First team wrap up season with extra point from league draw ahead of move to new league
Harleston Magpies Ladies rounded off a highly satisfactory season in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference East by drawing 2-2 with Southgate at Weybread.
The result, despite the disappointment of giving away a two goal lead in the match, was enough to see the team finish fifth and secure entry into the new England Hockey National Division One league next term.
With the top six clubs in the league qualifying for the new Division One next season, the Magpies wrapped up their season eight points clear of seventh position to guarantee the move.
Up against a side already certain to finish second from bottom in the table, Magpies could not have wished for a better start on Saturday, scoring twice in the first 10 minutes.
Emma Lee-Smith opened the scoring with a penalty corner strike after just five minutes and the lead was quickly doubled when Lee-Smith netted again, this time from open play.
It was still 2-0 to Harleston at the interval and, with their comfortable advantage still intact midway through the second period, it appeared as though they were on course for a tenth win of the campaign.
But Southgate had other ideas and Magpies were stunned by second-half goals from Emily Ruffell-Hazell (53 minutes) and Ella Shearing (64 minutes) to leave the hosts having to settle for only their second draw.
They finish the season with nine victories, two draws and seven defeats from their 18 league outings, scoring 37 goals while conceding 33 to finish with a goal difference of four.
* The only other Harleston Magpies senior team in action this weekend was the men’s sixth string side in Division 6NE(S) of the East Men’s Hockey League.
In a game rescheduled from January 19, Harleston Magpies Men VI beat a visiting I-ED VI side by a huge 5-1 scoreline, despite I-ES being above them in the league standings.
Even with the home team taking maximum points, they were unable to leapfrog their defeated opposition, finishing a place below in a midtable fifth position after 16 matches.
They had a mixed season in competition, recording eight wins but also losing eight times; they did not draw any league outing in the 2018/19 season.
l In the Empresa Norfolk Hockey League Boys’ Development division, Harleston Magpies Boys drew 2-2 at home to Dereham.