Mens East League Division 2 North
Spalding 1s 4:3 Norwich Dragons 1s
For the second week running Dragons started the game quickly, playing fast flowing hockey, putting the home side under massive pressure. However, they were not able to turn their dominance into goals, with the Spalding goalkeeper saving everything that was goal bound. Very much against the run of play Spalding broke quickly down the middle of the pitch and, with Dragons keeper Whiting unable to complete a diving clearance outside the circle, the Spalding forward was left to slot home into an empty net. For Dragons, Rupert Snelling was unlucky to score from two well placed corners, the Spalding defence make good saves on the line. Though Dragons continued to enjoy good possession Spalding came more into the game and were able to work the ball to a well placed forward to deflect into the Dragons net, making it 2-0 to the home side. Dragons kept calm and kept pushing forward looking for goals. Alex Browne opened the scoring for the visitors, smashing home from a well worked penalty corner move (2-1 Spalding). Alex Browne then completed his brace, calmly slotting the ball through the legs of the advancing Spalding goalkeeper, rounding off a good Dragons break. Half time score 2-2.
The second half carried on much as the first half ended, but became increasingly fractious as both teams tried to find the winning goals to guarantee the points which are so precious in such a tight league. Dragons created a number of good chances in open play and from corners, but could not find away pass the inform Spalding keeper. Dragons then had a man sin binned, the culmination of a number of stick tackles. They then had another player sin binned for playing the ball above his shoulder. Despite being down to 9 the Dragons defence was not breached and they caused a couple of scares at the Spalding end. However, it was Spalding who scored next, the ball being hit into the circle and being judged by the umpire to have been touched by the Dragons keeper as it went passed him, ending up in the goal (3-2 Spalding). Back to full strength Dragons pushed forward looking for the equaliser. Rupert Snelling made in 3-3 from a penalty corner, his Dragon flick nestling into the side netting in the goal. As time ran out the game looked to be heading for a draw, but Spalding won a series of consecutive penalty corners, during which Dragons received another yellow card, eventually scoring from a worked move with nearly the final hit of the game.
Final score was 4-3 to Spalding.
Dragons man of the match was Alex Browne.
Mens East League Division 4 North East
Norwich Dragons 2s 1:0 Dereham 4s
Dragons made hard work of what should have been an easy win. A spirited physical Dereham side made the whole 70 minutes of the match hard work for the Dragons team.
Dragons were not playing well , but late in the first half Dragons only real hockey move of the match resulted in Mark Flatman scoring with a well placed shot.
The second half continued in the same vane as the first, a mis-jointed Dragons coming up against a determined Dereham and only a fine save at the death from goal keeper and man of the match Damien Ives secured a Dragons win.
East Men’s Hockey League Division 5NE
UEA 3s 1:2 Norwich Dragons 3s
East Men’s Hockey League Division 6 North East
Norwich Dragons 4s 4:1 Bury St Edmunds 5s
Scorers:- Mike Banham, Ollie King, Paul Keating and Ben Harvey
Dragons have been undefeated at the Den so far this season and ran out on Saturday looking to keep that record.
The opposition, Bury St. Edmunds 5ths, were currently second in the League so Dragons were certainly prepared for a tough match.
The early minutes of the game belonged to Dragons, keeping the ball well and making some good passes, little pressure was put on the oppositions goal however which led to Bury taking control of the game more. Dragons absorbed the pressure, defending superbly and keeping up the good work of man-marking. Chris Millar was also in good form preventing Bury from taking the lead on several occasions. Dragons however began to regroup again and turned their defending into attack, which led to a short corner, converted by the reliable Mike Banham.
The game settled into 50:50 possession, with both sides making the game flowing and exciting, with chances at both ends, Ben Campbell came very close with an excellent shot from the top of the ‘D’. The work rate from Dragons however ensured they went into the break with a slender 1:0 advantage.
The second half saw Dragons take control of the game, in particular through the first 15 minutes. Right from the re-start excellent pressure from Ollie King and Michael Whitmore saw a free hit quickly taken and fed into the ‘D’ to allow Ollie King to slot past the keeper for his 3rd goal in 2 games, all in less than a minute from the push-back! This was the start to the half Dragons needed and continued to keep possession, defend well and play some good hockey.
Bury once again came back into the game and pulled a goal back through a short corner, at 2-1 the game was set for a ‘grandstand’ finish with 15 minutes left to play.
Not that Dragons let that effect them, as they continued their excellent work and again created chances to extend their lead, which they did through another short corner, whilst the first shot was saved, Paul Keating followed up the rebound to recover the 2 goal advantage.
The game was finished off with Paul Keating taking the ball from his own half into the oppositions area, playing across the ‘D’ which was coolly slotted home by Ben Harvey, a fine reward for his hard work running the right wing.
This was by far Dragons’ best all-round performance so far this season and the Man of the Match nomination proved that this was a real team effort with a 3 way tie until the final vote was revealed. Alec Bidet-Steele took the honours, who’s efforts were excellent, marking a key player out of the game for Bury and releasing the ball superbly to begin Dragons’ attacks.
A final thank you from the Captain, with 16 players the substitutes were hard to manage but everyone worked together and it was handled with great maturity. Well done.
East Women’s Hockey League Division 2 North East
Norwich Dragons 1s 2:0 Sprowston 1s
Norwich Dragons continued their run off good form and maintained their unbeaten record by dominating their match on Saturday against their visitors Sprowston Ladies.
The Dragon ladies played an attractive style of hockey keeping possession of the ball well and being patient in midfield before penetrating the Sprowston defence. The Dragons forward line found themselves with numerous goal scoring opportunities but a combination of excellent goal keeping by the Sprowston keeper, Sharon WEEKS, and strong disciplined defending by Sprowston’s back line kept the Dragons at bay until deep into the first half when Gail THOMAS struck the ball from an acute angle just inside the D which ricochet off the keeper and snuck into the corner of the goal. Although the home team continued to pile on the pressure bombarding the Sprowston defence with shots from open play and from short corners they were unable to increase their lead before going into half time.
The second half continued in the same vain with the Dragons in control and pinning Sprowston deep in their own half for much of the game but they continued to struggle to find the back of the net. A second goal finally came through some good passing hockey in midfield resulting in Hannah RONEY playing the ball through for player of the match Laura SHREEVE to steer into the goal.
The game was not short of drama with the Dragons being awarded two penalty flicks in the second half but again WEEKS would not be beaten easily and both efforts were saved.
This was a good performance from the Dragons who were strong throughout the team and never looked troubled by the visitors. The hosts worked hard and played some excellent passing hockey which led to numerous goal scoring opportunities for the strikers but it was not their day in front of goal. Although a good performance the Dragons must be more clinical as on another day they will be punished for not killing the game off with the amount of dominance and possession that they had.
East Women’s Hockey League Division 2 North East
North Walsham 1s 5:1 Norwich Dragons 2s
Having had a good run of results, Dragons Ladies 2s went into this game knowing they would need to be at their best to come away with any points. Having started brightly, enjoying some good possession though Lynne Price in the heart of midfield, Dragons were disappointed to go behind to a couple of quick goals from North Walsham, through their speedy attacking players.
Dragons continued to press and forced a number of short corners, one of which, despite initially breaking down, was forced back into the D by Ally Windsor Waite, to Sarah Radley, who sensibly squared the ball for Hannah Hardy to eventually force the ball home.
Unfortunately at the start of the second half, Dragons sustained a number of injuries, which resulted in a loss of experienced players in the centre of the pitch. There was some valiant defending, most notably through player of the match Maddie Denman and a number of strong saves by Freddie Briscoe, however, North Walsham continued to press and eventually made this pressure count, as Dragons chased for the equaliser. A couple of quick goals, followed by a further late strike, sealed Dragons fate.
Valuable lessons to learn for this Dragon’s team, particularly around being first to every ball, being stronger in the tackle and generally ‘wanting it’ just that little bit more. Next week will see another tough test, however one which Dragons look forward too.
Marshall Motor Group Norfolk Women’s League Division 1
Norwich City 5s 0:8 Norwich Dragons 3s
Dragons dominated throughout the match with good passing and possession throughout the team. It was from this team play that Caroline Wolfe was the first to score for Dragons at close range. Wolfe was also instrumental in the second goal when her cross was converted by Hazel Sumner. Good passing between Olivia Thomas and Pollyanna Watson enabled Amy Brown to add her name to the score sheet when she finished the move with a short range push into the back of the goal. Dragons’ fourth goal came from a penalty corner. Pollyanna Watson injected the ball to Wolfe, who slipped it right to Olivia Thomas, who switched it left between Norwich City’s defenders, for Mel Widdows who made a clean, first time sweep into the goal.
At half time the score was 4 – 0 to Dragons, which was a promising start for Dragons, who so far this season have been a second half team.
Caroline Wolfe opened the scoring in the second half for Dragons when she poached a City defensive hit out. Dragons’ sixth goal came from a long through pass from Louise Davis at right defence into open space for Hazel Sumner who took on a few players before adding her second goal. Isi Christophers then converted a shot on goal from Caroline Wolfe by shimming the ball in just shy of the right post. Dragons’ final goal came from a penalty corner slipped left for Emma Moolman to strike firmly onto the City backboard.
It was a great team effort from the whole of the Dragons’ team with only the keeper Amy Forse not touching the ball. The Dragons’ player of the match was shared between Emma Moolman and Olivia Thomas.
Another slow start for the Dragons, it seems that it takes a good 10 or 15 minutes for the individuals to start working together as a team. This was a scrappy match, and while the Dragons came away with 3 points, they are capable of playing to a higher standard than was demonstrated today. Flora Gregorie, Sue Cross and Holly Francis played created a solid midfield, driving the ball towards the D and making attempts to force play out wide, they battled for every ball and chased down players with a ragged determination. Despite several attempts at goal by Debbie Santa Clara, Annika Richardson and Scarlett Brown a goal was not to come for the first 20 minutes, when eventually a lifted ball from Scarlett went above the keeper. Thanks to the hard work of Catherine Bourassa (player of the match) who continuously kept taking the ball back down the wing, towards the goal, a second ball found the back of the net a strike from Scarlett and a deflection from a Hornets player.
After the break the Dragons scored relatively quickly, with a lovely shot from Holly, which rebounded off the keeper and into the goal. The Dragons certainly had the majority of possession during the second half and the ball rarely left the attacking end during the final twenty minutes of the match – defensive players almost acted as midfielders and the keeper must surely have felt a little bored by the end of it all. Players such as Freya Clogan and Gemma Rump worked hard to create spaces, draw the opposition away from position and switch play across the pitch; but clumping seemed to occur and on more than one occasion the Dragons were themselves drawn out of position and had to fight to get back on track. While no more goals were to come, the Dragons fought to the end to increase their goal difference.
Marshall Motor Group Norfolk Women’s League Division 2
Loddon 2s 0:1 Norwich Dragons 5s
Dragons scored their second successive 1-0 win, but this time they were even more dominant all over the pitch. In this game they created far more opportunities, and credit must go to Julie Elvin, playing in goal for the first time, who stopped several shots. The only goal was a beauty, proving the simplest moves stand the best chance. Bridget Le Good sent a through ball to Chiara Bond, whose first time cross found Lois McGregor, who swept home majestically. Laura Goodbun deserved more luck, using her pace to get into good positions and also working extremely hard to get back and defend. Chiara Bond played her best game of the season so far, exploiting her speed on the right and showing determination to get to the ball first.
There were interesting match-ups all over the pitch. Tash Hancock was solid in the Loddon defence, stopping the runs of Lisa Harwood (again showing plenty of determination), Ciara Willmott (who made some intelligent lateral moves) and Claire Fairhurst, who impresses everyone with her spirit and determination to improve her hockey. However, at the other end, Abi Cowe was playing even better in central defence, timing her tackles beautifully and dealing with the speedy raids of Alice Whitmore. Loddon had Becky Carver, the strongest crosser of the ball on the pitch, but Emma Buxton was always on hand to sweep them up and also did her share of successful tackles.
Katie Buxton continues to improve, and had another strong performance at right mid. Cath Power and Amiria Pounsford combined well down the left and set up some excellent attacks. Morag Morrison was seldom called on in the Loddon goal, but she certainly imposed herself on play if the Loddon forwards tried to move the ball close in the circle.
Laura, Abi and Bridget each secured three votes for player of the match, with other players also featuring.
Still to work on – some more practice on first touch and picking the ball up at speed. Shooting needs attention for power and accuracy. No prizes for the reverse high flick that scared the crows in their roosts behind the goal.
Marshall Motor Group Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich City 14:2 Norwich Dragons (Recorded result 7:2)
Ben Watson scored both of the goals – one from a short corner and one was a reverse stick hit. Both were very good goals.
Despite being 2 men down spirits were high. We were doing very well against a strong team and we were all pulling together. Andrew Carver was doing a great job defending against the strong attack of Norwich. Our attack was doing their best. Connor Adams and Ben Watson were trying hard to get in the right position but unfortunately narrowly missed the target. Things improved when we won a short corner and managed to turn it into a goal. At half time we were given a good team talk by Piers Gordon-Brown. The second half brought new scoring opportunities for Captain Robert Chaney Baxter with very helpful mid fielding by Raunaq Rai , Ben Harvey and exceptional defending by Josh Bingham.
Sam Harvey was a very important asset to the team saving lots of very tricky shots. Although we had the odds stacked against us we tried very hard and it was an excellent effort from all the team. We must also thank Norwich for lending us two players later in the second half.
Well done everyone for maintaining a fighting spirit in spite of the damp weather and a small team.
Ben Watson was player of the match after being a strong member of the team creating lots of chances and scoring both of Dragon’s goals.
Thanks to Ali Smyth for coaching and Ben Harvey and Piers Gordon-Brown for taking on the role of playing adults.
Marshall Motor Group Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 1:1 Yarmouth
A great goal from a short corner by Isobel Keane gave Dragons a draw this week. Excellent play in the centre of the pitch from captain Anja Finegan and player of the match Aoife Lowe-Davies. Harriet Williams made an amazing save by running towards the player and taking the risk of leaving the goal open and free. Good to hear the opposition saying well done to our players.
Thanks to coach Natalie Beal and playing adults Emma Tabrett and Lizzie Cheesman.
The Hoof table this week is as follows: