Top billing goes to the Men’s 2nds this week following their 2-0 victory over Cambridge City 3rds last Saturday at Weybread. After five successive defeats this was a well-deserved and much-needed victory for Lawrence Baynes and his team who have played better hockey this season than their results would suggest. One of the problems has been the team’s almost total reliance on Tristan Baynes for their goals and this was again in evidence when he converted a penalty stroke eight minutes into the second half and when twelve minutes later he powered in a reverse stick shot from the edge of the circle. The City goalkeeper made a series of fine saves to deny Magpies until the penalty stroke and at the other end George Baldwin made two excellent late saves to ensure victory for his team. Jake Sewell sadly suffered a broken thumb during the game. Tristan, Jonty Herschel-Shorland and Jack Hobbs were outstanding in this vital win and it was good to see Simon Hipwell playing again after injury. He claims the victory was all down to him! This Saturday the team are away to Bourne Deeping (12.30).

The day got underway at Weybread with the generally young Men’s 5ths playing a very experienced Norwich Exiles team who gave them few chances but a 3-0 defeat was harsh on Magpies who played some good hockey before conceding in the first half. After the break Andy Johnson went close to equalising at a penalty corner but his shot was marginally too high. Soon afterwards Magpies missed a good chance before Exiles scored on the break. Jude Pottruff was unlucky to see his shot hit the left post and in the final seconds the visitors got their third.

In the only game on the sand-based the Ladies’ 5ths secured a comfortable 5-0 victory over 10-man Thetford and based on their dominance the Magpies’ score could well have been in double figures. Their goals came from captain Jose Tibbenham (2), Grace Collison, Janna Freeman and Laura Betts. It was good to see Laura playing again nine weeks after the birth of Wrenna. MOTM was Georgie Gardens in her first adult match since turning thirteen earlier in the week.

FUN CASINO EVENING Saturday 26 November (7.30pm)
Tickets for this prestigious black tie event are £20 each and are available at the clubhouse bar or from Kevin and Jackie Ridley 01379 854697 or 07815 199803. You will be very welcome. 

Back to the water-based and the Ladies’ 3rds who were soon two-up against Ipswich 3rds with goals by Katie Kinsella and Amy de Selincourt. Ipswich then came into the game although Magpies rarely looked like losing their grip on the three points. In a hectic last few minutes Katie scored again, Rachel Baynes saved a shot on the line and Kate Russell made it 4-0 to Magpies.

In the final home game of the day the Men’s 3rds were defending their 100% record against Ipswich 2nds and they had the game virtually wrapped up by half time. Tristan Hipper put them ahead with a lopping reverse stick shot from the edge of the circle before Vincent Leruth soon made it 2-0. Phil Cobbald then chipped in with a goal and Gavin Cole made it four with his almost inevitable goal followed by his Cristiano Ronaldo-like pose in celebration! Ipswich pulled a goal back before the interval. 4-1 turned out to be the final score due to Phil going off with an injury, midfield maestro Jon Aldridge replacing Phil at the back and most of the rest of the team deciding to be too clever with their stick skills when a more direct approach was being urged by their loyal band of supporters.

During the game I had to admonish one of my highly trained scoreboard operatives for being slow off the mark with one of the goals. His pathetic excuse was that the remote was caught up with an old crisp packet in his pocket!

Away from home there was mixed success for our teams with wins for the Men’s 1sts and Ladies’ 4ths, draws for the Ladies’ 2nds and Men’s 6ths and defeat for the Ladies’ 1sts and 6ths and Men’s 4ths.

The Men’s’ 1sts moved up to fourth place in East Premier A with a good 4-2 win over Letchworth. They twice went ahead with goals by Ben Wright and Myles King, who had a good game following his promotion from the 2nds, before Letchworth again drew level. Archie Winter put Magpies back in the lead from open play before in the final seconds he put away a penalty corner. After the game the team’s most loyal supporter said all the team played well while Leigh Sitch was ‘marvellous’. ‘Does his ego need any further boosting?’ I say in jest! This Saturday the team are home to Cambridge University (2.00) and let’s hope their performance deserves their first top billing in the column this season.

The Ladies’ 4ths came from behind to beat Loddon 2-1 with their goals coming from Georgie Cantrell who has now scored eight times in three games over the past two weekends. Well done Georgie! The Ladies’ 2nds had a frustrating game against Colchester failing to find the net despite good work down the right by Phoebe Preece and Alice Woollatt. In the end the team was happy to settle for a point in their 0-0 draw as Colchester had numerous second half attacks and they had MOTM Jade Daly in goal to thank for keeping them in the game. This Saturday they host Cambridge University 2nds (12.00). The Men’s 6ths were two down against North Norfolk 2nds but unlike in the first half they had most of the play after the break. Their first goal came from a penalty stroke after Lewis Belsey was fouled by the goalkeeper and Peter Dolton, rested last week prior to the O50s game, stepped up to convert and in the last fifteen seconds David Blackmore converted a penalty corner to give the team their third successive 2-2 draw. The ages of the Magpies’ scorers total, give or take a year or two, 126!

Meanwhile the Ladies’ 1sts were going down to defeat for the first time this season when losing 4-1 to Hampstead and Westminster. Magpies had the boost of a first minute goal by Abby Gooderham before the home team equalised before half time and they took the lead early in the second half. Magpies pressed for the equaliser and had two shots saved on the line before HW extended their lead with clinical finishing. Magpies have Saturday off this week (along with all our other ladies’ teams apart from the 2nds and 3rds) to recharge their batteries prior to some more stern tests ahead.

The Men’s 4ths went down 3-2 to UEA 2nds after the score was 2-2 at half time with all the goals coming from penalty corners. Neil Watson put Magpies ahead with a near post deflection and after the students took the lead Kieran Peters fired in a penalty corner. UEA had the better of the second half and took the lead with a deflected shot. Despite numerous penalty corners Magpies could not find the equaliser. Morgan Manly made a strong debut stepping up from the 5ths and David Cadman again played well. The Ladies’ 6ths went down 8-0 to Yarmouth 2nds.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL OUR TEAMS THIS WEEKEND including those representing the club in the Magpies’ round of the Norfolk Minis at Weybread on Sunday (Girls 9.30, Boys 1.30). Please see the website for the complete list of fixtures. 

KAREN RAY – off to Spain
As I mentioned briefly last week the club will be without the invaluable services of Karen for what could well be a few seasons as she is off to spend the winter in Spain with her partner Richard and next season they could well be even further afield. They go with the best wishes of their many friends in the club. Karen has played for the club since the mid-1970s and during that time she has captained several teams including Colts, Mixed, Tournament XIs and the 7ths. She has also been club captain and she has served on various committees including social, development and playing. She has also umpired and she has been a keen supporter of the club’s social events and we hope to see her and Richard at next year’s strawberry luncheon before they are off again. In 2006 Karen was the Female Club Person of the Year and last season she was awarded the Magpie Cup to mark a season of outstanding service. The last two words sum up Karen’s contribution to the club for which in 2015 she was made a vice-president. Throughout the years Karen has quietly carried out her duties with a pleasant smile on her face and has always been willing to help out as evidenced by what she has done this season for the Ladies’ 7ths. Thank you Karen. You will be missed.

BEST WISHES TO THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS who will be representing the Saxon Tigers’ teams (i.e. the East) this week in either the Futures Cup (U18s and U16s) or at HIPAC (High Performance Camp) (U17s) having progressed via Tier 1 of England Hockey’s development system. U18s – Hannah de SelincourtAbby Gooderham. U17s – Martha LawrenceArchie Winter. U16s – Lottie SummersRose Winter.

Former 2nd team captain Frances Taylor is now playing for Battersea Wanderers with Jess Hull and it was good to see her at the club recently. The following ‘out-on-loan’ Magpies have scored in the national league this season – Jess Bloom and Hannah Coulson (Clifton Robinsons), Tom Graham (Durham University), handball Olympian Louise Jukes (Liverpool Sefton), Molly Redgrove (Chelmsford), Cherry Seaborn (Wimbledon) and Tim Shelley (Doncaster). They will be very welcome back when their loan spells are over!

With kind regards
Mike Denham
[email protected]