Hockey team promoted

As a result of Watton losing 3-0 in their final game this year, Gorleston Hockey Club finished in second place on 52 points in Division 4 North East of the NE14 East Men's League, and so gain promotion to Division Three.

As a result of Watton losing 3-0 in their final game this year, Gorleston Hockey Club finished in second place on 52 points in Division 4 North East of the NE14 East Men's League, and so gain promotion to Division Three.

At the club's annual meeting held in the Albion PH, chairman Hugh Wiltshire congratulated the whole team for their superb performance over the past seven months and particularly the midfield and defence who had conceded only 26 goals - by some distance the best in the division.

Despite several contenders the Player of the Season Award went to Nick Mobbs as the club's most improved performer.

Special mention was made of Peter Jones as joint top scorer with 15 goals, who in March passed the 600-goal mark for the club.

The chairman also thanked Malcolm Berry and Jason Austin for qualifying as umpires, which would enable him to cut down on his own league umpiring commitments next season. He thanked Jason for going on the appropriate course and taking up the official position of club coach, which was now necessary with the club's higher league status.

A discussion followed on the need for a 2nd XI fixture list for the younger members who came to training, and to satisfy some of the older ones who might now find Division Three hockey too high a standard.

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It was decided that at this stage the club could not commit itself to another league team but arrangements would be made for several Sunday friendly matches of Division Six standard from September to give these players a chance to develop their skills and enthusiasm at an appropriate level.

In the meantime the club will continue its association with Loddon Ladies Club to participate in the Summer Mixed County Hockey League and various festivals.

Kevin MacDonald was re-elected club captain along with Martyn Vaudin his vice. Chairman Hugh Wiltshire and secretary Russ Crawford also continue to manage the administration with Malcolm Berry the new umpire liaison officer.

With a reasonably healthy balance sheet thanks to sponsors Hoose & Co HKB Wiltshires and the Albion, subscriptions remain at £15 for the players £25 for non-players and £5 juniors. Match fees for players however will increase by £1 to £8 per game/(£7 juniors) to include free Tuesday night training at Cliff Park community pitch from 6 to 8pm.

Gorleston won the annual Harleston May Day Mixed Hockey Festival. Loddon Ladies supplied the women's half of the team.

Gorleston found the going tough in their first game, a 0-0 draw against Harleston.

With an extra player turning up late for the start of the second game, Gorleston took an early lead though Jamie Higginbotham with a neatly converted short corner. Gorleston, still trying to find their best formation, conceded a goal to end the match 1-1 against Old Trent.

Gorleston were humbled in their next game, changing from grass to Astroturf, losing 2-0 to Norwich City.

Next game again tactical naivety cost them the game, 2-1 to UEA with Higginbotham scoring again.

Gorleston felt they were not going to qualify with one game to play but reshuffled the pack and with total domination won 2-0 against the Gingers with Higginbotham and Mark Vaudin scoring.

Gorleston qualified for the last 16 of the plate competition. Their first match was against Virgin. They scored from an early break when Adam Stone switched for Jamie Higginbotham to convert. Gorleston sat on the lead with excellent defensive play from Martin Vaudin and the tireless running of Mark Vaudin and Rob Harlow.

In the quarter-finals Gorleston met local rivals Lowestoft Railway. Mark Vaudin broke down the right and found Jamie Higginbotham who gave Gorleston the lead. Gorleston again shut up shop with Martin Vaudin commanding the defence..

In the semi-finals Gorleston met another Harleston XI, who outplayed them for most of the game. With injuries to both Mark Vaudin and Adam Stone, Gorleston's goalkeeper Barny King was called into action making a series of saves to keep them in the game. Through luck and determination Gorleston drew 0-0.

Into penalty flicks, Jamie Higginbotham, Kate and Adam scored, Martin Vaudin missed but Harleston missed three with Barny saving two, putting Gorleston though to the final.

There the Norfolk Pies pitted their wits against Gorleston. With both teams exhausted the hockey was not the best played by either team throughout the day.

Mark Vaudin was now a bystander through injury. Both teams were very happy at the final whistle to go to penalty flicks.

Jamie Higginbotham converted calmly, Norwich scored; Kate's flick was saved, Norwich missed; Adam Stone scored, Norwich's was saved by Barny; Martin Vaudin then stepped up and won Gorleston the game.

Martin Vaudin was voted player-of-the-final.