Norwich city centre hockey club, fun, friendly and competitive

NDHC League Match Reports: 10/10/2015

Women’s East Hockey League East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 3-3 Maidstone

On a very wet Saturday morning, Dragons welcomed Maidstone to the Den, which on form, looked like it was going to be a very close encounter.

Luckily for the few spectators the rain dried up and the game began with Dragons on the front foot. The team, determined to learn from last week’s performance, were sharp from the off thanks to a good warm up from the NI girls. However, it was the visitors who made the breakthrough first through a powerful short corner strike. Dragons were not deterred and pushed forward, player of the match for the second week running, Rachel King, was instrumental   in attack and it was her run to the baseline and pull back which allowed Hayley Toleman to sweep the ball goal wards and for Marie James to tap in at the post to equalize. Nothing more than the Dragons deserved.  The home side continued to push forwards and went ahead thanks to a short corner of their own.  King dispatching a clever reverse stick shot through the keeper’s legs to give the Dragons the lead at the half time break.

The second half saw Maidstone inevitably push forward looking for an equalizer but strong defending from Niamh Lowe Davis and Hollie Limmer kept them at bay. The travelling side did find the net after another well worked short corner to level the game again. Credit to Dragons as once again they stayed focused and a great interchanging of passes resulted in another short corner. Great play from Emma Tabrett and Rachel King allowed Marie James to sweep in her second of the game and put the Dragons in front. In this end to end game, the visitors still didn’t give up and after a short corner was awarded, they levelled the game again with just a few minutes to spare.

The Dragons performance was much improved after last weeks and although disappointed with a draw, will head to Cambridge in search for their next 3 points.

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

Dragons arrived at Perse School in good time to be treated to some National League hockey between Cambridge City 1’s v Maidenhead on the pitch before their game. The conditions at Perse were perfect for hockey, having left the Den in much cooler / wetter conditions.

Once again Captain Karen O’Neill-Simpson gave a really positive team talk, the team warmed up well and looked sharp in their attack v defence. As the game got underway, Dragons started brightly, dominating the first 10 minutes and having a couple of half chances on goal, through great work from Marcy Windsor-Waite on the right and Laura Shreeve, taking on Cambridge City defenders at pace.

City grew more into the game however and started to force a number of short corners. Dragons were grateful that they had spent time practising their short corner defensive routine, and had much better understanding as a unit with Capt O’Neill Simpson calling the formation. Amy Forse in Goal, Ally Windsor-Waite, Rowie York-Smith and Sophie Thomas were working well together to break down the many set pieces that Cambridge were earning.

The teams went into the break all square, with Dragons always looking threatening on the break, but having to defend well as a team.

Second half saw more of the same – with Gail Thomas strong in the tackle and breaking down play at left mid, Aoife Lowe Davies at top of the diamond was working tirelessly and Pip Howes playing both left and right mid, working hard to support both the attack and the defence. It was however, the defence that needed to stand firm and that they continued to do, being well protected by Pollyanna Watson and Karen O’Neill Simpson who combined well together, infront of the defence and with some great saves from Amy Forse.

Dragons always threatened on the break and one such effort saw the girls from Norwich High School combine perfectly – the ball was worked from the left to Pollyanna Watson in the middle who swiftly moved the ball on to Pip Howes wide right, her pinpoint pass found Dragons Player of the Match, Aoife Lowe-Davies in space at the top of the D. Lowe-Davies calmly struck the ball low into the bottom corner, giving the keeper no chance.

From here, the pattern of the match continued with Cambridge City pressure and short corners galore, but Dragons breaking quickly and having a couple of further decent chances to put the game out of sight. However, 1-0 turned out to be enough, despite one further short corner on the final whistle, which Dragons defended with real determination.

A true team performance, it wasn’t always pretty and needed every player to dig deep and simply work for each other. With this continued spirit and workrate, Dragons are proving they belong in this higher league, and look forward to next week’s home fixture against Wisbech.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 5-4 Norwich City 3

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 0-1 Thetford

Dragons Ladies 4 suffered their first defeat this Saturday to the hands of Thetford Ladies. It was a very wet morning and playing conditions were very different to those of our previous four wins.

Despite being briefed prior to the game on our opponent, Dragons still let Thetford dictate the pace of the game. The game was fairly evenly matched with Dragons having the lion share of possession. Unfortunately possession doesn’t necessarily win you matches, and Thetford scored after a big hit out of midfield found a high forward. The initial shot was stopped but confusion and a moment of indecisiveness enabled Thetford to take another shot and this time they scored. That was to be Thetford’s only shot of the game, but enough to give them the points.

At the other end of the pitch Dragons won four short corners, but were unable to draw level. The forwards lacking the killer instinct that had netted them 20 goals this season.

Midfield tried their best to match Thetford, however we didn’t seem to be able to move the ball wide as we had in previous matches, and the forwards struggled to use their pace to move around the visitor’s defenders in the driving rain.

Back to the drawing board for next week’s home game against Norwich City 4.

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

A bright and early start away to Gresham’s for our game against Evergreens.  Evergreens had first push back as we opted to not have the sun in our eyes.  The Dragons pushed off quickly to retrieve the ball and with Holly Bailey at top of the diamond it didn’t get far before being slotted into the D.  It was picked up quickly by Den Howes who cracked off a strike between the opposition keeper’s legs.  As it struck the back board we all cheered.  The Dragons reformed and again set off to pick up the ball, the midfield players Rachel Bruce and Laura Hansell showed their speed running the ball wide and then bringing it back round the opposition into the D.  With Zara Howes and Megan Farrant dodging the opposition in the D, a scrabble for the ball resulted in a short corner.  It was injected by Zara and struck by Den rebounding off the keeper, to be collected again and this time Den again struck it into the goal.  Hurrah we were 2-0 up but then our play became rather sluggish and we seemed to drop to the pace of the opposition.  The defence team of Emma Buxton, Freya Clogan and Jess Tye-Leech didn’t have much work to do so pushed up the pitch but were quick to pick up the opposition.  Jess had a lovely drive forward to bring the ball and dodged the opposition.

At half time talks the Dragons knew that we needed to up the pace, push wide and be first to meet the balls if we were to keep increasing the goal difference.  Whistle blew and off we charged with more pace and gusto.  Mel Widdows held solid at the bottom of the diamond intercepting the ball and passing it along to Holly, who had several cracking shots in the D.  Passing one out wide to Den, who swept it across the goal, where Lisa Harwood tapped it in, watching it roll in slow motion over the line.  The Dragons were pushing high ready for more goals, Zara was using her speed and skill calling for the ball into the corner of the pitch. She passed the ball into Lisa who slapped another through the keepers legs.  Chiara Bond was on hand in midfield to stop any opposition balls and her agility meant not much got past with several low tussles.  The final goal was a cracking shot from Megan across the D, Rachel was on the post to help it in and both weren’t sure who actually got it in the goal.  Another win!!! Final score 5-0.  Some lessons for the next game being vocal on the pitch, and being first to the ball as we have got some tough games ahead and we need to get the techniques right now.  Thanks to Alice for keeper support even though she was bored, birthday girl Freya for the princess cake and team organiser Chiara.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s 0-5 Herlings

Dragons suffered their expected significant defeat on the grass at Herlings, and as usual when life is tough circumstances combined to make it tougher still. Just as 6s thought their squad was settling, they needed Ginny Simkin, Dani Winteringham, Frankie Paul and Kat Speirs to help from the 7s, and they stood up very well to the onslaught. Giselle Nieuwoudt was available for the first time this season, and made a string of outstanding saves which earned her the POM award. Giselle saved shots from every angle, from top right to bottom left, including massive deflections from her own defence, and at time just had to hurl her body at the ball. Herlings swept into a 4-0 lead in the first half, getting to the ball first, keeping it  strong on the stick and making all their strokes firm. Dragons gradually began to cope with the erratic bounce and protected  their own feet, and Gill Walker, Lucy Morton, Beth Elgood and Sarah Norman made an impact in midfield.

However, Dragons seldom penetrated the attacking circle, where Kat Speirs and Lois McGregor were waiting to pounce but seldom received the ball. In the second half, Dragons did very well to confine Herlings to just two more goals when they had the downhill slope. Jo Eke and Bridget Le Good concentrated on defensive duties, clearing the ball as hard and wide as they were able with Katy Saide making  some brave tackles in the centre. This game was a good opportunity for Dragons grit their teeth and practice some essential basic skills, but they will be glad to get back to their passing game at the earliest opportunity.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 3-0 Mapies 7 (Magpies conceded)

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

After an improved against UEA the previous week, Norwich Dragons Mens 1s were keen not to waste their journey into the Fens, hoping to tot up their first points of the season.

A much improved first-half performance lead to a string of strong passing moves from the Dragons, showing a previously non-existent patience and calmness in building attacks.  After Lloyd Sayer and Henry Laming both saw chances head just over the bar, eventual Man of the Match Mark Flatman scored his first league game of the season, with a fine reverse stick finish from Cley Hamilton’s assist.  Keen not to let their opponents off the hook, the Dragons scored another quite quickly, when Flatman returned the favour to Hamilton, to finish calmly into an empty net.

Peterborough’s fast and effective forwards merged to get a goal back from a short corner and the score at half-time was 2-1.

After a rousing team talk from Captain George Walker, returning to action for the first game of the seasons, the Dragons managed to extend their league after Ollie King finished from close range into the bottom corner.  The two-goal lead seemed to spur Peterborough on and Dragons started to panic.  Only strong defending from the solid Olly Buck, Rich Smith, Mitch Smith and Lloyd Sayer prevented Peterborough from scoring quickly.  Sustained pressure mixed with a lack of possession from the Dragons, resulted in Peterborough scoring a second to make the final 10 minutes a nervous period for the Dragons.  Only some good saves from Robbie Bell and a goal line clearance form Henry Laming meant the Dragons managed to take 3 points back with them to Norwich.   

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Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 7-2 Newmarket 1

Dragons had what, on paper, was probably one of their strongest possible teams available for this division 3NE game against the previously unbeaten team from Newmarket. Early confidence lead to a good start, but it was the visitors who scored first, slightly against the run of play. However, more good passing hockey let the home side settle the nerves with 2 quick goals before a goal a piece ended the first half with a cagey 3-2 lead to Dragons.

As Newmarket legs tired and the Dragons players controlled more and more of the ball, a number of good chances were created and a decent number of these were converted to end the game 7-2. The match itself got a little bit fractious towards the end, but the younger Dragons players showed good composure and commitment to drive home the victory. Goals were from Watson (2), Rutledge (2), Moulson, Gosling and Jenkins. Man of the match was young Ben Watson, but notable performances also came from Gordon-Brown, Tom Harris and Rohan Kaushal

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

A later game this week saw Dragons play local rivals City 3s.  Dragons were looking to obtain their first points of the season and to get the ball rolling in their 3NE campaign.

City started strong and were pressing Dragons well.  Superb defending by Dragons kept City at bay for much of the first half.  Keeper Dim IVES was called upon to make some stylish saves, particularly from a number of City short corners, earning himself man of the match this week.  Jon GOODSON, Peter DAVISON, Graeme SMITH and James GOODSON worked well as a unit, breaking down the City attack and getting the ball out to midfield.  Towards the end of the first half, Dragons started to get the ball moving, and had their best chance of the half when Stu KELLY was unlucky not to score from a bobbly ball.

The second half continued in much the same way, though the game stretched out more, and Dragons had more attacking chances.  Tim ALLEN, Ben HARVEY and Dan RYAN all played well on the wings, leading to Dragons near goal, when RYAN crossed the ball and HARVEY was unlucky to nick the ball in.  John IVES looked deadly on the left, making some good linking passes with the midfield and forwards.

City continued to press and were strong coming forward, resulting in a goal, which put Dragons on the back foot.  Pressing higher, Rob GOODSON turned up the pressure and linked up well with Adam SAYER, who was unfortunate to have a shot saved by the keeper.  Forwards, Will KIRBY and Geoff ROBERTS also were unlucky not to have more chances, as City defended well.

Time was ticking and Dragons were eager to get an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be.   A hard-fought game, where Dragons mustn’t be disheartened as this was a good performance against a well-drilled opposition.

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

The 4’s started, what would turn out to be a drenched game of hockey, with a strong team all over the pitch, subject to a few last minute changes. Both teams started at a similar pace, trying to settle into a mould, with dragons having the better of the first 10 minutes with strong and intrusive runs up the left by Alberto Embardo and up the middle by Rob Jenkins. A fair amount of back and forth hockey ensued, eventually resulting in a Pelicans goal. Dragons, undeterred by the goal, struck back within minutes, from Nick Turner. The rest of the half played out with continuous back and forth, with some solid defending at the back from Neil Shorten and Dave Pentin and the half finished 1-1.

The second half, which turned out to the be the wettest half, was dominated by a mixture of Pelicans attacking strong up the middle and Dragons pushing the side lines and counters. Persistence eventually paid of for Dragons, after many close opportunity’s, Adie Kemp popped up in the middle of Pelicans D and with a smooth stroke, placed the ball past a strong keeper, for Dragons the take the lead. Pelicans pushed hard, testing the Dragons defense and eventually won the only short corner of the game (which went on to be restarted 3 times) however Pelicans were unable to capitalise. Strong movement and running from Ali Smyth brought many opportunities to Dragons and eventually from an advantage the ball fell free to Will Ives, to slot through to an open Alberto Embardo for a simple, but crucial finish the put the game out of contention. End result 3-1 Dragons, worked hard and earned it.

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

Dragons Men’s 5s made the short trip to Taverham for the local derby against Norwich City. In a game that was largely a tale of two keepers, Norwich City scored 3 first half goals, the first a tame shot that unfortunately beat keeper Robert Coyle at the near post. Two from short corners followed, one taking an odd deflection that beat Andy Carver on the post.

A rousing halftime talk from captain Adrian Howes meant Dragons came out strong at the start of the second half. Unfortunately, another short corner goal left the score at 4-0 and try as they might, Dragons could not get past the Shrek-themed keeper at the other end. There was some great midfield play from Dragons and tireless work up front from Alan Quinton but that final shot was lacking and City just looked like a more settled team on the day. Torrential rain ended the game as a spectacle early in the second half. A tough loss from a game where I’m sure Dragons had more than 50% of possession.

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

Dragons Men’s 6s made the long trip to Sudbury for a late afternoon pushback. Another new-look team never really settled and Sudbury were quickly ahead. A quick free hit left Dragons outnumbered at the back and set the scene for a difficult day at the back, our defence often outnumbered and under pressure. Sudbury were very quick on the break and had a forward who made no mistakes and punished us time and again. It was very clear that this was a Dragons side that had not played together and was struggling to gel as a team.

It was 3-0 at half-time and Dragons knew more organisation and quicker passing was required. A more organised Dragons attacked much better in the second half, with superb goals from Rob Lee and George Bowman a just reward for plenty of pressure. Unfortunately, the quick breaks continued and Sudbury ran out 7-2 winners.

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Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 0-2 Magpies

On Saturday boys dev played Magpies at Harleston. We knew they had a strong team from previous years and it would be difficult. However we were still very confident as we had a very strong team.

For the first two quarters the two sides were evenly balanced and it didn’t look like either were really on top. Alex was very good in goal when needed and the whole team looked very good. However in the third quarter Magpies took the lead after a few blocked clearances caused there striker to find himself in the d to score, which was very unlucky. We threatened to equalise and were very unfortunate with a few chances, but right at the end Magpies scored again giving them a flattering scoreline of 2-0.

All in all everyone played very well, and we were unlucky to lose. I personally thought Tom Bailey was very good at sweeper, and Jose with his skills was brilliant to watch. However everyone played very well and should be proud of yourselves as i am. Well done to everyone.

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Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons v Lowestoft Railway

The standard of development hockey continues to improve and this was another exciting end to end match between two evenly matched teams with Dragons losing to a single goal scored in the third quarter. There were four new Dragons making their debut – Rosie Ellis, Charlotte Carr Ella Durrant and Nicky Dawson all fitted in quickly and can look forward to playing more of the game, and more matches, as their skills develop.  Dragons had most of the possession, and set up waves of attacks through Lucy Buxton, Harriet Marlee, Aditi Naik and Elloise Hipper, who continues to improve in every game. However, hard as Lily Sore and Alice Young ran with the ball or moved beautifully into space, the Rails defence just seemed able to pick up that last pass in the circle. Esme Potter was once again a rock in defence. The Rails goals was very well scored from a breakaway move down the right with a hard shot struck from the edge of the circle. Tilly Connors-Beckett in
goal capably dealt with everything else.