After last year’s Pelican’s tournament, where we battled with the elements and suffered hypothermia, it was a relief to be greeted by sunshine and no rain as we arrived in deepest Norfolk for an early Sunday morning start. Unusually for us the Harleston team did not require the first match to get out of the starting blocks and hit the ground running. In fact, due to us not concentrating on the instruction that our pitch was working on a horn and the U10s were on the bell, we managed to stage an impromptu pitch invasion in our eagerness to get our GK in the end away from the sun with a mis-timed charge. Perhaps it was this that woke everyone up but the result was that we scored against Dragons in pretty much the first move of the game. That goal very much set the tone for the whole tournament in which time after time the Magpies girls worked the ball out wide before stringing more passes together en route to goal. Some of the goals had moments of excellent individual skill (a lovely reverse hit strike from Amie springs to mind) but many involved so many quality passes that the final touch was just a simple tap in, the hard work already having been done. The final score against Dragons was a comfortable 5 – 0 win (Amie 1, Beth 2, Evie 2). Next up was Norwich – and the question was, were the Norwich Pixies or the Norwich Elves their A team?? As it happened, they had split their strength and the Harleston team proved too strong for both with 5-0 v the Pixies (Amie 4, Beth 1) and 6-0 v the Elves (Amie 4, Beth 1, Evie 1). It was a very dominant performance by the Magpies team that left the City teams struggling to create many attacks at all as they were under constant pressure from both flanks. The morning finished with a match against our B team. We were concerned that this would be tough for our B team but in the end they defended strongly and made it hard for the A team to take their chances in this game. A couple of goals close to the end resulted in a 4-0 score-line. So, all in all a successful morning and a really good demonstration in how to play simple hockey in order to get results!
Girls Development v Watton W 6-0
After a slow start the girls showed that they were no charlatans, beating Watton 6 – 0 and fully living up to their position at the top of the league.
A scoreless first quarter felt like a rewind back to the last game where the team struggled to turn possession into goals. The weather conditions were distinctly bitter which may excuse the sluggish start, but at least there was no snow.
Patrolling the mid-field, it was Kate, Emma and Rosie who shifted the momentum when they started to link well with the attacking trio further up the pitch. The breakthrough came from a through ball to Evie B who showed strength to hold off Watton’s adult defender before slipping Flo C through to score.
Further shots followed, Evie B went close with a double shot and Rosie also went close with a chance from the edge of the D. At the other end a brief period of Watton pressure resulted in a short corner but Georgia was an oasis of calm, organising her defenders well and the shooting chance was snuffed out.
In the second half Watton were put under almost constant pressure and eventually crumbled. Evie B’s tenacity was rewarded with a run of three goals, the best of which came from a short corner. Her initial shot was blocked by the keeper but she was first to the rebound and slammed the ball home with confidence.
Flo C then scored a wonder goal. She showed she had the verve to ghost past two defenders down the left hand side before beating the keeper and the tight angle with a screamer of a shot.
The final incident of the game came with the award of a penalty flick to Magpies after a defenders foot on the line prevented a score. Player coach Sandra was off the pitch at this point and the girls went into a prolonged huddle. After some discussion Kate F emerged to take the flick, going to the keeper’s right, her shot did enough to glance in off the pad of an out stretched leg, a fitting reward for her excellent midfield play.
Team (goals in brackets): Evie B (3), Rosie M, Amy F, Emma F, Kate F (1), Flo C (2), Ellie B, Harriet S, Isabelle P, Georgia F (GK).
Player / Coach: Sandra E
Ladies 3rd Team v Felixstowe W 7-0
As December brought in the dreary weather, an alternative Ladies 3rds team ventured to Felixstowe for their Saturday fix of hockey. With the mix of new players from the 4ths alongside the all-too-familiar faces in the 3rds, and with the average age of this weeks team being a mere 16, as well as having the minimum 11, we were slightly apprehensive of what was to come. After her ever-inspiring pre-match chat (starting with the classic line: “does everyone know everybody’s names?”) Captain Knock lead us onto the pitch.
After a good warm up, being sure to include the absent Rachel Baynes’ classic stretches and some rousing warm-up drills, this young squad were willing to prove why we’re in a solid mid-table position.
Throughout the first half, Magpies never left first gear. With Felixstowe playing a defensive game, only a few opportunities arose in the attacking D. Ramsdale and Pope made some fantastic runs on the left and right midfields with Meynell-Anderson and Harness offering great support for them in the screen.
Some missed chances within the first half meant it was 0-0 going into the half time break.
With some of the locals popping down (Meg Brown and John Adams) alongside Jason Harness on the side-line, some vital support and encouragement was given in the half time huddle, which in hindsight, have this squad the spark it needed.
The second half was completely the opposite to the first. Magpies had found their feet, and with the first goal of the game being smashed against the backboard in a short corner strike by Leggy, the ball was most certainly rolling!
Another break down in play saw the ball be swiftly given to Harness who cleanly had a backwards strike which founds it’s place in the bottom right corner, 2-0.
This young side grew in confidence every minute. Support from the back from Knock, Evans-Hendrick and Slade, who were stepping higher and higher up the pitch as our confidence grew, meant we were quickly transferring the ball from left to right, just waiting for the opportunity for a 3rd goal, and here was that opportunity: another short corner after a convenient foot. With the strike from Leggy making it’s way back to injector Pope, who skilfully slapped it back the Felixstowe Keeper. 3-0, and eager for more!
A speedy run down the right wing from Meynell-Anderson and a deflection of the post saw Leggy tease the ball over the line for the 4th… and the 5th after a scramble on the line.
Magpies continued to play as a team. Remembering our 3 objectives of the day, briefly summerised as: communicate, support and don’t be…er….no it was DO be really good!
With great work ethic throughout the whole team, a 6th goal was due. A turnover in play saw Meynell-Anderson play the ball up the right hand side to Leggy who ran it up the line, clocking one defender and another navy Magpies shirt. After tempting the defender, a slick pass to Green saw a first time slap hit the backboard – and a relieving sounding“FINALLY!!” coming out of Green’s mouth after a few frustrating minutes.
Knock and her defence continues to press higher asnd higher up the pitch, with Evans-Hendricks and Slade making some fantastic runs either side, and Knock striking some cracking ball into the D trying to find the deflection.
The 7th goal was another scramble on the line and after a convenience advantage played by the umpire, Leggy managed to find the backboard once again to secure her 4th and the final 7th goal of the game.
Women of the match today were Leggy and Harness, although the whole team today showed strength, composure and confidence!
Next week the Ladies 3rds have a tough match against 3rd in the league Watton away.
Ladies 4th Team v Pelicans 2 W5-2
It was a miserable day at the nest, sadly potential rain was forecast.
First goal was scored by Vanessa Vigrass with a powerful cross from Honey Lamdin, Vanessa was on the back post to score the 2ndgoal, 3rd goal was scored by Cassie Ayms from another cross into the D and the first half ended 3 – 0 to Magpies.
Second half Pelicans came out strong and scored a couple of breakaway goals. Magpies momentarily had lost their quick passing skills but another good spell in the 2nd half they scored 2 more goals from Amelia Slade and good short corner routine got Katie Woollatt on the scoring sheet.
Proudly we move up a place in the league and look forward to taking on UEA 2nds next week who beat us earlier in the season.
Player of the match Honey Lamdin