At 3.30pm last Saturday the results board in the clubhouse made for grim reading with only one HMHC win recorded. At that stage the vice-captain of the Men’s 1sts suggested that his team should get top billing this week but my response was a firm ‘no’ (see later for my reason) despite their excellent 4-1 victory over local rivals Dereham. By that time I had decided to start with a non-hockey story and I have kept to that despite later results on Saturday and those from Sunday bringing much needed cheer.

The non-hockey story is the success of the Harleston Fireworks Spectacular held at the club last Friday and run in conjunction with Harleston Lions and Scouts. It is a very big ‘thank you’ to everyone who turned up to support the event be they paying spectators or club members helping on the food and tea/coffee stalls and with the car parking. After concerns over the high winds throughout the day then over the dark clouds that had gathered by 5.00pm it was a relief to feel the wind drop and to see the clouds drift away before the welcome stream of cars started arriving from 5.45pm under a moon-lit sky. Following the warming bonfire at 7.00pm the fireworks display from 7.35pm turned out to be the best ever in the long history of the event. Congratulations to Fantastic Fireworks and to the organising committee under the chairmanship of James Smith. The proceeds of the event were sufficient for £5500 to be banked to pay for next year’s fireworks and other expenses with a ‘dividend’ of £700 going to both the Lions and HMHC with a similar figure to the Scouts. It is hoped to hold next year’s event on Friday 6 November.

Pride of place hockey-wise goes to the Ladies’ 6ths who by drawing 1-1 away to Carrow 2nds got their first goal and first point of the season at the seventh time of asking. Well done to the team and to Julie Davy who scored the vital goal. This coming Saturday the team are at home to Broadland 2nds (3.30) and they will be looking to build on this very encouraging performance. The Ladies’ 7ths, after their two week break, also got a welcome 1-1 draw with skipper Karen Ray finding the net against Yarmouth 2nds as they got the ball rolling on the water-based in the first game of the day at Weybread.

Ben Wright IMG_6691
Ben Wright

Next on the water were the Men’s 1sts and they were extremely grateful to goalkeeper Matt Collinge who made a fine first minute save at a penalty corner as Dereham, with their typically fast running, dominated the opening exchanges. But by the seventh minute Magpies were 2-0 ahead thanks to two smart finishes by the in-form Will Martin. Dereham continued to look dangerous and in his best game for the club Matt made several more good saves but he could do nothing to stop Dereham scoring on the cusp of half time to alter the mood of the home supporters. Talking of mood some of the home players once again had far too much to say to the umpires who would probably admit to not being on top form but getting soaked by the pre-match pitch watering would not have helped as they prepared for the match! But for their approach to the umpires I would have given the Magpies’ team top billing this week. But back to the actual play. Ben Wright took advantage of an ‘air shot’ by a Dereham defender shortly after the interval to lay on a goal for Chris Barber to put the home team back in charge and the game was wrapped up with several minutes to go when Will completed his well-deserved hat-trick. He was made MOTM by his peers with I hope goalkeeper Matt getting some votes alongside Richard Larkin who especially in the first half made some vital interceptions and tackles. This Saturday table topping Magpies have a vital home game at 2.00pm against second placed Cambridge University.

Will Martin IMG_6679
Will Martin

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(message from Maria Rowe the club’s Membership & Recruitment Manager)

Further to the club’s planned development volunteers are sort who wish to become involved with either the recruitment or membership working groups. The questionnaire earlier this year showed quite positively that members of the club wished for continued membership recruitment at all ages and abilities and also supported improving the ‘membership experience’.

As a result we are asking for volunteers to join these working groups. If you feel you have any skills, time or ideas that you would like to offer or share please do get in touch. Any support would be gratefully received and can be as much or as little time as you feel you can spare. IT skills, communication and administrative abilities would be appreciated to enable us to look at streamlining and revamping existing procedures. Please contact me on m.rowe to offer your services or to get more information.

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Meanwhile the Men’s 6ths were losing 8-1 to an experienced Norwich Exiles team but at least they drew the second half 1-1! Their goal scorer was Andy Smith who was making it two goals in two games with I understand a yellow card in there somewhere. This column has to tell it as it is! Next into action were the Men’s 3rds and at 2-1 up against league leaders Bury St Edmunds with both goals scored by Gavin Cole a good result was in prospect with Quentin Baynes making a very welcome return. But it was not to be with Bury hitting back with four goals for a deserved victory as Magpies’ skipper Matt Brand sportingly said later. Meanwhile away from home the Ladies’ 2nds were unluckily going down 2-1 (Lauren Mickleburgh) to Tunbridge Wells and the Ladies’ 4ths were losing 3-1 (Anna Harrod) to Carrow.

Following the Men’s 1sts on the water-based were the Ladies’ 1sts looking to extend their unbeaten home run going back to the first game of last season when they took on Sevenoaks. With her first goal of the season Angie Wheelhouse had Magpies ahead at half time and what a fine goal it was. She ran into the circle with the ball beating several players and from a narrow angle putt the ball past the goalkeeper with a reverse stick shot. After being in control for most of the first half, with Katrina Sitch prominent in a sound defence, Magpies never really got going after the break and they rarely threatened Sevenoaks who equalised from a penalty corner before scoring what turned out to be the winner. The team are away to unbeaten joint league leaders St Albans on Sunday (2.00).

Late in the day at Weybread the Ladies 3rds and 5ths made the results board look much cheerier by their wins over, respectively, Thetford (5-1) and Pelicans 2nds (4-0). This was the third successive win for the 3rds with their goals coming from Catherine Kilbourn (2), Katie Woollatt and Laura Betts while Alice Woollatt, Matilda Warde-Aldam and Laura Tibbenham (with a brace) taking over goal scoring responsibilities for the 5ths from mother Jose who has been back in defence for a few weeks. It was good to see Ellie Bale making a very welcome return and playing for the 5ths.

Further encouragement came with the news that away from home the Men’s 5ths had drawn 1-1 with Lowestoft Railway 2nds with Tom Norton scoring after good work by Sol Barker and the Boys’ Development maintaining their one hundred percent record by beating Norwich City 1-0 with a goal by Tom Caston.

The good news continued on Sunday when in their respective EHB Cups the U16 Girls beat Cambridge City away 10-0 (Alice Hopgood 3, Lauren Rowe 2, Tor Findlay 2, Anna Tighe 2, Abby Gooderham), the U16 Boys defeated Dereham at home 7-1 (Archie Winter 4, Matt Bensly, Jolyon Summers, Myles King), the U14 Girls drew away 2-2 (Lottie Summers and Millie Preece) with Norwich City and the Men’s O50s triumphed 5-2 away to Cambridge City where at a local school they were obliged to change alfresco while the keys to the changing room and pitch were being located!

The O50s got off to the best possible start when captain Jon Aldridge volleyed the ball home after two minutes and a few minutes later Phil Cobbald exchanged passes with Jon Wells at a penalty corner to make it 2-0. Player manager Peter Dolton then fired over the bar before goalkeeper Murray Graham was called upon to make a good save. Phil then threaded a good pass to Jon A who made it 3-0 and at this stage a very big win for Magpies seemed in prospect. But Cambridge City, fielding several players from their national league team of yesteryear, had different ideas and after hitting back with a well worked penalty corner conversion just before half time upped their game after the break and put Magpies under considerable pressure. Fortunately guest Andy Law, on his Magpies debut, calmly lobbed the keeper to make it 4-1 and after City scored again with a speculative shot which took a deflection Jon A completed his hat-trick seven minutes from time. For Magpies Simon Bardwell, Andy Caston and Roger Kent all made promising first appearances and like their team-mates must have been happy to see the changing rooms open after the game. Next round – Ipswich at home on Sunday 30 November.

Please see the website for all of last weekend’s results and for this Saturday’s fixtures with good luck to all our teams.

Other news. Congratulations to Alice Hopgood on being selected for the assessment group for the England U16 national age group squad and best wishes to Thomas Ridley for his trip to Australia with friends for the next few months. – hosts of

With kind regards Mike Denham [email protected] 11/11/14

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