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Harleston Magpies aim to continue best start to a new season for six years

Harleston Magpies Ladies first team’s positive start to the new campaign has been a pleasant surprise for everyone, and now they are determined to keep it going.

With five wins from their first six matches, Magpies sit two points clear at the top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference East standings – their best opening to a campaign in six years.

Lauren Barber, who is captaining the team in the absence of the injured Lucy Belsey, believes improved performances at the beginning of games has been a big contributing factor to their early-season success.

Harleston Magpies Ladies 1 (5269066)
Harleston Magpies Ladies 1 (5269066)

And, she is hoping the team can continue to deliver similar results going forward, with the top six securing promotion this term.

“It has gone really well, probably better than anyone expected,” said Barber, who will skipper the team at home against St Albans tomorrow (1.30pm).

“We all knew we could compete with teams at this level, but it’s just been about doing it on a consistent basis.

“We have done that so far and picked up some good results. The challenge now is to keep that going, and turn a good start into a good season.

“A lot of it is down to teamwork. We traditionally start games slowly; sometimes it takes 20 minutes for us to get going.

“But recently we have been scoring early and that breeds confidence throughout the team.”

Evidence of those early goals was there for all to see on Saturday, with Magpies scoring three in the first eight minutes of the 5-0 win over Ipswich.

All five goals were scored by Lauren Rowe, taking her tally for the season to 11 and making her the division’s leading scorer.

Rowe was named in the East National League Team of the Year last season, and Barber has admitted she is a key player.

“She is performing so well and her short corners are unstoppable right now,” she said.

“She is so valuable and we make sure she is wrapped up in cotton wool in training.”

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