Norwich city centre hockey club, fun, friendly and competitive

NDHC League Match Reports: 06/02/2016

Women’s East Hockey LeagueΒ Prem
Norwich Dragons 1sΒ 2-4 West Herts 1

Norwich Dragons Ladies 1st team fielded the youngest team in history against league leaders West Herts. With regular squad players unavailable the young Dragons stepped up to the challenge in this high intensity match.

The Dragons team battled hard when put under immense pressure from the home team in the early stages of the match. Young Pollyanna Watson, Olivia Thomas, Sophie Thomas, Niamh Lowe- Davies and Aoife Lowe-Davies all fought hard in the middle of the park. Although the back line, marshalled by Louise Murray with Maddie Denman and Holly Reding either side, sustained early pressure from a strong West Herts team they held strong making a number of clearances to keep the home team at bay and were unfortunate to find themselves 1-0 down when West Herts intercepted a lose ball in the centre of the pitch and broke at pace to punish the visitors.

The Dragons remained positive and found the net through Rachel King, who worked tirelessly as always in midfield, only for the goal to be disallowed as deemed too high from a short corner. At half time the team talk was only positive with the coach Pete Thomas asking for more of the same.

As the match got under way the Dragons maintained the intensity and got their reward; a quick free pass from player of the match, Marie James, into the feet of Stacey Lee who skilfully turned her marker on the top of the circle and played the ball through to Emma Tabrett who found the net.

West Herts retaliated and showed why they are league leaders as Emma Clarke drove the ball to the byline displaying some great stick skills before finding her team mate in front of the Dragons keeper who coolly deflected the ball into the net leaving Siobhan Cleeve between the sticks no chance.

The Dragons continued to work hard and went close a number of times but as legs tired the home side mounted an attack to increase their lead further. With 2 minutes left on the clock the Dragons were not to be defeated easily and pulled a goal back; a brilliant move by the Dragons attacking line; Rachel King breaking at pace slipping the ball into the circle to Aoife Lowe-Davies who as the keeper closed her down played a smart mature square pass to Stacey Lee who who timed her run to perfection to score at the far post. As the Dragons pushed hard to find the equaliser they were unfortunate to lose the game 4-2 conceding a goal in the dying seconds of the game. West Herts were a strong team and arguably deserved their victory albeit the scoreline in the end flattered them.

This was a superb performance from a young team including newcomer Sophie Thomas and what they lacked in experience made up for in their work rate and effort against an experienced well drilled team that may well play National League next year.

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

It was a ‘cold wind that dothΒ blow’Β at the Den but the ‘circle of friends’ were out in force, ensuring the team were thoroughly warmed up before the start! Having lost to Royston in the earlier fixture of the season, Dragons were keen to go out and prove they were worthy of their higher league position.

The home team started well with the midfield of Pip Howes, Lizzie Moulton, Karen O’Neill Simpson and Gail Thomas pushing up high and feeding the willing forward runners who were getting in behind the Royston defence from the start. Dragons forced a few short corners, a straight strike by Gail Thomas was well saved, and a one – two effort just didn’t quite come off. Thomas was having a particularly strong start with some sharp tackles and good through balls, however unfortunately she was forced off through injury early on, which meant she could play no further part in the game.

Dragons had the lions share of possession and limited Royston to counter attacks, particularly looking to overload down their right meaning Rowan York Smith, Angela Murgatroyd and Ally Windsor-Waite needed to be on their toes. Amy Forse in goal, dealt well with anything that came her way.

Dragons had a good chance following smart work down the right by Pip Howes, combining well with Marcy Windsor-Waite, who fired a strong ball across the D for Shelly Seaman who made perfect contact at the far post, but saw her shot go agonisingly wide. Another quick break saw Pip Howes driving from right mid into the D and unleashing a powerful shot from the top, only to be well saved by the strong Royston GK. Laura Shreeve too was constantly putting the Royston defence under pressure with some fine runs on goal however, her tackling back was slightly less ‘fine’!

Eventually, with 30 seconds of the half remaining, Dragons got their reward for their pressure, with Lauren Lawrie showing some expert skills in the D, beating a couple of defenders, before laying the ball off to Marcy Windsor-Waite, who with a strong push / flick, placed the ball perfectly into the corner beyond the GK’s reach.

This changed the half time team-talk a little – however, the call remained for the team to look to keep possession better and continue to push forward and take the game to Royston. This they did and probably were unfortunate not to further trouble the scoring. Royston remained very much in the game, playing some very neat hockey, working the balls in triangles around the pitch and determined to claw their way back into the game, but they had few clear cut chances.

Dragons youngsters and joint Players of the Match Pip Howes and Marcy Windsor-Waite continued to move the ball at pace down the right and linked up well, helping earn a number of short corners which Royston defended well. The final whistle blew, securing a valuable and well earned 3 points for the home team. Whilst not necessarily their slickest display, the win was key and the team should take great confidence from this, into their remaining games.
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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Premier Division
Norwich DragonsΒ 3sΒ 8-0 Pelicans 2

Norwich Dragons took the evening journey to Kingsland to face Pelican 2s. Despite the wind they were in high spirits and warmed up with the same intensity that they played the game.

From the offset Dragons went on the attack, the first goal of the game coming only minutes after the first whistle. Swift passing between Pom Geo Beckwith abd Debs Smith allowed for a clean onward deflection from Caroline Wolfe to Issy Wolge on the 25 who took the ball into the D and slotted it bottom right.

Intercepting Pelican passes the defenders Sarah Wagstaff, Carmel Windsor Waite and Natasha Falzon kept the ball quickly recycling and Dragons back on the attack. The second goal came when Wolfe Senior pushed from the top of the D underneath the keeper andΒ  just had enough pace to reach the line (with Wolfe junior waiting on the line tempted to poach!)

Several goal line scrambles came in the following play, with commendadtion coming from all of the Dragon side to the young Pelicans keeper who was so nimble. A broken down short corner was capitalised on by a waiting Sian Lawrie, close on the right post she gained the third goal.

The last goal of the half was earned by a composed Sam Franklin. Driving the ball into the D and finishing with a push from the right hand side of the D she found the backboard and celebrated in style.

Following half time Dragons new what they had to do, and they delivered everything their captain Natasha Falzon asked of them.

Poaching the ball expertly from a 16 yrd hit Lawrie took on the keeper 1 on 1. Drawing the keeper to the ground Lawrie expertly slotted it under her to get the Dragons 5th.

The 6th goal came from a crash ball into the D by Hazel Sumner, deflected into the air by a Pelicans player and volleyed in on he line by Debs Smith.

Pelicans never giving up changed tactics and played a forward ball from the restart of play, Kristina Smyth eager to get involved easily saw the threat away.

Quickly on the break another goal mouth scramble ensued at the opposite end of the pitch resulting in Wolfe Junior scoring the 7th.

With composure beyond her years Lara Taylor slotted the ball back to a waiting Smith who scored the 8th and final goal of the game.

Final score Dragons 8:0 Pelicans

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ DivisionΒ 1
Norwich Dragons 4sΒ 2-3 Watton 2

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5sΒ 3-1Β Yarmouth 2

After some last minute action drumming up defenders and thanks to Alice McNeile and Helen Marsh for filling the spaces either side of Jemima Williams.Β  DragonsΒ had a strong and speedy defence ready for action.Β  To stay top of the league table they needed to maintain our team fighting spirit and get another win.

On a breezy pitch the Dragons had first push back, Chiara Bond received the ball and passed it out wide to Rachael Matthews.Β  The first 10 minutes was a battle of the wills both teams strong, the play up and down the pitch.Β  Then the 5’s found their stride making the ball do the work. Catherine Matthews picking up the ball at speed and working her way around the opposition, finding Chiara Bond and then onto Den Howes ever ready for a goal up front.Β  Howes finding several opposition in the way in the D could not get a shot in.Β  Vicky Earley was on her usual form, soon to intercept and hussle the opposition.Β  Megan Farrant came on up front to pair Lucy Morton and use their speed and skills to feed balls into Den, waiting high to pounce.

The first goal came from this setup, Howes picked up the ball dodged a couple of opposition and fired the ball in, bosh. This gave the 5’s a lift, it had been difficult to get around the opposition in the D, one goal in and more to come.Β  The defensive powers were working well, they were pushing quite high as they hadn’t seen much action in the D.Β  Neither had Alice Smith who was entertaining herself in the goal.Β  Jemima was in control and was soon to close down the opposition, she has a good vision of where players are and where to feed the ball.Β  The next goal was to come from Farrant luring the keeper out and passing across to Lisa Harwood waiting on the post to pass the ball in behind the keeper.Β  Yarmouth held strong they were continuing to battle and making it hard work for us.Β  In particular their captain was quick to the ball and at getting the ball into the D, on one short corner she struck toward the post and it was deflected in by another player, score at half time 2-1.

The majority of ball possession was the 5’s and they were ready for round 2.Β  Laura Hansell who had been plagued with some knee pain, seemed to not let this hold her back and charged up the pitch, driving the ball up the wing and onto Lucy, who already had attempts on goal, foiled by the keeper or post.Β  The ball was pinging in and out of the D, the Dragons had a short corner, struck in by Den and Helen ready in position deflected it in.Β  3-1.Β  The game was a good battle for all and Yarmouth kept us busy!

Photos from this game can be found here.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6sΒ 0-6 Beccles

Change five members of the squad and add a first time goalkeeper to the mix and there was only one way this match was going to go against battle-hardened Beccles who must be one of the favourites for promotion. However, after being smashed for 5 in the first 25 minutes Dragons really got their stuff together and with only one more goal against them in the second half it felt, well, nearly as good as good as a win.

Several members of the Dragons team reached significant milestones in this match. First up on the roll of honour has to be POM Esme Potter from the development team who was outstanding in defence. Confident, assured not a ball went past her. Lilly Sore was also called up from the dev team and made some good runs down the right wing. Anja Wimmer came up from the 7sΒ  and looked very useful upfront and in midfield, and we welcomed back our forwardΒ  friend Kat Speirs who worked hard but was not rewarded. Beth Coates also made her debut for the 6s and did well as a hard-working and speedy top of the diamond.Β  Ginny Simkin, who put the keeper kit on for the first time at training during the week stood up bravely to the barrage and as well stopping loads of shots got very close to some well-placed ‘bombs’ into the corners.

Well done Sarah Norman who made a tremendous effort to tackle back and slow down the Beccles forwards, and captain Jo Eke who gave her usual 100 per cent at the bottom of the diamond. Rosie Skipp, Katie Franks, Katy Saide and Bridget Le Good all had their moments though Bridget must learn not to take both hands of her stick to make the subbing gesture at the very moment that Esme chooses to make a swinging cross-pitch pass.

So many thanks to everyone who came to fill in the holes that appeared after the team sheet was published. Plenty of work to be done at training including better ball speed, improving tackling technique and above all shooting, shooting, shooting.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 3
Norwich DragonsΒ 7sΒ 1-6 Lowestoft Railway 2

Dragons 7 faced this match knowing that it would be a tough fight against league leaders Lowestoft Railway 2.Railway scored soon after the match got under way. Dragons were unperturbed, keen to make their mark with forward Mia Amiss making numerous attempts at goal. Dragons were awarded a short corner, with Mia injecting to Amy Forse, who was making a rare appearance out of goal. After some tussling, Amy made a firm strike which hit the back board.

The match was end to end, with both sides eager to score.Goalkeeper Alessandra Pelligrini was worked hard, having to make numerous saves of Railways attacks. She was aided by the defence of Emma North, Emily Roper, Ginny Simkin and Jo Baker. Tracy Stuart-Sheppard and Amy at top and bottom of the diamond made a strong central core, distributing out to Katy Cole and Becky Gallagher, both of whom are improving with each match. Lottie Kearsey made her debut for Dragons up front, with Claire Fairhurst and the tireless running of Mia Amiss. Despite Dragons best efforts, Railway scored twice more before half time.

The half time break gave Dragons time to regroup, focussing on ways to stop Railway in its tracks! Unfortunately their efforts were to no avail, with Railway steaming ahead and scoring another three goals. Dragons made every effort to score but were thwarted at every turn. The match ended with a 1:6 loss to Dragons, but their heads were held high knowing they fought as best as they could against a well organised team.

Photos from this game can be found here.

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Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-4 Dereham 2

Dragons 1st team traveled to Dereham, once again full of hope for what might prove to be a crunch fixture, come the end of the season.

Both teams started strongly, with the opening exchanges fast-paced and full of energy. Β Dereham took the lead from a well-worked short corner. Β Showing grit and determination, the Dragons p[persisted with their game plan, forcing a series of short corners. Β Winning a short-corner on the stroke of half-time, Matt Knights drew the teams level, with a calm finish from an Alex Browne thunderbolt.

With the commencement of the second half, the two teams reverted to their own styles of play. Β Both teams were able to create chances, however it was Dereham who were able to take advantage of the chances they created. Β  Two well worked short corners and a further well taken goal from Dereham on the break, with Dragons pushing to try and get something from the game, meant the Dragons cam away 4-1 down at the end, despite feeling they were in the game for large parts.

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Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2sΒ 1-2 IES 2

Sometimes you play really well against a good opposition, dominate the game and still come away on the wrong side of the result. That’s pretty much what happened in this Division 3NE game between Norwich Dragons 2nd team and their counterparts from Ipswich & East Suffolk.

Dragons began the game in slight disarray after a couple of their younger members reported injured and a reshuffle was needed (alongside a cameo return to the bench of Jones) to ensure 11 fit players on the pitch. That didn’t seem to inhibit the home side’s hockey though, and some fluid passing moves along with dynamic running attacks from Watson and Gosling suggested that goals would soon flow.

That wasn’t to be the case though, and resolute defending from the IES players continued to frustrate Dragons until a sudden counter-attack allowed the visitors to take the lead just before half time.

This clearly unsettled the home side as they continued to press for a second half equaliser, and the game began to get a little scrappy, with IES having more say in the end to end exchanges. It was Dragons that continued to press the IES goal however, and it was again a surprise when another rare counter-attack set them 2 goals down.

As time ran out a consolation short corner goal from Watson at least showed that it was possible to breach the visitors’ defence, but in truth too little, too late. Good performances from a large number of Dragons players, but the need to take the chances created was again the lesson from the day.

Photos from this game can be found here.

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Men’s East Hockey League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 3sΒ 3-3 Norwich City 4

After last week’s tough game, the Mens 3s were looking to get back on track and secure some valuable points.Β  This week saw them face fellow promoted side Norwich City 4s.

City started strong and won a couple of short corners within the first few minutes and took an early lead.Β  It wasn’t long until Dragons equalised through a solo run by Lloyd SAYER from midway in City’s half.Β  SAYER neatly slotted the ball past the City keeper to take it level.

City kept pushing forward and it was Dragon’s defence and midfield who saw most of the ball.Β  Dragons worked the ball up through the field and got the ball to forward Will MAIN.Β  MAIN slipped the ball left to L SAYER who crossed the ball back to the top of the D, where MAIN slapped the ball in the back corner.Β  Dragons took the lead going into the break.

Not long into the second half, Dragons scored another goal through some good work down the left by John IVES and Will MAIN, with L SAYER putting the ball away again.

However, it was this half where City stepped it up a gear.Β  They worked hard and kept up their press which gave them numerous Β short corners.Β  It is testament to the stalwart Dragon defence of Peter DAVISON, Rich PHILLIS, Jon GOODSON and Dim IVES, that City didn’t convert these many chances.Β  Despite the efforts, the law of averages played a part and Dragons conceded two goals, to take the scores level.

A frustrating game for Dragons, who saw a 3-1 lead turn into a 3-3 draw.Β  A valuable point though, as this means Dragons are no longer bottom of the league, but still in the danger zone.

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Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 1-1 IES 4

Following some good results in the latest weeks, Dragons 4s seemed to be heading their way out of the wrong end of the league table. Before the 11:30 push back Dragons were just one place off drop positions, with their opponents I-ES 4s only one point above, missing a match though. So it was a perfect opportunity for Dragons to swap positions with a direct rival.

On that chilly morning Dragons saw their unavailable habitual youngsters replaced by a bunch of experienced players, who had previously been described by some as a Β΄firmament of starsΒ΄. Among them, Richard Moulson, Rob Wagstaff, Dan Ryan and Chris Simmons shined accordingly.

At the very beginning of the first half I-ES 4s played explosively and showed their will to take control of the match by approaching the goal several times but Dragons managed to put out their flame shortly after the start. A remarkably reliable defence has become a proved asset in the last few matches, with Paul Keating, Andy Hipper, Neil Shorten and Jon Price playing key roles from the starting line-up.

Dragons managed to break the balance between both teams several times either with brilliant quick triangles on the wings or with amazing rockets accurately launched by Andy Hipper, who seems to have ability to spot the gaps in the midfield and link straight to the forwards. One of these balls was collected by Rob Wagstaff right outside the D, who seeing himself attacking on his own, quickly turned around to face the last defender and managed to pass the ball inside the area on the left of the opponent and himself on the right, beating the goalkeeper with a stunning hit to the board. This jaw-dropping action in the middle of the first half put Dragons ahead on the scoreboard, allowing them to play more comfortably in the midfield. Captain Rob Jenkins had the ball flowing nicely from side to side and performed some good tackles. Unfortunately, Rob had a slight miscalculation in one of his courageous defensive actions, having his opponent involuntarily knocked down and getting the first yellow card of the match. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment not only did the other player refuse to accept Rob’s apologies but also went too far with words, action that was also awarded with another yellow card. It was a tough match for umpires Joel Lawrence and David Rose, who had to do their best to lower some tensions back to acceptable levels.

Still in the first half, Dragons had a number of clear opportunities to score, with Adie Kemp wisely moving aside off his marker and cracking balls into the I-ES area.

The windy second half started in a similar way, with both teams pressing and having to do their best in defence. I-ES guys started to get upfront more frequently on the sides, but couldnΒ΄t break the Dragons defence. Man of the match Paul Kassulke along with Man of the previous week’s match Lee Keeler played amazingly well, stopping absolutely every attacks on the left wing, either with their stick or with their legs, as they were constantly hit with lifted balls. Dan Ryan specialised at spotting the gap in the midfield and managed to take the ball from the sides and pass it across to the front, creating good opportunities. The forwards counted on the help of a well-positioned Chris Simmonds, who played a key role driving the ball upfront.

As time went by, I-ES midfielders kept testing the Dragons defence. Following a long corner, they managed to send a quick ball through the defence and Dragons keeper Giles Brooks had to stretch his right hand to deflect it away with his stick while two strikers waited just behind him to smash it. Giles played very well the few opportunities he had but unfortunately, a few minutes later I-ES midfielders successfully sent across another quick ball from their left wing into the D, being luckily deflected by one of their strikers into the goal.

A few minutes later, Dan Ryan got badly hit with on his knee and had to leave the pitch prematurely. A great Neil Shorten got hit too, with a stick on his head this time, but managed to finish the game with a bleeding wound below his lips.

In the last 15 minutes both teams kept pushing bravely but their strengths seemed to be levelled. 1-1 seems to be a fair result for a high level match which made us all be proud to be Dragons.

Photos from this game can be found here.

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

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Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6sΒ 2-5 Sudbury 4

M6’s were grateful to Adrian Howes stepping into the centre of defence after 3 call offs. The first half was even against the league leaders with Dragons scoring first as Dave Pentin got his first ever League goal after a satnav malfunction directed him into the opposition D. Sudbury replied from their first short corner. After half time Dragons lost a bit of shape & were fatigued in getting back so Sudbury were able to mount attacks through mid-field. 2 more goals from Sudbury saw Tom Vaughan slot home from a well-earned cross from George Bowman. In the last 5 minutes Dragons conceded 2 more in their chase of another goal.

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Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich DragonsΒ P-P Norwich City

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Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 9-1Β Watton

 

 

Photos from this game can be found here.

 

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England Hockey Boys Under 14s
Norwich Dragons 0-5 City

The U14 Boys travelled to the other side of Norwich for their game against Norwich City. City started strongly and soon took the lead when one of their forwards managed to sneak around the back of the Dragon defence, allowing City to slip the ball through. A hard press from City saw them get another goal soon after. Dragons settled into the game and started to get a few attacks. Raunaq and Jose in the middle of the pitch showed off their skills by neatly taking the ball around several City players. Jono CB was unlucky not to put a couple of goals away, and Dragons only managed to secure one short corner this half, which saw Raunaq’s shot saved by City’s keeper. City kept their attack up and were rewarded with another goal from a short corner strike. This took the score to 3-0 to City going into half time.

City continued much the same in the second half as the first, with their strong midfield pushing through, and attacking high. Sterling work by George Wright and Harry Brown in the centre, made things easier for Angus in goal, who made some superb saves to keep the score down. William Pank, Joe Beadman and Blue Hempsall also made some crucial tackles throughout the game. Despite these efforts, City scored another 2 goals, but it was pleasing to see that Dragons kept their heads up and kept working at getting a goal.

The game ended 5-0 to City, but Dragons should be proud of their performance, having made City work hard for their win. Player of the match George Wright for some solid defending.