Promoted Magpies still have plenty to play for
After suffering back-to-back relegations, Harleston Magpies Men’s II have bounced back in style this season, sealing promotion by the first weekend of February.
Having tumbled from the East Men’s League Premier B set-up into Division 2N, the seconds approached the 2017/18 campaign with renewed hope and vigour.
But even they could not have expected a term of such highs, winning all 16 of their fixtures so far, scoring a hefty 80 goals in the process.
In the top five East Men’s Leagues, only City of Peterborough in Premier A have hit the back of the net on more occasions, while no team can better the Magpies’ return of 48 points at this stage.
It is all a far cry from the previous two seasons, with forward Robbie Kinsella attributing much of the success down to the team now containing the right blend of youth and experience.
“We have had a core of players over the last few years and in the last two seasons there have been a lot of players still learning the game,” he said.
“This year we have had seven or so senior players on the pitch and the rest are youngsters, whereas in the last two seasons it had been the other way around.
“That was a much higher level of hockey and it made things difficult.
“But the youngsters have adapted now and with the help of the senior players are showing what good players they can be.
“We all get on and have the same mentality. There are no egos with people wanting the limelight — we just all want to win.”
Magpies still have six more matches to play, starting with Saturday’s home encounter against Bury St Edmunds I (3.30pm).
With promotion secured the danger is that the foot may come off the throttle, but Kinsella has insisted there is still plenty left to play for.
“It is great to have been promoted so early and to bounce back, but now we want to make sure we get that 100 per cent winning record,” added the attacker.
“There is probably more pressure on us now to make sure we get that record.
“We have to ensure we are at our best each weekend because teams are making it harder.
“They have seen what we are all about and so are now sticking 10 players behind the ball.
“Earlier in the season we were scoring fives and sixes, now it is twos and threes.
“We also want to reach 100 goals for the season, so there is no danger of anybody taking it easy.”