With the exception of the two 1st teams it was ‘catch-up Saturday’ for 10 of our teams at the weekend following the postponements in January due to frost and what a day it turned out to be for the club with eight wins, two draws and just two defeats and one of those to another club team. No wonder the clubhouse was ‘buzzing’ (as umpire Rod Larwood kindly commented) and as it was again the next day for the ‘thank you’ reception for club helpers.

So where do I start this week? The Men’s 1sts complain I never give them top billing (even when they beat league leaders Old Loughtonians!) so there will be more moaning this week as they miss out again despite their away win over Dereham and with it their first clean sheet of the season. The Ladies’ 5ths and Men’s 2nds both have strong claims after their home wins but for the second week running the accolade goes to the Ladies’ 1sts.

Captain Lucy Belsey and her team were at home to old rivals Chelmsford coached by Glenn Kirkham, one of England and GB’s best ever players, and they included out-on-loan Magpies Molly Redgrove and Hannah de Selincourt. As the previous week Magpies made a strong start but this time missed chances to take an early lead. They continued to look the side more likely to score but it was a relief to the home supporters when Tor Findlay put them ahead approaching half time. Soon after the break Chelmsford equalised when for once the home defence went missing. Magpies responded well to this setback and Maria Andrews put them back in front with one of her trademark reverse stick thunderbolts. Lauren Barber made the game safe for Magpies when she coolly converted a penalty stroke two minutes from time. This was the team’s fourth consecutive win and this coming Saturday they will be hoping to do the double when they travel to play Southgate (12.30). Annie Nunn, who was injured during the indoor season, told me she will not be fit to play again this season which is a big blow to the team.

AUCTION OF PROMISES – the excitement is growing!

Saturday 4 March 2017 – Clubhouse 7.00pm with auction to commence at 7.30pm.
£5 entry to include glass of wine on arrival (or soft drink), nibbles and entry to raffle.
We need your support – please come; payment on the door.

 Please click here for the first 61 Lots now in catalogue order.

If you would kindly like to make a ‘postal’ bid please send to me at
[email protected]

The Ladies’ 5ths beat Reepham 3-1 with all their goals coming from Georgie Gardens. At 2-1 up goalkeeper Gillian Stokes (following her goals in recent weeks for the 6ths) saved a penalty stroke. In the clubhouse Heather Brand said that, unlike her husband Matt, she never gets a mention in this column. So I put that right now by saying that Heather conceded the penalty stroke! In fairness I also have to report that as usual Heather played well and unlike Matt in his game for the 3rds was not invited to take a five-minute breather!

The Men’s 2nds were up against Long Sutton and this was a six-pointer as both teams battle to avoid the four relegation spots. There was not much between the teams although the visitors from Lincolnshire seemed to have the edge and Magpies were indebted to a series of fine saves by goalkeeper Chris Leek. But the battling Magpies were always in the game and to a roar from their supporters Matt Bensly thrashed the ball into the net with fifteen minutes remaining in the second half for the only goal of the game. This Saturday Magpies will need to put in another strong performance to take points off Bourne Deeping (2.00) in the feature game at Weybread.

Are you interested? For full details please see under RECENT POSTS on the club’s website.

The first game of the day was the eagerly awaited return clash of the Men’s 5ths and 6ths with the generally more youthful 5ths winning 4-1. Ben Emms put them ahead before Chris Hall scored probably the luckiest goal of his career. His shot was saved on the line by Ross Carter. The ball then hit the back of goalkeeper and captain Steve Halliley’s stick and rolled slowly back into the goal! But as Chris said if he had not made the shot …..  Joe Walker then reduced the arrears for the 6ths with a fierce hit from the edge of the circle before in the second half, with skipper James Smith off with a hamstring problem, the 5ths added further goals by Ben, with his second, and Jude Pottruff, two of the club’s most promising talents. For the 6ths new member Greg Whitbread was making his very welcome debut.

Next into home action were the Ladies’ 3rds and they never got into top gear in a tight game with Dereham 2nds. The only goal came in the second half when Dereham took advantage of a mistake midway in the home half and with it they inflicted the first defeat on the home team since 5 November. MOTM for Magpies was left defender Amelia Herschel-Shorland. Meanwhile the Ladies’ 7ths, with the luxury of a squad of thirteen players, had a good 1-0 win (Rosemary Turney) over UEA 4ths.

The Men’s 3rds were also at home and after a remarkable run of 18 consecutive home wins stretching back to 7 March 2015 (when they went down 2-1 to Norwich Dragons 2nds) they had to settle for a fair 2-2 draw against IES 3rds. They were twice a goal down with their equalisers coming from Gavin Cole and Jon Aldridge. The last few minutes of the game saw several cards being flourished and Magpies’ second equaliser came when the team was down to nine players. The team has now dropped to second place in their league on goal difference but have two games in hand on leaders Newmarket and one game in hand on Bury St Edmunds who are one point behind.

Away from home there was yet more success for the club with wins for the Men’s 1sts, Ladies’ 2nds, Girls’ Development and a draw for the Men’s 4ths. The Men’s 1sts match against local rivals Dereham was always a potential banana skin for the team but fortunately there was no slip up with their goals coming from Archie Winter and Ben Wright in their 2-0 win with goalkeeper John Livings MOTM. They are away again on Saturday to Cambridge University (1.30). The Ladies’ 2nds needed the boost of a win after two narrow defeats and a draw and it came with a 2-1 win over Norwich Dragons 2nds with Anna Tighe getting both their goals in the first half. MOTM was Kath Johnson. The Girls’ Development beat Watton 3-1 with their goals coming from Hannah Gartland, Anna Cogdell with a superb reverse stick shot into the bottom left (the day after her eleventh birthday) and Olivia Lapage. With a few regular players missing player-manager Sandra Elliner gave promising debuts to Georgia Scott and Evie Nesling. Meanwhile the Men’s 4ths had a hard fought 0-0 draw with a surprisingly strong and experienced IES 4ths. Captain David Blackmore reports that ‘young’ Eric Davy (‘Mr Versatile’) played well in his annual goalkeeping appearance for the team which included another tremendous performance from the youngsters with Seth Read and Max Warde-Aldam in particular playing with strength and confidence. It was also good to welcome back Jack Frere-Smith.

On Sunday 26 February and Sunday 6 March (10.00am – 1.00pm) we are hosting a morning of hockey for our boys and girls U10 and U12 teams. As part of organising these events we are to provide the umpires – a fair trade for not having to travel. Therefore I am looking for some volunteers to lend a hand – do not worry you do not have to be a qualified umpire for this. Our plan is to have a pool of 6 to 8 regular umpires who will partner up with less experienced umpires so you can gain some experience in a very relaxed and friendly environment. If you are able to help please let me know either by email [email protected] or drop me a text 07800 699074.

Last Sunday at Weybread we witnessed a very special team performance when defending champions Beeston beat our U18 Girls 7-1 in the quarter-finals of the EH Cup. But from 5-0 down at half time our team responded with some good hockey of their own rounded off by Abby Gooderham firing in a penalty corner in spectacular style. Away from home the Mixed team progressed to the third round of the national Trophy (away to Letchworth on Sunday 5 March) beating Bourne Deeping 6-0 with their goals coming from Maria Andrews 3, Lucy Whiting 2 and Lizzie Clymer (where were the men?!) while the U14 Girls qualified for the regional finals drawing 2-2 (Ellen Pope 2) with Pelicans.

With the disappointing withdrawal of Cambridge City from last Sunday’s scheduled quarter-final our Men’s O50s are now through to the semi-finals of the Masters Cup where on Sunday 12 March they are at home to either Jersey or Reading. In the other semi Isca are away to Ben Rhydding.

Good luck as always to all our teams this coming weekend including on Sunday the Ladies’ O35s who entertain Teddington (2.00) in the quarter-finals of the EH Trophy. Please see the website for the full list of fixtures.

Finally, the club will be hosting an ‘Introduction to Hockey Coaching’ course at the end of the season run by England Hockey staff coaches. Please see the website for more details.

With kind regards

Mike Denham
[email protected]