MIKE’S MUSINGS – 6 October 2009


The outstanding performance at Weybread last Saturday was undoubtedly the 3-2 win by the Men’s 2nds over Cambridge City. Last season the teams were two divisions apart but relegation for City and promotion for Magpies brought them together for this high quality match in which the home team came from a goal down to equalise with a rasping shot from Robbie Kinsella before going on to lead 3-1 early in the second half. A second goal for City made the final few minutes more tense than at one time seemed likely and a last gasp penalty corner for the visitors added to the drama. MOTM for Magpies was Simon Hipwell, who gave a typically all-action display, followed closely by goalkeeper John Livings and defender Hamish Barton who it is good to have back at the club following his studies at Exeter University. This Saturday the team entertain Broxbourne (2.15) looking to build on their excellent start to the season with a third straight win.

Another welcome returnee from university studies is Ross Briggs and he was in fine form in goal for the Men’s 4ths who went down to a lone first half strike by Martin Fields for the 3rds. Thereafter Ross was determined not to be beaten again with a string of outstanding saves in a sporting and well contested and umpired match.

A little earlier the Men’s 1sts picked up a useful point against Holcombe. I was happy to settle for a 1-1 draw especially after Holcombe forced two well-defended penalty corners in the final seconds. However, the general consensus after the game that it was two points dropped. Very unusually Magpies failed to win a penalty corner despite getting into the Holcombe circle on a number of occasions. The 1sts travel to Chelmsford this Saturday while the 3rds will be at home to Gorleston (1.45), defending their 2-wins-from-2 record, while the 4ths are away to Dereham 3rds seeking to pick up their first points of the season.

This Saturday the Ladies’ 1sts entertain Northampton Saints (12.30) looking for a third successive win after their 2-0 victory last Sunday away to Cambridge City. Magpies, for whom Emily Wilford made an encouraging debut, enjoyed the majority of the play in front of a good number of their supporters, but were thankful for a couple of smart saves by goalkeeper Lucy Hayman and City’s failure to take advantage of two dodgy back passes before the in-form Artemis Clark and Cherry Seaborn combined for the latter to slip the ball past the City ‘keeper early in the second half. With three minutes to go the team secured a deserved victory when Artemis set up Angie Wheelhouse to add to her highly impressive goal tally for the club. I take this opportunity to make it quite clear that I was not the spectator who suggested to one of the umpires that he pays a visit to Specsavers! I have to confess, however, that I did add that they do two pairs for £75! To his credit the umpire took the joke very sportingly.

It will also be good to see the Ladies’ 3rds and 4ths at home this week as they take on Watton 2nds (10.30) and Watton 3rds (4.00) respectively as they look to maintain their excellent starts to the season with four wins from four games between them. Meantime the Ladies’ 2nds are away again and they will be determined to secure their first win of the season when they take on St Ives.

Good luck to all our teams in action with Saturday.

News in brief

· Congratulations to Sarah and Gavin Cole on the birth of Isabelle and to ex-Magpies Donna Causton and Evie van Poortvliet on their recent marriages.
· Thanks are due to Richard Allcock and Jordan Ball for taking on, respectively, the captaincy and vice-captaincy of the 5ths.
· Well done to the U18 Boys who beat Bury St Edmunds 5-0 last Sunday in the first round of the EH Cup.
· It was good to see Andy Palmer at the club last Saturday. He is making encouraging progress after breaking his arm playing in goal for the Veterans at the end of last season.
· Pelicans 4ths have withdrawn from Div 2 of the Norfolk League and – following the earlier withdrawal of Norwich Dragons 4ths from Div 3 – is another worrying sign of the health of women’s hockey in other parts of the county.
· Congratulations to Jo Baker on her recent marriage. Jo was until recently England Hockey’s PR and Communications Officer before leaving to set up her own design consultancy. There is a photograph of Jo in the clubhouse presenting Kirstin Cumming with one of the several EH hospitality awards won by the club – thanks in no small part to Kirstin’s efforts.
· I am pleased to say that Tricia Heberle, the former GB and England women’s coach, is back in our sport with Hockey Australia as High Performance Network Manager.
· Last Saturday Shefford & Sandy Vets claimed a moral victory over Magpies following their 0-0 draw and a convivial drink in the clubhouse. In my experience there are not too many points for moral victories!

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 6/10/09