Season draws to a close at Weybread

EAST CONFERENCE: Harleston Magpies completed their programme in the East Women's Conference with a 2-2 draw at home to Chelmsford.

The point secured Magpies a fifth place finish and they can be proud of an excellent run since Christmas which saw them win seven of their nine fixtures.

Magpies were determined to finish the season on a high and make amends for their 5-0 loss against Chelmsford at the start of the season.

As expected, the match was played at a good tempo and involved quick attacking breaks from both sides.

Magpies dominated the early stages and had several chances to take the lead, with Charlotte Harrison and Debbie Francis both going close.

Chelmsford went 1-0 up against the run of play from a penalty corner deflection after 19 minutes. However, Magpies maintained their composure and tirelessly pressed the opposition to force defensive errors.

After 27 minutes Emma Lee-Smith powerfully struck a short-corner strike for Lucy Miller to clean up from the defender on the line to level the scores.

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Just three minutes later, Lee-Smith picked up the ball from deep in the Magpies half and beat player after player before slipping the ball to Verity Blyth on the backline who calmly slotted home to put her side 2-1 up.

Chelmsford hit Magpies hard after half-time and broke through into the circle at pace on several occasions. Their renewed determination was rewarded with a penalty stroke conversion after 39 minutes to level the scores.

The remainder of the game featured dangerous counter attacks, with both sides looking like scoring on several occasions.

Lee-Smith continued to pose a constant threat, while Chelmsford were managing to get balls through to their forwards too easily, which forced the Magpies' defence to pull out all the stops.

Dereham's unhappy season in the East Conference following promotion last term ended with their 17th defeat in 18 fixtures.

They were beaten 5-1 at home by second placed Surbiton, with the visitors moving 5-0 ahead early in the second half before Kath Malvern replied for Dereham with a penalty corner strike.

With just three points to their name all season, courtesy of a win at Cambridge City, and just 12 goals Dereham will be looking to regroup before their return to East League hockey in the autumn.

Harleston Magpies men also had a tough afternoon in their final Conference fixture of the campaign as they were beaten 5-1 by champions Southgate.

The visitors started well and took the lead after 15 minutes through Andy Hipwell. But Southgate equalised five minutes later and then took control in the second half.

Magpies finished the season in fifth position with 23 points from 18 matches.