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Harleston Men face crunch game

PUBLISHED: 12:03 05 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:28 12 July 2010

Harleston Magpies Men put up a brave fight against Canterbury losing 5-3 in a thrilling game.

A sizeable crowd braved the elements and were rewarded by witnessing a fine game of hockey in which the home side threatened to take at least a point and made the table toppers work all the way for their win.

MAGPIES Men put up a brave fight against Canterbury losing 5-3 in a thrilling game.

A sizeable crowd braved the elements and were rewarded by witnessing a fine game of hockey in which the home side threatened to take at least a point and made the table toppers work all the way for their win.

This weekend, with just four games left, Magpies visit Indian Gymkhana for what is commonly referred to as a 'six-pointer'.

Magpies find themselves in seventh position with the bottom side being relegated, and the team occupying ninth spot having to play off to retain their league status.

Magpies have six points more than Indian Gymkhana currently ninth, a win would almost certainly ensure survival with three games left. Following a win by Magpies the Indians need to win and Magpies lose their remaining games to end up equal on points. There is then the matter of goal difference with Magpies better off by 23 goals.

Magpies squad will be put to the test this weekend as there are availability doubts over Duncan Graves and Ben Wright , both likely to be involved in school games.

Whilst Neil Toulson is unavailable through work commitments Magpies are pleased that the ever-improving Simon Hipwell returns after missing the Canterbury game. Toby Tibbenham, currently not playing league hockey and signed during the mid season break, and Matt Stainthorpe stand by should the schoolboys have to miss the game.

Squad (from): Richard Harms, John Livings, Gareth Furlong, David Ling, Leigh Sitch, Stuart Leate, Richard Gill, Pete Bale, Andy Hipwell, Tristan Baynes, Duncan Graves, James Fanger, ,Ben Wright, Mark Wheelhouse, Matt Stainthorpe, Toby Tibbenham, Simon Hipwell.

Harleston Magpies 3, Canterbury 5

HARLESTON Magpies entertained joint top-of-the-table Canterbury this weekend at Weybread, on a bitterly cold Sunday afternoon.

With all of the pressure on the away side Harleston entered the game in high spirits knowing that they could just enjoy the moment.

Canterbury came out of the blocks flying, pressurising Harleston early - on a turnover Canterbury won a short corner which was dispatched by their ex international playmaker Kwan Browne to give the visitors the lead.

Harleston responded straight away, playing the ball around well waiting for the spaces to appear before launching counter attacks on the shaky Canterbury defence.

Harleston managed to find a vital equaliser following good hold-up play from Ben Wright Andy Hipwell managed to bundle the ball over the line from close range.

Unfortunately for the home side Canterbury hit straight back with a well-taken reverse-stick shot.

In what was becoming a more open match Harleston carved Canterbury open again following a monster aerial from right back Gareth Furlong released Duncan Graves but the youngster was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle.

Towards the end of the half Canterbury thought they had extended their lead but after scoring at a short corner their goal was disallowed for blocking in the D.

Despite both teams creating further chances fine saves from both keepers kept the scores at 2-1 at the interval.

It was Harleston's turn to start the half the brighter; the home side moved the ball around well creating attacking opportunities from wide on the field.

Harleston eventually got their reward when Wright was fouled in the D Baynes coolly converted the resultant penalty stroke.

Magpies' goal spurred Canterbury on who came straight back at Magpies and won a flick of their own which was dispatched by Browne to give Canterbury the lead.

Canterbury continued to pressurise Harleston forcing them into mistakes in their own half, Canterbury soon capitalised on this winning a second penalty stroke in dubious circumstances.

Again Canterbury converted the stroke to take a 4-2 advantage into the last 20 minutes of play.

Harleston surged again and pulled a goal back through Andy Hipwell after his powerful shot was dummied by Ben Wright to fool the keeper.

In a very open last 10 minutes Harleston searched frantically for the equaliser but were caught on a break which resulted in a penalty corner which Canterbury were able to convert.


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