Photo Courtesy of Pat Leate
Photo Courtesy of Pat Leate


With water dripping from the clubhouse ceiling and early results disappointing, except for the excellent win by the Girls’ Development over Watton, last Saturday seemed to be heading for the worst day of the season so far. But gradually the sun began to come out even if only metaphorically. The Men’s 2nds beat City of Peterborough 3rds in a must-win home game and gradually news filtered through from away that the Ladies 1sts, 2nds and 5ths had all won and the Men’s 1sts had come from three goals behind to beat league leaders Old Loughtonians 4-3.

With two really tough games coming up, including at home to 100% league leaders Sevenoaks this coming Sunday (2.00), it was desirable that the Ladies’ 1sts got back to winning ways against Chelmsford (after their defeat by Hampstead and Westminster) so the news of their 2-1 win was heartening to say the least. Maria Andrews put them ahead after a driving run and centre by captain Lucy Belsey before Maria doubled their lead with an unstoppable strike at a penalty corner. Further opportunities came and went before Chelmsford pulled a goal back early in the second half but the Magpies’ defence held firm for three vital points to take the team up to third place. Meanwhile the Ladies’ 2nds beat Bury St Edmunds 2-0 without being at their best in a game described by captain Plum Sweet as having a frantic feel about it. Jess Howland got the first goal with Laura Tibbenham clinching victory in the second half. This Saturday the team host Lowestoft (12.00).

The Ladies’ 5ths won for the third successive game coming from behind to beat Broadland 2nds 4-1. Georgie Gardens rounded the goalkeeper for their equaliser before captain Jose Tibbenham scored twice following good crosses from Rachel Holloway and Grace Collison and Janna Freeman scored the fourth.

The Men’s 2nds just had to beat Peterborough 3rds and they did so by two goals to one. Tom Hughes put them ahead early in the game and the visitors equalised fifteen minutes into the second half with a neat deflection at a penalty corner. Magpies hit back quickly and Matt Bensly scored for the second week running hooking the ball into the net at a penalty corner for the vital winner. Dickon Taylor and Iain Cumming were in good form at the back with Iain reminding me after the game that he didn’t give away a penalty corner! This Saturday the team are away to Norwich City 2nds (2.30).

It’s about time I commented on the Men’s 1sts remarkable win over 100% league leaders Old Loughtonians. Two down at half time Magpies slipped further behind ten minutes into the second half before the floodgates opened at the other end (shades of Oxted last season but in reverse) with goals by Myles King (18th minute), Jack Knight (25th), Matt Richardson (28th) and the winner from Jack with his second four minutes from time. Two of the goals were from penalty corners so things are really looking up in this aspect of the team’s play. They went into the game without Robbie Kinsella due to illness and they had to play the second half without the injured James Meek. Just five points behind new league leaders St Albans Magpies are at home to Cambridge City 2nds this Saturday (2.00).

FUN CASINO EVENING Saturday 26 November (7.30pm)
Have you got your tickets yet please for this prestigious black tie event? They are £20 each andavailable at the clubhouse bar or from Kevin and Jackie Ridley on 01379 854697 or 07815 199803. You will be very welcome.

Last weekend got off to a bad start when on Friday evening Kirstin Cumming and Nick McAllen noticed cold water dripping from the ceiling in the lounge area of the clubhouse and things got even worse at about 1.00pm on Saturday when hot water began dripping from the ceiling!

Back to Friday evening. Kirstin and Nick called for the urgent help of local builder Paul Nelson and Jose Tibbenham and the problem was diagnosed as a leaking cold water tank. With the help of Paul’s wife Sally the tank was drained and the loft mopped up saving the ceiling from falling in while a cover was put on the carpet below. This meant the men’s showers were out of commission over the weekend pending the installation of a new tank. The club’s thanks are due to the aforementioned for all their trouble.

All seemed to be under control on Saturday except for the lack of men’s showers (the visiting teams having been contacted and told that alternative arrangements would be made for showers elsewhere in the clubhouse) when the next dripping episode reared its ugly head. Once again Kirstin jumped into action and with the advice of sundry members ringing in her ears managed to get the dripping to stop. Thanks go to Kirstin and to the other members for their help and to the visiting men’s teams for their understanding. The matter is now in the hands of Paul and his plumber.

Playing-wise Saturday got off to an encouraging start with the Girls’ Development producing a really good team performance to beat Watton 8-0 with goals by Evie Brice (3), Jessica Tarrant, Anna Cogdell, Beth Gardens and Kiera Wheeler (2). But gloom (and rain) set in with the Ladies’ 6ths going down 4-1 (Beth Moodie) to Breckland while on adjoining pitches the Ladies’ 4ths were going down 4-0 to Broadland after conceding a first minute goal and the generally young Men’s 5ths were losing 7-0 to a strong Watton side. Both Magpies’ team had good spells with the Men pressing hard both sides of half time while the Ladies mounted several promising attacks without finding a way passed a sound Broadland defence. We then heard that the Men’s 6ths had lost 4-0 away to a very strong Bury St Edmunds 5ths despite good performances by Louis Calvert, Jack Largent, Graham Mobbs and goalkeeper Steve Halliley. So no cheer there. Back to Weybread where the Ladies’ 3rds were up against league leaders UEA and they put in a good performance despite going down 3-0 thereby bringing to an end their excellent run of results.

AUCTION OF PROMISES Saturday 4 March 2017
Details to follow later this week. Please put the date in your diary!

Away from home the Ladies’ 7ths went down 4-0 to Broadland 3rds while the Men’s 4ths lost 3-2 to Ipswich Cranes in a game they let slip in a poor 10-minute spell just after half time during which the home team scored all their goals. Morgan Manly had put Magpies ahead in the first half and Kieran Peters reduced the arrears with a trademark reverse stick shot during the last twenty minutes played largely in the home half without Magpies being able to find the equaliser.

The gloom gradually began to lift as detailed earlier and things got even better when in the last game of the day at Weybread the Men’s 3rds retained their 100% record by beating Sudbury 2nds 4-1. Magpies took the lead through Greg Jagger but Sudbury hit back. However, with two minutes remaining in the first half their goalkeeper took a frightful blow which his protection quite evidently did little to soften. The umpires sensibly blew for half time and the restart was delayed by several minutes while the player was assisted from the pitch and a team-mate padded up. Magpies took advantage of Sudbury now being down to ten players with Phil Cobbald firing in a penalty corner, captain Matt Brand scoring a fine individual goal and Gavin Cole finding the net for the eighth successive game. The game was also notable for Gavin’s father Brian (and my chief assistant and highly trained scoreboard operative) being absent for the first time in many seasons following a knee replacement operation last Thursday. Best wishes Brian for your speedy recovery.

It is now time for a quick canter through the England Hockey league and cup matches featuring our sides on Sunday. On a cold Weybread morning the U14 Girls were soon into their stride going on to beat Bury St Edmunds 10-1 with goals by Ellen Pope (3), Georgie Gardens (2) and Georgie Cantrell with five in an impressive squad performance while over on the other pitch the U14 Boys were also in league action doing even better (in the unlikely event of such comparisons being valid) beating Sudbury 12-0. Jude Pottruff followed up his seven goals in the team’s previous match with another six while Ollie Mayhew (on debut) scored 3 with the other goals coming from Michael Ahrens, Ed Brice and Tom Caston.

Later in the day at a now slightly warmer Weybread the Men’s O50s were moving into the 3rd round of the EH Cup with a 3-1 home win over old adversaries Ipswich. The teams were well matched in a goalless first half before captain Jon Aldridge put Magpies on the road to victory with a spectacular shot into the top corner of the Ipswich net. David Blackmore put Magpies further ahead with a firm shot from the edge of the circle and Roger Kent (making a welcome appearance with Jon Wells and Clyde Camburn) added the third after good work by Andy Caston. Ipswich pulled a goal back five minutes from time when Andy Cook converted a penalty corner. Magpies are away to City of Peterborough in the next round on  Sunday 27 November.

Away from home the U18 Girls edged into the 3rd round of the EH Cup the hard way beating Dereham 6-5 on strokes having earlier let slip a 3-0 lead gained with goals by Alice Woollatt, Hannah de Selincourt and Abby Gooderham to draw 3-3. The scorers in the penalty shoot-out were Abby (2), Charlotte Seaman (2), Hannah and Anna Tighe with goalkeeper Alice Gooch making some good saves. The U16 Girls drew 1-1 away to Norwich City with Mia King scoring in the first half and Holly Riches playing well in goal before City got a deserved equaliser in the last two minutes.

Last but not least the Ladies’ O35s making their debut in the EH Cup went down 4-2 on strokes after a 3-3 draw away to a younger Bedford side. Magpies were three times ahead through Anouska Stott, Kate Russell and Charlie Harrison before being edged out by a last minute equaliser followed by the strokes.

Good luck to all our teams this weekend including on Sunday the Men’s O40s hosting City of Peterborough (12.00) in their EH Cup clash and our teams competing in the Pelicans’ Minis and the Norfolk U16/U18 Boys and U16 Girls’ indoor championships. Please see the website for the full list of fixtures.

With kind regards
Mike Denham
[email protected]
8/11/16 sponsored by IceniPost