MIKE’S MUSINGS – 26 January 2010

EXCELLENT PITCHES BUT NO HEAT

I’ve just returned to my desk to complete this week’s Musings following a stroll over Eaton Park in Norwich. It brought back happy memories of many games, both as a player and spectator, on the excellent natural grass pitches where older readers will remember Norwich Exiles, Norwich Grasshoppers and Norfolk Wanderers (as well as Norfolk CHA) playing their home matches. Less happy will be the thoughts of the concrete floored and unheated changing rooms in the middle of the park!

Your attention please!

§ I take this opportunity to remind you of the Rioja and Roll Evening to be held this coming Saturday (30 January) at 7.30pm in Tibbenham’s Barn, Weybread. If you cannot attend – or even if you can – the organisers would be delighted to receive a prize for the raffle. If you are not coming but can help with a prize would you please give Irene Bicker a call on 01379 853475.

§ It is still not too late to kindly offer Promises for the Auction of Promises to be held on Saturday 13 March. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Now for the very busy last weekend and what a weekend it was for indoor hockey with our three teams all doing well in their respective ways in national events. Pride of place must go to the U18 Girls in the club championship in Sheffield where they reached the semi-finals despite a series of injuries including, sadly, a broken arm for Jazz Bartlett and a broken hand for Bryony Lund. Coach David Brook was extremely grateful for the assistance of Dr Jenny Blyth on the bench. This was a fine effort by the squad and augurs well for the future. Meantime the Ladies’ 1sts, under coach Nick McAllen, were without three of their team who were in Sheffield (no thanks here to England Hockey for this clash of events) but they still won their concluding two games in Croydon to finish a highly creditable third in Division 1 of the national league conceding just eleven goals in eight games.

Some further 80 miles to the south the U18 Boys’ squad, under coach Stuart Peters, competed well and learned a lot in their club championship finishing with one win from their four games in Eastleigh. This experience will be extremely beneficial to the squad for next season. The club can be proud of the efforts of our three indoor squads under their dedicated leaderships.

Outdoors it was dull and overcast at Weybread last Saturday where the Ladies’ 6ths went down narrowly to Herlings before the Men’s 4ths played well to secure a 2-2 draw with Dereham 3rds with goals by Tom Hart and Alex Slater. The Ladies’ 2nds were next up and after getting back to 2-2 eventually lost 4-2 to St Ives although I have to confess I was distracted for a considerable part of the game trying to get the temperamental scoreboard to work properly after the recent cold weather! I returned with a new battery for the remote control (it was only a partial success) to see the Men’s 6ths push league leaders Felixstowe 2nds all the way in an exciting game before losing to two late goals after missing at least one good chance ourselves.

Away from home the Men’s 5ths returned with a useful point after their 0-0 draw against Dereham 4ths while the Ladies Development won 4-0 at North Walsham to stay eight points clear at the top of their league and the Ladies 5ths secured their sixth successive win (and fourth successive clean sheet) by beating Old Buckenham 2nds 4-0. Meantime the Ladies’ 4ths went down 3-1 against Watton 3rds; the Men’s 2nds had a remarkable 7-4 win at Broxbourne, thanks in no small part to five goals from Martin Fields, to keep in touch near the top of their league and the Men’s 3rds beat Gorleston 4-1, with two goals apiece from Matt Brand (24 now for the season) and Gavin Cole, to maintain their unbeaten record and top spot in their league. Unfortunately the Men’s Veterans were forced to postpone their match away against Shefford and Sandy due to injuries including a broken hand sadly sustained by Roger Kent while playing the previous week. Frankly the future of the Veterans side is not looking too good especially if we are unable to honour our away matches despite the hard work of skipper Simon Bardwell.

This Saturday the Ladies 3rds, who had an excellent 5-1 win away against Watton 2nds last Saturday, and the Men’s 2nds have top billing at Weybread with the Ladies playing Panthers (12.30) and the Men entertaining Harpenden (2.15). Please see the Home Page of the website for a full list of this Saturday’s matches. Good luck to all our teams.

News and comments in brief

§ The decision of the coaching committee to cancel the Men’s Club training session on Mondays due to lack of support (both numerical and financial) has not been well received by those members now affected. If you would like the session reinstated please contact Jordan Ball on 07769 202771.

§ You may have seen the splendid new trophy cabinet in the clubhouse kindly donated, with all the new furniture, by Janet Reader. If you have any trophies at home associated with the club please bring them along one weekend – after cleaning them!

§ Congratulations to ex-Magpie Richard ‘Ratty’ Alexander on his selection for the England team to play in the FIH World Cup beginning on Sunday 28 February in Delhi.

§ Last Sunday the Men’s 1sts had a very encouraging 4-1 away friendly win over Southgate as part of their build-up to the league resumption on Sunday week.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 26/1/10