Category Archives: Reports


Mens 6th Team v Bury St Edmunds 7s W 6-4

The Men’s 6s travelled to Bury St Edmunds to play one of their three teams in division 6NE (s) and on this occasion the opposition was Bury 7s.

Magpies started brightly going 2-0 up with goals from Richard Alcock and Jack Glover. Bury got one goal back from a short corner to beat Luca Tomson, who had made some excellent saves in the lead up. A further goal for either team before the break made the score 3-2. After the break magpies started brightly increasing the lead to 5-2 with a further goal from Jack Glover (Hatrick) and Simon Rodwell. A good passing move from Elliott Chapman and Elliott Cooper resulted in magpies getting their sixth goal – a tap in for Elliot Cooper. The magpies defence of Mark, Eric, Paul, Myles and Harry battled hard but further pressure from two well drilled short corners brought the Bury tally to 4. The game finished 6-4 to Magpies giving the team their 4th win on the road this season.


Ladies 6th Team v Breckland W 4-0

Magpies started this match somewhat nervous following the previous week’s defeat. This, Coupled with a few changes of position, meant the team took a while to settle into a calm passing rhythm. 
Breckland, came out with good intent, working hard to break down magpies play and push their team forward. However defenders Jane, Marie and Kristina made sure the ball barely entered the Magpies defensive 23 with well timed tackles and effective clearances. 
Magpies claimed most of the possession. Midfielders Judith, Elena, Holly and Georgia S combining well to build strong attacks into the Breckland circle.
 Magpies worked to create space in the circle, Georgia H making driving runs along the baseline to fire the ball back to the P. spot. By half time Rachael had scored two good goals. 
Second half Breckland found themselves under more pressure from sustained Magpies attacking play. Imogen in the magpies goal was rarely troubled as Magpies worked to keep possession high into their attacking part of the pitch. Janna created a lot of space out on her wing, sending great balls into the circle and force many chances, Rachael again converting to take the score to 3:0. 
Player of the match Louise in the centre of the Magpies team kept the tempo high, breaking down play and fielding passes out wide as Breckland sunk back into the centre of their defensive area. 
A strong forward pass into the circle was calmly deflected into the goal by Rachael taking the final score to 4:0. 
Magpies were pleased to be back to their winning ways and will look to take confidence from this into the tough match against Herlings in a few weeks time.
All 6s and 7s players are invited to an inter club friendly on Saturday at 11am. 


Girls U14 B Team v IES W 3-0

A bright sunny morning was what greeted the U14 B team/development as we traveled to play Ipswich & East Suffolk HC for a 10am push back. We are lucky to have good numbers in the U14 age group and with only one team playing in the EH Championships this was a great opportunity to get those not involved in that to get the gang back together and play age group hockey again. I am very pleased to report that the whole group played extremely well and played the type of hockey they can be proud of and ran out deserved 3-0 winners. Admittedly we did have a tricky first 10 minutes full of the normal nonsense that puts any team under pressure i.e. Not clearing the ball from the back, running into contact and losing it, no width and snail like passing. That said they defended well and from then onwards they got back into the game and dominated the rest of the game bar the odd IES foray that was rebuffed by resolute defending, calm distribution and off they went again. 
So in summary, the first 10 wasn’t great but the rest was excellent with all of the girls front back to front showing good simple and effective skills on the ball with some lovely inter passing that combined their willingness to try something different, see that it works and then continue to play in that way and actually get better as the game went on which was the most enjoyable part of the morning. Passing the ball makes any game come alive so really well done girls, excellent work all round from all. 
Goals came from Amie H following a mazy run, then Ellen M who cooly slotted home  following a classic down the right base line draw the keeper run from Beth G leaving Amie H to score another mazy runner to conclude the scoring. Plenty of other chances and shots on goals from others on a really promising morning. 
Squad – Katie D (GK), Alyssa W, Megan D, Anna S, Olivia E, Ellen M, Ellie B, Rosie M, Jade B, Tilly D, Amie H, Flo C, Beth G & Grace C


Ladies 1st Team v Bedford W 4-1

Harleston Magpies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents this week welcomed Bedford to Weybread and knew it would be a tough game. In the first half of the season Magpies came away from Bedford with a 3-0 victory.
The start of the game was pretty even and both teams created opportunities in their attacking half. After 10 minutes Emma received the ball at the top of the D and managed to get a reverse stick shot towards goal which was deflected in by Jess. Bedford continued to attack, but the Magpies defence held strong. Just before half time Emma again received the ball and drove towards the goal, around a couple of defenders and slipped the ball into the goal.
In the second half Bedford came over strong and pressured the Magpies defence in which they tried to absorb the attacks but eventually the Bedford found the goal from a short corner strike from the top of the D. This gave Bedford some confidence and they continued to try and find the equaliser in which Magpies managed to capitalise on the break twice before the end of the game with another goal from Emma and a goal from Lottie.

Squad: Lauren Barber (Capt), Megan Brown (GK), Katrina Sitch, Louisa Greenacre, Debbie Francis, Fran Burrell, Lara Taylor, Charlie Harrison, Lizzie Clymer, Jess Bloom, Emma Lee-Smith, Sarah Bracey, Kristine Ayling, Lottie Summers, Georgie Cantrell.


Ladies 1st Team v Hampstead and Westminster L 0-2

Harleston Magpies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents this week travelled to Hampstead and with Hampstead at the top of the league Magpies knew it was going to be a hard game. When Magpies played Hampstead before Christmas, Hampstead came out on top with a 3-1 victory.
With most of the squad having played the day before and with some injuries the Magpies squad were going to be stretched to their limits. The game started off fairly evenly but Hampstead soon started putting the Magpies defence under pressure. Magpies then conceded a corner and Hampstead went for the deflection which unfortunately hit a Magpies defender on the line. Hampstead then converted the flick, in which Megan was close to saving. Magpies managed to create some chances, but couldn’t find the goal.
The second half started fairly equally again, with Magpies knowing they were still in the game and continued to try and create chances. Emma struck a short corner just wide and the Magpies defence continued to work hard and keep out Hampstead’s attacks. Hampstead then managed to find the goal again.
Next week Magpies welcome Horsham to Weybread at 1.30pm. The squad will be looking to build on the positive results of this weekend.

Squad: Lauren Barber (Capt), Megan Brown (GK), Katrina Sitch, Louisa Greenacre, Debbie Francis, Fran Burrell, Lara Taylor, Charlie Harrison, Lizzie Clymer, Katherine Ridley, Emma Lee-Smith, Rose Winter, Kristine Ayling, Annie Nunn.


Ladies 2nd Team v Wapping D 3-3

Earlier in the season Wapping recorded a big win at the Nest after a dominant 2nd half performance and are in the promotion mix as well. The Pies travelled to the Lee Valley Stadium in good heart following some recent solid results. We were buoyed by the fact that we were playing on the main stadium pitch, so after an OK magazine team photo shoot as well as a good warm up,the game commenced under cloudy skies.

Wapping were dominant early on as we were pushed back well into our own half and to be fair we were finding it very hard to string any passing patterns together. However after 10 minutes from a swift break out we found a foot in the D for a penalty corner. Aoife Lowe Davies executed a sweet drag flick destined for the top corner of the net until the Wapping post defender made a head high deflection to save the day.

This gave us confidence as the game became more even but Wapping are a good side and were still making inroads into our D. On debut, Daisy Ford made a really fine save at the feet of a Wapping forward as we battled to keep on terms. Wapping took the lead mid way through the first half from a close range conversion from a penalty corner.

As the half drew to a close, both sides were creating chances in the D but neither could find the finishing touch as the game got stretched. So we arrived at the break one down but well in the game. Our team talk centred around keeping the energy levels high on the press as well as moving the ball around because we had seen how we could expose the home defence in the first half. However we needed to guard against a Wapping side who had tore us apart in the 2nd half previously. What actually transpired was a frantic second half that had everyone present on the edge of their seats.

We came out in dominant fashion, starting by pushing the home side back and creating a couple of penalty corners. With only 4 minutes played, we were back on level terms.Lovely passing down the left hand side found Laura Tibbenham who drove into the D. Her pass found Anouska Stott who drew the keeper before from an acute angle lifting the ball into the net. This pattern continued as we were almost unplayable as we were punching holes through the Wapping back line. From a PC, we got into the lead following a training ground move that saw Lucy Whiting deflect home with a deft touch that flew into the net.

Still we had the upper hand and Laura Tibbenham fired just wide and the home keeper made a couple of important blocks to keep the deficit to one. Wapping are a good side and were still a threat and found a way back into the game from a well worked PC. All of this had occurred in the first 10 mins of the half. Wapping felt they could go and win the game from here but likewise we were of the same positive mindset. From an infringement, Anouska quickly took a free hit just inside the Wapping half and spotted Laura Tibbenham who had gambled on making a cross field run into the D. Tibbs neatly evaded the keeper before walking the ball into an unguarded net to get us in front again with 15 mins played in the half.

Wapping then pushed us back and piled on the pressure. Daisy made a number of decent saves and the whole team worked really hard to limit the damage from wave after wave of home attacks. From a home PC ,they tried their earlier variation with the same effect to level the scores at 3 each with 12 minutes to go.

With emotions running high neither side wanted to take a backward step as the game turned into a well matched arm wrestle . In truth Wapping could have pinched a winner but likewise we penned them back as the game drew to a close with us taking a valuable hard earned point back to the Nest from the home of England hockey.

This was a really solid point and full credit to the whole squad of 14 who again went toe to toe with the opposition not giving an inch. They battled so hard helping each other out as this work ethic together with some exciting attacking hockey ensured we added a point to our tally. The squad also appreciated the strong support from the travelling Pies fans seated in the main stand.

No game next week, however we are next at home on Saturday March 2nd against West Herts in what will prove a difficult game after we narrowly lost to them 3-2 away. A vocal home support would really be appreciated by the squad as we move towards the crucial last few games of the season.


Ladies 3rd v Christchurch W 4-0

This week, the ladies 3 played Christchurch, with the help of their newly signed manager, Steven. Magpies started strong, earning a short corner within the first few minutes, which lead to lots of rebounds with great pressure on the opposition and eventually leading to a team goal, secured by Sophie Child. Despite Magpies having lots of possession, some quick play from Christchurch, lead a fantastic save from the Magpies goalie, Abi.

Magpies continued to dominate the game having started with the momentum, moving the ball up the pitch quickly with great success; this lead to an early second girl, coming from a pass by Helena Knock in defence to the top of Christchurch’s D and finished by a perfectly timed touch from Jess Green. The dangerous attacking play from the home team continued, with line runs from Ellen Pope, Alice Wiseman, Jess Green and Molly Warnes, earning Magpies their third goal, coming from a cross into the D and calmly finished by Leggy.

Christchurch responded strongly in the second half, but a solid team press and calm defence duo of Helena Knock and Rachael Baines ensured there was minimal entrances into Magpies D. Meanwhile, with the inners finding the space for the forwards and Amy Collison being a constant threat to the opposition, Magpies were earning a lot of short corners and chances for more goals. With some great support play from Laura Betts, Lucy Fields and Phoebe Eglington, Magpies remained patient in the oppositions 25. Eventually, they were rewarded with a penalty flick, which was calmly slotted in by Ellen Pope, to finalise a great team effort and well deserved 4-0 win.

Man of the Match – Amy Collison


Mens 1st Team vCambridge City 2s W 2-1

Harleston Magpies Mens first team, sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops, hosted Cambridge City 2s at Weybread on Saturday afternoon. After 5 wins in a row, a 6th win would move Harleston one step closer to a well deserved return to national league. Manager K.Ridley prepared and delivered a speech demanding that there was focus from the word go and the values of the squad were adhered to. Magpies knew this was a potential banana skin and that Cambridge deserved respect. 
When the teams met earlier in the season magpies controlled the game, but struggled to breakdown a well organised City side. This seemed to be the case again. For the first 10 minutes, Harleston had the majority of possession but struggled to penetrate the circle as their opposition implemented the half court press and were happy to soak up pressure. Richard Gill and Tom Ridley wanted patience in the build up and expressed the need to use the wide channels in order to find the space. 
It wasn’t until late in the first half that the deadlock was broken. Turnover ball in midfield, followed by a strong run from captain Tom Ridley created space for Simon Hipwell to tidy up a loose ball and slot home from 5 yards, adding to his impressive goal tally for the club. The whole of Weybread breathed a little easier heading into half time.
Harleston knew they were in 2nd gear, weren’t working hard enough off the ball, and were making too many individual errors. But were pleased to be leading and hoping to use the first half as a stepping stone for a flurry of goals in the second half.
A good start, with lots of possession, a high tempo and good ball pace enabled magpies to play their style in the right areas of the pitch, unfortunately they couldn’t find the all important second goal through open play or a short corner routine. 
Resilience, determination and self belief have been a large part of the success in this campaign, and once again the magpies had to dig deep in order to take all 3 points, as with 20 minutes to go, City scored a penalty corner to draw level. Many of the supporters would have felt aggrieved after so much control, but Harleston only had themselves to blame for not closing this game out already.
Like so many times this season, the belief was in tact, and after patient build up it was in fact Dave Skinner who found the winner, with a neat and composed finish at the back post. Skinner dedicated the goal to his new born son. 
Cambridge did win two late penalty corners which caused nervy moments, however the short corner defence team excelled and kept City at bay. Magpies then took the heat out of the game, and ensured that they closed the game out without a late equaliser
This was Jack Hobbs last game for the club, and the side will miss his contributions for the remainder of the season. He now heads off travelling via Exeter. The squad wishes him well. 
The team has four games left of the season, up next an away game at Bedford.


Girls U18 v Chelmsford W 7-0

Magpies U18’s girls finally played a game of hockey in this seasons England hockey National cup competition.  After Norwich City conceded and then Saffron Waldon did the same the girls travelled to play Chelmsford away.  We got off to the perfect start when a well taken short corner was confidently dispatched into the Chelmsford goal by Sophia Basset. Magpies were playing like the team who had played in every round, confidently passing the ball and looking solid in defence.  Just before half time a well rehearsed short corner was clinically scored by Emma Williamson making the half time score 0-2.
Coach Lauren Rowe set the team up for the 2nd half and it wasn’t long before Sophia Basset made it 0-3 following good work from Millie Preece. Magpies didn’t let up and Sophie Govier Schaay made it 0-4 . Lara Taylor then set off on a brilliant run down the right flank into the D and fired the ball past the Chelmsford keeper to make the score 0-5.  Sophia then completed her hat trick to make it 0-6 and Millie Preece rounded the scoring off the make the final score 0-7.
Magpies U18’s girls have now reached the quarter final in which we are playing Cambridge away on Sunday 24th February.


Ladies 7th Team v Pelicans 4 W 4-1

Seven of us stood anxiously on a windswept pitch in Kings Lynn waiting for the rest of the team to arrive.  With minutes to spare, we spotted white shirts in the distance and the match started…phew! Pelicans took possession and play seemed to be concentrated in our circle, however, our defenders managed to clear the ball out but after a brief spell in the Pelican’s half, their forwards raced to our circle and scored.  Soon after, Anna Segggons sprinted up the right wing, passed the ball across to Joanna Meyer on the left edge of the circle, who smashed the ball into Pelican’s goal.  Soon after, Pelicans had a short corner but Peg Bridges, our goalkeeper, cleared the ball and with a few missed shots at goal, the score at half time remained a draw.
During the second half, we seemed to have the upper hand and with multiple short corners, did very well.  The ball was struck to Gillian Stokes who passed it to Georgia Hood, ready to strike the ball home.  Pelican’s defenders sent the ball down to our circle, but Marie Davy battled hard to send it back up.  Also, Karen Hunt stopped any forwards and indeed stormed her way through them.  During another short corner, the ball was struck to Jessica Tarrant who hit the ball which rebounded off the left goalpost into the goal.  Ellen Moodie raced up the pitch with the ball and passed it to Madi Wright who struck it past the keeper.  We were thrilled to bits and everyone played really well.

Score:  4 – 1


Mens 1st Team v Cambridge University W 4-3

Harleston Magpies Mens first team, sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops, travelled to the home of the University of Cambridge at Wilberforce Sports Ground looking to further cement their top four position. They were greeted by gale-force winds but also welcome support from stalwart club members. Manager K.Ridley had delivered a powerful message on local radio this week but the team knew this was going to be challenging encounter against their rivals for promotion.
After a slightly rushed warm up, organised by captain T.Ridley, the teams lined up for the crucial clash. The reverse fixture had seen Magpies control and win the game using a half court press and it was clear from the get-go that the scholars had prepared for the same. A quick tempo from the students allowed them to dominate the early exchanges and they were rewarded with the lead when a crash ball looped off O.Whiteman’s stick gifting an opposition forward a volleyed tap-in past the stranded Leek. Despite further control of possession by the home team, a moment of excellent individual work down the left resulted in Hobbs entering the circle and unleashing his trusted backhand to pull Magpies level. Ably assisted by his forward colleague Gilbert. Following the equaliser the game settled down and Magpies’ disciplined formation stifled the young light blues for long periods. 
Unfortunately, it was a controversial moment that led to the home side regaining the advantage. Bale was robbed illegally in midfield but despite his strong appeals, Cambridge were allowed to advance and after a melee in the circle the ball fell to a light blue shirt who dispatched the ball into the corner of the goal, leaving Leek no chance. On reflection this injustice may have been the pivotal moment of the match. Magpies stepped up their game with coach T.Whiteman and T.Ridley leading from the front to carve out a number of attacks. It was the latter who quickly pulled Magpies level for the second time, exploiting hesitancy from the youthful defence to drive into the right side of the D and smash home a crisp strike. Magpies then began to play some of their trademark attacking hockey but their sharp connections fell just short and prevented them adding to the scoring. The half ended with Magpies absorbing a few attack’s but calm defending from the experienced back four maintained the score at evens.
Following a considered team talk, Magpies started the second half well and began to utilise their new formation to good effect. Unfortunately, a moment of ill discipline (possibly from lack of sleep) led to new father Skinner receiving a green card and reducing the visitors to ten. Instead of being detrimental this spurred Pies on and some slick work down the right from O.Whiteman and the Skipper resulted in a special cross which allowed “UEA Dave – Fox in the box” Gilbert the chance adjust and roll the ball home for a first time Magpies lead. Cambridge soon lost a man themselves and within minutes Magpies were at it again with T.Whiteman bamboozling four defenders before drawing a foul. T.Ridley stepped over the ball, carried hard and crossed for the teams other poacher Gray, who made no mistake giving Magpies a two goal cushion (4-2). 
Magpies worked hard to limit the home team as they strived to get back into the match. It was another umpiring decision that allowed the hosts pull a goal back. Sitch appeared to make one of his customary well timed tackles in the circle, only to be punished with a short corner. The students grabbed this gift with both hands and used their intelligence to pull off a well timed spin routine, which provided their striker with a close range drag flick into the roof. Magpies were forced to soak up further pressure soon after and survived two more short corners, one of which saw Leek use his agility to push the ball round the post, much to the delight of the cameraman.
In the last 10minutes Magpies demonstrated their growth and development as a side over the last two seasons. Despite further green cards for both Gilbert and Hobbs, the team maintained their poise, concentration and short interplay to see the game through. Notable examples of this included Gowing and Tew who stole valuable yards and time down the left. In the end though it was the flair of Magpies’ player-coach and captain who ran down the clock to give Magpies another important victory. 
The team has five games left of the season and if they can maintain this form and focus, a return to the National league is in their own hands.


Ladies 1st Team v Cambridge City L 0-3

Harleston Magpies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents this week resumed league action after the mid-season break and last weekend’s postponed game. They travelled to third placed Cambridge City for an evening game, expecting a challenging encounter.
Cambridge started brightly, dominating the early encounters and creating plenty of early chances. Megan Brown in goal made two excellent saves in the opening minutes to keep the scores level.  
Mid-way through the half Cambridge capitalised on their possession with two quick goals, converting a penalty corner for their first and their second from a counter attack which left Magpies’ defensive unit outnumbered.  With a few chances to get back into the game coming and going, Magpies struggled to get a foot-hold in the game
Magpies begun the second half much brighter and with a formation tweak they started passing the ball around much more confidently. Lottie Summers was unlucky, creating an excellent opportunity for Magpies best chance of the game.
Ten minutes in to the half and against the run of play, Cambridge converted their second corner to extend their lead to 3. An experienced Cambridge side, led by Olympian Helen Richardson-Walsh, played out the game to take all three points.
Despite Magpies best attempts it was not to be their day. They will take positive from an improved second half performance and will need to quickly learn from their mistakes going into a big double-header next weekend.  Magpies host Bedford on Saturday and travel to Hampstead and Westminster on Sunday.

Squad: Lauren Barber (Capt), Megan Brown (GK), Katrina Sitch, Louisa Greenacre, Debbie Francis, Fran Burrell, Lara Taylor, Charlie Harrison, Lizzie Clymer, Katherine Ridley, Emma Lee-Smith, Lucy Whiting, Rose Winter, Lottie Summers, Georgie Cantrell.


Ladies 4th Team v Broadland 1st L 0-2

Magpies ladies 4’s welcomed Broadland to the nest knowing that the opposition had not been beaten this season. Magpies started the match in the same vein of form that has seen them climb the table and play attacking hockey.  The 4’s were unlucky not to be 2-0 ahead in the first 10 minutes, the Broadland keeper did well to save a fierce shot from Cassie Ayms and minutes later Millie Preece was denied by a good save also.   Magpies didn’t have the best start to the day when Centre back Catherine Kilbourn had to withdraw through illness, Izzy Slade stepped in at centre back alongside Sophie Baxter who looked comfortable and dealt with the early Broadland attacks.  Magpies maintained the momentum forcing a flurry of short corners from which magpies nearly took the lead when Emily Woollatt’s deflected shot went agonisingly wide of the goal.

Broadland started the create chances of their own , Abi Lewis in the magpies goal who is growing in confidence each week kept the scores level with excellent saves and has become a commanding figure behind the 4’s defence. This was developing into a real battle of two inform teams going toe to toe with each other looking to make the first break through. Honey Lamdin always looked a danger making strong runs down the right and Katie Woollatt was working tirelessly in centre midfield. Half time 0-0

Magpies started the 2nd half hoping to get a change of luck with the 50/50 decisions, Grace Collison and Victoria Spouncer combined well on the left flank showing a great understanding and tireless running from Alice E H and Cassie caused the Broadland defence problems at the back.   Broadland never gave in and magpies were punished when they didn’t clear a lose ball, Broadland went 0-1 ahead but magpies didn’t lay back, the team showed a real fighting team togetherness when the decisions didn’t go their way.  The Broadland keeper continued to make saves to deny Millie Preece and good play on the edge of the Broadland D by Keira Wheeler created a another goal scoring opportunity for Magpies.  We continued to look for an equaliser but Broadland broke away and made the score 0-2 against the run of play. Sophie M A made overlapping runs late on as magpies threw everything forward looking for the goal that that the performance deserved.  The final score was a 0-2 defeat but the score line doesn’t show that the performance deserved much more. In previous weeks Magpies 4’s have kept raising the bar to a level now that shows that they can compete with the best teams in the league and this team will only grow in confidence and strength and hopefully keep moving forward together.

Player of the match – Abi Lewis


Ladies 6th Team v Pelicans 3 L1-4

The Ladies 6s travelled to Kings Lynn looking to find their previous strong form. Today it wasn’t meant to be. The team, minus a few regular players due to unavailability and Illness, started with a much changed formation.
Initially, Magpies found they had a lot of space to pass the ball round the back of the field of play and make some strong drives forward. Determined attacking play from Flea and Laura resulted in a few good chances for the away side, testing the home keeper.
Play was reasonably end to end and it was Pelicans who scored first from a strong open strike in the circle. This spurred the away side into action, claiming a quick goal in reply from a reverse stick strike from Rachael.
Magpies were rattled going into half time. Reminders from captain Flea to use the space available and take time to look up for that pass meant that the second half started strongly for the magpies side, and players settled in to their different positions from previous weeks. The whole team worked hard to keep possession of the ball, and Imogen made some good saves. Clearing the ball well, decisive long passes from Jane regularly found Janna who fired several great balls across the face of the goal that just didn’t find the end of one of our attackers sticks.
Pelicans scored again, this time from a well executed penalty corner. Magpies continued to battle to keep pressing forwards but with a few players having had to double for the 7s game previous to the 6s match, tired legs were showing.
Louise and Elena executed some strong tackles, feeding the ball out to Kristina, Judith and Georgia H. The away side had much play in the attacking circle with some narrowly missed shots at goal frustrating the team and causing heads to go down.
Pelicans though, thrilled to be in the lead, played with more confidence, making the most of every chance they had in the circle. Scoring two further goals to finish the match 4:1 to them.
Player of the match: Jane


Ladies 2nd Team v St Albans D 2-2

Back in October , we bagged a fine away win at St.Albans in a closely fought match. Having had some decent results in the last few weeks, we knew we would have to be at our best. The visitors had recently picked some excellent results away from home at Broxbourne and Canterbury so we knew this would be yet another close encounter.

The game started with a strong cross wind sweeping across the pitch ( I am told it was the backwash from Storm Erik ), with the Pies attacking the car park end. We had a dream start to the match on 3 minutes when Tor Findlay pressed a defender into making a mistake before slipping the ball to Laura Tibbenham just inside the D. Her first effort was kept out but she made no mistake second time around.

St.Albans pressed hard to get back into the game with their midfield dictating play although much of the possession was played in front of us as we kept our shape well without the ball. With both sides having plenty of options from the bench, each side made a number of changes to keep energy levels high as the wind was proving troublesome.

The visitors were starting to get sight of goal and keeper Jade Daly made 3 smart saves before the scores were levelled on 20 minutes. After defending a couple of previous penalty corners, St.Albans finally levelled when a shot from the top of the D found the home net. We responded to the setback getting a lot of joy down both wings with Lucy Field and Aoife Lowe Davies on the right whilst Cat Maciver and Georgie Gardens made some similar inroads down the left. With the forwards hitting the Hot Spots in the opposition D we looked dangerous with Sophia Bassett twice being denied with last ditch tackles.

With the game all square at the break, we discussed how we just had to keep battling against a very experienced side who had looked dangerous in our defensive D. Likewise we also felt that we could net a second as we had been encouraged by our attacking play in the first period.

With all to play for the second half began with the game being contested in the middle of the park as each team wanted to gain momentum. During this period, Olivia Locke and Jess Howland broke up play well in front of our defensive line before trying to release our forwards on the counter. The visitors still looked a threat in the D and from a PC that was only partly cleared, a close range effort was forced home to leave us behind for the first time in the match midway through the second half.

The Pies have shown during this season that they are full of dogged determination and yet again this spirit was going to be needed if we were to get back on terms. We started to  push the visitors back as we played some decent triangle hockey and started to create opportunities resulting in some penalty corners that were well defended. Georgie Gardens was inches wide with a snap shot and some dangerous crosses just evaded our forwards.

At the back, Kristine Ayling, Kath Johnson and Amelia Herschel Shorland were having to work hard to keep the back door shut. Amelia made a brilliant covering challenge to stop an Albans forward getting a shot away from close range. With ten minutes to play, a devastating break saw us draw level. Good work breaking up an Albans attack allowed Lucy Field to pick a pass to Aoife Lowe Davies on the right. Aoife made an incisive break into the right of the D before squaring a perfect cross to Anouska who applied a well struck finish via the left hand upright..

Both sides had chances to pinch a very late winner especially when we were denied by a magnificent flying save by the keepers stick as a goal looked certain..

The game finished all square at 2 each with a share of the spoils being a fair reflection of the afternoons proceedings and another point gained from a difficult hard fought encounter. Next week, we are off to Lea Valley for a tough looking game with Wapping who had beat us convincingly earlier in the season.


Girls Development v Dereham Penguins W 16-0

There was a veritable goal rush for the girl’s development team as they scored sixteen against Dereham Penguins.
One: Isobel P scored her first league goal as players who usually play defence were given the opportunity to try out attacking roles during the second half.
Two: Florence C bagged a brace tapping in both at the back post.
Three: Amie H opened the scoring from a short-corner and was denied several times by the Dereham keeper before increasing her tally to three in the second-half.
Four: Evie B scored four to keep herself in the hunt for top scorer in the league.  The best after being sent clear by a glorious through ball from Anna C.
Five: Five – Nil was the score at the end of the first quarter
Six: Anna C scored six goals, including four in the second quarter. As well as top scoring her pin-point, cross-field passing was excellent!
Seven: There are seven players on a mini’s team.  Evie B, Anna C, and Amie H all featured as forwards in the mini’s team that reached sixth place in the national finals last year; the depth of understanding between them being a telling factor in today’s match.
Eight: The eighth goal was one of Anna C’s back-hand specials…I also wrote ‘thwack’ in my notes, so it must have been a good one!
Nine: Nine – Nil the score at half time.
Ten: About the number of minutes player / coach Sandra was on the pitch for before league rules meant she had to depart.
Eleven: The age of the youngest player.
Twelve: Sitting pretty at the top of the league, six points clear and with a goal difference of twelve over second place team Norwich.
Thirteen: Thirteen – Nil at the end of the third quarter.
Fourteen: The age of the oldest player (accept Sandra, she’s 21)
Fifteen: The number of players in the squad today (excluding player / coach Sandra)
Sixteen: The final score, Sixteen – nil.

Team (goals in brackets): Anna C (6), Rosie M, Lily M, Ellie C, Emma F, Amy F, Amie H (3), Harriet S, Florence C (2), Tilley D, Jessica S, Ellie B, Evie B (4), Isobel P (1), Georgia F (GK)
Player / Coach: Sandra E.


Ladies O35s v Canterbury D 1-1 (L 3-4 on flicks)

Ladies Over 35s cup quarter final draw was a repeat of last years final but with home advantage.  Magpies started brightly and took the play to Canterbury creating many attacking opportunities.  Emma Lee Smith picked off players with ease and put some inch perfect passes through but magpies were unable to make them count.  THe whole team played with composure throughout the first half and despite the better chances it was all square at half time.  The belief was in the home team solid defending by Vaughan, Greenacre and Johnson thwarted the chances Canterbury created.  Captain Greenacre got a harsh green card while a much worse tackle by ex GB player Mel Clewlow went unpunished.  Canterbury took the lead but Magpies belief never faltered and Lee Smith equalised from a penalty corner.  The final whistle came and once again Magpies had tested the champions of the last 7 years.  Deja vue!  Penalties – sadly Canterbury ran out 4-3 winners – leaving spectators and players disappointed for a second time.

Canterbury will consider themselves fortunate to leave with a win and chance of another title.


Ladies 4th Team v Broadland Ladies 2 W 6-0

Magpies ladies 4’s faced Broadland ladies 2’s at the nest on a bitterly cold Saturday morning. Broadland 2’s are in the bottom half of the the table and Magpies were looking to continue their amazing string of results are looking to finish the season in the top 3, it was only back in October that Magpies were in the bottom 3.

Magpies started the match on the front foot and it wasn’t long before Millie Preece opened the scoring with a well taken goal.  Magpies pushed forward at every opportunity and constant pressure resulted in Millie quickly scoring 2 more goals.  Just before half time a contender for goal of the season was scored by Victoria Spouncer who picked up the ball in her own half and carried the ball past numerous Broadland defenders into the D and calmly beat the Broadland keeper to make the half time score 4-0.

With the half time warming over a confident 4th team started the 2nd half where they left off.  Magpies looked to attack at every possible opportunity, quick closing down of the Broadland defenders gave Millie the opportunity to ruthlessly make the score 5-0.  Last weeks away 1-0 victory over Norwich City 3’s saw Magpies play their best hockey of the season, todays game never reached that level of performance even though the in the final 5 minutes Millie made the score 6-0 and bagged herself an impressive 5 goals. A good 3 points and another clean sheet by GK Abi Lewis.

Next week Magpies take on Broadland ladies 1’s at the nest who are top of the league and currently have a 100% record.

Player of the match – Victoria Spouncer

Goal Celebration of the day – Mr Spouncer


Girls Development v Dereham Panthers W  2-0

The girl’s development team braved a freezing deluge to see off a much improved Dereham side by two goals to nil.
Earlier in the season this fixture yielded eleven goals for the Magpies but with Dereham maintaining their shape and counter-attacking well this proved to be a much tougher match.  Magpies started brightly earning two short corners in quick succession. The girls scored from the second, Amie H maintaining her cool under pressure at the top of the D to slip the ball through to Ellie B to slot home.
Dereham’s forwards proved a handful all afternoon, Harriet S had to play well to keep on top of their right-sided attacker and Isobel P, Tilley D and Amy F were similarly tested.  Towards the end of the quarter Dereham created an excellent breakaway chance which keeper Georgia, sliding out, cleared dynamically.
The skies darkened, the floodlights were switched on and the rest of the game was played in ‘weather’ an awful lot of ‘weather’; all of it windy, wet and freezing.  Both teams stuck to their task well though, Jessica S and Grace S combining well together down the right to give the Dereham defence problems.
Evie B had a stand-out second half; she was at the heart of Magpies best attacking moves driving into the D at every opportunity.  She twice went close, drawing ‘oooo’s’ from the spectators huddled under their umbrellas before smashing home Magpies second. This reporter then retreated to his car behind the goal (so I could keep better match notes, not because I’m a wimp).  With the wipers going and the demist fan on max I spotted Alex P-S running the ball forward down the middle with determination on a number of occasions. This pressing style of play ensuring Dereham were kept on the defensive right up to the final whistle. 

Team (goals in brackets): Kate F, Emma F, Amy F, Amie H, Harriet S, Florence C, Alex P-S, Tilley D, Jessica S, Grace S, Ellie B (1), Evie B (1), Isobel P Georgia F (GK)
Player / Coach: Sandra E.


Ladies 6th Team v Dereham 4 D 1-1

The Ladies 6s knew this would be a tough match as Dereham had been on a winning streak for several weeks. Indeed it was Dereham who scored first carving their way through the middle of Magpies defences and scoring from a first strike.
Not to be undone, Magpies regrouped and battled back. Marie, Liv and Jane making great tackles and transferring the ball either side of the pitch.
A reshuffle of defence put Kristina on man marking duties to isolate the key Dereham threat, this worked effectively, with Magpies beginning to dominate more and pin Dereham back into their half. Good movement from the home side created space for midfielders Holly and Flea to drive the ball into the Dereham circle. A well taken short corner strike from Janna meant we went in at half time with scores levelled at 1:1.
With the second half came the ice-like rain which tested both sides, particularly under the floodlights. This half was a much better performance from the home side who claimed much more of the possession. The Georgia duo worked doggedly, both got stuck in to some physical play to steal the ball and fire it into the circle. Judith forced more turnovers in midfield to get the ball up to Rachael and Laura on the forward line who both worked tirelessly to force many chances at goal.
With Kristina holding the central role well, Dereham had to work a lot harder to find their way into the Magpies circle. Imogen kept alert in goal and our defence cleared the ball effectively to send the ball back up to our forwards, thus neutralising any threat.
Today was a day of frustration, the ball just wasn’t going in, instead skimming agonisingly close to a Magpies attacking stick or just the wrong side of the post. A good reminder for the Ladies 6s that a top two finish is not yet secure.
Player of the match: Kristina