Harleston Magpies men secure mid-table position

GOAL GETTER: Rhodri Furlong, pictured in action in the outdoor league against Canterbury, played an important role in Bristol at the weekend
GOAL GETTER: Rhodri Furlong, pictured in action in the outdoor league against Canterbury, played an important role in Bristol at the weekend

Harleston Magpies men’s indoor team are in a mid-table position in Division One after the first of two weekends of the indoor Maxifuel Super Sixes Championship.

The Weybread-based side, who welcomed Gareth Furlong (Sheffiled University) and Carl Sitch (Loughborough University) as their two permitted transfers, won two and lost two of their opening four games in Bristol.

The team started the weekend with a game against outdoor rivals St Albans, Magpies knowing only a win would do as the remaining games for the weekend were against outdoor Premier National League teams and Holcombe, who currently sit top of the East National League.

An enthralling game ended with Harleston, who took an early lead through Tom Graham, winning 7-4.

Andrew Bedwell scored before St Albans managed to pull a goal back, but Furlong netted twice to stretch the advantage to 4-1.

St Albans pulled another goal back before Carl Sitch scored a double, his second from an assist from his brother Leigh Sitch, for 6-2.

St Albans managed to pull two goals back, but it was Magpies who struck the last goal when Richard Larkin finished powerfully from an acute angle.

An 8-4 defeat followed in their next game against a strong Holcombe side, who went into a 2-0 lead before being pegged bakc by Gareth and Rhodri Furlong, both converting short corners.

Holcombe scored two quick goals for 4-2 before what was arguably the goal of the tournament when Leigh Sitch instinctively took a quick free-hit just outside the attacking circle.

He drove into the circle before slipping the ball to Tom Graham. The young forward passed the ball back to Sitch, who deflected it past the onrushing keeper.

In the second half, Holcombe ran away with only Stuart Leate’s strike replying to four more at the other end.

On Sunday, Harleston went down to a 7-2 defeat in another tough game, against Hampstead and Westminster.

Magpies paid the price for giving the National League outfit too much respect early on with Rhodri Fulrong replying when they had been trailing 3-0 for a lifeline.

But they couldn’t find a way back into the game with Sam Moore scoring a consolation.

In the final game of the weekend, Magpies ended previously unbeaten Brooklands’ fine run with a thrilling 6-5 victory.

Harleston went ahead through Gareth Furlong before Carl Sitch doubled their advantage.

Leate soon made it 3-0, but Brooklands did grab a goal back on the counter-attack.

With the score at 3-1, Tristan Baynes scored an excellent drag flick and despite Brooklands’ pressure it was Harleston who scored the fifth goal of the game when Gareth Furlong despatched with a drag flick.

With the score at 5-3, Brooklands decided to take their keeper off and play with a kicking back. The numerical advantage soon paid off when they finished a slick move.

With the outcome in the balalnce, Harleston won another penalty corner which was blocked on the line by a players’ body, resulting in a penalty stroke.

Brooklands brought their goalkeeper back on but Tristan Baynes still dispatched the stroke with ease.

With 10 seconds left Brooklands won a penalty corner of their own which they were able to dispatch with the final touch of the game.

Harleston, in fifth place out of nine, travel to Bristol again next weekend to play their remaining fixtures against Havant, Southgate, Sevenoaks and Bourneville.