The much anticipated meeting between the two top men’s hockey teams in the county saw hosts Harleston Magpies battle to a 2-1 win against Norfolk rivals Dereham on Saturday.

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The visitors were dealt a cruel blow five minutes before the game started when goalkeeper Tom Vaughan suffered a nasty looking arm injury in the warm-up which resulted in him being taken to hospital for an x-ray.

With no reserve goalkeeper to call upon, and Magpies not keen to postpone the fixture to a later date, defender Andy Howarth bravely donned the goalkeeper’s pads.

Dereham battled hard to contain the home side and managed to do so until the 15th minute when Magpies midfielder Tristan Baynes opened the scoring with a fortunate deflection. The large home crowd expected the floodgates to open but Dereham scored a stunning equaliser when captain Rich Stainthorpe slammed home an exquisite, defence-splitting pass from teenager Matt Plater.

The goal gave Dereham genuine belief that they could pull of the most unlikely of results but Andy Lawrence then became the second Dereham player to need hospital treatment when he went down injured with damaged knee ligaments, meaning that coach Peter Hogg was again forced to re-shuffle his pack. The incident forced an early return to action for striker Ric Timm, a player who has not competed since he fractured his foot in September.

Howarth made some excellent stops to deny Tommy Graham, Baynes and Simon Hipwell but Dereham’s resistance was finally broken five minutes from time when Baynes sent an unstoppable drag-flick into the roof of the net.

The result keeps Harleston Magpies in touch with league leaders St Albans the top of the table, while Dereham drop to fourth.

“We are obviously disappointed with the loss, but it would have been a miracle to get anything from the game after everything that happened today,” said Stainthorpe.

“Two seasons ago we were playing against Harleston’s second team, so a one goal defeat under these circumstances shows just how competitive we are becoming at this level.”

In Premier B Norwich City bounced back from last week’s defeat with a relatively comfortable 2-0 home win over league newcomers Waltham Forest.

The deadlock was almost broken five minutes from the break when a Chris Perry drag flick hit the woodwork.

City finally went ahead early in the second period when Ed Sutton picked up the ball on the right wing and found Jim Pallister who drove towards goal and crossed for Pete Morgan to convert at the far post.

The home side made sure of the points when Nick Jones slid the ball across the keeper for the advancing Dave Skinner to take the ball from behind him with his reverse stick and sweep home. Forest found man of the match Alex Scott a difficult barrier to pass as City kept their first clean sheet of the season.

Wisbech are still going strong at the top after making it six wins out of six by beating City of Peterborough III 6-0 on away soil.

Norwich Dragons returned to winning ways in Division 2N with a morale-boosting 6-1 win at home to Bourne-Deeping.

Dragons went behind early on but Rupert Snelling levelled and Steve Woodward scored from a well worked penalty corner to make it 2-1 at the break.

Dragons put in their best performance of the season so far after the interval and Alex Browne made it 3-1 before Matt Knights scored the goal of the game, latching on to Lewis Wilkins’ fantastic through ball, before rounding the keeper and calmly slotting home. Knights then scored his second before Browne completed his brace.

Pelicans moved up to second in the section after returning from Cambridge City with an excellent 1-0 victory.

Norwich City II had an excellent result in Division 3NE, winning 8-1 at Harleston Magpies V. Matthew Brine led the way with three goals while the others came from Will Marshall, Mark Circuit, Clive Crichton, Richard Silvester and Adie Land.

As a result they remained second in the table, a point behind Holt Harlequins who beat Harleston Magpies IV 5-1 (Charlie Mack 2, Tom Nichols, Ed Plumb, own goal).

Norwich Dragons II came up against a strong Ipswich ES team and were beaten 5-1. The consolation goal came when Dan Cheesman lashed into the bottom corner after a strong dribble. Dragons’ man of the match was Adam Sayer.

There was an amazing result in 4NE as Watton beat visitors Norwich City V 6-5. The City goals came from Tim Crane (3), Ady Marr and Tim Armstrong

Dereham III won 4-3 at Thetford with the goals coming Ieuan Gambold Wilton and Will Dewing.

In Division 5NE Norwich Dragons III beat Felixstowe III 7-0 with Jon Goodson scoring a hat-trick. Matt Jenkins (2), Rich Phillis and Adrian Kemp completed the scoring.

Norwich Dragons IV lost 3-1 at Ipswich and East Suffolk V, Henry Laming scoring with a deflected shot.

n Norwich City scraped into round two of the England Hockey Trophy by the narrowest of margins, winning on sudden death penalty strokes against Long Sutton after a 2-2 draw.

After a goalless first half City took control with a quick brace. First Jez Elliott picked out the onrushing Dave Skinner to slot into an empty net. Then Chris Wardale nicked the ball off a defender on the left flank and made ground into the middle and switched the ball wide left to Paul Gallop, who found the advancing Wardale to deflect home.

With 10 minutes remaining City handed Sutton a lifeline after losing the ball in midfield, and the hosts then equalised in the final minute from a short corner..

Both teams had opportunities but extra time remained scoreless and the tie went to penalty strokes. With the score locked at 3-3 it went to sudden death and Chris Perry won it for Norwich.

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