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Mens 1st - Match centre

North Norfolk 1
Bury St Edmunds 2
Sat 29 Sep 14:30 - East Region Men's Hockey Leagues - 3NE Full time

Jimmy’s Balls Shine as the Cromer Fortress is Held


Jimmy’s Balls Shine as the Cromer Fortress is Held

The men’s 1sts returned to hockey at Cromer which much became their fortress over the 17/18 season having not dropped a single point at home. On a dry and sunny day, the Cromer pitch went with a truly coastal theme with a large sandy expanse, whilst no-one could argue with the beach body readiness of the team everyone knew the conditions would be tough.

Bury St Edmunds got the game underway, distributing the ball well in the early stages to get a feel for the resolve of the North Norfolk midfield and defence. The midfield combo of Miles, Barker, Whitby, Hammond and Sadler-Barker illustrated that there would be no weak areas through the middle of the park, whilst the back-line of Whitwood, Hart and Gibson prevented any danger from entering the D.

The majority of the first half saw exchanges of possession throughout the middle quarters either side of the half-way, with both teams succumbing to the slow sandy pitch and surrendouring possession through lack of ball speed. Sayer, looked as menascing as ever albeit having to come deeper for the ball and carry forward from both the left and right flanks. Chances were few and far between for both sides, with Bury St Edmunds failing to register a single shot on target, a testament to North Norfolk’s resolve and work rate, and with North Norfolk’s best chance falling to Farmer-Wright who failed to tuck a reverse scoop passed the GK at close range giving Miles plenty of drill ideas for Monday night training.

With the 1st half drawing to a close, a darting run and some magic stick work from Henry Sayer on the left led to the ball being planted firmly on an opposition foot. After the success of last week’s short corners, it seemed wrong not to start with the “Jimmy’s Balls” routine. After last week’s write up, anyone could forgive Barker for being caught up in thoughts of headlines of bobblers, mishits, scuffs and bloopers but he scored……

….Ben Miles, cooly held the ball at the top of the D eagerly teasing the opposition into contact before slipping to Jimmy on the left at the last moment. With time and space, Barker banished thoughts of pompous pundits and harmful headlines, and unleashed a lightning drag that Zeus himself would applaud, ripping into the side netting of the right corner maintaining his 100% conversion rate for the season.

At half-time Miles urged his team for more, for more considered thought and improved error management. North Norfolk certainly reduced their error count in the early part, and were rewarded with another short corner for their work. Next up, “Hendo’s Nose”, nothing but pure perfection from injection to trade mark finishing. Ben Miles found the tip of Sayer’s nose (difficulty level: arguable) among the defenders who cooly slid in to double their lead.

Bury however weren’t disheartened and continued to press higher up the field to raise the game stakes, however with the ball going into dead play Callum Gibson saw the opportunity to get the game moving from the back quickly, with the ball finding itself with Miles surrounded by 5 Bury players scrambling to win the ball back. However, with acres of space behind the back line left from their high press, Miles was able to slide the ball forward for an on-rushing Farmer-Wright who only needed to bypass a charging keeper and tap the ball home confidently, albeit to anxious screams of team mates who thought he was perhaps taking his sweet sweet time.

With a 3-0 lead and 15 minutes left to play, Bury ensured North Norfolk’s day wasn’t done. The tempo was raised significantly which added to the already tired legs of the team, panicked clearances almost led to the end of Mike Bartram’s supposed “guest appearance” with a head height rocket flying towards him, but nimble footwork (probably from watching strictly) and sharp awarness Mike avoided the ball and lived to umpire the remaining games this season!

A short corner was awarded to Bury and their striker I’m sure would agree would find it difficult to replicate his finish. North Norfolk were led into tired and audacious attempts to move forward with Thomas Sands showing how not to arial and Farmer-Wright demonstrating the rugby tactic of banging the ball down to the far corner, both which were much to the dismay of captain Miles un-surprisingly.

Bury managed to find another goal, which setup an exiting final 6 minutes. Chances were there for both teams, with Whitby being inches away from burying (hah!) the game for good.

Despite the final moments of pressure, North Norfolk prevailed and held their fortress at the first time of asking in Div 3NE with a 3-2 win. A well earned 3 points to continue a perfect start to the season, the 1sts travel to Lowestoft Railway this Saturday to face their co-promotees from last season…ALL ABOARD!!!

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other 3NE results

UEA Men 1
Norwich Dragons 3
Norwich Dragons 2
Sudbury 2
UEA Men 2
Newmarket 1


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. UEA Men 1 21 59
2. Harleston Magpies 3 21 46
3. Ipswich 2 21 45
4. North Norfolk 1 21 42
5. I-ES 3 21 34
6. UEA Men 2 21 23
7. Newmarket 1 20 22


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