Harleston Magpies Ladies’ Over-35s booked their place in the final of the Investec Women’s Over 35s Tier 1 Championship with a resounding 5-0 victory over Clifton Robinsons on Sunday.
In a superb squad performance, it was perhaps Emma Lee-Smith that stood out the most for Magpies with her strong runs at the Clifton defence.
She duly put the home team ahead in the 23rd minute with a powerful shot from a narrow angle that evaded goalkeeper Sarah Ellis, who had earlier made several smart saves.
Six minutes later Lee-Smith converted a penalty corner with a powerful shot high into the net following some deft stick-work.
Hosting Magpies were in total control with Frances Burrell and Debbie Francis in dominant form in midfield, and their position was further strengthened just before half-time when, after a strong run down the right by Lucy Field, the ball found Charlotte Harrison to the left of the circle.
By sheer persistence and aided by a first-class advantage from the umpire she took the ball along the goal line before squeezing it into the net.
Early in the second half Angie Wheelhouse, who had several times gone close to scoring in the first half, was unlucky to see her shot hit the bar before being cleared.
Clifton, with Isabel Palmer prominent, responded with a spell of pressure of their own, but the fourth goal for Magpies was soon forthcoming when Anouska Stott took advantage of a calamitous mix up in the visitors’ defence to ease the ball past the guiltless goalkeeper.
This made the game safe for Magpies before Stott latched on to a through ball to race into the circle to fire high into the net and complete the scoring.
In the final at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre on Saturday, May 5 (5pm), the ladies will play Canterbury following their defeat of Olton & West Warwicks 4-3 in the other semi-final.