Harleston Magpies mixed team travelled down to Old Loughts Hockey Club looking to add to their previous success in the mixed competition.
Harleston Magpies 2-1 Staines
Staines surprised Harleston in the first half of a very hot Saturday afternoon with Harleston being pushed back into their own half. Harleston struggled to find their feet and play their style however they did eventually take the lead when Tristan Baynes broke down the right and cross for Angie Wheelhouse to finish in emphatic fashion deflecting the ball past the goal keepers head.
Staines constant pressure was finally rewarded with a goal before they had another disallowed, if it had not been for resolute defending from Iain Martin, Louisa Greenacre, Donna Causton, Glenn Masterson, Leigh Sitch and Amy Tuffs Staines could have gone in with the lead at half time.
Harleston started the second half a lot brighter pushing Staines onto the back foot, with good attacking play down the right from Artemis Clark. Midway through the second half Harleston took the lead at a short corner when Leigh Sitch’s shot was deflected off David Ling for David Francis to slot home at the back post. Staines came back strongly but Harleston managed to shut them out, Iain Martin making two vital saves to see them through to the final against Phoenix.
Harleston Magpies 2-3 Phoenix
On another hot after noon the final saw Harleston take on Phoenix the team which knocked them out last year. Harleston started the game a lot better then they did their semi final putting Phoenix under pressure early on, Phoenix did however always look good on the break and fancied their chances of scoring. Harleston were moving the ball well down the left flank well allowing Debbie McAllen and Kathryn Hinsley opportunities to break down the Phoenix defence. With David Ling, Phil Cobbald and David Francis holding up the midfield Phoenix could find now way through.
Gavin Cole was having an inspirational game in midfield getting his reward with a well taken goal on 20 minutes. With Phoenix looking shaky at the back Harleston continued to press and doubled the lead after a cracking ball from Angie Wheelhouse found Gavin Cole in the circle he rounded the goal keeper only to be up ended and Harleston were awarded a penalty stroke. Tristan Baynes held his nerve to slot home and extend Harleston’s lead.
The second half saw Phoenix come out fighting taking Harleston by surprise. In the onslaught Harleston failed to regain the midfield area allowing Phoenix to come forward at ease. Ben Allberry scoring Phoenix’s first goal from a tight angle with an upright reverse stick shot. Harleston were struggling to maintain possession of the ball and gifted Phoenix a short corner which Ben Allberry slotted home finding the smallest of gaps to slot home in. Harleston were shaken and had no time to recover before Phoenix grabbed their third through John Barrett.
Harleston knew they needed to push forward in search of the equaliser leaving themselves exposed in defence, Iain Martin having to pull off a great one on one save to keep Harleston in the final. With time running Harleston won a corner in the last minute but Tristan Baynes shot hit the post and rebounded to safety.
Phoenix eventually running out winners. Harleston put on a great performance in the final but their hard fought semi final victory finally took its toll in the final.