This column always attempts to accentuate the positive (while not entirely eliminating the negative!) and after last weekend there are many positives starting with the Ladies’ 1st who played their best hockey of the season in beating recent bogey team St Albans 4-1. After some initial pressure from the visitors, during which goalkeeper Megan Adams and her fellow defenders were in top form, Emma Lee-Smith thumped in a penalty corner for the team’s first home goal of the season and when Angie Wheelhouse and Emily Wilford scored within a minute of each in the second half the home crowd was in celebratory mood. After a response from St Albans Emma thundered in another shortie to give the team a richly deserved win to keep them top of the league for their visit this coming Saturday to Chelmsford (2.00).

Early in the game the good news came through that the Men’s 1sts had beaten Ipswich 7-1 (Tom Graham 3, Tristan Baynes 2, Sam Moore 2), despite an early Christmas present to the Ipswich centre forward from Andy Bedwell (back at the club Andy sportingly accepted all the ribbing!), and that the table topping Ladies’ 2nds had beaten Ipswich 3rds 4-1 with goals by Anouska Hipperson (2), Holly Baker and Georgie Minta. This coming Saturday the Men’s 1sts entertain in-form Dereham, coached by former Magpie Peter Hogg, in a much anticipated local derby clash at 2.15pm while the Ladies’ 2nds are at home to St Ives (12.30).

There were also good wins for the Ladies’ 3rds who maintained their impressive run beating Dereham 3rds 5-0 (Lucy Ripman 2, Jemima Jacobs 2, Toni Glover), the Ladies’ 6ths who continued their unbeaten start to the season with a thumping 7-0 victory over Norwich Dragons 5ths with goals by Vanessa Vigrass (2), Clemmie Ardley-Forder 2, Vicky Blackmore (2) and Tina Neil and the Girls’ Development who beat Pelicans 6-1. This week the Girls’ Development are away to Dereham (2.15) in a friendly instead of a training session at Weybread.

Apart from the Men’s 1sts the other men’s sides could not muster a win between them but there were some encouraging performances nevertheless. At Weybread the 2nds lost narrowly 2-1 (David Francis) to Crostyx, the 3rds played some good hockey despite going down 3-0 to Dereham 2nds and the 4ths were a goal up through Jack Middleton before conceding two late goals to Norwich City 3rds. Away from home there was a very welcome first point of the season for the 7ths who came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Lowestoft Railway 2nds  (Fabien Mitchell 2 and Harry Haigh) despite Keith Alexander being sidelined (with a yellow) for the first time in over forty years of club hockey and Peter Finnie taking a nasty blow on his forehead with the ball coming off goalkeeper Murray Graham’s glove.  I am pleased to say that Peter is on the mend after a visit to Beccles Hospital for stitching to staunch the bleeding.

Another positive over the weekend was the expert running of the Magpies’ Minis on Sunday with Stuart Peters and Fudge Cadman in charge of the Boys’ events in the morning with Nick and Shirley McAllen in charge of the Girls’ events in the afternoon – with the much appreciated help of a team of club members involved with the umpiring and catering etc. Congratulations to the Magpies’ teams, and their coaches, which won the U10 Boys, U10 Girls and U12 Girls events with Magpies’ U12 Boys coming third.

Please see the website for the full list of this weekend’s fixtures which include EHB Cup action on Sunday for the U14 Boys, who entertain Ipswich (10.30) and Bury St Edmunds (2.00), and for the U16 Boys who are playing Ipswich (11.30) and Bury St Edmunds (2.00) with both matches at Culford School. Good luck to all our teams this coming weekend.

Club Quiz Night

The Social Committee is very grateful to the 70 members who attended this event last Saturday night and who if the noise was anything to go by enjoyed the occasion!  As quiz master I was humbled (the feeling didn’t last too long!) by my failure to understand (as I was quickly informed!) that there are only three primary colours. Our thanks go to the Ladies’ 1sts for helping to run the evening and for providing the splendid nibbles. Well done to the winning team of  Tristan Baynes, Andy Bedwell, Simon and Sinead Hipwell, Tom Sumner and Pete Thornett and to the runners-up (by one point), namely David Brook, Andrew Brown, Murray Graham, Fabien Mitchell and Nigel Wooltorton.

Harleston Fireworks Spectacular – Friday 2 November (gates open 6.00pm)

If you are able to help on the night please add your name to the board in the clubhouse. Tickets are available from the clubhouse bar at £5 for adults and £3 for children (between ages 5 and 15 inclusive) with Under 5’s Free. On the night tickets will be £1 more expensive so please buy now!

‘Casino Royale’ (Fun Casino, Bar and Cocktails) – Saturday 10 November, 7.30pm

I take this opportunity to remind you of this event (for age 16 and above) and that tickets (£15 each) are now on sale on a ‘First Come First Served’ basis from Bella Hall (07801 065845) and Tracy Reeve (07748 091953).

Other news and comments

a) It is best wishes to Daniel Legg and George Payne who have gone off to university. They know they will always be very welcome back at the club.

b) Congratulations to Sam Rowe on being selected alongside Sam Lyne and Toby Price for the Saxon Tigers U16 side to play in the Futures Cup at Cannock HC at the beginning of November. While mentioning Sam L and Toby last week I apologise for omitting Sam R.

c) I also apologise for my failure in recent weeks to record that Quentin Baynes and Andy Johnson have each scored a goal this season. I make up for it now as they might not give me cause again!!

d) Please note that Mark Wheelhouse’s mobile number (page 13 of the club’s handbook) is now 07810 436787.

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With kind regards

Mike Denham

[email protected]