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Magpies on verge of Masters Cup glory

Harleston Magpies Men’s Over-50s are through to the final of the England Hockey Masters Cup for the third time in the past four years.

In Sunday’s semi-final they beat Barford Tigers 6-4 in Birmingham and will now go on to play Reading in the final at the Lee Valley Sports Centre next Sunday (May 3).

Roger Kent and skipper Jon Aldridge put Magpies two goals ahead early in the game, following flowing moves before Barford enjoyed a good spell of play during which Magpies’ goalkeeper, Murray Graham, was called upon to make a series of fine saves.

But he could do nothing to prevent an expertly taken and fully deserved Barford goal soon after.

Magpies responded with two goals just before half-time with Philip Cobbald combining with Andy Law, to make it 3-1 before Cobbald converted a penalty corner with a fierce shot to give Magpies a slightly flattering 4-1 lead.

That pressure continued after the break as Andy Caston set up Kent for his second goal of the game, before Caston scored to put Magpies five goals ahead.

With the game won, Magpies made several changes to their line-up and Barford took advantage with three goals in the last action-packed five minutes.

Their first was smartly taken from close range, the second gifted to them by a defensive blunder outside the circle and the third came with a penalty corner conversion with the last hit of the game.

n Meanwhile, two brothers who have played the indoor game for Harleston Magpies this year have both landed Player of the Season awards.

Leigh Sitch was named Magpies’ men’s Senior Player of the Year, while his brother Carl carried off the same honour for his outdoor club, Teddington.

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