MIKE’S MUSINGS – 8 April 2014

The many friends of Richard, who was a farmer and miller, will have been very saddened to learn of his death last week. He was in his mid-70s and had suffered poor health for a number of years. 
Richard (Dick to some and, after his father, Basil to school pals) was a very popular member of the club and he and his family did much to develop the club and secure its future both on and off the field of play. He joined the club in the late 1950s and in view of his strong views on affairs was soon invited to join the management committee! Richard started as an outfield player but went between the posts following a game in which he didn’t rate the efforts of his goalkeeper. ‘I can do better than him’ he said. He went on to prove his point playing with distinction as the Magpies’ first team goalkeeper for many years and serving as captain for three seasons from 1962/3.  I was in the same school team as Richard and I never failed to remind him in subsequent years (to my enjoyment and to his increasing irritation!) of the two goals I put past him at School Lane while playing for Norwich Union. 
Between 1969 and 1976 Richard was head groundsman and he would roll the pitches using a diesel road roller kindly provided by his father who was club president at the time.
In 1982 the club bought at auction the freehold of most of the club’s grounds and with David Cobbald,   Andrew Longe and Iain McClintock in support Richard did the bidding and in 1990 the same foursome were the masterminds behind the building of the first artificial grass pitch.
After retiring from playing Richard continued to give his full support to the club, until the onset of his ill-health, and his views on club and other affairs were always worth hearing! The club owes an enormous debt to Richard who was made an Honorary Life Member in recognition of his outstanding services and devotion to HMHC. 
Our condolences go to his wife Maureen, son Andrew and daughter Carolyn and all other members of the family on their great loss.
Details regarding the funeral arrangements will be posted on the Home Page of the club’s website when known.
The third and well attended Senior Club Awards Evening was held last Saturday in the clubhouse.

It is ‘thank you’ to main organiser and deputy president Philippa Taylor and to club captains Tristan Baynes and Kristina Smyth and the team captains for their assistance and to club chairman Murray Graham who kindly presented the awards – except for his own when Tristan did the honours! Thank you also, of course, to everyone who attended and congratulations to the following winners at the end of another outdoor league season.

Player of the season
Most improved player
Player of the season
Most improved player
Kath Johnson  (Betty Whipps Cup)
Young Player Of The Year – Lizzie Jones
Leigh Sitch
(Leeder Cup)
Young Player Of The Year – Toby Price
Holly Baker and Frances Taylor
Dickon Taylor
Giles Flatt
Fiona Mackenzie
Katie Crawford
Murray Graham
Young Player Of The Season – Jonathan Payne
Phoebe Preece
Izzy Knowles
Jack Frere-Smith and Harry Haigh
For Youth Presentation Evening
For Youth Presentation Evening
Matt Hull
Young Player Of The Season – Jamie Lawrence
Krystal Jenkins
Emilia Norman
Myles King
Jonty Herschel-Shorland
Karen Hunt
Eve Barnes
Roger Kent
Hamish Harvey
Last Sunday the U14 Girls continued their fine season by winning their pool in the East regional finals to qualify for the national finals to be held at Wakefield HC on Sunday 11 May. They won their three games at Tonbridge School beating Tunbridge Wells 2-0 (Tor Findlay and Lauren Rowe), Southgate 2-0 (Tor Findlay and Lottie Summers) and Saffron Walden 2-1 (Tor Findlay and Matilda Warde-Aldam). Congratulations to all members of the squad on this outstanding achievement. They join the U18 Girls and Men’s O50s in reaching national finals this season – another proud achievement for the club to celebrate.
Congratulations and best wishes for the future to the following ‘out on loan’ Magpies.
a) Tim Alexander, ex-Framlingham College, on making his First Class cricket debut playing for Durham MCCU against Derbyshire at The 3aaa County Ground in Derby last week, Tim, who bowls fast medium, opened the bowling for Durham MCCU taking four wickets for 84 runs. His second victim was West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul who for many years has been one of the world’s top batsmen. The match ended in a credible draw for the students who this week are playing the Durham county team at Chester-le-Street – the start yesterday having been delayed by rain.
b) Tim Whiteman on being selected for the England hockey squad to face Ireland in the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup at Reading HC on Thursday (7.15) as they continue their preparations for the World Cup to be held in The Hague between 31 May and 15 June. After I congratulated Tim, in this column, on making his England debut in India earlier in the year he was kind enough to write to me to thank the club for all the support given to him over the years. He added ‘The trip to India was an event that will stay with me forever and it was only really when I received my first cap I fully appreciated just how lucky I have been to have played at such great clubs [Magpies and Beeston] with their coaching and support’. Congratulations to Tim and Beeston on winning the NOW: Pensions Championship last Sunday beating East Grinstead in the final by 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
The Mixed squad welcome Lewes to Weybread this coming Sunday for their 4th round (Last 16) EHB Trophy encounter starting at 12 noon. This is sure to be a tough game so please come along if you can to cheer our squad to victory. So far this season, led by Leigh and Katrina Sitch, they have beaten Spalding 8-1 (H), Long Sutton 8-1 (A) and Wisbech 5-0 (H). Good luck to our squad which is  Rees Leonard (GK), Leigh Sitch, Katrina Sitch, Andrew Bedwell, Lauren Barber, Thomas Ridley, Katherine Ridley, Richard Larkin, Lucy Whiting, Toby Price, Frances Taylor, Sam Moore, Lizzie Clymer, Martin Fields, Simon Hipwell and Sophie Mullan.
Mini Musings to follow on an occasional basis in the weeks ahead.

With kind regards and best wishes         
Mike Denham