This season has been a tough old slog for the Men’s 2s who gained promotion last season but have been on the receiving end of 13 defeats since September. On Saturday they travelled to Wisbech in the knowledge that anything other than a win would result in relegation and started positively with Robbie Kinsella, James Osborn and Andy Hipwell linking up well on the forward line. Support from Tristan Baynes, James Stacey and Simon Hipwell led to Morgan Manly pouncing on a Kinsella rebound to give Magpies the lead which was doubled by Osborn at the back post. Despite numerous chances at the Wisbech goal, Magpies were unable to keep hold of the advantage and allowed the home side back into the game, going into half time at 2-2.
Some tidy saves from John Livings in the Magpies goal kept things tight at the back with Dickon Taylor working hard to get the ball to through to the midfield from where the visitors won a short corner which Hipwell dispatched in trademark fashion. A tap in for Hipwell and a backhand cracker from Kinsella gave the 2s a 5-2 lead but fatigue played a role in Wisbech clawing the score back to 5-5 and keeping themselves safe from relegation at the expense of Magpies, who will join the promoted Men’s 3s next season.
The already promoted Ladies 1s faced a determined St Albans side who wanted to secure a 6th place finish to ensure their place in either Division 1 North or Division 1 South next season under the new National League structure. St Albans converted two short corners to take a 2-0 lead before England U18 Rose Winter picked up the ball on the half way line and outpaced the defenders to then strike from the top of the D into the bottom corner of the goal. Chances from Lizzie Clymer and Charlie Harrison didn’t squeeze through but Rose equalised with a tap in from a short corner routine. St Albans pushed their forwards up which stretched the Magpies defence and enabled a deflection into Jade Daly’s goal, ending the game 3-2. The Ladies play their final game of the season at home on Saturday when they host Southgate at 2pm.
Wins for the Ladies 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s and 7s ends the season on a positive note for the Ladies club with the Ladies 6s gaining promotion having won 15 out of their 18 games. Despite last Saturdays loss against Chelmsford, the Ladies 2s remain safely in the East Premier League for another season with Laura Tibbenham claiming the golden boot for her 9 goals in 22 appearances.
Player/manager Sandra Elliner has had another fantastic year with her fledgling Girls Development team, fielding 29 girls throughout the season and winning the league with a goal difference of +80! This league provides a vital stepping stone between minis and Ladies hockey, offering match experience on a full pitch so players can adjust to the positions and skills needed for their hockey careers in a nurturing environment against players their own age. The Boys Development team face Dereham at The Nest this weekend (3.30pm) and sit comfortably mid table, level with Norwich Dragons.
The Men’s 1s ended their league campaign with a hatrick from Tim Whiteman and a debut for Jude Potruff. The defensive efforts of Chris Leek, Tom Summer, Richard Larkin, Will Tew, Ollie Whiteman, Leigh Sitch and Andrew Bedwell ensured the season ended with a 4-3 win over St Albans much to the delight of manager Kevin Ridley. The team look forward to the challenge of the National League next season and would like to thank everyone for their support throughout the year.
Both the girls and boys under 14 teams had qualified for the Regional Finals which took place on Sunday. The Boys faced a difficult group (Canterbury, Old Merchant Taylors and Old Loughtonians) with all three matches played to a very high standard. Sam Emms captained the side and epitomised the spirit of Magpies despite two losses and a draw. Coach Richard Larkin said ‘A lot of the squad were playing at a regional level for the first time and everyone should be proud of themselves, especially their attitudes and team spirit.’ Three wins for the Girls U14s sees them progress to the National Finals on May 12th with a skilful display against Spencer, Amersham & Chalfont and Southgate. Coach Jim Menzies said ‘This was a genuine all squad display with everyone playing their part and contributing.’
Although most leagues have now finished for the summer there is plenty to look forward to including the Family Fun Day (Sat 6th April), the Annual May Bank Holiday Tournament (May 4-6th) and the End of Season Dinner & Dance (11th May). Plus, the U12 and U14 Girls can’t hang up their sticks just yet. The club would like to wish Tor Findlay, Rose Winter, Lottie Summers, Lauren Rowe, Jake Caston, Jack Hobbs and any other players heading out on loan during the summer transfer window the very best and remember you are always welcome back at The Nest!