Boys U18 v Marlow ( EH U18 Cup L 2-4)
Magpies U18 boys travelled to Marlow in the semi-final of the national competition on Sunday and, in front of a big home crowd, both sides played a out a very entertaining match. With home advantage, Marlow started strongly but Magpies defended resolutely and then, very much against the run of play, opened the scoring. A firmly struck ball found Bensly in the circle who deftly deflected the ball past the Marlow keeper and into the back of the net. The next 10-minues saw Magpies get a foothold into the game only to concede a break away goal having committed too many players to attack. The game swung back into Marlow’s favour and they took the lead when they finally scored after a succession of short-corners. Magpies remained in the game and should have equalised before half-time when a slick move between Bensly and Sewell saw the final shot go just wide. Half-time 2-1 to Marlow.
Following a spirited half-time team talk Magpies started the second half well and were rewarded when Bensly scored his second with a spectacular first time shot from the top of the Marlow circle. Unfortunately, Magpies got caught again on the counter to concede a third goal and before they had time to catch their breath Marlow scored a fourth from another short-corner. However, with plenty of time left Magpies settled down, took control of the game and a tense finish looked on the cards. The final 10-minutes saw Magpies force chance after chance but were just unable to apply the final touch. Then, with the goal begging a Marlow defender illegally stopped the ball on the line but, from the ensuing penalty flick, Magpies missed the chance. Marlow continued to defend resolutely and despite Magpies dominating possession and creating further chances the game finished with no further goals. Final score 4-2 to Marlow.
This was an excellent game of hockey with both sides playing with great passion and skill. Ultimately, the game was decided by small margins with Marlow fully capitalising on the chances they created and Magpies rueing the number of chances they missed, particularly in the second half. This game was the culmination of 10-years hard work from a committed and talented bunch of boys who have carried forward the Magpies tradition of playing free-flowing and totally committed hockey.
Special thanks to Richard Larkin, Andrew Bedwell and Tim Whiteman for the excellent coaching sessions leading up to Sunday’s game and to all the parents for their support this year and for many years before.
Mens 1st Team v St Albans (Away (L) L 0-3)
Harleston sponsored by Dynamic Sport travelled to St Albans on a sunny April afternoon for their final game of the season. The squad welcomed back Ben Watson and Jude Potruff.
Harelston started the game well and managed to string some good moves together with some good passing moves. Defensively the team worked hard and sat in their half court zone well. St Albans started to thread balls through as the half wore on, however, the defensive unit of Jonty Gosling, Leigh Sitch, Andrew Bedwell and Tom Sumner stood firm and John Livings made some excellent saves when called into action.
Harleston were unlucky not to steal the lead following good play from Archie Winter and Jack Hobbs in midfield found Jake Sewell wide on the right. The youngster smashed the ball into the D which narrowly avoided the diving Tim Whiteman.
With the scores at 0-0 at half time Tim Whiteman asked for calm on the pitch as the temperature started to boil on the pitch.
In the second half both teams where soon reduced to 10 minutes for 5 minutes which meant both teams sat back for a the reduction in players. Harleston were soon undone when they were reduced to 10 players again. A long ball was deflected just outside the 25 which found an unmarked St Albans forward in the circle which he cooly finished past the on rushing Livings.
St Albans soon made it 2-0 capatilisng on a misplaced aerial that was expertly picked. With the Harleston defence out of position the St Albans forward was able to lift the ball expertly over John Livings.
As Harleston legs started to tire due to low numbers and the intense heat St Albans started to dominate possession. The Hertfordshire side should have made it 3-0 but Andrew Bedwell picked a thunderbolt of a drag flick on the line. Unfortunately from the resultant short corner St Albans did score their drag flick. Harleston did try and rally with what little time was left but despite an up right reverse stick from Archie Winter which fizzed past the back post they were not able to pull a goal back.
This was the last game for some of the Harleston players who are off to university. The squad would like to wish Archie Winter, Jonty Gosling, Sam Paterson and Jake Sewell.
The squad would also like to thank Leigh Sitch who is stepping down as captain following over 10 years at the helm.
Mens 1st Team v Spalding (Away (L) W 10-2)
Harleston sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops travelled to Spalding on a warm spring day. Harleston welcomed back Mark Flatman after a spell on the sidelines with injury. After an inspirational team talk from player coach Tim Whiteman the team knew that they had to play through their attacking channels and get their flair players on the ball in the name of Tom (David Silva) Ridley and Tim (Kevin De Bruyne) Whiteman.
Spalding pushed back and Harleston quickly won the ball with a good interception from Jonty Gosling released the ball through Elliot Marsh who fed Tom Ridley. The young midfielder quickly accelerated through two challenges before unleashing a fierce reverse stick shot across goal where a Spalding defender turned it into his own net. Harleston continued to win the ball in midfield allowing quick counter attacks at the Spalding defence and within 8 minutes were 3 goals up and the game was out sight. Mark Flatman scored a neat deflection before Matt Bensley smashed home from close range following a good save from the Spalding goalkeeper.
Against the run of play Spalding did pull a goal back when the ball unfortunately found Stuart Leate’s foot in the circle, the resultant corner was dispatched with a low and powerful drag flick. Harleston started to turn the ball over a little too often as they tried to play forward at every opportunity. Despite not stringing many passes together at times there were still patterns of unbelievable hockey. A neat one-two from Elliot Marsh and Thomas Ridley allowed the vice captain to score his second of the afternoon before Mark Flatman grabbed his second.
Harleston were awarded a stroke just before half time when a powerful Tim Whiteman drag flick hit a defenders body on the line. After some confusion in the rules as to whether Matt Bensley was allowed to take the stroke Matt Richardson stepped up with a swagger and dispatched the flick into top left hand corner of the goal leaving the goal keeper handcuffed.
The team went into half time pleased with their efforts and the performance level. Tim Whiteman asked for more composure at times on the ball and to keep scoring goals.
Harleston were very composed in the second half, keeping the ball for long periods of play and deciding when to hit Spalding on the counter attack. Many good patterns starting from Tom Sumner and Leigh Sitch in a new centre back pairing.
Mark Flatman quickly completed his hat-trick from a close range deflection. Leigh Sitch then got on the score sheet from open play (a rarity) with what the umpire described as goal of the season. The dynamic centre back started off the move by carrying out from centre back he eliminated two players before feeding the ball back to Tom Sumner. As the ball was transferred across the back and up the right through Matt Richardson and Thomas Ridley the athletic centre back carried on his run leaving Spalding players in his wake. The ball eventually found Richard Larkin on the right just outside of the circle and looking up, with delight, he saw Sitch arrive. The ball was played across and Sitch had to use all of his attacking flair to deflect the ball skillfully into the roof of the net off his back foot. A loud cheer from the majority of the team showed the significance of the vital 8th goal.
Harleston continue to press forward and soon added their 9th and 10th goal. Firstly Thomas Ridley completed his hat-trick with a reverse stick thunderbolt before Tim Whiteman found space in the circle to slot home. There was still time left for Spalding to grab their second goal. Stuart Leate slotted in at centre back as Leigh Sitch and Tom Sumner were rested for the final few minutes. After a Spalding counter attack Leate was adjust to have brought down the attacked as he raced through on goal. Spalding dispatched the stroke to make the final score 10-2.
Harleston have a week off next week before travelling to Blueharts were they will look to replicate their best performance of the season.
Ladies 4th Team v Dereham 3 (Away (L) W 4-2)
Two days later and we were back at it, this time in a rearranged evening fixture away at Dereham who are fourth in the league. The first half summed up our season, relentless pressure and opportunities for Magpies but the opposition scored on the break. Undeterred, we packed the forward line and maintained momentum, firing in shot after shot and practising a variety of short corner routines to no avail.
Dereham doubled their lead against the run of play but Magpies continued to play attacking hockey with Emily Woollatt and Sophie Maynell Anderson bossing the midfield and Sophie Govier Schay enjoying the freedom to run with the ball and create chances.
Finally we got on the scoreboard when Jess Green connected with a cross into the back post. A come back was in reach now and the goals kept coming. Kara Kilbourn struck from a short corner and Alice Evans Hendrick deflected the ball into the net.
Not satisfied with just a point Magpies kept up the intensity and Helena Knock (accidentally) scored a wonder strike from long range. Finally our luck was changing and Kara bagged the fourth goal after silky stick work took her past the last defender and around the ‘keeper.
The win takes the Fourths into the Easter break one point clear of the relegation zone with two games left to play.
Ladies 4th Team v Evergreens (Home (L) L 0-1)
It’s tight at the bottom of the Norfolk Prem with Magpies, UEA 2s and Norwich Dragons 5s battling to avoid the dreaded drop zone, with two of the three teams destined for relegation.
Having won only three games all season the Fourths knew that a win on Saturday would really boost their chance of survival and as the game panned out we settled into our stride and pressed Evergreens high in their half. Beth Moodie came up from the fifths to make her debut for the team and stood her ground against physical opposition. Sisters Imogen and Sophie Maynell Anderson pinged the ball nicely between them in midfield and Cassie Ayms, Megan Beckett and Imogen Ramsdale worked relentlessly to get the ball up to Janna Freeman in the oppositions ‘D’.
Magpies commanded the game but frustratingly were caught on the break and allowed Evergreens to score the only goal of the match.
Ladies 7th Team v Carrow (Away (L) W2-0)
Our afternoon match at Langley School was played in very mild weather conditions …so different to last week’s blizzard. With a strong squad of 13, we managed to divert the ball from travelling rapidly towards our goal and sent it swiftly to the Carrow end. Some excellent play from Miri, Alison and Daphne helped to keep our defence strong. Shirley McAllen was ready in the Carrow circle to send the ball home when Georgia passed the ball from the right wing.
During the second half, play out to the wings helped to keep the width and with some superb running and stick skills, Bex, Ruby and Jess kept the ball heading up towards the Carrow circle. At one point, both Jo Meyer and Annie Lancaster managed shots at goal but the ball pinged off the same left-hand goalpost! Then Bex Potruff was ready and waiting by that same goalpost to receive a pass from Shirley and sweep the ball into the goal. Carrow had a couple of short corners but Katy Davy kicked any stray balls clear. All in all, it was a great game with a great team.
Ladies 7th Team v Pelicans (Away (L) W 3-0)
On a freezing cold Saturday, we battled through the snow and ice up to Pelicans, feeling sure the match would be cancelled at any moment given a whole day’s play had been lost in Harleston to the Beast from the East – mark 2! We arrived to find it was a balmy 2 degrees in Kings Lynn, although that didn’t stop most of the match being played through 40 mph winds and horizontal snow! But the Ladies 7ths are a tough bunch, welcoming both Ruby Pottruff and Katy Davy making their debuts for the Ladies 7th, and Alison and Jessica Menzies to just their second game for the team.
Against a young Pelicans side, Magpies got off to a strong start with Jessica, Miri and Alison moving the ball positively in midfield. Their confident play led to Ruby scoring the first goal after just seven minutes. Magpies stayed focussed, with more great passing play, using Katy and Jo Meyer effectively on our wings to bring the ball back into the D again at sixteen minutes. Ruby made a lovely pass in to Bex Pottruff who scored neatly into the left corner.
Feeling positive, Magpies kept pushing, but failed to score again despite several missed goals during the rest of the first half. Daphne Beckett gave us a rousing half time team talk, encouraging us to pass quickly and accurately. Pelicans upped their marking though, and looked strong at the start of the second half. Liv, Karen and Daphne in defence kept us safe with determined and repeated challenges, and Peg in goal delivered a fantastic brave diving save at one point.
In the final fifteen minutes, Miri, Chy and Alison pushed on strongly in midfield, and after a few scrambles in the D, when Jo narrowly missed out on scoring, Bex popped another into the left corner again to bring the final score to a very well deserved 3 nil victory. It was lovely to have a great mix of young, more experienced and new to the club players, all working together so well as a team.
Player of the match was Karen Hunt with her marvellous hit towards the end of the second half, struck so hard she managed to split the ball impressively into three and was crowned ‘champion ball breaker’ of the match!
Ladies 2nd Team v Wisbech (Away (L) D 1-1 )
Harleston Magpies 2’s were due to travel away to Wisbech, after confirmation that the cold weather had not affected their pitch the girls set off.
The girls got off to a great start and the first ten minutes Magpies had all the possession but were unable to find the net. A quick break from Wisbech caught Magpies out and they went 1-0 up. Undeterred by the goal Magpies fought on to try and get the game back. Their efforts were rewarded near the end of the first when a lovely run down the line By E. Rash was crossed into Laura Tibbenham to slot the ball home and make the score 1-1.
With Woollatt picking up an injury going into the second half Magpies were down to the bare 11 players and had to reorganise and keep the ball. The girls continued to attack Olivia Locke working hard and creating chances and Wisbech were playing the ball around nicely making life difficult for the midfield and defence. Magpies although winning some short corners and making chances were unable to score and the final score was 1-1. The first points that the girls have dropped all season, but the girls were ready to go out and get another three points the next day away at Newmarket.
Ladies 2nd Team v Newmarket (Away (L) W2-0)
The girls traveled away to Newmarket this Sunday for a long awaited rearranged game. A lot of the regular 2’s players were unfortunately unavailable so a number of three’s players stepped up to help out, thank you to all of them.
On a rather cold day the girls layered up and had a god warm up ready to attack from the start. The magpies girls got of to a great start keeping hold of possession and working the ball around. It didn’t take long for the girls to get into the circle and start making chances. New comer to the twos, Ellie Bale and G. Gardens both working hard and making life difficult. The first goal came from a good ball through from G. Gardens to Tibbenham to run on to and have a shot. The first shot was saved and Sophie Child ran in from the right to slot the rebound home 1-0. Newmarket’s efforts to get into our circle were thwarted by Rachel Baynes and Kath Johnson. There were no more goals in the first half and the girls went into half time feeling confident that they could get the three points they wanted.
In the second half Newmarket continued to push to get a goal but the hard work of the all the midfielders and defence was proving too much. Magpies carried on working for a second goal and chances came. The second goal came when Amelia made a great run down the left hand side of the pitch and rounded two or three players then slotted the ball past the keepers left foot. To make the score 2-0 and her first goal of the season. The rest of the game played out with no more goals and the girls took away a well deserved 3 points.
Next week the girls play another two fixtures Saturday @home vs Watton and on Sunday away vs St Neots.
Ladies O35 v Clifton Robinsons (Home (O35 Cup )W 5-0)
Magpies thrilled the home crowd with this resounding Investec Women’s Over 35s Tier 1 Championship semi-final victory playing quality hockey from the opening minute against a talented Clifton side. They threatened to open the scoring on several occasions but before doing so were grateful for a good save by goalkeeper Lucy King who was otherwise rarely tested.
In a superb squad performance Emma Lee-Smith was outstanding for Magpies with her strong runs at the Clifton defence and she put the home team ahead in the 23rd minute with a powerful shot from a narrow angle which evaded goalkeeper Sarah Ellis who had earlier made several smart saves. Six minutes later Emma converted a penalty corner with a powerful shot high into the net following some deft stickwork.
Magpies were now in total control with Frances Burrell and Debbie Francis in dominant form in midfield and their position was further strengthened just before half time when after a strong run down the right by Lucy Field the ball found Charlie Harrison to the left of the circle. By sheer persistence and aided by a first-class advantage by the umpire she took the ball along the goal line before squeezing the ball into the net.
Early in the second half Angie Wheelhouse, who had several times gone close to scoring in the first half, was unlucky to see her shot hit the bar before being cleared. Clifton, with Isabel Palmer prominent, responded with a spell of pressure of their own but the fourth goal for Magpies was soon forthcoming when Anouska Stott took advantage of a calamitous mix up in the visitors’ defence to ease the ball past the guiltless goalkeeper.
This made the game safe for Magpies before Anouska latched on to a through ball to race into the circle to fire high into the net to complete the scoring.
This has to rank as one of the finest home performances by a Magpies’ team in recent seasons and in the final at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre on Saturday 5 May (5.00pm) they will play Canterbury who beat Olton & West Warwicks 4-3 in the other semi-final.