NDHC League Match Reports: 03/10/2015

A few photos from Matchday are here.

IMG_7075Women’s East Hockey League East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 0-3 Bromley & Beckenham

Dragons played host to a strong Bromley and Beckenham side on a warm Saturday afternoon at the Den, which felt more like June than October.

It was the visitors who started brightly putting the Dragons’ defence under early pressure and through a scrappy short corner took the lead. The home side grew into the half and non-stop running from player of the match Rachel King created chances and short corners. The visiting goal keeper making some good saves to deny any chances being converted.

Coach Pete Thomas called the Dragons to step forward in the second half, but it was the London side who started it strongly and soon doubled their lead within minutes of the restart. Dragons were encouraged by the tremendous home support and continued to push forward, the ever tireless King combining well with Hayley Toleman to create further chances, but could not force the ball over the line.

Bromley and Beckenham were well organised and disciplined and they made it difficult for the home side.They continued to push forward and Dragons’ goal keeper Siobhan Cleeve made some excellent saves but could do nothing about a deflected short corner effort which extended the away sides lead and effectively sealed the game.

Dragons need to seek encouragement from the chances they created, which on another day could have seen a different result. Another home game against newly promoted Maidstone awaits next week where Dragons will aim to add to their points tally for the season.

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

Dragons Ladies 2’s arrived bright and early for this local derby against a much changed City 1st team. Welcoming Natalie Beal back into the squad, Dragons were looking forward to what was likely to be a tight game.

City started much the brighter of the two teams and put the visitors under pressure from the off. Amy Forse in the Dragons goal was forced into some good saves early in the game. However, against the run of play, Dragons thought they had taken the lead within the first 10 minutes, only to see the goal was ruled out. The home team continued to pile on the pressure but the back 3 of Sophie Thomas, Rowie York Smith and Ally Windsor Waite battled hard and were well protected by Shelly Seaman and Karen O’Neill Simpson. Eventually the deadlock was broken by City, following a smart short corner routine, the ball broke to Rachel Reynolds at the top of the D and her firm strike deflected off a Dragons stick to fly past the keeper at head height.

The remainder of the half saw further pressure from the City 1st team, however Dragons Player of the Match Amy Forse and her defence stood firm and kept the deficit to just one at half-time.

At the break, Dragons talked about moving the ball on quicker and faster on the bouncy surface. The midfielders of Gail Thomas, Aoife Lowe-Davies, Marcy Windsor Waite and Pip Howes, worked really hard to get the balls through to the forwards and Dragons started to get a much better foothold into the game. The pacey Laura Shreeve made a great break into the D and unselfishly slipped to ball to Hannah Hardy whose diving effort went wide of the target. Other half chances came and went and despite having the better of the second half, the equaliser was not forthcoming.

A strongly competitive game played in good spirits by the two teams.

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

Dragons played away at Harleston to face their rivals Magpies 3s. The pressure was on in this highly anticipated match with both teams being undefeated in the season thus far.

A slow warm up didn’t prepare Dragons for an intense start to the match, with the first 10 minutes of play being dominated by Magpies pushing high and winning an early short corner. The opening shot was high at the top corner, which did not faze goal keeper Kristina Smyth who made a fantastic glove save. Dragons were resilient to the continued attack with great defending from Captain Natasha Falzon, picking perfect tackles and keeping attackers of out the D.  Unfortunately a quickly taken shot from a short corner caught Natasha on the foot, forcing her to the bench for some much needed ice.

Dragons finally found their fire with Sam Franklin making darting runs through the middle of the pitch, distributing the ball wide to attacker Caroline Wolfe. Magpies were quick to defend, blocking all attempts to enter the D. Perseverance paid off when Natasha Blythe received the ball from a free hit in the 25, driving into the right of the D and calmly passing the ball across goal to Laura Goodbun who provided the finished touch, slapping the ball into the goal.

Dragons lead 1-0 at half time, knowing they still had a lot of work to do to. Re-fuelled on jelly babies, Dragons were able to maintain their intensity whilst keeping their cool when under pressure from attacks from Magpies. Angela Murgatroyd consistently made accurate tackles and interceptions whenever the ball entered the from the left, with Sarah Wagstaff making a crucial save off the line following a stray ball heading towards the left post.

60 minutes into the match, dragons maintained their possession well and fed the ball out wide to winger Holly Bailey who was able to travel at speed with the ball and pass through to Kate McKenna, unfortunately the ball was intercepted before a shot on goal could be played. Dragons kept on the pressure with great defensive clearances from Laura Bruce to help keep the ball in attacking half. A lose ball on the half way line was quickly picked up by the speedy Laura Goodbun who was able to hit the ball straight into the left corner of the goal to give Dragons a 2-0 lead.

Magpies were not disheartened and continued to press the Dragons defence. Carmel Windsor-Waite chased down every ball to stop the attacks and was not deterred even when having her legs swiped from underneath her from a magpies stick. Midfield worked hard to remove the ball from danger with Hazel Sumner hitting the ball into space for the attackers to run on to. Some skilful play in the D was rewarded with a short corner. The pass out to the top of the D was swiftly passed left to Lauren Laurie who hit the ball perfectly into the left hand corner of the goal, strengthening Dragons lead to 3-0.

Despite their best efforts, magpies were not able to score passed goalie Kristina, who repeatedly made saves to continue her clean sheet record for the season. As the final whistle was blown, Dragons rejoiced at winning the match, having worked hard to resist attacks and capitalising on every chance to score. A fantastic result which was earned by every player on the dragons’ team.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 5-0 Magpies 5


This was the fourth league game of the season, and with three wins under our belt and 20 goals we felt that a win was achievable despite the stronger opposition. In contrast to our trip to Lowestoft where Dragons started confidently and dictated the play in the opening 20 minutes, Dragons started slowly.  Dragon ladies then settled into a slow tempo game that suited our opposition well and were frequently caught watching the ball.

The first goal came from an opportunity for Megan Williams. The ball was passed in the D by Anna Brook after a clever interchange with Sophie Wood. It then found Megan Williams unmarked who was able to slap the ball low into the right corner.

The second goal involved Sue Cross making contact with the ball on the P spot, and in a very crowded D the ball somehow managed to crawl over the line without the keeper spotting it.

Anja Finegan was able to use her pace to trouble the Magpies defence on several occasions, and was rewarded with the third goal. After taking the ball up the field she slipped it right to Issy Wolfe, who took on the defender before unselfishly returning the ball to a waiting Anja.

Issy Wolfe made the score sheet with a goal in the second half. The ball weaved it way up the pitch starting with Debbie Santa Clara in midfield, then wide to Mel Widows and onto Sophie Wood. Anja Finegan took a shot towards the far right post which was stopped by the keeper but fortunately for Dragons rebounded to Issy who took it on the reverse to beat the keeper on Dragons second attempt.

The final goal came from Sophie Wood. The irrepressible   Lara Taylor intercepted the ball at the half way line, and broke quickly down the right into a crowed D. She was rewarded with a short corner after the ball came into contact with a defenders foot.  Sophie injected the ball to Anja Finegan who switched it right to Lara Taylor. Lara took the opportunity to shoot at goal, and found Sophie on the left post to make the final score 5-0.

The player of the match was Chelsea Crawford. Lara Tuck in goal touched the ball twice during the entire game, predominately down to the back three who all worked exceptionally hard to quash any Magpies attacks. Gemma Rump as centre back illustrated how versatile she is, playing in defence for the first time and making the position hers. Bella Capp had to work hard in the absence of Louise Davis, and Captain Kate Atkins was also charging up and down the pitch closing players down.

Next week sees Dragons L4 pitched against Thetford Ladies 1 at home.

Scorers: Megan Williams, Sue Cross, Issy Wolfe, Sophie Woods, Anja Finegan.

Player of the match : Chelsea Crawford

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 7-0 Magpies 6

It was Racheal Matthews’s birthday so the team knew it was going to be a good day, especially as there was chocolate cake to celebrate afterwards.  The sun had started to warm up as we have become used to playing in hot conditions.  The 5’s welcomed the experience and vigour of Lynne Price to the team.  Also thanks to Alice Smith to giving her morning to us.  Analysing the oppositions past performance and with a slight re-jiggle of positions we set out on the pitch.  Magpies had first push back and we opted for sun in our eyes the first half.  The Dragons set out a blistering pace and the Magpies did not have much of a chance, Lynn was on hand to pick up any balls at the bottom of the diamond and read the play well to intercept.  She gave the wings a shout and the ball was pushed out wide to Racheal and Rachel Bruce. The Dragons were putting into practise items we had previously mentioned would give us more options and better game play.  Again Rachel and Zara Howes played the ball well between them, working it into the opposition D.  Helen Marsh up front was ready to slot a ball away and worked her way round to pick up those through balls.  At top of the diamond, Charlotte Pounder continued to show her skills with interception and speed, pushing the ball up the pitch.  Alice was being to get quite bored and had to entertain herself, likewise the defensive team of Jess Tye-Leech, Emma Buxton and Laura Hansell.  The defence pushed up as there was little threat and they were on hand to round up any opposition forwards.  Jess even weaved her way up the field to push the ball up.  There were 5 goals scored in the first half and lots of high 5’s and whooping.

At half time to give Laura and Emma a chance to stretch their legs, Chiara volunteered to take on a defensive position, as she had already taken a ball to the leg and been dragged off the pitch! Vicky Earley was determined a goal was coming for her in this half and she slotted into the top of the diamond position.  Two goals came this half, one from Vicky as predicted and at last Lisa Harwood slotted one through the opposition keeper’s legs.  The final score 7-0.  The goals scorers’ were Zara, Racheal, Helen, Rachel, Vicky, Charlotte, Lisa.  There were so many it was hard to recall, Racheal had a lovely lifted goal, Zara slotted one from the side behind the keeper.  The whole team worked hard the entire game, first to the ball, passing round wide, goal scoring determination.  Players of the match Charlotte and Racheal. 

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s 2-0 Evergreens 2

Dragons continued to improve their form and build their side with a comfortable win over Evergreens. The visitors started with 9 players and finished with 10, and on several occasions looked as though they might unpick the Dragons defence, who unaccountably presented them with several direct ‘passes’ from hit outs, but then recovered well. What Dragons really lacked was incisive play in the attacking circle, and with a two player advantage clearly should have made the numbers tell, However, these are points to work on – and there was some really good aspects to the Dragons game. Catherine Matthews was POM, and had an assist to both goals. In the first Gill Walker made a strong run to the top of the D and her pass to Catherine then found Lois McGregor who swept across the goalkeeper to score. The second was Dragons’ move of the match. Katie Franks cleared the ball out wide to Bridget Le Good, who swept the ball down the line to Catherine who had got ahead.

Catherine, full of confidence and running, beat a player and crossed for Lucy Morton to score on the far post. This was one of the few times Dragons got a player on the post and it was the way to beat a tight Evergreens defence who were very solid in the circle. Catherine and Lucy. now playing regularly in the 6s, caught the eye with Gill and Jo Eke impressing in midfield. So another step forward for Dragons as they chase their goal of consolidating a position in this division. Next week they face a very different challenge when they meet Herlings on grass.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 2-1 Loddon 2Another gloriously sunny day saw Dragons geared up to take on Loddon 2 away. Dragons had the first push back with forward Anja Wimmer passing the ball to Brooke Simmons in midfield. Dragons pushed forward up the pitch with some great passing play between midfield and the forwards. Dani Winteringham at bottom of the diamond consistently intercepted the ball, passing it to either Claire Fairhurst at top of the diamond or other midfielders Amy Hunter or Persy de Magdalene. The forwards of Mia McGhee and Katrina Speirs made some great runs up the pitch, calling for the ball and pushing up into the D. When Loddon did pick up the ball and get it out of the D, Brooke kept stopping it and passing it up again. Anja was tireless in trying to score a goal, calling for someone to get on the post. Loddon had made several attempts at goal themselves, but the defence of Emma North, Frankie Paul, Emily Roper or Jo Baker kept fighting them off, protecting goalkeeper Alessandra Pelligrini who made some excellent saves. With one minute to half time, Loddon broke through and managed to slip the ball past Alessandra, making them 1:0 up at half time.Dragons went back on the pitch after rehydrating in the shade, keen to keep battling, certain that their persistence and skills must surely pay off. 10 minutes into the second half Dragons were rewarded with a great, skilful goal from Katrina. Buoyed by the equaliser, Dragons continued to fight in the hot weather. They were again rewarded by yet another great goal from Katrina.Dragons finished happy with their first win of the season. The drills practiced in training are showing on match day, so this is surely the first win of many. Fantastic effort put in by all!

Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s v UEA 1 

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

Norwich Dragons Men’s 2nd team set off to Felixstowe in search of their first away points. After settling for a 1-1 draw, they will feel that it was probably a fair result, but one that could easily have gone their way if they’d been a little more clinical in front of goal.

The game started well, with Dragons beginning to play a more composed game of possession hockey after the early weeks of the season. Masterson and Farrow provided plenty of confidence at the back, but the Felixstowe high press made it hard for Dragons to turn possession into continued pressure

The deadlock was finally broken in the first half when Browne converted a penalty corner, only for Felixstowe to hit back just before half time in one of their relatively few attacks against the Dragons goal.

After half time, on a relatively warm day, the game settled into a pattern of midfield possession – first for Felixstowe and then for Dragons. Neither side managed to create too many opportunities though until the final 10 minutes when Dragons somehow found an extra attacking impetus and managed to force a number of penalty corners and a couple of clear open-play chances. Unfortunately for the visitors they were unable to convert any of those and the game ended in a draw.

Men’s East Hockey League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-4 North Norfolk 1

This week the 3s had a home game to recently relegated North Norfolk 1s.  Dragons knew this was going to be a tough game as NN had been scoring alot of goals in previous games.  Dragons welcomed some new faces this week, and with the sun appearing, took to the pitch.

The game started evenly and both teams had some good chances.  Rob WAGSTAFF, Peter DAVISON, James GOODSON and Rich PHILLIS kept NN out of the Dragon area and fed the ball well into midfield.  Through some good play, John IVES, Rob GOODSON and Stu KELLY linked up forwards Adam SAYER and Ben HARVEY.  Dragons were unlucky not to take advantage of some chances midway through the first half, which they would regret later.

Cameron MCFAYDEN showed some good skill down the left flank, as did Dan RYAN, cracking balls into the NN area.  Unfortunately for Dragons, NN took advantage of their chances and this lead to 2 goals.  Dragons continued to look dangerous, and with Ben WATSON leading the attack, they were once again unlucky not to score.

The second half continued in very much the same way, with both teams working hard in the midday sun.  Geoff ROBERTS put in a good performance upfront for Dragons, but they just couldn’t get the ball in the goal.  Keeper Dim IVES made some good saves, but NN managed to slip another 2 goals in on the break.

A frustrating game for Dragons, who should remember this was a team who played Div 2N last year.  Dragons showed some promising hockey which they hope next week will get them their first points this season.

Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 0-4 UEA 2

The Men’s 4s were away on Saturday against the UEA 2s, led by Rob Jenkins. The game began evenly with the Dragon’s defence keeping the young UEA team at bay. Meanwhile the midfield were working hard to link up with Adie Kemp and Rob Chaney Baxter at the top. A series of penetrating passes from Phil York-Smith supported the Dragons attack but unfortunately chances on goal seemed illusive.  Will Ives and Matt Armstrong provided the team with persistent play along the wings. UEA had more luck in front of goal but Chris Millar did his best to save as many as possible but after some good saves UEA managed to score and Dragons were headed into the second half a goal down.

Still Dragons fought on in an attempt to equalize; Alberto showing some silky close skills making the UEA defence and midfield work to stop Dragons attacking down the wings. Alberto’s skill and determination helped earn him a well deserved man of the match. Paul Keating and Jon Price were working hard at the back defending against repeated attacks from the fast UEA forwards. Dave Pentin showed he was fearless in defence after resuming play quickly after taking a ball to his nose. His display of heroism was not enough as UEA continued to score past the Dragons who were themselves finding it hard to link between the midfield and forwards meaning it seemed unlikely they were to come back from 4 goals down. Dragons tried hard until the end receiving two short corners just before the final whistle – neither were fruitful, as, in the end, it proved it wasn’t dragons’ day losing 4-0 to a strong side.

Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 2-5 UEA 3

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

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 3-0 Dereham

Last weekend the Development Boys played Dereham in Dereham and it was a game of 4 quarters.  The team entered the day with a really strong team and all players having such ability, 1 player had even played men’s that morning. We knew the game would be close but we always believed we would take a win out of it.

The first quarter the team was on top of Dereham so much that Ben, the keeper barely saw the ball. Despite such pressing play we couldn’t convert a goal although the changes were fast and of pure quality. The second half was another brilliant show of the teams class. Again, we were attacking well and when they got a chance the defence broke it down and instantly turned it into attack. A great run from JCB allowed James to dink the ball perfectly onto his open stick. This was followed by JCB flicking the ball up to himself before volleying a clinical finish into the top right corner of the goal. An amazing finish ended the second quarter, and this momentum and confidence was followed through into the 3rd quarter. Switching ends wouldn’t jolt the lads’ confidence as a phase of extra effort was applied by  Will with a storming run around the baseline; passed in with pure precision to JCB, with a easy tap in, taking it to 2-0.

Soon the final quarter had arrived and the boys had no fear of losing this now. The game was closed out with another great run around the baseline the opposite side passed into JCB in a good position to take it and control the ball around the keeper to pass it into the goal. A hat trick from JCB and a brilliant game from all the lads and gives us all confidence going into future games knowing that if we play like that every time around we will be doing great. Just a shame Ben didn’t have an eventful
evening but I suppose the defenders are just too good sometimes.

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 1-1 Dereham

This was an exciting game between two evenly matched teams. Dragons had the best of the early exchanges, with Lucy Buxton finding Alice Young free in the middle to use her speed. Other Dragons came up to support, but there was no way through the Dereham defence. Then Dereham began to fight their way back, and Esme Potter (POM) had an outstanding game in defence sweeping away from danger and setting up attacks with accurate passing. Dragons went under pressure when Dereham won a series of penalty corners. The defence, and particularly Tilly Connors-Becket in goal, coped magnificently with a series of hard strikes, but it was a mishit which bobbled frustratingly over the line. Dragons kept their heads up, and played their best hockey in the third quarter. Aditi Naik and Lucy Buxton both injected well and Dragons won their own penalty corners. Alice, Ellie Hipper and Lucy (who had her usual excellent game with 100 per cent effort) attacked tenaciously in the circle for no reward.

It was Lily Sore, who improved as the match progressed, who made no mistake with a hard shot from almost the edge of the circle to score her second goal in consecutive games. Back came Dereham, and Ella Kassulka and Esme were once again tested in defence with Niamh Somers, Harriet Marlee and Sophie Barrow all working hard particularly in the last minute of a game when Dereham won two more penalty corners.  Dragons defence then showed true character in pushing the ball away. Once again Dragons used two adult players, Gail Thomas and Katy Saide, who gave them every encouragement and helped them to understand positional play.