Women’s East Hockey League East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 0:3 Bromley & Beckenham
Norwich Dragons suffered their first defeat of the season when they played hosts to Bromley and Beckenham. The visitors, who missed out on promotion last year, were always going to be the Dragons toughest test so far in this league.
The first half saw both teams having an equal share of possession without creating any clear cut chances until the visitors were awarded a short corner mid way through the half which they dispatched cleverly giving them the lead. Just before the half time whistle the Dragons had the chance to draw level. A determined Kate Trelawny Gower made an interception on the attacking 25 yard line and drove the ball past the Bromley defence. The keeper was quick off her line and Trelawny Gower skillfully dribbled the ball beyond her reach and struck the ball towards the open goal only to see it drift wide of the post.
The Dragons remained upbeat and positive in the second half believing that they could get something from this game. It was end to end hockey but the home side were frustrated as they were not able to play their free flowing hockey due to the visitors work rate and physical strength however they did create some chances to score but unfortunately could not capitalise. Bromley put further pressure on the home side as they doubled their lead; a short corner resulted with defender Donna Vaughan blocking the ball on the goal line with her body. A penalty stroke was awarded which Bromley converted. Bromley grew in confidence with this 2-0 cushion and although the home side kept fighting it did not seem like it was going to be their day. As they pushed forwards searching for a goal Bromley broke and although some determined defending on the top of the D by Lizzie Moulton the ball fell to Charlotte Ridout who clipped the ball brilliantly at the top of the D and dispatched the ball like a bullet high into the roof of the net leaving the keeper no chance. This wasn’t the Dragons best performance but some credit has to go to Bromley who halted their play. They put the Dragons defence under immense pressure at times and player of the match was rightly awarded to Maddie Denman who had an outstanding performance at left defender demonstrating maturity, strength and composure for someone so young against a side who were strong, physical and well seasoned at playing this level of hockey.
Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 8:1 Norwich City 2
With the rain clouds threatening up at Taverham, Dragons were keen to continue where they left off last week, this time with a full complement of players!
Despite having the lions share of the early possession, the score remained nil – nil for some 15 minutes. It was important for Dragons to keep their shape and remain patient, which they did well, being strongly marshalled by Hollie Limmer and Gail Thomas in the middle of the pitch, who helped stretch and spread the play for Dragons. The first goal was somewhat fortuitous, after the ball appeared to hit a number of sets of feet in the D, a scramble then ensued and the ball was forced over by Hannah Hardy. The second and third followed quickly, following some excellent individual skills by Dragons Player of the Match, Laura Shreeve – the second of which was a brilliant run along the back line, beating a number of players before firing the ball into the roof of the net from an acute angle; the third was created by Shreeve and finished off well by Laura Tompson-Wright. Dragons went into the break 3 up.
The half time talk focused on maintaining our shape and continuing to show the strong teamwork and work ethic that had proved successful in the first 35 mins. Dragons continued to apply the pressure from the whistle and the goals quickly followed; Laura Tompson-Wright scored early on, then completed her hat-trick with a smartly taken reverse stick strike. Shreeve and Hardy each added another, whilst Aoife Lowe-Davies also got a well deserved goal, following her tireless running for the team.
Full credit to City, who continued to work hard and push forward when the opportunities arose. A spell of pressure in the last 5 minutes, saw City force a good save from Freddie Briscoe. Further pressure saw the home team earn a couple of short corners, the second of which was slipped left, the strike hitting a Dragons defender on the line. The penalty flick was awarded and was well dispatched into the corner by Hannah Jarvis, despite Briscoe getting her right foot to the ball.
Another good performance by Dragons 2s, who are developing nicely as a team.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier League
Norwich Dragons 3s 1:0 Norwich City 3
With autumn finally starting to settle in, Norwich Dragons 3’s faced Norwich City 3’s at a very wet Taverham.
From the offset both teams were well matched in both skill and pace with some beautiful hockey being played by both sides. City started with the push back in the first half and came at the Dragon defense strong. Driving through the center and calmly switching the ball to the left side of the pitch they looked as though they may score. However, these efforts were thwarted by the combined defending efforts of Sarah Wagstaff, Abi Crowe and Natasha Falzon. Any balls and players that did make it through were easily closed down and picked up by the skilful goalkeeper Amy Forse. Clearing the balls wide, Dragons were quick on the attack. Notably, Pollyanna Watson (PoM), Harriet Green and Marcy Windsor-Waite played some beautiful technical hockey beating several players as they progressed up the pitch. For a large portion of the first half Dragons and City took it in turns, both with strong attacks on the opposing D, but both without the end result. Heading towards half time, a fault in their defending D by City offered Dragons the opportunity to change this.
A strong injection from Pollyanna Watson, expertly stopped and rolled into the D by Debbie Santa Clara for Caroline Wolfe to pelt into the bottom left corner of the goal past the City defence saw the score line to 0-1 for the Dragons, which it remained at for the remainder of the first half.
With the rain still pouring both teams started the second half eager to increase the score line. An interception from City following Dragons second half push back saw a lone City player attack the D, sending the ball wide of the goal. Once again, both teams were strong with play evenly spread across the pitch. Short corners conceded by both sides remained fruitless, City’s picked up at the top of the D or shots intercepted, and Dragons unable to find a stick on the post to secure the goal.
Despite unrelenting efforts from both side the final score line remained Norwich City 0-1 Norwich Dragons.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 3:3 Watton 2
This was a game that showed both teams to their best, clean, fun hockey, with a result that reflects that.
With the threat of rain ranging over us we took to the sandy UEA pitch with a strong team of Dragons, raring to go and score a few goals. Unlike previous games where we have been rather slow to find our scoring feet the first Dragon’s goal came fairly quickly from Kate McKenna, it was a lovely combination of good passing and making sure to follow up a deflection from the keeper. Sue Cross (PoM) and Chelsea Crawford aided in some further attempts on goal in the first ten minutes of the game but weren’t quite able to finish their lovely drives into the D. From a short corner Watton came back to level the score with a well-paced pass to the left-hand post.
Gemma Rump, Mel Widdows and Sarah Moore all worked well in the midfield distributing the balls out wide and moving play forwards, at one point there were so many attempts on goal it felt more like a game of pinball than hockey, but a determined Watton keeper and good defending stopped every shot. The second Dragons goal came from Sue Cross, a well place ball into the right corner, with the initial run and pass coming from Kate McKenna, who received it from a kick out by GK Laura Tuck. Again Watton came straight back and equalised with a classy ball, that took everyone by surprise, through a players legs, just before half time.
In the second half Louise Davis, Freya Clogan and Laura Bruce put on pressure from the defensive line and continued to move the ball forward. A lovely crossed ball from Sarah Moore allowed Sue Cross to score her second goal and edge Dragons ahead once more. Katie Buxton made some lovely intercepts at the top of the diamond and tried to take advantage of the space in midfield to turn play and while Dragons had several more shots on goal, including hitting the post it was Watton who scored next, making it 3 apiece. This was how the score would stay despite some excellent efforts from Chelsea and Holly to bring the ball back into the oppositions D.
A well balanced, well-mannered game came to an end without a drop of rain falling.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 3:0 Watton 3
Norwich Dragons Ladies 5s were very happy with their 3-0 win over Watton 3s.
Only their second league game of the season (due to Evergreens conceding last week) Dragons 5s were keen to do a good job and secure a win. Anja Finnegan who has been showing more confidence and skill each week as a forward worked well with Issy Wolfe to secure a number of excellent breaks down the wing working the ball to Lois McGregor in the circle who proceeded to take a number of lifted shots (but none succeeded).
Many shots and shorts later finally we opened the score line with a cracker from Lisa Harwood. Dragons did make hard work of getting the ball in the back of the goal given the volume of chances they had and the Watton keeper should really win man of the match.
Watton had little possession in the game but when they tried to break the Dragons defence made sure that they would not get through to the defensive D. Showing their youth and fitness Emma Buxton, Carmel Windsor-Waite, Jess Tye-Leech and Jasmin Daniels were able to push up and create chances whilst also covering the defence to ensure Laura Tuck (GK) did not touch the ball.
The second goal finally came from a short corner (one of many) with a straight strike from Lois McGregor at the post followed up by the short sharp reactions of Chiara Bond who deflected it in.
In the second half, Watton came back stronger with more determination making it harder work for Dragon’s midfield. Luckily the excellent work of Jade Blanchflower and Rachael Matthews kept them at bay. Racheal Matthews development in her game and her constant work rate should not go unmentioned, she is relentless in her play and a true 5s spirited player. Creating excellent chances Carmel Windsor-Waite also showed her diversity and ability to get the ball into the D when it’s needed. Some of the hockey was text book stuff but wasn’t given us goals and after a little inspiration that she may fall behind the family goals table the final one came from Issy Wolfe. Wolfe shot a blinder with a reverse stick lift unfortunately the keeper was a bit too sharp and saved it. Luckily Issy got another chance with a rebound from the keeper and popped the ball straight in with a simple push (showing sometimes it’s the simple things). Leaving the final score at 3-0.
For me the player of the match would be the team with excellent effort from all, however I know we have more to give as we form as a team and pull off goals from those shorts and polish our play. Roll on next week.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6 1:0 Hornets
Dragons had plenty of possession and played some good hockey, but only managed to put a single goal past Hales Hornets. Hornets sometime struggle to get a full team, so their results are not always consistent. But when, as on this occasion, they have almost their strongest team available they are very difficult to beat because they are well organised in defence and counter attack with speed.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7 0:3 Yarmouth 2
Dragon Ladies 7s played host to Yarmouth 2 in what turned out to be dismal rainy conditions. Dragons were prepared for a difficult match against the Yarmouth team, who are younger yet possess more recent playing experience than the Dragons, most of who are newly returned to hockey this season.
Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 3:2 Norwich City 2
A few snaps from the first half of the game here.
Tradition speaks of the figure of the Old Man of Crete, with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, a belly of brass, and iron all below but for one foot of clay. He is the image of decline, from a golden age of innocence to a modern world of deceit, corruption, and sin. The omens, then, were gloomy, when Dragons, in addition to offering a debut to Jackson and swapping Smiths, were forced into the late change of turning from Alec Bidet-Steele to Cley Hamilton. And the omens glowered over the opening exchanges of the local derby with fierce rivals Norwich City, the side going two goals behind in the first fifteen minutes before rallying brilliantly to snatch the three points in an epic tussle.
In the first move of the game, Dragons turned the ball over cheaply and conceded a soft short corner which the home side swiftly hammered into the roof of the net. It was a chastening start and worse was to come, former Dragon, Dan “Cheeseman” Cheeseman converting another quick break with a fine reverse-stick finish. The goals reflected City’s dominance of the opening period – Dragons started very poorly, giving the ball away cheaply, giving their markers a yard of space, and generally looking half a step off the pace; the home side, though, had also started extremely well, moving the ball quickly and playing with sharpness and precision.
The match turned with the introduction of veterans Ed Smith and George “Walker” Walker, Smith giving composure and organisation to the rattled defence and man-of-the-match Walker’s decising-making and assuredness on the ball allowing Dragons to control possession, build from the back, and get numbers forward. Dragons controlled the rest of the half, the pace of Samwise and Jackson a constant threat up front, Deayton dominating the right flank and, when City did look to get out of defence, the back four picking off interception after interception to keep the side on the front foot. The first goal back came from a short corner, the City keeper only able to parry Snelling’s fierce first-time strike into the back of the net. Hamilton then twice went close to equalising, nicking the ball off his marker before being betrayed by his own footing when through on goal and then unable to get a touch on Deayton’s brilliant cross. It was left to make-shift midfielder Knights to bring the team level before the break, slipping the ball past the keeper with an improvised reverse-stick strike from another short corner.
Dragons got a rocket from Wagstaff at half-time – the words are unprintable, though he did concede that they might have been worse still had the break come twenty minutes earlier. And the side should quickly have gone ahead, the latest driven ball from Knights coming back off the post only for Snelling to channel his inner feet of Cley and stumble around the ball rather than patting it into the open net. City carried a threat from short corners and only a brilliant clearance off the line from Gosling kept them out, inspiring similar efforts from Farrow and Smith. The third goal for Dragons finally came following patient build-up play, Walker, Deayton, and Samways again prominent, before a deflected strike from Knights floated with an almost lyrical, reflective, self-deprecating beauty into the far corner. Dragons should have had a fourth, Hamilton bruising air when it might have been politer to volley a rebound into the net and then Jackson declining to slip in Hamilton or Samwise when three-on-one with the City keeper and opting instead to buy the side time by nudging the ball towards the corner flag. At the other end, skipper Flatman was inspirational, a one-man wrecking-ball determined to keep the local foe at bay. Just before half-time, the City centre-back/full-back, attempting to rouse his troops, had clamoured at them they were the better side; by the end of the game, few could agree, but it had been a test of character for the visitors.
After the match, Wagstaff defended his players: “I was surprised, to be honest – I think anyone who knows Rutledge knows he doesn’t have a sarcastic bone in his body.” Jackson, on his debut, offered “yeah, the game was good, but the real highlight was the team trip to Saint Peter’s in Ringland on the way back. That hammerbeam roof has to be one of the best in the county and the glass is sensational.” In a touching gesture, Walker dedicated his man-of-the-match award to his mum.
Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 2:3 Norwich City 3
The Men’s 2nd XI faced a Norwich City 3rd XI at UEA at the earliest PB available of 10:00. This team finished 7th last year with W6 D3 L9 GF46 GA53 Pts21. The results for our 2nd XI last year against this team were a close loss at home followed by an end of season draw. Norwich City 3rd XI had got off to a good start by picking up points from some of the suspected weaker teams in the leagues, a 3-2 win over Magpies 4th XI and a 2-1 win over Lowestoft Railway 1st XI. This was expected to be a reasonably close match.
The lineup this week was very similar to last week’s decent result against a strong Newmarket Ltd side. Mitch Smith and Sam Worster returned from a weekend away and Oli Browne returned to hockey after over a year out and so his season debut for the 2nd XI. A strong defensive line up and a familiar midfield bode well but this week we were with Rory Jackson who had been snapped up by the 1st XI after some strong performances for the 2nd XI.
The 2nd XI got off to a sluggish start which we could have blamed on the early start, the sandy and unfamiliar pitch or planetary alignment (Mercury was going into retrograde after all). The first half tactic was that of sitting further back then maybe we should have done. This resulted in City being able to push forward and dominate the play in the middle of the pitch. The defence were quite capable of batting away attacking plays which they did time and time again, but getting the ball through midfield and to our attackers proved more difficult than it should have been and so Dragons didn’t get many chances on goal at all in the first half. This allowed City to force a few short corners with one being awarded for “ball below the knee” on Piers Gordon-Brown which was disappointing because of the instantaneous bruise that appeared on the forearm. Dragons again cleared any threat of goal despite the City 1st/2nd XI player on the pitches attempts. Glenn Masterson again showed some terrific defensive displays and Rich Phillis and Rich Smith took switch the ball wide and out of defence well. Unfortunately Mitch Smith only lasted 5 minutes of the pitch which may take his total Dragons pitch time to just about half a match, aggravating a new hamstring injury. Continued pressure on the defence saw the ball played out to the City 1st/2nd XI player who took the ball out to the right edge of our D and unleashed a reverse string which remarkably found space between Gary Croft and the near post. 0-1. Another City short corner was taken and a drag flick was dispatched from the City 1st/2nd XI player high and down the centre which found the netting. 0-2. Just before half time Dragons worked the ball through the midfield on several occasions and finally made use of Jason Wolfe, Will Kirby and Oli Browne who weren’t able to convert but did cause alarm. Half time.
Dragons took to the field for the 2nd half with an encouraging level of positivity and a change in tactic. Players were more alert and pressed a little higher and made sure not to leave two at the back but rather push one centre back much further forward to harass and intercept the City midfield. The impact that this had on the game was immediate and numerous chances developed in the final 1/4 with Simon Nisbet again working the ball well on the right wing and forcing the ball along the baseline and back to Jason Wolfe. This was stopped on the line by a defender and penalty stroke was awarded. Will Kirby stepped up and cooly converted putting the ball at a difficult height and to the right of the City goalkeeper. 1-2. The momentum continued and this ruffled the feathers of City which did see a few words exchanged and a little unwanted pushing and shoving. Dragons managed this well and Graeme Smith marshalled the midfield well to keep spirit up and to direct play. It wasn’t long after our first goal that the ball was worked in from the right by Simon Nisbet again to find Jason Wolfe who (probably by spinning and spinning and spinning) confused the City defence and planted the ball into the goal, bottom-left. 2-2. City did work the game into the Dragon D on a handful of occasions but the defence dealt with this and Gary Croft made some very fine saves. A string of long corners added a couple more attempts into the D but nothing came for City. City began to use their 1st/2nd XI player from the back of the field who threw several aerials from their 16 yard hits into our 25 yards. From one of these a short corner was given after an unnecessary 2nd tackle was made on a City player in the D. Up stepped the City 1st/2nd XI player, then came the drag flick, high and to the right of Gary Croft and narrowly missing Rich Phillis attempts to bring it down, 3-2. Dragons immediately countered and the pressure and play created in the City D brought about another penalty stroke at a ball hit a defender high and on the line. The final 2 minutes of the game had just been called and Ali Smyth stepped up to take the stroke. Ali Smyth had already worked out where the ball was meant to go and having seen the City keep throughout the game there was doubt that a save would be made. The stoke was taken but not enough power was transmitted and the ball caught little air but caught plenty of City keeper. Save. Dragons kept their heads high and continued on created a couple of more chances in the dying minutes. Full time. 2-3.
Good hockey from Dragons but wrong tactics and all 3 goals from one City player. This result sees the 2nd XI team drop to 8th in 3NE but worth noting that the 2 losses incurred a deficit of only 2 goals.
Next week the 2nd XI travel to Ipswich-East Suffolk 2nd XI for a 15:00 push back. IES 2nd XI finished last season in 5th place amongst a very strong top 5 and who the Dragons lost both games to last season by a reasonable margin. This will prove to be a tough game but still a winnable one. IES 2nd XI are currently sitting in 5th place having beaten Harleston Magpies 3rd XI 2-1, beaten Sudbury 2nd XI 3-0 but losing 4-2 to Newmarket 1st XI.
Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 4:1 Dereham 3
In the pouring rain Dragons travelled to Dereham, and it continued to rain for the whole match. The slick conditions made play fast and the ball hard to trap at times.
Dragons started slow, with Dereham having the first set of attacks. A penalty flick in the first ten minutes gave Dereham an early lead. Dragons regrouped and started to play their usual passing style. The central midfield trio of Adam SAYER, Chris SIMMONDS and Rob GOODSON were linking up nicely and putting the Dereham middle under pressure.
Determined play down the left by Sam MANN and Will IVES saw Dragons spend alot of the first half in the Dereham 25. Dragons were rewarded for their efforts when Nick TURNER put the ball into the Dereham goal from a well-placed shot in the D.
Halftime saw the score 1-1, and Dragons chose to have the team talk in the dugout to shelter from the rain. Talk focussed on needing to continue the pace and passing that are soon becoming the trademarks of the Mens 3s. With the rain still falling, a very wet Dragons side took to the pitch for the second half.
Dragons put in a great team performance this half. The defence of Peter DAVISON, James GOODSON and Jon GOODSON worked tirelessly to win the ball from the Dereham forwards, and to feed it to the Dragons midfield. Excellent work down the right by John IVES and Nick TURNER saw Dragons dominate play. MOM Sam MANN scored from a short routine, and fellow forwards Matt JENKINS and Adie KEMP also got on the score sheet.
Goalkeeper Elliott WANG put in some great saves towards the end of the game to keep a clean sheet the second half for Dragons.
Overall a great team performance from Dragons, which with the 4 goals, moves them into 5th place in the league.
A few snaps from the first half of the game here.
Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 2:0 Norwich City 6
Dragons arrived at the Norwich City’s pitch with the rain falling heavily. An even start saw both sides threaten but fail to score in the first half due to good defending and goal keeping at both ends. The second half saw Dragons pressure more and they were rewarded with two converted short corner strikes by Andy Key which should have been added to but City defended resolutely. A late penalty corner for City gave them a chance to come back into the game but fine goal keeping by Joel Lawrence and defending by David Pentin kept city out. Overall a hard played game in the conditions with Dragons appreciating the warm teas and hospitality of the City clubhouse.
Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 4:1 North Norfolk 4
The Men’s 6th team started their season with a home game against North Norfolk. A morning pushback meant glorious weather for the start of the game and after strategically losing the toss, Dragons started with the sun at their backs. This was a battle between two new teams playing their first league game and the first quarter was a tight affair with both teams managing a few forays into the opposing D. North Norfolk took the lead against the run of play but Dragons were undaunted, going straight on the attack again. Despite several promising attacks, the final touch was still elusive and they went into the break trailing 0-1.
After a few tweaks at half-time, Dragons came out all guns blazing in the second half. A superb equalizer from Pedro Goss was soon followed by a second Dragons goal. A superb shot from Tom Williams was helped on its way in by Rick Sheppard, who later admitted to the dubious goals panel that the ball had probably already crossed the line. As the half went on, Dragons greater energy in midfield began to tell and wave after wave of attack led to two late short corners, both of which were swiftly converted by Mike Banham.
A superb team performance and a great start to the season.
Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons: No Fixture
Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 1:2 Norwich City