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Bishop’s Stortford up to third in East Men’s Hockey League, Premier Division after beating Harleston Magpies II 3-2





Bishop’s Stortford are up to third in the East Men’s League, Premier Division after beating Harleston Magpies II 3-2 at home on Saturday (November 4).

They broke the deadlock after 25 minutes in spectacular fashion when Ross Butler showed exceptional skill to score with a first-time reverse-stick tomahawk effort from Jack Wheaton’s aerial pass.

Stortford doubled their lead not long after a delay caused by a floodlight failure as Ali Charlton buried the rebound after Craig Smith’s deflection had been kept out by the goalkeeper.

There was a heated exchange sparked by the visitors adopting a more physical approach, but the hosts soon regained their composure and Richard Heywood added a third with a delicate deflection having been found by Adam Farley.

The Magpies punished some lacklustre defending to pull a goal back just before the break and netted again via a fortunate deflection off a defender’s stick 15 minutes after the restart.

Tensions rose once more as Stortford fought hard to maintain their lead and shot-stopper Ollie Foot produced some vital saves.

Action from the first team's win over Harleston Magpies II. Picture: Kenny McLeish
Action from the first team's win over Harleston Magpies II. Picture: Kenny McLeish

The second team were unlucky to be on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline when they visited second-placed St Albans III in Division 2SW.

The visitors, who are sixth in the table, created plenty of opportunities, but they were unable to convert and conceded from what they felt was a dubious penalty stroke.

In the same division, Fred Cooke completed his hat-trick with the last hit of the game as the third team registered a thrilling 6-5 home win over their Bedford counterparts.

Sam Davis put them ahead with a reverse strike from a short corner, but, in the blink of an eye, they conceded three times.

Stortford tightened up and continued to press forward with their efforts being rewarded as Cooke and Jake Anders netted to make it all square.

Cooke then stepped up to convert a penalty flick to put his side ahead, but there was still time for their opponents to equalise before the half-time whistle.

Luke Farmer’s excellent strike put Stortford back ahead with 10 minutes remaining, only for the away side to get back on level terms from a short corner.

But the hosts were awarded another penalty flick right at the death and Cooke held his nerve to seal his personal treble and the three points for his side.

In 5SW, the fourth team won 5-0 at West Herts VI while the fifth team lost 3-2 at home to Hertford IV.

The sixth team went close to causing an upset as they drew 3-3 at St Albans VIII in 7SW.

Stortford began brightly against the side who started the day at the top of the table and went ahead through Joe Clune.

The hosts took advantage of a couple of errors to go ahead, but the visitors equalised before half time as Ross Haworth notched from a short corner.

Duncan Laws put the away side in front after the interval, but they were left a little frustrated as St Albans found a leveller.



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