NDHC League Match Reports: 01/10/2016

img_7527Photos from just a few games this week here.

Women’s East Hockey League Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 1s 4-2 St Albans

Norwich Dragons 1st XI were back on home soil this week and hoping to get back to winnings ways against early league leaders St Albans 2nd XI.

Keen to put on a strong team performance, the Dragons came out of the blocks the hungrier team and had a strong spell of possession which helped them settle into the game.

The Dragons where first to change the score line when they went ahead.  The home team’s opening positive passage of play culminating in a great through ball into the circle by Holly Reading, which was helped on by Marie James. The keeper made the initial save, but Stacey Lee was first to react and hit the target to give the home team the lead.

The girls were spurred on by this goal and went from strength to strength as the half progressed. Team structure and press was coming together and indeed this pressure lead to a series of penalty corners. Good link up play by captain Rachel King and Hayley Toleman created Dragons second goal with the penalty corner finished by King. The Dragons took a convincing lead into half time.

Determined not to give up their lead early in the second half, the Dragons had their turn of absorbing a spell of pressure from St Albans, with Player of the Match Jess Bennett marshalling her defence. Dragons worked hard and earned themselves another penalty corner, courtesy of King. A well worked routine allowed Toleman to find her spot with a deflection and leave the St Albans keeper with no chance.

The home side now 3-0 up and looking comfortable; the away side had other ideas of a relaxed finish for the Dragons. The away side continued to push and finally broke the Dragons back line. Dragons tried to find their stride again but the Albans girls were buoyed and managed to pull the game back to 3-2.

The home side started to settle again and began the passing game which saw them take a first half lead.  Not willing to give up their lead, Dragons dug deep and pushed until the end and their hard work was rewarded in the remaining minutes. A driving run into the circle by Lee earned the home side a final penalty corner, which was calmly dispatched by King for her second of the game. Leaving the final score 4-2 to Dragons, letting their unbeaten start to the season continue.

Thanks to Pete for coaching and the home support on the side line.

Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N
Norwich Dragons 2s 0-3 Magpies 2

For the first time in a number of years, Norwich Dragons Ladies 2’s took on Harleston Magpies 2’s in the League. Dragons gave another league debut this week this time to Kiera Goymour, who moved up from the 3’s and welcomed back Donna Vaughan into the heart of defence. Going into the game with a number of injuries Dragons cause wasn’t helped early on, when their influential midfielder limped off with a recurrence of an old injury, forcing the visitors to battle on with 12.

The first 15 minutes had been pretty even, with some cagey hockey from both teams, however a couple of lapses in concentration from Dragons gave chances to the hungry Magpies forwards, which they took clinically giving Keeper Emma Cleland no chance. Dragons regrouped, with Donna Vaughan and Sarah Borrett who both having outstanding games, settling things at the back, alongside Kiera Goymour, who settled in well and Carmel Windsor-Waite and Danni Garwood.

Dragons showed glimpses of what they know they are capable of, with the pace of Laura Shreeve and Issy Wolfe getting in behind the Magpies high line. On one occasion an early aerial ball into space found Shreeve who beat 2 players and then squared a perfectly weighted ball into the incoming Sam Franklin, Franklin took an excellent early strike, however the outrushing Magpies Keeper Holly Riches, made a sharp save.

With the score 3-0 at half-time, Dragons Captain Karen O’Neill Simpson called for better defensive shape and discipline and to a player, her words were heeded, with a much improved performance in the 2nd half. With joint players of the match Sarah Borrett and Donna Vaughan dominating in the centre of defence, the team started to build attacks of their own. Sam Franklin on the left side of midfield was tireless in her work, showing excellent fitness, getting up and down the flanks supporting both attack and defence. Lara Taylor was working hard in the centre of midfield, despite taking a nasty bump to the head.

The odd chance was created, largely earned by Laura Shreeve’s individual skill, pace and relentless energy, constantly harassing the Magpies defence, however any efforts were well dealt with by the Magpies Keeper.

So the second half remained goalless; Dragons should be encouraged by the improvement they showed during the game, and but for a 15 minute spell in the first half, when the visitors were a bit ‘sloppy’ and Magpies forwards were clinical, the game was relatively even. The team will pick themselves up, dust themselves down and go again, firstly by working hard at training, then in their next fixture away to Bedford.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-2 Norwich City 2

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 4s 1-2 Magpies 4

Ladies 4s headed to Harleston hoping for their first win of the season. Dragons started fairly brightly, with a particularly strong performance from the back 3 of Ella Kassulke, Christine Musowe and Clare Moylan, Clare having an impressive game at the back despite playing out of position.

Dragons unfortunately went 1-0 down as Magpies were very quick to break in numbers through the midfield line and leave our defence exposed. The team rallied however and equalised through a classic Lucy Morton run as she led onto a through ball from Sue Cross and slotted the ball home. The two of them worked tirelessly all game defending from the front and chasing the ball down along with Jasmin Miller.

Magpies were a physical and determined side and the central midfield duo of Megan Williams and Gemma Rump stood up well, using their strength and experience. The younger Dragons, some of whom have just come up from the Development squad, also held their own, putting into practice the hard work they had done in training on pressing the opposition.

The Player of the Match performance from Alice Smith in the away goal kept Dragons in the game until late on, when a tired team lost concentration and failed to keep the rampaging Magpies forwards out. Although disappointed to lose, this strong performance gives the team lots of positives for the coming games.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 5s 0-2 Beccles

This was the Voldemort game for the Ladies 5’s.  The opposition Beccles had moved up from league 2 with us this season, so we knew what to expect a strong team, who always train and play together.   Unfortunately what looked like perfect hockey weather when pulling the curtains back turned into hot hot hot when on the pitch.  Luisa Valentini’s nimble toes stepped up to support us in goal this week and with a full complement of defenders in position, Jemima Williams, Kate Atkins and Katie Franks.  The 5’s had first push back and eyes into the sun, play started well with some lovely passing from Lynne Price always attacking at top of the diamond, to Laura Hansell and Mel Widdows out on the wings.  With Catherine Matthews, Racheal Matthews (birthday girl) and Lisa Harwood lurking in the D waiting for a chance on goal, we fancied our chances as the opposition keeper seems quite static.  We won a series of short corners which we couldn’t convert.  Beccles were quick on the turn and have set play which involves smashing the ball out to a well positioned midfielder and onto a lingering forward.  The 5’s then made hard work for ourselves by not holding positions, or using our passing teamwork style and letting certain decisions dishearten us.   At this time Beccles managed to work the ball round, and slip a couple of goals in.

At half time we had to give ourselves a serious talking too and get back on the pitch and score some goals.  Will Helen Marsh working very hard at the bottom of the diamond, tirelessly giving chase and holding up the opposition (POM).  Amelia Smith trying both ends of the pitch stepped up to support in defence as well as her usual role up front.  The defenders had a tougher game this week and were working the ball out well, so no more goals were conceded.  Next week the 5’s need to get their mojo back!!

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s 0-4 Norwich City 5

Ladies 6s suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of a strong City 5s side. Nevertheless Dragon’s played with positive minds and worked hard.

Katie Franks’ absence meant that Nicola Robinson played the first half at left back and Hannah Reeve (joint PoM with Luisa Valentini – who perfomed exceptionally in her second consecutive match of the day) assumed the position of centre back. Unfamiliar positions for the two players however neither were fazed only highlighting that they are experienced, versatile payers. Katy Saide’s reverse stick skills on the defensive right always prove useful and this match was no different. Ginny Simkin worked hard as bottom of the diamond for the first half before resuming her usual position in defence in the second half. Bethany Elgood, Beth Coates and Lizzie McDonnell rotated throughout midfield, a tiring job as always with City. Fiona Fletcher played brilliantly in her first match for the 6s switching between mid and forward, a determined and hard-working player. As always Kelly Mills, Sue Brumby and Hannah Edwards were keen to score but unfortunately on this occasion it wasn’t to be. Ultimately City presented us with a side the was experienced, skilled and always one step ahead. Dragons put in a huge amount of effort and regardless of the final score that’s all that can be asked for.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 5-0 Norwich City 7

Dragons 7s were lucky with the weather for their second league match of the season, enjoying the glorious sunshine to face Norwich City 7.

Dragons had first push back and dominated from the start, attacking City’s goal. Dragons persistence paid off with 2 goals in the first 10 minutes by forward Claire Stuart. Dragons kept up the pressure on City with Claire and the other forwards Mia McGhee and Lilly Sore making numerus shots at goal, which the City keeper kept kicking away. The midfield of Stevie Spencer, Helen Walker, Dani Winteringham, Aditi Naik (POM) and Katie Moulson kept up the pressure, not allowing City to break through so the defence of Emma North, Bridget Le Good and Claire Fairhurst didn’t have a lot to do. When City did manage to make a break for it, the Dragons defence stopped them or keeper Katrina Speirs kicked the ball away, although Katrina didn’t have many touches of the ball. Dragons pressure and persistence was paid off by 2 further goals in the first half, one by Lilly and a third for Claire.

The second half got underway in much the same way as the first, with Dragons dominating. Dragons slightly lost their focus and allowing City to break through, however Dragons stopped them before they could score. Again Dragons put a lot of pressure on City’s defence, making shot after shot on goal. Dragons were awarded with another from Lilly.

Dragons were pleased with the 5:0 result, buoying them up for the next match.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 8s 4-4 Broadland 3

Having had their first experience of league hockey last week in the friendly environment of the Dragons 7s match, the newly formed Dragons 8s, made up of some experienced players, returners to hockey and Development Girls moving to adult hockey, didn’t know what to expect this week hosting Broadland 3s.

The visitors included lots of familiar faces from higher teams in previous seasons and were determined to hit the ball from the back through the middle of the pitch to their forwards and in the first 6 minutes that tactic worked with Dragons finding themselves 2-0 down, as they took time to settle and were still learning to play together.

Dragons did settle and started to pass the ball from the back and use their skill in midfield and upfront, to move forward.  Amelia Keitley-Webb slotted the ball away to give the home side some confidence.

Broadland managed to grab another goal before halftime, however Dragons were very upbeat at halftime and could sense that with their positive attitude and growing team spirit, they could grab the momentum in the second half.

A change of formation and some great discipline in player’s positions meant that Dragons were able to snuff out the attempted long balls of the opposition and the youth in the home side kept running, hassling and driving forward, playing round a tiring opposition.

Dragons won the second half 3-1 and finished with a well earned point from the 4-4 draw.  Amelia completing her hattrick and getting a fourth, however this was most definitely a team performance, from Sarah Sheffield in goal, through the defence of Johanne Steward, Jo Baker and Anna Chapman.  The midfield strength came from Player of the Match Olivia Syder, supported by Gemma Ballard, Louise ‘Brooksy’ Brooks, and the pace of Sophie Drew and Maisie Dearmer, the forward line of Amelia, Captain Katy Cole and Lois ‘back from the big smoke’ Metcalfe.

Another great performance from this new team, with plenty more players waiting in the wings for their chance to experience the special team spirit from these girls. #awesomeeights

Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 2-3 UEA 1

Norwich Dragons started well against UEA hoping to extend their run to 3 wins for the season so far. Early pressure and strong forward play from Ollie King lead to a short corner from which Matt Kinghts opened his account for the season, smashing home from the top of the D.

A well organised and dynamic UEA team, then started to impose themselves on the game and despite some good work in midfield from birthday boy Henry Laming and Rohan Kaushal, UEA equalised and then took the lead before half time.

Stern words at half time proved fruitless as a direct run through the heart of the Dragons midfield and defence lead to an early UEA goal. Dragons spent the rest of the half pressing further up the pitch, bombarding the UEA D. Another backhand screamer from Henry Laming, after a mazy run shortened the deficit to one goal. However, strong UEA defending meant the Dragons were unable to gain a point they may well have deserved.

Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 1-5 Magpies 3

Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-4 Magpies 4

An early away game saw the Men’s 3s playing Harleston Magpies 4s.  After their 8-0 victory last week, Dragons were hoping for a similar scoreline.

The game was fast-paced, and the young magpies team put Dragons under pressure from the start.  Magpies pushed high and Dragons struggled to get the ball out of their 25.  They eventually settled into the game, though never really got used to the bounciness of the water base pitch.

Dragons worked hard in the sun, and were rewarded with some short corners, though the ball just didn’t fall right.  Magpies gained a short corner themselves, which they slotted away, leaving Dragons trailing going into halftime.

The game continued in much the same way for the second half.  Dragons had a few chances, which weren’t converted, which added to frustrations.  A spell of fast attacks for Magpies saw them break through the middle and put away another couple of chances.  Dragons found it difficult to keep their heads up, though there were some great examples of determination, particularly Man of Match Max Laming.

Another goal from Magpies sealed the game and Dragons were left feeling frustrated and thinking what if?  Lots of things for Dragons to ponder before next game.

Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 3-2 IES 4

Dragons made it back to back wins with another impressive team display in wet conditions at the Den.  Dragons saw Rich Phillis making his debut for the 4s, joining the experienced Pete Davison and Jon Price in defence.  Will Ives was also recruited to the defensive line where he had a great game.  Throughout the match, excellent distribution from the back allowed Dragons to launch rapid attacks which IES found it difficult to cope with.  Dragons settled quickly into the game, with Tim Allen and Rob Jenkins controlling the centre of the park and the pace and trickery of Pedro Goss, Connor Adams and Jon Chaney-Baxter helping to create some good chances and earning a number of short corners.  Nick Turner did some great work down the wing whilst Adie Kemp and Garnett Jones held the ball up well and caused IES problems in the final third.

Dragons soon took the lead, Adie Kemp’s short corner strike being deflected beyond the stranded IES keeper.  A second goal followed soon after when Garnett Jones expertly controlled a pass into the 23 from Tim Allen, beat a couple of defenders and rifled home from the right hand side of the D.

IES remained positive and created a few chances themselves, pulling a goal back through an accurate short corner shot which keeper Chris Millar could do little about.  At half time, the score was 2-1 to Dragons.

In the second half, Dragons continued to play some impressive hockey, with a good mix of passing and dribbling.  Another short corner goal from Adie Kemp restored the two goal lead.  Dragons continued to press, but couldn’t add any further goals.  When IES pulled a goal back with about 10 minutes left things became a bit tense, Millar making a handful of solid saves and clearances.  Dragons held on for a well deserved win and move above the 3s in the league table.

As in previous games, the number of good performances from all areas of the pitch made it difficult to pick a MoM, but it was awarded to Adie KEMP when he pointed out he hadn’t been MoM “for a while”!

Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 8-1 IES 5

Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 2-0 Felixstowe 4

Dragons 6’s travelled for an unusual midday start in Felixstowe with most of their originally selected 13. James King, Tommy Chapman, Ed Crozier & James Carpenter were all young rookies making their M6 debut while senior Graham Muff also started his first game for the team. Early play was disjointed as the players got to know each other & they gave their opposition early opportunities as several passes failed to make their target. When they eventually got it together, it was a fine flowing move that resulted in a goal. Sol Blazer & Carpenter moved the ball from halfway to find Lee Keeler whose shot hit the post but Rob Lee followed up to slot M6’s into the lead at HT.

The HT team talk & a couple of positional changes made M6’s look more solid for the second half, with the middle power triangle of Blazer, Keeler & McCartney Aldous imposing themselves on the game. James Hansell had the ball in the net ruled out for being hit outside the D. McCartney probing forward from centre back took the ball to the by-line, crossed to Keeler who found Rob Lee to put M6’s into a final 2-0 victory position. A late Felixstowe attack was thwarted by a John Butler clearance off the goal line. M6’s came away with their 4 win at Felixstowe in the last 3 years.

MOM – Sol Blazer who ran himself into the ground without getting a break.

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons A 4-4 Magpies


Dev dragons entertained dev Magpies on Saturday which developed in to an enthralling encounter.
From the push back the Dragons just could not get out of the starting blocks and it was pretty much one way traffic for the first quarter and Dragons quickly went down 2-0 with goals that their defense will be more unhappy with.
It would of been easy to get disheartened and loose focus , as it was clear that this was a more than capable Magpies team and they were knocking the ball all over the place with ease, However the Dragons re grouped and stabilized matters and started to match their opponents and man of the match James cross was starting to control all avenues to their goal .
The second quarter Magpies new they were in a game when the Dragons piled on the pressure and quickly scoring two goals to level matters from short corners, it was clear that the only way to rock the magpies team was attack and the dragons duly obliged .
There was more end to end attacks and the match leveled to 3-3 in the third quarter and it was really pleasing to watch flowing Hockey and both teams using the wide channels.
The fourth quarter brought the lead to the Dragons and they were well worthy of their lead and they continued to press but alas near the end of the match Magpies snatched victory away from the dragons to level the  score at 4-4 ,,probably a fair result? Maybe …but well done to all and lots to learn from this game at training this week well done to goal  scorers…..James Cross x 2 , Edward  Cross x1 Bobby Sheppard x1

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons B: No Fixture

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 0-0 Watton

A significantly weakened Dragons Dev Girls’ squad played some great team hockey at Watton, with three u12s (Saskia Williams, Connie Harris & Isabelle Harris) stepping up to help the squad out.  During the first quarter of the match Watton were awarded a short corner but this was cleared well by Bethan Greaves.  During a tackle near the Watton goal, Saskia Williams was hit in the foot by the ball but put on a brave face and continued to play. There were two more short corners awarded to Watton during the first quarter but all of them were cleared and no goals were scored. During the second quarter, Dragons made an early attack on the Watton goal and after a shot at the goal, were awarded a free hit, but were unable to convert it into a goal. Despite Watton making an attack on the Dragons goal, nothing was scored. In the third quarter of the game, a short corner was awarded to Dragons where Saskia Williams took a shot at the goal but unfortunately still nothing was scored. After this there was a counter attack by Watton which forced Tilly Connors Beckett, the Dragons’ goalie into action where she very successfully defended the goal. Watton were then awarded a free hit, but again nothing came of it.  Although a goal was almost scored by Watton during the fourth quarter, the final score ended in a nil – nil draw. There was excellent play from both teams and everybody put in lots of effort.  A very deserved POM was awarded to Saskia Williams and thanks were given to the adult players & supporters.