NDHC League Match Reports: 10/12/2016

Women’s East Hockey League Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 1s 3-5 Wapping 1

Norwich Dragons Ladies 1s travelled to The Olympic Park for Captain Rachel King’s final game before heading off to work in Chile.

Dragons were keen to send King off with a win in their last game before the Christmas break and started brightly with a few short corners, one of which was fired into the goal by King, but was slightly too high to be allowed.

This made the visitors even more determined and after soaking up pressure from Wapping, managed to take the lead in open play through Hayley Toleman.  A second goal came from a short corner which King picked up at the top of the D and showed her skills to beat a couple of defenders before Liv Sumpter was on hand to dive full stretch and put the ball in the back of the net.  Dragons looked to be heading into the halftime break two goals to the good, however more pressure from the home side lead to a short corner in the last minute of the half which was blocked on the line illegally and the resultant penalty flick was converted, reducing the halftime lead to 2-1 to Dragons.

In the second half Wapping played the better hockey and with another penalty flick brought the scores level at 2-2 and went on to take a 5-2 lead.

With just 30 seconds on the clock the King/Sumpter combination secured a consolation goal for Dragons with some fine individual skill from
King down the left finishing with a ball across the goal that Sumpter threw herself at to force the ball home to make the final score 5-3 to Wapping.  A disappointing final game for a great Captain in Rachel King, however the girls were able to raise a smile for their last Team Photo together after the game before an emotional farewell.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 9-0 Norwich Dragons 4

The second Dragons’ intra club league fixture for the Empresa Norfolk Premier division was played in perfect hockey conditions on an unusually mild weekend for December. It was also played in understandably excellent spirit.

The 4s came out donning dragon tattoos and festive glitter,  but the war paint was not enough to upset the 3s on their current run of wins, with text book hockey on display. They started the game with the first push,  but the 3s were quickly on top of them,  stealing possession,  and taking command of the midfield.

It was not long into the game when the goals started to flow,  following lots of short sharp passing,  and perfectly weighted balls up the lines on either side of the pitch for forwards Caroline Wolfe,  Katie Mckenna and Sian Lawrie to run on to.  One such ball was picked up by Mckenna on the right,  driven along the back line and slipped to Sian Lawrie to finish,  slotting the ball past keeper Alice Smith.

The second for the 3s came from a short corner. The injection out to Wolfe at the top of the D was slipped left to Sian Lawrie, and a strong strike from there found the backboard.

The third came from a goal mouth scramble,  with Lauren Lawrie tapping in from a metre off the line.

Number four followed for Lauren after an initial shot from the top of the D by Debs Smith. Lauren picked up the rebound from the keeper’s pads, and with a deft spin,  she found the gap between the keeper’s legs.

The 3s recycled play out and around the whole of the pitch,  utilising the space of the defensive players Carmel Windsor-Waite,  Sarah Wagstaff and Angela Murgatroyd. The ball was moved up through the midfield using pivots Claire Canning and Smith, out to Natasha Falzon on the right and Hazel Sumner on the left, with ease.

The fifth goal resulted from another short corner,  slipped by Wolfe again to the left,  this time to Mckenna. Her strike found the keeper,  but Lauren Lawrie poached the ball on the rebound to score from her new favourite position on the floor in front of goal.

Number six came from another goalmouth scramble,  with Lauren getting the final touch.

After half time,  and a cheeky round of Christmas Port,  the 3s maintained control of the majority of possession. Simple passing from the half way line found Debs Smith,  who carried the ball to the D,  finishing elegantly for number seven.

The eighth goal came from Mckenna,  following lots of short triangular passing,  the finish from just one metre from the line.

The final goal,  and Lauren’s fifth of the match,  again came from her being on the deck. Some new astros required perhaps?

The 4s should be commended for their persistence. They did penetrate the 3s defence from time to time during the second half,  gaining a couple of short corners. However,  goalkeeper Emma Cleland was first to the ball and,  together with the 3s defensive line,  cleared any shots with ease.

Lauren Lawrie was the 3s man of the match for her magnificent haul of five goals.

Final score,  9-0 to the 3s

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 4s 0-9 Norwich Dragons 3

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 5s 3-3 Pelicans 2

The 5’s started really well and continued to do so throughout the 1st half. The passing between the team was very well composed, and great communication throughout, we had pelicans under pressure at all times. Special mention to Amy, Beth, Lizzie and Fletch for stepping up to play with us, especially to Fletch who set up the first two goals. Harriet got herself into an amazing position to have the ball passed to her to score a 3rd goal with great composure. Lizzie was set to score another goal but unfortunately was taken out by one of her team members! So the half time score was 3-0 to us.

The 2nd half didn’t go to plan from the start and pelicans came out much stronger and more organised than the first half. This threw us a bit, along with some strange decisions made by the umpires, and a couple of sending off’s – this unsettled the team and the final score ended 3-3.

But if I was to comment on the performance of the team,  I would say that they were absolutely amazing and it was good hockey played by all team members, especially in the first half, and great team spirit.  Proud to have captained them for the match, and they gave great support to me, thanks guys

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

Ladies 6s hosted an overcast but mild afternoon push-back at the Den to Pelicans 3s. The Dragons team was a combination of fresh faces and 6s regulars: in the absence of captain Beth Elgood, VC Ginny Simpkin stepped up to deliver a new substitution tactic and motivational talk to the slightly deflated team. Sue Brumby provided festive cheer in the form of elaborate Christmas hats and bells to wear during the warm-up (and for the end-of-half-season team photo), which every Dragon got into the spirit and jingled their way around the pitch.

Luisa Valentini return to the 6s goal, supported by Katy Saide, Hannah Woods and Kate Atkins who provided an experienced line of defence. Ginny Simpkin formed the bottom of the diamond with Hannah Edwards holding the top, Rosie Skipp to the left and Nic Robinson on the right. Lilly Soare, Sue Brumby and Mia McGhee formed a tenacious attack – all were goal-hungry and keen to pressurise Pelicans.

Mia scored early on, giving the 6s an all-important boost of confidence. Sue Brumby utilised her boundless energy and powerful crossing ability to ensure that balls were fed in from the right with Lilly making numerous attempts on the reverse stick – unfortunately the Pelicans’ defence denied us further goals.

Jodi Rump substituted Lilly and made herself available to receive and drive on the left-hand side, but again faced pressure from the defence and could not break through. Beth Coates and Sophie Thurtell came on for the wingers: a fresh set of legs meant that Dragons continued to make attacking plays with confident stick-work from Beth and nimble runs from Sophie. Rosie then replaced Sue upfront, who worked hard to keep the ball in Dragons possession.

Luisa dominated her goal and confidently stopped the Pellies in their tracks, with decisive defensive sweeps and tackles by Hannah W and Katy, with Kate always looking for the break and sending balls back on the attack. However, Pelicans were carried by a nimble, skilful and fast player who evaded the defence to score on the reverse stick. Dragons lost their footing slightly after restarting, and the same player broke free to score again in quick succession.

A half-time pep talk, fuelled by Fruit Pastilles, prepared the Dragons to return with renewed energy and tactics. Hannah E kept side-by-side with the Pelicans’ key player, ensuring that she did not have the space to receive the ball comfortably or to shoot. Beth took the top of the diamond supported by Rosie and Jodi to her sides. Lily, Sue and Mia maintained their hunger and kept themselves in spaces ready to receive the ball – Lilly took a well-aimed strike from the edge of the D to put Dragons level. Sue was waiting perfectly on the post to maintain our presence but luckily was not needed. Sophie took position on the left and communicated well with those around her and made her presence known to the Pelicans by interfering with hit-outs and their attempts up the wing.

Pelicans again relied on their key player, getting the ball to her was interrupted by Hannah E, but by leaving her side momentarily to approach another player, the ball ended up back in a dangerous position and Pellies took the lead.

Frustrations began to heat up as Pelicans players had been performing some questionable tackling throughout the game, which eventually resulted in Hannah E being sent to the ground, receiving no free hit but a bloody knee. Shortly after this, a further tackle through Hannah’s legs took her down again, with the momentum from her run with the ball resulting in a full 360o roll. Acrobatics aside, Dragons continued to send the ball into space, with the forwards keen to get a goal. Hannah E, now in the centre-forward position, made two further attempts to score from short corners but managed to take herself to the floor both times – the bambi syndrome was blamed on the wet surface on this occasion. Pellies appeared to draw backwards to defend, but one ‘clearance’ struck the foot of Sue from point blank range. She handled the pain well and converted her annoyance into tenacity: scoring a goal was revenge enough and drew Dragons even.

The game ended jubilantly for a Dragons side who found their scoring feet (not literally) after a dry spell and happy in the knowledge that everyone worked hard individually and worked well as a team. PoM was a split across several players once again, but the vote was awarded to Hannah E. DoD also went to Hannah E for her inability to stay standing.

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons A 4-1 Norwich Dragons B

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons B 1-4 Norwich Dragons A

After a good warm-up, the dev boys B team approached the match very positively. They had a lot of possession, communicated well and defended well against attacks from Dragons A. Despite this, Dragons A managed to get 3 goals past them, all aerial goals, so difficult to defend against.

Mac had a brilliant chance when he sped clear of defenders, heading for goal, all by himself. The defenders caught up with him and he tripped, which meant the ball could be cleared.

Dragons B continued playing strongly and had a few shots just off target, but then with a scramble near the goal, Mac caught the keeper and defenders off guard and scored.

Dragons B played well to the finish and the game ended 4-1 to Dragons A.

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 9-0 Dereham