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Pelicans Over 50s 1 Harleston Magpies 0Pelicans and Harleston Magpies have fought out many good games over the years and this encounter turned out to be no different.The home side with their overseas (well the other side of the river) players started strongly and had Harleston on the back foot from the start.Good link-up play from the midfield of Stu Olley, Charlie Lankfer, Ben Allen and David Means created openings for the forward line of Jody Betts and John Sullivan and it felt like a goal was coming from either open play or a short corner.Even some great runs down the right by Paul Swinburn, turning players inside and out with his skill, and putting the ball on a plate for the incoming Means couldn’t see Pelicans get their noses in front.Pelicans had several short corners and the one that came closest was a superb drag flick from Jody that came back off the crossbar unfortunately.The home side continued to put pressure on the visitors in the first half with Lee Dowers and Nick Osborn finding more space out of defence giving more attacking options.After a goalless first half, manager Chris Hallum had a stern word with the team, who went out with renewed vigour for the second half.The Pelicans centre backs of Monty Shippey and Matt Taylor were called upon to defend as Harleston were awarded several short corners while goalkeeper Bov Bower had to make some good saves to keep the visitors out.Steven Long – having an off day after a few months on the sidelines with injury – was substituted with the fresh legs of John Sullivan coming on.An inch-perfect pass across the pitch found Sullivan free at the top of the D and he let rip with a ferocious hit past the Harleston goalie to put Pelicans in front with only a few minutes to go.Many thanks to the club’s friends from Wisbech and March Hockey Clubs who have joined the Over 50s set-up this year.It was great to see old rivals coming together as a team and thanks also go to Chris Willett and Harry Sampson for umpiring.Pelicans will await to find out who their opponents will be in the quarter-finals.
Hockey Greg Plummer