On a some what inclement day weather wise the Magpies u16 girls produced some scintillating hockey at the Regional Finals at Southgate.
Having been drawn in one of the most challenging groups the country had to offer we knew that we were going to have to produce in all 3 games if we stood any chance of progressing.
A 6 0 opening win against St Albans set the tone with outstanding performances from all 15 in the squad. This was followed up by an outstanding 1 0 win against a very much fancied Canterbury side. As the wind strengthened we had to change our tactics using the conditions to our advantage throwing aerials from defence to find a way through a well disciplined defensive back four.
Having played a game more than Southgate due to Canterbury’s late arrival, we knew that we going to have to dig incredibly deep if we were to progress.
Southgate were a fantastically drilled side who looked liked they had played together for many years. Our defence and keeper for the first time were being really tested. The tired legs began to show as we looked to absorb the pressure and hit them on the counter. This tactic was working well with their coach commenting on how he was starting to feel the pressure. The final whistle came with the score at 0 0. This left us top of the group on 7 points but with the rearranged Canterbury Southgate game to come we knew are hard work may come to nothing in terms of qualification to the National Finals.
This very disappointingly proved to be the case as Canterbury who now had nothing to play for were beaten 3 0 by Southgate meaning that Southgate went through on goal difference.
All the girls though should be extremely proud, undefeated and not conceding a goal to some incredibly high class opposition.
V Spouncer, A Slade, A Collison, E Pope, G Cantrell ( capt), H Lamdin, B Moodie, M Salsby, O Buchanan
A Wiseman, K Wheeler, M Warnes, D Ford, G Gardens, G Nicholls
Ladies 4th Team v Evergreens W 3-0
The ladies 4’s again set their alarm clocks and arrived in North Norfolk at 9.00am to play against Evergreens 1’s. Magpies were keen to return to winning ways and quickly pressed Evergreens back . With a few players unavailable due to being called up to the 3’s and work commitments and injuries the team soon settled into their rhythm. Grace Collison was too quick and skilful on the left flank for the Evergreen defence and her persistence lead to early scoring opportunities for Cassie Ayms and Alice Evans Hendrick who were looking dangerous in the D. Victoria Spouncer made surging runs from full back and looked very composed on the ball, it was from one of her overlaps that we won a short corner. Magpies had been working on their corner routines at training and an accurate injection from Emily Woollatt was firmly struck by Catherine Kilbourn which Alice EH skilfully deflected the ball into the goal to give Magpies a deserved 0-1 lead. Magpies 4’s strength has been playing attacking hockey and they continued to apply pressure on Evergreens. Sophie Baxter and Sophie Meynell Anderson linked up well on the right flank . Sophie Govier Schaay was very solid in winning tackle after tackle in the holding midfield role this gave opportunities for Magpies to launch numerous attacks.
After a positive half time team talk we started the half again positively. Centre backs Izzy Slade and Catherine Kilbourn looked composed and dealt well with the Evergreens forwards. It wasn’t long before magpies scored again, Emily Woollatt received the ball in the corner of the D and skilfully beat her defender and crossed the ball for Sophie M A to calmly beat the keeper to make the score 0-2 . As the game went on the team continued to play simple effective hockey, Victoria Spouncer and Sophie Baxter were still pushing forward at every opportunity. Hard work by Imi Ramsdale and Cassie helped magpies win another short corner, again another smooth routine was fired into the net by Cassie Ayms to make the score 0-3 to round off a good team performance. Katy Davy didn’t have the busiest match in goal for Magpies but when she was called upon she made excellent saves. It was normal service resumed today , the 4’s have a really good team spirit/togetherness and with our last home game next Saturday against bottom team Dereham we are looking to finish the season positively.
Player of the match – Sophie Govier Schaay
Mens 1st Team v Norwich City W 3-1
Harleston Magpies, sponsored by Dynamic Sports, welcomed local rivals Norwich City to the Nest on a day of celebration for the club. The ladies team had secured a impressive 4-2 win over Sevenoaks to secure their own promotion and whilst the men’s team had achieved the same feat the week before they still wanted to put on a show for the expectant crowd. Moreover the team wanted to bounce back from defeat to Bedford and step closer to securing 2nd spot in the table.
Despite not being able to fully capitalise on their possession with some uncharacteristically sloppy passing Magpies looked to get on the front foot and pressure the Norwich side into mistakes. This pressure told early and Magpies were awarded a penalty corner. Harleston were unable to convert however a misplaced pass from the resultant Norwich free hit went straight to Jimmy Grey who immediately fired the ball back into the circle. Fortunately the magpies captain, Thomas Ridley, was still lurking in the D and cooly deflected the ball past the onrushing keeper.
Magpies looked to kick on from this early goal but the team just could not get any cohesion. Mis-traps and mis-passes were mounting up and any the home team were more and more frustrated by their own substandard play. Eventually one such mistake proved crucial and a mistrap in midfield by Timmy Whiteman was pounced upon by the Norwich forward. Despite what looked like a ‘robust’ tackle on the player coach the umpires let the play continue and with the defence out of position the Norwich forwards combined to slot the ball past Chris Leek in goal.
Magpies knew a response was needed and that if their usual free flowing hockey could not be found they would have to battle through and get the win with guts and determination. Magpies stepped up the pressure and started to create more chances. A number of short corners were won and one such chance fell to injector Ben Gowing. The local lad, normally so prolific, had a heavy first touch which fortunately lured the Norwich defender into a clumsy challenge on the goalline for which the home team were awarded a penalty stroke. Dave Gilbert calmly slotted the ball home to put Magpies back in front.
At half time Whiteman had some stern words and the whole squad agreed that the quality had to upped in the second half. Fortunately the Harleston team started to gain more control on the game. The back four started finding their midfielders with increasing regularity and the link up play between the lines produced some much more fluid hockey. The home team were looking more and more comfortable on the ball and started to demonstrate the controlled passing game that has frustrated so many visiting teams this season. Unfortunately for the home team the one aspect of the teams performance that they could not quite get up to par was their finishing. Despite the possession and territory Magpies too often spurned good chances in front of goal or failed to turn good positions into goal scoring chances.
Eventually however some more excellent pressure on the Norwich defence saw Magpies win the ball high up the pitch. The ball fell to Dave Gilbert who shifted the ball round the advancing goalie and cooly slotted into the empty net. No less than the home team deserved.
Magpies continued to control the pace and tempo of the game but were unable to add to their goal tally for the day running out 3-1 winners. Whilst perhaps the team would have wanted a bigger win in front of an impressive crowd they team know they underperformed in the first half but showed the character, as they have so often this season, to bounce back with a impressive second half performance. A win next week against bottom of the table Saffron Walden will secure 2nd place in the league before the big visit of St Albans on the last day of the season.
Ladies 1st Team v Sevenoaks W 4-2
Harleston Magpies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents, welcomed Sevenoaks to Weybread in what was always going to be a close competitive match with both teams starting the day on the same points, with Sevenoaks ahead on goal difference.
Magpies knew they needed to start strong and tight as Sevenoaks would be looking for revenge as Magpies won in the fixture earlier in the season 2-1. The team started how they wanted and were moving the ball around the pitch and started to cause trouble for the Sevenoaks defenders. A slick move that started from the back was calmly converted by Emma Lee-Smith for the opening goal. After this Sevenoaks started to build into the game and cause the Magpies defence some problems. Sevenoaks eventually broke through the Magpies press and found themselves 2 v 1 and calmly slotted home to equalise. This only fired up the Magpies Ladies and they continued to play flowing hockey all over the pitch from the defence to the forward line, which was rewarded with a goal from Lauren Rowe.The second half Magpies knew they are playing some of their best hockey of the season, but they knew Sevenoaks would come out fighting. Sevenoaks stepped up their pressure on Magpies, but Magpies kept calm and contained any threat that Sevenoaks tried to throw at them. Magpies kept searching for the third goal to create a 3-1 cushion and this breakthrough came when Lottie Summers picked up the ball in the D and found the net. Again Sevenoaks stepped up their pressure and were causing a lot more problems in the Magpies defence, who conceded a few short corners. Sevenoaks converted one of these. Sevenoaks then tried another tactic to try and get back into the game and went to a kicking back. Magpies absorbed the additional pressure of the extra outfield player and Lizzie Clymer then managed to score on the break.This was definitely the teams best performance of the season which they have been searching for since Christmas and this lead to a very happy team in the clubhouse after the game. This game also confirmed National League Division 1 status for next season.
Nest week Magpies travel to Wimbledon, for another tough game as Wimbledon currently sit second in the league with Magpies now in fourth. Magpies know they can compete with Wimbledon, after narrowly losing to Wimbledon at Weybread earlier in the season 4-3.
Squad: Lauren Barber (Captain), Jade Daly, Annie Nunn, Kristine Ayling, Katrina Sitch, Debbie Francis, Charlotte Harrison, Rose Winter, Lottie Summers, Katherine Ridley, Georgie Cantrell, Lizzie Clymer, Lauren Rowe, Emma Lee-Smith, Frances Burrell, and Lara Taylor.
Ladies 2nd Team v Bromley & Beckenham L1-5
We knew from our game at home earlier in the season that Brom Beck are the class outfit in the division. They have stormed to promotion with 4 games to spare so we knew the task on our hands as we travelled to Langley School for this lunch time start.
The home side started fast and netted within the first 3 minutes following a deft flick into the corner of the net. The home side were moving the ball swiftly around the park and were looking very threatening. However a theme through the season has been our battling qualities as we started to press well on the BB back line.. Aoife Lowe Davies fired away a super drag flick from a PC only to be denied by a flying save from the home keeper. We were really pressing hard at this stage and Georgie Gardens nearly scored another copybook reverse stick effort but was denied by a excellent save low down near the post.
The game was very end to end and BB were making some classy moves in and around our D but when they got a sight of goal they were denied by some good blocks by Abi Lewis who was making her EWL debut in goal. Still the game was very open with both sides pressing well and we were getting decent positions by hustling the opposition into errors.
Just before half time, Jess Howland fired the ball home direct from a penalty corner but it was chalked off as it was deemed to have been marginally too high. Small margins for sure as just on the whistle BB doubled their lead when they netted after a swift break.
Knowing that the next goal in the game would be pivotal we started the second half on the front foot and once again pressed the opposition well. Seven minutes into the second half, we bagged a lifeline back into the game. Sophia Bassett drove from the half way line right into the heart of the home sides defence skilfully evading defenders. She then showed desire to win a 50/50 at the top of the D before finding Laura Tibbenham who tucked the chance away.
Buoyed by this, we did start to really push the home side back and from another good attack Anouska Stott struck narrowly wide with a snap shot that had the keeper beaten.
BromBeck were then stung back into life and broke up play on the halfway line before getting to the bye line to square back to the penalty spot where a neat finish was applied.
We were still battling hard and BB were quite happy to sit in and try pick the Pies off on the break. With time running out, a fast break plus a well worked PC saw the Champions run out winners by a slightly flattering 5 goals to one.
Firstly, full congratulations to Brom Beck on securing promotion and for winning the league securing National League status. We contributed fully to a very entertaining game where we battled hard and took the game to the opposition whenever we could.
This was only our 2nd defeat in 11 games and this run of excellent form has been down to hard work and endeavour from all who have played for the 2’s this year. With other results going our way over the weekend, we are clear of the relegation zone with our Premier Division status ensured. However we want to finish the season on a high and look forward to entertaining Norwich City down at the Nest in our last home game of the season.
Ladies 6th Team v Norwich Dragons 7s L 2-4
With promotion surely secured, the Ladies 6s used today as an opportunity to try out a few new things from training.
A shift in formation to play a more attacking style led to Magpies securing much more of the possession; Georgia Scott, Holly Morris and Flea Perry worked hard in midfield.
Great passing play from forwards Laura Woodgate, Rachael Clifford led to an early goal through Janna Freeman.
Dragons fought back well, finding a sneaky path through Magpies defences to score.
Second half Magpies knew they’d have to work hard. Imogen Flatt was kept busy in goal blocking several shots supported by great tackling from her sister Elena Flatt. Defenders Jane Collins, Marie Davy, Mary Nelson and Kristina Brinkley put in place effective transfer play round the back to clear the ball upfield. Judith Masters making the most of one such clearance when she made an excellent lead in front of her defender to score Magpies’ 2nd.
However Dragons came back well, their need for points to avoid relegation perhaps giving them the greater competitive edge over Magpies, they pounced on every ball in open play and took every opportunity in the circle, scoring quickly to take their lead to 4:2.
Magpies kicked back into gear, holding Dragons back in their half for much of the last quarter of the match. However the goals just wouldn’t come today as Dragons flooded their circle determined to see the game out and secure the win.
Players of the match: Jane Collins and Georgia Scott.
Mens 2nd Team v Norwich City L 1-4
It’s hard to write a match report when you feel so deflated after a game but it is important to document any result. When you’re at the bottom end of the league the run of the green can play a huge part in a game. Today was one of those days.
We headed to relegation strugglers Norwich on the back of a superb win last week, hoping to maintain some momentum and pick up more points.
We welcomed John Livings in between the posts and the team remained fairly unchanged just missing hat trick hero Andy Hipwell who was away skiing.
We pressed hard as we always do but Norwich got the vital first goal and from there it was like climbing Everest.
We had chances and had by far the most possession but a game can be won or lost in the first 15 minutes and sadly this was true today. Some superb attacking play saw Norwich score some slick break away goals and for most there was nothing John could do about them. Dave Francis pulled one back for us and Kinsella had chances but was unable to put them away. Greg Jagger worked tirelessly upfront and Lawrence Baynes must be eating at least 3 Weetabix every Saturday morning as he was dominant in the middle again. It was good to see Tris Baynes get 70 minutes under his belt after the ongoing hamstring issues.
We face Sudbury at home next Saturday and still are very much in Div 1 and are still very much the authors of our own destiny.
Thanks again to Bob Skinner for his sideline management and words of wisdom.
Girls Development v Norwich Dragons W 9-3
With back-to-back first team games on the other pitch, there were crowds of people down at the nest this afternoon as girl’s development took one more step towards the league title beating Dragons 9 goals to three.
The girl’s started off at one-hundred miles an hour racing to a four – nil lead by the end of the first quarter. As per last week Ellie B and Amie H were aggressive in attack, the first goal came from Ellie following up on a strong shot from Amie which rebounded off of the keeper. Jessica S and Loulou F then combined well to create a simple tap in for Grace S at the back post.
Dragons posed a threat on the counter attack all match and one such break-away brought Georgia F in goal into the action, kicking away a shot from the right side of the D. Amie and Ellie continued the assault on the Dragons goal. Amie scored with a characteristically strong shot, minutes later putting Ellie through with a sublime pass; Ellie beat the last defender with some excellent reverse-stick work before rounding the keeper to finish off an good first quarter.
The second quarter saw more emphatic goals, this time from the mid-fielders. Evie B driving into the D to shoot home and then Kate F got in on the act scoring with a thunderous long range shot. Rosie M provided further threat, picking up the ball from half-way and running it forward well, willingly taking on the Dragon’s defenders.
After half-time the Magpies performance tailed off considerably and Dragons matched them goal for goal. Early pressure saw Georgia in the Magpies goal fall awkwardly, twisting her knee and back, whilst making a save. Dragons were quickest to the follow-up to score into the roof of the net via a deflection.
Loulou and Ellie B scored two more for Magpies and Kate F, who obviously had her shooting boots on today, also got one with another fantastic long-range effort. Dragon’s scored two more on the break and celebrated each one with enthusiasm, the only team to score more than one goal in a game against Magpies development this season. Good work in defence, especially from Tilly D provided protection for the reduced mobility keeper, maintaining the lead until the final whistle.
Magpies now have one hand on the league title with two games to go.
Team (goals in brackets): Amie H (1) Evie B (1), Rosie M, Lily M, Amy F, Jessica S, Loulou F (1), Emma F, Kate F (2), Ellie B (3), Harriet S, Grace S (1) Isabelle P, Tilly D, Georgia F GK
Coach: Jane Collins.
Ladies 7th Team v Thetford L 0-5
We were feeling slightly nervous about facing Thetford, knowing that they were a strong team but skipper, Gillian Stokes, just told us to enjoy the game. Within minutes, Thetford’sright wing had swept the ball into our half and scored. Yet, despite having strong players we had a few breaks and were awarded a short corner. Jo Meyer struck the ball to Shirley Mac Allen who sent it high into the goal; sadly, it was disallowed. Thetford had numerous short corners but our young defenders were quick to stop or deflect any strikes. Despite our best efforts, Thetford scored twice more before half time.
During the second half, play seemed to be evenly spread between both teams with the ball rocketing up and down the pitch. Emma Tolhurst and Karen Hunt made sterling efforts in defence whilst Anna Seggons, Jade Bishop and Madi Wright made some fine runs. Jess managed to take a few shots at the Thetford goal but their defenders cleared the ball away. Jenny Meyer and Grace Moodie battled hard in midfield but were a bit miffed when a ball struck a Thetford player’s foot in the circle and told to play the ‘advantage’. Thetford scored twice more before the final whistle.
Magpies amazingly entered four U12 Girls teams in the Watton Tournament despite the A team standing down, having played in the Norfolk Championship the previous week. Three of those U12 teams played in the Gold Tournament and one in the Silver Tournament.
The senior U12 team on the day finished second and did well winning four matches and losing just one match to a strong Norwich City A team.
Norwich Dragons Won 1-0
Norwich City A Lost 4-0
Watton Won 1-0
Magpies Blue Won 2-0
Magpies Reds Won 2-0
Cara Richardson scored all the goals.
Catherine Pope GK, Amelia Marjoram, Isabelle Potter, Cara Richardson, Grace Stacey, Florence Collins and Jessica Smith.
The Red team secured three draws and two losses and the blue team had one win, two draws and two losses.
In the Silver section the white team had two wins, one score draw and lost two games.
Jasmine Freeman GK, Millie Shepherd, Evie Kemp, Sophie Reynolds, Dulcie Seppings, Molly Denny and Lexi Foster.
Alice Ling, Emma Seggons, Evie Faulkner, Phoebe Christopher, Ella Proudfoot and Isla Paternoster.
White Team (Silver Section)
Lily-Ann Hare GK, Lily Smith, Tiggy Taylor, Isabel Navarro, Hannah Hodgson and Charlotte Scott.
All the Girls played really well and it is evident how much they are all improving. There was great team spirit and everyone conducted themselves impeccably both on and off the pitch.
We now look forward to the next Tournament at Dereham on 24th March, where we hope to continue our progress and success.
Ladies 4th Team v Loddon 1st L 1-3
After a 2 week break Magpies ladies 4’s had a 10.00 am start away at Loddon. The team was eager to get back to playing hockey and knew that they would be in for a tough game against 2nd place Loddon. Magpies started strongly, forcing the play and quickly won 2 short corners. A well worked routine resulted in Magpies going 0-1 ahead , Catherine Kilbourn’s Initial shot was saved and Emily Woollatt was first to react running in on the left post and she beat the Loddon keeper with a well taken goal. Loddon as we expected grew into the game and excellent saves from Abi Lewis kept the Loddon attackers at bay. On 25 minutes Loddon scored to make the score 1-1, after quickly closing down the Loddon short corner, magpies were slow to react to to the slip and that resulted in Loddon scoring. Magpies were working hard for possession all over the pitch, the 2 week break definitely didn’t benefit the team, it broke the momentum of the attacking play that has seen us climb the table in recent weeks, we weren’t as precise as we could have been and this resulted in numerous half chances to increase the lead that frustratingly couldn’t be converted. Half time 1-1
The 2nd half started and magpies had a lot of the play in midfield, Magpies kept trying to find their rhythm but were undone again when Loddon broke away and went 2-1 ahead. With 15 minutes to go Loddon won a short corner and again we were hesitant in dealing with the resulting corner and Loddon capitalised to go 3-1 ahead. The final 10 minutes saw Magpies play their best hockey of the match and seriously put the Loddon defence under constant pressure but found the keeper in great form. The whole team gave 100% effort but at times could not find the final pass/end result that would have seen a different result. Next week is another early start away at Evergreens in which we will be hoping to get back to wining ways.
Player of the match – Emily Woollatt
Mens 1st Team v Bedford L 3-4
Harleston travelled to Bedford in what could be a season defining event, with the group knowing that a victory would ensure their promotion to the national league.The men started very well and were composed on the ball, creating a number of chances through Tim Whiteman, Ben Gowing and Tom Dunnett. Eventually the build-up play told when Will Tew delivered from the left and Tom Ridley slotted home a loose ball. The men then controlled proceedings yet found themselves at 1-1 when an opposition player appeared open at the top of the circle and narrowly slotted home with Leigh Sitch nearly averting a certain goal. Beford then had their best spell and towards the end of the half scored another, this time from a corner breakdown through a strong reverse stick strike. HT: 1-2.The men knew they had to improve and after some honest reflections, the group came out for the second half with a much better tempo, playing the ball around with purpose and intent. Their improved displayed payed off through a smart corner routine that ended up with Dave Gilbert rifling home. With the game evenly poised Harleston now looked to kick on but unfortunately were the architects of their own downfall with some sloppy outletting which gifted Bedford their 3rd goal. Again, Harleston regained composure and levelled again through man of the match Ridley with a powerful strike into the bottom corner after good work from Simon Hipwell in the circle. With 15 minutes left, it appeared that Harleston were the more likely to push on a grab that all important victory. Harleston however weren’t at their best failed to grasp their opportunity. In the last 7 minutes Bedford were award a controversial penalty stroke that unfortunately decided the fate of the game. Harleston pushed hard but it wasn’t to be and their promotion party would have to wait another week….or would it? In the bar afterwards news came in that West Herts had failed to beat Saffron Walden meaning Harleston were promoted! A sureal way to secure promotion and somewhat of an anti-climax after the loss, but promotion all the same. The men set their sights on promotion back in July and through hard work and commitment, they achieved it. A huge thanks to all the players for their commitment throughout the season and especially to manager Kevin Ridley for his work behind the scenes over the past 2 seasons. Harleston have 3 games left in East Prem A, starting next week against Norwich City. Please come down to support the group and celebrate their success in the bar afterwards.
Ladies 1st Team v Ipswich W 2-0
Harleston Magpies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents, made the short trip to Ipswich this week for the local derby. This match is always a tough fixture, with both teams having players that have played each other over the years. Magpies knew Ipswich would have gained confidence after a draw away at St Albans last weekend.
Magpies knew they had to start strong to have any chance of repeating the scoreline from earlier in the season, which is what the team tried to do in the first half but the final pass or shot was not working out for them to start with. This let Ipswich build into the game and start putting pressure on the Magpies defence. Ipswich created some chances and won some short corners. Magpies kept all the threats out and managed to create some chances on the break to try and catch Ipswich out. Magpies didn’t manage to find the breakthrough until just before half time when the team won a penalty stroke. This was converted calmly by Lauren Rowe.In the second half Magpies knew Ipswich would put pressure on the defence and they had nothing to lose. Magpies tried to stick to their own game and continued to create chances but Ipswich’s defence were keeping Magpies attackers at bay with their strong defending and tackling. Magpies eventually managed to win a short corner and a strike from the top of the D from Emma Lee-Smith found the bottom corner of the goal. After this Ipswich changed their tactics and moved their forwards higher up the pitch and were consistently putting pressure on the Magpies defence. Magpies kept all their chances out and managed to come away with a 2-0 win.
Nest week Magpies welcome Sevenoaks to the nest, which will be a tough match as Sevenoaks are currently sat on the same points as Magpies but with a better goal difference. Sevenoaks will also be looking to take away the 3 points as Magpies did when playing at Holly Bush Lane earlier in the season with a 2-1 win.
Squad: Lauren Barber (Captain), Jade Daly, Annie Nunn, Louisa Greenacre, Katrina Sitch, Debbie Francis, Charlotte Harrison, Rose Winter, Lottie Summers, Katherine Ridley, Georgie Cantrell, Lizzie Clymer, Lauren Rowe, Emma Lee-Smith, Frances Burrell, Sarah Bracey.
Mens 2nd Team v Potters Bar W 4-3
Magpies Men’s 2’s welcomed Potters Bar to the nest on a fine Saturday afternoon looking to get revenge on the away fixture and also looking to try and get ourselves out of the relegation zone.
Another well changed team saw on loan magpie James Osborn step in, Nick ‘The Hammer’ Moss in goal and Rob Kinsella returning from injury and family health issues. Magpies were without the injured Tris Baynes but he hopes to be back next week.
From the off Magpies were going to press Potters Bar and put the pressure on and this worked perfectly with their back four unable to deal with the rotating frontline of Rob Kinsella, Andy Hipwell, Jude Pottruff, Greg Jagger and James Osborn which caused them to turn over ball and allow us to start to twist the screw and win the ball in the final third. The midfield of James Stacey, Lawrence Baynes, Morgan Manly and Dave Francis were finding the forwards superbly and the continued pressure soon led to the first short corner which Andy Hipwell flicked into the bottom corner delightfully. The home crowd sensed that today was going to be different, but it wasn’t, when Potters Bar soon went down the other end to equalise.
In recent games that would have been enough for us to implode but everyone sensed today was different.
The back four of Jamie Hudson, Dickon Taylor, Richard Larkin and Jack ‘Wingback’ Richards were controlling things from the back and getting up to support the midfield. It was from more pressure that magpies won another short corner which again Andy Hipwell managed to thread into the bottom corner for 2-1.
Goals are like buses and it was only a few minutes later when Weybread was about to witness something of such beauty and quite possibly, no most definitely the goal of the season. Magpies won the ball at the back and a ball out to Kinsella was laid into the middle where Baynes picked out Pottruff who beat one, carried the ball into their half, picked out Hipwell who had pre-scanned and laid an early ball across the ‘D’, it hit a defenders foot and gave it an awkward bobble but this didn’t stop Kinsella from taking one calm touch and then spinning on a sixpence unleashing something with such power that it fizzed past the keepers helmet and found the roof of the net to make it 3-1!
Magpies weren’t done there and a massive tackle from Greg Jagger winning the ball back and finding the adventurous run from Jack Richards where he managed to anti-skill a few players before cooly finding Hipwell in the ‘D’ to calmly finish for his hat trick.
4-1 at half time certainly does not mean the points are safe with the 2’s and Potters Bar soon managed to find the goal they needed to spur them on. Another Potters Bar goal now made it 4-3 and things were getting scrappy. To magpies credit the work rate and positivity continued and the final 7 minutes were certainly not pretty. Some expert defending from Larkin and some forceful dominance from Dickon ‘The Wall’ Taylor and Nick Moss just being massive were pivotal in seeing out the last few minutes. The final whistle went and we had the result we deserved. With that result we climb out of the relegation zone and have an away fixture with bottom of the league Norwich City which will be a tough match but certainly leaves avoiding relegation in our hands. Man of the Match went to Andy Hipwell for his hat trick and Lawrence Baynes for his tireless work in midfield.
A big thanks to Bob Skinner for his help running the bench and to the big home crowd for your continued support.
Ladies 2nd Team v West Herts W 2-1
Earlier in the season, we lost a close game away after giving up a two goal lead to lose 3-2 against a West Herts side who started the day in the relegation places. With both sides looking for a win to enhance their chances of surviving in the division, this was going to be yet another close game in a very tight league.
The conditions were excellent for hockey as the Magpies attacked the Car Park end and were soon on top not letting the visitors settle. From an early penalty corner a neat deflection was cleared off the line with the keeper beaten. The press was working well and we continued to take the game to the opposition and in all honesty we were carving out plenty of chances but were being denied by an inform keeper coupled with at least 3 efforts that just drifted past the post.
Whilst being on top West Herts were offering the occasional threat on the break. Sadly midway through the half and against the run of play the visitors nosed themselves into a lead .A short corner was cleared off the line but the rebound was forced home to leave us with work to do.
This seem to jolt us back into life as we started to keep the pitch wide and zip the ball around the park. Once again we were looking dangerous and we gained our just rewards just before the break. Following a scramble in the D, the hard working Tor Findlay managed to steer the ball home to get us on terms at half time.
The visitors came out hard at the start of the second period as we were pushed back and we were struggling to find the fluency we had in the first half. The opposition were winning the 50/50 tackles and the Pies nearly went behind again but Jess Howland managed to clear the ball off the line in the nick of time.
After riding out this period of pressure, we started to get to grips with the game again and we started to pass the ball accurately picking off the opposition. We began to create good opportunities but were denied by some last ditch defending, good goal keeping and also guilty of passing up a couple of clear overload opportunities.
Although again on top, the Pies kept knocking on the door and a piece of individual magic got us ahead in the game with just over ten minutes to play. After neat interplay down the right Georgie Gardens drifted in field leaving defenders in her wake. The run cross field took her into space at the top of the D which was exploited as Georgie fired home with an unstoppable reverse stick effort.
We had opportunities to add to this again but were denied by the West Herts keeper whilst we had to be on our toes at the back as WH pushed for an equaliser in the last couple of minutes. However we saw the game out to record a priceless 2-1 win.
This was a spirited display by the 2’s yet again. This was due reward for an excellent prep session at training mid-week and whilst we did not play the perfect game, the Ladies always give 100 percent effort. Yet another close game in this league and we felt we were well worth the win which saw us advance to 23 points for the season.
Next week, we face the Champions elect Brom-Bec away in what is bound to be a very hard game but we go there in good spirits.
Ladies 6th Team v Herlings W 2-0
It’s fair to say that the 6s were nervous going into this top of the table clash against a strong Herlings side. As such, the match started with Herlings showing their intent, passing the ball decisively to make ground into the Magpies half of the pitch. Defenders Liv Addison-Carter, Elena Flatt, Marie Davy and Kristina Brinkley proved to be more than a match for their opponents though, making good tackles and positive clearances.Once settled into the game Magpies began to claim more of the possession. Midfielders Flea Perry, Holly Morris and Georgia Scott forcing much turnover play and firing the ball into Magpies attacking circle. Eventually the creative efforts of our forwards earned the team a short corner. A strong drag out by Holly Morris finding Janna Freeman at the top of the circle who expertly dispatched a hard strike into the bottom right corner.Half time called for calm heads and positive play to work round the Herlings formation.Herlings again came out strong forcing decisive defending from the home side to make sure it wasn’t going to be Herlings day.The 6s worked hard for each today. Judith Masters and Laura Woodgate determinedly running for every thing to make it hard work for Herlings to find their breakthrough. Georgia Scott found great space on the left hand side of midfield, weaving strong runs through to feed the ball to Rachael Clifford at centre forward, Rachael returning the favour, making a great pass to Georgia who scored a fantastic goal.Herlings flooded the Magpies defensive end of the pitch with several players towards the end of the game, being rewarded a short corner for their efforts. Imogen Flatt making a crucial save to ensure another clean sheet.A well deserved victory for Captain Flea Perry’s 6th team who can now be fairly certain of a promotion spot.Players of the match: such was the quality of play for the whole team, this week’s vote was a tie between Georgia Scott, Laura Woodgate and Imogen Flatt.
Ladies 3rd Team v Bury st Edmunds L 3-4
This week ladies 3 faced Bury 1st team, 4th in the league. Magpies started strong going one goal up secured by Eva H within the first ten minutes. Magpies found themselves applying lots of pressure on the opposition with lots of great leads and momentum from all lines of play; which lead to moving the ball up quickly from Sophie C, Sophie M and Jess G . Bury responded with a goal after securing a penalty corner but Magpies continued to keep most of the possession, battling hard; the ball moved from end to end until Leggy secured a 2nd goal after a scrap in front of the goal for the ball. Half time quickly approaching both team pushed hard. Meanwhile Bury secured a second goal tying it up at 2-2 at half time.
A great discussion at half time with great inputs from Phoebe E and Helena the inspirational talk lead to a strong start to the second half and continued to show a display of tremendous effort. Pushing hard when some quick play from bury came against the the solid defensive and midfield play by Plum, Helena , Rach and Betsy and some great saves by Kitty, Magpies goalie. Despite the effort Bury managed to gain two more goals. However Magpies came back strong with some excellent display of teamwork with some great runs and counter attacks. Magpies responded by gaining a penalty corner by which Leggy slipped it calmly into the back of the net with a straight strike. With ten minutes left magpies put pressure on their opponents making magpies look dangerous on the ball. Despite multiple effort from phoebe, Leggy, Amy C, Alice W, Eva and Molly W and Ellen P in the last few minutes of the game keeping calm through out. Time eventually ran out and ended as a 4-3 loss for magpies but was splendid effort by the team.
Man of the match – Kitty
Girls Development v Watton W 9-0
With Magpies Development fielding a less experienced team today we were wondering if this would be a tight game (earlier in the season, the girls had to work for the win against Watton and were only one – nil up at half time, eventually winning six – nil).
We needn’t have worried, the late season debutants Cara R and Dulcie S fitted into the team seamlessly and Daisy W with only one development game under her belt looked very much at home in defence.
Amie H was the driving force behind the win; she played centre-mid for much of the game linking-up play between defenders and forwards and providing a constant threat with her shooting from the top of the D. Both Dulcie and Cara showed well in attack as wingers, providing options for Amie to move the ball forwards. Daisy’s first contribution to the game was in winning a footrace with the Watton forwards to see off danger from a long-ball.
The first goal came after Amie drew a double-save from the Watton keeper Ellie B following up quicker than the defence to tap in. Soon after the lead was doubled when Amie converted a short-corner conceded by the keeper following a goal mouth scramble. Amie bagged two more in the second quarter as she continued to combine well with Ellie B. Defensively, Harriet S, Amy F and Isabelle P were very solid, providing coverage in front of goal with keeper Georgia F not needing to touch the ball in the first half.
For the second half the girls swapped around trying out some different positions. Kate F, normally a mid-fielder spent time as centre forward and was unlucky not to score as the ball was scrambled clear by the defence after she beat the keeper. Grace S also played in a more advanced role and had a couple of half chances to score as Magpies piled on the pressure. The ball eventually found its way in from an Ellie B shot before Dulcie got her name on the score sheet to round off an excellent debut.
The last quarter saw Amie get her just reward for a fine all round performance. She scored a brace of goals and also set up another for Ellie to tap in. At the back Georgia was finally in the action, kicking the ball away twice in quick succession. Overall then a fine performance and another win on the board as the team close in on the league championship – three more games to go!
Team (goals in brackets): Daisy W, Amie H (5), Harriet S, Isabelle P, Grace S, Jessica S, Cara R, Dulcie S (1), Amy F, Ellie B (3), Kate F, Georgia F (GK).
Player / Coach: Sandra E
In glorious Norfolk sunshine the Under 12 Norfolk tournament got underway. Magpies had taken a squad of nine, all determined to show what they could do.
First fixture was against North Norfolk, and with both teams looking to get into their stride it proved a frustrating game for both coaches with no goals to show for the first match exuberance, largely thanks to Archie K who put in a good performance in defence. Two minutes after this game it was straight into a match with Norwich Dragons and whilst playing much better attacking hockey the game opened up and it was up to the centre back of pairing Harry S and Benjamin B to defend resolutely, and on the odd occasion when they were beaten the exceptional Oli F came to the rescue in goal. 2 games 2 draws and no goals. However, goals would come in the next match as twice Henry B found the Pelicans net in what was the best performance of the day. With Will M leading the forward line superbly and captain Billy F looking dangerous the defenders and goalie had a well-earned rest.
The penultimate game was against Norwich City who had been the strongest team on the under 12’s circuit this season. A slow start by Magpies allowed City to score the first goal against them but with Harry and Benjamin again defending hard and Oli performing brilliantly in goal, gradually they got back into the game and with Connor H & Finn H working tirelessly in midfield the chance came when a short corner was secured and Henry beat the keeper with a great strike from the top of the circle.
And so it came down to the last game against Dereham. Two unbeaten sides knowing a win for either could result in them being crowned county Champions. Having watched Dereham demolish Dragons 3-0 in the previous round of matches Magpies knew it would be hard, and needing to win the team were instructed to get forward. The game ebbed and flowed but after 5 minutes Dereham were just starting to get in the ascendancy and when the pressure eventually told they deserved their lead. With goals required the Magpies team dug deep and kept going right to the end threating all the time but not quite getting the bounce of the ball in the opposition circle.
So it ended in defeat and with other results going against them a fourth place finish. But with only one loss, and that to the Champions, it was a fantastic show by everyone. So well done Dereham and Dragons who also qualified, and we can look forward to next year when half of the team will still be available, no doubt to challenge again.
Magpies under 10 girls arrived at the County Championships more in hope albeit well founded optimistic hope, than expectation. On paper we were the third best team with both Norwich sides holding the advantage each having comprehensively won their own tournaments.
That said our young Magpies team have been showing great promise having started the season propping up the tournaments, winning the pre-Christmas tournament at Pelis and having started playing some really good hockey over the past few weeks in training.
A beautiful sunny day greeted us at King’s Lynn and we were last up so with plenty of warm up time we had a chance to get a glimpse of the opposition. Dragons v City ended in 0-0 and in North Norfolk v Pelis, North Norfolk proved to be the Dark Horses in beating a very young Pelicans side.
Forewarned, our first game against North Norfolk proved a tight affair with Magpies getting out of the blocks well and producing some confident flowing hockey. Four minutes in Freya hit a cracker from the right-hand side diagonally to the left side of goal. Magpies looked to add to the score but North Norfolk, alongside a few counters of their own, managed to keep us at bay.
A tough encounter with City followed and whilst ending 0-0 both sides played some wonderful flowing hockey with neither side looking to settle on a draw neither managing to find the net either.
We rang the changes in our third game against clearly the youngest side in the tournament, Pelicans, who fought and played really well to keep Magpies out for 8 of the 13 minutes one-way game. With a few tweaks to set-up Abby opened the Magpies account with a good shot again from the right which opened the floodgate. Lucy followed up a couple of minutes later with an equally well taken shot from the top of the D and Freya closed out in the dying seconds with a repeat of her shot against Norfolk.
So final game coming up and strong possibility of positions and qualification being settled by goal difference – City, Dragons and Magpies with the possibility of finishing with two draws, two wins apiece. Like City, Dragons predominantly if not all composed of year 5s, against our balanced year 3,4,5s, were physically dominant and used this to full effect to edge into the lead in the first four minutes. From then on, but for a few counters to the high player they left in our D – and on every occasion snaffled out by our mighty defence of Charlotte and Havana – Magpies were in the ascendency throwing everything we could at Dragons, rotating subs, pushing Dragons back into their D, winning PCs that Dragons managed to scramble to safety and much to their relief we ran out of time.
Every single one of our players gave their best and left everything on the pitch. Even more importantly we played some really good hockey throughout, our best of the season, and everyone did themselves proud and the club proud. We won’t be getting too mad about this, a little bit disappointed maybe, but in years to come this team most certainly will be getting even.
Thanks as always to our coaches Abi and Katie and to all our supporters.
As always the very proud team management.
Team: Abby, Bea, Caitlan, Charlotte, Ellie, Freya, Havana, Lola, Lucy, Olivia
Game 1 Magpies 1-0 North Norfolk (Freya)
Game 2 Magpies 0-0 Norwich City
Game 3 Magpies 3-0 Pelicans (Abby, Lucy, Freya)
Game 4 Magpies 0-1 Dragons