We had national indoor success in Bristol, Nottingham and Wolverhampton and in addition our teams put in some notable performances elsewhere including at home.


But there is no doubt I have to start with the success achieved by the U18 Boys, sponsored by M.R. King & Sons, in winning the national indoor club championship at Nottingham Trent University with six wins in their six games. They headed Pool A with wins on Saturday over Surbiton (5-3) and Ashmoor (7-1) before on a very busy Sunday they beat City of York (5-0) and Stourport (3-1) to set up a semi-final clash with City of Peterborough who had finished as runners-up in Pool B. Magpies knew they were in for a tough game as Peterborough had pipped them for the East title. However, they went on to give an outstanding display winning 5-2. In a tense final they triumphed 3-1 over Beeston and in doing so gave the club victory in the event for the first time since 2003. Congratulations to coach Richard Larkin, manager Jon Price and all other members of the squad, namely Donnie Archer (GK & Capt), Zum Akhter, Sol Barker, Oli Clarke, Alex Emsden, Myles King, Jack Knight, Max Macaulay, Toby Price, Louis Totton and Archie Winter.

Back row - Sam Rowe, Stuart Leate, John Livings, Ben Wright, Tristan Baynes. Front row - Chris Barber, Thomas Ridley, Carl Sitch, Leigh Sitch.
Back row – Sam Rowe, Stuart Leate, John Livings, Ben Wright, Tristan Baynes. Front row – Chris Barber, Thomas Ridley, Carl Sitch, Leigh Sitch.

See more photos from Pat Leate

Meanwhile the Men’s 1sts, sponsored by Durrants, were playing in Division Two of the national league at the UWE in Bristol, having qualified through Division Two North, and they started with wins over Ashmoor (6-1) and Fareham (4-3) before on Sunday edging past Bournville 5-4. They then lost 7-3 to St Albans which meant they needed a minimum of a draw from their last game against Cheltenham for promotion back to Division One. They went to win 5-3 in fine style to finish as league champions with St Albans (who lost to Bournville and Cheltenham) gaining the other promotion spot. Congratulations to captain Leigh Sitch and his team on this triumph achieved without Toby Price, Louis Totton and Richard Larkin rightly with the U18s on this occasion. The squad was bolstered by the return of Tristan Baynes and Sam Rowe but lost Simon Hipwell who was taken ill last week. Fortunately he had recovered sufficiently to play a starring role for the Mixed on Sunday.

Our team in Wolverhampton was the U16 Girls as they looked to win their indoor championship and they made a good start beating Leicester 5-1 and Taunton Vale 8-0 on Saturday before the setback of a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Surbiton. However, they recovered well beating York 4-1 to clinch a place in the semis where they came up against Beeston, the eventual champions, going down 3-1 at the end of an eventful and hard fought match which could have gone the other way. Like the U18 Boys and the Men’s 1sts the squad coached by Nick McAllen and managed by Sarah Findlay did the club proud and hopefully this experience will stand them in good stead for the future.

THIS SATURDAY – 30 January 7.30pm
Fennings Farm Barn, Pixey Green, Fressingfield, IP21 5NH
By kind permission of Mr and Mrs Peter Davidson
Tickets are £12.50 each and obtainable from Lorraine Aldridge (Tel: 01379 586013)
Please come. You will be very welcome.

Meanwhile at the club on Saturday (as we awaited news from the three indoor events – and elsewhere) we had had just five games to follow after Carrow 3rds conceded their match against the Ladies’ 7ths and Waltham Forest sportingly agreed to the postponement of their game with the Men’s 2nds in view of the Magpies’ players committed indoors. The Boys’ Development got the ball rolling when they played close rivals Norwich Dragons. Magpies went ahead when Ben Emms deflected in Jude Pottruff’s strike at a penalty corner only for Dragons to draw level. After the break Magpies went through a bad patch conceding three quick goals to a talented Dragons’ forward line. However, in a stirring finish Magpies responded with goals by Arthur Johnson and defender Oli Hall (his first for the team) before they were thwarted by the final whistle as they sought the equaliser. Dragons have now replaced Magpies as league leaders but with a further seven games to play Magpies can still regain the top spot.

Next into action were the Men’s 5ths against Sudbury 3rds and they were soon ahead when Jack Robertson fired high into the net and he made it 2-0 at half time with a penalty corner conversion. Sudbury then hit back to make it 2-2 and the outcome of the game was in the balance. However, Charlie Tighe, following his promising debut last week, used his impressive stick work to put Magpies back in front and John Pope was on hand to ensure victory at a penalty corner late in the game. James Harvey had a good game in goal for Magpies with some vital saves.

Over on the other pitch the Ladies’ 5ths were up against league leaders Reepham but nevertheless they dominated for much of the game. Rachael Clifford put them ahead and Georgie Cantrell scored a second to add to her impressive tally since promotion from the Development team while Imogen Meynell-Anderson was a constant threat down the right wing. Reepham pulled a goal back near the end but they could not deny a deserved victory for Jose Tibbenham and her team. During the game Magpies’ defender Janet Brown was told by a Reepham player ‘You have to be careful at your age’!

The Men’s 6ths then took the stage looking to build on their recent good run of form which they duly did to make it ten points from their last four games when they took on Ipswich Cranes 2nds. Jon Wells powered in a penalty corner and skipper Eric Davy made it 2-0 to make up for his miss last week. Magpies were always in control of the game and Giles Flatt made it 3-0 in the second half to help move the team up to the heady heights of sixth place in their league.

The final game of the day was one of the most frustrating of the season as the Ladies’ 3rds (and league leaders) played lowly Evergreens who metaphorically ‘parked the bus’ with seven or eight players in their circle at times. Magpies, without the power of the injured Charlotte Rourke-Beasley in the middle, had all the play and went close to scoring on numerous occasions but the Evergreens’ plan worked to perfection. This tactic is admirable when used by a team you support is struggling but not when used against you! Evergreens’ only attack was in the last minute and it came to nothing. The 3rds have now drawn three of their last four games 0-0 and are now down to third place on goal difference.

While the Ladies’ 3rds are having trouble scoring this is not a problem for the Ladies’ 4ths who have replaced the 3rds as league leaders with Norwich Dragons 3rds in second place. In another good team effort they beat Carrow 5-0 away with goals by Kate Russell, Sophie Matsell, Laura Tibbenham, Rhe Coleman and Kathryn Bullen. Amelia Hershel-Shorland who stepped up from the 5ths deservedly earned the accolade with Phoebe Preece of ‘Duchess of the Day’.

Also away from home were the Ladies’ 2nds, Ladies’ 6ths, Girls’ Development, Men’s 3rds and Men’s 4ths. The Ladies’ 2nds got a good point drawing 1-1 against Broxbourne with Lucy Whiting firing high into the net for an equaliser ten minutes from the end. This coming Saturday the team hosts Old Loughtonians (2.00) in another vital match. The Ladies’ 6ths went down 4-0 to Norwich City 6ths while the Girls’ Development lost 4-1 to in-form Lowestoft Railway despite playing well. Amy Collison scored their goal four seconds from the end of the match! The Men’s 3rds beat Sudbury 3rds 7-2, after going into the game determined to banish the memory of their recent defeat by lowly Norwich Dragons 3rds, despite the heroics of the home goalkeeper. Gavin Cole likes scoring against Sudbury and he helped himself to another four from close range (nothing changes!) much to the delight of his father Brian, one the team’s most devoted supporters. Welcome to the internet Brian – at last! The other goals came from Andy Johnson with a brace on the reverse stick (once again nothing changes!) while skipper Matt Brand contributed the vital sixth. Lack of concentration allowed Sudbury to score two late goals which is of concern as the team hopes to maintain its promotion push.

The Men’s 4ths were hit by the late withdrawal of the experienced duo of Bob Skinner (illness) and Jerry Blackmore (work) and were two down in seven minutes against Ipswich Cranes. Kieran Peters reduced the arrears before the home team restored their two-goal advantage. In an action packed finale Alex Kilbourn scored on his debut for the team and after Cranes scored again James Webster and Rob Neal (with two minutes left) found the net for an excellent 4-4 draw to please captain David Blackmore.

On Sunday at Weybread the Mixed started the defence of their national crown against Ipswich with a much changed team owing to matches elsewhere understandably taking precedence including the Ladies’ 1sts 3-3 draw away to Cambridge City in their friendly. Matt Richardson gave Magpies an early lead at a penalty corner and while they continued to control the game they did not score again until fifteen minutes into the second half when Kara Kilbourn was in the right place at the right time. Robbie Kinsella then added a third before Ipswich pulled a goal back. But there was still time for Simon Hipwell, who had played well in midfield despite his recent illness, to fire in a reverse stick shot from the edge of the circle to make the final score 4-1. Also in good form for Magpies were skipper Katrina Sitch, Kara Kilbourn and stand-in goalkeeper Ewie Cumming who made several timely saves and clearances.

After their indoor triumph the Men’s 1sts resume their outdoor campaign this Saturday when they travel to play Southgate (2.00) seeking to build on their win over league leaders Richmond in their last game back at the end of November.

Good luck as always to all our teams this coming weekend including our U10 & U12 teams who after playing in the Bury St Edmunds Minis last Sunday take part in the Norwich City Minis this Sunday as they continue to prepare for the Norfolk Championships at the end of February. Please see the website for the full list of fixtures especially as I have run out of space to properly preview the games.

COMMUNITY CHEST Members who are readers of the EDP will be aware of this initiative and they are asked if they would kindly cut out the tokens from their copy each day and place them each week in the Community Chest in the clubhouse. The club will then make a bid for the funds available each month.

SUPER 6s Finals Day will be shown live on BT Sport from the SSE Arena, Wembley on Sunday (31 January). Best wishes to Emma Lee-Smith who will be playing for East Grinstead.

This column is beginning to resemble War and Peace in length – but not I hasten to add in quality of content! But as I have said before reading it is entirely optional although I will try to be briefer next week.

With kind regards
Mike Denham
[email protected]

www.magpies-hockey.co.uk web site hosted and managed by IceniPost.com


iceni postWe can promote your editorials every week on the Iceni Post!