MIKE’S MUSINGS – 4 April 2017

BOYS DEVELOPMENT PIP DRAGONS FOR LEAGUE TITLE

Top billing just has to go this week to the Boys’ Development after their 1-0 home win over Norwich City last Saturday which gave them the Norfolk league title on goal difference from Norwich Dragons ‘A’. This was a nervy game for the home team and their supporters and it was a considerable relief to all concerned when Ed Brice found the net at a penalty corner with five minutes to go.

There was not much between the teams for the majority of the match and while both defences played well they had to survive some anxious moments. Elliot Chapman gave an assured performance in goal for Magpies while Ed Brice caught the eye in midfield as did Ben Waters with some strong runs down the right wing. Magpies were let down on occasions by their poor choice of pass and an over reliance on the speculative reverse stick pass. But this is not the time to be critical. Well done to the squad under manager Mark Emms for an excellent season in which they have been defeated just once in sixteen games. They have done the club proud. The victory was a good way for defender Jack Largent to celebrate his fourteenth birthday.

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP 2018 – TICKETS England Hockey is hosting this event at Lee Valley in July 2018 and wishes to reward the Hockey Family for their continued loyalty by offering from Thursday 6 April a priority window for the purchase of tickets. Please see the top left of the England Hockey website (available from the England Hockey logo at the top right of the club’s website) for full details.

In the only other competitive home game the already promoted Men’s 3rds needed to win to keep alive their title chances and they went into their game against Norwich Dragons 2nds with just four of the players who clinched promotion the previous week against Newmarket. This churn has been a feature of the team in recent weeks and has made life more difficult than it should be for captain Matt Brand who has remained stoical over the situation. If the team is to be successful next season more players will need to be available more often and, frankly, that applies to some of our other teams, both men and women.

Dragons, with ex-Magpies star player Richard Gill in good form in midfield, took the lead following a fast break down the right. Magpies’ goalkeeper Chris Flatt, who had a good game, then saved a penalty stroke before Robbie Kinsella fired the home team level at a penalty corner. Just after the break Magpies missed a golden opportunity to take the lead. In a team not playing as well as the occasion demanded Stuart Field was outstanding for Magpies with his drive, speed and accurate passing. Dragons regained the lead and – after Magpies failed to take advantage of a number of penalty corners – they caught the home team on the break to ensure a deserved 3-1 victory. While this defeat and the news that Bury St Edmunds had beaten Ipswich 2nds 5-0 to take the league title was disappointing it should take nothing away from what has been an excellent season for the 3rds which concludes on Saturday away to Ipswich 2nds (12.00).

Away from home the Men’s 1sts went down 10-1 (Myles King) to City of Peterborough in another re-arranged match. The team already weakened in recent weeks by work and other commitments went into this tough game with several other changes due to parental responsibilities, injuries and holidays and I was not the only one fearing the worst. Despite the score line the eleven players played some good hockey against a full strength Cof P which until the previous week still had a chance of the league title.

From the middle of October when they won six games in succession, highlighted by a 4-3 away victory over eventual champions Old Loughtonians, the season was going well for the team but with the gradual weakening of the squad the second half has been a disappointment.

There can be little doubt that what our top three men’s teams need next season is rebuilding (1sts), promotion (2nds) and consolidation (3rds). Hopefully these objectives will be achieved by a core of present players, recruitment of others and opportunities to be grasped by the undoubted emerging talent in the club.

TASTER CRICKET SESSIONS FOR LADIES AND GIRLS AT MAGPIES on Tuesdays 4 and 11 April (6-7 pm) in conjunction with Topcroft Cricket Club – please see website for details.

The curtain comes down on another league season this Saturday with as already mentioned the Men’s 3rds playing the last of their re-arranged games while the Ladies’ 6ths play Breckland away (2.30). The original match on 25 February with Breckland was abandoned with three minutes remaining, with Magpies leading 3-2, when Magpies’ Louise Davy had a nasty fall which necessitated her going to hospital for treatment. The league management subsequently ruled that the score should not stand as with only one goal between the teams Breckland still had a chance for an equaliser. Best wishes to our two teams.

EAST CLUB MINIS This coming weekend the club is hosting for the ninth successive year the East Club Minis or to give them their correct title the East Club IN2Hockey Championships. On Saturday the U12 Boys (from 10.30) and U10 Girls (from 1.25) will be in action and on Sunday it will be the turn of the U12 Girls (10.00) and U10 Boys (1.00). The club will be represented in each of the events except for the U10 Boys. The U10 and U12 Girls qualified by finishing first and second, respectively, in the Norfolk championships while the U12 Boys have been pleased to accept a late wild card entry following the withdrawal of another team.

All the very best to our teams, listed below, for an enjoyable and, hopefully, successful weekend.

Saturday 8 April (Weybread)
U12 Boys
Oliver Bardwell, Oliver Currie, Sam Emms, Jake Hayward, Oliver Kinsman, Freddie Kirk, Stanley Glenn, Charlie Hall, Jake Jackson, James Laurie (GK), Mark Emms (manager), Peter Dolton (coach).
Section B: Magpies v Old Loughtonians (10.30), Cambridge City (11.14), Norwich City (11.40), Bury St Edmunds (12.24) followed (hopefully) by the semis (1.40) and final (2.35).

U10 Girls Rebekah Moss (GK), Daisy Wicks, Catherine Pope, Harriet Soper, Alex Pearson-Smith, Emily Clarke, Natalie Saunders, Ophelia McCausland, Amber Whittingstall, Beth Gardens, Kathy Gardens (manager/coach).
Section Y: Magpies v Blueharts (1.55), Chelmsford (3.10), Sudbury (3.30), Cambridge City (4.20), Sevenoaks (5.00) followed (hopefully) by the final (5.30).

Sunday 9 April (Weybread)
U12 Girls
Ruby Pottruff (captain), Georgia Flatt (GK), Jessica Menzies, Holly Wills, Emma Williamson, Anna Cogdell, Evie Brice, Molly Largent, Alyssa Walker, Sophie Pettitt, Jim Menzies (manager/coach).
Section B: Magpies v Sevenoaks (10.00), Hertford (10.22), Old Loughtonians (11.06), Ipswich (11.32), Cambridge City (1.22) followed (hopefully) by the semis (2.05) and final (2.40).

The winners and runners-up of the two U12 events will go on to represent the East in the national finals to be played at Beeston HC on Saturday 13 May.

MIDLANDS LEAGUE U14 GIRLS REGIONAL FINALS In Pool A at Leicester Grammar School last Sunday our team had the frustration of going down 2-1 to the eventual winners Reading in their opening match after conceding a late goal. In their next game they were unable to find a way past Cirencester losing 2-0. But they finished on a high note beating Leicester 7-0. Well done to the players and manager John Pope on a really impressive season which bodes well for the club in the years ahead. Please see the club’s website for a full report from Leicester.

WATTON MINIS There were good performances last Sunday by our teams including wins for the U12 Girls and U10 Girls in the Silver events and second place for the U12 Girls in Gold and a season best second place for the U10 Boys.

Two wags contacted me after last week’s Musings to say it would have saved them a lot of time had I put at the beginning and not at the end that reading the column was not compulsory!

With kind regards

Mike Denham
MDenham975@aol.com
4/4/17