East Men’s League: Weekend double takes Magpies top

Harleston Magpies swept to the top of the East Men's League Premier A with two wins over the weekend.

They followed a 3-1 home win over Peterborough 2nds on Saturday with a victory by the same score at Cambridge University on Sunday to leapfrog St Albans into pole position.

Having beaten St Albans the previous weekend, Magpies were boosted by the return of a fully fit Andrew Hipwell.

But they had to come from behind against Peterborough, who always looked dangerous on the counter attack and scored from one of them, which ended when Reece Leonard turned the ball into his own net.

Harleston responded with some patient hockey as Peterborough sat deeper and deeper and were eventually rewarded when Andrew Bedwell's hopeful ball into the D deflected off a Peterborough foot and into the goal to leave the interval scores level.

Magpies took the lead eight minutes into the second half after good build- up play from Baynes allowed Andrew Hipwell to break into the circle, where his first shot was saved but the rebound fell kindly for Pete Bale to smash home.

With man of the match Rhodri Furlong controlling midfield Harleston began creating more chances. Andrew Hipwell was off target with a couple of efforts before another shot was kicked off the line, leaving Tristan Baynes to convert the resulting penalty stroke.

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The following morning Harleston took on a strong Cambridge University side in torrential rain.

They soon went ahead when a break from Simon Hipwell led to Pete Bale rounding the last defender to slip the ball past the keeper for Toby Price to net at the back post.

Cambridge equalised late in the half after being awarded a dubious short corner.

In the second half a slick move between Simon Hipwell and Baynes, allowed Price to make it 2-1. And shortly afterwards another quality passing movement between the forwards left Hipwell one-on-one with the keeper to coolly score the third. The final quarter saw Harleston reduced to ten when top Bale was sent off. But they held on for another impressive victory.

Dereham are fourth after winning a 4-3 home thriller with Chelmsford.

A first start of the season for striker Ric Timm proved to be the catalyst. Timm, who fractured a bone in his foot just before the start of the season, showed the killer instinct that his side had been sorely missing by claiming a sparkling hat-trick. His twin brother, Mike, also grabbed a share of the headlines by netting the winner ten minutes from the end.

It was a crucial result for a Dereham side that had fallen to successive defeats against league leaders Harleston Magpies and strugglers Ipswich in recent weeks after the club's best-ever start in the top division.

The game was an absorbing encounter between two evenly matched teams.

Dereham drew first blood when Will Edwards burst down the right before supplying an inch-perfect pass to Ric Timm, who confidently slapped the ball home eight minutes into his first full game for almost five months.

The club from Essex turned the match on its head with a quick-fire double – an advantage they held until two minutes before the break when Ric Timm netted his second of the match with a sensational solo goal.

Chelmsford re-established their lead in the second period with a speculative cross-shot, but again Ric Timm dragged his team back with another high quality finish before Mike Timm came up with the match winner eight minutes from time.

In Premier B, Norwich City ended the unbeaten record of Wisbech when they won 4-2 – though the losers stay top of the table as second placed Ramgarhia also lost.

The result could have been very different had it not been for the heroics of City keeper Tom Franks, who saved two penalty strokes in the first ten minutes.

Wisbech also had a goal disallowed before City took the lead in the 25th minute when, from a short corner, Chris Perry dragged his flick high into the net. Five minutes later City doubled their lead in similar fashion, but then lost Perry to a hamstring injury.

Five minutes before the break Chris Wardale made it 3-0, but Wisbech hit back after the break, reducing the arrears from a short corner grabbing a second from another short corner with ten minutes remaining.

Both sides were reduced to ten men in the last few minutes. But in the final minute City made the game safe when Jez Elliott grabbed their fourth goal.

A hat-trick from Alex Browne gave Norwich Dragons a 4-1 win over Harleston Magpies 3rds in Division 2NE.

Though Dragons piled on the pressure from the start it was Harleston who opened the scoring with a fine first-time shot from Gavin Cole.

Browne pulled Dragons level after a good advantage played by the umpire and Matt Knights finished a good move to make it 2-1 at the interval.

In the second half Dragons survived a couple of scares before Browne completed his hat-trick with two good strikes.

Norwich City 2nds beat Ipswich Cranes 5-2 to stay top of Division 3NE, having been gifted a goal inside the first 30 seconds – Matt Brine going through one-in-one to score.

Despite the early boost City struggled to find any fluency and Cranes equalised after Alastair Cooke conceded a penalty flick.

Adie Land restored City's lead before the interval with a shot from a very tight angle, but Norwich knew that they needed to pick their game up in the second half.

They did just that and were given breathing space when Brine converted a short corner with an unstoppable strike from the top of the D.

Again Cranes dragged themselves back when they converted their own short corner.

But City then began to dominate midfield and took the game by the scruff of the neck with a well worked goal converted by Land, who completed his hat-trick when Richard Silvester's shot after a short corner hit a post.

Dereham 3rds lost their 100pc start in Division 4NE, going down 3-1 at Ipswich & East Suffolk 2nds.

Despite being under pressure from the start they went in front following a break which ended when Martin James deflected a rising short corner strike downwards into the net.

But IES came out firing in the second half and turned the game round with two quick fire goals before making the game safe with a couple of minutes to go

Dragons 2nds beat Norwich City 4ths 5-1 with all the goals coming in the first half.

An own goal gave City first blood, but that galvanised Dragons into action. Adam Sayer brought the sides level and the visitors took the lead through captain Cley Hamilton's slap shot following a great through ball from Mark Flatman.

By half-time Dragons had scored three more goals through Simon Nisbet, Dan Cheesman and Sayer – and that's the way it stayed.

Norwich Dragons 3rds continue to lead the way in Division 5NE after a hat-trick from Will Kirby helped them to a 6-0 win over Magpies 6ths. Jon Goodson, Mal Hant and Adrian Kemp completed the rout.

Two goals from Ollie King steered Norwich Dragons 4ths to a 4-1 win over Norfolk Nomads 2nds in Division 6NE with Andy Key also on target.