U14s Magpies Girls and Boys through to England Hockey National Finals in style!
Harleston Magpies hockey club are celebrating a super Sunday of hockey which saw both the U14 girls and U14 boys team quality for the England Hockey U14s national finals in May.
After two tough matches for the boys, who hosted the regional finals at home in Weybread, and three challenging matches for the girls away in Ipswich, the two young teams can now look forward to the national finals at Lee Valley London on 12 and 13 May.
Mark Emms, team manager for the u14 boys said; ‘Our boys played some really strong hockey today and they thoroughly deserve their chance to represent Magpies in the last eight at the national finals. It’s fantastic to see the club getting both of its U14’s teams through to this stage of the competition.”
U14s manager John Pope said: ‘It’s been seven years of hard graft for this Magpies U14 girls’ team. We are absolutely delighted that today they deservedly qualified for the national hockey finals. The girls’ performance was marked not least for the hard graft across the whole team, starting line-up and subs alike. Defence and midfield fought like Trojans to give our attack the platform to succeed. All our team were stars on the day. I want to play tribute to everyone who has worked so hard to get this result, but most particularly to our friend, mentor and sorely missed Magpies senior coach, David Brook, who recently lost his two year battle with cancer. David coached most of these girls from aged seven, and he would have been immensely proud of their achievements today.’
Magpies Boys hosted the East Pool B Area regional finals on Sunday 25 March at Weybread. Due to the late withdrawal of Braintree, Magpies were reduced to two games only to be played against Old Merchant Taylors (OMT) hockey club and Amersham and Chalfont (A&C) hockey club.
Magpies played the better hockey in the first game against OMT and led 1-0 at half time from an Ollie Currie tap in. Magpies gave OMT a couple of chances in the second half, but held on to win their first game, a slightly nervy 1-0.
Knowing a win or a draw would qualify them for the national finals Magpies saved their best hockey for the final game against A&C. Magpies took the lead when they finally decided to transfer the ball round the back of the defence, much to the relief of their management team. This released Ben Waters to move down the baseline to cross for Taylor to finish from close range. Against the run of play, A&C then showed great character to score an equaliser. Magpies quickly responded, moving the ball from the push back and winning a short corner. Captain Brice varied the play to dribble in past the four defenders and gave Ollie Currie to get the final touch on the line to make it 2-1 to Magpies. The second half saw A&C pushing for an equaliser, but this left gaps in the midfield which allowed Bardwell to find Currie, who’s threaded through ball launched a rampaging Waters down the right, who then crossed from wide out on the baseline to find Taylor on hand around the p-spot to make it 3-1 Magpies. With A&C tiring, Taylor was released for a breakaway solo effort making the final score 4-1. The whole team played with great effort, in the right spirit and really deserve their chance to progress to the National Finals on 12th May, with pool games at Old Loughtonians Hockey Club and finals at Lee Valley in London.
The girls played away in Ipswich, with three games against Ipswich and East Suffolk (IES), Cambridge City and Amersham and Chalfont. The first game against IES saw Magpies attack from the outset, with a fast pace from both sides, but Magpies had the upper hand throughout and won 4 nil.
The next match was against A&C, who looked to be tougher opponents. Magpies started where they left off with IES and after an end-end skirmish, Georgie found herself clear in midfield to dribble through the third quarter finding Keira in the D who, snuck the ball past the keeper. Amersham continued to put up fierce resistance with pressure of their own. Minutes later, Honey found herself clear in the D after Georgie had yet again pierced the opposition’s armour, and calmly slotted in the second goal. The second half was marked by, one minute in, a classic Georgie reverse that surprised the A&C defence before they were back into their stride and that settled the second match, three nil.
The Magpies girls entered the final match against Cambridge City knowing a draw was sufficient to qualify for the finals, but seeking a win. It was our toughest game by far. Magpies shaved the first half and it was and end-end battle throughout but ended nil nil after a tense final few minutes. With a tournament clean team sheet for goalkeeper Grace and the defensive team, Magpies deservedly took the top slot.
Pictured: Magpies’ U14s girls and boys youth teams who have qualified for the England Hockey national U14s finals in May, plus an action shot of the girls playing Ends…
For more information please contact Bex Pottruff, Press and Publicity Officer for Harleston Magpies Hockey Club on email@example.com or 07500 945247
One final footnote: this is the final of many teams, several of whom have received national honours, that our friend, mentor and sorely missed senior coach, David Brook, who recently lost his 2-year battle with cancer, saw through to their teens. He was not a believer in the afterlife but there was a definite sense he was with us today and would have been very proud.
Team: Abi, Amelia, Amy, Ellen, Emma, Georgie, Grace, Holly, Honey, Jessica M, Jessica T, Keira, Ruby, Sophie, Talitha, Victoria
Bench: Jim Menzies (Coach), John Pope (Team Manager), Rob Slade (Patching up)