Hockey: Harleston Magpies return to action with a 5-0 win
- Credit: Archant
Harleston Magpies returned to action in impressive style as they beat visitors Chelmsford 5-0 in their first match of 2018.
The thumping win took Magpies up to fourth in the Premier A table and to within two points of inactive leaders St Albans, although they have now played two more games than their rivals.
Magpies started with great intensity, with the midfield of Thomas Ridley, Tim Whiteman and Matt Richardson quickly asserting their dominance. Before long the deadlock was broken after Whiteman created space for Simon Hipwell to slide the ball into the D where Ben Watson was on hand to open his account for the team.
Magpies continued to push forward and the second goal came after Richard Larkin slipped the ball under his arm to Hipwell who moved it across for Richardson to calmly slot into the top corner.
Magpies started the second half as they finished the first and scored their third from a short corner after Andrew Bedwell had picked out Richardson on the back post.
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The whole team harried the opposition, looking to win the ball back as soon as possible. It wasn't long before man-of-the-match Thomas Ridley showed his class in the D and slipped the ball under the keeper for Hipwell to deflect home.
Richardson almost completed his hat-trick with the last play but Larkin was on hand to convert with the final touch to round off an encouraging performance from a slightly depleted team.
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There was disappointment at Greenfields Road, with the big Premier B derby match between Dereham and Norwich City being called off because of a frozen pitch.
Harleston Magpies II moved nine points clear at the top of Division 2NE with a game in hand after winning 3-2 at closest challengers Norwich City II. Stuart Wardle and Pete Morgan scored for the hosts, who put in a brave show but were unable to prevent Magpies from making it 14 wins out of 14.
Elsewhere Dereham II drew 3-3 at Magpies' third team while Pelicans went down 3-1 at Bury St Edmunds.
In Division 5NE Norwich Exiles had an eventful game, beating Ipswich and ES V 8-4 (Ian White 4, Will Waterman, Simon Nesbitt, Rob Panter Fergus Clarke).