MIKE’S MUSINGS – 24 January 2017

NICK STEPPING DOWN FROM YOUTH ROLE 

The club has received a big blow with the news that Nick McAllen is stepping down as Girls’ Development Officer but his decision is understandable. Nick wishes to ease his very considerable club workload.

Youth chairman David Johnson has written a tribute to Nick marking the enormous contribution he has made to the youth side of the club and a copy is on the club’s website. HMHC – Youth Development Officer – Nick McAllen

As supporter, former club chairman and scribe I have appreciated the remarkable day by day, week by week commitment that Nick has made to youth development at the club over the years (to say nothing of his years as Ladies’ 1st team coach and now manager) with the full and active support of his wife Shirley.

Last week it was announced that Ben Wright has resigned as Men’s 1st team player-coach to further his playing and coaching career abroad. He is the sort of player you want on your side with his determination, skill and goal scoring prowess. Hopefully he will be back with us one day. In the meantime I wish him well.

The U18 Girls missed out on progressing from their pool in the national indoor finals at Whitgift School last weekend losing narrowly to Isca 6-4 (Lauren Rowe 2, Tor Findlay 2), Wycombe 3-1 (Lauren) and Beeston 4-1 (Lauren) before beating Brooklands 7-2 (Lauren 2, Sophie Child 2, Tor 2, Anna Tighe). Meanwhile the U18 Boys, as defending champions, did well to progress to the last four of their finals in Telford before losing to 4-2 (Archie Winter, Sam Paterson) to Canterbury. In their pool games they lost 6-1 (Sam) to Surbiton (the eventual champions) before beating Ashmoor 3-2 (Archie 2, Vincent Leruth), Timperley 5-2 (Myles King 2, Jack Hobbs 2, Sam) and Lichfield 5-1 (Myles 2, Sol Barker, Matt Bensly, Sam). Hopefully both squads will have enjoyed the experience of playing in the finals and will benefit from this experience in future indoor competitions. It is a big ‘thank you’ to the coaches and managers respectively of both squads for all their hard work, namely Rob Sorrell and Andrew Woollatt (Girls) and Richard Larkin and Stuart Peters (Boys).

Last weekend the frosty weather again cost us matches with on Saturday those affected being the Men’s 1sts at Peterborough and, at home, the Men’s 3rds (v Norwich Dragons 2nds), Ladies’ 5ths (v Reepham) and Ladies’ 7ths (v UEA 4s). Our thanks go to Tristan Baynes and Kirstin Cumming for their time in assessing the state of the pitches at Weybread, in advising the teams affected and in answering the calls to the clubhouse. Unfortunately the friendly Girls’ U14 Tournament scheduled for Sunday at home and the Mixed game away to Bedford were also called off. We now have a backlog of 16 games. Please see the website for the list which will be updated as new dates are agreed.

While the sand-based pitch was frozen all day the water-based was fit for play by 12 noon and we were able to play the remaining three games – at times in an almost warming sun!

The Men’s 5ths set the ball rolling against Sudbury 3rds who belied their lowly league position by playing extremely well and they took the lead before Jude Pottruff equalised with a piece of individual skill. But by half time Magpies were 3-1 down due to a fine run and shot by an opponent and a piece of sloppy defending. But after the break inspired by captain James Smith, who was in fine form, Magpies dominated play and hit back with Jake Caston scoring from close range before his father Andy got the equaliser with a deft shot. With seconds to go Sudbury broke down the right but from the pass the open goal chance was squandered leaving the final score 3-3.

CONGRATULATIONS and very best wishes to Katrina and Leigh on the birth of twins Archie (5lbs 14ozs) and Oscar (6lbs 12 ozs) on Tuesday 3 January. All four are doing well which is excellent news.

Next into action were the Ladies’ 3rds against high-flying Watton and captain Sarah Legg gave the home team the best possible start when she thumped in a penalty corner. Magpies continued to have the upper hand in a quality match but were unable to get a second goal despite creating several opportunities. Watton looked dangerous on the break and Magpies were obliged to do a considerable amount of defending. With seconds remaining Watton were awarded a penalty corner. Would Magpies now regret their lack of a second goal? No! Holly Riches in the home goal made a fine save to ensure Magpies secured the three points.

MAGPIES FUN BLIND WINE TASTING CHALLENGE
Saturday 28 January 7.30pm – Starston Place, Starston, IP20 9PF

Tickets £12.50 from Jackie Ridley (01379 854697 or 07815 199803) or on the door although for catering purposes a call to Jackie before the night would ideally be appreciated. The wine tasting challenge will include the tasting of 8 wines and will be run by a wine expert from Adnams with teams (organised on the night) competing against each other. PLEASE COME!

The next question was with the temperature dropping would the pitch be fit for the 3.30 game between the Ladies’ 4ths and Evergreens and luckily it was. It was good to see Anouska Stott playing her first league game of the season for Magpies and after Evergreens had dominated the opening twenty minutes it was Anouska who put them ahead. Rachel Goodson found Immi Meynell-Anderson down the right and Immi’s centre was converted by Anouska for what turned out to be the only goal of the game. Magpies had to do a lot of defending in the second half to hold on for a good win.

Away from home there was one win, one draw and three defeats for the club. The Boys’ Development pulled off the win of the day beating Norwich Dragons ‘A’ to overtake them at the top of the league on goal difference. After going behind to a scrappy goal James Webster and Ollie Currie had Magpies 2-1 ahead at half time. After the break Ed Brice and Ollie, with his second goal, made it 4-1 to Magpies for whom centre forward Archie Derbyshire was in fine form. Meanwhile the Girls’ Development, without injured player-manager Sandra Elliner, were showing tenacity and determination against an older and equally determined Norwich Dragons in an entertaining 0-0 draw. There were notable performances from Grace Robertson (GK), Anna Cogdell, Alyssa Walker and Ruby Potruff in defence, Jessica Menzies in midfield and Olivia Lapage, Molly Largent and Beth Gardens up front but all 13 girls played well.

AUCTION OF PROMISES Saturday 4 March 2017 (7.30pm – clubhouse)
I continue to promote this event which I am determined will be a success! We have now gratefully reached a total of 35 ‘Promises’. The target is a minimum of 50 so we still have some way to go. Please see the club’s website for more information and for full details of the event including how to offer ‘Promises’ or items for auction. This is the club’s major fund raising event of the season.

The Ladies’ 6ths had the longish trip to Holt to play Evergreens 2nds at 10.00am with 10 players and club captain Louisa Greenacre who in the event was not required to umpire! She stayed to give valued advice to the team before going to Weybread to umpire the 3rd team game. Typical commitment from Louisa. Evergreens scored early in the game but thereafter Magpies worked really hard and at times looked the better team without being able to score. In a good team performance Amelia Slade was MOTM while goalkeeper Imogen Flatt made some good saves to keep the score down to a 2-0 loss.

The Men’s 4ths fielded a much changed and promising young squad against Norwich Dragons 3rds and they took a while to settle into the game and an early injury to Rob Neal was a setback. Seth Read playing his first game for the team looked very much at home at left back. Dragons scored two turnover goals while Magpies were unable to pull a goal back despite piling on the pressure including a succession of penalty corners with five minutes to go. Despite defeat captain David Blackmore says this was an encouraging performance by the team boding well for the future. The Men’s 6ths also put in a good all round performance with just 10 players – with David Johnson (the younger) and goalkeeper Steve Halliley outstanding – going down 4-0 to Watton in a good spirited game.

Good luck as always to all our teams this Saturday. Please see the Latest News page of the website for the full list of fixtures which include at home the Men’s 1sts playing Ipswich (2.00), the Ladies’ 2nds taking on fellow promotion hopefuls City of Peterborough (12.00), the Men’s 4ths against Norwich Dragons 4ths (3.30) and an inter-club friendly (including hopefully some Mums!) for the Girls’ Development (10.15).

With kind regards

Mike Denham
MDenham975@aol.com
24/1/17