Five wins (one a walk-over) and a draw was an excellent and encouraging return from our six games last Saturday when our nine other teams were having the day off due to half-term.

With the Men’s 6ths gifted a win due to Pelicans 4ths being unable to raise a team we were reduced to just two games at Weybread but nevertheless we had some good hockey to enjoy and to comment on from the touchline where we haven’t put a pass wrong in years!

I will unusually start with the Men’s 2nds. After six successive defeats (at the hands mostly of the top teams in the league) a stronger than normal side were up against Ipswich & East Suffolk who missed an early chance to take the lead. Magpies gradually began to look the better side and they twice went close to taking the lead before at a penalty corner IES player Kevyn Brown took a nasty blow when the ball hit him in the face which necessitated hospital treatment. From the resulting penalty corner Elliott Ashurst put Magpies ahead and he completed his hat-trick in the fifteenth minute of the second half before putting his team 4-0 up. In the last few minutes Myles King skilfully rounded the goalkeeper for the fifth goal with Sam Moore making the final score 6-0 (with his first goal since his year out through injury) with a few seconds remaining. In a good team performance goalkeeper James Lane was again in top form while Richard Larkin and Thomas Ridley were sound in defence and midfield, respectively, but Elliott was clearly the MOTM with his ball control and eye for goal. It is to be hoped that the team can build on this first win of the season when they travel to play Cambridge University 2nds on Saturday (12.00).

In the earlier game the Men’s 5ths, fielding several promising players promoted from the Development team, were up against Dereham 4ths. Early in the game Peter Dolton took a blow behind his left ear without flinching (what is his head made of I ask?!) and after the youthful Alex Kilbourn put Magpies ahead with a firm shot from the edge of the circle an easy win looked likely. But the experienced Dereham side continued to pass the ball better than Magpies and they equalised shortly before half time from a penalty corner. Goalkeeper James Harvey made a good save just after the break but with their second and last penalty corner Dereham took the lead and in a game which Magpies had dominated defeat now looked a distinct possibility. But the team rallied with Andy Caston guiding the ball inside the right post for the equaliser and with five minutes remaining Alex, who throughout the game had demonstrated his impressive stick skills, was on the left post for the winner. Late in the game Simon Bardwell, who had had a good game in midfield, unfortunately pulled a hamstring while earlier Dolly proved his doubters wrong by actually throwing an aerial. Had this anything to do with the blow to his head?! This Saturday the team are away to Bury St Edmunds 4ths (12.00).

Away from home the Ladies’ 2nds, buoyed by their win the previous week over Dereham, were up against Tunbridge Wells and after the three hour drive (and M25 frustrations) they were determined to avoid facing the long trip home with nothing to show for their efforts. They proved this by dominating possession and going on to win 3-0. Lucy Whiting put them ahead deflecting in a penalty corner strike by Lauren Barber and Lauren made it 2-0 after finding the right corner of the goal at another penalty corner. After the break Tor Findlay made the game safe for Magpies who this week face what looks likely to be a sterner test when they host St Albans 2nds (2.00) who have taken thirteen points from their first seven games.

Meanwhile the Men’s 3rds and 4ths were making the much shorter trip to play, respectively, Norwich Dragons 2nds and 4ths and both knew they were in for tough matches. The 3rds were two-up at half time. Their first came from an excellent penalty corner strike by Tristan Hipper while the second came from a good break out of defence with Fabian Mitchell and Gavin Cole combining for the prolific Gavin to find the net. Dragons responded strongly in the second half pulling a goal back but thereafter Magpies created the best chances in a game ending 2-1 in their favour. A little earlier the 4ths drew 1-1 with an experienced and well drilled Norwich Dragons side. Magpies started in typically slow fashion and conceded a goal in the first few minutes of the match. As the half progressed the play became more even and Magpies won a couple of penalty corners but were unable to convert them. The second half was very even with chances at both ends. Midway through the half a shot by James Webster was partially saved and Sol Barker was on hand to tap the ball in from close range for the equaliser. The 3rds are at home to IES 2nds (3.30) this Saturday while the 4ths host IES 4ths (12.15).

This weekend all our Saturday/Sunday league teams will be in action while on Sunday we will have four teams playing in their respective England Hockey championships.

In addition to the teams mentioned above the Ladies’ 1sts are away to Cambridge City (12.30) who after their promotion as East Champions have made an excellent start on their return to the East Conference of the national league winning four and drawing one of their seven games to-date. The next day the Men’s 1sts have their first Sunday home game of the season when they entertain Southgate (2.00) who by their standards have had a slightly disappointing time since their relegation to the East Conference at the end of last season. But as Magpies found when they played them pre-season they are still very formidable opposition.

Meanwhile in other Saturday games the Ladies’ 3rds will be out to continue their good run when they entertain Pelicans 2nds (12.00) who have yet to pick up a point this season and the Ladies’ 4ths will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to play Norwich City 2nds (1.00) who are in third place just above them in the league. Please see the website for all our other games this Saturday.

On Sunday in home EH Championship action will be the U14 Boys who play Norwich City (10.15) and the U16 Girls who are up against Norwich Dragons (12.00) while away the U16 Boys take on Norwich City (1.30) and the Men’s O50s play Ipswich (12.00). Manager Peter Dolton and his O50s squad will be very aware that Ipswich gave them their severest test last season on their way to the national final. With a hat-trick by skipper Jon Aldridge and a goal by Andy Caston Magpies were comfortably placed at 4-1 before Ipswich staged a second half comeback with two goals. Magpies were then grateful for some good saves by goalkeeper Murray Graham as Ipswich forced a barrage of late penalty corners which fortunately did not bear fruit.

Good luck as always to all our teams in action this weekend.

– TIER 2
It is best wishes to our members who last week attended their 2-day HIPAC training camp or played in the Futures Cup as they await hearing if they have been selected for their respective national age group squad. Abby Gooderham (U17s), Millie Preece, Lottie Summers, Rose Winter (U15s), Zaman Akhter, Alex Emsden (U17s) attended HIPAC while it is congratulations to the following who finished as shown while playing for the Saxon Tigers (i.e. the East) in the Futures Cup at Cannock HC against the teams from the other regions – Lauren Rowe (U16s – 1st), Maria Andrews (U18s – 2nd) and Archie Winter (U16s – 3rd). Molly Redgrove was unfortunately unable to play for the U16s due to injury but she nevertheless attended for part of the time in support of her team.

The club has no team catering specifically for our ladies vets and we would like to try to get one going for fun games either against another Magpies club team or a ‘very friendly’ against Norwich City, Norwich Dragons or Pelicans, all of whom already have ladies vets teams. Games would most probably have to be played on Sundays. If you would like to have a go (even if you are in hockey retirement!) please contact either Daphne Beckett on 07850 709297 or [email protected]) or Rosemary Mason on 01986 895322 or [email protected] by Monday November 16th to see if the response enables us to go ahead with a squad. We look forward to hearing from YOU.

I have it on good authority that club Deputy President, and former 1st team defensive rock, Mike Barber had a hole in one on the 11th at Halesworth GC last week. As only two members happened to be present in the clubhouse for the customary celebration after this memorable achievement drinks are on Mike at Weybread during the month of November. Thanks Mike!

Cans of the safety product called Volvo Cars Life Paint (to make cycles, rucksacks etc. stand out in car headlights) – as advised in a separate email two weeks ago (NB. The video is still available on the website under Recent Posts) – will be on sale in the clubhouse this weekend at the cost of £10.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to goalkeeper Donnie Archer who is out of action with a broken hand.

With kind regards
Mike Denham
[email protected]
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