Match report – U18 Boys at National Indoor Club Finals 23/24 January 2016



Magpies Boys U18s travelled to Nottingham seeking national glory against the best clubs in England. The first day started strongly, with Harleston opening their account with an important opening 5-3 win against a very strong Surbiton side. This set the tone for the weekend and gave Magpies confidence going forward into the rest of the tournament. Next up were Ashmoor Hockey club; Harleston scored freely playing very attacking hockey, spreading the goals around the squad nicely in a 7-1 victory, leaving them leading their pool at the end of the first day.

The second day began by pitting the Norfolk side up against an improving City of York. Magpies again played strongly and ran out comfortable 5-0 winners, with Zum Akhter again showing his short corner scoring prowess. Needing only a draw from their final pool game to top the group, Magpies ground out a 3-1 win against a very strong Stourport team, in a cagey match, setting up a semi final clash against fellow East team, City of Peterborough. Magpies had used their squad well meaning the team was still fresh enough to further raise their game, delivering their best performance so far. Zum Akhter again put on a masterclass from the back scoring a memorable reverse stick goal and with goalkeeper Donnie Archer in top form making some breathtaking saves, Magpies were able to hold on win 5-2 in convincing fashion, earning a spot in the final against tournament favourites, the star-studded, Beeston. Magpies were in inspired form and played at a high intensity that Beeston couldn’t match. An early Akhter penalty stroke followed by a mazy solo dribble and the goal of the tournament from Toby Price set Magpies up well at half time. Beeston pulled one back, but a trademark Akhter flick gave Harleston Magpies the cushion they needed to hold on for a 3-1 win.

This really was an incredible performance by the Magpies boys squad, finishing their Magpies junior careers on the highest possible note by crowning themselves champions of England and the announcing themselves as the best junior team in the country.

Richard Larkin

NB. A fuller report will follow later.