Harleston Magpies Ladies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents are away this Saturday  against St Albans starting at 1.00pm.
Currently Magpies are 5th in the League on 28 points whilst St Albans are in 6th place on 20 points.
St Albans are in good form having won their last two matches beating Southgate away 2-0 and Bedford at home 4-2. They will be very motivated to beat Magpies this Saturday as they try to secure a 6th place finish and ensure their place in either Division 1 North or Division 1 South next season under the new National League structure for next season.
Magpies have already achieved that objective but will need to get over their 6-0 away defeat last weekend against a very impressive Wimbledon. Wimbledon were 2-0 up early on and 4-0 up by half time. Magpies did well to battle it out in the second half against a very strong side boasting three internationals.
Magpies have two games left with a final game of the season at home the following week against Southgate.

Lauren Barber (capt), Lizzie Clymer, Jade Daly, Katrina Sitch, Louisa Greenacre, Katherine Ridley, Debbie Francis, Frances Burrell, Charlotte Harrison, Lauren Rowe, Emma Lee-Smith, Georgie Cantrell,  Rose Winter, Lara Taylor and Kristine Ayling.


Having won 14 games and scored an impressive 59 goals this season, Magpies Ladies 6s have topped their league and are going up! The midfield of Flea Perry, Judith Masters and Holly Morris worked hard to force the turnover from Norwich City on Saturday which led to the hosts having a 3-0 lead at half time (Janna Freeman, Rachael Clifford, 2). Building the play as a unit, Rachael scored a further 3 goals with Georgia Hood and Georgia Scott taking the final tally to 8-0, whilst Imogen Flatt in goal ensured her defensive screen of Jane Collins, Marie Davy, Mary Nelson and Elena Flatt dealt with any threats from City. 

With Diss and Reepham both winning last weekend, the Ladies 5s have missed the chance of promotion this year but will finish in third position if they beat Carrow this week, following their win over Norwich City. Magpies started the game on the back foot, with City winning six short corners in the first ten minutes but Ruby Potruff and Talitha Key thwarted the shots on goal with pacey running. Jessica Menzies pounced on a loose ball from an attacking short to give Magpies the lead but City retaliated with an equaliser, and then took the lead midway through the second half. 

Piling on the pressure and utilising the press, Captain Tibbenham forced a goal home to level the scores before Vanessa Vigrass grabbed the winner at the left post to finish 3-2.

The Men’s 5s welcomed struggling Norwich City 6s to The Nest where youngster Elliot Chapman made his debut for the team and impressed with some good runs and two goals. Andy Catchpole, Andy Caston (2), Jake Hayward and Chris Hall also got on the scoresheet but subbing veteran full back Jerry Blackmore with a 7-2 lead left Magpies exposed at the back which City utilised and scored three late goals which may be enough to save them from relegation by goal difference. 

After a tough start to the season the Ladies 2s have been in good form of late and have turned things around to secure their position in the East Premier Division following last seasons promotion. A keenly contested battle against local rivals Norwich City ensued with Lucy King being called upon to make some good saves in goal before Tor Findlay netted twice for Magpies before the break. City’s desperation to get back into the game was rewarded with a goal but the 2s dug deep to end the game 2-1 before the final day of the season away to already promoted Chelmsford. 

The Boys Development team got an impressive 4-4 result against league leaders Norwich Dragons last weekend leaving Magpies 3rd out of 6, whilst the league administrators have raised concerns about too many one sided results for the Girls Development side. True to form, the Girls put on another fine performance with the usual positions being inverted for the final quarter (defenders in attack and vice-versa). Goals from Ellie, Evie, Beth (2), Amie (3) and Harriet led to a 8-0 win. 

The Ladies 7s should finish the season in third having taken all three points when they hosted Norwich City 7s. Club Captain Emma Tolhurst stepped up to convert a penalty stroke to give Magpies the lead before Jess Tarant and Ellen Moodie scored in open play. City fought hard but were unable to break through, full time 3-0.

With the end of the season fast approaching, celebrations have been planned for Saturday 6th April with a family fun day at The Nest including games, food and awards – please see the club website for details. 


Mens 1st Team v Saffron Walden W 5-3

Already promoted Harleston Magpies sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops headed to Saffron Walden to enforce their dominance on a struggling side who find themselves one off the bottom as the season comes to a close. The lads from the Waveney were in good spirits going into the game, one of the team back from the Alps with the vice-captain going the other way. Ridley Senior didn’t waste much time in reminding the team of their social commitments and the importance of attendance at the upcoming dinner dance, although it wasn’t long until he was rudely interrupted by Coach Tim Whiteman who yet again had forgotten his coaching board. 
During the warm up it was evident that Storm Gareth was likely to have an impact on Harleston’s liquid hockey. 
True to form Harleston imposed themselves on the opposition demanding control of the early exchanges. At points the opposition were able to show glimpses of ability however this was often soon extinguished by some good defensive organisation and execution from the black and whites.
It didn’t take long for Tom Ridley to burst through the middle and fire in a reverse which was easily converted by James Gray. As the control remained with Harleston much of the game was played in the opposition half which at times left the promoted team open to a counter attack goal. Against the run of play Saffron Walden used the long aerial ball with great success finding their sole high player in space who was able to craft an opportunity in front of goal which another Saffron Walden player finished. Apart from this slight setback the opposition posed very little threat to the travelling side for the remainder of the half which allowed Harleston to win many short corners, one of which was converted by league veteran Tom Dunnett.
Typically, Harleston tend to overpower lesser opponents in the second half of the game. This week was like no other, magpies opened the second half with more pace, purpose and precision. Like magic the team were suddenly able to piece together team play they had utilised throughout the season with great success. No pass looked easier than the next but the CM trio of Tim Whiteman, Pete Bale and Tom Ridley demanded the ball from all angles making life easier for the rest of the team. The sustained pressure made life very difficult for the opponents. Harleston were rewarded for their efforts through goals from Tom Ridley, Ollie Whiteman and Andrew Bedwell, two of which came from further short corners.
The result was never in doubt although Saffron Walden were able to take advantage of reduced team numbers from Harleston. Final result 5-3. 


Ladies 7th Team v Norwich City Ladies 7s W 3-0

Both teams met on a very windy, morning to play on the ‘sand’ pitch; thankfully, there wasn’t any sand being blown around.  We met our match with Norwich City as play seemed to be equally divided, yet we were awarded a couple of short corners during the first half and gradually showed our strength.  At one point, the ball was slammed straight into the Norwich City keeper’s feet but not before it had struck a defender’s foot.  Our sharp-eyed umpire awarded us a penalty stroke.  Emma Tolhurst stepped up to the mark and expertly flicked the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.

During the second half, play seemed to be concentrated on our right wing with the ball flying up and down the pitch and some fine crosses made by Alison Priest.  Jess Tarrant, with great skill, managed to storm through the Norwich City defenders and score.   Anna Seggons made some terrific runs and Jenny Meyer, in midfield, fought hard for every ball.   Norwich City fought back hard and managed a strike at goal but, luckily, it was diverted by our goal keeper.  Ellen Moodie ran through the Norwich defence line and struck the ball at goal; it neatly rolled past the keeper’s feet.  A good result!


Ladies 6th  Team V Norwich City 6s W 8-0

The ladies started this fixture determined to put right last weeks’ lapse in form. After a cautious start from both teams Magpies soon found their passing rhythm, great work in midfield from Flea Perry, Judith Masters and Holly Morris regularly forcing the turnover.
As ever Harleston Magpies defence kept alert; Good calling and encouragement from Imogen Flatt in goal ensured her defensive screen of Jane Collins, Marie Davy, Mary Nelson and Elena Flatt barely allowed Norwich to enter the attacking circle.
By half time, nerves had calmed as the team worked together to take to score to 3:0, with a goal from Janna Freeman and two from Rach Clifford.
This has been a season of highs and lows for the Ladies 6s. Sometimes we’ve secured the win whilst maybe all thinking we hadn’t played our best. This week, the whole team displayed their commitment to training and improvement, putting in place much of the tactics advised by this seasons’ coaches, Stu Field and Peter Dolton. Passing the ball well across the whole pitch, building play and working together as a unit. Forwards Janna Freeman, Rach Clifford, Laura Woodgate and Georgia Hood rotated play well between them, working in triangles to put Norwich under immense pressure. Three further goals came from Rach Clifford, and one for Georgia Hood. And much to the delight of our most enthusiastic supporter, Mr Scott, his daughter Georgia Scott completed the scoring with a well taken goal.
Many players, club members and supporters have played a huge part in the success of the Ladies 6s this season, it was pleasing to be able to thank them with such an emphatic last home win of the season that will surely have secured the league title.
Thank you to everyone who has played, umpired, run the bench, coached, trained, supported from the sidelines and generally had good fun with us this season.
Player of the match: Rach Clifford


Ladies 1st Team v Wimbledon L 0-6

Harleston Magpies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents, travelled to Wimbledon who were second in the league before the game. When Wimbledon travelled to Weybread earlier in the season the game was very close and Wimbledon narrowly won 4-3. 
Magpies knew the game was going to be a hard game, but knew if the could replicate their performance from last week they could compete against Wimbledon. The game started fairly evenly but Wimbledon gradually got into the game and they were moving the ball round he pitch and pulling Magpies press out of shape. The movement of the Wimbledon forwards meant they kept creating chances. Before Magpies knew it they were 2-0 to two well worked short corners from Wimbledon. Magpies kept trying to create some of their own chances, but Wimbledon were showing their class and managed to score two more goals before half time. 
In the second half Magpies continued to try and create some chances and to do the simple things well. The team managed to test the Wimbledon defence more than in the first half. But Wimbledon continued to threaten and the Magpies defence couldn’t keep them out and Wimbledon scored again. Towards the end of the game the Wimbledon pressure was too much and the Magpies defence conceded a penalty stroke in which Wimbledon converted. 
Next week Magpies travel to St Albans, for another tough game as St Albans came out winners when they came to Weybread earlier in the season, but Magpies will want to get back to winning ways to try and get the top four finish they are aiming for.
Squad: Lauren Barber (Captain), Jade Daly, Kristine Ayling, Katrina Sitch, Debbie Francis, Charlotte Harrison, Rose Winter, Lottie Summers, Katherine Ridley, Lizzie Clymer, Lauren Rowe, Louisa Greenacre, Emma Lee-Smith, Frances Burrell, and Lara Taylor.


Ladies 5th Team v Norwich City 5ths W 3-2

Norwich made a very rapid start taking advantage of magpies lethargic start.  Norwich early possession resulted in 6 short corners in the first ten minutes but speedy running our by Ruby and Talitha thwarted and good goalkeeping kept the ball out.  Magpies started to string some passes together and got a short corner of their own at the other end.  Talitha got a strike in and Jess Menzies was on hand to force the ball home getting on the scoresheet for the 3rd week in a row.
The strong wind was causing problems with communication and City soon equalised when a player who left unmarked received a inch perfect pass from Kate on the edge of the D.  She took the ball into the D and with no-one making a tackle calmly slotted the ball home.  Play continued end to end.  South African Kate was dominant in midfield for Norwich -luckily for magpies their forwards couldn’t quite get on the end of the passes.

With probably our worst half of hockey of the season over – half time discussions revolved around ball speed, accuracy of passing and setting a better press.  Something obviously worked as the magpies had more fight in the second half.  The midfield were working very hard to win possession in the middle of the park and confidence lifted.  Magpies started creating more chances and putting pressure on the defence.  Norwich however were solid in every department and took the lead midway through the second half.  If magpies were going to come away with a win they were going to have to dig deep and fight for every single ball.  The press was working better, Tibbenham stole the ball from a free hit and with the defender approaching slipped the ball to Ella whose shot was well saved the keeper.  Magpies were winning the ball just outside their 25 and Beth Moodie was doing some good runs down the right.  Tibbenham persisted in the D and despite having defenders around her managed to push the ball home to get the equaliser.  This seemed to spur magpies on even more and further pressure saw Vanessa Vigrass pop up at the left post to give magpies the lead.  Every player on the pitch fought hard to preserve this slender lead until the final whistle.

Norwich City 5ths had given magpies their toughest game since Christmas and probably deserved a draw.  No less than 9 of the 12 magpies players got a player of the match vote which shows what an all round team effort today was.  With Diss and Reepham both winning the chance of promotion has just been missed this year.  However a win next week will ensure the 5ths finish the season in 3rd.  An excellent performance bearing in mind 90% of the team moved up from development at the beginning of the season.  The progress made by all of these girls is clear to see and hopefully  next year we might gain promotion.


Ladies 2nd Team v Norwich City Ladies 1 W 2-1

After a tough start to the season, a turning point was the first game at Taverham where we enjoyed a fine 3 Nill win. This was the catalyst that saw an upturn in our fortunes as we have been in good form since, leading us to securie our position in the division.

Despite the big defeat last week at the champions ( Although we played well in our opinion ), the Ladies wanted to get back on the points trail. What better than a local derby against a City side who have been unlucky in recent weeks as they battle to survive the drop to Division 1.

As expected the game was a keenly contested battle with City playing a high press that at times had us struggling to move the ball around the park. When they got through, the defence was dogged with Lucy King dealing with any shots on goal. However it was certainly not one way traffic as we found a lot of joy in attacking areas. As mentioned before, this league is about taking your chances and Tor Findlay netted midway through the first half and then just before the break to get us a 2 goal interval league.

The second half through up similar patterns of play with City desperate to get back in the game. In truth their efforts gained reward as the game moved into the final quarter when they netted to halve the deficit. This set up a grandstand finish and despite a few alarms the ladies dug in and worked their socks off to record a solid 2-1 win.

This was a really good, hard earned win against determined opponents but the Ladies signed off their home campaign on a winning note
Magpies ended their home season with a record of Played 11, Won 3, Drew 6, Lost 2 picking up a vital 15 points in the process.
Last game of the season next week is an  away trip to already promoted Chelmsford


Girls Development v Yarmouth W 8-0

With the league administrators raising concerns about too many one sided results, Magpies played this game like someone with nine points on their licence who didn’t want to get caught speeding again.  

The team have a talented front line and took an early lead from a flowing passing move through Evie B to Amie H and on to Beth G for a simple tap-in to score.  An Ellie B goal followed soon after which prompted the coaches to ring the changes bringing on subs. Kate F, whose confidence in front of goal has increased as the season’s gone on, had a firm shot on goal saved by the keeper and Magpies also earnt a couple of short corners to keep the pressure on until the end of the quarter.

Much of the excitement for the second quarter revolved around Evie B who was full of energy all game.  She was at the centre of most the Magpies attacking play scoring a goal and also having a couple of shots saved by the keeper. Amie H also popped up to score to make it 4 goals to nil at half-time.

The second half saw the under-12 attacking duo of Amie H and Beth G combine well. Beth scored with a strong shot that deflected in off a defender’s stick before turning provider in passing moves that saw Amie score twice in quick succession.  Flo C, always a threat, had a decent shot that beat the keeper but rattled out off of the post.

In the final quarter the shape of the team was inverted with defenders in attack and vice-versa.  Harriet S, the team’s defensive rock, was shifted into the centre-forward role and scored a good goal, finding the space to drive into the D and beat the keeper with a low shot to the far post. With eight goals reached the remainder of the game fizzled out as Magpies, following the league protocol, shifted down a gear and took the foot further off the accelerator.

Team (Goals in brackets):
Catherine P (GK), Ellie B (1), Evie B (1), Tilly D, Emma F, Kate F, Amy F, Lily M, Rosie M, Florence C, Beth G (2), Amie H (3), Isabelle P, Jessica S, Harriet S (1).

Team Manager: Jane C


Harleston Magpies Ladies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents are away this Saturday  against Wimbledon starting at 3.00pm.

This will be one of Magpies toughest games of the season against second placed Wimbledon, who have been scoring goals for fun in the second half of the season. In their last four games they have beaten Horsham 4-0, Sevenoaks 3-0, Cambridge 6-1 and St Albans 4-0. They are the leading goal scorers in the League. Hampstead remain top because they crucially beat Wimbledon in the opening game of the season in September.

Magpies are also in a good form and produced one of their best performances of the season last week beating Sevenoaks at home 4-2. This result saw Magpies move up to 4th place in the League with 28 points, but eight points behind Wimbledon. Magpies will need to replicate the type of performance they produced away against Hampstead a few weeks ago where despite conceding a very early goal managed to stay in the game until quite late, before Hampstead finished 2-0 winners.

Louisa Greenacre returns to the squad but Jess Bloom is still out injured.


Lauren Barber (capt), Lizzie Clymer, Jade Daly, Katrina Sitch, Louisa Greenacre, Katherine Ridley, Debbie Francis, Frances Burrell, Charlotte Harrison, Lauren Rowe, Emma Lee-Smith, Lottie Summers,  Rose Winter, Lara Taylor and Kristine Ayling.


There was a jubilant atmosphere at The Nest on Saturday as the club welcomed a huge crowd including many sponsors to watch both first teams play at home and secure their promotion to the restructured National Leagues next season. The Ladies took the lead against Sevenoaks through Emma Lee-Smith but it wasn’t long before the visitors drew level. Lauren Rowe and Lottie Summers took Magpies up to 3-1 but Sevenoaks upped the pressure and converted a short corner before employing a kicking back to add an extra outfield player. The Magpies defence were able to absorb the threat and add another goal through Lizzie Clymer to win the game 4-2.

Following last week’s defeat away to Bedford the Men’s 1s were determined to put on a good performance against local rivals Norwich City. Captain Thomas Ridley followed up James Gray’s shot and deflected the ball past the ‘keeper but Magpies lacked cohesion and sloppy play allowed City to equalise. Ben Gowing lured a Norwich defender into conceding a penalty stroke which Dave Gilbert slotted home to take Magpies ahead again, with Gilbert extending the lead to 3-1 in the second half. The Men travel to bottom of the table Saffron Walden next week in the knowledge that a win will secure 2nd place in the league before the visit of St Albans on the last day of the season.

Whilst there were losses for both second teams, Saturday saw wins for the Men’s and Ladies 3s and 4s with the Men’s 4s notching up an impressive 7-1 result against Norwich Dragons. Grace Collison, Cassie Ayms and Victoria Spouncer threatened the Evergreens ‘D’ early on for the Ladies 4s before Alice Evans Hendricks deflected Cathrine Kilbourn’s short corner strike to go 1-0 up. Sophie Meynall Anderson connected with Emily Woollatt’s pass to double the lead before Cassie Ayms added the third which takes them safely to fourth in the table. 

The Girls Development team took a step closer to being crowned champions of their league with yet another emphatic win, this time against Norwich Dragons. Ellie (2), Grace and Amie gave Magpies a 4-0 lead before midfielders Evie and Kate got in on the act. Dragons continued to fight and score some well earned goals but Loulou, Ellie and Kate found the net and ensured a 9-3 result for Magpies. The Ladies 7s also scored 9 times when their young team hosted Dragons 8s, with goals from Anna S and Jess (2) taking the team into half time with a 3-0 lead. Ellen, Anna C (2) and Jenny Meyer got on the scoresheet and Anna S completed her hatrick to ensure the 7s remain in the top third of their league. 

On Sunday our U16 Boys and Girls made the long journey for their regional finals having qualified from the county group. The Boys will be disappointed with two defeats (vs Canterbury and Southgate) and a draw with Cambridge meaning they won’t progress to the National Finals this season. The U16 Girls were also drawn in a challenging group but started strongly with a 6-0 win over St Albans and a 1-0 victory over Canterbury. Following a 0-0 draw in the final game against a well drilled Southgate side Magpies topped the group but devastatingly missed out due to goal difference when Southgate beat Canterbury 3-0.  

The Men’s O50s travelled to Bury for the National Plate quarter final with a squad of thirteen due to injuries and lost trainers! Bury showed their class and youthfulness, taking the lead and responding immediately when Magpies fought back. Two goals from Jonathon Aldridge and one from Andy Catchpole weren’t enough to progress to the semi finals, final score 6-3. 

The Men’s 2s have an important weekend ahead of them, facing Sudbury at home (1.30pm) on Saturday before travelling to Cambridge University on Sunday. Last weekends defeat away at Norwich City leaves the team in the thick of a relegation battle amongst Crostyx and Wisbech with a game in hand and everything to play for. 


Ladies 7th Team v Norwich Dragons 8s W 9-0

What a difference a week makes and what an amazing score!  With a team of fifteen (mainly) youngsters, we began the match against Dragons, but soon had the upper hand.  We were awarded a couple of short corners and the second one went to Anna Seggons who scored.  With multiple changeovers, we didn’t lose our focus and young Jess Tarrant scored twice more before half time.  In fact, we kept one of the spectators busy changing the score numbers.

During the second half, Ellen Moodie swept the ball up the pitch and there was quite a melee within the circle with Magpie players striking the ball at goal.  Dragon’s goalkeeper diverted quite a few attempts but, eventually, Ellen scored.    Anna Cogdill managed to take the ball past Dragon’s defence into the circle and scored with a nice reverse stick strike.  Dragons’ players never gave up and had some excellent breaks yet Karen Hunt only touched the ball once.  Anna Seggons played superbly and scored twice more giving her a hat trick!  What a girl!  Next, Jenny Meyer, playing Centre Forward, smashed the ball into the goal from a great pass by Megan Dickson.  With the floodlights on the temperature dropping, Anna Cogdill scored our final goal.

Score:  9 – 0


On a some what inclement day weather wise the Magpies u16 girls produced some scintillating hockey at the Regional Finals at Southgate.
Having been drawn in one of the most challenging groups the country had to offer we knew that we were going to have to produce in all 3 games if we stood any chance of progressing.
A 6 0 opening win against St Albans set the tone with outstanding performances from all 15 in the squad. This was followed up by an outstanding 1 0 win against a very much fancied Canterbury side. As the wind strengthened we had to change our tactics using the conditions to our advantage throwing aerials from defence to find a way through a well disciplined defensive back four.
Having played a game more than Southgate due to Canterbury’s late arrival, we knew that we going to have to dig incredibly deep if we were to progress.
Southgate were a fantastically drilled side who looked liked they had played together for many years. Our defence and keeper for the first time were being really tested. The tired legs began to show as we looked to absorb the pressure and hit them on the counter. This tactic was working well with their coach commenting on how he was starting to feel the pressure. The final whistle came with the score  at 0 0. This left us top of the group on 7 points but with the rearranged Canterbury Southgate game to come we knew are hard work may come to nothing in terms of qualification to the National Finals.
This very disappointingly proved to be the case as Canterbury who now had nothing to play for were beaten 3 0 by Southgate meaning that Southgate went through on goal difference.
All the girls though should be extremely proud, undefeated and not conceding a goal to some incredibly high class opposition.

V Spouncer, A Slade, A Collison, E Pope, G Cantrell ( capt), H Lamdin, B Moodie, M Salsby, O Buchanan
A Wiseman, K Wheeler, M Warnes, D Ford, G Gardens, G Nicholls


Ladies 4th Team v Evergreens W 3-0

The ladies 4’s again set their alarm clocks and arrived in North Norfolk at 9.00am to play against  Evergreens 1’s.  Magpies were keen to return to winning ways and quickly pressed Evergreens back . With a few players unavailable due to being called up to the 3’s and work commitments and injuries the team soon settled into their rhythm.  Grace Collison was too quick and skilful on the left flank for the Evergreen defence and her persistence lead to early scoring opportunities for Cassie Ayms and Alice Evans Hendrick who were  looking dangerous in the D.  Victoria Spouncer made surging runs from full back and looked very composed on the ball, it was from one of her overlaps that we won a short corner.   Magpies had been working on their corner routines at training and an accurate injection from Emily Woollatt was firmly struck by Catherine Kilbourn which Alice EH skilfully deflected the ball into the goal to give Magpies a deserved 0-1 lead. Magpies 4’s strength has been playing attacking hockey and they continued to apply pressure on Evergreens. Sophie Baxter and Sophie Meynell Anderson linked up well on the right flank . Sophie Govier Schaay was very solid in winning tackle after tackle in the holding midfield role this gave opportunities for Magpies to launch numerous attacks.

After a positive half time team talk we started the half again positively.  Centre backs Izzy Slade and Catherine Kilbourn looked composed and dealt well with the Evergreens forwards. It wasn’t long before magpies scored again, Emily Woollatt received the ball in the corner of the D and skilfully beat her defender and crossed the ball for Sophie M A to calmly beat the keeper to make the score 0-2 .  As the game went on the team continued to play simple effective hockey, Victoria Spouncer and Sophie Baxter were still pushing forward at every opportunity. Hard work by Imi Ramsdale and Cassie helped magpies win another short corner, again another smooth routine was fired into the net by Cassie Ayms to make the score 0-3 to round off a good team performance.  Katy Davy didn’t have the busiest match in goal for Magpies but when she was called upon she made excellent saves. It was normal service resumed today , the 4’s have a really good team spirit/togetherness and with our last home game next Saturday against bottom team Dereham we are looking to finish the season positively.


Player of the match – Sophie Govier Schaay


Mens 1st Team v Norwich City W 3-1

Harleston Magpies, sponsored by Dynamic Sports, welcomed local rivals Norwich City to the Nest on a day of celebration for the club. The ladies team had secured a impressive 4-2 win over Sevenoaks to secure their own promotion and whilst the men’s team had achieved the same feat the week before they still wanted to put on a show for the expectant crowd. Moreover the team wanted to bounce back from defeat to Bedford and step closer to securing 2nd spot in the table.

Despite not being able to fully capitalise on their possession with some uncharacteristically sloppy passing Magpies looked to get on the front foot and pressure the Norwich side into mistakes. This pressure told early and Magpies were awarded a penalty corner. Harleston were unable to convert however a misplaced pass from the resultant Norwich free hit went straight to Jimmy Grey who immediately fired the ball back into the circle. Fortunately the magpies captain, Thomas Ridley, was still lurking in the D and cooly deflected the ball past the onrushing keeper.
Magpies looked to kick on from this early goal but the team just could not get any cohesion. Mis-traps and mis-passes were mounting up and any the home team were more and more frustrated by their own substandard play. Eventually one such mistake proved crucial and a mistrap in midfield by Timmy Whiteman was pounced upon by the Norwich forward. Despite what looked like a ‘robust’ tackle on the player coach the umpires let the play continue and with the defence out of position the Norwich forwards combined to slot the ball past Chris Leek in goal.
Magpies knew a response was needed and that if their usual free flowing hockey could not be found they would have to battle through and get the win with guts and determination. Magpies stepped up the pressure and started to create more chances. A number of short corners were won and one such chance fell to injector Ben Gowing. The local lad, normally so prolific, had a heavy first touch which fortunately lured the Norwich defender into a clumsy challenge on the goalline for which the home team were awarded a penalty stroke. Dave Gilbert calmly slotted the ball home to put Magpies back in front.

At half time Whiteman had some stern words and the whole squad agreed that the quality had to upped in the second half. Fortunately the Harleston team started to gain more control on the game. The back four started finding their midfielders with increasing regularity and the link up play between the lines produced some much more fluid hockey. The home team were looking more and more comfortable on the ball and started to demonstrate the controlled passing game that has frustrated so many visiting teams this season. Unfortunately for the home team the one aspect of the teams performance that they could not quite get up to par was their finishing. Despite the possession and territory Magpies too often spurned good chances in front of goal or failed to turn good positions into goal scoring chances.
Eventually however some more excellent pressure on the Norwich defence saw Magpies win the ball high up the pitch. The ball fell to Dave Gilbert who shifted the ball round the advancing goalie and cooly slotted into the empty net. No less than the home team deserved.
Magpies continued to control the pace and tempo of the game but were unable to add to their goal tally for the day running out 3-1 winners. Whilst perhaps the team would have wanted a bigger win in front of an impressive crowd they team know they underperformed in the first half but showed the character, as they have so often this season, to bounce back with a impressive second half performance. A win next week against bottom of the table Saffron Walden will secure 2nd place in the league before the big visit of St Albans on the last day of the season.


Ladies 1st Team v Sevenoaks W 4-2

Harleston Magpies sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents, welcomed Sevenoaks to Weybread in what was always going to be a close competitive match with both teams starting the day on the same points, with Sevenoaks ahead on goal difference.  
Magpies knew they needed to start strong and tight as Sevenoaks would be looking for revenge as Magpies won in the fixture earlier in the season 2-1. The team started how they wanted and were moving the ball around the pitch and started to cause trouble for the Sevenoaks defenders. A slick move that started from the back was calmly converted by Emma Lee-Smith for the opening goal. After this Sevenoaks started to build into the game and cause the Magpies defence some problems. Sevenoaks eventually broke through the Magpies press and found themselves 2 v 1 and calmly slotted home to equalise. This only fired up the Magpies Ladies and they continued to play flowing hockey all over the pitch from the defence to the forward line, which was rewarded with a goal from Lauren Rowe. 
The second half Magpies knew they are playing some of their best hockey of the season, but they knew Sevenoaks would come out fighting. Sevenoaks stepped up their pressure on Magpies, but Magpies kept calm and contained any threat that Sevenoaks tried to throw at them. Magpies kept searching for the third goal to create a 3-1 cushion and this breakthrough came when Lottie Summers picked up the ball in the D and found the net. Again Sevenoaks stepped up their pressure and were causing a lot more problems in the Magpies defence, who conceded a few short corners. Sevenoaks converted one of these. Sevenoaks then tried another tactic to try and get back into the game and went to a kicking back. Magpies absorbed the additional pressure of the extra outfield player and Lizzie Clymer then managed to score on the break. 
This was definitely the teams best performance of the season which they have been searching for since Christmas and this lead to a very happy team in the clubhouse after the game. This game also confirmed National League Division 1 status for next season.

Nest week Magpies travel to Wimbledon, for another tough game as Wimbledon currently sit second in the league with Magpies now in fourth. Magpies know they can compete with Wimbledon, after narrowly losing to Wimbledon at Weybread earlier in the season 4-3.
Squad: Lauren Barber (Captain), Jade Daly, Annie Nunn, Kristine Ayling, Katrina Sitch, Debbie Francis, Charlotte Harrison, Rose Winter, Lottie Summers, Katherine Ridley, Georgie Cantrell, Lizzie Clymer, Lauren Rowe, Emma Lee-Smith, Frances Burrell, and Lara Taylor.


Ladies 2nd Team v Bromley & Beckenham L1-5

We knew from our game at home earlier in the season that Brom Beck are the class outfit in the division. They have stormed to promotion with 4 games to spare so we knew the task on our hands as we travelled to Langley School for this lunch time start.

The home side started fast and  netted within the first 3 minutes following a deft flick into the corner of the net. The home side were moving the ball swiftly around the park and were looking very threatening. However a theme through the season has been our battling qualities as we started to press well on the BB back line.. Aoife Lowe Davies fired away a super drag flick from a PC only to be denied by a flying save from the home keeper. We were really pressing hard at this stage and Georgie Gardens nearly scored another copybook reverse stick effort but was denied by a excellent save low down near the post.

The game was very end to end and BB were making some classy moves in and around our D but when they got a sight of goal they were denied by some good blocks by Abi Lewis who was making her EWL debut in goal. Still the game was very open with both sides pressing well and we were getting decent positions by hustling the opposition into errors.
Just before half time, Jess Howland fired the ball home direct from a penalty corner but it was chalked off as it was deemed to have been marginally too high. Small margins for sure as just on the whistle BB doubled their lead when they netted after a swift break.

Knowing that the next goal in the game would be pivotal we started the second half on the front foot and once again pressed the opposition well. Seven minutes into the second half, we bagged a lifeline back into the game. Sophia Bassett drove from the half way line right into the heart of the home sides defence skilfully evading defenders. She then showed desire to win a 50/50 at the top of the D before finding Laura Tibbenham who tucked the chance away.

Buoyed by this, we did start to really push the home side back and from another good attack Anouska Stott struck narrowly wide with a snap shot that had the keeper beaten.
BromBeck were then stung back into life and broke up play on the halfway line before getting to the bye line to square back to the penalty spot where a neat finish was applied.

We were still battling hard and BB were quite happy to sit in and try pick the Pies off on the break. With time running out, a fast break plus a well worked PC saw the Champions run out winners by a slightly flattering 5 goals to one.

Firstly, full congratulations to Brom Beck on securing promotion and for winning the league securing National League status. We contributed fully to a very entertaining game where we battled hard and took the game to the opposition whenever we could.

This was only our 2nd defeat in 11 games and this run of excellent form has been down to hard work and endeavour from all who have played for the 2’s this year. With other results going our way over the weekend, we are clear of the relegation zone with our Premier Division status ensured. However we want to finish the season on a high and look forward to entertaining Norwich City down at the Nest in our last home game of the season.


Ladies 6th Team v Norwich Dragons 7s L 2-4

With promotion surely secured, the Ladies 6s used today as an opportunity to try out a few new things from training.
A shift in formation to play a more attacking style led to Magpies securing much more of the possession; Georgia Scott, Holly Morris and Flea Perry worked hard in midfield.
Great passing play from forwards Laura Woodgate, Rachael Clifford led to an early goal through Janna Freeman.
Dragons fought back well, finding a sneaky path through Magpies defences to score.
Second half Magpies knew they’d have to work hard. Imogen Flatt was kept busy in goal blocking several shots supported by great tackling from her sister Elena Flatt. Defenders Jane Collins, Marie Davy, Mary Nelson and Kristina Brinkley put in place effective transfer play round the back to clear the ball upfield. Judith Masters making the most of one such clearance when she made an excellent lead in front of her defender to score Magpies’ 2nd.
However Dragons came back well, their need for points to avoid relegation perhaps giving them the greater competitive edge over Magpies, they pounced on every ball in open play and took every opportunity in the circle, scoring quickly to take their lead to 4:2.
Magpies kicked back into gear, holding Dragons back in their half for much of the last quarter of the match. However the goals just wouldn’t come today as Dragons flooded their circle determined to see the game out and secure the win.
Players of the match: Jane Collins and Georgia Scott. 


Mens 2nd Team v Norwich City L 1-4

It’s hard to write a match report when you feel so deflated after a game but it is important to document any result. When you’re at the bottom end of the league the run of the green can play a huge part in a game. Today was one of those days.
We headed to relegation strugglers Norwich on the back of a superb win last week, hoping to maintain some momentum and pick up more points.
We welcomed John Livings in between the posts and the team remained fairly unchanged just missing hat trick hero Andy Hipwell who was away skiing.
We pressed hard as we always do but Norwich got the vital first goal and from there it was like climbing Everest.
We had chances and had by far the most possession but a game can be won or lost in the first 15 minutes and sadly this was true today. Some superb attacking play saw Norwich score some slick break away goals and for most there was nothing John could do about them. Dave Francis pulled one back for us and Kinsella had chances but was unable to put them away. Greg Jagger worked tirelessly upfront and Lawrence Baynes must be eating at least 3 Weetabix every Saturday morning as he was dominant in the middle again. It was good to see Tris Baynes get 70 minutes under his belt after the ongoing hamstring issues.
We face Sudbury at home next Saturday and still are very much in Div 1 and are still very much the authors of our own destiny.
Thanks again to Bob Skinner for his sideline management and words of wisdom.


Girls Development v Norwich Dragons W 9-3

With back-to-back first team games on the other pitch, there were crowds of people down at the nest this afternoon as girl’s development took one more step towards the league title beating Dragons 9 goals to three.

The girl’s started off at one-hundred miles an hour racing to a four – nil lead by the end of the first quarter.   As per last week Ellie B and Amie H were aggressive in attack, the first goal came from Ellie following up on a strong shot from Amie which rebounded off of the keeper.  Jessica S and Loulou F then combined well to create a simple tap in for Grace S at the back post.  

Dragons posed a threat on the counter attack all match and one such break-away brought Georgia F in goal into the action, kicking away a shot from the right side of the D. Amie and Ellie continued the assault on the Dragons goal. Amie scored with a characteristically strong shot, minutes later putting Ellie through with a sublime pass; Ellie beat the last defender with some excellent reverse-stick work before rounding the keeper to finish off an good first quarter.

The second quarter saw more emphatic goals, this time from the mid-fielders.  Evie B driving into the D to shoot home and then Kate F got in on the act scoring with a thunderous long range shot.  Rosie M provided further threat, picking up the ball from half-way and running it forward well, willingly taking on the Dragon’s defenders.  

After half-time the Magpies performance tailed off considerably and Dragons matched them goal for goal.  Early pressure saw Georgia in the Magpies goal fall awkwardly, twisting her knee and back, whilst making a save. Dragons were quickest to the follow-up to score into the roof of the net via a deflection.  

Loulou and Ellie B scored two more for Magpies and Kate F, who obviously had her shooting boots on today, also got one with another fantastic long-range effort.  Dragon’s scored two more on the break and celebrated each one with enthusiasm, the only team to score more than one goal in a game against Magpies development this season. Good work in defence, especially from Tilly D provided protection for the reduced mobility keeper, maintaining the lead until the final whistle. 

Magpies now have one hand on the league title with two games to go. 

Team (goals in brackets): Amie H (1) Evie B (1), Rosie M, Lily M, Amy F, Jessica S, Loulou F (1), Emma F, Kate F (2), Ellie B (3), Harriet S, Grace S (1) Isabelle P, Tilly D, Georgia F GK

Coach: Jane Collins.