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Mens 1st - Match centre

I-ES 3
North Norfolk 1
Sat 10 Nov 15:30 - East Region Men's Hockey Leagues - 3NE Full time

The Beauty of Sport…It Can Be Kind, But Then Again, It Can Also Be Cruel!

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The Beauty of Sport…It Can Be Kind, But Then Again, It Can Also Be Cruel!

After having the comforts of home for 3 weeks the men travelled to Ipswich East Suffolk (IES) for a 3.30pm pushback. Returning to the place where the first team lost their only points last season, the venue echoed memories of points given away, endless defending and who could forget a raging Farmer-Wright. However, lightning doesn’t strike twice, history surely couldn’t repeat itself could it?

The pitch forced a change of kit for the North Norfolk boys, playing in the royal white and black of the mighty Barbarians. The pitch was quick and slick, and it was immediately clear that IES were more than accustomed to its pace and bounce through launching audacious long balls and ariels onto pacey young wingers. North Norfolk’s change up in defense of Farrow, Sands and a risen from the dead Hart looked unphased throughout the early pressure.

North Norfolk were without Whitby, Sayer and Ewart but the potency of attacked looked as dangerous as ever. Whitwood illustrated his versatility by stepping up to the middle of the park, as did Barker who took on a more central role. Green and Gibson looked to exploit the flanks, and did so well. Whilst Sadler-Barker and Miles provided the menace as usual. North Norfolk took advantage of a sluggish starting IES defence, and after some inner D ping pong Sadler-Barker found the net showing his taste for goal and making it 2 goals in 2 games for his personal tally.

IES were forced to wake up and mounted significant pressure on the North Norfolk midfield and defence. Trickery and skill forced a complacent North Norfolk into some amateur errors, giving away multiple shorter corners through aggressive, sluggish tackles and some foul footwork that even Tom Bowden would be proud of. The mounting pressure eventually led to North Norfolk conceding. IES pressure remained, but it was with a generous invitation for a trade mark North Norfolk counter attack. Sands set Sadler-Barker on his way quickly from a 16, and with some link work with Barker, the ball eventually found itself with a Whitwood high up the pitch. You’d forgive Whitwood if he was to go on no further being higher up the pitch than usual, but looking like a seasoned centre midfield put Miles through with a reverse stick pass. Miles was then able to squeeze the ball through to Farmer-Wright hitting the angle, who continued his run to round the keeper and slot the ball home to take North Norfolk into the break 2-1 up. An exceptional display of how quick and postive teamwork with slick passing and good decision making can change the game in a matter of seconds.

The break saw Miles provide some defensive wisdom in hope to cut out basic errors and reduce the short corner count. There was also calls for no raised voices towards umpires, however, this was to be nigh-on impossible with some absolute glaring mistakes by both umpires in perhaps the most hideous umpiring display one has ever witnessed but it was the same for both sides (arguably mainly one) so sportsmanship was key.

The second half saw endless pressure on an ever retreating North Norfolk defense. Green, Gibson and Hall work tirelessly on the flanks to chase down pacey youngsters, whilst the whole defense and midfield gobbled up the pressure like some kind of sordid treat. Bartram as ever looked like a rock in goal, confidently defying any attempt on goal. Time passed unusually quickly, and it didn’t feel like long at all before Miles and Farmer-Wright were playing keep ball deep in the IES corners.

Final minute, North Norfolk mount a counter attack looking for the final blow as Sadler-Barker put a weaving and dancing Miles on his way. Miles found the foot of an IES defender, but the umpire in a consistent way awarded the foul in the favour of IES. 30 seconds to go, IES burst through on goal, evading tackles, 1-2’s around defenders and a powerful shot on goal which whistled past the post. Safety, IES heads went down!

The North Norfolk 16 was taken, and the ball landed right on the end of an IES stick, heads suddendly up and IES rush back in on with the slimmest glimmer of hope and somehow win a short corner.

FINAL WHISTLE, just one more short corner for a brave North Norfolk defence to face. IES load the top of the D unnecessarily, the hit taker unleashed a looping it with pinpoint accuracy between Bartram and his postman to level the game and steal a point.

North Norfolk stepped away from the game mightily disappointed to have dropped 2-points, illustrating the sheer effort and desire that went into the game. It was a great display of the beauty of sport, the unscripted, unpredictable, rollercoaster of emotions that we can all go through. Sometimes you’re on the winning side of emotions and other times you’re on the receiving end of disappointment. (He says as he desperately tries not to dig at the umpires yet again!)

The men can take pride in maintaining 2nd place in the league table, albeit on goal difference. The men face a mountainous task in the next 2 fixtures, welcoming a deadly Magpies side this weekend followed by a visit to an unbeaten UEA 1st team. The next few fixtures will be of huge significance to the league, as we begin to approach then end of the first half of the season and standings are battled for.

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other 3NE results

6
4
Norwich Dragons 3
Norwich Dragons 2
1
1
Sudbury 2
2
4
UEA Men 2
UEA Men 1
3
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 22 42
5. I-ES 3 21 34
6. Norwich Dragons 2 22 25
7. UEA Men 2 21 23

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