NDHC League Match Reports: 15/10/2016


Photos from the day are shown here.

Women’s East Hockey League Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-2 Bedford 1

Norwich Dragons 1XI travelled to Bedford for a top of the table clash in East Premier. Dragons knew it would be a tough game with Dragons only leading the table by 1 point. The game began with great intensity and face pace. Bedford dominated the fist few minutes with Dragons defence being made to work hard.

Soon after, Dragons began to settle and play some nice fluent hockey up the pitch. Defensively, Sarah Jenkins stayed calm working the ball effortlessly wide to the midfield. Olivia Thomas looked confident and played some lovely passes to the forward line. After some great play, Dragons lost concentration momentarily and before they knew it Bedford had scored a brilliant deflection. Dragons continued their good spell however, and found themselves pressurising the Bedford defence. Stacey Lee received the ball out wide and drove to the circle and squared the ball across the face of the goal where Liv Sumpter, narrowly passed the ball past the post wide.  Dragons were dominating once more with some great play through midfield and exquisite 1-2 passing, effortlessly working the ball past all of the Bedford players. Marie James played a perfect ball to King near the top of the circle. King took the ball and easily reverse hit with a lot of power to the top left corner of the goal in which the keeper did not stand a chance. The game became end to end with both teams gaining chances and both teams determined to get the winning goal. Bedford’s home crowd were loud and continued to shout from the side-line  to encourage their team. Bedford responded by driving in to the circle and scoring a very average scuffle-type goal.

However, Dragons did not let the goal or crowd affect them as within two minutes, Rachel King found herself with Hayley Toleman heading towards the goal with a lot of space. King passed the ball wide to Toleman in the circle who flicked the ball coolly past the keeper only for it to skim the post and go wide with no Dragons player there to tap it over the line. For the next 10 minutes Dragons dominated but came to no avail and Bedford came away with the three points. All of the team played well and were disappointed not to come away with any points they felt they deserved.

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

With the sun shining and temperature rising both teams arrived at the Dragons Den knowing that 3pts was key for both teams. With a strong squad of 15, the Cambridge team looked up for the battle. Dragons welcomed Claire Canning into the team for her East League debut and welcomed back poet Laura Ward. The team also had coach Rob Wagstaff supporting them this week; the team warmed up well and were ready for the off.

Dragons started brightly, with a number of attacks in the firs 5 minutes, one chance created by Emma Tabrett and Laura Ward was bundled towards the goal by Hannah Hardy – goal line technology may have given a different verdict, but no goal was awarded. Dragons continued to put the visitors under pressure with Lara Taylor, Laura Ward, Sam Franklin, Danni Garwood and Claire Canning pressing well and pouncing on any opportunities.

Meanwhile the defensive team of Emma Cleland, Sarah Borrett, Kiera Goymour and Carmel Windsor-Waite, supported by Sophie Thomas and Karen O’Neill Simpson were dealing with any breaks from the Cambridge forwards. As the game wore on more chances were created, a great run by Laura Ward saw her pass a great ball to Hardy, who fluffed her lines in front of goal. The pressure was coming however and Dragons forced a couple of short corners, the first saw a strong drag flick from Emma Tabrett go agonisingly wide, the second resulted in a bit of a scramble in front of goal, which saw Sarah Borrett force the ball goalwards and as it made its way towards goal, Laura Ward got the all important touch to make sure.

With a slender lead at halftime, Rob and Karen called for more of the same, with perhaps upping things a little, as the feeling was the visitors were vulnerable if we put them under pressure. With Player of the Match Emma Tabrett continuing to drive the team forward through the middle, Dragons pushed on with more chances created through the lively Ward and with Lara Taylor back on the pitch, having returned from an earlier injury. Eventually the 2nd goal came, through Laura Ward squaring a ball to the back post, where Claire Canning had ghosted in to finish confidently for her first ever Dragons goal on her debut.

The game followed a similar pattern for the last 15 minutes – Cambridge had a good spell of pressure but the defensive unit worked well and deservedly kept the clean sheet. The final whistle blew, just as another chance went begging for the home team, but the points were secured.

Whilst the performance is probably still not quite where they would want to be, Dragons were pleased to put their first points on the board and give themselves a foundation to build on. Lots of hard work ahead and continued work in training from the team will ensure they get their rewards. Thanks to Rob for his sideline support and to the supporters for their encouragement for the whole team.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 9-1 Loddon 1

In the first 10 mins, Dragons started the match somewhat sluggishly, paying for this when Loddon opened the scoring, following a messy scramble in front of the goal, which Dragons failed to clear.  This seemed to galvanise the Dragons players who then started to play much better passing hockey, enabling their attack to make some driving runs into the D. Dragons eventually scored after another goalmouth scramble at the other end of the pitch, which Sian Lawrie finally managed to slot away. This seemed to settle the Dragons players, who began playing with much more confidence and desire, limiting Loddon to only a few attacks in the first half, which were easily dealt with by the Dragons’ defence.

The Dragons’ attack then took charge, scoring a further two goal before halftime, these coming from Catherine Longe & a second from Sian Lawrie.

After a focused half-time talk from Sarah Wagstaff, Dragons continued to keep the pressure on the Loddon defence, with goals coming in fairly quick succession: the score became 4-1 following some great passing between Debs Smith, Laura Goodbun and Catherine Longe, enabling Catherine to score her second goal, by putting the ball past the keeper into the right hand corner; the fifth goal came through a good finish by Caroline Wolfe after some great passing in triangles round the Loddon defence, culminating in a layoff from Katie Mckenna; a sixth goal, and Sian Lawrie’s hat-trick, came from a short corner which was slipped left to her and calmly but firmly put away;  the team’s seventh goal came from a well taken flick by Player Of The Match, Katie McKenna, after a Loddon foot on the line; the penultimate goal came again from a great run into the D by Catherine Longe and a feint, which fooled the keeper into covering the left, as the ball was slotted inside the right hand post, earning Catherine a hat-trick, the second for the team. The final goal came from a well worked short-corner, which was slipped right from Caroline Wolfe to Debs Smith, back to Caroline and, via a reverse underarm pass, on to a well positioned Sian Lawrie for her to score her fourth and the team’s ninth goal of the match.

The score line would have got into double figures if a Natasha Falzon flick, early in the second half, had not been well saved by the Loddon keeper, after the ball deflected off the stick and into the body of a Loddon player on the line.

Credit must also be given to Loddon’s outfield players, who continued to battle hard and had a few good attacks, despite the onslaught of Dragons.

The Dragons defence, like their attackers, played with confidence, providing good support to the teams’ midfield and forwards with some strong switching of play around the back and feeding the ball forward.

With a double hat-trick, it was a performance about which the whole Dragons team should rightly feel proud!

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 4s 0-5 Broadland 1

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

The weather report gives a 20% chance of good hockey weather in Thetford, so with the sun on our backs the Dragons were set for a game. Thetford were bottom of the table so would be hungry for a win, Dragons were conscious of playing like the previous game, playing and passing the ball as a team effort. Thetford came out strong and played in a style similar to Beccles, smashing the ball through players to get a pick up. Jemima Williams, Helen Marsh and amateur defender Lisa Harwood were constantly called into action. Guided at the back by a slightly croaky purple horned Alice Smith. Thetford had a strong midfielder who would run the ball down the wing and crack the ball across the D. The Dragons had to close this player down quickly, Vicky Earley with her usual speed and strike rate was on hand to do this. With Lynne Price at top of the diamond maintaining the formation, calling for the ball from Harriet Marlee on her debut for the 5’s and Catherine Matthews. The ball was soon worked into the opposition D. Jenna Inglis, Megan Farrant and Lucy Buxton were working hard to try and clinch that goal working the ball around, but a nifty Thetford defender was quick to clear the ball. The game was end to end and gave the 5’s a good work out. The first goal came from Megan Farrant picking up a deflection and slotting the ball into the back of the goal.

At half time the 5’s needed to get another goal to keep ahead and resist the advances of Thetford. Lynne asserted the need to hold our formation and to work as a unit closing down Thetford’s nippy midfielder. Mel Widdows had dropped back into defence and they worked quickly to close down and return the ball up the field. Helen Marsh who had worked constantly throughout, gained a particularly bad graze to the leg and was lifted off. Our sideline support and part time medic Andrea Matthews was on hand to apply the ice pack. At this time Vicky got tired and needed a 2 minute sit down on the sideline. The Dragons started to press the D again with Catherine passing the ball round to Karenza Moffatt who weaved around the opposition, Thetford were packing the D. Lucy passed the ball in and to Megan across the Jenna on the far post and in behind the keeper. 2-0 and much rejoicing. The Dragons had upped their game and finding themselves in free positions were hussling the keeper. In the last few minutes of the game the Thetford midfielder was determined for that goal and the 5’s had difficulty slowing her up, she cracked a shot across the D. Jemima almost did the splits in trying to stop the ball but it slipped into the corner. 2-1. An end to end battle.

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

On a damp and cloudy morning, Dragons 6’s arrived at the Den for their fourth consecutive home match of the season. The opposition, a strong and youthful Yarmouth 2’s. Both teams tied on equal points in the league, this was going to be a tough game.

Dragons had a strong line up consisting of Luisa returning to the squad in goal and a solid back line of Hannah R (for the last time!) Katie Franks and Beth E taking on an unaccustomed role at centre back. Arabella had to put her passing and tackling skills to good use, playing a more defensive roll than usual. Sitting at the bottom of the diamond, she offered additional support to the defence when needed.

As the matched progressed, Sue repeatedly found Rosie playing out wide who worked some excellent stick skills, regularly running past the Yarmouth midfield, only to have the crosses cut out by the experienced Yarmouth defence. Two penalty corners in short succession meant that the Dragons could put all the hard work from training into practice. Powerful injections by Arabella saw Sue have a couple of strikes saved by the keeper.

Into the second half, Nicola put in some energetic sprints working the wings and utilising the width of the pitch. This proved difficult for Yarmouth to get to grips with as Dragons really applied the pressure. Link up play from Hannah E and forward Anja meant that she could find Kelly on the top of the D putting her through one on one with the keeper. Unfortunately on this occasion, the pressure was too much and she put it wide.

An inspired midfield drive initiated from Fiona saw the ball into the D and within a metre of goal. Support from Hannah E, Kelly and Anja made the ball cross the line but the referee had blown the whistle for foul play.

Dragons continued to dig deep sensing that a win was possible. Beth C found Ellie on occasions driving the ball forward and attacking aggressively. A super strike from Anja straight at keeper found the rebound bundled in the back of the net but for the second time today, the referee disallowed the goal.

Athletic tracking back from Beth E, Katy, and two fine saves from Luisa, saw that Dragons didn’t concede and saw out the game with a clean sheet.

A frustrating but fair game saw it finish 0-0.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 2-6 Hornets

Dragons were rather overwhelmed by the Hornets steam roller effect, but all credit to the Hornets for sticking to their very direct style of hockey and grinding out a comfortable win. The 7s went one down very quickly when captain Claire Fairhurst suffered a blow on the knee and all the Dragons stopped, expecting a free hit to be awarded. It didn’t happen and the Hornets duly nipped in and scored. Similar misfortune befell them in the second half when, having stopped a Hornets attack through the middle, Dragons misheard the whistle from the neighbouring pitch and stopped, letting the Hornets through for their fourth. Alessandra Pellegrini in goal could have been forgiven for being disheartened by this unnecessary generosity, but she kept her head and stopped lots of hard shots.

Dragons equalised in the first quarter when after a bit of a scramble in the goal Claire Stuart forced the ball over the line. The 7s should be encouraged to keep up this level of determination in the circle, which does bring its rewards. However, far too often Dragons backed off under Hornets’ pressure and chances were lost. One player who never wilted was Elsa Scott, who took the player of the match vote for a midfield performance which was both determined and skilful, pushing the ball through to the forwards left, right and centre.

This is still relatively early days in the season, and with a wealth of Dragons wanting a game the 7s once again had half a dozen changes from the previous week in the squad of 14. For this reason, it is not surprising that the battle-hardened Hornets showed the superior team skills and were able to find their players more effectively. But once again the 7s produced some good moves and showed they have potential. The defenders, with Emma North and Katy Saide particularly strong and with Claire F and Bridget Le Good, managed several moves where the ball was transferred strongly round the back before being cycled to the mids. Rotating in the mids were Elsa, Brooke Simmons (who turned in another praised performance), Helen Walker, Jodi Rump (who showed a notable turn of speed,and Dani Winteringham who got in plenty of tackles.

The forwards are all effective ball carriers, with Claire S, Lilly Sore mostly on the left, Mia Mcghee on the right and Kat Speirs in the centre. This week they improved their positioning in the circle but did not manage to win many penalty corners. There was good backup from the mids, who also showed plenty of appetite for attack.

Dragons seemed to show more determination in the second half and their second goal was a cracker. Half a dozen passes found their players before Kat Speirs placed the ball powerfully wide to the keeper’s left.

Unfortunately there could be a rather long break before the 7s get the opportunity to play competitive hockey again, but there will be plenty of chances to work hard in training. The 7s remain determined to enjoy their hockey and improve their standards all round.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 8s 6-1 Norwich City 7

Dragons 8’s were keen to improve on their last match of a 4 all draw.  From the beginning they were raring to go and the majority of the possession was theirs throughout.  The team managed to get a few short corners but not quite able to score their first goal until a penalty flick shoot was awarded to Dragons as the City 7’s fouled as they used their foot to stop a goal.   Sophie Thurtell stepped up as a willing participant to take the goal and successfully managed to score.  This gave the 8’s a boost of confidence and within the next five minutes Sophie had scored her second goal.

Excellent team work ensured that the mid fielders on the wing including Sophie Drew, Maisie Dreamer and Louise ‘Brooksy’ Brooks received the ball confidently and drove it down to the other end of the pitch ready for the forwards Lois Metcalfe, Shaniece Claxton and Katy Cole to attempt to shoot.  As the team became more confident with this arrangement Lois Metcalfe scored a cracking goal which paved the way for an even more successful second half with Gemma Ballard having already subbed a defender, subbing again and swapping positions from centre half to right forward, proved she is multi talented as she scored an excellent rebound goal, then less than 10 minutes later the same formation of fast runners in the mid, drove the ball down to the D and Gemma managed to score another, seemingly effortless goal.

The strong defence made up of goal keeper Sarah Sheffield, defenders Jo Baker, Johanne Steward, Anna Chapman and Ruby Rose-Turnell gave the City 7’s attackers a run for their money during the few times that they managed to get near the D, with the hard hitters managing to secure excellent passes to the midfielders driving the ball down again to the forwards for further attempted shots.

The opposition were clearly tired and seemed to slow down as Dragons’ confidence and teamwork grew and Alice Bishop was able to secure their sixth and final goal shortly before the end of the match.

All players worked hard to secure this well-deserved win and Sophie Thurtell was awarded player of the match.

Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 3-5 Cambridge Uni 3

After a good result in Division 2N the previous week, Dragons Men’s 1st team faced a strong and well organised Cambrdige Uni side who had also made a good start to the season.

The Cambridge stduents made the stronger start of the two teasm controlling the ball well and makign some promising attacks.  Somewhat against the flow of play, but as the result of a good passage of simple passing hockey, the Dragons took the lead with a well taken goal from Henry Laming, who has scored a goal per game so far in the league thsi season.  Cambs Uni then spplied more pressure and were able to draw a goal back, with the scores 2-1 at halftime, thansk to a well taken short corner deflection.

The second half was very much a mixed for the Dragons, with unfortunately more rotten fruit than ripe.  Dragons started much the stronger team and took a 2 goal lead courtesy of goals from the in form striker Ollie King and veteran forward Rupert Snelling.  Spurred on perhaps by going two goals down, the students came back at the Dragons throwing more caution to the wind and more players forward.  With superior fitness and most crucially work rate, the students scored 4 of their 4 remiaing short corners, despite some valliant work from Giles Brooks in goal and the Man of the Match Mark Flatman.

Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 1-1 Norwich City 4

Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 1-1 Bury St Edmunds 3

After a couple of slow starts & disappointing results, Dragons 3s were keen to get back into action and enjoyed a good warm-up.

Dragons were strong from the start, but Bury clearly had intentions to do more than just make up the numbers, cueing an even opening period. It was Dragons who broke the deadlock, winning their first short corner, George Bowman’s effort was well saved by the keeper, but Matt Jenkins duly picked the ball out the air and slammed the rebound home, 1-0 Dragons.

Bury fought back and soon won a corner of their own, a straight strike down the middle deflected off the runners’ stick and over the already diving Dim Ives into the goal, 1-1.

Dragons had the best of the rest of the first half, but the final ball wouldn’t quite come together.

The second half saw Dragons really step things up, creating a plethora of chances and winning numerous corners. Despite this, Bury continued to defend stoutly, and when they were beaten, the Bury goal seemed to live a charmed life, with shots flashing across the face of goal and agonisingly wide.

Such was the dominance that Bury managed just one loan attack in the second half, a shot from a tight angle that could only find the side netting.

With time running down Dragons continued to ramp up the pressure, camped in the Bury 23. With time almost expired Dragons won a final overtime short corner, the shot hit a foot, Dragons tried again, a different routine, the same result. A third effort, saved by the keeper, the rebound sent across the goal, again finding a foot, only this time, to Bury’s relief, a Dragons foot and full time.

Not much for Dragons to take from this week’s game, except for shooting practice at training!

MoM was George Bowman for his tireless running and creativity in attack.

Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 1-1 UEA 2

Dragons made the short trip to UEA to take on the students (and ex-Dragon Sam Mann).  The 11.30 start proved late enough for UEA to field a squad of 15, whilst Dragons’ 14 became 12 early in the match when Adie Kemp and Paul Keating limped off, both with calf injuries.

This was a high intensity match with UEA showing pace and skill versus the experience and nous of the Dragons (also some pace and skill from the youngsters).  Andy Hipper joined Pete Davison in the centre of defence, with Rich Phillis and Paul Kassulke as full backs.  They all distributed the ball well and proved difficult for UEA to beat.  In midfield, captain Rob Jenkins played deep with the athletic and skilful Tim Allen in front.  On the wings were the nifty Pedro Goss and slippery Garnett Jones, whilst the Chaney-Baxter brothers, Jon and Rob led the attack.  Stu Kelly played across the midfield positions until he too succumbed to injury in the second half.

Dragons earned a number of short corners in the first half and took the lead after 10 minutes or so when Hipper’s well struck shot was deflected past the keeper by a defender.  Tight marking and hard pressing of the man in possession allowed Dragons to restrict UEA to a handful of chances.  Some good attacking play saw Kassulke strike the post, but clear cut chances were hard to come by.

Half time 1-0 to Dragons.  As predicted, UEA came out strongly in the second half and a few feisty tackles saw a player from each side shown yellow as well as a few green cards.  Despite this, the game was played in a pretty good spirit and was well managed by the umpires.

A well taken drag flick from a penalty corner early in the second half saw UEA draw level.  There followed a period of sustained UEA pressure, with numerous short corners bravely defended and Chris Millar coming up with some great saves.  Dragons kept up their work rate and team-play that has been a trademark this season and eased their way back into the game, the last quarter being pretty even.

UEA pressed hard for the winner, but it wasn’t to be as the game finished 1-1.  A satisfying point for the Dragons.  MoM awarded jointly to Chris Millar and Pete Davison.

Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 8-3 Pelicans 4

Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 2-2 Bury St Edmunds 6

A resilient Norwich Dragons 6th team came back from being 2-0 down at half time against Bury St Edmunds 6th to draw the match 2-2 at full time. The first half Bury goals came from a short corner and open play, but after a half time team talk by team captain Mike Banham, Dragons 6th came out for the 2nd half determined to keep their unbeaten record in the 7NE division this season. A close range goal from Rob Lee and a penalty flick from Mike Banham secured the draw in a closely contested tie. Man of the match went to John Butler for a sterling game in centre half.

It was rewarding to see the back line of Graham Muff, Rich Davis(first game this season) & Ed Crozier/Jack Carpenter starting to form an understanding & getting marking tightened. John Butler, at the bottom of the Diamond, got the passing game in place from the start, with Huck Hempsall, Sol Blazer & Tommy Chapman all getting more effective on offensive as the game progressed & they did not buckle despite being 2 down for ¾ of the match. It was this spirit, with Huck moving alongside Sol in the middle, that brought about the moves for the equalising goals. Rob Lee with 5 goals in 3 games is looking lethal & needs to keep shooting on sight.

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons A: No Fixture

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons B v Dereham

Dereham unable to get a team.

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons: No Fixture