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Suffolk win again

PUBLISHED: 20:34 03 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK'S senior men's hockey team has won the East Region Hockey Association tournament for the third year running.

With some of the Ipswich players unavailable due to their play-offs commitment, the squad was somewhat under strength, but this gave others the opportunity with several players making their full county debut.

SUFFOLK'S senior men's hockey team has won the East Region Hockey Association tournament for the third year running.

With some of the Ipswich players unavailable due to their play-offs commitment, the squad was somewhat under strength, but this gave others the opportunity with several players making their full county debut.

With the successful coaching duo of Robert and Nicola Southgate also unavailable, Ipswich East Suffolk's captain, Charlie Farrow, stepped down from the goalkeeping duties to take over the coaching duties with Chris Hatch assisting as manager.

Goals from David Taylor, captain Chris Palmer, Matt Walker and Richard Fox saw Lincolnshire beaten 4-0 in their first game, but in the early stages Suffolk were forced to defend in depth. Appleby, Lincs' England Under-21 international, always looked dangerous and goalkeeper Stuart Hendy was forced to make a couple of smart saves.

Playing their next match straight after the first proved difficult and Suffolk were on the back foot from the word go.

Good goalkeeping by Hendy and great defensive work by Kevis, Stuart Gooderham and Ian Hammond keep out the Beds forwards. Suffolk took the lead against the run of play when Palmer followed up a Gooderham short corner strike after nine minutes, only for Beds to score twice through Robson and Pebble before the interval.

Coach Farrow stressed the need for better passing and ball retention in the second half but as the game progressed Beds tired and  Suffolk's game picked up. Cardy equalised after 45 minutes and ten minutes later Palmer added the third to put his side into the final against Norfolk, which was a repeat of last year's. 

Norfolk included several players with National League Premier Division experience and started at a great pace. Kevis, Gooderham, Paul Calver and especially young Geoffrey Reed made some great interceptions to keep the lively home team at bay, while Hendy again performed brilliantly to keep out some fierce short corner strikes.

At half time Suffolk were hanging on, but a tactical switch saw Farrow change to a 3-5-2 formation to flood the midfield and this paid great dividends as Calver, Danny Mayhew and Palmer started to see more ball.

Suffolk took the lead with ten minutes to go when Taylor finished well from close in, but right on time Norfolk equalised when Long reacted quickly to fire home and send the game into a penalty shoot out.

The scores were level at 3-3 after both sides had taken five with Palmer, Taylor and Hendy successful for Suffolk and they held their nerve in the sudden death situation. Hendy proved the hero by saving Norfolk's third attempt before stepping up himself to score the winner.

Five clubs – Ipswich, Ipswich East Suffolk, Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury – had players in the squad with youngsters Tom Beaney, Hammond and Reed performing well while there were also belated debuts for twin brothers James and Matt Walker, Gooderham and Marshlain.

The county now look ahead the National County Championships with Suffolk again in the A section, with their group matches being played in Bedford over the weekend of May 11 and 12.

Suffolk squad: Farrow, Taylor, Gooderham, M Walker  Mayhew, Marshlain and Reed (all IES), Kevis, Snow, Cardy, Beaney (Bury), Hammond (Sudbury), J Walker (Felixstowe), Palmer, Calver, Fox, Hendy (Ipswich). Manager: Chris Hatch.


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