MAGPIES HOCKEY COLUMN: ‘Youth teams are seeking regional glory’

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Mike Denham previews some big youth tournaments being held at Weybread in his latest Mike’s Magpies Musings.

This weekend, Harleston Magpies Hockey Club is hosting the annual seven-a-side East Club IN2Hockey Championships. Tomorrow the U12 Boys (from 10.30am) and U10 Girls (from 1.25pm) will be in action and on Sunday it will be the turn of the U12 Girls (10am) and U10 Boys (1pm).

Magpies will be represented in each of the events with their teams having qualified through the Norfolk Championships.

The U12 Boys won the Bury St Edmunds tournament and have finished second in their other outings this season, including the Norfolk Championship, while the U10 Boys have also had a consistent season, finishing second in all their events.

Meanwhile, the U12 Girls have won three of their five tournaments, scoring 66 goals and conceding just four. They were pipped for the Norfolk Championship by Pelicans without conceding a goal in the event and their only defeat of the season came at the hands of Cambridge City, their first opponents on Sunday, when coming second in the Bury tournament.

The U10 Girls have had an even better season, winning all five of their events, scoring 79 goals while conceding just one.

Congratulations to the five club members who competed in the recent FIH Masters World Cup in Canberra, Australia, as all returned with medals. Phil Cobbald (England O55s) and Andy Law (England O50s) won gold, Kath Johnson (England O40s) and Tristan Baynes (England O40s) won silver while club chairman Murray Graham won bronze playing for Scotland O55s.

The Mixed team is through to the quarter-finals of the England Hockey Trophy after their 5-0 home win over Wisbech last Sunday.

The two teams also met last year, with Magpies winning 9-0, but a repeat of that scoreline was never in prospect after the home team took 30 minutes to open their account through Simon Hipwell. Two minutes later, Lucy Whiting squared the ball in the circle for Maria Andrews, who made no mistake from close range. Shortly after the break, Andrews scored the goal of the game, finishing off a move down the left involving Hipwell and Robbie Kinsella. Sam Moore scored the fourth and Kinsella rounded off the scoring with 10 minutes remaining.

The U14 Boys played in the regional finals of their national championships and started with a 1-1 draw (Arthur Johnson) with Cambridge City before 3-0 defeats at the hands of hosts, City of Peterborough and Leicester.

Despite the final score, Magpies played some good hockey against Leicester, which bodes well for next season.