Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 2:2 Ipswich 2
Norwich Dragons secured their first point away from home on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Ipswich. Without Steve Woodward, the side welcomed back Nick Charlish and were delighted when Ed Smith, Rob Wagstaff, and Jason Wolfe all passed late fitness tests and were cleared to travel with the side.
Dragons started brightly, controlling possession on the slow Ipswich surface and forcing the home side to play largely on the break. Fullbacks Dave Sloman and Ali Smyth – a late addition to the travelling squad – were prominent pushing forward and it was through an incisive Smyth incursion that the breakthrough came, the fullback released down the left to drive in a devastating cross which birthday-boy Snelling deftly steered home. A second goal would have been just reward for the Dragons pressure and should have come when Turnbull, rarely even the bridesmaid, it seems, spurned a glorious chance. Instead it was Ipswich who bounced back with two quick, slick goals in a three-minute period just before the break, the first well-worked from an attacking side-line hit, the second a tap-in for an unmarked striker at the back-post following patient build-up play. Of the second goal coach Wagstaff lamented “you can work on your defensive structures all you like, but there’s no legislating for individual mistakes like that. Overstall’s put his hand up and we’ll give him a week off to reflect on the mistake. Most of all, though, I was pleased with the way the rest of the team rallied around him at a difficult time.” Asked whether it was a coincidence that both goals came when international Rutledge was off the pitch, Wagstaff added “Of course not. It’s just that he covers so much ground in a game that you think at some stage you should give him a chance to freshen up. In fact, he can go all day at that pace and next week we’re just going to have to give him the full 70 minutes. Particularly on the reverse-stick he sees things that no-one else does.”
For the second week in a row, Dragons found themselves 2-1 down at the break and for the second week they responded to the leadership team’s abrasive challenge. The equaliser came again from Snelling whose performance surely deserved a birthday hatrick, this time showing great composure to tuck home after sustained Dragons pressure. A succession of chances followed – to the irrepressible Charlish, Browne, Wolfe, two to outstanding wing-forward Knights. In the end, though, Dragons were lucky that such profligacy in front of goal wasn’t punished, as Ipswich continued to carry a threat on the break. They too spurned a string of good chances – and found Whiting again in excellent form in goal. Dragons might have felt it was to be their day when Whiting sent the Ipswich striker the wrong way from a penalty flick – awarded after the latest error from ice-hockey convert Overstall – and then saw centre-back Rich Smith pull off a clean tackle in the dying stages of the second half. In fact, though, it was Ipswich who finally went closest – crashing a fine short-corner routine against the bar in the final seconds leaving Dragons relieved and disappointed in something like equal measure when the final whistle went, happy, at least, with their first away point of the campaign against an experienced and disciplined Ipswich side.
Skipper Smith was full of praise for man-of-the-match Snelling: “watching that game, there’s no way you’d think he was turning twenty-one today, the maturity he plays with out there on the pitch. There are things we can work on in his game, but basically he’s going to be a very fine player if he keeps his head down and continues like this. I was sorry we couldn’t give him the three points today but for some players it’s the individual glory that counts in the end.”
Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 5:0 Holt Conceded
The return of captain George Walker inspired Dragons 3s in what was an emphatic return to winning ways over local rivals Norwich City.
First half goals from Adrian Kemp (see video clip here NDHC Mens 3s Adrian Kemp Goal v City 5s),Will Kirby and Matt Jenkins (see video clip here NDHC Mens 3s Matt Jenkins Goal v City 5s), ensured that Dragons entered half time with a comfortable lead. A brace from Adam Sayer and Ollie King sealed the victory after the break with the gloss fittingly applied by Walker, marking his return to action with the final goal.
After a scrappy opening exchange, Dragons began to create chances, applying pressure onto the City goal with some intelligent play from John Ives and Jon Goodson creating opportunities for the front three.
Meanwhile, the defence held a solid line anchored by the impenetrable Dave Pentin and Peter Davidson who were both well-supported in the wide areas from Henry Eades, Will Ives and Piers Gordon-Brown, restricting City to very few chances and ensuring that Robbie Bell had a quiet half in the Dragons goal.
City sensed they would need a goal to gain a foothold back in the game and began to hit Dragons on the counter with the tireless energy of man-of-the-match Sam Mann instrumental in keeping attacks at bay and getting Dragons back on the front foot.
The game was killed off with a succession of quick goals thanks to some trademark attacking passing and moving that carved space into the City defence.
City gained a consolation from the game with two fine short corners; one drilled into the bottom corner, the other a powerful flick into the roof of the net. This did nothing to dampen the spirits of Dragons who comfortably saw out the game and headed to the bar with that all-important first win of the season under their belts.
Photos from first half here.
Men’s East Hockey League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 3:2 Ipswich 3
Dragons entertained Ipswich 3rds who joined them in promotion last season as champions from Div 6NE. The game started brightly with Ipswich taking the game to Dragons.
A prolonged period of pressure from a dominant midfield saw them take the lead with a well worked move down the right, slicing the defence apart and slotting in past the advancing Dim Ives in goal.
Dragons were put under more pressure almost immediately but a resilient defence of Ray Hansell, Andy Webb and Rich Davis stood firm but when they were breeched, Dim in goal, pulled off a number of quality saves to keep Dragons in the game.
On a rare foray into the Ipswich ‘D’ Dragons were awarded a short corner which the evergreen Mike Banham slotted away. Ipswich still pressed and they too were awarded a short corner which resulted in them going into the break 2-1 up.
After the break and reshuffle, Dragons started the second half much brighter and soon began to take control of the midfield putting pressure on the Ipswich defence. Excellent runs by the Bens (Campbell and Harvey) started to pay dividends and Banham scored again from a short corner! Dragons could sense the tide had turned and kept working hard to find the winner which duly came when a combination of a defensive foot in the ‘d’ and some excellent advantage from the umpire saw the deflected ball wrong foot the Ipswich keeper and trickle into the goal.
Dragons then shut up shop and saw out the remainder of the game with an allround excellent team display. MOM Mike Banham
NDHC Mens 5ths had a full squad this week and it clearly showed in the result. An organised City side played well but constant pressure resulted in Dragons being 4 up at halftime. The second half was more controlled and good defensive organisation and work kept CIty out. the end result was a 7-0 win with the goals coming from Oli Brown x2 , Joel Lawrence x2 , Matt Collinge , man of the match Andy Saunders and Andrew Cross from some considerable distance.
Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N
Norwich Dragons 1s 3:1 Lincoln
Norwich Dragons continued their winning run by claiming a monumentous victory against giants Lincoln Ladies who were relegated from the Premier Division last season.
The Dragons were pleased to have striker Nat BEAL back who had been out for eight weeks through injury and also the squad welcomed Donna VAUGHAN and young Olivia THOMAS who both made their debuts for this top of the table clash.
This was definitely a game of two halves. Lincoln showed their strength and class marshalling the first half. The first fifteen minutes saw them put the visitors under an enormous amount of pressure. They tested and probed the Dragons defence but goalkeeper Freddie BRISCOE, Donna VAUGHAN, Maddie DENMAN and player of the match Sarah BORRETT showed that they were equal to them by keeping them at bay and all making some crucial clearances.
The Dragons remained calm soaking up the pressure and took the wind out of Lincoln’s sails by taking the lead against the run of play when Karen O’NEIL-SIMPSON found herself with only the goalkeeper to beat. The Lincoln keeper closed down well blocking the strike but the ball ricocheted back to O’NEIL-SIMPSON who squared the ball to Marie JAMES. The Lincoln defence were scrambling on the goal line but JAMES, with her back to the goal, improvised by knocking the ball between her legs into the net. This settled the Dragons and they began to find their rhythm steadily growing into the match and creating opportunities to increase their lead.
At the start of the second half the Dragons started the stronger of the teams and got their second immediately; JAMES driving the ball at the Lincoln defence before finding Nat BEAL in a fantastic position who was able to slam the ball into the net.
The Dragons were now in control but the match remained tight especially when Lincoln pulled a goal back. A fine finish saw the ball drilled into the corner of the goal just out of BRISCOE’S reach. With only a goal between the teams it could have been a nervous finish to the match but the Dragons retaliated and within minutes made it 3-1; a great individual effort by Rachel KING driving the ball down the left through the Lincoln defence and past the keeper.
Young Olivia THOMAS certainly didn’t look at of place making her first appearance for the 1st team displaying excellent composure on the ball and getting herself in some great positions; THOMAS even went close herself to scoring when she beat the Lincoln keeper and was unlucky to see the defender getting back just in time to clear.
KING thought she had scored her second of the match when she fired the ball into the net as a result of a well worked short corner routine but this was disallowed by the umpire who claimed he saw an infringement on the keeper. The Dragons felt aggrieved by this as they saw nothing wrong with the goal but showed great discipline and maturity by not reacting.
This was another excellent team performance; the squad showing a real togetherness and working tirelessly for one another. They soaked up the pressure in the first half in which the Dragons defensive line, with Lizzie MOULTON sitting in front, were excellent and the visitors were certainly the better of the two teams in the second half limiting Lincoln the opportunity to get anything from the match.
Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons 2s: 2:0 City 2
With both teams slightly depleted due to school fixtures, Norwich Dragons were able to demonstrate they have strength in depth, fielding a strong squad against Norwich City 2’s at the Den. Having made a good start to the season, Dragons were looking for a further 3 points to secure their 3rd place position.
Starting with an attacking formation, Dragons got off to the start they were looking for; following a couple of good attacks down the right hand side, the ball was fired across the goal, where Amy Brown was positioned in the right place, to coolly place beyond the keeper. City were not to be discouraged however, and pressed the Dragons defence – Ally Windsor-Waite was once again Dragons Player of the Match, mopping up defensively as well as making strong attacking runs down the right, causing the City defence all sorts of problems.
Having earned a number of short corners, Dragons finally made one count just before half-time, with Emily Rolls firing into the far post, possibly taking a deflection off the defenders stick, en route to goal. 2-0 at half time was probably a fair reflection of the game.
The second half saw Dragons continue to put pressure on the City goal, however a combination of some excellent goal keeping by City keeper Emma Dann and some poor finishing, meant the scoreline remained the same until the final whistle. Niamh Lowe-Davies worked tirelessly in midfield, along side Charly Burgess and George Stannett. Dragons dealt with the City attacks confidently, with Ruth Willmott, playing numerous positions on the day, and Angela Murgatroyd, building a good understanding in the centre of defence.
Dragons will be slightly disappointed, not to have built on their half-time advantage, however City worked hard and held them at bay. Whilst not their most fluent performance, Dragons have a good platform to build on, and should look to take this momentum forward, into next weeks tie away against Ely.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier League
Norwich Dragons 3s 2: 0 Magpies 4
Norwich Dragons 3s got back to winning ways with a comprehensive performance against Harleston 4s. In a frustrating first half Dragons had the lion’s share of possession but failed to convert this into clear-cut goalscoring opportunities. The Magpies’ defence smothered all Dragons’ attacking threat including a number of penalty corners.
The first ten minutes of the second half continued in the same pattern, but gradually play spread out and the game opened up. Veteran Lynne Price started to pull the strings from a deeper central midfield position and Dragons’ forwards began to stretch the Magpies’ defence. But the Magpies’ goalkeeper was proving hard to beat. Eventually the goals came from two penalty corners. The first followed a one-two between Caroline Wolfe and Price before Wolfe shot towards the left post. Again the keeper saved but Harriet Green pounced to force home the rebound from close in. The second came when Magpies could not clear their circle after the initial corner routine foundered. Wolfe reclaimed possession and laid the ball off for Debbie Santa Clara to apply a neatly flicked finish beating the unsighted keeper just inside her right-hand post.
13 year old Aoife Lowe-Davies, making her debut for the 3s was voted Player of the Match for her excellent display in midfield.
Photos from match here.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 1:1 Magpies 6
A fair result from a good match. These two teams were well matched and both played a clean, passing game of hockey. While Dragons dominated the first had, Magpies took the upper hand in the second.
Dragons started exceptionally well, moving the ball quickly across the pitch and into the D on numerous occasions, from which several short corners were obtained as players went in on goal. It was from one of these short corners that Sue Cross struck an excellent ball into the left hand corner, a keeper proof shot. The Dragons kept the pressure on time and time again in the first half, with Marcy Windsor Waite, Sophie Farrow and Holly Bailey all making excellent drives into the D only to be denied on the line by the goal keeper. Gemma Rump, Lorna Tavers and Natasha Falzon worked brilliantly in the midfield, moving the ball out wide and switching the play.
During the second half Dragons continued to work hard, but some of that initial zip seemed to be lost and while there were again some excellent opportunities to score we just couldn’t quite get the angle right or the pace was just a little bit off. Magpies took advantage of this and made more chances than in the first half. Their goal game 15 minutes in, a ball across the goal that was slotted in behind the keeper. Morag Morrison worked hard in goal during the second half making a couple of a remarkable saves, the most impressive being a lifted ball that she batted away with her stick!
Both teams were determined to try and turn a draw into a victory, but neither could manage it. Dragons should be pleased with this great team performance – passing was clean, the space was used and the whole game was more cohesive and controlled – this is probably why pretty much every player was nominated for PoM and so the team collectively was awarded the honour!
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 2:1 City 5
Norwich Dragons 5s truly deserved today’s 2-0 win against Norwich City 5s. The first half was a frustrating mix of chances for Dragons & Norwich City 5s putting up some excellent counter attacks. These were easily handled by our slick defence of Katie Buxton, Emma Buxton (Man of Match) and Jess Tye Leach. Excellent distribution from the bottom of the diamond (Lizzie McDonnell playing a little out of position) allowed the game to flow and some excellent passing up the wing by Chiara Bond & Rachel Matthews created some good chances. Despite these chances and frustrating misses (if the goal had been the target we would have been ahead) it was still 0-0 at half time.
Dragons came back strong as Rosie Korn went on a one woman mission to retrieve the ball from a hit out and then take on the goalie to score with a cracker of a shot. Continued pressure from dragons forwards with a rotation of of Lois McGregor, Izzy Woodcock, Lisa Harwood and Sarah Norman. In one short corner, Dragons were awarded a penalty flick, which Rosie Korn stepped forward to take. Unfortunately she did not score, however she recovered well and played the whole game with excellent skill & pace (and was a well deserved second for man of the match)
Some critical passes from Chiara Bond & Anja Finnegan made some great play and ball distribution but it was again Rosie Korn who slotted the final goal after a measured sweep from Lois McGregor. Norwich City 5s played some excellent balls through and they would have taken a less sharp defence and keeper by surprised but with the defence truly having mastered their pivoting & Alice Smith applying excellent concentration Norwich City 5s could not penetrate. Emma Buxton closed down anyone who came in her path (and other peoples when she would cover back with skill) and therefore deserved her man of the match award Overall a game to be proud of roll on next week’s game of survival on grass.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6s 0:1 City 6
Once again the challenges of availability meant that yet another batch of fledgling Dragons were released from the protective nest of the development team and thrown skywards into women’s league. And once again they all proved they could fly, and emerged smiling from a tough game insisting they are ready for more next week.
At this early stage of the season, the Dragons and City 6s are close in the league table, and both teams blend youth and experience. This time, City probably had the slightly more experienced squad and showed their ball carrying skills and speed of attack, but the Dragons proved capable of great resilience in defence. Goalkeeper Amy Forse stopped some hard shots and made excellent wide clearances. Even more importantly, she was able to direct the defenders to the area of greatest danger. Lottie Korn proved last week’s performance at right defence was no fluke and got in some great tackles. Jasmin Daniels was as powerful in left defence, and may be the player the 6s need to convert to the essential central defender role.
The dilemma for the Dragons was that without a central defender, they were open to raids down the middle, but packing their midfield was the only way they could press high and try to get the ball through to Claire Fairhurst, who had a couple of shots on target. They just fell short of being able to control the attacking midfield on this occasion, but with Flo Pond showing great speed and flexibility, and Jasmine Mansfield tirelessly battling away, they will do so in the future.
Helen Marsh and Katie Franks also demonstrated that they are serious contenders for places in defence, and in midfield Sophie James was successful in a defensive role and Sarah Norman did well going forwards. Ciara Willmott is very comfortable at this level, and seems to be a more confident player this season. Laura Hansell showed her flexibility and understanding of midfield roles, and was impressive.
The 6s would not have been able to manage without El Presidente on the sidelines to manage the subbing. The players were trying to build an understanding, but City’s forceful play and ability to take free hits quickly meant that the occasional wise word and frequent breathers were needed to keep the Dragons in the game. The goal had an element of the freakish about it. The team called Amy to leave a powerful hit from outside the circle, but the ball took the merest edge on a goal post, spun across the goal at a narrow angle and was swept back in for high centre forward Julia Marchant to score.
This was a most enjoyable game to play and the Dragons were right in it. As is to be expected, there are a few basics to work on – getting their sticks down and protecting their feet, taking free hits quicker – and reacting to the opposition who are doing the same. A lot more determination in the attacking circle is also needed, but it will all come with match experience and the opportunity to play together.
Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons: No Fixture
Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 1:0 Magpies
Hoof table as at 12/10/2013