2nd February 2008

Harleston Magpies Ladies, sponsored by Kitchen Sense of Harleston, return to League action for the first time since Nov 24th when they play Loughborough University away on Saturday at 2.00 in their English League Division I game.

This unreasonable long break in the English Hockey calendar does not make life very easy and Magpies will be trying to get back into their stride as quickly as possible after the long break. The break did not come at a good time for Magpies as having battled all season with a very young and inexperienced side they had just recorded their first League win of the season against Sutton Coldfield and were showing signs of having learnt to compete at this level.

Unfortunately the Indoor season has seen Magpies lose Laura Parker to the dreaded metatarsal injury and she will be out for several more weeks. Ellie Blake is also away on her gap year now but Naomi Hull who ironically is away at Loughborough University will play for Magpies for the rest of the season. Her experience should be invaluable.

Magpies lost 1-0 to Loughborough earlier in the season in a tight game but this will be a tough game as Loughborough will have had all the advantages in terms of preparing for the restart of the League programme.

SQUAD FROM: Louisa Greenacre (Capt), Lucy Hayman, Helen Brook, Lucy Miller, Amy Tuffs, Artemis Clark, Katrina Warnes, Naomi Hull, Amelia Thomson, Debbie McAllen, Jess Hull, Kathryn Hinsley, Cherry Seaborn and Angie Wheelhouse.

Harleston Magpies Men, sponsored by Durrants, eased further ahead of St Albans following the convincing win over a poor Broxbourne side and St Albans shock draw at Ipswich. Whilst St Albans have one game in hand on their close rivals there is an eight point gap between Magpies and the chasing pack. This weekend sees Magpies take on fourth placed Blueharts, and St Albans and Cambridge meet in a third versus second. Cambridge City appear to be the form team and it wpuld be suprising if they did not get a point although Albans are going to have to bounce back from last wekend’s draw at Ipswich if they are not to lose touch with Magpies. Magpies meanwhile have to take each game at a time and leave it to their nearest rivals to deal with the pressure to make up ground.

Robert Stimpson said after the Broxbourne game “We met Broxbourne on a day when they did not perform however our squad played well and we would have beaten most sides in the league with this form. It is encouraging to see the depth of the squad as this victory was achieved without our under eighteens Jimmie Wheeler, Carl Sitch and Chris Barber. We are trying to develop a larger squad of quality players and this weekend gave us an opportunity to play other players. Wheeler and Sitch return for the Blueharts game.”