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Australian glory for former Harleston player coach Ben Wright

PUBLISHED: 09:15 25 September 2018

Ben Wright, pictured in action for Harleston Magpies against Letchworth, has enjoyed national success in Australia Photo: Pat Leate.

Ben Wright, pictured in action for Harleston Magpies against Letchworth, has enjoyed national success in Australia Photo: Pat Leate.

Patricia Leate

It wasn’t a great start to the East League season for Harleston Magpies - but there was one piece of good news.

Both men’s senior teams were beaten in their opening fixtures, with the firsts losing 2-0 at home to Wapping in the Premier A Division and the seconds going down by the same scoreline at Wapping’s third team in Division One.

But on the other side of the world it was all smiles for former player-coach Ben Wright as he helped his Australian club Old Aquinians to national glory.

The finale to the Australian Premier League season saw the Perth-based side come through a series of play-off games to be crowned champions.

Having finished fifth, they beat the fourth placed team 2-0 and the third placed team 3-2 to set up a semi-final against Wasps, who had finished second. An outstanding performance saw the team win 4-2 to make the grand final against YMCA Coastal City.

In a memorable match Wright’s team were level with YMCA, who had topped the league, 2-2 at full-time and then scored a decisive golden goal from a short corner to take the Australian club crown for the first time since 1994.

Back in East Anglia newly promoted Norwich City made a solid start to their Premier A campaign when they drew 1-1 at Cambridge City II, with Chris Wardale getting the goal and Jack Ingram being named man of the match.

Dereham recorded a emphatic win in their opening fixture in Premier B, beating visitors Waltham Forest 4-1, while it was also a good day for Norwich City’s seconds in the same section. They beat Cambridge City III 3-0 with Cameron Cooke scoring twice and Harry Gill also on target.

In Division 2N Norwich Dragons were beaten 6-2 at home by Dereham II, with Lewis Jenkins and Daumantas Matulevicius scoring consolation goals. Pelicans beat visitors Bourne Deeping II 5-1 while Norwich City III went down 3-1 at their City of Peterborough counterparts (Rees Leonard).

Lower down the league structure Jason Wolfe and Eddie Gould (2) were on target as Dragons II drew 2-2 with UEA II, City IV won 3-2 at Bury St Edmunds III (Greg Hughes, Toby Pallister, Sam Hyatt) and Norwich Exiles won 7-1 at Felixstowe III (Robbie Whiting 3, Ian White 2, Phil Dawson, Tom Mullins).

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