Indoor hockey woe as Harleston Magpies slide to relegation
Harleston Magpies' indoor squad were relegated from National League Division One after an exciting second weekend of competition at Bristol.
Harleston started the weekend against a Havant side sitting below them in the table and were punished for a slow start as they lost 6-4.
Magpies were 3-0 and 4-1 down at one stage before going on to make a game of it. Their goals were scored by Gareth Furlong (2), Rhodri Furlong and David Ling.
In the second game of the day Harleston faced a strong and fresh Southgate side, who caught them cold and took the lead after 20 seconds.
Harleston hit back well and were soon 2-1 up but they ended up losing the game 5-3 (Gareth Furlong 2, Mark Wheelhouse).
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On Sunday Harleston played two further games and with Saturday's results not going their way the team knew they needed at least three points to stay up.
First up Harleston faced a strong Sevenoaks team who were fighting for a promotion place.
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Harleston started the game well, pressurising Sevenoaks' defensive players but soon found themselves 5-0 down. Harleston regained their composure and grabed a goal back when Carl Sitch managed to convert after good play from Tristan Baynes and Gareth Furlong.
Despite this it was Sevenoaks who scored the next goal of the game to leave the score at 6-1 at half-time.
Harleston grabbed a quick goal back through Gareth Furlong but Sevenoaks scored a seventh before late goals through Sitch and Rhodri Furlong made the final score 7-4..
Harleston went into the last game of the weekend knowing that they needed a win or a draw to ensure that they would beat the drop against a fresh Bournville side who were also scrapping at the bottom of the table.
Harleston again started slowly and Bournville took the lead early on against the run of play. Gareth Furlong equalised for Harleston after good play down the left but again Magpies could not build on this.
Bournville retook the lead just before half- time and broke quickly to make it 3-1 after the break. Harleston did rally and managed to grab a goal back through a deflection from David Ling at the back post. Bournville again took the wind out of Harleston's sails as they scored next and although Gareth Furlong scored his second of the game Bournville managed to hang on to their 4-3 lead.
This defeat left Harleston's fate in St Albans' hands and they lost which meant Havant leap-frogged Harleston, pushing them into the relegation zone.
This means Harleston will play in Division Two of the National League next season.