Harleston Magpies’ fourth team secure division title
HARLESTON HOCKEY ROUND-UP
It was a satisfying weekend for Harleston Magpies with the first teams getting good results and the ladies' fourth team securing their division title with three games left.
Harleston Ladies 3, Cambridge City 1
Magpies continued their winning streak at home to Cambridge City to make them unbeaten in the last four games since the festive break.
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City did not make it easy for Magpies at the start and they dominated the first 15 minutes of the game.
A well-worked passage of play put City 1-0 up. Their lead, however, was short-lived after Sarah Brook was yet again in the right place to pick up a loose ball in front of goal to equalise.
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Magpies gradually started to pick up pace and had some nice passages of play down the left between Charlotte Harrison and Emily Wilford.
The second half was a much- improved performance and Magpies started to play with the same commitment and pressure they had shown in the previous three games.
Magpies had chances, with Emily Wilford and Artemis Clark only narrowly missing. However, Magpies eventually went 2-1 up when Debbie Francis' quick thinking from a free- hit outside of the 25, put the ball into the circle for Frances Sumner to deflect with the narrowest of glances past the keeper. This 2-1 lead seemed to settle Magpies into a much better rhythm of play and they proceeded to dominate the rest of the game.
Artemis Clark scored a much- deserved goal from a well-worked short-corner routine.
Despite picking up another three points, Magpies have yet to climb a place in the league. However, with three teams mid-table all being separated by just points, it will make for an exciting last few games.
Wimbledon 1, Harleston Men 1
MAGPIES at last dispelled their away voodoo when dominating the second half of a fine performance against Wimbledon, with the London side grabbing a point with a goal in the last 30 seconds of the game.
With regulars Richard Harms, Mark Wheelhouse and Stuart Leate all missing Magpies put in one of their best displays of the season.
Debutants Marc Lloyd and Andy Bedwell both had fine games and with Dan Legg also stepping up well there are interesting selection questions posed for the vital game against bottom side St Albans this weekend, Weybread, 2.15pm.
Whilst the squad did well against a London side who were expected to be in the mix at the top of the table at the end of the season, St Albans pose a different problem. They beat Wimbledon two weeks ago but lost to the improving Indian Gymkhana 7-2 last weekend.
Yarmouth II 0, Magpies Ladies IV 1
Magpies travelled to face Yarmouth where a victory would see them win the Division One League title and gain promotion to the Premier Division, but a defeat would mean promotion could not yet be guaranteed.
The match started in a scrappy fashion and with Magpies fielding a changed team from previous weeks they were unable to assert their authority early on. The game did settle down somewhat with Yarmouth making dangerous ground into the Magpies D on the counter attack and Magpies being kept out by the Yarmouth keeper.
Both sides won a couple of short corners during the first half but were unable to make good use of them.
In the second half Magpies came out determined but still Yarmouth kept them at bay. With 15 or so minutes left to go an injury to a Yarmouth player saw the time stopped and Magpies had a chance to regroup.
Battling hard, Magpies got the ball back into the Yarmouth D and it fell to Roo Barker to push the ball to the left of the keeper and score Magpies' most important goal of the season – a real team effort.
With 10 minutes still left to play, Magpies fought for every ball and did everything to keep their lead intact.
What an incredible achievement — in only their second season in the Norfolk Division One League they won the title and gained promotion, with three games left to be played.
Thanks must go to fifth-team players Frankie Eaves, Laura Davidson and Saffron Wilford who stepped up, all of whom gave impressive displays.
Thanks also to Hannah Linger for going back into defence when needed and putting in a solid display. Special mention to Sarah Legg and Katie Mound at the back for their outstanding performances.
But all the players involved this season should be proud of themselves – it truly was a team effort.
Magpies Ladies 0, Cambridge Uni 2
Magpies travelled to second-placed Cambridge Uni. Magpies fought well in defence but after 20 minutes Magpies were unlucky to concede after a well-worked short corner.
The disappointment inspired Magpies and they produced some of their best hockey of the season. Lizzie Jones created several chances up front through lots of leg work and skill, but Magpies were unlucky not to convert. In the second half Magpies continued to battle hard and played some beautiful hockey through Lauren Mickleburgh (PoM) in the middle of the pitch. But Cambridge scored twice to take the points.
Harleston Ladies VI 0, Herlings 4
Harleston put up a spirited fight, with Vanessa Vigrass very close to scoring. Charley Copsey battled hard against Herling's right-wing and Molly Alexander stopped a hard-hit ball dead on the goal line.