Harleston Magpies Ladies lose top spot in East Conference after home defeat

The Harleston Magpies Under-14 team who made progress in the England Hockey Championships by beating

The Harleston Magpies Under-14 team who made progress in the England Hockey Championships by beating Ipswich 7-1. The Under-16 boys and girls also went through comfortably with respective wins over Bishop's Stortford (13-0) and Pelicans (16-0) while the Under-18 boys lost 3-1 at Norwich Dragons Picture: BEX POTTRUFF - Credit: Archant

Harleston Magpies Ladies were knocked off the top of the East Conference after a disappointing 3-1 home defeat against St Albans.

There were a few changes, with Rose Winter and Georgie Cantrell unavailable due to school commitments and Lucy Whiting injured. Magpies did however welcome back Emma Lee-Smith and Louisa Greenacre.

After being put under pressure early on Magpies worked their way into the game and went in front when Lee-Smith won the ball, beat a couple of players and set up Jess Bloom to score with beautiful reverse stick strike.

Magpies were unable to maintain the momentum however and St Albans went in at half-time level after converting a short corner. The visitors then converted a chance from open play to make it 2-1 and after withstanding some pressure made sure of the win near the end with a third goal.

Squad: Barber, Brown, Sitch, Greenacre, Francis, Burrell, Taylor, Harrison, Rowe, Clymer, Findlay, Lee-Smith, Bloom, Seaman.

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It was another good weekend for East League Division One high-fliers Dereham and Norwich Dragons, with both teams claiming comprehensive wins to maintain their promotion challenge.

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Leaders Dereham beat visitors Lowestoft 4-1 to make it eight straight victories while Dragons consolidated third position by seeing off Sudbury 5-1 at The Den.

Dereham found themselves one down at the break but hit back in style, with two goals apiece from Becca Gibbs and player of the match Hayley Toleman securing another three points. Gibbs netted with cool drag-flick and a penalty stroke while Toleman slotted home a cross and saved the best for last with an excellent finish high into the net.

Dragons were only one up at half-time following Issy Wolfe's short corner deflection. Liv Thomas made it 2-0 after being set up by Wolfe but Sudbury then made it interesting by pulling one back. The hosts took control after that however, with penalty corner goals from Kiera Goymour and Shelly Seaman and a tap-in from Maddy Reynolds confirming another win.

In the Premier Division Norwich City put in a fighting display at home to Broxbourne before going down 2-0. After the visitors had opened the scoring City had plenty of chances, with Olivia Williams, Krystal Bishop, Emily Francis, Sophie Mullan and Ellie Brine all going close, but it was Broxbourne who had the final say after the break.

The following day City travelled to Lee Valley to take on Wapping in the first round of the national cup and marked their trip to the Olympic venue by coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2. Bishop (2) and Brine got the goals.

Back in the league Harleston Magpies II went down 3-2 at West Herts and remain second from bottom, a point behind City.

Yarmouth produced the performance of the day in Division 2NE as they drew 3-3 with Watton to become the first team this season to prevent the leaders from taking maximum points.

There was an exciting match at Cromer with North Norfolk recovering from a 2-0 deficit to beat Norwich Dragons II 4-3. Jess Bennett (2) and Lucy Morton got the goals for the visitors.

Dragons III beat struggling Felixstowe 4-0 (Hannah Ellis, Hannah Hardy, Harriet Rant, Sam Franklin) while Dereham II went down 2-1 at Christchurch.

Pelicans lost 4-2 at Cambridge City IV in Division 2NW, with Poppy Beales getting both goals.

The top two sides in the Premier Division of the Empresa League showed their class again by recording six goal victories.

Leaders Broadland made it eight straight wins by cruising home 6-1 at Norwich City IV while City's thirds kept the pressure on with a 6-0 drubbing of Dereham III.

Broadland's leading scorer Dani Parke was soon off the mark with a lofted ball which dropped over the line but a moment's loss of concentration allowed City captain Hannah Sanger to equalise. The visitors regained the lead just before the break when Kelly Allen swept the ball home and then took complete control when Helen Kelly finished off a great piece of team work.

Parke scored again after a dazzling run by Helen Brockington who then netted herself with a firm finish at a penalty corner before captain Lydia Lawrence completed the scoring.

The goals were shared around as City's thirds recorded their eighth win in nine, with their only defeat having come against Broadland. Player of the match Kate Houldey, Sasha Ferreira, Jennifer Stanghan, Holly Robinson, Niamh Campbell and Olivia Greenway all found the target in a comfortable win.

Loddon are now five points adrift of City in third after being held to a goalless draw at Harleston Magpies IV while Norwich Dragons IV moved up to fourth following an impressive 5-1 win over Pelicans II earned by a Caroline Wolfe hat-trick and further goals from Lilli Ballard and Lisa Harwood.

Despite only have 10 players Broadland II put in a brave effort at Evergreens before losing 2-1. Nikki Baker scored for Broadland while Lisa Gill, in goal for the first time, made some remarkable saves.

In the other top flight match Lowestoft Railway stretched their unbeaten run to three by beating UEA II 5-1.

The top of Division One has a familiar look to it, with the leading four sides all winning. Leaders Diss came through a tough test to beat Beccles 3-2 while second placed Norwich City V thrashed Lowestoft Railway II 7-0 (Lucy McNarry 3, Charlotte Jeffers 2, Maria Marsh 2).

In Division Two Magpies VI lead the way by three points after winning 2-0 at Herlings. Loddon II beat Broadland III 4-1 with Beverley Buckley scoring a hat-trick and Charlotte Joyce also on target.

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