MIKE’S MUSINGS – 2 December 2014

BEN AND JON IN COMMANDING FORM

Over the past weekend at Weybread we were lucky enough to witness two commanding performances and luckily both were given by Magpies’ players. I refer to Ben Wright playing for the Men’s 1sts in their 6-2 win against Blueharts on Saturday and Jon Aldridge playing for the Men’s O50s the next day in their 4-3 victory over old rivals Ipswich.

The Men’s 1sts went close to scoring from two quick penalty corners but it was Blueharts that went ahead with a speedy break on ten minutes. The play of the young Blueharts team continued to make a mockery of their lowly league position before Ben Wright started to display his array of attacking skills and he was on hand for the equaliser made by a good run and cross from the goal line by Richard Larkin who was again in good form. Thereafter Magpies dominated the game with Ben giving the visitors’ defence a torrid time and on the cusp of half time he hit the left post with a rasping drag flick at a penalty corner. After the break Magpies moved into top gear and in no time Ben had taken his personal tally and that of the team to four with his close control and shooting from both open play and at penalty corners. Toby Price then converted a penalty corner before his team managed to find themselves down to nine players during which time Blueharts converted a penalty stroke. With time running out Martin Fields finished off a flowing move by coolly lobbing the ball over the diving goalkeeper. Magpies continue to lead East Premier A by one point from Wapping and they are home again this coming Saturday (12.00) when they are assured of a tough test by Bedford who they beat 3-1 on the opening day of the season. No more yellows please – they could be costly with suspensions later in the season.

The Men’s O50s assembled on Sunday for their second round EHB Cup match with the news that Jerry Blackmore, Roger Kent and Jon Wells had been forced to withdraw through injury and that Harry Flatt had sportingly agreed to manager Peter Dolton’s 9.00am plea to join the squad which welcomed back David Blackmore following his injury. To make matters worse the Ipswich squad looked relatively young (!) and Phil Cobbald was forced off early in the game having been hit on an old finger injury. Luckily he soon returned to play a key part in the match in which skipper Jon Aldridge was in superb form with his outstanding ball control and shooting. After early pressure by the visitors he converted a penalty corner in the twelfth minute before two minutes later finishing off a fine move from the top right of the circle. Ipswich then converted the first of their two penalty strokes only for Jon to complete his hat-trick when he controlled a fiercely hit pass at the right hand post before nudging the ball into the net. On the stroke of half time Andy Caston was rewarded for his hard running when he found the back of the net with a firm drive to put the home team 4-1 up to the delight of their supporters.

Early in the second half with Harry in the thick of the action Magpies twice went close to adding to their score with the second effort a fierce shot from Phil which hit the junction of bar and right hand post. Slack marking in the home defence allowed Ipswich to get back into the game and thereafter, with Jon being obliged to concentrate on defence, they dominated for much of the remainder of the game. 4-2 became 4-3 with five minutes to go when Ipswich were awarded another stroke and they then subjected the home defence and support to a very anxious few minutes with a flurry of penalty corners during which goalkeeper Murray Graham made a couple of vital saves. The biggest cheer of the game came when Phil blocked the visitors’ final penalty corner before despatching the ball to the safety of the other end of the pitch. An exciting and sporting game ended with Magpies deserved if narrow winners. In the next round on Sunday 22 February they are away to Holcombe.

Back to Saturday at Weybread where the young Ladies’ 4ths got the club off to a good start with their 4-2 win over Norwich City 3rds with goals by Laura Tibbenham 2, Sophie Long and Lauren Rowe while on the other pitch the Boys’ Development were coming from behind to draw 1-1 with their closest rivals Norwich Dragons. The visitors went ahead in the first half before with time running out Jake Caston got the vital equaliser, to the delight of the home supporters, to ensure his team remain unbeaten this season. The Ladies’ 7ths were next into action against Loddon 2nds and another late goal this time by skipper Karen Ray meant her team has now gone five games without defeat. Next up were the Men’s 3rds taking on high flying Newmarket and there were eleven goals to keep the spectators interested with unfortunately eight of them being scored by the visitors. On target for Magpies were Nick Whitehead, Gavin Cole and skipper Matt Brand.

Late goals continued to be the order of the day for Magpies with Taylor Freeman getting the winner eight minutes from time for the Girls’ Development who beat Norwich Dragons 2-1. Earlier in the game Georgie Cantrell had scored for Magpies, for whom U12 player Grace Robertson made a promising debut in goal, who are now up to second in their league nine points behind Norwich City with two games in hands. Meanwhile the Ladies’ 6ths were going down 7-0 to Watton 2nds after holding league leaders Evergreens to a single goal the previous week. The final game of the day was between Magpies Men’s 5ths and Magpies Men’s 6ths and the contest was notable for injuries before and during the seventy minutes. The 6ths went into the game missing six regulars, including skipper Eric Davy, with a variety of ills and during the game they lost Jon Wells soon after he came on while the 6ths lost skipper James Smith with a recurrence of his calf problem and late in the game Jerry Blackmore took a nasty blow on a leg. For the record a fairly even match was won 2-0 by the 5ths with goals by Matt Bensly and Sol Barker. The game was also notable for the very welcome reappearance after marriage and work on house of goalkeeper James Lane and he kept a clean sheet for the 5ths. By putting Laney and clean sheet in the same sentence am I responsible for an oxymoron?!

Away from home there was a mixture of results for our teams. The Ladies’ 3rds and Ladies’ 5ths both had good wins. The 3rds beat Carrow 5-1 (Kathryn Bullen, Charlotte Beasley 2, Caz Aldous and Laura Betts) while the 5ths consolidated second place in their league with a 5-0 win over Carrow 2nds with goals by skipper Jose Tibbenham 2, Imi Meynell-Anderson 2 and Alice Woollatt. Meanwhile the Ladies’ 2nds, who gave debuts to Izzie Knowles and Katie Woollatt, got a valuable point in a 1-1 draw (Mel Ludlam) with Saffron Walden. The Ladies’ 1sts were unable to add to their very satisfactory haul of eighteen points from their first ten matches in going down 2-0 away to Wimbledon in their last match before their indoor season while there were also defeats for the Men’s 2nds who went down 6-1 (James Meek) to Havering and for the Men’s 4ths who lost 5-1 (Myles King) to Lowestoft Railway.

On Sunday at Oaklands College in St Albans the Ladies’ 1sts prepare for their national league indoor campaign by playing in the East Championship while the U16 Girls will be seeking a place in the national indoor finals when they compete in the East qualifier at the University of Essex.

Please see the website for all of last weekend’s results and for this weekend’s fixtures. Good luck to all our teams.

VACANCY FOR BOYS’ DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
HMHC is looking to appoint a Boys’ Development Officer to lead and develop the Club’s youth programme. This is an exciting opportunity for the right candidate. Ideally the candidate should have a Level 2 coaching qualification or working towards it. The ability to communicate with the boys and their parents is important, as well as to be able to work with the other Club coaches, officials and volunteers.

The role is primarily coaching with administrative responsibility, but some administrative support is already in place. All the year round coaching opportunities are there to be developed. The Club would consider a shared role.

For further information including a detailed description of the role, please contact Nick McAllen on nickmcallen@hotmail.com. If you wish to apply for the role please send details of your experience to Nick.

TRAVEL
a) If you use the Dartford Crossing http://dartfordtunnel.toolazy.me.uk/ please note that the way you pay has now changed. It is no longer possible to pay at the barriers.

b) Shotford Bridge between the club and the town is being closed for several weeks for repairs. We now understand this work will take place next summer and not, luckily, during the hockey season.

FLOODLIGHTS
It is ‘thank you’ to Andrew Longe for replacing two blown lamps (i.e. bulbs) last week. We have had more trouble than we would wish with the lights on the water-based this season and we are hoping to source a more reliable make of lamp.

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS
Why not please give club umbrellas and car stickers?
Both are on sale from Kirstin in the clubhouse.
Please also have a look at the club shop
– top left of any page on the club’s website

IceniPost.com – hosts of www.magpies-hockey.co.uk

With kind regards
Mike Denham
MDenham975@aol.com
2/12/14