While the match between the Dads and the Lads was a lot of fun at Weybread last Saturday I have to start this week with the U18 Boys who took full advantage of their ‘lucky loser’ inclusion in the East Indoor Championship at the UEA.

After coming second behind Norwich Dragons in the Norfolk Championship they thought their chance to defend their national crown had gone but they were given this reprieve following the withdrawal of another team and they went on to claim a national final spot finishing second to City of Peterborough.

They started slowly losing 3-2 to C of P before letting slip a lead against IES to draw 4-4. In this round-robin event they just had to beat Norwich Dragons in their next game to retain any hope of progress and Dragons had thumped them 8-1 in the Norfolk Championship. This time they beat them 5-2 and their hopes were still alive. Magpies then beat Saffron Walden 7-0 and with C of P doing them favours by continuing to win their matches they needed to beat old club rivals Old Loughtonians in their last game. This was duly achieved with a 3-2 win with the OL’s second goal coming at the end of the game.

Very well done to the squad including, of course, coach Richard Larkin and manager Stuart Peters. Please see Stuart’s full report on the website.

The finals will be held at the Phoenix Sports & Leisure Centre in Telford over the weekend of 21/22 January.

Continuing on the subject of indoor hockey the U18 Girls will be playing in the East Championship at the University of Essex on Saturday looking to match the U18 Boys by clinching a place in the national finals while the Ladies’ 1sts have entered the East Championship to be played at Kelsey Kerridge SC in Cambridge on Sunday. In a three-team event their opponents will be St Albans (9.30) and Chelmsford (12.00). This is in effect a warm-up event for their national league division 1 campaign in Bristol over the weekends of Saturday/Sunday 7/8 and 14/15 January. Good luck to both our teams. The Men’s 1sts have chosen not to enter their respective East Championship prior to their national league division I campaign over the same two weekends. After going to Bristol for the past four seasons they are happy to leave the trip to the ladies this year while they go to Nottingham!

NEXT SOCIAL FUNCTION – Cheese & Wine Tasting Evening
Saturday 28 January 2017
Please note your diary! Details to follow in New Year.

With the Boys’ Development game last Saturday postponed until January 7, at the request of Dereham, team manager Mark Emms had the brilliant idea of the Dads (Santas) versus Lads (Elves) game. The two teams came duly attired for what turned out to be a very enjoyable and competitive (in the right spirit) game with some interesting family duels taking place across the pitch! To begin with the Elves threatened to overwhelm the Santas (who included a skilful Mrs Claus at the back following her four goals the previous week!) but the Santas began to make their mixed bag of hockey skills and fitness (and undoubted determination not to be beaten) to pay off to say nothing of the occasional use of the wrong side of the stick! Santa Emms, in full working regalia, put his team ahead in the third quarter and his team now had something to defend with Santa Chris Flatt in good form in goal, while the lucky spectators had mulled wine, mince pies, Scotch eggs and sausages to enjoy pitchside as well as the hockey.

Youth development officer James Smith umpired with an appropriately light touch throughout the game. With time running out and with the Elves back in the ascendant they won yet another penalty corner just before James blew for full time. Could the Elves make the final score 1-1 with all of them seemingly surrounding the circle? The ball went to Elf Hugo Lewis who slammed it past Santa Chris for a happy equaliser. We then retired to the clubhouse for turkey rolls etc. Here’s to next year for another instalment. Well done to Santa Mark and his band of helpers. Please also see Bex Pottruff’s press release regarding the game which is on the website.

AUCTION OF PROMISES Saturday 4 March 2017. Please put the date in your diary!
Please excuse me for going on about this event. We have now gratefully received twenty-three ‘Promises’ with the target being in the region of fifty. Please see the club’s website for more information and for full details of the event including how to offer ‘Promises’ or items for auction.

The last five outdoor league games of the year produced away wins for the Ladies’ 3rds and 5ths and Girls’ Development and defeats for the Ladies’ 4ths and 6ths. The 3rds beat Ipswich 2nds 3-2 in their rearranged match. Georgie Cantrell put them ahead from a penalty stroke and captain Sarah Legg added a second before half time. After the break Ipswich pulled a goal back but Magpies restored their two-goal advantage through Amy de Selincourt. Ipswich responded with a second but Magpies held on to their lead for a valuable three points to consolidate their fifth place following promotion at the beginning of the season. The 5ths were away to league leaders Lowestoft Railway and while they travelled with limited expectations they came home having secured an excellent 3-2 win after their disappointing defeat by Diss seven days earlier. Magpies, captained for this game by Emma Tolhurst, had to work hard to keep the game goalless at half time with goalkeeper Alice Gooch making some good saves. Jose Tibbenham put them ahead in the second half before Railway hit back. Unlike in the Diss game heads did not drop and Jose restored their lead (with her twelfth goal of the season) only for the home team to equalise again. Magpies kept battling away and Amy Collison found the winner.

Meanwhile the table-topping Girls’ Development were away to Pelicans and they put behind them their first defeat of the season the previous week to win 6-0. Evie Brice put them ahead after two minutes but despite constant pressure they were unable to find the net again before the end of the second quarter. Thereafter they put matters right with five more goals from Anna Cogdell, with a brace, Molly Largent, Honey Lamdin and Olivia Lapage. Well done to player-manager Sandra Elliner and her squad on their excellent first half of the season during which they have conceded just two goals.

At Weybread the Ladies’ 6ths (who have enjoyed an encouraging season to-date) were up against a talented Lowestoft Railway 2nds, coached by former Magpies’ coach Jason Harness, going down 4-0 not helped by two late goals. In the second half ex-Magpie Ellen Harness (daughter of Jason) received a nasty blow when the ball hit her forehead. Jason gave me the excellent news on Sunday that Ellen has made a good recovery and they both appreciate the help they received at the club.

Meanwhile away from home the Ladies’ 4ths went down 5-1 (Sophie Meynell-Anderson) to Norwich City 4ths in a game much closer than the score might suggest. Despite this defeat the team can be pleased with their season so far.

a) It is a big ‘thank you’ to Phil Alexander for making the step/platform outside the kit container.
b) Equipment controller Kirstin Cumming tells me that at the beginning of the season 72 balls were provided in each of the two training-ball bags. Over half have now disappeared. If members know of their whereabouts I suggest they return them to the bags when Kirstin is not looking!

Musings will be back in early JanuaryIn the meantime please see the website for any important breaking news.

I hope all readers and their families will be able to have a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year.

With kind regards

Mike Denham
[email protected]