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Harleston Magpies Men's first team ready for East Men's League Premier A top-of-the-table game against Wapping


By Sport Diss


With a chance to go into the Christmas break sitting top of the East Men’s League Premier A table, manager Kevin Ridley admits these are ‘exciting times’ for the Harleston Magpies first team, writes Alex Moss.

A 3-2 win away at promotion rivals St Albans last Saturday saw Magpies stretch their winning run to nine games.

And ahead of a trip to leaders Wapping tomorrow (2pm), when a win would see his side, currently two points adrift in second, move to the top, Ridley is looking forward to the challenge of trying to chalk up a 10th straight victory.

HOCKEY: Harleston Magpies Men's first team v Old Loughtonians . Tom Ridley. (5812471)
HOCKEY: Harleston Magpies Men's first team v Old Loughtonians . Tom Ridley. (5812471)

“We’re going away to the leaders Wapping and it’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “We’re playing really well and have almost a full squad to choose from.

“It’s going to be a good game. Of course, we’re going there to win on Saturday, but I would take a draw now.

“Although it’s the top four all going up at the end of this season, we’re going for the title as well. We’ve got to go for it.

“If we fall short, our main aim is to be in the top four and get back in the National League.

“It’s exciting times at Harleston at the moment.

“The ladies are doing well too and are looking good for promotion. I think it’s the top six in their league that go up.”

Having started their Premier A campaign with one point from their first two games – losing 2-0 at home to current leaders Wapping and then drawing 2-2 at West Herts – Magpies have since embarked on an impressive nine-match winning run.

Five of those nine victories have been by the odd goal, including last Saturday’s success at St Albans, and a narrow 2-1 win over Saffron Walden the previous weekend.

Harleston’s winning streak has taken them up to second in the table at the halfway point of the season, and with a seven-point lead on Bedford, in fifth spot.

With Magpies the only top five side in action next week, when they host West Herts in a rearranged fixture, Ridley knows two more wins could put them four points clear at the top heading into 2019.

“The thing is the other teams around us have to play each other again, so there are some big games coming up,” he said.

“Points can be won and lost between the top five or six sides, so we just have to keep winning ourselves and make sure the others can’t catch up with us.”

Following indoor competitions in early January, Magpies renew their Premier A campaign on January 19.



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