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Harleston Magpies gear up for indoor hockey season and Super 6s championship in high spirits

Harleston Magpies player Andrew Bedwell believes both the men’s and women’s squads are capable of glory in Division One of January’s Indoor Super 6s Championship.

But, he said, it will all depend on how they fare in their first round of matches this weekend.

The men will face Ipswich followed by team Bath tomorrow, in the first two fixtures of eight they will play – with nine teams in the division – at Nottingham Trent University.

HOCKEY: Harleston Magpies Men's I v Saffron Walden. Andrew Bedwell. (25726054)
HOCKEY: Harleston Magpies Men's I v Saffron Walden. Andrew Bedwell. (25726054)

The women, meanwhile will take on Repton and the University of Birmingham on the first day at UWE Bristol.

“We are pretty confident,” Bedwell said. “This will be the fourth year we have been in Division One, which is great, we feel firmly established at this level.

“So it’s not about staying up now but looking at the next challenge, and that’s about looking up the table not down.

“But it’s one of those things that’s tough to call; (promotion) is not out of our ability or reach, but it’s all down to how the first few games go.

“If we get off to a good start, we’re in the fight.

“A short tournament like this means anything is possible, we would love to be top-half of course, but we are mindful of how hard that will be.”

The men are due to play Repton and Brooklands MU on Sunday, while the women will take on Canterbury and Beeston.

The tournament is held over two weekends, with the men and women swapping venues for the second week; the men will play Ashmoor and Beeston next Saturday (January 11) at UWE Bristol, followed by Exeter University and Loughborough on Sunday.

The women, on the other hand, will take on Sevenoaks on the Saturday at Nottingham Trent University, followed by Cambridge City and Reading on the Sunday.

According to the England Hockey website, they are not due to face divisional rivals Wimbledon.

Bedwell said: “Both the men and women’s teams feel in good shape and most of us look forward to this competition.

“It’s a different format to enjoy, fast-paced games and back-to-back fixtures. It also helps keep us fit during the winter break, it’s a great competition.

“And we get to play teams we don’t normally play – with two teams up and two down, it’s not even the same teams in the division each year – and that’s really fun.

“Plus, it’s just nice to be inside at this time of the year.”

He added that while the women have had to fight for survival over the past two years, only securing their place in the division in the final few matches, the success of the women’s outdoor squad boded well for this year.

The women’s first team lie in third in Division 1 South of the EH Women’s National Hockey League, with five wins and two draws from their 11 outings.

“They’re doing so well in the outdoor league,” Bedwell added.

“I hope they’ll be able to carry that form into the indoors tournament and build on their position in the division. Maybe even push on from a relegation fight.”

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