Lauren Rowe claimed five goals on Saturday when the Ladies 1sts hosted Ipswich taking Magpies to the top of the East Conference League – their best start to a season for six years. At 3-0 up within eight minutes the home side dominated their local rivals and the comfortable 5-0 score line provided the opportunity for youngsters Charley Seaman and Georgie Cantrell to demonstrate their impressive skills. 

The Men’s 1s started well away at Cambridge City and opened the scoring when a well-crafted move starting at the back through Andrew Bedwell found Tom Sumner, who popped the ball into Ben Gowing, who then sprayed a beautiful ball out to Ruanaq Rai at right half who carried to the baseline and delivered to James Gray to brilliantly finish from close range. However, a series of minor discretions saw Magpies reduced to 9 men for a period which Cambridge took full advantage of and scored a deflection past Chris Leek from close range. With one minute to play, the visitors were awarded a penalty corner which resulted in Dave Gilbert swatting the ball in at the back post to provide Harleston with their fifth successive win. 

Following consecutive draws and an injury to Captain Stu Field the Mens 2s welcomed Broxbourne to ‘The Nest’ hoping for all three points but a lack of composure in the ‘D’ saw chances go begging early on. A bobbly ball against the run of play gave Broxbourne the lead but Magpies fought back, equalised, and then took the lead thanks to a beautifully executed short corner strike from Tristan Baynes. Continuing to dominate, the home side won a short corner on the final whistle from which Man of the Match Robbie Kinsella scored to make it 3-1. Magpies are away at Potters Bar on Saturday who are currently only one point behind the Norfolk side. 

A two week break hasn’t put the Ladies 6s off their stride as they notched up their fifth successive win on Saturday against Pelicans. With Heather Brand, Holly Morris, Jane Collins, Frankie Wildmun, Marie Davy and Liv Carter thwarting any attacking opportunities, Shirley McAllen, Georgie Hood, Janna Freeman, Judith Masters, Rachel Clifford and Laura Woodgate had space to pile on the pressure and score five times. The win keeps Magpies at the top of the table with only goal difference separating them from this weekends opposition Herlings. 

The young Girls Development team had to readjust their tactics in response to Yarmouth fielding three adults on Saturday and the girls coped well, stretching the play a little wider between Jess, Grace, Kate and Florence. Relentless pressure from Magpies culminated in goals for Florence (2), Grace, Kate and Beth whilst Harriet, Emma, Amy and Isabelle protected Jasmine who made her debut in goal and kept a clean sheet, finishing 5-0. 

Many of the Magpies youngsters were in National Cup action on Sunday with the U14 Girls making a great start to their campaign with a 7-1 win against Ipswich (goals from Emma, Ella, Loulou, Jess and a hatrick for Anna). The U14 Boys were defeated 6-1 away from home but can still progress to the next round of the cup if they win their final group game. 

The U18 Girls’ match was cancelled as Norwich City were unable to field a team so the girls were awarded the win and a day off to recover from their matches on Saturday. The U18 Boys went a goal ahead at Dragons when Raunaq Rai scored a drag flick and thanks to some fine saves from Ollie Juszt in goal, Magpies held the lead until half time. Dragons came out fighting in the second half and score three times but coach Tim Whiteman  commented that ‘The boys should be very proud of their play without any practice together as a team ahead of the match and showed a very good attitude throughout the game.’

The U16 Girls set the tone of their game by scoring in the first minute and going on to beat Pelicans 16-0! Lovely flowing moves which cut through the oppositions defence combined with an all round team performance bodes well for the next round. Not to be outdone the U16 Boys put 13 goals past Bishops Stortford where Elliot Chapman and Bruce Daniels made impressive debuts for the team. 

Not forgetting the O40s Men who travelled to Sudbury for the first round of their cup and came away with a convincing 8-0 victory. Goals from Neil Toulson (4), Andy Caston (2), Dave Francis and Matt Brand, along with a clean sheet from Chris Flatt in goal sees the spritely veterans progress to round two.

In addition to the Ladies 3s, 4s, 5s and 7s; the Girls Development team and the Men’s 3s and 4s, both the Ladies and Men’s first teams play at home on Saturday and go into the games on unbeaten runs. The Ladies host St Albans at 1.30pm followed by the Men who push back against Bedford at 3pm – both teams will appreciate a lively crowd! This Sunday Magpies are hosting a Minis Tournament for U12 Girls and Boys from the surrounding clubs where we look forward to seeing the progression the players have made since the beginning of the season.