Harleston Magpies Mixed match report

Harleston Magpies mixed hockey team sponsored by Parson estate agent travelled to Horsham to play the quarter finals of the Mixed cup. Despite the early start the players, along with our faithful supporters, arrived in fine spirits eager to reach a 4th finals in 5 years.

With several players carrying injuries (and some extra Easter weight) Pies knew that they needed to get off to a strong start and assert themselves early in the game. They did just this when the lightning-quick Simon Hipwell pounced on a loose ball and raced through for a 1 on 1 with the keeper. Keeping his head, Hipwell coolly slid the ball under the keeper to put the visitors in the lead. Magpies continued their pressure, with Thomas Ridley in typical commanding form in midfield pulling the strings. After some sustained pressure Simon Hipwell converted his, and Magpies, second of the game. With the ball bobbling loosely in the D he managed to bundle it over the line at the 3rd attempt.

The good play continued as Katherine Ridley and Lauren Barber caused Horsham problems down the right hand side of the pitch and Maria Andrew was looking menacing up front. Before long Magpies had extended their lead further when a wild, and probably dangerous, reverse stick shot from Richard Larkin was expertly deflected at waist height into the back of the net by Lucy Whiting. Horsham looked dangerous on the counter attack but strong tackling from the dynamic duo of Leigh Sitch and Andrew Bedwell rebuffed many Horsham attacks. Horsham did have a chance to reduce the deficit before half time but as their player was about to pull the trigger in the D Katherine Ridley expertly nicked the ball from the end of his stick before cheekily putting it onto his foot and removing the threat. Half-time Horsham 0 – 3 Magpies.

Magpies started the second half with the same attacking intent as they ended the first. Player-of-the-match Jess Howland pushed forwards at every opportunity and it seemed only a matter of time before the Pies scored their fourth. As Magpies committed more players forward Horsham broke quickly and creating a 2 on 1 situation pulled a goal back. Magpies were soon back in control when Tim Whiteman played a quick one-two with Hipwell before sneaking between 2 defenders and deftly lobbing the keeper with his reverse stick.

This goal spurred Magpies on further and they began playing some of their best hockey of the match with some excellent one and two touch passing. Magpies were reduced to 10 men with Whiteman lucky to only receive a green card after a malicious stick tackle. Undeterred the Pies immediately scored their fifth of the game when quick passing between Hipwell and Ridley gave Ladies East National League player of the season Maria Andrews an easy tap in. The lead was further extended when Robbie Kinsella, who had been running like a man half his age all game, slipped Hipwell through in the D who passed it to Tibbenham who was perfectly placed to add her name to the score sheet.

Despite the commanding scoreline Magpies were given a scare when their influential midfielder and talismanic goal scorer Simon Hipwell received a harsh yellow (possibly due to Whiteman’s earlier indiscretion) for a clean tackle. Despite this heavy blow the team managed to rally and Robbie Kinsella rounded off the scoring with a beautifully struck strike into the side netting after a lung bursting run across the pitch. The game finished Horsham 1 – 7 Magpies with Harleston playing their best hockey of the season.

Thank you to Kevin Ridley for managing the team and to all the travelling supporters who helped cheer us to victory. The team now travel to Lee Valley on the weekend of the 3rd and 4th June.