NDHC League Match Reports: 09/11/2013

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

Dragons were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw at home on Saturday against bottom-of-the-table Cambridge University.  Dragons were without Turnbull and Charlish and still without Whiting, but welcomed back veteran Wolfe and journeyman Overstall, following a good 55-minute run-out with the 2s last week. 

Dragons started the game confidently against a struggling University side and completely dominated the opening 35 minutes.  Wagstaff played his best hockey of the season, assured in distribution and disciplined in defence, Sloman, restored to a midfield role, continued his rich vein of form, and Browne was a constant threat leading the attacking line.  The opening goal came from a quickly taken attacking-hit, a balletic run from the graceful Rutledge teeing-up Snelling whose thunderous strike drove both keeper and ball into the back of the net.  A second should have followed when Wolfe, locked in a running battle with his opposite number, nicked the ball from Piers Farquhar-Smythe and drove a perfect pass across the face of goal which somehow Knights failed to bundle in.  The second did come when Smyth threaded a brilliant ball to Browne who crashed his shot past the stranded Cambridge ‘keeper.  And Dragons should have finished the game in the first half as Cambridge struggled to cope with the movement of the front three and the powerful midfield running of Flatman, Woodward, and Sloman.

Dragons took their foot off the pedal in the second half, though, and the University side showed a lot of character to drag themselves back into the game.  After the match, skipper Ed Smith was keen to downplay his influence, but it was no surprise that the visitors’ best spell came while he was off the pitch resting his troublesome knee:  “a man of my age can’t expect to play every minute of every game and it’s important for the younger players to take responsibility.”  Cambridge pulled a goal back when a ball driven into the D was deflected home by the hapless Rich Smith in a perfect training-ground routine and the visitors controlled the game for long spells in the second half.  Cruelly for Dragons, though, the equaliser came only in the dying seconds, Monty Williams-Monteith sneaking a short-corner routine just beyond Collinge and inside his right post.  There was still time for Browne, in the last movement of the game, to spurn a gilt-edged chance.  “It could have been worse, I could have missed a flick” was all he had to offer after the match.

Having come from two down against Newmarket in their last home match, it was Dragons’ turn to be hauled back and plain-speaking Smith was in no doubt that today it was a case of glass-half-empty:  “there were positives today, though, to be honest, right now I can’t think of any; the fact is in that second half we played like an armadillo which doesn’t know the inside of its own shell.”

Next week Dragons will look to return to winning ways on the road at Cambridge Nomads.  Some tickets for travelling fans are still available.


Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 0:8 Dereham 2

Dragons came up against a strong Dereham side. With plenty to work on, the Dragons found themselves down at half time with frustration building and team spirit still high they continued to pressure Dereham through the second half but unfortunately couldn’t find the back of the net.

The game finished 8-0 to Dereham 2s with Gary Burgess man of the match.


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


Men’s East Hockey League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 2-3 UEA 4

Dragons had to provide an umpire from their ranks as the Dragons 1’s playing on the other pitch took our umpire for their game. Jon Price and Mike Banham took a half each as umpires. 

Without their Captain’s leadership Dragons started the game slowly and UEA were the better side at the start and the pressure paid off with a goal. Dragons picked themselves up and pressed for a goal which came from a good move pulling the ball back to Rob Jenkins at the top of the D, who slotted it home with another clinical finish. Unfortunately Dragons were still not at their best and a good UEA side scored again with the ball pinging about the D in the air before they put it in. Although Dragons were still not playing that well, they scored again with Rob Jenkins scoring again in what is becoming his trade mark style.

Dragons were probably a bit lucky to be level at half time but with a rousing half time talk and the captain coming on to play the second half, they played much better at the start of the second half. Unfortunately, UEA added a third against the run of play when the ball somehow found its way to a player on the far post and he popped it in. Elliot had no chance with the goals and made some good saves and clearances throughout the Game.

Dragons continued to play good Hockey in the second half and pressed for the equaliser with Ollie Browne working particularly hard up front with some good shots well saved by the keeper. One attempt at goal led to Ollie being upended by the keeper and a penalty being awarded to Dragons. Ollie took the penalty but again the keeper made a good save and Dragons were denied their equaliser. Dragons continued to press up to the end but did not get the goal that they deserved and the game finished 3 : 2 to the UEA.

The Defence played well with Paul Keating filling in well for Mike Banham in the second half and a good full back debut for Sam Hobdell. There were some good midfield performances from Chris Wilkinson and of course ‘2 goal’ Rob Jenkins, but the Man of the Match goes to Ollie Browne for his tireless efforts up front.   


Men’s East Hockey League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 6-2 IES 5

After initial panic over availability subsided with a few new closet players found emergency care for children , wives and numerous animals, the Mens 5ths headed towards Ipswich with a full squad. Keepergate was resolved by Robbie Bell kindly hanging around in the rain post his first loss of the day and having been cleared (no drugs test required) to play and agreement from a very gracious IES captain we were all set.

The standard captains talk then followed with normal bemused looks. The quote resounding around the players was something along the lines of ‘thats a very attacking formation’. Whilst true to the England HA preference the defence was the first aspect to be tested as IES poured forward and the team talk wandered into distant memory. Fortunately Duncan ‘the rock’ Evans marshalled the limited marking and was pivotal in breaking up numerous attacks and kindly allowed Bell to ‘chime’ in between the posts. Buoyed by this platform wing backs Lee and Rich (Jorgen Klansman) started to respond and broke out of their 23 metre line which in turn fed the much starved mid field trio of Quinton ‘centre land rover mid really?’ , Kaushal and Jones. Once beyond the midfield the ball passed slickly to the golden stick contenders of Lawrence and Crossman, who aided by ‘yes its a mo’ Key proceeded to punish IES with 5 first half goals.

Super sub Saville is worthy of mention as he dived full ‘lenghtish’ to nab his first 5th team score at the far post showing positioning and poachers instinct that belies his years. Goal of the first half and game though went to player of the match Kaushal who showed the goal hangers how it should be done. A great drive in from the 23 metre line took out 3 IES players and his text book finish low to the corner from the top of the d would leave all his coaches saying ‘ I taught him that because no other 5ths forward finishes from the top of the d in the bottom corner’….

Arriving at half time with a strange 5 goal advantage left the captain bereft of motivational options so the standard speech was rolled out and IES immediately sensed an opportunity (someone did mention they hadn’t had a clean sheet this season). Strong possession and use of a mature player who can only be described as a true time lord lured us into a pace we didn’t fully understand. The ball remained unobtainable for long slow periods of time until a change of pace caught dragons napping.

Fortunately one of the IES players had a minor melt down around the line not being quite straight and dragons found them selves a man up. With no idea how to benefit from this dragons could only add one more to the first half tally and IES (deservedly) won the second half 2-1. Many people would look back at the golden stick contender and consider that he only managed to net twice in the second half after the whistle had stopped play. Others would say this was backed up by the swift exit after the game without paying match fees – don’t worry Mr T knows where you all live!

Over all a very good performance. A good competitive game made even better by the hospitality and great teas from IES. Hopefully they might even let us have a game on their ‘smurf turf’ next year. Goal scorers were Lawrence (yes I am a ball room dancer) x2 , Crossman (hat trick avoidance) , Saville , Kaushal and Keys (yes he melted it in).


Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N 
Norwich Dragons 1s 2:4 Saffron Walden

Norwich Dragons tasted their first defeat of the year on their home ground at the Den when they faced Saffron  Walden who had been relegated from the Premier Division last year.

The match was fiercely contended with both teams playing the match at a high tempo playing some attractive possession hockey. There were opportunities created at both ends and player of the match Freddie BRISCOE had an outstanding game in goal for the Dragons being gamefully employed by the visitors. However it was WALDEN that finally broke the deadlock. However the Dragons levelled the match immediately. Some excellent build up play led to Rachel KING dribbling the ball past the Saffron Walden defence and striking the ball on her reverse stick side with venom at the top of the D scoring what could only be described as contender for the goal of the season as the ball flew into the net.

Norwich Dragons had their chances to take the lead but it was the visitors that were more clinical as they capitalised as the Dragons defence failed to clear their lines. Again the home team reacted immediately another individual effort from KING taking the game to 2-2 at the break.

The Dragons had the majority of the possession in the second half, more short corners than the visitors and very nearly took the lead for the first time in the match only to see the effort from Marie JAMES verve just past the outside the post. However a mistake from the home team gave Walden possession on the half way line and this was punished as the speed and quality of Waldens passing left the Dragons trailing once again. Before the Dragons could gather composure they were knocked minutes later as the visitors scored again. To Dragons credit they continued to push forward created several chances. A number of short corners were awarded to the home team but these all went begging.

This was by no means a bad performance by the Dragons and they shouldn’t be down beat about this result. These were very strong opponents who were skillful and well organised, certainly the strongest opponents the Dragons have met this year who were clinical in their finishing and who punished any mistakes presented to them. The Dragons will benefit from matches such as this and will grow as a team. They remain joint top of the league which is no mean feat for a newly promoted team but from this performance and others they need to get better at short corners.


Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 2:1 Cambridge Nomads

Norwich Dragons Ladies 2’s travelled to Nomads with a slightly depleted squad in terms of numbers (with 8 players unavailable), however, what they lacked in numbers, they more than made up for in quality and determination. Playing a Nomads team sitting one place above them in 2nd place, Dragons knew they would need to play well to take anything back up the A11!

And play well they did, with Gail Thomas being a very welcome addition to the team, sitting in the heart of the Dragons midfield, helping to pull the strings alongside a slightly jaded but determined Debs Smith, the two linked up extremely well, dominating the middle.  The forward line included Laura Tompson-Wright making her debut for Dragons.  With news faces playing together for the first time, the team could have been excused for taking time to settle, however this was not the case, as the players gelled incredibly quickly and the early encounters were pretty even.

Hannah Hardy, filling in a left-back, linked up well with the hard working Niamh Lowe-Davies at left midfield and both ensured that any Nomads pressure down the right was quickly closed down.

With Helen Kelly making some impressive runs and Sarah Radley as determined as ever, Dragons put plenty of pressure on the Nomads defence, however could not force the breakthrough. Some good pressure saw Dragons force their first short corner, Gail Thomas had a strike from the top of the D, which took a slight deflection off a Nomads defender before flying past the keeper. Unfortunately this was ruled out for being slightly too high. Nomads tactic of playing on the break caught Dragons out late in the half and they conceded a short corner. Nomads made it count with a shot to the left, which was deflected inside the post. A 1-0 scoreline at half time was not a true reflection on the game.

Dragons regrouped at the break and came out full of belief. Within 4 minutes of the restart, they forced a short corner, this time Gail Thomas was clinical, smashing the backboard with a clean strike to level the scores. From the restart, Dragons won possession, Charly Burgess made a strong run down the right, and found Laura Tompson-Wright in a great position in the D. Laura showed good composure to slot the ball through the keepers legs, to take a 2-1 lead; 2 goals in 2 minutes!

Following this, Dragons continued to dominate the play, playing some great triangles to progress down the pitch. Olivia Thomas and Sarah Radley linked up well on the right, however the 3rd goal was proving elusive. Nomads broke occasionally, keeping players high, but Angela Murgatroyd and Ally Windsor-Waite mopped up well. Late on there was one moment of alarm, when Nomads breached the defence, however keeper Laura Tuck was on her toes and made a great save to her right.With Nomads pegged back into the corner, the final whistle went. A fine victory for this team who played some great passing hockey, with both the umpires and the opposition saying how well Dragons had played on the day. Probably the best performance of the season so far, against the odds, with both limited availability, and three players on the day being ‘under the weather’.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier League
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-3 Dereham 3

Dragons Ladies 3s went into their match against Dereham 3s with focus and determination aswell as a few team changes and new faces. Dragons dominated possession from the start and had some great linking play throughout the team but just could not find the back of the goal.  Dereham countered quickly with a break and slipped it past the keeper. Dereham scored twice more in open  play in quick succession with one more slip and a deflection.

After half time Dragons efforts doubled and were an attacking threat constantly in the Dereham D. But thanks to a very solid Dereham defence and an excellent keeper Dragons failed to capitalise on the chances.
Final score Dereham 3 Dragons 0


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 0-3 Diss

On what has to be the coldest day of the season so far we set off for a nice early start in Diss. It was certainly a game of two halves – with Diss dominating the play and scoring all three goals during the first 35 minutes of the game and Dragons taking charge of the second half.

Dragon’s midfield worked hard in the first half trying to move the ball wide and along the line with Holly Bailey, Natasha Falzon, Sue Cross and Gemma Rump providing strong passing and decisive runs up the wing, however every time they reached the opposition’s 25 the play was turned in the opposite direction.  Diss didn’t have any major breaks in play or one on one situations with the keeper, in fact they had relatively few shots on goal during open play and those that they did have were decisively saved by Cara Anderson (PoM). All of the Diss’ goals came from short corners – and Diss certainly had enough of them, at least 12 by my count.  The first goal was a lucky deflection from the keeper and onto a Diss stick which then went up and over the keeper’s head (even Diss couldn’t believe their luck). The second was from a slipped ball across the goal and into the corner and the final was another very lucky shot which rebounded off the post at such an angle that it crossed the line at the opposite side of the goal! Dragon’s main chance of a goal came from Rosie Korn who was denied on the line during a mad scramble at the goal mouth.

After the break Dragons came out fighting and truly took control of the second half. Laura Goodbun made some amazing runs down the right wing – leaving the Diss players standing. Marcy Windsor Waite and Sophie Farrow worked beautifully as a pair moving the ball through the middle and left – all of the above had some excellent opportunities but Diss’ keeper was having a good match and saved every shot.  Lorna Travers had a shot which hit the post and Gemma Rump was with in a hairs breath on the left.  While Diss certainly didn’t give up during the second half the Dragons’ defensive line saw off most attacks before they hit the D, with Laura Bruce and Freya Clogan making every attempt to switch play back in Dragon’s favour. This determined attitude by the Dragons team meant that Diss were not able to increase their score from the first half.

This was another game where everything we have practised was put into play, good passing, letting the ball do the work and shooting as soon as we crossed the D but somehow the ball just would not go over the goal line. It was a really good team performance and everyone should be pleased with the part they played.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 4-0 Evergreens 2

Ladies Dragons 5s have a strong comeback after a two week break for Division 2 with 4-0 win and some cracking shots on goal to seal the deal.

The beginning of the game did not start with the same promise as the end result. After a small injury to Rachel Matthews and a break by Evergreens it looked like Dragons were not in control the game. The Evergreens took their chances and won a short corner. Luckily, this was seen off easily by the dragons 5’s awesome defence of Sarah Nortcliff, Katie Buxton, Emma Buxton and Jess Tye Leach.  After this moment though, Dragons 5s took control.

Playing some excellent balls through, the midfield played well together with Lizzie McDonnell holding the middle. Chiara Bond as usual was making stunning runs up the right & Rachel Mathews making some excellent passes up the left. Dragons dominated the game and beguiled the Evergreens who could not keep up. Dragons took their chances with Evergreens deflecting many shots until a short corner was given. Dragons made the most of this short working the ball around the circle until eventually a lifted ball from Izzy Woodcock (Player of the Match) was struck mid-air  into the back of the net by Lois McGregor. Not long after pulling ahead, Izzy Woodcock struck again with an excellent ball into the far corner.

Half time Dragons were two nil up but came back even stronger keen to seal the deal of a comfortable win. Dragons continued to dominate the game with some excellently worked balls by Anja Finnegan. One of these balls got trapped just in front of the keeper, where Lois McGregor pulled it back to give Izzy Woodcock a clear shot on goal. Not satisfied with the first two goals she played a part in Izzy hammered it home with a lovely lifted shot.  Finally finishing the game, Lisa Harwood who worked hard throughout the game scored a determined goal slowly over the line which finished up Dragons 4-0 up and a very happy team & happy coach in the hard-working David Bond.  


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6s 2-2 Hornets


Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 0-4 Magpies

On Saturday 9th November’s match Dragons development girls played to amazing standards. Magpies were extremely strong but the girls did not give up. During the first 20 minutes of the game due to Magpies strong attack two goals were scored but our defence were constant and kept clearing the ball. However due to Magpies adult strong defence the ball kept coming back. After the first 20 minutes from some amazing passing and runs from Carmel Windsor Whaite, Lucy Morton and Brooke Simmons the ball was so close to the goal, unfortunately due to strong defence from the Magpies the ball never reached the goal. In the second half of the game from strong defence especially from Carmel Windsor Whaite and some amazing saves from Alessandra Pellegrini only one more goal was scored. Then from really good pressure and hassling from all the girls the ball stayed in mid-field for the rest of the game. Unfortunately though due to the strong defence of the Magpies the score at the end of the game was 0-3 to Magpies. Unsurprisingly Carmel Windsor Whaite won player of the match for great consistency of play throughout the game and for playing amazing defence.


Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 1-3 Norwich City

Ben Nkrumah’s fantastic save in the first half taking out the opposition player.  Conor Adams’ great chance in the second half. Good passing teamwork from the players allowing Connor to slot the ball towards goal, but unfortunately the opposition keeper kept it out. Tom Williams’ goal from a short corner from a great pass from Pedro and a hard hit from Tom to finish it off.


Boys u14 Sunday 10/11/13

NDHC Under 14 Boys played against a very good looking Norwich City side.
The first few minutes were well balanced with a couple of half chances to either team. It was City who struck first and they went on to dominate the first half, scoring 6 goals to Dragons’ one, despite the great defensive efforts of Andy Carver and James Hansell. Dragons goal was a powerful strike from the top of the D by Ben Watson.
At half time Ali asked us to try and maintain possession more in the second half, and be stronger in our tackling. We defended well, and had a lot more chances. We scored a second goal through a good finish by Pedro at the back post. Despite our hard work City did manage to score 3 further goals to make the final score 9-2.
Well done to everyone on their hard work.

Dragons player of the match was James Hansell.


Hoof table as at 09/11/2013

Position Team Hoof Average
1 Mens 5s 4.13
2 Ladies 1s 2.78
3 Ladies 2s 2.67
4 Mens 1s 2.44
5 Mens 3s 2.22
6 Ladies 5s 2.00
7 Mens 2s 1.89
8 Ladies 3s 1.86
8 Boys’ Development 1.86
10 Ladies 4s 1.57
11 Mens 4s 1.44
9 Girls’ Development 1.33
13 Ladies 6s 1.14