Harleston Magpies Under-18s closing in on national finals

National semi-finalists Harleston Magpies Under-18s face the camera. Picture: Club

National semi-finalists Harleston Magpies Under-18s face the camera. Picture: Club - Credit: Archant

Harleston Magpies have two semi-finals to look forward to in the Under-18 England Hockey national competitions.

Both teams came through exciting quarter-finals, with the girls winning 5-1 at Leicester and the boys seeing off Rugby and East Warwickshire 2-1 at Weybread.

They will be in action again on Sunday as they look to book a place in the national finals, with the girls having home advantage against last year's beaten finalists Readng (2.30pm) and the boys making the trip to Marlow in Buckinghamshire.

Being represented by both teams at this late stage of the competition has not happened at the club for well over 10 years and Magpies are the only club nationally to have achieved the feat this year.

Looking ahead to the semi-finals Magpies' chairman Richard Stacey said: 'I am immensely proud of the superb quality of play that both our Under-18 squads have demonstrated in this national competition so far.

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'We are a very ambitious club and to have both squads in the national semi-finals is a real thrill. It's a credit to our whole youth coaching structure and to the coaches, managers, parents and helpers that our teams have got this far.'

Magpies' girls coach Stu Field added: 'The team have played superbly so far, and their semi-final place is truly deserved,' while boys' counterpart Stu Peters commented: 'I am so impressed with these lads. They play skilful hockey at a fast pace but never lose sight of the whole team, and always support each other.'

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Meanwhile, Norwich City Ladies need to win their final game of the season at home to Colchester to clinch promotion to the top flight of the East League.

They moved to within two points of second-placed Bedford II, who have completed their fixtures, when they were handed a walk-over by Saturday's scheduled opponents Newmarket.

Norwich Dragons II went top of Division 2NE in midweek when they won their final match 4-0 at Bury St Edmunds – but now face an anxious wait to see whether they stay there. Ipswich II, Ipswich and East Suffolk and Norwich City II are all in a position to overtake them, with City needing to win their final two games against their two promotion rivals to go up.

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