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In all the years I’ve been writing this column I have never headlined a thumping defeat for one of our teams but I just have to this week as the 8-4 loss the Men’s 1sts suffered at the hands of Oxted last Sunday was quite extraordinary. Magpies played some outstanding hockey in the first half putting their hosts under pressure from the start. Sam Rowe scored following up a shot from Ben Wright which had hit a post and soon afterwards Toby Price, who was on top form, cut in from the left to present Sam with an open goal for his second. Toby then got on the scoresheet from a tight angle to the left of the goal to make it 3-0 at half time. When Ben Wright converted a penalty stroke five minutes into the second half even I was cautiously sensing a famous victory. Unfortunately Oxted took advantage of a poor clearance to score a goal similar to Toby’s and from that moment on they were a rejuvenated team despite having a player sent off with a yellow and losing another through injury. By now Magpies were on the back foot, not helped by three yellows and injuries to Stuart Leate and Matt Riches, and they looked a shadow of the team which had played with such flair and pace in the first half. As soon as Oxted, who were now pouring forward at every opportunity, had got their second there was no stopping them and goals rained in much to the delight of the home crowd who had been extremely critical of their team and especially of their goalkeeper for their earlier defensive frailties. After their second successive 8-4 victory Oxted are now second in the league. In considering this defeat it is to be hoped that the Magpies’ squad will not forget how well they played in the first half while obviously examining why the floodgates opened in the second half. This coming Saturday the squad are away to Teddington (12.30) which sees Magpies’ skipper Leigh Sitch coming up against brother Carl. Sorry Carl – for once I want you to be in the losing team!

Back to Saturday at Weybread. Of the seven games we won four, drew one, lost one with the other one conceded by UEA 3rds to the Men’s 6ths due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’.

The Ladies’ 3rds got the day off to a good start beating Carrow 5-1 with goals by Charlotte Rourke-Beasley, Laura Betts (2), Alice Woollatt and Sophie Baxter before the Men’s 2nds went down 5-1 to now table-topping Letchworth. After the visitors took an early lead Sam Moore (who it was good to see playing again) forced a penalty corner at which David Francis found an inviting gap in their defence for the equaliser. Letchworth then went back in the lead on their way to a 5-1 win but not before Magpies’ keeper James Lane (who had a good game) saved their second penalty stroke. Magpies have still to pick up a point this season but it has been their misfortune to play the top five teams in their first five games. This Saturday they are away to City of Peterborough 2nds (2.30).

Meanwhile the Ladies’ 5ths were getting their first win of the season beating Carrow 2nds 6-0 with goals by Imogen Meynell-Anderson, Georgie Cantrell (2), Rachel Clifford, Alice Evans-Hendrick and captain Jose Tibbenham.

Lucy Belsey-Lizzie Clymer-Debbie Francis-Lauren Barber-Charlie Harrison

Next up were the Ladies’ 1sts entertaining Sevenoaks and looking for their first home win of the season. Sevenoaks took the lead at a penalty corner in the 26th minute against the run of play but Magpies were soon on level terms through Lucy Whiting. The visitors regained the lead midway through the second half at another penalty corner but Magpies again found an equaliser with six minutes remaining when in-form Lizzie Clymer rounded off a penalty corner variation. The point was the least that Magpies deserved and they had chances for all three. This Saturday the team are at home again and this time to Maidenhead (2.00).

The Men’s 5ths gained their first win of the season beating Felixstowe 3rds 4-1 with two goals apiece by Andy Caston and Alex Kilbourn who again demonstrated his promising skills while the ever-enthusiastic Peter Dolton needs to spend time working on his so-called aerials! Over on the other pitchthe Ladies’ 4ths were moving to the top of their league beating Loddon 4-0. They were two up at half time through Laura Tibbenham and after the break Mia King coolly converted a penalty stroke before Laura and Sarah Legg combined for Sarah to find the net in fine style. Rosie Blackmore, Nicole Eaves and Phoebe Preece were solid in defence and after the game the team celebrated (one day early) captain Treacle Griffin’s birthday. Treacle’s cake (made by Rosie) had 21 on it!

Away from home there was more success for the club. The Ladies’ 7ths recovered from a goal down to beat Hornets 2-1 (Karen Ray and Shirley McAllen) and the Men’s 4ths made light of an early calamitous mix-up involving goalkeeper (and club chairman) Murray Graham and defender Jerry Blackmore (so much for experienced veterans!) to beat UEA 2nds 6-1. Their goals were scored by Tom Norton (2), Fabian Mitchell and Kieran Peters (3). Stuart Peters has promised to buy two jugs this week to mark son Kieran’s hat-trick and yellow card! The two development teams were also in good form. A young Girls’ team beat an even younger Watton side 8-1 with goals from Olivia Lepage, Holly Hanrahan, Ellen Pope (2), Mary Warnes (one day before her 13th birthday) with two and Georgie Gardens with two goals on her 12th birthday. Meanwhile the Boys maintained their 100% record beating Norwich City 6-3 after allowing their opponents to draw level from 3-0 down. Magpies’ scorers (with two each) were Haydn Macaulay, Jude Pottruff and Jake Caston.

In other away matches the Ladies’ 2nds played well against Old Loughtonians losing for the second week running by two goals to one with their penalty stroke goal coming from Katie Ogden who was making a very welcome return to the team; the Ladies’ 6ths went down 3-0 to Norwich City 5ths while the Men’s 3rds lost 3-1 (Andy Johnson in the first minute) to Felixstowe 2nds with their cause not helped by ill-discipline with cards of various hues being shown. This Saturday the Ladies’ 2nds entertain Dereham (12.00), the Ladies’ 6ths are away to Watton 3rds (11.00) while the Men’s 3rds host Newmarket (3.30) who beat them twice last season.

In their respective England Hockey championships last Sunday the U14 Girls hit top form beating Bury St Edmunds 9-0 with goals by Keisha Hilaire (4), Georgie Cantrell (3) and Grace Collison (2) while the U18 Girls went down 3-2 to Dereham after a close game as indicated by the score line with their goals being scored by Maria Andrews.

Good luck as always to all our teams this Saturday. Please see the Latest News page of the website for the complete list of fixtures.

Congratulations and very best wishes to Bertie Steggles and Siobhan Wooltorton who have just announced the very happy news of their engagement.

It is also best wishes to Steve Halliley who is having a third operation on Friday to repair damage to his left knee. In addition to playing in goal for the 6ths Steve has kindly been organising the 5ths, in conjunction with 6th team captain Eric Davy, as the team is still without a permanent captain. Steve hopes to be playing again after Christmas. I’ve told him not to worry about the team on Friday!

Beverley Barber came out of retirement last Saturday to play her first game for thirty years and last Wednesday she even attended training prior to helping the 7ths in their win over Hornets! Meanwhile Beverley’s (and John’s) son Chris, who is now working in Crewe, has joined Deeside Ramblers and last Saturday week he made his debut for their 1sts.

It is a big ‘thank you’ to George Hunter who last week kindly cut the acres of grass at the club and to the fifty members who helped to make the recent Quiz & Chilli Night so successful raising £400 for club funds with special thanks to quiz mistress Jose Tibbenham.

On a personal note I still await financial help following my ‘mugging’ in the Ukraine last week! This was another scam involving my email address book (thankfully restored) which caused great hilarity at the club last Saturday. I apologise to friends (who didn’t think it funny!) for unknowingly bothering them with this fraudulent email appeal.

With kind regards

Mike Denham
[email protected]

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