MIKE’S MUSINGS – 23 March 2010

U10’s to O70’s

As we know one of the joys of hockey is that it is a sport for all ages and this was never truer than last Sunday when the club fielded teams with the ages of players ranging from under 10 to over 70!

So where better to start this week than with congratulations to the U10 Boys and U12 Boys, coached by Stuart Peters, for winning their respective Norfolk Championship at Gresham’s School. And they did so with victory in all their matches with plenty of goals for and very few against. They now go on to represent the county in the East Club Minis Finals being hosted by the club over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 17/18 April.

At the other end of the age range (although not all the players were over 70!) the Senior Veterans entertained England LX for their annual encounter expertly organised as usual by Tony and Sue Williams. Thank you Sue for the splendid luncheon! The visitors deservedly won 3-0 to make the overall record five wins apiece with two draws. The pace was fairly sedate (although some skilful hockey was played) and I couldn’t help saying to John Pestell, the Magpies’ right winger, that he was allowed to break into a walk if he so wished! It was an enjoyable game to watch in welcome sunshine and good to see some ex-HMHC regulars, such as Keith Alexander, Peter Halls, Les Howlett, Dick Ling, Dick Naunton and Kim Steggles, back in action in addition to Tony Williams playing as usual for the LX.

The day before, as part of another busy weekend at the club, the Ladies’ 2nds did well to draw 2-2 with league champions Lowestoft and the play was a credit to the respective coaches (Jason Harness for Magpies and Clyde Camburn for Lowestoft) with Lauren Mickleburgh thumping in the penalty corner equaliser for Magpies with two minutes to go. Next up were the Men’s 1sts who beat Oxted 1-0 in a match notable for another commanding game in the middle by Richard Gill and two outstanding goalkeeping displays – by Richard Harms for Magpies and by Ben Shorten for Oxted, with the latter playing surely the game of his life. Congratulations to Simon Hipwell for finding a way to beat Ben in the first half. Best wishes to Stuart Leate who was taken ill shortly before the match.

The highlight of the Men’s 3rds 7-1 win over Bury 2nds was skipper/manager (and soon to be married) Mark Lewis coming off the bench for his first action of the season to convert a penalty stroke in fine style before immediately cart wheeling off the pitch – and we all thought he had a bad back!

Meanwhile the Men’s 2nds were in generous form away to Ipswich 2nds allowing their opponents to progress from minus one point for the season to plus two (!) before returning to form on Sunday with a hard earned but deserved 1-0 win over Harpenden (in a match excellently umpired by Ray Allum and Trevor Norman) with leading scorer Robbie Kinsella converting a penalty stroke on his 30th birthday. Many happy returns Robbie!

Other news and comments in brief

§ Congratulations to Gareth Furlong (who has enjoyed an outstanding season for the 1sts) on being selected to represent Wales U18s against Scotland in a three-match series in Largs over Easter.

§ Well done to Andy Palmer who scored his first ever goal while playing for the 6ths last Saturday!

§ With the regrettable relegation of Dereham Men there will be no Norfolk team in next season’s East Premier A – a sad decline in Norfolk hockey for those of us with fond and long memories of playing against Norwich Exiles, Norwich Grasshoppers and Norfolk Wanderers when all three sides were among the best in the East.

§ It would be a big boost to the club if Dereham Ladies take a point (or better) against Saffron Walden in their last game to win promotion to the national league after missing out so narrowly last season.

§ The Men’s 5ths gained an excellent 4-3 win over league champions Ipswich Crane last Sunday with Craig Whipps converting a vital penalty stroke soon after accidentally hitting Rob Goodson in the face. Fortunately Rob is OK after being glued up in hospital!

§ Please note your diary with the End of Season Bash (disco and hog roast & pudding) to be held at the club on Saturday 8 May (7.30pm). Tickets – Adults £10 and U13 £5 – are available from the clubhouse bar.

With the exception of the Ladies’ 2nds who play Ipswich 2nds on Saturday April 10 this weekend sees the end of another league season. On Saturday the Ladies’ 1sts (after their narrow defeat at Ipswich) entertain Sevenoaks (N.B. 2.00) who still have a chance to overtake league leaders Ipswich while the Men’s 1sts are away to Sevenoaks on Sunday (2.00) looking for at least the draw to enable them to stay above their opponents for an excellent 6th place. Please see the Home Page of the club’s website for a list of all this weekend’s matches. Good luck to all our teams.

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham 01603 506925 MDenham975@aol.com 23/3/10