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Magpies remain unbeaten in London ahead of opener

ON TARGET: Debbie Francis scored for the Magpies during their pre-season tournament in London
ON TARGET: Debbie Francis scored for the Magpies during their pre-season tournament in London

Harleston Magpies Ladies will begin their 18th successive season in the National League with an away trip to newly-promoted West Herts tomorrow afternoon (1.30pm).

The ladies will be under the stewardship of new coach Rob Sorrell, while Nick McAllen is to continue in the role of manager.

Lucy Belsey is once again taking on the captain’s duties, with Lauren Barber acting as her deputy.

Magpies have welcomed some new players to the squad ahead of their upcoming campaign, including Katherine Ridley, Bryony Lund, Annie Nunn, Jess Howland and Jade Daly.

However, Emma Lee-Smith has signed for East Grinstead, while neither Katrina Sitch nor Susan Wessels are expected to play this campaign.

As for the clash at West Herts, Abby Gooderham and Molly Redgrove are both unavailable for selection.

Squad: Lucy Belsey (c), Lauren Barber, Louisa Greenacre, Bryony Lund, Debbie Francis, Katherine Ridley, Lauren Mickleburgh, Anna Tighe, Charlotte Peet (Lee-Smith), Kara Kilbourn, Lizzie Clymer, Tor Findlay, Charlotte Harrison, Lucy Whiting and Maria Andrews

n The Ladies warmed up for the new season by playing in the Plum Tournament, which was hosted by the Lee Valley Stadium at the Olympic Park in London.

The Magpies team were not at their full strength due to injuries and unavailability, but that did not deter them from putting in two great performances, winning their first match against Exe HC 2-0 and then drawing 1-1 with Oxford Hawks.

Against Exe HC the Magpies’ defence was tested in the first half as the opposition created some break-away play.

However, the rearguard remained strong and allowed no shots on target, while the midfield worked hard to pressure the Exe hockey players higher up the pitch, gaining vital momentum for the forwards to put some shots on target to test the Exe goalkeeper.

The second half saw Magpies fighting spirit come through with them creating some great link-ups up the pitch to allow the forwards to win several shorts corners, resulting in two deflected goals off the post, by Debbie Francis and Lucy Belsey.

Magpies scored from another short corner against Oxford with Lizzie Clymer hitting it from the top of the circle into the bottom left-hand corner.

They did not have it all their own way, though, and after a sustained period of pressure the Hawks hit back to equalise.

The momentum thereafter was with Harleston, but despite their domination they were unable to find the winning goal, meaning that the encounter ended in a score draw.

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