MIKE’S MUSINGS – 5 May 2016


For the twentieth year James Smith was the mastermind behind this event and the club is once again in his debt for all his hard work. I am pleased to say he has kindly put ‘pen to paper’ as follows to give his reflections on the two very enjoyable days.

The club was alive with hockey last weekend thanks in no small part to the grass pitch preparation efforts of George Hunter and the last minute arrival of Harry Flatt and a new tractor to roll the pitches. On Saturday 18 mixed teams graced our pitches (both astro and grass) and for some players this was their first experience of natural grass pitch hockey. Monday was Club XIs Day with 14 Ladies’ teams and 8 Men’s teams in action. The resulting 122 matches over the two days finally coming to a conclusion at 5.30pm on Monday afternoon just before the heavens opened!

However, before we recognise the tournament winners a big ‘thank you’ needs to be made by me on behalf of the club and all the playing membership to those who helped manage the event over the weekend. There are too many people to name individually but we need to remember the efforts of:

The kitchen team who worked tirelessly to serve teas, coffees, bacon rolls, hot dogs and filled rolls across the weekend generating a tidy profit for the club but more importantly keeping energy levels high for players and umpires alike.

The umpires, all 30 of you and those we had to lean on during the mixed tournament during the day. Without your help the tournament would not be able to take place. I hope you enjoyed the day and you will remain fit and healthy ready for next year.

The pitch marking squad of Simon Bardwell and Tim Allen (still on loan at Dragons) and the clean up team on Monday which included Chris Flatt, David Johnson, Jack Robertson, James Webster and Rob Neal. Thanks are also due to those who erected the marquees and helped to take them down.

This leaves Iain Cumming and Simon Bardwell to thank for their sterling work behind the bar, Sandra Elliner for patching up a number of wounded hockey players, Murray Graham for keeping the organising tent calm, Helen Barber’s precision in timekeeping and results coordination and finally, of course, Kirstin Cumming without whom there would not have been any umpires in the right place….or even at the club on the right day.

As you will no doubt sense from the above the May Day Weekend Festival needs a real club effort to put on and I really appreciate all the help the army of volunteers provided – next year we will need more of the same and for those Magpies yet to volunteer please give this some thought. This is the last such tournament in the East and I for one would not want to see the event consigned to the history books.

Anyway, back to the hockey. Nine Magpies teams competed over the weekend with varying success. The Men’s Club XI found the going tough and were knocked out in the Plate competition. Thetford Town retained their title beating Sudbury in the final with Sam Palmer of Sudbury picking up the coveted Player of the Final Award. In the Cup competition it was a repeat of last year’s final with Ely taking on Norwich City. Norwich City prevailed with George Brine of City being voted Player of the Final.

The two Magpies Ladies’ teams should have fared better but sadly both misplaced their goalkeepers before the start of the day. With only kicking backs available both were destined for the Plate but Harleston Magpies “Goals Will Come” defended well and reached the final but lost out on a penalty flick showdown with Loddon. Sally Bircham of Loddon was named as Player of the Final. In the Cup competition Norwich City were able to do the double as City City Bang Bang took the title beating Christchurch of Ipswich with the Brine family achieving a Player of the Final double with Ellie being the star of the final.

However, Mixed hockey would appear to be where our club strength lies at present with all but one of the Magpies’ teams progressing into the Cup competition. It was no surprise that Tye Dye Pies and Magpies “Over the Hill” eventually reached the final with both teams having real strength in depth and thanks to a Player of the Final performance by Thomas Ridley, Tye Dye Pies retained their title.

James Smith

300 CLUB May 2016 winners – £20 Eileen Chubbock, £20 Paula Higgins, £15 Kay Nelson, £15 Tony Williams, £15 Iain Wylie, £15 Keith Alexander. If you would like to join the 300 Club (£12 per number for club members and £13 per number for the year for non-club members) please contact Angie Wheelhouse at
The names of all the monthly winners going back to September 2012 are on the club’s website.


The U12 Boys are in training for the national finals to be played at Beeston HC on Saturday 14 May. I hope the players and coaches have dried out by now after being caught in the downpour on Monday evening!

In the quarter-finals of the England Hockey Mixed Trophy the Magpies’ team (and reigning champions) are at home to Khalsa (Warks) on Sunday 15 May (1.30).

Please see the Home Page of the club’s website for details of the following –

i) Magpies Summer Taster Training Course (for Boys and Girls aged 6 to 12).

ii) Magpies Summer Camps (for Boys and Girls aged 9 to 14). This course is not suitable for complete beginners.

iii) Car Boot Sale for charity organised by Park Radio (of Diss) at HMHC on Sunday 8 May.

For your diary please –

i) Strawberry Luncheon – Sunday 19 June.

ii) Annual General Meeting – Thursday 23 June.

With kind regards

Mike Denham