Women’s hockey: Harleston Magpies record excellent home win over morning leaders

Action from Dereham Ladies' 2-1 win at Cambridge University Picture: BECKY LOVEDAY

Action from Dereham Ladies' 2-1 win at Cambridge University Picture: BECKY LOVEDAY - Credit: Archant

Harleston Magpies Ladies maintained their impressive start to the season on Sunday when they beat morning leaders Cambridge City 2-0 at Weybread.

Early pressure resulted in a string of corners and Lauren Rowe converted one in the 10th minute with a powerful drag flick to make it four for the season.

The latter part of the first half belonged to Cambridge but little was created as a result of some excellent defending by Lauren Barber, Louisa Greenacre and Katrina Sitch.

Magpies started the second half well, forcing more corners, and it wasn't long before Lottie Summers put Magpies 2-0 up. From then on the hosts played with confidence and dominated. Superb pressing and leg work by the forwards led by Rose Winter and supported by Lizzie Clymer enabled the midfield to step up and turn over possession high up the pitch. Magpies did concede some corners but they were defended well, including some excellent saves by Megan Brown. Player of the match was Debbie Francis.

In the East League Dereham faced their toughest test of the season so far at Cambridge University - and came through it with flying colours.

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They returned home with a 2-1 win against a side who had also won their first four games to move two points clear at the top of Division 1N.

After withstanding some early pressure Dereham went ahead when Becca Gibbs, Becca Taylor and player of the match Georgie Edwards set up Marie James to finish smartly.

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Then a short corner won by a driving run from Ali Waters gave Dereham another chance which Gibbs slotted home. The students pulled one back before the break but that was the end of the scoring.

It was also an excellent day for Norwich Dragons, who moved up to fourth following a 5-0 win at Ipswich II.

The team set out with the goal of upping the intensity from the previous two weeks and the ploy paid dividends, with goals from Tabba Tabrett (2), Joanna Raymond, Maddy Reynolds and Katy Hands sealing a comprehensive success. Olivia Thomas was Dragons' player of the match.

A hat-trick of good wins in this section was completed by Lowestoft, who saw off Cambridge University II 3-0 to record their second win of the campaign.

Norwich City were up against unbeaten leaders Chelmsford in the Premier Division and gave a decent account of themselves before losing 2-0, with Ellie Brine being chosen as player of the match.

Harleston Magpies II are still looking for their first victory but picked up another point after recovering from an early 2-0 deficit to draw at fellow strugglers Sevenoaks II.

Watton won 2-0 at Norwich City II to maintain their perfect start in Division 2NE while Dragons II made it four wins out of five in emphatic fashion by beating Yarmouth II 7-2. Dragons, who welcomed Izzi Mumbray for her debut and Jess Haw from the thirds, quickly took control with Haw scoring a hat-trick and Sarah Borrett, Debs Smith, Sam Franklin and Kiera Goymour also getting in on the act.

Dragons III handed East League debuts to Fiona Fletcher, Chloe Mikronis, Catherine Matthews and Stella Windsor Waite at Bury St Edmunds in a match that ended in a 5-1 defeat. Harriet Rant scored the consolation.

In Division 2NW Pelicans went down 3-1 to leaders City of Peterborough II (Poppy Beales).

Broadland came through their first real test of the season in the Premier Division of the Empresa League with their 100 per cent record intact.

They recovered from the shock of conceding a soft early goal to win 3-2 at Loddon and retain a three point advantage over nearest challengers Norwich City III.

Stung by the early reversal Broadland pushed forward and forced numerous penalty corners before scoring a deserved equaliser when a fine move involving Natasha Blyth, Kelly Allen and Helen Kelly ended with leading scorer Dani Parke sweeping the ball home. Within minutes Broadland took the lead when some good team play between Hattie Hobart and Lydia Lawrence set up Helen Brockington.

More good work between George Stannett and Blyth allowed Parke to lift a reverse stick shot high into the Loddon net to make it 3-1 before Loddon reduced the arrears towards the end.

City III had a more comfortable day, although they held to 1-1 at the break before beating Pelicans II 5-1 for a fifth win in six matches.

Olivia Greenway and Effie Bowley both netted twice for City while player of the match Kate Houldey was also on target. Tracy McGovern scored Pelicans' goal.

Natalie Brookes' outstanding performance in the Broadland II goal was of little consolation as her side were beaten 2-0 at home by Harleston IV, who outplayed them for most of the game. An open play goal from Cassie Ayms on 16th minutes and a penalty corner goal from Grace Collinson on 24 settled the issue.

UEA II moved up to third in the table after winning 3-0 at Norwich City IV, with Gillian Allen player of the match for City, while Evergeens and Lowestoft Railway both had a good away wins, at Norwich Dragons IV (2-3) and Dereham III (2-5) respectively.

Diss made it six straight wins in Division One although they didn't have things all their own way against Reepham, with the visitors giving them plenty to think about before going down 7-5.

The fifth teams of Dragons and City continue to be the leaders' closest challengers.

Dragons cruised home 5-0 at Lowestoft II (Liz McDonnell 2, Gemma Ballard, Beth Elgood) while City were handed a 3-0 win by a concession from scheduled visitors Beccles.

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