Spirits are high at ‘The Nest’ following a successive streak of wins for both the Ladies and Men’s 1st teams. The Ladies travelled to Sevenoaks last Saturday and took the lead via Lauren Rowe’s brace of drag flicks. An amazing team effort and defensive display absorbed the pressure from Sevenoaks who were relentlessly hunting for a point. Despite the home side pulling a goal back from a short corner, and subbing their goalkeeper for a kicking back, Magpies stood firm and secured another three points, taking them to second in the table.
The Men’s 1s hosted Cambridge University and settled into the game quickly, keeping possession and moving the ball patiently waiting for an opening in the Cambridge defence. Andrew Bedwell’s blistering run past two defenders found Richard Larkin who’s shot at goal hit a Cambridge foot. Captain Thomas Ridley fired in the resulting short corner following a well worked routine to give Magpies the lead. Chances from Jack Hobbs, Dave Gilbert and Will Tew came and went but Magpies saw out the second half with maturity and composure to take them up to third in the league.
The Ladies 2s found themselves a goal behind after 4 minutes away at St Albans when a lofted ball into the ‘D’ was swept in from close range. However, as the half progressed Magpies began to get a foothold in the game and the hard work paid off when Katherine Ridley unleashed a reverse stick shot to level the score. With half time looming the visitors took the lead following Jess Howland’s pass to Lucy Whiting which was skilfully deflected into the net.
Maintaining momentum, Magpies won the ball in midfield and Laura Tibbenham set off down the left wing, holding off the defenders she calmly dispersed her shot into the top corner to extend the lead. St Albans upped the ante and responded by piling on the pressure which caused some anxious moments in defence but Jade Daly made some excellent saves in goal and the whole team battled hard to maintain the advantage. Working the ball out from the back, a swift counter attack from Anouska Stott found Laura again who netted her second. Fighting to the death, St Albans scored in the dying minutes but it wasn’t enough to deny Magpies their first win of the season and give a confidence boost to the team ahead of hosting Wapping on Saturday.
The Ladies 2s game will be followed by the Ladies 1s who push back against Ipswich at 1.30pm. Ipswich gained promotion into the league last season and are currently at the foot of the table but Magpies have enough experience within the squad to know not to underestimate their local rivals. The in form Jade Daly will step into goal for Megan Brown who is running the New York Marathon, we wish Megan a fantastic weekend! Next up on the water based pitch will be the Mens 2s against Broxbourne (3pm). Despite elegant skills from debutant Ed Brice, brutal stick tackles from Hugo Thomas and close chances from Toby Hughes and Dave Francis, the 2s finished 0-0 against Cambridge City last weekend. Broxbourne sit two places above Magpies so a strong team performance will be required.
Sunday will be jam packed with National Cup action with the Men’s over 40s heading to Sudbury for the first round. A few injuries have not deterred the squad who welcome Chris Flatt to make his debut in goal and hope to improve on last years second round exit. The Boys cup teams all have away games with the U14s at Norwich City, U16s at Bishop Stortford and U18s at Norwich Dragons. The U14 Girls begin their competition with the first group game at home against Ipswich (10.45am). Coach Jim Menzies commented ‘Many of this year’s squad enjoyed playing in the U12 & U14 National Finals last season so hopefully they can draw upon their experiences from last year and the whole squad can look forward to a good campaign. Good luck to the girls on Sunday.’ Also at Weybread, the U16 Girls face Pelicans (12.15pm) followed by the U18s vs Norwich City (2pm), it promises to be a quality afternoon of youth hockey.