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Exciting times at Ipswich Hockey Club as the women top the table and men welcome new coach

PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 November 2017

Kate Wingar, chair of Ipswich Hockey Club, is excited by what the future holds. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Kate Wingar, chair of Ipswich Hockey Club, is excited by what the future holds. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

There is a definite buzz surrounding Ipswich Hockey Club right now, with the women’s first team flying high at the top of the table and the men set to welcome a former Olympian as their new coach.

There is a definite buzz surrounding Ipswich Hockey Club right now, with the women’s first team flying high at the top of the table and the men set to welcome a former Olympian as their new coach.

The women top the East Premier League table with a game in hand following a double success of Wapping and Cambridge University at the weekend which, along with a thriving junior section and plans to launch the county’s first disability hockey section, means there is plenty to be positive about.

The men may be struggling at the wrong end of the Prem A table, but with the imminent arrival of former South Africa Olympic player Ian Haley as coach, things are certainly looking up.

“It’s a very exciting time for the club at the moment with Ian on his way and everything he brings with him,” chair Kate Wingar said.

“He has so much experience, not just from the Olympics but also from some good coaching jobs, and he’s going to bring us some freshness. He will be playing, too, so the team can benefit from all those skills and experiences.

“He’s big on video analysis and that’s going to be a big plus for the men, who have been doing so well in some tough circumstances.

“We lost our old coach before the season started but the team of Josh Cutting, James Southgate and Mark Wheelhouse have done a tremendous job of keeping things going.

“They are just outside the relegation zone at the moment but have three big games coming up against teams around them, before Ian then arrives.

“It’s certainly exciting times for us.”

Wingar plays for the women’s team and scored one of the goals in Saturday’s victory over Wapping, and believes her team find themselves in a much stronger position, having dropped down from the national leagues two years ago.

“I think dropping down has been good for us because we needed to refresh and rebuild, but we are definitely in a much better place now if we were able to get back up again,” she said.

“Having come down we were always going to be one of the stronger sides and we of course are targeting the title, but we’re also in a really good place because we have added some fantastic players with some coming up through our youth system.

“There’s a great feeling in the team and a lot of that is down to Rixie (coach Mariette Rix) who is just the most fantastic coach.

“She is the kind of lady who reminds you just how much you love hockey, even in the tough times when you’re doing fitness or have had a tough day at work. She’s brilliant and brings you so much with her Olympic experience.”

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes young defender Chris Smith returned from his loan spell at Chelmsford ‘more of a bloke’ and is hopeful he has a first team future.

Ipswich Town U18 Academy boss Alan Lee is hoping his young charges can keep up the proud Blues tradition of success in youth football, with victory against Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tonight, at Portman Road, 7pm ko.

Ipswich Town U23 3

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Ben Morris hit a brace and Aaron Drinan opened his account in a blue shirt as an experienced Ipswich Town under 23 side eased past QPR 3-0 at Playford Road today, writes Kieren Standley.

FA Women’s Premier League

South East Division One

Ipswich Town 9

Haringey Borough 0

Ipswich Town Ladies bounced back from last Sunday’s disappointing FA Cup exit to Charlton with an emphatic 9-0 trouncing of bottom of the league Haringey Borough at the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe, writes Kieren Standley.

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Bersant Celina revealed just how much the adulation of the Ipswich Town fans means to him after his latest match-winning effort.

It’s that kind of season. Just when everything seems to be miserable, and the fans’ anger is mounting, along comes a victory to lighten the mood. At least temporarily, writes Northstander Terry Hunt.

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Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy and former Blues boss Roy Keane could be in direct competition for the Republic of Ireland job if Martin O’Neill is lured to Stoke City, according to the Irish Sun.

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