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NDHC League Match Reports: 07/03/2015


Women’s East Hockey LeagueΒ East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 0-0 Wapping

Norwich Ladies Dragons were excited to travel to Wapping on Saturday to play on the 2012 Olympic Park hockey pitch.Β  On a beautiful sunny day the scene was set for a memorable occasion for all those involved in this fixture.

Wapping had pushed the Dragons to the wire when they played them at the Den earlier in the season with Dragons being victorious by one goal but now Wapping had the home advantage on a water based pitch so the Dragons were taking nothing for granted knowing there are no easy fixtures in this league especially when playing away from home.

A draw would be enough for the visitors as this would mean that Wapping would not have enough games left to be able toΒ  leap frog them in the league so the onus was on the home team to do enough to take all three points.

The Dragons enjoyed some early possession and played some attractive attacking hockey but were closed down quickly in the final third of the pitch which prevented them from creating too many chances to really test the Wapping keeper. That said the visitors weren’t troubled by Wapping as the spine of their team was strong throughout withΒ  Donna VAUGHAN and Lizzie MOULTON at the heart of the defence supported by the inform Sarah RICHARDS and player of the match Sophie MULLEN.

This is an exciting league for the Dragons to compete in and,Β  having had back to back promotions, the objective from the start of the season was to consolidate, finish mid table and survive this very tough league which had yet to be achieved by previous squads and, historically, also other clubs.

With the finishing line in sight and two matches left the Dragons are in a comfortable and respectable position in the league and now their focus isΒ  on making themselves, mathematically, safe from relegation. As the sun, unusually for March, beamed down on the β€˜surf turf’ and the match was drawing to an end it was clear that the energy was being sapped from the Dragons, and their coach, Pete THOMAS, identified this and was spot on tactically as he tightened the Dragons backline line and settled for a draw. A well-deserved point,Β  away from home, could prove crucial as the season draws to an end.

The Dragons are now looking ahead and are preparing for their next fixture, and their last game at the Den this season, against local rivals Harleston Magpies who sit just below them in the table.




Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 6-0 Panthers

Beautiful conditions at the Den saw a confident Norwich Dragons Ladies 2s team playing a Panthers squad depleted through injury to some key players, however Panthers are always a tough team to breakdown, so this was never going to be an easy fixture. Dragons had injuries of their own to contend with.Β  Forward Laura Shreeve still sidelined (and further injuries sustained during the match), however they went into the game knowing that a point would all but confirm the team secured the Div 2NE Championship, however they went out in determined fashion, knowing nothing less than 3 points would suffice.

From the first whistle, Dragons applied the pressure to the Panthers back line with Marcy Windsor-Waite continuing her good run of form with some fast attacks on the right, well supported by her hardworking midfield colleagues Hollie Limmer, Karen O’Neill Simpson, Ruth Willmott, Gail Thomas and Hannah Ellis.

The opening goal came when Natalie Beal and Hannah Hardy combined well in the D. Natalie Beal showed great composure following her initial blocked shot, to lift the rebounded ball over the keeper and into the back of the net. The second followed quickly after, an excellent pass down the line from Ally Windsor-Waite, found Natalie Beal who had made a perfectly timed run. From here Beal took one look, then fired in a superb cross, finding Aoife Lowe-Davies who had also timed her run to perfection and got down low to sweep the ball home at pace – a fine team goal.

With less than 20 minutes on the clock, Dragons lost Natalie Beal, who had been very influential in the early stages of the game, taking a nasty blow to the head, and requiring hospital attention – get well soon Nat! This nasty injury upset Dragons rhythm a little and whilst they continued to dominate possession they failed to further trouble the scoreline in the first half.

The second half saw Dragons continue to have the lion’s share of possession, with their defensive line of Sophie Thomas, Angela Murgatroyd, Ally Windsor-Waite and Keeper Freddie Briscoe being largely untroubled, however they all supported the attack well and provided depth for the team, to help switch play from deep.

Further goals were inevitable, despite some deep and committed defending from Panthers and in particular goalkeeper Sharon Weeks who made numerous important saves to keep the scoreline down. The third came from Dragons’ Player of the Match Hannah Ellis, who got in a good position at the back post to dispatch a high ball into the net from a tight angle. Marcy Windsor-Waite then scored the fourth again following a saved shot from Ruth Willmott, the rebound falling to Windsor-Waite who neatly finished at the back post. The fifth came following a continued spell of pressure which saw various efforts being saved, but eventually Aoife Lowe-Davies controlled the ball and neatly slotted into the corner. The sixth and final goal, again scored by Hannah Ellis, came following good interplay on the right by Hollie Limmer and Marcy Windsor Waite who combined well, to cross to Ellis who had made good ground from deep on the left, to neatly score at the back post.

The final whistle went, to signal another strong performance and deserved win for the Dragons, notching up their 20th win out of 20 played, to seal the League title with 2 games to go. A fine achievement from everyone who has played their part in this squad over the course of the season. With two games remaining, the team will look to start building for Division 1, whilst also looking to finish in style. Congratulations and thanks to all who have played their part. Β 

More photos from the game here.


Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Premier Division
Norwich DragonsΒ 3s 6-1 Thetford

An early start greeted Dragons this week, but with the sun showing its face, this was the week for the 14 strong Dragons squad to break their 250,000:1 chance win-lose-win streak.

From the outset Dragons were on the attack, and it wasn’t long before the first goal came. Working like a well oiled machine, hunting in packs Dragons cut through the Thetford side. A hit from Debs Smith found the waiting stick of PoM Geo Beckwith who cleanly swept the ball into the net.

Thetford starting the reset of play seemed a little on the back foot following the quick goal. This allowed the Dragon team to intercept passes and turn play. Switching left to right, and right to left Dragons found plenty of space to move the ball and used this to their advantage. A foul in the Thetford 25 gave Dragons a free hit just outside the D. Siezing the opportunity Smith surged forward. Like the parting of seas the Thetford side foolishly allowed her straight into the D unobstructed. Without hesitation she smashed the ball at goal bringing the score line to 2:0.

Now Thetford had their 10 minutes. A strong drive down the left wing, followed by a cross into the D and strike at Dragons goal found a defenders foot. Alas instead of a short corner the ball lifted into the air and into the Dragon net.

Undeterred Dragons returned with increasing vigor. This time it was their turn to find a foot in the attacking D and were awarded a short corner.Β  Natasha Falzon injected the ball with pace to a waiting Caroline Wolfe. Neatly slipping it to Beckwith who passed it to Falzon waiting on the post. Slapped towards goal and secured by the stick of Laura Tompson-Wright Dragons were really starting to find their feet.

Hungry for the ball Dragons took the extra step intercepting an increasing number of passes from the Thetford side. Hazel Sumner intercepted a pass and drove up the left wing. Taking on the defense, dribbling into the D she shot at goal, scoring between the keepers legs.

Halftime time score 4:1

Thetford started the second half, but once again Dragons worked tirelessly as a team, not giving them any room to move, winning the ball a keeping them in a 25 yard press for pretty much the remainder of the game.

The 5th Dragon goal came from some scrappy play in the Thetford D. A frantic Thetford side swarming the ball. Beckwith fought hard a eventually found the inside of the goal.
Again maintaining the press Thompson-Wright worked the ball up the right wing, injecting the ball at great pace into the D. Finding the stick of Wolfe, who expertly deflected the ball at an impossible angle past the keeper.

Final score 6:1.

Great play from the whole team today. There was a fantastic display of stick skill, true grit and determination from the entire team, and it made me proud to be a Dragon. This win not only broke our win-loose-win streak, but also saw us rise to 4th position in the league.

More photos from the game here.

Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ DivisionΒ 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 1-4 Pelicans 2

The game initially went Dragons way, with a quick take from Sue Cross to Holly Bailey who drove straight to the D, but was unable to get past the strong defensive line. However this positive start could not be maintained and soon Pelicans scored their first of 4 goals. A well drilled group of forwards kept breaking down the Dragon’s defences and although Laura Tuck, made a couple of good saves we couldn’t clear the ball far enough to turn play. The first goal was a clean strike from just right of the top of the D. The second came from a short corner which Freya Clogan and Abi Cowe worked hard to clear, but were unable to stop a rebound shot.

Dragons fought hard to regain possession and move the ball in their favour and Charlotte Pounder (PoM) and Kate McKenna made some beautiful runs up the wings but solid play from Pelicans halted all attempts well short of the D. We just couldn’t pass the ball quickly enough to players in space and were constantly closed down by Pelicans players. Pelicans scored twice more in the first half, one from a rebound and the second was a very lucky lifted ball that went over the keeper.

After the break Dragons came back a different team, we managed to find and use the space, utilising the width allowed for good movement of the ball and play quick enough to beat the Pelican’s players. Lovely work from Sarah Moore and Mel Widdows on the left saw the ball reach the D, the pressure was on and after a good strike from Sue Cross, which was poorly cleared, and Emma Buxton was able to sneak the ball over the line while the keeper was still trying to regain their composure.

Dragon’s continued to dominate the second half with Lou Davis making some lovely drives through the centre, she also distributed the ball well out to the wings and at any point Dragon’s looked like they could pull another goal back. Carmel Windsor Waite seemed to be all over the pitch, making some wonderful runs up front yet always managing to get back to mark players when needed in defence. Our closest chance for a second goal can from a reverse stick sweep from Kate McKenna, but alas it was just off target.

If we could have played the first half like we played the second it would have been a very different result.

Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 4-0 Pelicans 3

Building on last week’s strong performance dragons really put into action some much improved attacking. Rejig of the formation, tactics session helped to provide more people in the D and place Anja FineganΒ  as nippy centre forward.

Man of the march β€˜post hogger’ harwood slotted home a hat trick which was unstoppable. One after another the ball was placed to her on the post where she hammered it home. A fantastic opportunity was also taken by Chiara Bond whose work rate is always fantastic and this time she was rewarded for it. Jade Blanchflower worked hard to connect with Lois McGregor but all their attempts were saved by the keeper.

Anja Finnegan again playedΒ  a pivotal role ensuring that she collected the long balls and placed pressure on Pelicans with her nippy stick skills setting up a number of Lisa Harwood’s goals and proving herself a force to be reckoned with upfront. Working well in mid field Rachael Matthews, Laura Hansell and Helen MarshΒ  worked the ball up the pitch with more grace than has been seen in many 5s games recently even switching the ball.

A respectable 2-0 at half time, Pelicans increased the pressure and the mid field were forced to work hard as the new formation created more space down the wing. Pelicans didn’t always provide an easy ride for the defence with some quick attacks and some fantastically placed long balls. Bella Capps continued to show her strength with quick clearance of the ball and Alice McNeile pushed up to deliver some excellent ball distribution.

As ever the defence was commanded by Christina Murgatroyd and Jess Tye Leach who provide strength at the centre which even the fiercest attack would find it hard to penetrate. A slide tackle from Murgatroyd saved us at a critical moment and placed a heap of players on the floor in the process (it seems there always has to be someone on the floor in a 5s game !)

Helen Marsh was unfortunate that before her beautiful goal the ball clipped the back of Lisa Harwood’s foot leaving it to be disallowed even though the team celebrated.Β  Leaving it 4-0 at full time Dragons were determined and continued to play on despite the whistle and hammer another goal home. This really summed up our determination which we need to continue for the last 3 matches of the season.

Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6s 6-0 UEA 4

With their sights firmly set on promotion, Dragons did what they had to do in achieving a smart seasonal double over UEA. The students have improved significantly, particularly in defence, and Dragons had a few anxious minutes until Bridget Le Good opened the scoring with a low lift into the far corner. This settled the nerves and the 6s had waves of attacks, led by Anna Brook on the right and Izzi Ferguson on the left. TheΒ attackers had plenty of verbal reminders from behind to getΒ onto the posts, and once they followed the instructions the goals started to rattle in. Sarah Norman got a hat-trick and Megan Farrant and Rosie Skipp also scored ‘posties’ but Sarah’s second goal was worth it’s ownΒ mention. Anna split the defence, Sarah ran onto the ball and stretched out to reverse stick it past the keeper.

Down at the other end, Alice Smith was required to make two strong clearances in the firstΒ  and to do nothing in the second. Lottie Korn was in place at right back, with Katy Saide and Katie Franks in the middle and to the left. This combination, with Jas Daniels at the bottom of the diamond, has served the 6s so well this season andΒ was seldom troubled.

It was good to see Megan Farrant on the scoresheet because, as is often mentioned, her unselfish and intelligent running off the ball creates the space and opportunities for others.

4-0 up at half time, Dragons continued to press but lost some of their flow. TheyΒ were aware that improving their goal difference might be necessary, and possibly lost a little composure in the D. UEA’s keeper was an extremely good shot stopper, and the 6s went through a period where they were no longer patiently working the ball into good positions, and they lost the crispness from their passing.

This week, Jo Eke’s problem was that her nose was blocked and her foot was running. Or it might have been the other way round. But either way, she turned in another committed performance and is involved in a full on chase with Jas Daniels to score a spectacular goal. Next week would be a good time for both of them to do it..

This game was probably Ciara Willmott’s last for the 6s as she head off to university. Quiet, understated and reliable, we have watched Ciara grow in confidence and determination. She will always be a lovely Dragon.

Megan, Lottie, Anna and Sarah shared the player of the match vote, and it was such a good team performance that nearly every player got a vote. However, there is still a bit of room for improvement and a few things to work on in training this week because Magpies are likely to provide a sterner test;

Gogo Dragons!


Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 3
Norwich DragonsΒ 7s 1-5 Magpies 7

Ladies 7s lost 1-5 at home to more experienced Magpies 7s, who were without a goalkeeper but had a strong defence.

Dragons started strongly with the hope of scoring and maintaining the position just above Magpies in the league. The midfield continue to battle well, especially joint POM Gill Walker and Lucy Morton at bottom and top of the diamond. Catherine Matthews on the right worked hard as she usually does, pushing past Magpies time and again. Either Becky Gallagher or Frankie Paul on the left intercepted the ball, trying to push the play up the pitch. Forwards Amy Hunter, Kat Speirs and Claire Fairhurst kept trying to get into the D to receive the ball, however the strong Magpies defence, aware of their missing keeper, kept knocking the ball away. Magpies’ interceptions paid off, and with their big strong hits, succeeded in scoring twice before half-time.

Dragons came back on after the break, keen to not let the score affect their game and to find the goal themselves. Goalkeeper Alice Smith made some great saves, kicking the ball hard and strong out of the D. The defence of Emma North, Jo Baker, Dani Winteringham or Persy Magdalene also worked hard, trying to get the ball out of the D and down the pitch. However, Magpies still succeeded in scoring, managing to get the ball in the goal another 3 times. Dragons continued to battle, eventually being rewarded for their persistence by a great goal by Lucy.

Although disappointed with the result, Dragons know where they need to improve and continue to enjoy every game they play.

More photos from the game here.


Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-4 Cambridge City 3

Dragons went into a tough encounter with top of the league this week buoyed by the news that there could be potential for a third team to be promoted. However, concentrating on the job in hand, Dragons geared up for what has been historically a game for the neutrals.

Dragons started excellently with some fantastic attacking play down the right hand side through the interplay of Deayton at inner and Overstall on the right. This pressure paid off with a goal coming from a scramble in the D, allowing Alex Brown to poach his 16th goal of the season. More chances cam later on in the game with Rupert flinging a ball a mile wide leaving many in the crowd to question if it was a clearance or a shot. Matt Knights also has a superb chance from a improvised short corner where the ball teed up perfectly and with power grown over 30 years buried the ball into the post. Rumour has it Dragons will need to call a structural engineer to assess the damage to the post. However, the real price came just after half time. With Cam City showing why they are favourites to do well in Div1 next season they soon pulled a goal back to go 1-1 and quickly followed a second leaving Dragons to wonder how the game may have changed if those chances had gone in. With City pushing hard and smelling blood a 100% press was called for leaving Dragons struggling to get it out the back. This was not helped by the glass hamstring of Deayton being broken into a thousand pieces, a similar feeling George had when his “playmate” Deats forgot his birthday this week – trouble in paradise. Rory Jackson also decided that playing hockey was optional this week and undertook a bit of train-spotting halfway through the game.Dragons eventually lost 4-1 pushing for the win however the whole team can be proud of the effort they have made in progressing this season and the improvements we have made.Delusion however set in at the #hotteas in the Maid Marion after the game where Capt Overstall was named MOM – clearly playing 50% of the season doesn’t affect voting, bizarre.
Third place is still in the 1XI hands with 2 games to go…….game on

More photos from the game here.

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

With a slew of youngsters available to the team, Norwich Dragons looked to continue their fine run of recent form. Dragons preparation had been somewhat unorthodox, and it was left to Rutledge to attempt to inspire the team with a rousing speech.

The game started brightly, but none of the chances created by either side broke the deadlock. Laming in particular was creating a number of opportunities for the visitors, though neither side could apply the finishing touch. The game went into the interval at nil all.

The second half continued very much in the same vein as the first, with the defences largely on top. Dragons’ Man of the Match Tom Harris provided an outstanding demonstration of defensive skill, and it was something of a surprise when Magpies won a penalty corner which was then upgraded to a penalty stroke via a Dragons foot on the line. That stroke was duly converted for a one goal lead.

Dragons then began something of a fightback, and it was after some excellent approach work that Wilkins rolled in the equaliser. With only 10 minutes or so left on the clock, a few frantic attacks from both sides looked like they were going to prove fruitless. That was until Dragons managed to string a series of excellent passes together, resulting in a bouncing ball crossing the circle to the unmarked Ben Watson. He duly smashed the ball into the far side of the goal, leaving the visitors only a few minutes to hold out for a memorable victory.

Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 2-1 UEA 3

On a bright, sunny morning, Dragons arrived at the UEA for their β€œhome” game against UEA 2s.Β  Earlier in the season Dragons had narrowly beaten the students and were looking to take the three points again.

Dragons started slowly and UEA were pressing forward well.Β  Dragons found it difficult to string passes together and this put them under pressure early on.Β  The game settled and Dragons started to get more involved.Β  Defenders Peter DAVISON and Jon GOODSON did well taking the ball off the UEA forwards and moving it on up the pitch.Β  Whereas left back Ali SMYTH was making sure nothing got through down that side of the pitch.Β  As always, the Dragons midfield worked tirelessly and feeder balls from bottom of the diamond duo, Stu KELLY and Rob GOODSON were getting through to forwards Adam SAYER, Matt JENKINS and Adie KEMP.Β  The forwards were unlucky not to get a couple of goals, but alas, the ball just didn’t fall right.

A quick UEA attack down the left wing, had their striker lift the ball from an acute angle, slipping past Dragon keeper Dim IVES.Β  Despite this setback, Dragons continued to push and were rewarded a set of short corners.Β  From one of these, a slip right to Ali SMYTH led to a shot that slammed into the back of the goal, Dragons had equalised.Β  The half continued and it was a hard fought battle up to half time.

With much fluid taken on due to the heat, Dragons returned to the pitch, having decided to keep their formation and to move a few players around.Β  Within two minutes of the second half starting, the determination of Will MAIN saw him winning the ball from a UEA defender, who then crossed it, finding forward Adie KEMP across the D.Β  KEMP struck a trademark hit past the UEA keeper.

Dragons continued to push UEA and good play from Rich PHILLIS and the other Dragons midfield, found them feeding balls up the pitch.Β  The left was well looked after by SMYTH, who in turn fed the ball to John IVES, who found himself on the left of the pitch.Β  Once again, IVES showed good awareness, moving the ball on to other Dragon players around him.Β  Will IVES also made some of his trademark dashing runs, showing the UEA that they too had some youth in their side.

The UEA did fight back against Dragon, and were unlucky not to score a few times, if it wasn’t for the fine efforts of the Dragon back line and keeper IVES.

The game ended and Dragons had won the three points again.Β  A tough game in the heat, against a determined opposition.Β  Next week, Dragons travel to Kings Lynn where they take on Pelicans.

Men’s East League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 12-0 Pelicans 4

Dragon Slays Pelican…

Norwich Dragons 4 travelled to bottom of the table Pelicans 4 where a one sided encounter, played in glorious spring sunshine, allowed Dragons to improve their goal difference and secure another 3 points in their push for promotion.

Pelicans started fairly well and could have taken the lead through a couple of half chances, but were soon on the back foot as Dragons warmed to their task and began to play some great passing hockey.Β  All the Dragons players made of the most of being allowed a bit of extra time on the ball as the Pelicans players were slow to close them down.

Dragons soon took the lead, Man of the Match Danny Knights making a perfectly timed run into the D to slot home.Β  Dragons added 3 further goals to lead 4-0 at half time.

Giles Brooks had little to do in the Dragons goal, whilst the defence of Dave Pentin, Andy Hipper, Jon Price, Paul Keating and Danny Knights had the opportunity to move higher up the pitch to stay involved in the game.Β  Knights in particular demonstrated his pace and fitness, popping up in attacking situations whilst still covering his defensive position.

In midfield, the absence of lynchpin Rich Moulson was barely noticed as Chris Wilkinson, Rob Jenkins, Sam Mann, Rohan Kaushall and Nick Turner enjoyed plenty of possession, moving the ball onto the attackers at will and breaking down the Pelicans attacks through tight marking and well timed tackles.

Up front, Robbie Whiting was straining at the leash in his bid for the Golden Stick alongside Garnet Jones and Oli Browne who all had numerous chances on goal.

The final score was 12-0, with 3 goals to Danny, 2 apiece for Garnet, Oli and Robbie and one for Nick, Rohan and Sam.

Dragons were also awarded a penalty stroke when leading 11-0.Β  Before any of our stunned players could react, Dave Pentin has sprinted up from the back to take it, looking for a first goal in over 30 years.Β  It wasn’t to be as his attempt was easily saved by the keeper.Β  Even if it had gone in, it would have been disallowed as a blatant hit.Β  Dave was later diagnosed with sunstroke but has made a full recovery.


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

This Saturday mathematically safe Dragons 5s hosted bottom of the table UEA men’s 4s. With nothing to lose UEA battled hard and pushed high up the field putting a lot of pressure onto the Dragons defence, Andy Carver put out another solid performance as the Rock of the men’s 5ths defence. Dragons were attacking well in the early stages of the game and it only took 5 minutes for a string of passes to find the gaps in UEA’s defence for Andy Webb to finish off with the games 1st goal. Dragons didn’t let off and the first half continued in very much the same matter. The midfield played with true quality in which young dragon and man of the mach Eddie Murphy dictated the flow of the game in Dragons favour. Many attacks flowed before the 5th team got on the score sheet again with a shot from the top of the D rebounded off the post and was pounced on in cat-like manner by captain Joel Lawrence. Eddie Murphy continued to control the middle of the park and with 5 minutes left of the half he caught the UEA defence napping and as they backed away he took the ball into the D and finished with a superb strike from 15 yards out. Half-time,3-0.

UEA came out a lot stronger in the second half with a higher press that the dragons struggled to overcome. The visitors threatened the home goal but keeper Chris Millar stood strong and the Dragons defence were solid when they needed to be. Eventually after handling UEAs pressure the Dragons midfield built up some possession which led to some more attacking opportunities for the 5th team. Later on the games fourth goal from Joel Lawrence and the game was settled at 4-0. Credit is due to UEA who battled hard but were unable to complete their final phases throughout the game. Many thanks to our umpires and that concludes another great win for the men’s 5th team who haven’t lost a game at home or conceded a goal at home since 22nd November.

More photos from the game here.

Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 0-8 Watton 2

Men’s 6s suffer an 8-1 defeat to a ‘strong’ Watton side. Goal from Pedro Goss. MOM Ben Nkrumah

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons: No FixtureΒ 

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons: No Fixture