After a run of 0-0 draws the Ladies’ 3rds hit form last Saturday beating Loddon 5-1 away and it was just as well as the Ladies’ 4ths won for the fifth successive week beating Broadland 4-0 away to stay top of the Norfolk Premier League two points in front of the 3rds with Norwich Dragons 3rds a further point back in third place. So during the closing weeks of the season it will be exciting to see which team takes the promotion spot especially as both our teams have still to play Dragons for a second time starting with the 3rds away this Saturday (10.30).

The 3rds went a goal down early in the second half against Loddon before Laura Betts equalised thanks in no small part to some coaching tips by Nick McAllen at training last week. Laura then scored again and the many missed chances (put at 1000 by manager Lucy Field!) over recent weeks were now a distant bad memory. Katie Kinsella then added a brace before Rachel Holloway, promoted from the 4ths, added the fifth. More of the same this week ladies please!

Laura Tibbenham put the Ladies’ 4ths 2-0 ahead against Broadland, who they had lost to earlier in the season, but this didn’t stop coach David Brook getting grumpy at half time! Thereafter with his words ringing in their ears the team upped their game with Kate Russell scoring before Laura added her third. The team now has two weeks off as their postponed game against Evergreens could well be played over Easter.

We had a full programme of eight matches at Weybread and after the Ladies’ 7ths went down to a battling 3-0 defeat by Hornets the Men’s 2nds took the stage looking for three points against City of Peterborough 2nds in their bid to avoid relegation. C of P took advantage of a defensive mix-up to take an early lead before Magpies gradually came into the game. Ben Wright fired them level early in the second half with a trademark reverse stick special. Five minutes from the end the visitors regained the lead before John Livings, who had played well in goal, cleared to Ben who raced upfield before slipping the ball to Duncan ‘Rocket’ Steven, making a welcome appearance, who got the deserved equaliser with just seconds left. This Saturday the team is away to IES (3.00) where at least a point will be essential with games running out. Over on the other pitch the Ladies’ 6ths were getting a deserved point drawing 1-1 with Watton 3rds with Ellie Faulkner grabbing an equaliser midway through the second half.

The feature game of the day saw the Ladies’ 1sts return to outdoor action against league leaders Slough. Magpies, under skipper Lucy Belsey, were soon into their stride and overall they looked the better side with Emma Lee-Smith, fresh from her indoor triumph with East Grinstead, giving an outstanding display of accurate and penetrative passing. But with the league’s best two defences in opposition few clear chances were created in a high quality game and in the end both teams would have been satisfied with a point from their goalless encounter. Tosh Lee-Smith in the home goal did not touch the ball once in play and this against the league’s top scorers! There was a promising debut by Molly Redgrove and it is best wishes to Sophie Sunderland who is off travelling before a hockey scholarship in the USA and belatedly to her twin sister Hattie who has already embarked on her travels. This Saturday Magpies host Chelmsford (2.00).

The Boys’ Development, who rested some of their U14 players ahead of the U14 game next day, boosted their goal difference with a 9-1 win over 10-man Dereham with goals by Sam King 3, Archie Derbyshire 3, Jude Pottruff, Arthur Johnson and Morgan Manly. The Men’s 5ths were on top form beating North Norfolk 3rds 6-2 with Lewis Belsey finding the net four times after Stuart Field had scored the opener. The other goal was scored by Roger Kent or a lookalike. The doubt arises as he actually passed the ball at least three times creating goals for his team-mates! Welcome back Roger! The Men’s 6ths, with Chris Flatt making a highly successful debut in goal and playing his first game since his schooldays of a year or three back, then played Norwich City 7ths and after falling behind Joe Walker pulled them level with Richard ‘Chopper’ Allcock firing in a late penalty corner. With this 2-1 success the team has now taken sixteen points from their last six games and if this run continues could be in danger of promotion!

Away from home there was bitter disappointment for the Ladies’ 2nds when they went down 1-0 to bottom placed Dereham and there is no disguising the blow it is to their survival hopes in East Premier. On the plus side there was a promising debut by MOTM Alice Woollatt. However, all is not lost and they could make up some of the lost ground when they host Tunbridge Wells this Saturday (12.00). The Men’s 3rds kept up their promotion bid beating Newmarket 3-1. A goal by Matt Bensly in a competitive first half tipped the game in Magpies’ direction but they had to fight hard with a good team effort against a younger and fitter side to ensure victory. Matt scored again before Phil Cobbald fired in a penalty corner. Newmarket then pulled a goal back. Magpies are at home to Norwich Dragons 2nds this Saturday (3.30). The Men’s 4ths went down 7-3 to Pelicans 3rds after being level at half time through Tom Goodge 2 and James Webster (the elder). Skipper David Blackmore said they continued to play the better hockey but tiredness took its toll on the older members in the second half. The Ladies’ 5ths played out their second draw of the season with Lowestoft Railway. Georgie Cantrell twice put them ahead in the second half before Railway converted a last minute penalty corner to make the final score 2-2. Meanwhile the Girls’ Development lost 5-1 away to Norwich City. Trailing 3-0 at half time they did not allow their heads to drop. Georgie Gardens pulled a goal back before two late goals by City made the final scoreline tough on the team.

It’s about time I got to the Men’s 1sts who on Sunday played some of their best hockey of the season before going down 3-2 away to high flying Sevenoaks. The Sevenoaks’ supporters were full of praise for how well skipper Leigh Sitch and his team played and they were shocked when Toby Price gave Magpies an early lead when he ran onto a through ball before calming beating the goalkeeper. Sevenoaks then put the Magpies’ defence under severe pressure before equalising shortly before the break. Magpies continued to create chances before Sevenoaks went ahead with a well-taken reverse stick shot from the edge of the circle. With ten minutes left the Sevenoaks goalkeeper crunched into Robbie Kinsella who took a few minutes to recover. The keeper was sent off with a yellow and Ben Wright calmly put away the resulting penalty stroke against the masked-up defender. Magpies were in sight of a well-deserved point or even victory before Sevenoaks broke for what turned out to be the winner. In the final second of the game Magpies got a penalty corner only to see their first shot and follow-up shot cleared off the line. There were promising debuts for forward Myles King and goalkeeper Donnie Archer who was made MOTM for some excellent saves. The team host Oxted on Sunday (2.00).

Finally, well done to the U14 and U16 Boys on their splendid wins at Weybread on Sunday in their respective England Hockey Championships. The U14s got the ball rolling beating Bury St Edmunds 6-0 dominating from the start with three goals each from Arthur Johnson and James Webster (the younger) and they could well qualify for the Midlands finals to be played on Sunday 10 April. The U16s then beat Phoenix Hornets 8-5 in a remarkably fluctuating game. Phoenix opened the scoring before Matt Bensly scored twice to put Magpies ahead. Phoenix proceeded to equalise before Archie Winter scored twice only for Phoenix to draw level just before half time. Magpies then went behind before Jack Hobbs brought them level. Archie then made it 6-5 and Josh Mayhew and Matt, with his third, made the final score a breathtaking 8-5! Magpies have qualified for the East finals to be played on Sunday 28 February. Thanks are due to Tiger Young (U14s) and David Johnson (U16s) for umpiring especially as they were also on duty on Saturday

Good luck to all our teams this coming weekend. Please see the website for all the fixtures.

The Christmas Fun Casino made the splendid profit of £1500. Well done to all concerned including the investors!

300 Club winners for February –
£20 Sue Williams, £20 Tim Ray, £15 Barry Rumsey, £15 Pat Tibbenham, £15 Tony Yates, £15 Pat Hall. If you would like to join the 300 Club (£12 per number for club members and £13 per number for the year for non-club members) please contact Angie Wheelhouse. YOU WILL BE VERY WELCOME!

ACTIVE KIDS 2016 – if you shop at Sainsbury’s (in store or online) the club would much appreciate it if you kindly donated your vouchers to the club to enable us to obtain some new sports equipment. Last year we got some stop watches. If you are able to kindly help please put your vouchers in the box in the clubhouse. This initiative ends on 3 May 2016.

COMMUNITY CHEST It is a big ‘thank you’ to EDP readers who have already cut out the tokens from their EDPs and placed them in the Community Chest in the clubhouse. This initiative continues.

With kind regards

Mike Denham
[email protected]
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