Harleston Magpies ace set for move to Australia

Langley Schools head of hockey Ben Wright. Photo: Steve Adams

Langley Schools head of hockey Ben Wright. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams/Langley School

Harleston Magpies player-coach Ben Wright is heading to Australia after securing a deal to play for Old Aquinians Hockey Club.

Wright started playing for Magpies at six years old and has played for the club at national level in Men's Conference East, as well as during spells with Southgate and Cambridge City.

Next month he will fly Down Under to join Old Aquinians, who are based in the Salter Point area of Perth, on Australia's west coast.

The switch means Wright will miss the final three games of the season in Premier A of the East Men's League with the Magpies first team.

Instead he will be hoping to feature for the Reds in the Melville Toyota League, the top tier of hockey in Western Australia.

Harleston chairman Murray Graham said: 'On behalf of all members of Harleston Magpies Hockey Club I would like to place on the record our appreciation for the drive and commitment Ben has provided to the club since joining us as a junior.

'We will miss his skill as a player, with his renowned goal-scoring prowess, and we will miss him as a coach.

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'He has introduced progressive coaching techniques which have helped put the club at the forefront of hockey in the region.

'Ben has the best wishes of us all as he takes on this exciting new challenge in his hockey career.

'The club will be looking for a suitably qualified coaching replacement who will continue to develop and enhance the undoubted qualities of the men's first team squad.'

The move will also see Wright step away from his role as head of hockey at Langley School, near Loddon, as he looks to further his career as a player and a coach.

He joined Langley in September 2015 when the school launched a partnership with Magpies and has developed a hockey programme across both the preparatory and senior schools ever since.

'Having the chance to head up a hockey programme at the age of 21 has been an incredible experience,' Wright said.

'I would like to thank Mr Findlay (headmaster, Dominic Findlay) and the school for giving me the platform to develop my future career in coaching.

'Having the opportunity to play at a national level in Australia is something that I cannot wait to experience. It will help me develop and push myself as an athlete as well as a coach.

'I would like to thank all staff and students for making my time a memorable one and I wish you all the very best for the future.'

The move has led to an interim arrangement for the school's hockey programme, which will be managed by its sports department, including Sam Tea, who coaches alongside Wright at Magpies as well as being head of girls games at Langley.

A new head coach will also be appointed and be in place for pre-season.

'Ben's impact on the hockey programme here at Langley has been exceptional,' headmaster Findlay added. 'I would personally like to thank Ben for all his hard work over the last year on and off the pitch.

'Whilst we are sad to lose our hockey superstar, I am delighted Ben is taking the opportunity to fulfil his playing career overseas, I look forward to hearing how Ben gets on in Australia over the coming months.'

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