Harleston Magpies were crowned England Hockey Mixed Trophy champions for the third time after beating Khalsa in a thrilling penalty shootout yesterday.
Magpies, who had won the national competition twice before in 2004 and 2015, were among four teams bidding to win this year’s title in the finals, held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, in London at the weekend.
A Maria Andrews hat-trick helped Harleston to a 4-1 win against Spencer in the semi-finals on Saturday, with Warwickshire-based outfit Khalsa their opponents in the final the next day.
The two sides had met in the quarter-finals of the Mixed Trophy last year, with Magpies coming out on top on that occasion.
But Khalsa looked like a much stronger outfit than the one Harleston had faced previously, and they took the lead with just three minutes on the clock.
Despite an early set back, Magpies grew into the game and went into the break level at 1-1 after Lizzie Clymer slid the ball past the Khalsa goalkeeper.
An open second half then ensued, with both teams creating, but not converting, chances to snatch the lead.
When called upon, Harleston goalkeeper Chris Leek was in outstanding form, quickly closing down angles and making two world-class saves to keep his side on level terms.
At the other end, Andrews saw a revere stick shot destined for the top corner turned away by the Khalsa goalkeeper.
With both sides still level at full time, a penalty shootout would decide the winners and in sudden death, Tim Whiteman converted his chance, before Leek then forced the Khalsa forward to fire wide to hand Magpies the trophy.
* See Friday’s print edition of the Diss Express for reaction from Harleston Magpies mixed team’s winning captain Leigh Sitch.