When will we be playing again? I remember back at the beginning of 1963 (yes – I can!), while I was a member of Norwich Union HC, we didn’t play for three months due to the snow and, mainly, the severely cold weather. In those far off days we didn’t have artificial grass pitches or leagues (all the matches were so-called ‘friendlies’) so postponed matches were not required to be played later.
After last weekend’s total shutdown of both outdoor and indoor hockey there must be some doubt regarding outdoor play this coming weekend although the signs of at least a slow thaw are encouraging.
I draw your attention to the following changes brought about by recent postponements.
§ The Ladies’ 2nds, 3rds, 4ths and 5ths will now play their 9 January matches on 13 February when the Ladies’ 6ths will play their ‘lost’ 2 January match.
§ The Men’s 1sts will now play their four remaining National Indoor League (Premier Division) matches this coming weekend at the UWE in Bristol instead of Eastleigh. The matches have been reduced to 15 minutes each way (instead of 20) with no timeouts (good!) and as they are sharing the venue with Division One they play three games on Saturday (Surbiton (11.30), Loughborough Students (2.30) and Havant (4.45)) and one on Sunday (St Albans at 9.45). This change of weekend means that the matches will be played without the England players who played on the first weekend and who will now be representing their country in the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Trophy in Poznan, Poland. As Magpies have already played against the majority of these players in their opening four games it is to be hoped that their absence this weekend will not give an undue advantage to the teams we hope to head in the league!
§ The Ladies’ 1sts who start their National Indoor League (Division One) campaign this weekend at Whitgift School in Croydon will play six matches over the two days instead of four with the remaining two games being played on Sunday week (at the same venue) to accommodate the Premier Division. On Saturday Magpies play Reading (12.15), Barnes HE (4.00) and Aldridge (5.30) and on Sunday Sutton Coldfield (9.00), Old Loughtonians (12.45) and Bradford Wakefield (5.15) with Liverpool Sefton and Sevenoaks on Sunday week.
§ The U18 Boys will hope (at the third attempt) to see action in the East Indoor Finals to be played in Colchester on Sunday.
Hopefully there will be outdoor play on Saturday in which case the top matches at Weybread involve the Ladies’ 2nds (12.30) and the Men’s 4ths who entertain Magpies’ 3rds at 4.00pm. After two defeats at the beginning of December the Ladies’ 2nds need points badly when they play Cambridge City 2nds to help avoid the four relegation spots at the end of the season while the Men’s 3rds, who are top of their division, will be hoping that there is no repeat of last season when in the corresponding fixture the 4ths won 1-0 to help derail their promotion bid. It should be an interesting clash! Meanwhile away from home the Men’s 2nds will do well to complete the double over in-form Cambridge City in their bid to maintain a realistic hope of promotion. Early in the season the 2nds played extremely well to beat their opponents 3-2 with goals from Robbie Kinsella, Hamish Barton and Simon Hipwell. Good luck to all our teams in action this weekend.
I take this opportunity to remind you of the Rioja and Roll Evening to be held in Tibbenham’s Barn at 7.30pm on Saturday 30 January. Tickets are £12 each (including food and drink) and are available from me (or the clubhouse bar when it reopens) so PLEASE give me a call or send me an email.
With kind regards and best wishes
Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 11/1/10