NDHC League Match Reports: 16 September 2017

TeamDateOppositionH/ATimeScoreScorersPlayer of Match

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier League

Norwich Dragons 3s v Norwich Dragons 4s:  3-1

The 4’s went out to give the 3’s a tough game and did exactly that.  Although the 3’s won 3-1 they didn’t win easily. Kat Speirs, who was the 4’s MOM, managed to scupper the ‘home’ side’s goal chances with a very cool and calm way of playing, and alongside her were Sarah Wagstaff, Jemima Williams, and Ella Kassulke.  Sarah was the machine behind the defence in centre giving ‘the visitor’s’ confident and wise guidance on their play, Ella and Jemima held the line with great skill and strength driving forward at any opportunity.  Lynne ‘Neeps’ Price played a difficult position but in true Neeps style handled the top of the diamond, as she would handle any position in the pitch – with concise and skilful confidence.

The 3’s got their first goal from a mistake, however the 4’s held them off until half time the score being only 1-0 to the 3’s. 

With Jason’s words of battle and guidance the 4’s were set for the second half.  Gina Hunt and Vicki Earley held the middle working together swapping with Helen Marsh making the centre of the pitch hard for the 3’s to get through.  But they made a break through and scored another goal making the score 2-0 and it wasn’t long before they had another making it 3-0.  Lisa Harwood worked tirelessly up front battling for every ball, Caroline Wolfe kept her cool with her precision stick work. But the 4’s never gave up and there was some confident encouragement, and team positivity.  Aditi Naik and Lucy Morton were slicing up the wings with their slick ball passing, speed and eventually paying off with a calm and concise goal from Lucy, one on one with the keeper, the score being 3-1. Overall the 4’s held their own and, being their first game playing together, were very pleased with their fighting performance.  Thanks to Helen for stepping in and being sub and good luck at Uni.  And thanks to Jason for guiding and motivating from the sidelines.


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

Scoring first through an excellent goal by Niamh Somers, Dragons will feel that the scoreline does not truly reflect the performance of a team that has not had much opportunity to get to know each other.  It was sad to see players dropping out after the Teamsheet had been issued, however the determination of those that did travel was excellent and shows the true Dragon Spirit. Player of the Match was Hannah Edwards, playing a strong defensive midfield position.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s v Breckland 1:  7-1

The first game of the new season saw an impressive start for Dragons. Having played Breckland as the final game of last season, back in April, it seemed fitting to start the season here too. The Watton pitch is slow, meaning that ball speed and sensible passing are the key to success when playing here. Something Dragons did well throughout the game.
Dragons came out attacking from the first push back, scoring two goals in the first five minutes, one a lovely goal from open play, hit hard towards a post and on to the waiting stick of Gemma Ballard, who slotted it away. The other came from Captain Amy Forse, a beautiful straight strike at the left corner of the goal from the top of the D.
Play was quick to change direction and Breckland tried hard to make the most of breaks in play, turning the ball towards the defensive line on several occasions. Tilly Connors-Beckett (POM) made several excellent saves and cleared the ball well. Strong hitting from Katy Sadie and Jen Buskell on the 16 allowed Dragons to take full advantage of the space on the wings. Well drilled short corners, provided two more goals during the first half. Louise Brooks and Mia McGhee worked hard on the wings, bringing the ball to the D on numerous occasions and allowing Dragons to score from forced errors by the Breckland defensive line.
Breckland kept on the pressure at all times and fought hard to take control. Towards the end of the first half they were awarded a penalty flick, for a back of stick stop on the line. Tilly faced the experienced Breckland forward and judged the direction well, she was unlucky not to save the shot.The final goal of the first half came from a lovely pass from Katy on the left, to Ginny Simkin on the edge of the D, which was swept to Gemma, who again was hugging the far post perfectly.
After the break Breckland came out hard, putting pressure on the central spine of players, Anita Mancini battled continuously to ring balls, intercept passes and keep the ball heading towards the Breckland goal. Sue Brumby, scored a cracking goal from another short corner, a smooth ball slipped from Amy to the left and pushed in passed the keeper who was off her line.
The final goal came as a result of a beautiful run from Harriet Rant, who really dominated the right during the last 15 minutes of the game. Amy Forse was again waiting for the ball and smashed it across the line. Breckland played hard to the final whistle and Kate Atkins and the rest of the defence were on their toes, clearing balls to the end.
While the score line may indicate a decisive victory it was by no means an easy game, but good communication and a determined attitude saw Dragons bring home a convincing win.


Dragons Dev Girls v Yarmouth Dev Girls:  1-1

The first match of the season saw Dragons Development Girls take on Yarmouth at home on a blustery and showery morning.

The game started quietly, but picked up as Jemima Watson began to run at the Yarmouth defence. For most of the 1st quarter, Dragons were doing the majority of the attacking, but could not score the vital first goal. Yarmouth played an adult in the centre of defence and she was able to block off the attacking drives of the Dragons players. Then the inevitable happened – Yarmouth scored from their first real period of pressure and the quarter ended 1-0 to the visitors.

The 2nd quarter saw Dragons on top, having the bulk of possession and earning a couple of short corners. When Yarmouth did break away, Amy Beadman made some good tackles to stop the danger. Then, with time up for the end of the quarter, Jemima Watson scored for Dragons from a short corner.

The 3rd quarter was fairly even and the 4th quarter started with the scores still level. Once again, Dragons did most of the attacking with Piper Hempsall, Jemima Watson and Connie Harris making some positive runs at the Yarmouth defence. There was some late pressure from Yarmouth, which Hannah Marjoram and Emily Grint dealt with, but in the end the game finished 1-1.


Dragons Dev Boys A v Dragons Dev Boys B: 5-0

The Dragons’ boys A and B teams met for their first league game in wet and miserable conditions, but this did not deter them all from displaying some fine hockey.
The A team dominated the first quarter, the bulk of this team having played together for several years already. Johnny Taylor was first to split through the B team defence, deftly slipping the ball past keeper Alex Wolfe. There quickly followed a short corner, which was aimed hard from the top to the right hand post for James Cross (?) to deflect into the goal. Before the first 15 was up, Johnny Taylor struck again from the top of the D in free play, beating Wolfe’s left foot.
The second quarter was much the same with regards to percentage possession, with a fourth goal for the A team coming from Arjuna Puvanachandra approaching from the left. Half time score 4-0.
The second half saw the B team settling, using the width of the pitch much better, and penetrating the A team’s half more often. Notable leg work was put in by Freddie Royal and William Sexton, but there wasn’t quite enough linking play to break through the strong A team defence. The B team defence was obviously improved for the third quarter, soaking up much pressure and, together with some good saves from Wolfe, they maintained the score at 4-0.
The final quarter was a little more even in terms of possession, but the B team still couldn’t trouble the A team keeper Angus Reid, who didn’t touch the ball throughout the game.
The soggy spectators were all set for a final score of 4-0 when Taylor broke through in the last minute to get his hat trick. 5-0 to Dragons’ A at full time.
Thanks to Phil York-Smith and Andy Carver who were the two adult players for the B team.
One thing is for sure after this first league fixture: there’s obviously lots of potential to be developed over the coming months in the B team squad. The next meeting of the two teams could be quite different.