NDHC League Match Reports: 05/03/2016

Women’s East Hockey League Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s A-A Dereham 1

This match was abandoned shortly before half-time due an injury to one of the Dereham players.  It will be replayed, time and date to be confirmed.  Latest news from Dereham is that their player suffered from a bit of concussion but is thankfully ok.

Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N
Norwich Dragons 2s 0-5 Blueharts 1

Dragons arrived and at a cold wet Blueharts, knowing a result was all important. The team welcomed Debs Smith back into the fold and gave a deserved 2nd team debut to Issy Wolfe.

Despite the call for a bright start from Captain Karen O’Neill Simpson, the team started sluggishly, giving the ball away far to easily and to a player, not being first to the loose ball especially in the danger areas. Blueharts were the sharper and capitalised on these early lapses, scoring 3 goals in the first 25 mins, 2 from short corners. Whilst the away team picked up and had spells of pressure, this first half display was not up to the standards the team would expect.

Dragons discussed how they needed to improve and the 2nd half display was better. Debs Smith who was deservedly Dragons Player of the Match, started to link up well with Gail Thomas in the middle, looking to feed the forwards. Issy Wolfe and Lara Taylor were working well on the right and Dragons were having their own spell of pressure, earning a number of short corners which they were unfortunate to to get something from, with Blueharts GK in good form.

With Dragons pushing on to try and reduce the deficit, this left them vulnerable at the back, and before the final whistle a further 2 late goals were conceded.

Not a good day for Dragons and they all know they can play much better. With 2 games left of the season, the team will look to get back to winning ways, firstly in a tough game against Saffron Walden next week. A good week at training will help the team to rebuild.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 1-4 Magpies 4

Dragons knew they were in for a tough game against Magpie’s 4s after a previous defeat earlier in the season. As such, the team came out raring to go, eager to prove they were still among the top teams to beat in the league.

It took the first 10 minutes or so for Dragons to settle and start holding on to the ball with more purpose. Magpies were lightning fast on the counter attack off quick through balls and Dragons begun to shut these down with greater efficiency as the first half progressed. Geo was indispensable in the middle, working hard to close players down and well as distribute the balls out to Hazel Sumner, Claire Canning and Sam Franklin on the wings.

Magpies ramped up the pressure again with a short period of multiple close shaves- Dragons were extremely grateful to Kristina Smyth for a range of incredible saves in quick succession. It was a short corner which led to Magpies’ first goal with an unlucky deflection off the post and into the goal, from what was an excellent strike from Magpies.

However, Dragons knew they were controlling the ball with confidence throughout most of the pitch and seemed to focus more after the first goal.

Communication improved between players with some good switching and lateral runs from Caroline Wolfe, Sian Lawrie and Kate McKenna up front to cause Magpies problems and create space. It was this team effort of improved distribution of the ball which led to Caroline receiving the ball in space at the top of the D, where she was given the time and space to smash it in to level the score.

Magpies were clearly shaken by this and Dragons were given a visible boost- it looked as if it was going to be a close battle. Sarah Wagstaff and Carmel Windsor-Waite continued to move the ball around well right from the back creating great links with Geo Beckwith and Tash Blyth in the middle.

Magpies were not ready to roll over however and continued to play long through balls to a two of their agile and skilful players who were confident to take on the Dragons players. Dragons didn’t manage to respond well enough to this threat and it resulted in 3 further goals for a 4-1 defeat.

Overall it was a well fought game where Dragons left the pitch feeling that we had at times shown ourselves to be the strongest side, particularly in terms of holding possession and working the ball up the pitch. However, Magpie’s deserved the win with their ability to convert their opportunities for consistently in the D. Ladies 3s still holding their heads high after a good team performance overall. Player of the match went to Sam Franklin (although the vote was close, as it often is!)

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

It was a very cold and wet Saturday at the Den. This was an exciting game to play in. Dragons had the majority of the play, but Diss were very quick on the break, and strong on the ball.

The first goal game from a well taken short corner. Sophie Farrow injected the ball to Anja Finegan, who quickly slipped it right to Sue Cross. The ball was returned to Finegan, who got down slow and swept the ball into the goal.

Unfortunately we lost the lead after ten minutes. Diss took a quick free hit before the forwards could fully set. Dragons intercepted the ball but couldn’t control it. There was a mad dash for the ball, but the Diss forward was very quick. She took her chance well, and in a one on one situation with Laura Tuck managed to score.

Tuck had an excellent game, the quick Diss forwards had a number of opportunities, but Tuck stayed calm and made a number of excellent saves.

Louise Davis was influential in the game today. She made a number of timely interceptions to prevent the Diss forwards having more chances.

Sophie Farrow ran and ran, charging around all over the pitch. Charlotte Pounder also made some very good runs.

The second and winning goal came in the second half, when Debbie Santa Clara was in the right place at the right time. The Diss keeper saved a shot, and the ball rebounded to Santa Clara who had arrived at the far post in time to score.

Gemma Rump made her presence felt in midfield and had a very good game.

This was a good win for Dragons.

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

The Ladies 5’s set off to Cromer wearing their winter warmers, after losing to North Norfolk early in the season, they were determined to make amends.  North Norfolk had first push back and the 5’s took about 10 minutes to get used to the surface, the ball speed was very slow if you didn’t use the force.

North Norfolk used to these conditions were soon sweeping in to pick these up.  Alice Smith shouting encouragement from the back and giving us a heads up.  Vicky Earley at bottom of the diamond was cutting off and stopping short any attacks and linking up well with Clare Moylan at top of the diamond.  Clare’s strong passes out wide to Mel Widdows and Rachael Matthews, who worked the ball around the opposition and up to the D.  Where Megan Farrant, Lucy Morton and Lisa Harwood were trying to shake loose the opposition defence.

The 5’s had a couple of early attempts on goal which were thwarted, the keeper stepping out to clear the ball.  North Norfolk had a couple of breakthroughs from strikes through the pitch.  Jemima Williams in the central defence position was on hand to read the opposition forwards and cut off their play, distributing the ball wide out to the wingers.  Jemima linking well with Helen Marsh and Emma Buxton, who were doing a sterling job in defence.  Using their speed to close down the opposition and skilfully running the ball around players.  The 5’s first goal came from a team effort working the ball up the pitch and into the D by Lucy, picked up by Megan.  The North Norfolk keeper ran out at Megan and tried to push her back, she passed the ball round wide, the opposition defence were scrambling to the line but not quick enough as Rachael was ready to push the ball across the line.

North Norfolk still remained strong and tried to play though the middle but were closed down by Clare and Vicky.  Laura Hansell and Catherine Matthews came on to give some extra leg power to the midfield.  Laura using her speed to bypass the opposition down the wing and passing up to the forwards.  The 5’s were passing the ball well around the opposition, Rachael and Clare using each other to ping the ball between and up the pitch.  The 5’s were having lots of attempts on goal and Catherine was on hand at the post and snuck it through the smallest gap to score the second goal of the game.

A really enjoyable game against a strong opposition, who provided the best teas of jelly and ice cream!!  Thanks to our supporters who trekked out and Jane Morton who has been our glamorous assistant doing the subbing. Player of Match went to Emma for her continuous effort and strong game in any position.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s 1-0 Magpies 6

Dragons squeezed past a young and spirited Magpies side with a result that should, fingers crossed and any adjustments to the league allowing, secure them another season in Division Two. The 6s once again started off very brightly, and early on Kat Speirs and Jess Vernon went close. Anja Wimmer was switched from left forward to left mid so that she could get in some strong tackling and Rosie Skipp could do the speedy running, and with Jess doing the same job on the right, backed up by Jasmine Mansfield, Dragons had most of the possession. Much of this was due to our very strong core, with Gill Walker at the top of the diamond and Jo Eke at the bottom, Magpies seldom got beyond their attacking 23. Ilona Motyer moved up to right mid this week, and looked as strong and effective as she had in a defensive role.

The first half was goalless, and Magpies came on strong in the second half with Alice McNeile, Katy Saide and Katie Franks needed all their clean sweeping and thankfully Alice Smith was seeing the ball magnificently and doing some powerful clearances.

Just as the Dragons started to think they had only a snowball in hell’s chance of getting a goal, they had the opportunity to put their theory to the test. Down came the hailstones. Dragons won two penalty corners, with Anja injecting, Jo stick stopping and Bridget Le Good attempting the strike. With the second corner, the first shot was blocked but Bridget pounced on the rebound and very satisfyingly thwacked the ball home.

This was the signal for Magpies to redouble their efforts. Dragons had to abandon their progressive attacking formation and go back to their more familiar 3-1-3-1-2 lineup. They looked much more comfortable and very pleasingly were able to see the game out. Two or three players collected POM votes, but the deserved winner by one was Jo Eke, with another captain’s performance.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 0-2 UEA 4

Dragons 7 looked forward to meeting UEA4, although the weather wasn’t kind, drizzling throughout.

Dragons started well, consistently intercepting the ball and pushing up to attack UEA’s goal. UEA had some good interceptions themselves, bringing the ball back down the pitch to Dragons goal. Dragons midfield of Sophie Thurtell, Brooke Simmons and Becky Gallagher, along with Emma North at bottom of the diamond and Beth Coates (POM) at top of the diamond, continually stopped UEA, pushing the ball up to forwards Lottie Kearsey, Katy Cole, Mia Amiss and Claire Fairhurst. When UEA did get through, the defence of Emily Roper, Ruth Barton, Jo Baker and Frankie Paul halted their attacks, aiding keeper Alessandra Pelligrini. Halfway through the first half, UEA were awarded a short corner which they managed to convert into a goal. Buoyed up by their score, they broke through again shortly afterwards, catching Dragons on the back foot and scoring their second. Dragons didn’t let this deter them and continued fighting hard.

Halftime team talk encouraged Dragons to keep playing as well as they had been as surely their persistence must pay off. Dragons battled on, getting into the D and attacking UEA’s goal and making lots of shots. Unfortunately Dragons couldn’t get the ball past the UEA keeper, with the match ending with a 2:0 win for UEA.

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

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

Men’s East Hockey League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 1-0 Felixstowe 2

A return to form this week for the Men’s 3s.  After last week’s drubbing against Sudbury, and finding out they were relegated, you could forgive Dragons for feeling disheartened.  However this was not the case!

Dragons started the game well and put Felixstowe under a lot of pressure early on.  Lloyd SAYER and Will KIRBY caused trouble for the Felixstowe defence, who were finding it hard to clear the ball away.  Dragons played some lovely passing hockey, and worked well off the ball to support each other.  This gave wingers John IVES and Will MAIN lots of time on the ball and led to further attacks.

Felixstowe managed to get some attacks together, relying on a big hit through or an aerial, but the defensive unit of Peter DAVISON, James GOODSON and Adam SAYER held well.  Dim Ives made some good clearances and kept order at the back.  One of Dragon’s chances was put away by Nick TURNER, who flicked the ball up and over the prone Felixstowe keeper, giving Dragons the lead.

The second half continued in much the same way, with Dragons playing some fantastic hockey, which they seemed to have lacked in some of their games this season.  Jon GOODSON, Stu KELLY and Rob GOODSON held the middle brilliantly, and Felixstowe struggled to break through.  Rich PHILLIS and the other forwards kept the pressure up, and came frustratingly close to extending Dragon’s lead, but the ball just wouldn’t get in the goal.

A flurry of attacks from Felixstowe towards the end made sure Dragons had to keep on their toes, with Dragons making a goal line clearance at one point.  The final whistle blew and Dragons had won their third game this season.  If only Dragons played this well every week.

Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 2-1 Norwich City 5

Dragons travelled to City looking to secure vital points towards league safety.  Unfortunately, the exuberance of youth led to an injury (“friendly-fire”) to Raunaq Rai in the warm up and he was only able to play a few minutes of the match.  Fortunately, Ed Murphy went on to have a great game on the left wing.

Dim Ives filled a late vacancy in the Dragons’ goal and was joined at the back by the experienced defence of Andy Hipper, Neil Shorten and Jon Price.  Max Laming slotted in at right back where he put in an excellent performance, marking tightly and carrying the ball forward well.

On the right wing, Rob Chaney- Baxter did well and will hope his PE teacher was impressed.

Alberto Embarba and Rob Jenkins played in the centre of midfield, working hard to break down City’s attacks.  Up front, Adie Kemp and Ben Harvey, ably assisted by Garnett Jones pressured the City defence continuously and created a number of chances.

The first half saw Dragons playing some good passing hockey combined with resolute defending.  City controlled the ball well themselves and the game was evenly balanced.

Dragons took the lead when a surging run from Murphy to the baseline and some slinky skills in the D saw him slot home from a tight angle.

The lead was maintained until half time despite a number of short corners awarded to City.

The second half started well for Dragons as they doubled their lead within 10 minutes, Adie Kemp finishing well from close range after further good work from Murphy.

The two goal lead was short lived however and a rapid counter attack from City saw them pull a goal back.  The tension mounted as City earned numerous short corners and despite some good attacking play, Dragons were unable to add any more goals.  Ives was solid in goal and the whole Dragons team maintained an excellent work rate and attitude.  The game finished 2-1 to Dragons.

Both teams played the game in a good spirit.  Dragons couldn’t pick a Man of the Match as so many of the side had played well!

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

After a bit of player shuffling this week – started with 15 on Thursday, went down to 11 on Friday night, back up to 12 by Saturday morning – we braved the elements and had a good competitive game against the top of the league side who were slightly different to the ones that gave us a 9-0 pasting earlier in the season. Josh the terminator Bingham rifled in a short early on and we believed in our capabilities and took the game to Bury.

Bury got a couple back of which one was fairly forgetful. Bury kindly passed the ball to us in our own D and somehow after a series of kicks and mishits we found the back of our own net!

2-1 down at half time and the captain spoke about keeping hold of the ball and making accurate passes. I don’t think it sunk in as we managed to gift the opposition the ball at least a dozen times in the first 20mins of the second half. But the last 15mins of the game saw the dragons step up the tempo and we won the second half 2-1. Final score 3-3. Tim the assassin Allen scored and also the captain Adrian the magician Howes. His goal was amazing. He took the ball from his own 16 with an aerial which he managed to also receive through his blistering pace on the half way line. He then beat at least 8 defenders with a mazy run down the left hand side of the pitch with some impressive 3D skills and took the ball to the back line where he reverse hit the ball from an incredible angle to rifle it into the top corner of the goal. The crowd went nuts!

Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 5-0 Felixstowe 4

The last of the 4pm starts in Felixstowe or Sudbury(both twice) are behind us with a fine victory & the Treble over Felixstowe. Firstly thanks to George Bowman & Shiv Kapur for standing down from the M5’s so that we had a team after 5 call offs. The team did have a very attacking feel as the youngsters surged forward in the first half leaving the oldies(Mike Banham, Chris Millar & John Butler) feeling a bit vulnerable to a counter attack. But for the Felixstowe keeper making last ditch saves, the position at half time would not have been scoreless. The HT team talk centred around bypassing their keeper & earning short corners. The tactic worked as Mike slotted the first corner & George Wright extended the lead following up a 2nd corner. It then became the George Bowman show as he completed a hat trick which included a fine flowing passing move & a rasping reverse stick shot from wide on the left. Chris with an instinctive save ensured a clean sheet from a rare attack.

Late in the game switches were made to warm players up or put them into the attack. Connor Adams after showing great vision controlling midfield went into attack. Rob Lee ran tirelessly to wide positions as the surging midfield exploited the gap created. Tom Williams was ever present in the attacks as McCartney Aldous & Shiv both added their presence most of the game. Man of the Match goes to Sol Blazer – the quiet member of the team who probably appeared everywhere on the pitch, first on the outside of midfield getting into the opposition D & later to allow John to warm up, moving to defence where his long reach continued to thwart attacks.   

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 5-2 Dereham

A slightly delayed start gave us the opportunity to  watch  some skillful hockey  as the 1st Mens  won 3-2. We took to the pitch inspired, but in in cold, biting conditions. We got off to a slow start and it was clear Dereham would be strong on the break. We gradually linked up more passes, using the width nicely with Edward and Isaac on the right. Tom dealt well with the Dereham forwards, cutting out their breaks and giving Jose plenty of ball. Dereham were first to go ahead, scoring from a short corner before half time, but with the half time whistle blown, we had won a short back. Could we execute this to go in at half time, level pegging? A crisp delivery to Jose and strong follow up to his shot from James saw the ball finally cross the line- 1-1!

Confidence was up and our defense was dealing well with any Dereham attack; Huck giving good service on the right, making some strong tackles and clever passes to Angus. Joe  tackled hard and picked out some good passes out wide as well as linking nicely with James and Jose. Jonno was soon getting plenty of ball through, taking up excellent positions in Dereham’s D and Freddie distributed some nice balls on the edge of Derham’s 25 yard line. Jose dribbled in from out wide but his shot sat spinning on the line, ready for Jonno to pounce on and make sure. We had Dereham rattled at this point and after a couple of shorts, Jose executed an excellent reverse shot; 3-1. Sam worked well in defense and midfield, running hard to track back when Dereham had a break on. Dereham did get one back, catching us napping slightly, but we soon had the pressure back on their D. Angus  R-E made some strong clearances in goal and showed confidence in his decisions when Dereham did surge through.

Jonno was quick to pounce on another loose ball in the D and a tap in from him took us to 4-2. Mac found himself in a good goal scoring opportunity too, narrowly missing a clever through ball. Joe found himself edging forward down the left and took a great aerial shot from the top of the D into the roof of the net, only to have it disallowed for being marginally outside of the D; great skills though!  Jose got another before the hail came down and we played the last few minutes out inside the Dereham 25. Man of the match was Joe; great composure in defense and reading the game well.  A convincing team effort- well done everyone.&#X1f60a&#X1f60a

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 4-1 Lowestoft Railway