Harleston crowned national mixed champions

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Harleston Magpies Mixed squad were left celebrating after being crowned National Mixed Trophy champions at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre.

Having overcome Hampstead and Westminster in a 3-1 semi-final success a day previously, courtesy of goals from, Andrew Bedwell (two) and Simon Hipwell, to set up an encounter with Bedford in Sunday’s showpiece final, who had overcome Horsham 2-1 in the other semi-final.

Bedford started on the front foot but it was Harleston who struck first against the run of play after 10 minutes as the in-form Bedwell fired a penalty corner through the hands of the goalkeeper.

Magpies continued to push for a second which duly came after a flowing move down the right-hand side involving Richard Larkin, Lauren Barber, Maria Andrews, Martin Fields and Toby Price resulted in the latter rifling a fierce shot past the helpless Bedford custodian.

Bedford pushed forward in search of a way back into the match but despite creating chances they could not find a way past the stout Magpies defence of Katrina Sitch, Bedwell, Leigh Sitch, Richard Larkin, Robbie Kinsella and Frances Taylor and goalkeeper Matt Collinge as Halreston kept their two-goal lead intact at the interval.

Magpies were dealt a setback after the restart as they were reduced to 10 men following Toby Price’s late tackle, before Fields was shown a yellow for a similar offence leaving them down to nine players.

Bedford then lost a player and with both teams at 10 players it was Harleston who struck the killer blow when Lizzie Clymer and Chris Barber combined smartly in the circle to force a penalty stroke.

Bedwell stepped up again kept his cool, clinically slotting home to extend Magpies advantage.

With time running out Bedford took their goalkeeper off and played with 11 outfield players.

Despite this, Harleston stood strong and held out to win 3-0 and claim the National mixed trophy for the first time since 2004 and give departing player Chris Barber a fitting farewell in his final match for the club.