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First and second place for hosting Harleston squads

CHAMPIONS: Magpies Under-10s
CHAMPIONS: Magpies Under-10s

Harleston Magpies had plenty to celebrate at the East Hockey In2Hockey Club Championships that they hosted at the weekend.

One of the hosting club’s teams — the Under-10 Girls — walked away with the title after winning all six of their encounters, while their Under-12 counterparts finished the tournament as the runners-up.

It looked a tall order for the Under-10s once the draw had pitted them alongside Canterbury, Sevenoaks, Blue Hornets, Hertford and Sudbury, with just the top team in the section advancing through to the final.

However, Harleston were in top form throughout the entirety of the competition, racking up five victories to set up a clash with Chelmsford for the trophy.

Magpies dominated that particular encounter, but they were unable to finish off their chances and so penalty flicks were required to determine a winner.

The youngsters from Harleston had lost on that method in the Norfolk Championships earlier this season, but this time around they rallied to win 2-0.

Coach Nick McAllen said: “This was nothing less than the girls deserved as they were clearly the best team in the competition.

“They played consistently throughout Saturday afternoon, and they thoroughly deserved to be crowned East hockey champions.”

It was not such plain sailing for the Under-12s, who opened their campaign up with a 2-2 draw against Saffron Walden, followed by a 3-0 loss at the hands of an impressive Sevenoaks team.

Those results meant Magpies needed to win all of their remaining matches to reach the semi-finals and they duly delivered, seeing off St Albans, Blue Hornets and Bury St Edmunds.

They then got the better of opposition from Cambridge in the last four, before suffering another defeat to Sevenoaks in the final.

Nevertheless, the team still booked their place in the National Finals, which will be held in the city of Nottingham over the weekend of May 12-13.

Coach Kathy Gardens said of the achievement: “We knew if we could keep it tight at the start and spoil Sevenoaks’ wonderful attacking play we might be in with a shout but sadly they were very much in form and passed the ball around beautifully.

“We lost but disappointment was short lived as the girls were soon celebrating their achievement in reaching the National Finals.”

As for club youth chairman, David Johnson, he added: “This is an excellent set of results from our teams, with the Under-10 Boys also finishing seventh.

“Despite the cold wet weather, all the players had fun.

“The good news is that for someof our teams, the season is still not yet over with our Under-12 Girls, and Under-14 Girls and Boys playing in the National Finals.

“They are all a real credit to the club.”

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