Harleston Magpies men’s 1st team indoor squad travelled to Cambridge for the East Indoor Championship.
With the new rules in place Magpies entered the tournament into the unknown. In the first game Harleston beat Chelmsford 8-2. Good interchanges from the whole team allowed Harleston to dominate and create many goal scoring opportunities. Chris barber scored a splendid hatrick. With further goals added by Andrew Bedwell, Mark Wheelhouse x 2, Simon Hipwell, Toby Price.
In the second game Harleston took on St Albans who had also been relegated from National League Division 1 last season. Magpies produced the display of the tournament with some fast paced movement from the forwards allowing the defenders to find them easily. Goals this time coming from Chris Barber with another hatrick and for the first time this season scoring in back to back games. Goals were added by Andrew Bedwell, Richard Larkin, Mark Wheelhouse, Sam Rowe and Toby Price. The defensive unit stayed strong to keep a clean sheet with Rees Leonard was in sparkling form.
This meant Harleston topped their group and would face West Herts in the semi final. West Herts brought Dan Webster into the squad who had been videoing the team for their previous games. Harleston made a slower start but soon upped their intensity. Harleston soon took the lead through Chris Barber, the team soon doubled their lead when Toby Price popped up at the back post. Mark Wheelhouse converted a stroke which prompted West Herts to pull their keeper off. This extra player meant that the pressure on Harleston started to mount but the defence stood firm. West Herts did pull a goal back when Dan Webster fired just under the bar with a lethal drag flick. Harleston still stood firm and extended their lead after a counter attack lead to a short corner where Mark Wheelhouse showed no mercy and fired down the middle of the goal. Harleston went on to secure the win and book a place in the final against Old Loughts.
Harleston started even slower than their semi final and soon found themselves 2-0 down. However the team rose like a Phoenix from the ashes and soon pulled a goal back when Simon Hipwell swivelled at the top of the D to slot home. Harleston were soon level when Hipwell added his second goal. Harleston took the lead through Thomas Ridley who cooly slotted home under pressure from the goal keeper. Old Loughts pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time to send the teams in level. Harleston started the second half in dominate fashion and added to their goal tally when Simon Hipwell first completed his hatrick after a powering run from right back Leigh Sitch before he Hipwell grabbed his fourth and Magpies fifth of the game. Sitch had the opportunity to extend Harleston’s lead but the Old Loughts keeper made two world class saves to keep the score at 5-3. Old Loughts pulled their goal keeper off and soon pulled a goal back with 5 minutes left to play. Harleston calmly kept the ball and eventually scored the vital 6th goal when Toby Price received and turned at the top of the circle before slotting home. With 3 minutes on the clock Harleston used all of their experience to run the clock down and see out the win.
This was a great tournament for the squad who now look forward to their National League weekends in January with great confidence.
Player of the tournament – Rees Leonard