Mens East League Division 2 North
Norwich Dragons 1s 5:4 Pelicans 1s
With the season just past the half-way point, Dragons were looking for a strong performance against Pelicans, feeling that they had under performed in the away fixture earlier in the season. Dragons started brightly, keeping possession and pushing the Pelicans defence back. They were quickly able to turn their dominance into a goal, with Ed Smith rocketing a deflection into the roof of the net from a well struck penalty corner from Rupert Snelling. With Pelicans looking to play on the break and Sean Kerry creating problems for the defence from right midfield, Dragons goalkeeper Robbie Whiting was called on to make a number of saves. However, it was Dragons who scored next with Jason Wolfe cutting in from the left and, finding room in the circle, calmly shooting past the keeper (2-0 Dragons). Dragons defence seemed to relax momentarily and Pelicans soon struck to make it 2-1. Garnet Jones made it 3-1 to Dragons, smashing the ball home via the goalkeeper. The score was 3-1 to Dragons at half-time.
Though Pelicans continued to look dangerous on the break, Dragons continue to apply the pressure. Jason Wolfe latched onto an aerial ball from Rupert Snelling and drove into the circle from the right. With Matt Knights closing in on the far post, Wolfe’s shot was deflected into his own net by a Pelican’s defender (4-1 Dragons). Dragons extended their lead further when Alex Browne played for (and got) the Pelican’s defender miss-fielding another Snelling aerial: driving into the circle from the left he drew the keeper and passed to Matt Knights who calmly scored into the open net (5-1 Dragons). With only 15 minutes to go Dragons relaxed too much, playing too deep and being too open in midfield. This allowed Pelicans to mount a resurgence which nearly cost Dragons the game. Pelicans made in 5-2 when their forward gathered a long ball and shot from short range in at the near post. A well taken penalty corner made in 5-3 and a shot from open play made it 5-4 and left Dragons looking to play out time. Luckily Dragons were able to keep the ball at the attacking end and saw the game out 5-4 winners.
Dragons man of the match was Robbie Whiting.
Photos from this match here
Mens East League Division 4 North East
Norwich Dragons 2s 6:3 Thetford 1s
Dragons started strong and displayed their fast, attacking hockey that is rapidly becoming a regular feature of their games. Dragons were rewarded with two goals within the first 5 minutes. The first came from Dan Cheesman driving along the back line before striking the ball at the keeper from an impossible angle taking a heavy deflection in. The second was scored by Captain Cley Hamilton finishing off a delightful passing move with a first time sweep passed the keeper.
Thetford then reacted to this and started to get themselves together. The tempo slowed but Dragons still kept up the pressure. A Rich Phillis pass from a free hit outside the D found Adam Sayer, who calmly hit the ball into the bottom corner making the score 3-0. A few more attacks by Dragons resulted in a couple of short corners which unfortunately couldn’t get another goal. Thetford had a few attacks of their own, but these were confidently dealt with by the Dragon defence of Andy Kelsall, Neil Shorten and Piers Gordon-Brown. Keeper Dim Ives also made some fantastic saves to keep the ball out of the Dragon goal this half.
Just before halftime, Dragons striker Ricky Powley delivered another goal with a mesmeric reverse stick lob of the Thetford keeper leaving him no options but to watch it sail gracefully into the goal rounded off a great half for Dragons. Halftime score 4-0 to Dragons.
The talk at halftime focussed upon continuing to play as a team and moving the ball around. The second half started and it was clear Thetford were going to fight to get a result. They had a few more attacks that pushed Dragons hard and did manage to get 3 goals back. However, Dragons fought hard and scored 2 more goals themselves. Up and coming Young Dragon Henry Laming showed his talents and provided a fantastic drag flick goal guided into the top left hand corner of the goal from a short corner that stunned the Thetford keeper. This was shortly followed by Mark Flatman converting from close range with a cheeky reverse sweep that found the back board. The game continued with Dragons putting pressure on the Thetford goal but couldn’t increase their lead. Final score: Dragons 6, Thetford 3. Man of the match Dim Ives for his seismic saves.
East Men’s Hockey League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 5:0 Pelicans 3s
Dragons Mens 3rd team went into the last match of the first half of the season determined to retain their unbeaten league record. They faced a Pelicans team with a blend of an experienced central core supported by the energy and pace of youth. The early stages of the match were a tense midfield battle as both teams fought for supremacy. Gradually Dragons started to create opportunities but these were thwarted by the Pelicans young keeper who was pulling off excellent saves. When Pelicans managed to get forward the Dragons defence were as strong as normal ensuring there keeper was untroubled and were also starting attacks when they won the ball with Gary Burgess playing well at left back. The half ended in a goal-less stalemate.
A good half-time team talk by captain George Walker stressing the importance of using the width of the pitch and continuing to play the 3rd teams patient passing hockey and that the goals would come sent the Dragons team out with confidence for the second half. The team took these words to heart and started attacking down the flanks and getting to the back line and cutting the ball back with John Ives excelling on the right. This pressure finally produced the rewards it deserved with a brace of goals from Adrian Kemp and a brace from man of the match Will Kirby who had in previous weeks been providing goal assists. The Dragons defence were still standing firm determined to keep a clean sheet led by the calm head of sweeper Peter Davison and despite Pelicans being awarded two short corners they were prevented from getting any shots towards the Dragons goal. A final fifth goal was scored when a great cross from the left by Alec Bidet-Steele was deflected into the goal by Jon Goodson making a run from midfield to give Dragons a 5-0 win.
This win ended an excellent first half of the season for the team who after promotion last season have continued playing the same style of hockey with great success in a higher division with a record of 11 wins and 1 draw from their 12 matchs played and lead the Division with a gap to their nearest rivals.
Many thanks to the coaching of Rob Wagstaff which has helped the team achieve these results.
East Men’s Hockey League Division 6 North East
Norwich Dragons 4s 4:1 Pelicans Masters
For the last league game before Xmas, Dragons travelled to Kings Lynn; and with a unfavourable start time of 16:30 were still able to put out a strong side.
Dragons were short on strikers so Rob Lee filled in the remaining position up front and Chris Harrison returned to his roots playing on the right wing.
Dragons started very strongly and put together some solid passes and made an immediate impact on the Pelicans’ goal creating good opportunities, but the opposition were just a equal to the pressure defending very well and seeing out the chances.
The half very much belonged to Dragons with the central midfield of Rob Jenkins and Paul Keating intercepting well and passing out to the wing players who were getting the ball into the area on several occasions.
Pelicans began to find some form and created some opportunities themselves, the Dragons defence were marking superbly however giving very little away and covering off any chances Pelicans created.
The pressure finally paid off for Dragons as another attack saw the ball played into Ollie King who slotted passed the keeper to give Dragons a deserved 1:0 lead at half time.
Spurred on by their excellent first half, Dragons went out in the second with the aim of building on a strong performance, but had to soak up some pressure from Pelicans first who were quick out of the blocks from the restart.
Dragons soon regained control and were now dominating the midfield, with Ben Harvey running strongly at the oppositions’ defence causing problems. Dragons’ second goal came when Chris Harrison found Ollie King at the top of the ‘D’ whose mis-hit somehow trickled under the goalkeeper.
Another assist from the Captain saw Dragons get their third, who after strong hassling of a Pelicans defender left him on the floor, turned back towards the ‘D’ and once again passed across to Ollie King who made sure with a solid strike.
Pelicans grabbed a goal back after a slight mix up in the defence, but it was no less than a consolation as determined work from Dragons got the ball to Ollie King again and, with a bit of good solo work, got his and Dragons’ fourth goal of the afternoon to round off the game and move up to 8 goals this season.
Man of the match was very close and despite having four goals, Ollie King only got the honours by one vote, once again showing the strong overall team performance.
An excellent first half of the season leaves Dragons 4th in their table with 8 victories, every point counts as its very close in Division 6NE going into the new year.
East Women’s Hockey League Division 2 North East
Norwich Dragons 1s – No Fixture
East Women’s Hockey League Division 2 North East
Sprowston 1s 3:2 Norwich Dragons 2s
This rearranged game at Langley School started in bright sunny conditions, with the Dragons starting extremely strongly, dominating the early exchanges through Lizzie Moulton in the middle, well supported by Ally Windsor Waite on the right and Niamh Lowe-Davis on the left.
Despite this early pressure, Dragons found themselves a goal behind, through a softly conceded goal from a short corner, which the Dragons defence failed to clear properly. Despite this setback, the visitors continued to dominate, earning numerous short corners, however disappointingly they failed to convert any of their chances, leaving the score at 1-0 at halftime.
The weather took a turn for the worse at halftime as did Dragons performance, with the team losing their composure, shape and style of play. Too often they resorted to the longer ball game, rather than building from the back. Sprowston capitalised on this, scoring two goals to effectively take the game away from the Dragons.
This spurred a bit of fighting spirit, mainly through Player of the Match Lizzie Moulton and Debs Smith in midfield. Finally the Dragons made their short corners count, with Debs Smith striking firmly to the near post for Hannah Hardy to glance the ball in. Then shortly after, Debs Smith struck an excellent strike to the far post, which nestled firmly in the right corner. Unfortunately this was too little too late to influence the result.
A disappointing result and performance from a team who can play so much better. Undoubtedly the team will learn from this and come back stronger.
Marshall Motor Group Norfolk Women’s League Division 1
Broadland 2s 0:1 Norwich Dragons 3s
Broadland won the toss and made a good choice of ends, forcing Dragons to play into the low winter sun. Although Dragons had had a good warm-up, they took some getting used to the bouncier surface of the new Taverham pitch. Broadland having home advantage and experience of the pitch, played with two very high attackers. Their tactic was to use the long ball through the field hoping for a lucky bounce to beat the Dragons’ defence. This kept the Dragons’ defenders on their toes and called for good communication and cooperation. Hazel Medler, Dragons’ sweeper and Tammy St John, at centre back, both dominated the middle of the field; whilst Sophie Thomas on the left and Louise Davis on the right, alternated between covering in defence and supporting attacks on their respective flanks. This seemed to pay off because although Broadland developed some strong attacks in the midfield, they were never really able to take advantage of their high forwards.
Both teams were fairly evenly matched in the first half, although Broadland showed more determination and were winning fifty fifty balls. However, Dragons took the lead, when Amelia Dawson put pressure on the Broadland’s keeper at short range. After a series of saves and counter-shots, the keeper was eventually beaten when Amelia slipped the ball left for Amy Brown to skilfully finish the move.
In the second half, Dragons stepped up a gear in their work rate, putting together some good passes from defence through midfield. Several opportunities were taken to pass the ball across the pitch to their defender Louise Davis who pushed up high to instigated attacks down the right wing. However, Broadland’s defence remained strong and their tight marking thwarted Dragons’ attackers. This resulted in end to end play, with a number of penalty corners being awarded to both teams, none of which were converted. Dragons then went down to ten players when one was yellow carded for questioning an umpiring decision inappropriately. This created a period of unrest in the Dragons’ defence as they had to re-group and adjust positions, resulting in Amy Forse, Dragons’ keeper, making some cruical saves and clearances. Broadland were unable to take advantage of this situation and when Dragons came back to a full side ten minutes later they were able to hang on to their lead.
Dragons finished the first half of the season top of the division unbeaten, which is a promising start for a newly formed team that includes several youngsters playing their first season at a senior level and veterans alike. Dragon’s player of the match was Louise Davis.
Norwich Dragons 5s 1:5 Norwich Dragons 4s
The fives took an early lead with a cracking shot from the P spot, from Sophie Farrow, expertly passed to her by Laura Goodbun, while the fives may have felt this was an early sign of taking control of the match the fours came back with their usual determination and began to dominate the match. All the work in training on meeting the ball, playing into space and names on balls began to edge the fives a head. The mixture of young legs and mature heads meant that within 2 minutes Catherine Bourassa had scored the equaliser. This was followed by the goal of the game by Felicia Roberts, a beautiful ball that went over the head of the keeper and finally for the first half a lovely nudged ball into the corner from Scarlett Brown.
The second half continued to see lovely play from fours. Annika Richarson (Player of the match) kept instigating great movement out to the wings. While the midfield stuck hard and fast to the opposition, stopping them from making any breaks towards a second goal. Gemma Rump worked hard on the left and Laura Bruce did the same on the right to stop any opportunities the fives had to use the wings. Two more goals were scored by the fours during the second half, a lovely little shot through the keeper’s legs by Annika and a brilliant strike from the top of the D by Debbie Santa Clara.
While it is never fun playing a team from your own club, as someone usually has to loose, it was a friendly and well contested match that showed just how strong the Dragon’s club has become in recent years. Well played everyone.
Marshall Motor Group Norfolk Women’s League Division 2
Norwich Dragons 4s 5:1 Norwich Dragons 5s
The 5s had a plan to topple their league-leading clubmates, and for the first glorious 10 minutes the game went according to their script. Their best move of the match saw Chiara Bond pass the ball to Rosie Korn, whose first touch found Laura Goodbun who went on a fabulous run down the right and crossed. Sophie Farrow stepped in from the left to sweep the ball home.
However, in an excellent game with both teams making every effort, the 4s showed just why they are top of the league by getting their goal-scoring machine firing. Catherine Bourassa, Felicia Roberts and Debbie Santa Clara made it 3-1 by half time – and with all three goals the 5s could look at themselves and think that they could have played to the whistle, defended better, and cleared more accurately. However, although the 4s could only score twice in the second half, the moves and shots by Annika Richardson and Scarlett Brown were sheer class.
The 5s saw plenty of the ball, and Laura Goodbun in particular was outstanding with her runs and crosses. The 5s need to work on their striking, and at least six opportunities went begging without a shot being taken. But the 4s could claim to have had their chances too, and the score would have undoubtedly been higher if newcomer Nina Holden had not had an excellent debut in goal, having not played for over a year.
Laura shared the player of the match votes with Emma Buxton, who let nothing past her at right back. The 5s defence remained very composed, with Abi Cowe commanding the central position and Beth Elgood and Amiria Pounsford sharing left back duties. Beth timed her tackles well; Amiria continues to improve; and Lizzy McDonnell also stepped in to do some defensive duties and was very capable, though she probably enjoyed her midfield runs more. Katie Buxton and Chiara Bond did their midfield jobs well – harassing the opposing forwards and finding their own. Lois McGregor completed her mission of playing in every position in the first half of the season by doing a stint at the bottom of the diamond. Beth Bygrave made a guest appearance at the top of the diamond in the second half, which allowed Rosie Korn to move up and look promising at left forward, where she has played before with success.
5s still need to work hard at eliminating the seven deadly sins from their game. The squeaking seems to have disappeared, and no-one jumped over the ball. But there is still too much Carrow Road-type feet and the umpires (who were excellent, and let the game flow by playing advantages) commented on the tendency of left-sided players to stop the ball with the back of the stick. We also tended to be slow moving to the ball.
However, make no mistake, the 5s can be proud of their first half of the season performance, and are an improving side with more to come. Don’t forget there is a full game on Wednesday night (12 December) for ALL 5s squad players. Meet at 7.15 for 7.30 pushback.
Marshall Motor Group Norfolk Boys Development League
Pelicans 7:1 Norwich Dragons
Marshall Motor Group Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 0:0 Watton
The final score was a 0-0 draw, although both teams had many opportunities to shoot in the D, no legitimate goals were scored during the match.
Captain and Match Report: Jasmine Mansfield
The player of the match was Rachel Bruce because of her strong tackles and constant pressure on the player with the ball and her inexhaustible persistence to help her team get the ball. Natalie Beal and Karen O’Neill Simpson coached and played as adults.
3 Memorable moments:
- Harriet Williams’s great saves as goalkeeper stopping the other team from scoring.
- Jessica Tye-Leech’s and Laura Hansell’s critical defensive runs and tackles.
- Tamsen Billing’s rapid improvement through the last few weeks reflected in her performance in the game, she found great strategical positions and was more involved in the game.
All of the players played confidently, providing a tough opposition for Watton. There was little height to the game, sometimes all of the players were only in one half of the pitch. However as the game progressed, we improved rapidly. As a forward, I noticed that we were communicating more than usual by the end of the game, agreeing that if one of the forwards helped the mid fields and defensive players, the other player must therefore hang back and give the team a quick option to move the ball into a safer place on the pitch.
Both teams had sufficient time in the D, although we had lots of time in the D, we had a lack of confidence and there weren’t many tries at the goal, however, Watton was more confident shooting. Harriet Williams (our goalkeeper) and Karen as sweeper provided an unstoppable defensive team.
Overall I think everyone played very well however we may need to consider working on expanding the game and shooting skills.
The hoof table this week is as follows: