Magpies’ impressive year recognised by nomination

WIDESPREAD SUCCESS: Harleston Magpies Under-14s Boys qualified for the Eastern Regional Finals in March - one of the club's many triumphs

WIDESPREAD SUCCESS: Harleston Magpies Under-14s Boys qualified for the Eastern Regional Finals in March - one of the club's many triumphs

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Harleston Magpies Hockey Club is celebrating after being shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

England Hockey have shortlisted the Norfolk club in the category of Sports Club of the Year.

The awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony, which is the highlight of the annual hockey calendar, on Saturday, May 20 in Leicester.

Hockey enthusiasts from all over the country get together at this England Hockey Awards Dinner to celebrate the achievements of volunteers, umpires, coaches, players and of course clubs over the last year.

The standard of entries has been really high this year, with England Hockey stating on their website: ‘The quality of nominees in each of the categories was once again exceptionally high, making for some tough decisions for the England Hockey selection panel.”

Meanwhile, Harleston Magpies chairman Murray Graham was excited by the news, saying: “Everyone at Magpies is absolutely delighted.

“As a rural club, we have a thriving membership, both at youth and adult levels, and we punch well above our weight in regional and national competitions.

“We rely on volunteers and a host of dedicated coaches and players plus some really committed local sponsors.

“It’s this commitment and spirit across our local community that has got us noticed by England Hockey.

“It’s a real honour to be nominated in the category of Sports Club of the Year.’

He continued: “Last year, one of the clubs most dedicated servants, Mr Mike Denham, won the prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2016 at the England Hockey ceremony.

“We only hope that we can repeat the same success in 2017.”

n Harleston Magpies’ Mixed team will make the trip down to Sussex to face Horsham on Sunday (11.45am), seeking a place in the semi-finals of this season’s England Hockey’s Mixed Trophy.

So far this season Magpies, under the captaincy of Leigh Sitch, have beaten Bedford, Bourne Deeping, Letchworth and Dereham and their twelve goals have all been scored by the women members with Maria Andrews leading the way finding the net five times.

Both teams have regularly reached the latter rounds of this national event, with Magpies the winners in 2004 and two years ago.

Magpies were also beaten finalists in 2007 and 2003, losing out to Old Loughtonians and Olton & WW respectively.

n Meanwhile, Magpies are once again planning to run their May Day Weekend Hockey Festival, starting on Saturday, April 29.

The festival will include mixed hockey matches on the Saturday, as well as games involving the club’s men’s and ladies’ teams on the Monday.