In glorious Norfolk sunshine the Under 12 Norfolk tournament got underway. Magpies had taken a squad of nine, all determined to show what they could do.
First fixture was against North Norfolk, and with both teams looking to get into their stride it proved a frustrating game for both coaches with no goals to show for the first match exuberance, largely thanks to Archie K who put in a good performance in defence. Two minutes after this game it was straight into a match with Norwich Dragons and whilst playing much better attacking hockey the game opened up and it was up to the centre back of pairing Harry S and Benjamin B to defend resolutely, and on the odd occasion when they were beaten the exceptional Oli F came to the rescue in goal. 2 games 2 draws and no goals. However, goals would come in the next match as twice Henry B found the Pelicans net in what was the best performance of the day. With Will M leading the forward line superbly and captain Billy F looking dangerous the defenders and goalie had a well-earned rest.
The penultimate game was against Norwich City who had been the strongest team on the under 12’s circuit this season. A slow start by Magpies allowed City to score the first goal against them but with Harry and Benjamin again defending hard and Oli performing brilliantly in goal, gradually they got back into the game and with Connor H & Finn H working tirelessly in midfield the chance came when a short corner was secured and Henry beat the keeper with a great strike from the top of the circle.
And so it came down to the last game against Dereham. Two unbeaten sides knowing a win for either could result in them being crowned county Champions. Having watched Dereham demolish Dragons 3-0 in the previous round of matches Magpies knew it would be hard, and needing to win the team were instructed to get forward. The game ebbed and flowed but after 5 minutes Dereham were just starting to get in the ascendancy and when the pressure eventually told they deserved their lead. With goals required the Magpies team dug deep and kept going right to the end threating all the time but not quite getting the bounce of the ball in the opposition circle.
So it ended in defeat and with other results going against them a fourth place finish. But with only one loss, and that to the Champions, it was a fantastic show by everyone. So well done Dereham and Dragons who also qualified, and we can look forward to next year when half of the team will still be available, no doubt to challenge again.