NDHC League Match Reports: 10th February 2018

TeamDateOppositionH/ATimeScoreScorersPlayer of Match
L1s10/02/18West Herts 1H13.302-3 (L)Emma Tabrett
Stacey Lee
Sophie Mullan
L2s10/02/18Nth Norfolk 1A13.002-3 (W)Harriet Green
Kate McKenna
Jess Bennett
Kiera Goymour
L5s10/02/18Low Railway 1H10.45P-P
L6s10/02/18Breckland 1H12.306-0 (W)Amy Forse x2
Gemma Bullard x2
Harriet Rant
Jane Wells
Anita Mancini
Jade Blanchflower
L7s10/02/18Magpies 7A10.303-1 (L)Mia McGheeJoanna Jennings
M1s10/02/18St Ives 1A14.004-2 (L)Rupert Snelling
Josh Wiggins
Patrick Gordon
M2s10/02/18Newmarket 1H11.45P-P
M3s10/02/18UEA 2A13.003-3 (D)Al Browne x2
Matt Hull
Matt Hull
M4s10/02/18Nth Norfolk 2H15.155-0 (W)Jon Price
Will Ives
Rich Phillis
McCartney Aldous
Adrian Kemp
Neil Shorten
M5s10/02/18Low Railway 2A14.303-0 (L)James King
M6s10/02/18City 7H10.00P-P


Women’s East Hockey League, Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 1s v West Herts 1s:  2-3



Women’s East Hockey League, Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons Ladies 2s v North Norfolk 1s:  3-2

The horizontal rain and near freezing temperatures came earlier than forecast to North Norfolk, to greet the teams during their warm-up! Dragons welcomed Hannah Ellis to the squad for the second time this season, for this 3rd v 4th battle, in what is turning out to be a tight and intriguing League.

The early possession was with the visitors, with Gail Thomas, Shelly Seaman and Jess Bennett all linking up well in the middle. Kiera Goymour on the right of midfield and Harriett Green and Hannah Ellis on the left, were breaking down play well and setting up the attacks, however despite the possession, Dragons couldn’t create many clear cut chances.

North Norfolk always threatened on the break, particularly through their quick right forward, however the back line of Ismay Whitaker, Sophie Barrow, Shelly Seaman and Karen O’Neill Simpson were making strong, low tackles to frustrate their opponents. The home team earned short corners of their own, one of which was converted at the far post, giving Dragons Keeper Luisa Valentini no chance; giving the home team took a 1-0 lead. Undeterred Dragons continued to apply the pressure, with Jess Bennett going on one mazy run beating a number of players before firing a cross / shot to the far post, which went inches wide. Other attacks  saw Kiera Goymour fire some excellent balls down the line, which the forwards couldn’t quite get on the end of.

Dragons knew they needed to improve in the 2nd half, with words of wisdom from their freezing sideline support, they set out determined to turn their possession into goals. This they did, with their first goal coming following good work between Jess Bennett and Gail Thomas, Thomas found Hannah Hardy in the D, whose initial shot was saved by the GK, however Kate McKenna was in prime position to slot the loose ball home for the equaliser. This spurred the visitors forward, Player of the Match Kiera Goymour found Hannah Hardy on the right, who waited (and waited) for Jess Bennett to make her late run into the D, where she picked the pass up on the run and still with plenty to do, smashed the ball past the GK for a 2-1 lead.

As the clock ran down the game got tighter, both teams at times giving away cheap possession, possibly understandable in the freezing conditions. Both had short corner opportunities, but with around 7 minutes to go, Dragons scored a 3rd goal, following a strike by Goymour from a short corner, which was initially saved, however this time Harriet Green was in the perfect position to pick up the rebound, and with composure turned and slotted home.

North Norfolk weren’t about to give up though and with the clock running down, they stole possession from Dragons just beyond the 25 yard line and following a good move, the ball was picked up in the D and clinically fired in on the reverse into the corner, a fine goal. Sadly for the home team it was too late to change the result, as Dragons didn’t have time to restart the game and so took the 3 points. Another excellent competitive game by both teams which was played in good spirit and very well umpired.



Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 3s – no fixture



Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 4s v – no fixture



Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 5s v Lowestoft Railway 1s:  P-P


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Division 2
Norwich Dragons Ladies 6s v Breckland 1s:  6-0

Ladies 6s started their top of the table clash with Breckland with much confidence. Moving the ball and playing possession Hockey was going to be te key in this game.

The forward line didn’t give up. Amy Forse, Gemma Ballard, Harriet Rant and Jess Vernon made sure they chased down every ball, really putting the pressure on Breckland.

This came with great support from mid-field. Anita Mancini proved pivotal at top of diamond, picking out some great passes allowing the forwards to fill the D and earning joint POM with bottom of the diamond Jane Blanchflower. Jade filled the centre of the pitch, putting in some great covering tackles.

Dragons made some great wide attacks – the wider midfield players of Jane Wells, Louise Brooks and Maisie Dearmer were gutsy and fought hard for every ball.

Defensively Hannah Woods, Kate Atkins and Stella Windsor Waite dealt with any pressure calmly and also managed to join in the attack.

Goalie Esther Jacobs giving some great for direction for movement of the ball and general play. She remained untested.

The final score of 6-0 represented Dragons determination. Any Forse and Gemma Ballard both getting two, Harriet Rant and Jane Wells getting one a piece.

Some huge strides forward in terms of team performance- some well worked short corners and excellent pressing of the ball. Special mention goes to Sarah Wagstaff whose guidance from the dugout meant that dragons were always on top!



Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Division 3
Norwich Dragons Ladies 7s  v Magpies 7s:  1-3

Once upon a time 13 enthusiastic Dragons – including two playing their first and second games for Dragons – agreed to play a match on a very cold and frosty slip date. Sportingly they even agreed to delay the pushback so that the match could take place. Unfortunately, there was to be no happy ever after ending. The collection of individuals doing their best got a bit of a smacking from the well-drilled Magpies on their home ground, thus avenging the 6-0 win the 7s scored earlier in the season.

There were some bright Dragons periods of play from midway in the first half onwards, as players began to find their team mates. This is the advantage of using the Dragons single system – players who attend training regularly have that basic understanding of how to get the ball from defence to attack. They know how to press a defence and understand the importance of passing smartly. However, the Dragons needed to do better in all departments. The defence fluffed more tackles than they usually do, and the nippy Magpies made more progress than they should have been allowed. Emily Roper was as busy as her opposite number and made some strong clearances, The Magpies opened the scoring with a very smart penalty corner – a defender got her stick to it with the keeper beaten, but it was so powerfully struck that it whistled in. That was a model penalty that the Dragons could not emulate at the other end in three attempts. Magpies other two goals were the results of the Magpies running strongly and the defenders not covering.

Joanna Jennings, making her debut and playing left mid was Dragons player of the match. She displayed quick thinking, quick feet and some quick neat passing. Emma Gillard at left back was close in the voting, and made a high percentage of her tackles. Emma North was back outfield for the first time for several games and notably made one lovely clean block followed by a low lift pass as her confidence grew in the game. The defence looked stronger in the second half when Becky Gallagher dropped to bottom of the diamond and encouraged the unit to stop ball watching and leaving the gaps in the middle.

Unfortunately, the midfield had to be virtually completely changed from the dominant unit of last week so it was not surprising that it took some time to rebuild the understanding of passing and control. Dragons scored when Bridget Le Good took a free hit from about half way. Mia McGhee dummied it and it went through to Katy Cole who collected and sent it across the D to Addi Kraemer who played an accurate cross for Mia to sweep home. As the game progressed, Dragons were able to string two or three passes together, but that wasn’t enough. The Magpies defence was too experienced and too wily to be beaten in the D by anything that was not spot on. Helen Mann, another new player, had some nice runs down the right. Tracey Stuart-Shepherd was a strong presence when she moved to the top of the diamond and Sophie James worked hard.

The 7s should have made much more use of Claire Fairhurst, who like Katy, ran her socks off and did a lot of useful collection on the left.  The 7s rely on getting a lot of ball into the circle and then in their percentage game any number of players can score – but again the wily Magpies managed to make the Dragons look slow to shoot.

This result was a dent to Dragons promotion hopes, but all is not lost. It just emphasises the importance of team play and understanding. The game gave a number of players the chance to show what they can do and everyone did her best and at least had the pleasure of getting the game on. The Super Sevens will get back to their super best again soon.



Empress Norfolk Women’s League, Division 3
Norwich Dragons Ladies 8s  v – no fixture


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 2N
Norwich Dragons Men’s 1s v St Ives 1s:  2-4

Dragons 1s headed to high flying St Ives with some new faces in the squad.

The game panned out as the league table would suggest as St Ives dominated possession and Dragons looked to soak up the pressure and counter attack. The host’s frustration started to show as wave after wave of attacks were held back by the away team.

The game plan played out perfectly as from two quick counter attacks, Dragons found themselves in front courtesy from goals by veteran Rupert Snelling and a first goal for Josh Wiggins for the men’s 1s.

Dragons went into half time two goals to the good. The half time team talk focused on carrying on the positives from the first half and taking the chances that would come our way.

Unfortunately, St Ives, a team renowned for their strength in short corners, were able to win a succession of them in the second half, scoring four, two of which were unstoppable top corner rockets.

Dragons came away from the game being able hold their heads up high as it a good performance, especially considering there were a few new faces in the team.

Man of the match was Patrick Gordon (who won rock, paper, scissors against Josh Wiggins after a tie) with another powerful display in defence.

The next three games are crucial as the men’s 1s are playing teams all within a few points of us as we look to secure division 2N hockey next year.



Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 2s v Newmarket 1s:  P-P


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 3s v UEA 2s:  3-3

Men’s 3’s were away to UEA 2’s who sit one above in the league. Dragons still need some more points to guarantee safety for next season. Unfortunately UEA scored in the opening minutes which put dragons on the back foot. Dragons started passing and got back into the game through an Al Browne reverse strike. It was an up and down game and UEA managed to find the net again however a cross into the UEA D saw Matt Hull execute a lovely finish to make it 2-2 at half time. Second half dragons were on top however UEA again managed to pull back a goal. But dragons passed well and pressed and Al Browne took it to a 3-3 finish. Unlucky not to win but a decent point with bottom of the table Sudbury next week at home.


Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 4s v North Norfolk 2s:  5-0

As we watched the previous game conclude there was a sense of foreboding as the wind picked up and the dark clouds rolled ominously in. Our vigorous warm up was mainly conducted in the dugout where Jones furnished the look of a apprehensive patient awaiting the dentist’s chair. The pre-match huddle was more akin to an attempt to find warmth, like penguins with their backs to the elements, rather than an analysis of any great tactical acumen.

The opposition came at us with vigour and aggression but the defence looked solid, Chris Millar confidently repelling the Northern marauders, with the familiar throaty refrain of the long absent David Pentin commanding and controlling with great effect. Our forward line was as sharp and incisive as a correspondent awaiting the Editor’s stinging knife. Will Ives soon benefiting from a fast, skillful, direct attack which he finished with cool aplomb. As half time approached Dragons had assumed control of the game when our beloved leader Jon Price pounced on a deflection to score a wonder goal at the far post with athleticism the belied his advancing years. Questions were asked whether or not a man wearing a comedy attire should be allowed on a hockey pitch, when it was pointed out that a player calling himself Paul Keating looked as though he had come directly from a low budget remake of Deliverance.

The half time team talk did not contain any Mourinio like pearls of wisdom as one would expect, but centred around the incredulity of witnessing Andy Carver’s sunburnt legs, and his ability to find yet more bizarre ways to fail to score from a short corner. Dragons began the second half in complete control and a fluky goal from the mercurial Adrian Kemp finished the game as a contest. With space opening up, and the opposition starting to fade, Dragons added two further goals from the extraordinarily skillful McCartney Aldous, whose stick;  apparently whittled from the same branch as Potter’s elder wand;  must surely be illegal, and the hard working and dominant Richard Phillis. Man of the Match was unanimously awarded to Neil Shorten, whose form since visiting Trump’s brave new world has been exemplary. Special mention must go to Isaac Diver-Hall whose progress since being forced to play with us has been a pleasure to witness, with his performance today surely deserving praise. Keen to learn about the history of the game he wondered if the game would have gone ahead on a traditional grass pitch. He asked if us older players preferred astro turf  to grass when Kemp who was not paying attention, was heard to mutter that he didn’t know as he had never smoked astro.

Our thanks must go to North Norfolk who played the game with spirit and sportsmanship and especially to the umpires who had to endure terrible conditions, did an excellent job, and without whom we would have been able to enjoy our pizzas and the rugby without having to thaw out first.



Men’s East Hockey League, Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 5s v Lowestoft Railway 2s:  0-3


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 6NE(N)
Norwich Dragons Men’s 6s v Norwich City 7s:  P-P

Norwich Dragons Hockey Club
Dragons Dev Boys A – no fixture  


Tuesday 13th February

Norwich Dragons Hockey Club
Dragons Dev Boys B v Norwich City:  4-4

We scored first with a goal from Ben Panter. The first half was going well, we defended well until Norwich slipped one past us. A short corner saw us come back with a tap from Tommy Gale- 2:1. Dragons were enjoying this game. Finn Pond played a great game and saw off a potential goal in the top corner. Great save Finn. We were 3 :1 up at half time with Charlie Creasy getting it past the Norwich keeper.  The game wasn’t the same after half time. Norwich City changed their tactics and the ball just didn’t seem to flow for us. It was soon 3:3 and after what seemed a long second half and an end to end match, Tommy Gale scored 4:3. The game was back on and Norwich City upped the antic, but again Finn did an amazing save. One minute from the end, Norwich City scored and leveled with a 4:4 draw. Good game.


Norwich Dragons Hockey Club
Dragons Dev Girls v  – no fixture