MIKE’S MUSINGS – 3 January 2017

EXCITING CHALLENGES AHEAD

I wish readers and their families (and by association all our sponsors, teams and club officials) the very best for 2017 as we look forward to a busy and important few months for the club with some exciting challenges facing a number of our teams.

Will the Ladies’ 2nds, Ladies’ 3rds, Ladies’ 5ths, Men’s 3rds and Men’s 4ths be able to maintain their promotion bids? Will the Men’s 1sts be able to reignite their promotion hopes after dropping five points in their last two games and will the Ladies’ 1sts be able to maintain their excellent form? Will the Girls’ Development be able to hold on to their league leadership and will the Boys’ Development be good enough to overtake Norwich Dragons ‘A’ at the top of their league? Will our Mixed and Men’s O50s teams do as well as last season and will the Men’s O40s maintain their fine start to the season? Will our promising Boys’ and Girls’ U10/U12 teams do as well as we hope? Will the U14 Girls, U16 Girls, U18 Girls and U14 Boys maintain their form as they press for national honours? Will the Men’s 2nds and Men’s 6ths get enough points to avoid relegation? Turning to the indoor game will the U18 Girls and U18 Boys win their respective national indoor events and will the Ladies’ 1sts and Men’s 1sts at least maintain their league positions? A lot of questions with the answers to be revealed as the second half of the season unfolds.

We have only a few days to wait to at least get some idea how the Ladies’ 1sts and Men’s 1sts Super 6s indoor teams, sponsored by Durrants Estate Agents, are likely to do as both are in action this coming weekend.

The Ladies open their demanding Division 1 campaign at the UWE Centre for Sport in Bristol on Saturday when they play Chelmsford (12.30) and Ipswich (5.30) while on Sunday they face Brooklands Poynton (12.00) and Clifton (4.00). Their four other round-robin games will be played at the same venue a week later when they take on Bristol Firebrands, St Albans, Leicester and Surbiton. The team coached for the first time by Rob Sorrell contains several changes from last season with the inclusion of Maria Andrews, Lizzie Clymer, Bryony Lund, Annie Nunn and Lauren Rowe but will unfortunately be without captain Lucy Belsey who was injured at the East Championships last month. In her place the team will be led by Lauren Barber.

The Men, after gaining promotion by winning the Division 2 Championship last season, will be in action in a tough looking Division 1 at Nottingham Trent University. On Saturday they are up against West Herts (12.30) and Southgate (4.30) while on Sunday they play St Albans (9.00) and Holcombe (2.00). A week later at the same venue they play Cannock, Sheffield Hallam, Brooklands MU and Beeston. The squad will be captained by Andrew Bedwell in the absence of Leigh Sitch who is understandably concentrating on imminent family matters.

Our squads are as follows:

Ladies – Lauren Barber (captain), Tosh Peet (GK), Debbie Francis, Lauren Rowe, Bryony Lund, Annie Nunn, Lizzie Clymer, Anna Tighe, Sarah Brook, Maria Andrews, Rob Sorrell (coach), Louisa Greenacre (manager).

Men – Andrew Bedwell (captain), Chris Leek (GK), Richard Larkin, Simon Hipwell, Sam Paterson, Chris Barber, Tom Ridley, Ben Wright (player-coach), Archie Winter, Jack Knight, Myles King, Jack Hobbs.

NEXT SOCIAL FUNCTION – CHEESE & WINE TASTING EVENING – Saturday 28 January 2017 Please note your diary! Details to follow shortly.

The majority of our outdoor teams return to league action at the end of next week but we do have five teams playing on Saturday with all of them at home. After two successive defeats the Ladies’ 4ths are up against Norwich Dragons 3rds (12.00) who beat them 4-2 early in the season before our team went on a winning run of four games while the Ladies’ 5ths will also have friendly revenge in mind when they play Norwich Dragons 5ths (2.00) who beat them 4-0 at the end of September. Since then Jose Tibbenham and her team have only lost two games so they will be looking for a good performance to get off to a winning start to 2017. Meanwhile the Ladies’ 6ths also lost to their opponents of tomorrow, Norwich Dragons 6ths (3.30), when they played each other earlier in the season so they too will be looking for a change in fortune.

The Girls’ Development, who have only lost once this season and have only conceded two goals, entertain Yarmouth (12.15) who they beat 2-0 in the middle of October with goals by Olivia Lapage. The Boys’ Development take on Dereham (1.45) in a game held over from 10 December at the request of Dereham. When the teams met at the beginning of November Dereham won 4-1 but the game was awarded to Magpies 5-0 as Dereham fielded some ineligible players. LATE NEWS This game has now been called off at the request of Dereham! Please see the website regarding the possibility of a training match in lieu at 10.30 (S).

Good luck as always to all our teams this weekend.

AUCTION OF PROMISES Saturday 4 March 2017.
Please put the date in your diary! 
We have now gratefully received 25 ‘Promises’. The target is a minimum of 50 so we still have some way to go to achieve this number. 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.

CONGRATULATIONS TO
a) Out-on-loan Magpie Carl Sitch and Dani Farrow on their recent engagement.
b) The GB women’s squad on their awards in the New Year’s Honours List.
c) Our U18 Girls who, since the last Musings, have triumphed in the East Indoor Finals at the University of Essex winning all their five games. Best wishes to them and our U18 Boys in the national finals to be played over the weekend of 21/22 January.

A NEW YEAR’S PLEA that members make every effort to be available for selection as often as possible please. This is essential if we are to help our hard working team captains fulfil all our fixtures. This applies to both the men’s and ladies’ teams.

UMPIRES
The beginning of a new year is an appropriate time for this column to pay tribute to all who umpire our matches whether they be appointed umpires, club members umpiring before or after their own games or other club members helping out on a regular basis including our pool umpires. We are indebted to them. It hardly needs saying, but I will nevertheless, that without umpires our sport would wither and die. If a player is tempted to have a moan about an umpire I suggest that the umpire will have made less mistakes (assuming any) than the player!

MATCH REARRANGEMENT
In view of the U18 Girls having reached the national indoor finals the Ladies’ 2nds game against Norwich Dragons 2nds scheduled for Saturday 21 January will now be played (away) at 12.45pm on Saturday 18 February.

With kind regards

Mike Denham
[email protected]
3/1/17