Magpies men make league return

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Harleston Magpies Men’s first team will travel to Cambridge City on Sunday as they kick-off their return season to the England Hockey East Conference League.

Captain Leigh Sitch felt his teams achievements to get back to national level, after a three season absence, have been fantastic.

He said: “With narrowly missing out in previous years, winning the league last year by the odd point was very satisfying. With the men’s squad now matching the ladies and playing at a national level, the club can boast to be one of the best in East Anglia.”

With returning faces in the shape of Matt Riches and Stuart Leate, from Wimbledon and London Wayfarers respectively, Sitch also feels the club’s new recruits will bring something extra to the team.

He said: “Ben Underwood and Matt Richardson both offer midfield and forward experience from local rivals Ipswich. We have also gained a couple of youngsters, Cambridge City’s Zum Akhter and Donnie Archer from Ipswich and East Suffolk.”

The game on Sunday is a match for the club and though Sitch has respect to their opponents he feels his team has what it takes to seal victory.

He said: “Since their promotion, Cambridge have been able to consolidate their position in the National League.Their side has gone from strength to strength and finishing third last season in a very tough league just shows how far they have come. Harleston know that this will be a tough start but if we continue our pre-season form into the first game, that could give us every chance of pulling off a win.”

Sitch’s hopes for the coming season are very simple.

He added: “In the first season back at this level player, coach Ben Wright’s aim is to consolidate our place in the league and look to build on this next season. We know that it will be a challenging season at times but with the squad that has been built and a positive pre-season we have every possibility of surviving.”

Harleston Magpies Men’s XI play Cambridge City away on Sunday at 1pm.

Magpies Ladies first team will host Wimbledon on Saturday as they try to better their thirrd place finish last season.

After back-to-back friendly wins, against Bedford and Oxford Hawks, the team go into their 17th successive season full of confidence hoping to avoid a repeat of their opening game defeat last year.

Their close season additions of, Hattie and Sophie Sunderland from Ipswich, will look to enforce their attacking options but the weekend’s game will be Amy Campbell’s last as she goes to university.