the defence of their National Mixed title today against local rivals Ipswich. Magpies had a changed squad with limited numbers due to other National commitments but with hard work and determination they were able to secure a place in the next round.

Magpies started the game well and there was some lovely link up play down the right hand side of the pitch through Tom Sumner, Matt Richardson, Lauren Mickleburgh, Frances Taylor and the forward line. This lead to chances starting to appear for Magpies but unfortunately these chances came and went as the Ipswich keeper made some good saves. Resolute defending from the back four and down the left of Katrina Sitch, James Meek and Robbie Kinsella were able to prevent any attacks getting into the Magpies D.

Magpies forwards were opening up the Ipswich defence and this soon led to a number of short corners. A strike from Katrina Sitch took a deflection that fell in to the path of ex-Ipswich player Matt Richardson who made sure to put Magpies ahead, the ex Ipswich player choosing not to celebrate. This spurred Ipswich on and they soon started to attack with their men at high pace, a high ball that hit Katrina Sitch allowed the hard working team to have a break and regroup. Further attacks were intercepted but one well worked move by Ipswich brought goal keeper Ewie Cumming into action after making a great initial save with his helmet Ewie charged down the player to make two further saves, another on his helmet, to keep the score 1-0 to Magpies as we went to half time.

Magpies again came out the stronger side in the second half and forced more chances up front, work from Lucy Whiting, Kara Kilbourn, Andy Hipwell and Robbie Kinsella were making chances up front with many balls going past the front of goal. One of these fell to Kara Kilbourn, after a long ball from Andy Hipwell was put in Kara Kilbourn’s path by Robbie Kinsella she was able to slot the ball home to make it 2-0. Simon Hipwell was placing his foot print on the game with his attacking runs from left to right but unfortunately these did not add to the goal tally. The attacks that did fall to Ipswich Lawrence Baynes and Iain Cumming were able to comfortably intercept. One of those interceptions lead to a quick break from Magpies down the right, Kara Kilbourn made a strong run and played a lovely ball across the D for Robbie Kinsella to tap in at the back post.

Ipswich soon started to push higher up the pitch and a momentary lapse which hadn’t been seen by the Magpies defence of Matt richardson, Tom Summner, Iain Cummings, Katrina Sitch and Frances Taylor made Ewie Cummings vulnerable and an Ipswich player was able to bring them a goal back. However, soon after, a dynamic run from Simon Hipwell beating many of the Ipswich players led to him being in the attacking circle, putting the ball onto his reverse stick Simon Hipwell struck the ball home to make it 4-1. Magpies were able to see out the game with some very tired legs.

A Magpies team with five woman and some men holding injuries and illness were able to demonstrate their team work and effort to ensure that’s Magpies continued the defence of the title. The mixed fun continues through to the next round where the team will hope to continue their defence.

Squad: Katrina Sitch, Ewie Cumming, Matt Richardson, Tom Sumner, Iain Cumming, Frances Taylor, Lauren Mickleburgh, Robbie Kinsella, Lawrence Baynes, James Meek, Simon Hipwell, Andy Hipwell, Lucy Whiting and Kara Kilbourn. Manager Sam Moore

NATIONAL MIXED TROPHY WINNERS!

Pic courtesy of Matt Collinge
Pic courtesy of Matt Collinge

Harleston Magpies

NATIONAL MIXED TROPHY WINNERS!

7th June 2015

Harleston Magpies Mixed squad sponsored by Sergeant and Barber Opticians and Gryphon hockey travelled to Lee Valley hockey and tennis centre to compete for the National Mixed Trophy on the Olympic pitch. The squad, competing in their second finals weekend in three years were determined to make amends for their 4th place 3 years ago.

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Saturday 6th June
In the semi final Harleston met Hampstead and Westminster hockey club who Harleston had overcome on route to the finals three years ago. Harleston started the game superbly well and were soon in control maintaining possession and creating some good goal scoring opportunities. Both Chris Barber and Toby Price went close early on for Harleston before they won a stroke on 20 minutes when a Hampstead defender blocked a shot on target with his foot on the line. Up stepped Andrew Bedwell looking to redeem his penalty stroke nightmare of three seasons ago. Andrew calmly slotted the ball low and hard past the keeper to give Harleston their deserved lead.

The rest of the first half the game continued in the same fashion as the opening 20 minutes with Harleston creating chances but being unable to convert any corners or open play passing moves.

The team knew that during the second half the next goal was vital and it was Hampstead and Westminster who came out fighting. The London side pushed Harleston back deep into their own half, however the defensive line of Katrina Sitch, Andrew Bedwell, Leigh Sitch, Richard Larkin, Robbie Kinsella and Frances Taylor stood firm to limit the amount of shots that Matt Collinge had to face. However, Matt Collinge was called into action twice in quick succession first making a save when a Hampstead forward shot from wide. The second save was exceptional as a Hampstead forward turned inside just outside the penalty spot with Matt making an excellent reflex save to tip the ball onto the cross bar and over with his stick.

This close shave spurred Harleston on and they soon regained their shape. This allowed the midfield unit of Simon Hipwell, Toby Price, Lauren Barber and Amy Campbell to link up well and start winning corners again. It was on one corner that the goal machine known as Andrew Bedwell struck again as his first shot was saved but the dynamic defender reacted first and called loudest to slot the ball home under the keeper on the rebound.

Harleston were now in complete control of the game and with Hampstead pushing forward gaps started to appear for the Harleston forwards to exploit. Lizzie Clymer bamboozled the Hampstead defence with her skills before linking up with Martin Fields who fed the ball into the circle but the chance was narrowly missed at the back post. A few moments later Harleston had the vital third goal when Lucy Whiting linked up with Maria Andrews who then fed Toby Price. Price eliminated the Hampstead left back with sheer pace before entering the circle on the t-spot, Simon Hipwell keeping up with play boxed out superbly to leave himself with the simplest tap in from one yard out.

At the restart Harleston were reduced to 10 players when Lizzie Clymer was harshly adjudged to have not been 5 yards from the restart before putting a tackle in.

Hampstead did manage to get themselves on the score sheet with one minute left when Leigh Sitch found himself under immense pressure in the circle and was forced into an error conceding a short corner. The powerful Hampstead drag flicker converted his flick well despite the best efforts of Simon Hipwell to keep it out.

The final score 3-1 with Harleston going on to meet Bedford in Sunday’s final after they had overcome Horsham 2-1 in the other semi final.

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Sunday 7th June
On another warm day at Lee Valley Harleston faced a strong Bedford team in the final of the competition. Both teams knowing a lot about each other as both the men’s and women’s having met during the season in the league competition. Bedford were determined to go one step further than last year after they came runners up to West Herts.

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Bedford started the final in a better manner that Harleston who found themselves on the back foot and struggling to gain possession in key areas of the pitch. Despite pushing Harleston back again the defensive unit of Katrina Sitch, Andrew Bedwell, Leigh Sitch, Robbie Kinsella, Richard Larkin, Frances Taylor and Lauren Mickleburgh stood firm and any Bedford midfielders were tracked by the Harleston midfield and forward units. After 10 minutes Harleston started to settle into the game and eventually started to win corners, the Bedford keeper was called into action on all of these but could do little when in form striker Andrew Bedwell stepped up and smashed home a short corner through the keeper’s gloves.

This goal calmed Harleston’s nerves and they continued to push for a second which duly came after good play down the right after a splitting pass from Richard Larkin found Lauren Barber who fed Maria Andrews who in turn then found Martin Fields who slipped Toby Price through into the circle. The young Magpies forward showed quick foot work to readjust and get a fierce shot away which left the keeper with no chance.

Bedford pushed forward at the end of the first half looking to grab a vital goal before the break. They did win themselves a corner which Matt Collinge saved well before Leigh Sitch managed to close down the rebound where the Bedford forward stick blocked him from clearing. With the minutes ticking down Harleston pushed forward down the left with Katrina Sitch dinking a Bedford forward before feeding Simon Hipwell who burst forward but his final pass went astray.

With Harleston leading 2-0 at half time the squad knew they needed the same level of commitment and work rate from every member of the squad to come away with the trophy. Harleston started the second half the better controlling play and not allowing target man from Bedford Simba Chigwada a clear sight of goal.

With the game becoming stretched and the Harleston forward and midfield line starting to feel the effects of the 23 degree heat tackles started to fly in. Harleston were first reduced to 10 players when Toby Price was parked for a late tackle on a breaking Bedford forward before Martin Fields was shown a yellow for a similar offence leaving the team down to 9 players. It was at this stage that Harleston played some controlling hockey keeping the ball for long periods down the left through Katrina Sitch, Simon Hipwell and Lucy Whiting.

It was then Bedford’s turn to lose a player and with both teams with 10 players it was Harleston who struck the killer blow when Lizzie Clymer and Chris Barber combined smartly in the circle forcing a stroke when a Bedford player blocked a goal bound shot on the line with his foot. Andrew Bedwell stepped up again and converted with the same clinical manner that he showed in the semi final to make the score 3-0.

With time running out Bedford took their goalkeeper off and played with 11 outfield players. Despite the man advantage the Harleston team stood strong and held out to win 3-0 and claim the National mixed trophy for the first time since 2004 and with Andrew Bedwell collecting the ‘golden stick’ for the finals weekend. The result was down to a massive team effort from every member of the squad including James Meek who could not make the finals weekend.

Squad – Matt Collinge, Leigh Sitch (C), Katrina Sitch (VC) Andrew Bedwell, Frances Taylor, Lauren Mickleburgh, Richard Larkin, Robbie Kinsella, Simon Hipwell, Lauren Barber, Toby Price, Lizzie Clymer, Martin Fields, Lucy Whiting, Chris Barber, Maria Andrews, Amy Campbell, Sam Moore (Manager) and Jon Price (Coach).

The squad would like to thank their sponsors Gryphon Hockey and Sergeant and Barber Opticians as well as the huge crowd that travelled to support the team on both days. The Harleston support was by far the largest contingent in the stadium and made it feel like we were playing at the Nest. We would also like to thank Sam Moore and Jon Price for their hard work as manager and coach for the weekend.

This was also Chris Barber’s final game for Magpies as he moves to Crewe for a new job and we wish him all the very best in the future.

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Magpies Mixed Team Match report

Magpies Mixed 5-1 Burton Mixed

Magpies had qualified for the national trophy quarter finals for the third successive year and were determined to avenge last years heart-breaking comeback defeat to Cannock. They would have to do so without Maria Andrews who was injured at May Day after an encounter with Toby Price. Luckily though Mens first team talisman Chris Barber was fit to be recalled in favour of Ben Wright. Martin Fields took a nasty looking fall in the warm up, but was deemed fit to play in the match.

The home team started strongly, with Richard Larkin and Andrew Bedwell controlling the centre of the pitch and helping to force early pressure. With Lizzie Clymer forcing a short corner, Bedwell stepped up to blast home, beating the keeper for pace down the centre of the goal. Magpies were relaxing well into the game, with Lauren Barber causing problems down the right hand side and more short corners were created. This time a slip move saw the initial shot saved, but Amy Campbell was on hand to smartly put home the rebound to give Magpies a 2-0 lead. Magpies were pressing well, with Burton limited to counter attacks and aerials out of defence. With this high position up the pitch, Magpies continued to look for a third goal before half time. The opportunity arose when Burton were apparently penalised for a deliberate foot in the circle, meaning a penalty stroke. With players backing away from the responsibility of taking it, only Larkin remained brave enough to take the big stage. Unfortunately with the pitch drying and the goalkeeper having done his research well- Larkin’s technique of how to take a stroke having been made famous on Mustard TV; Larkin had little chance once the keeper had gone the correct way, despite his stroke being destined for the corner.

The pitch watering at half time gave Magpies a long time to reflect on how to best seal the match. Burton continued to attack through their tricky right midfielder, but Simon Hipwell matched up well to him defensively, again limiting Burton’s attacks. Magpies were relieved to score their third goal. Another short corner was won, with Lucy Whiting and Chris Barber looking dangerous up front. The ball was fed out to Leigh Sitch, whose shot was scuffed wide, but was rescued by Bedwell who deflected in, much to Sitch’s relief. Magpies couldn’t quite find the fourth goal that would kill off the game. Chris Barber was looking sharp up front, but unfortunately was tightly marked and as a result wasn’t allowed his usual dominance and was not allowed to connect with his other forwards. Burton were not giving up offensively either, pushing players forward making them start to look dangerous. With their skillful forward breaking past Sitch, the experienced, but tiring, full back decided to unnecessarily and cynically hack him down, with Katrina Sitch and Frances Taylor maybe being in better positions to make the tackle. This gave the umpire no choice but to give a stroke and Sitch was very fortunate to not receive a yellow card. With the penalty spot wet again, the Burton top scorer emphatically flicked the ball high into the goal to begin the comeback. With last year in the home team’s mind, Magpies started to get deeper into their own half. Luckily Larkin charged down a short corner and Matt Collinge in goal saved a powerful flick well from another. This was as near as Burton would get. Clymer, Fields, the Barbers and Price moved the ball down the other end, using their speed to good effect to win another corner. This time a deliberate deflection move would see Amy Campbell score her second of the match for 4-1. Magpies polished off the performance with a deserved fifth, James Meek scoring Magpies’ only open play goal after he weaved through a couple of defenders before slotting past the oncoming keeper.

Magpies were relieved to win this quarter final, giving the squad a chance at claiming the national title at the finals weekend against Bedford, Horsham and Hampstead and Westminster on the Olympic pitch at Lee Valley in a few weeks time. The squad are all very excited about this prospect and if they continue to play as they have done so far this season, then their chance is as good as any.

Match Report – Mixed – Sunday 26 April 2015

WISBECH MIXED 0 HARLESTON MAGPIES MIXED 9

On an overcast but dry day Harleston enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half of this 4th round game in the national mixed trophy competition. Wisbech looked to hit Harleston on the break as the away team looked for the breakthrough with the opening goal. James Meek went closest first when his open stick effort was deflected over the bar by his team mate Ben Wright. Next up it was Simon Hipwell who went close when his first shot was well saved by the goalkeeper only for the rebound to fall to Hipwell again as he rounded the stricken keeper but his shot hit Martin Fields with the goal at his mercy. As Andrew Bedwell helpfully pointed out it would have been easier to pass to one of the players on the post.

Matt Collinge was called into action midway through the first half when he had to save smartly from close range following a Wisbech interception.

More chances came and went as Harleston continued to probe for the opener, Richard Larkin narrowly missing connecting with a volley at the back post after out muscling Ben Wright for the ball. Harleston finally found the breakthrough in the 31st minute when Toby Price found Ben Wright who’s miss-hit reverse stick shot cannoned in off the underside of the bar.

After a stern talking to from manager Sam Moore at half time about using the full width of the pitch and being more clinical in the circle the team took to the pitch again.

Harleston didn’t heed their manager’s words and soon narrowly missed a clear chance as Lizzie Clymer fired wide following a slick passing move. With the manager pulling his hair out Magpies soon made it 2-0 when Maria Andrews converted from a penalty corner with a powerful drag flick. It was soon 3-0 when Katrina Sitch received the ball on the right of a short corner routine and her powerful slap hit nestled in the bottom corner of the goal. Ben Wright soon grabbed his second following a dynamic run by James Meek who goose stepped the last defender to fire across goal for Wright to deflect in from in front of the keeper. Lucy Whiting soon made it 5-0 following in closely from a ball across the D to slot home from close range.

As the tackles started to fly in from Wisbech Harleston were soon awarded a penalty stroke as James Meek was brought down in the circle. Maria Andrews fired home for her second of the game. Maria completed her hat-trick when Leigh Sitch carried to the T-spot and drove to the baseline before playing the ball across to Maria to score from close range.

Lizzie Clymer then made it 8-0 following a good run down the right from Amy Campbell. The quick youngster fed Clymer who made space for herself at the top of the circle before wrong footing the goal keeper and smashing the ball home. Harleston were then awarded their second stroke of the game when James Meek was fouled again in the circle, this time it was Lauren Barber who dispatched an emphatic stroke. Frances Taylor nearly slotted home at the end but her shot was smartly saved by the goal keeper.

Harleston will wait to see who they face in the Quarter Finals of the competition on the 17th May.

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Report – Mixed team – Sunday 8 March 2015

Harleston Magpies Mixed 5 – Havering Mixed 1

Harleston entertained Havering in the third round of the National Mixed Cup. After beating Norwich in the first round and receiving a walkover in the second round Harleston entered the game in high spirits. The squad slightly changed from their last outing with Chris Barber out injured with a torn hamstring and Simon Hipwell unavailable due to a Birthday Bash Bonanza.

The first 5 minutes of the match flowed end to end with Havering setting a high press which Harleston struggled to get out of. Despite this and when Harleston found their feet they soon got into the game and soon took the lead when Ben Wright slotted home from close range after good attacking play from Lizzie Clymer and Amy Campbell. Harleston soon found themselves two goals up after good attacking play from Martin Fields, Richard Larkin, Andrew Bedwell and Katrina Sitch where the ball rolled kindly to Toby Price in the circle who slotted home.

The home side were cruising at this point creating chance after chance but were unable to convert any of their clear chances as the Havering goalkeeper made a string of good close range saves. The most audacious effort coming from Lucy Whiting who’s deflected effort from the top of the circle looped agonisingly over the bar. Harleston were made to pay for the wastefulness just before half time as the Havering centre mid eluded the close marking of Ben Wright to drive at the centre of the Harleston defence leaving Leigh Sitch with a 2v1 and Havering were able to finish the move off in style with a powerfully struck reverse stick shot into the corner of the goal.

Harleston knew that they would need to come out fighting and had a couple of areas to work on in the second half. The half started much as the first half had played out. Harleston dominated possession while Havering looked to hit Harleston with the long ball through the centre of the pitch. Harleston soon scored their third when Andrew Bedwell took the direct approach and fired the ball into the mixer for it to pop free to Martin Fields who slotted home at the near post.

Havering tried to respond straight away but the defensive unit of Leigh Sitch, Katrina Sitch, Andrew Bedwell, Lauren Barber, James Meek, Frances Taylor and Matt Collinge stood firm. Harleston were able to score two more goals, firstly Ben Wright scored from close range before the goal of the game fell to Maria Andrews. The move started with Toby Price picking the ball up just outside his 25 yard line after pinning down the Havering attacker before out gassing the entire Havering midfield, laying the ball off to Ben Wright who played it back into Price’s path before he played the ball across the goal for Maria Andrews to slot home.

The final score staying at 5-1. Harleston will now look forward to their next round on the 26th April where they will be away at Wisbech.

Match Report – Magpies’ Mixed – Sunday 1 February 2015

Norwich City Mixed 1 Harleston Magpies Mixed 9

Magpies dominated the opening minutes of this first round match between old rivals in the England Hockey Mixed Trophy but with City defending well it took Magpies ten minutes to make the break through by Martin Fields. City gradually came more into the game but as throughout they were let down by their shooting. Chris Barber (2), Lizzie Clymer and Lucy Whiting then added goals to make it 5-0 to Magpies at half time. City enjoyed their best spell of the game immediately after the break during which they deservedly scored through Leigh-Ann Worrall and it was not until Lauren Barber fired high into the City net did Magpies re-establish their superiority. In the closing minutes of a well-contested and sporting encounter Chris scored again before Martin added two more to complete the scoring.

The second round is on Sunday 22 February.

Magpies’ squad – Leigh Sitch (captain), Katrina Sitch (vice-captain), Chris Barber, Lauren Barber, Andrew Bedwell, Amy Campbell, Lizzie Clymer, Matt Collinge (GK), Martin Fields, Simon Hipwell, Richard Larkin, Will Martin, James Meek, Frances Taylor, Lucy Whiting, Sam Moore (manager).

Mixed Quarter Final Match report

Harleston Magpies 4 – Cannock 5

In the quarter finals of the mixed trophy Magpies entertained last year’s champions Cannock. Despite being the underdogs it was Magpies who piled the pressure on early, dominating possession but failing to make a telling shot on target. Despite the early possession it was Cannock who made the first breakthrough; taking advantage of a quick break they took the lead against the run of play with their first shot on target. Refusing to let their heads drop the home side doubled their efforts,  working tirelessly in extremely hot conditions. Simon Hipwell showed a little too much enthusiasm and was shown a yellow card for a diving tackle deemed to be dangerous. Having been reduced to 10 men there was a danger that the game could be taken out of Magpies reach but determined defending from the back 4 of Taylor, Sitch, Bedwell and Sitch kept the opposition at bay. Buoyed by their heroic defending the Pies began to play with more confidence and it wasn’t long before Sam Moore put the home side level with a well taken deflected shot. Man of the Match Toby Price began to see more of the ball and the dynamic forward was soon causing the Cannock defence all sorts of problems. It was on one of these trademark runs where Price drew the defenders before reverse stick passing the ball to Hipwell on the back post, who picked out Princess Whiting to tap in and put Harleston into the lead. Magpies could sense a chance to go further ahead and Holly Baker was soon boarding the show boat to leave the Cannock defender floundering after a deft nutmeg, unfortunately their alert keeper was quick off his line to pounce on Bakers shot. The half finished with Magpies 2-1 up.

After a slightly extended half time, where there was a noticeable lack of water added to the pitch, Magpies were keen to press home their advantage. Right at the beginning of the second half a scuffed short corner turned into a goal scoring opportunity with Barber tapping the ball into the goal; only to find that a penalty flick had already been awarded. Up stepped Andrew Bedwell, knowing that his whole team had faith in his ability he coolly slotted the ball into the top corner to put Magpies 3-1 up. Magpies continued their fine form into the half, Tom Riddey and Richard Larkin were playing fiercely in the centre of midfield providing a platform for the rest of the team to continue to press on and hunt for another goal. Lizzie Clymer looked strong in her top diamond role, moving the ball well around the D, and Magpies threatened again winning another short corner. Riddey made no mistake with his injection this time and Price bulleted his shot into the top corner sending the crowd crazy and bringing the score to 4-1. Up until this point in the game Magpies looked the stronger side and had showed great composure, unfortunately Cannock finally decided to step up a gear and began piling on some serious pressure. With the heat beginning to take its toll and Magpies legs becoming weary Cannock pulled back 3 swift goals to level the game and set it up for a tremendous finish. Not knowing what had hit them Magpies did their best to get back into the game with Ridley and Barber working well on the right side of the pitch for the home side. It was Price again who created the chance to put Magpies back in the lead slipping the ball to Hipwell on the back post. Despite usually being the first person you would want facing an open goal Hipwell snatched at his shot sending it just wide of the post. Still reeling from this missed opportunity Magpies were left heartbroken as another swift Cannock attack ended in the net giving the visitors the lead. With only a couple of minutes left Magpies tried to force another chance but were unable to break through a rejuvenated Cannock defence. With the game ending 4-5 Magpies fell 1 game short of the mixed finals weekends. The team were hugely disappointed at failing to hold their lead but could hold their heads high after a really strong performance against a top mixed team.

Harleston Magpies Mixed team match report

Harleston Magpies Mixed 2 Lewes 1

Harleston Magpies welcomed Lewes to the nest on another glorious sunny Sunday for mixed hockey. The loss of Sophie Mullan saw Holly Baker make her first mixed appearance for 2014.

Magpies started with their normal expansive hockey and normal inability to score. Katrina Sitch smashed into her reverse stick tackles to set the defensive tone for Magpies. Magpies early pressure paid off as a flick was awarded, up stepped Martin Fields who became perplexed by a dancing Lewes goalkeeper and saw his flick saved but settled for the long corner. Following this Simon Hipwell’s explosive effort from the top hit a clueless keeper’s helmet after good work from Lauren Barber and Princess Whiting.

As the anguish of the capacity crowd began to grow, Holly Baker forced the ball over the line in a goal mouth scramble only for the umpire to be unsighted. Andrew Bedwell then received the ball after good work from Frances Taylor and rhinoed forward, his crashed ball found Sam Moore who applied the simple finish. Magpies then looked to double their advantage as Lewes where still struggling from a night out in Ipswich. Co captain Katrina Sitch freed Sam Moore who found Andrew Bedwell in another total hockey move, Holly Baker was once again harshly treated as she was fouled with the goal beckoning. Magpies where awarded a second flick of the game. Andrew Bedwell bravely volunteered, the man who cost Magpies from the spot in last year’s competition looked for retribution after a year of hurt. Bedwell’s flick was emphatically saved as Magpies’ hearts sank. The camaraderie and love of this close mixed team then came to fruition as Andrew Bedwell was picked up from his lowest hockey ebb.

Silence then descended on the nest as a excitable Moore tackle dealt out a nasty neck injury to a female Lewes defender after some screams everyone was relieved as the Lewes player left the field under her own power. Moore then substituted himself to profusely apologise.

The second half began with Magpies 1-0 up and in total control of the game. Fantastic forward play from Holly Baker, Toby Price, Princess Whiting, Simon Hipwell, Lizzie Clymer, Tom Ridley, Katherine Ridley, Lauren Barber and Martin Fields created chances at will. Martin Fields finally added a second with a deft touch from a Lauren Barber shot and out came his individual celebration.

Magpies could have been six to the good and the game effectively over when a rare Lewes break culminated in majestic lob, leaving Rees Leonard a spectator. Lewes sensed a equaliser and came at the Magpies defensive unit of Leigh Sitch, Andrew Bedwell, Frances Taylor, Katrina Sitch, Richard Larkin and Rees Leonard with everything they had. Fortunately this defence is the best defence in mixed hockey and they were only troubled once. Leigh Sitch capped a perfect captain’s performance with a full length diving clearance when a goal looked certain. With this epic defence from Leigh Sitch the game was won.

Harleston Magpies Mixed progress to the quarter finals of the National Mixed Trophy to be played on Sunday 18th May when they entertain reigning mixed champions Cannock at the nest. Please come down and support your team as they hope to progress to the finals for a second year running. Please keep an eye on the website for push back times.

Harleston Magpies Mixed Match Report

Magpies Mixed 5-0 Wisbech Mixed

A picture perfect day at the nest was the setting for another glorious sunday of magpies mixed hockey. The loss of Andrew Bedwell to coaching duties saw Richard Larkin moved back to the defensive line with young Thomas Ridley coming in for his mixed debut at centre midfield. Simon Hipwell took up his place at left midfield after the birth of his son and Rees Leonard also returned to duties in goal, having not played in the mixed team since last seasons national finals.

Magpies started with strong tackling by Katrina Sitch setting the tone, turning over a lot of possession allowing for many early attacking opportunities. These often lead to circle penetrations, but a lack of clinical finishing and solid goalkeeping lead to the score line remaining blank for a long period of time. Eventually the deadlock was broken when Toby Price found himself unmarked at the back post to tap in after good build up play by Simon Hipwell. In the heat, the substitutes were used regularly, and with Thomas Ridley off, Magpies started to lose their shape in the centre of midfield meaning that Rees Leonard had to stay alert in goal with Wisbech having strong direct forwards. Fortunately most of the play was stopped by Leigh Sitch and his defensive unit before entering shooting range. Many more promising opportunities came and went, with Sam Moore finding time to unnecessarily rifle a pass into the body of a defenceless Lizzie Clymer as part of his poorest 15 minutes of the season.

After strong words at half time, Magpies were determined to extend their lead in order to kill off the game. A bright start saw brutal aggression and soft delicateness combine perfectly a Katrina Sitch short corner power strike was deflected in by the dainty deity, Princess Whiting. From here Magpies were pleased to see Wisbech commit further forward leaving more space exposed. Lizzie Clymer was taking full advantage, once again staking her strong claim for player of the season, winning a short corner. This was converted in unusual fashion after a miscommunication from Sam Moore on top of the circle lead to Magpies having to play instinctively from the break down leading to Martin Fields scoring his first, but not last, goal of the game. Any attacks were soaked up well by the home sides defence, who then distributed strongly down the wings including a fantastic flowing counterattacking move involving most of the team ending in a second goal for Martin Fields.

Magpies were now in their element. Hockey matches in many ways do not get much better than this moment. A close knit team enjoying a sunny afternoon together playing excellent hockey with victory and a place in the next round all but assured. The home crowd were very satisfied too enjoying a 10 minute spell of the youthful Toby Price and Thomas Ridley in full flow finding Lauren Barber and Princess Lucy at will. Moments for all to savour indeed. All that was left was the cherry to be placed on the already baked and iced cake. A full time short corner saw the trademark 4 castle routine reappear. This time a well executed routine saw Lizzie Clymer position herself superbly to collect the rebound and then somehow calmly keep her head amongst the packed circle to pick out Martin Fields who deflected home for his hat-trick.

Magpies most successful team were victorious again leaving the fish of victory to congratulate all the players with kisses as thoughts turned to who the next round would bring. Whoever it is will find a team with strong form, strong belief and strong ambition to keep this years cup run continuing on and on and on.

Mixed Match Report

Long Sutton Mixed 1-8 Magpies Mixed

For the second season in a row, Magpies made the long journey to Long Sutton longing to gain a similar victory to progress further in the national trophy. A largely unchanged team saw outfielder Ewan Cumming make his mixed debut, replacing the injured Megan Adams in goal.

Long Sutton started brightly, attacking strongly through the midfield and firing a strong, high reverse stick shot dangerously into the air. This wake up call kick started Magpies into life who responded with Martin Fields making a strong run into the circle before finishing smartly. Magpies knew that the second goal would be vital and would allow Magpies to control the game at their tempo. A short corner was won, Katrina Sitch struck a highly accurate pass back to injector Richard Larkin who dived at full length to superbly deflect the ball into the goal and secure the all important second goal! With the away players now relaxing, Magpies enjoyed their best spell of the match. Sam Moore and Lizzy Clymer continued to be an amazing pairing, with their interplay allowing Martin Fields to score another. Ewan Cumming was called into action once, and the alert keeper saved well from a well hit shot. The goal scoring for the half was not complete at the other end though. Good team build up play allowed Princess Lucy Whiting to delicately and appropriately slowly slide the ball underneath the goalkeeper to make the score 4-0 to Magpies going into the break.

The home team pushed their male players further forward in the second period, in an attempt to unsettle Magpies. This was soon countered by Lizzie Clymer, Sophie Mullan and Lauren Barber now finding more space to create further scoring opportunities for Magpies, the fruits of which were shown when Martin Fields deflected in from another corner to complete his hat-trick. The foot was then eased from the gas pedal temporarily as the otherwise hard working Toby Price poorly misplaced a push pass to leave Magpies exposed at the back leading to Sutton to score past the outnumbered Cumming in goal.  Magpies quickly regained their composure however as Princess Whiting majestically converted another silky soft Magpies passing move. Lizzie Clymer soon followed when, fuelled by the energy from her half time chocolate gift, she managed to be in the right place at the right time to add her name to the scoresheet.

The game lost some of its pace from then on. Sam Moore slipped over (on what must be said a particularly slippery pitch) but the fast break was well stopped thanks to Andrew Bedwell’s impressive tackle, closing surprisingly well on the Long Sutton forward. The best (not taken) opportunity of the game fell to Toby Price who received the ball free on the penalty spot, but unselfishly he clearly wanted to give it to The Princess for her crown-trick rather than shooting himself, but for once The Princess was not on his wavelength, so it ended up with him not scoring. There was still time however for Man of the Match Martin Fields to score his fourth goal after another strong run led to another well deserved goal.

Magpies were very happy with the 8-1 scoreline, with once again the strong mixed team spirit carrying all players smiling through the match with a great sense of fun and camaraderie. All players are eagerly awaiting the result of the draw for the next round, which will take place in 2 weeks time.

Magpies Mixed 8 – 1 Spalding Mixed

The start of Magpies 2014 mixed campaign saw many of last seasons national finalists return as well a few new faces in the forms of Toby Price, Sophie Mullan and Megan Adams. With rain a constant presence, Magpies arrived with mixed excitement levels but were buoyed by the news that the opposition had only arrived with 10 players.

Magpies pressed strongly from the off, not allowing Spalding out of their own half meaning that it didn’t take long before the pressure told with Lucy Whiting’s fiercely spinning short corner strike cleverly deceiving the visiting goalkeeper. With Magpies moving the ball around well, spaces were being created high up the pitch. Taking advantage of this was Simon Hipwell who hit-well from mid range to score. A well worked short corner routine saw Lauren Barber deflect at the back post, in true Barber style, to add her name to the scoresheet. Magpies were not done for the first half, Sam Moore and Lizzie Clymer forging a strong relationship down the right hand-side leading to a Martin Fields finish.

Half time arrived and the message from co-captain Sitch and co-captain Sitch was to continue playing as we were to maximise the enjoyment from the match and hopefully allow the floodgates to open on the scoreboard as much as they were from the skies.

The second half started with Magpies losing a bit of shape in midfield, which gave Spalding encouragement, however this was soon snuffed out after the confusing play of Sam Moore led to a goal from Martin Fields. Magpies dominance was proven further by the fact that Leigh Sitch was allowed to venture forward for a reverse stick shot and that Andrew Bedwell had time to pick out his spot from mid range- unfortunately his lack of ability to finish kept the scoreline the same for the time being. Lizzie Clymer scored her customary amazing goal and Lucy Whiting her second of the day to increase the lead further. By this point Megan Adams in goal was in need of a warmer climate and after making her 1 save of the game was substituted. Good chances were being missed frequently by Magpies who on another day could have scored more were it not for the lack of clinical finishing and strong play by the Spalding goalkeeper. With the home side seemingly all surging to help the forwards put the ball in the goal, a counter attack by Spalding led to a long ball upfield with defender Toby Price left unlucky to be blinded looking into the rain unable to intercept the pass on his reverse stick side, leaving Spalding to score an open goal (despite the best efforts of Leigh Sitch to break down play). Magpies were determined to have the last word though. Player of the Match Richard Larkin made a characteristically dynamic run forward from central midfield, after spreading the play, to finish neatly after the ball was unselfishly slipped to him by Martin Fields. A Full time short corner was the last action of the game, giving Magpies the chance to practice their new five castle routine, however miscommunication led to no goal being scored.

With the final whistle blowing with the score at 8-1, the Fish of Victory came out to revel in the success of a match played in good spirit by both teams and umpires despite the poor weather. Magpies advance to the next round of the national cup, and hopefully further, where they will intend to make this their 2nd season undefeated (in matches where Andrew Bedwell does not take a stroke).