Leaders turn up heat with seven-goal show

EAST MEN'S HOCKEY LEAGUE: East Hockey League leaders Harleston Magpies gave a spectacular demonstration of their power by maintaining their perfect record in the Premier Division with a 7-1 win at Wisbech.

East Hockey League leaders Harleston Magpies gave a spectacular demonstration of their power by maintaining their perfect record in the Premier Division with a 7-1 win at Wisbech.

The scoreline fails to show that Wisbech controlled much of the first half, only their lack of cutting edge - and Harleston's miserly defence - letting them down.

Harleston took the lead against the run of play with an incisive break ending when Hipwell pounced on a loose ball in the D.

Hipwell struck again soon after from a short corner and Pete Bale made it three before Wisbech gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Sam Blunt scored from a short corner just before the interval.

The glimmer faded though in the first minute of the second half. Wisbech gave the ball away in their own half and within seconds Chris Barber had it in the back of their net. The rest of the half saw Wisbech on the back foot as Harleston exerted their authority.

Though Wisbech had posed Harleston more problems than most teams this season, Magpies cut loose with Richard Ling joining the scorers, Hipwell completing his hat-trick and James Fanger ending a fine flowing move to score the best goal of the lot.

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Despite Hipwell's treble the man of the match was Tom Sumner for a faultless display.

Magpies have arguably their toughest test of the season so far when they face third-placed Havering at home (12.30pm) on Saturday, when they will welcome back their talismanic midfielder Tristan Baynes and experienced forward Neil Toulson.

At the other end of the Premier A table, winless Dereham's plight deepened as they lost 3-2 at home to Cambridge City, the team immediately above them.

In Premier B, Pelicans kept the pressure on leaders West Herts with a 4-2 home win over Norwich City.

For Norwich the game was notable for a spectacular late farewell goal from Harry Bush. Yet he could have had so much more to mark his final game.

Despite an early reshuffle when they lost Pilch to injury after only two minutes, City started the brighter but couldn't capitalise.

One down at the interval, they equalised five minutes after the restart when Jones fought his way through.

But some fabulous saves from the Pelicans keeper stopped them going ahead before Pelicans scored twice in two minutes from short corners.

Bush pulled one back after destroying the Pelican back line but the two-goal margin was restored by a quick breakaway.

Magpies II maintained their 100pc home record in Division One, playing their best hockey of the season to beat Redbridge 4-0 with goals from Will Harrison, Sam Moore, Martin Fields and man of the match Robbie Kinsella.

Norwich City 2nds are back on top of Division Two North after a thrilling 5-4 win in their 'second v third' battle with Sudbury. They did it despite trailing 2-0 as Sudbury took advantage of rare lapses of concentration in defence.

Unfazed by the set-backs, they came back with Brine weaving through to start a comeback and Land equalising with one of the goals of the season, hammered into the top right corner.

But, just before the interval, a Sudbury free hit caught City napping again, finding a player unmarked at the far post to score from short range. A team talk at half time by the skipper meant it wasn't long before City were again back on terms through Kidner, but once again Sudbury swept in front.

The third Norwich equaliser again came from Kidner and a deliberate obstruction on Broadbent brough a penalty stroke which Brine converted to give City the lead for the first time - with 10 minutes, and some moments of panic moment, to survive before leaving the field to the news that morning leaders Peterborough had dropped points.

Mike Marrison scored four goals as Norwich City 4ths thrashed UEA 3rds 5-1 in Division 5NE. They dominated throughout against a team only two points behind them and never looked back once Ali Clabburn had scored.

A late equaliser left Norwich City 6ths having to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Cranes 2nds in Division 6NE after generally dominating their more experienced opponents. Ben Cushion put them in front from a penalty and City hit a post before being denied their just desserts by one of the divisional pacesetters.