A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match preview – Harleston Magpies vs. W1s (Vitality Division One South, 21st October, 2023)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe are looking for their third consecutive win as they head to early-season strugglers Harleston Magpies on Saturday afternoon (2:30pm).

Nick Bandurak’s side have won their last two matches, both at home, against Sevenoaks and Slough to take them up to second place in the Vitality Division One South table, just three points behind leaders Surbiton 2s.

Holcombe were also victorious over Southgate on the opening day and are looking for their second away win of the campaign in Suffolk this weekend.

Deanna Ritchie will be hoping to continue her goalscoring form after netting a hat-trick for her first Holcombe goals against Slough at the weekend, with all three goals coming from open play. Emma Bandurak is joint top-scorer for Holcombe, having scored a goal in each of the opening three matches of the season.

The Magpies, meanwhile, have lost all four of their matches after finishing in eighth place at this level last season, scoring six goals but conceding 12 in the process, leaving them with the joint-second-worst defensive record in the division.

They were beaten at Canterbury on the opening day before further defeats against Wimbledon 2s (home), Team Bath Buccaneers (away) and Barnes (away).

The two sides have not met in outdoor hockey since the 2013/14 season, with Holcombe 3-1 victors at Harleston courtesy of goals from Nicci Daly, Megan Frazer and Charlotte Whelan in September of that campaign.

There have been a number of indoor meetings since, including one in last season’s Super 6s Division One, where Harleston won promotion to the Super 6s Premier Division. The Magpies’ goals came from Beth Gardens and Anna Cogdell with Holcombe’s consolation coming courtesy of Bandurak.

Image: Becci Woodhead