NDHC League Match Reports: 18/01/2014

Mens East League Division 2N

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Norwich Dragons 1s 5-2 Cambridge City 3

Dragons bounced back from last week’s disappointing home defeat with a sparkling 5-2 victory at Cambridge City.  Without Smyth and Woodward, Dragons called up the ever-reliable Lewis Wilkins and, for once, started brightly and were rewarded with an early goal – an audacious first-time reverse-stick effort from Alex Browne sneaking past the stranded City keeper.  And a second quickly followed, good pressing from Turnbull and Sloman winning the ball high up the pitch and releasing Rutledge who glided into the D, sent keeper and defence the wrong way with an outrageous dummy, and silkily slipped the ball into the back of the net.  Of the goal, coach Wagstaff could only shake his head in evident admiration:  “It was the finish of a natural-goalscorer, but then we see him do that at training every week.  If you ask Matt [Collinge] who he works hardest to keep out his answer will be ‘Tom’ every time.”  Overstall added “it was so well disguised there are probably kids at home watching the replays who still think he didn’t mean it.”

Dragons’ intensity slipped and City got a foothold in the game, pulling one back when a fortuitous deflection left their centre-forward with a simple finish at the far post.  It was nothing more than the home team deserved, though, as they dominated the midfield and but for two brilliant reflex saves from Collinge they might have been even at the break.

Instead Dragons started the second half as they’d begun the first:  a surging run from Knights winning a short corner with Browne on hand to smash home a rebound.  Sloman might have claimed the goal, picking up the first rebound but seeing his cultured flick over the prone keeper miraculously batted away.  “It was a one in a hundred save,” he conceded after the game, “I’ll never know how he managed to get himself up to beat that out of the top corner.”  The home keeper was rather humbler in his assessment:  “he sort of flicked it straight at me, really.”  The resurgent Browne completed his hatrick before City had had time to react, patient build-up play from Flatman setting up a crash ball from Wagstaff which Browne brilliantly flashed into the top of the net.  In a touching gesture, Browne celebrated by asking to be substituted so he could text his wife and daughter the news.

A fifth followed, the fruit of a tactical master-stroke from Wagstaff:  with all potential short-corner stoppers withdrawn to the bench, compulsive drag-flicker Snelling had to slip a short-corner to Knights who crunched the ball into the far corner with his trademark power.  City pulled one back following another fortuitous deflection, but the scoreline was a bit hard on the home side who contributed to a fine, open game throughout.

On an unsavoury incident in the first half involving overseas professional Rutledge, Wagstaff said “it’s important that he plays the game in the right spirit as a lot of people look up to him – and some even more than others.”  On the controversial relegation of Overstall to the bench, he refused to be drawn:  “That was a disciplinary matter which will be kept in-house.  Needless to say, were he as important to the team as Turnbull he’d have started.”  For late call-up Wilkins he had nothing but praise:  “It was the first time he’d won since September.  Of course that’s not all down to him it was great for him to get that off his back today.”  Man of the match and hatrick hero Browne, naturally, was delighted with his performance:  “I learnt last week, really, that there’s a time and a place for passing the ball in the D – basically, when someone else has the ball and I want it.  I was a bit worried before the game as I tweaked my hamstring in the warm-up but fortunately it hadn’t taken away any of my pace.

The editorial team would also like to take this opportunity to respond to rumours that our usual correspondent was withdrawn from reporting on the Wisbech game in a shameless attempt to deflect attention from the fact that, in that game, one A. Smyth was not only outpaced by a twelve-year-old and sent off but also managed to throw his stick over the fence – not, gentle readers, in a fit of pique but because his arms were weary from the tiring task of having to hold the thing.  It is our policy not to comment on such rumours, though in this case we can confirm that they’re all true.  Improbable, indeed, but no more improbable than true.


Mens East League Division 3NE

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Norwich Dragons 2s 0-7 UEA 1


Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE

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Norwich Dragons 3s 4-5 Felixstowe 2

After last week’s resurgence in the second half against top-of-the-table side Pelicans, Dragons were hoping to carry that effort and grit through to their game against Felixstowe.  Having lost 10-3 to Felixstowe in the first half of the season, Dragons knew they would have to be playing some of their finest hockey if they were to hold their own against this team who were second in the league.

Both teams started the game well, the ball being moved around the pitch from end-to-end as the teams fought to win the upper hand.  Felixstowe opened the scoring first after Dragons lost their concentration momentarily.  However it wasn’t long after that Dragons equalised with a goal from Captain George Walker.  A neat ball across the top of the D from fellow forward Will Kirby, had Walker knock the ball through the air, bouncing in front of, and across the Felixstowe keeper, to slot in the far corner of the goal.

The game continued and Felixstowe managed to score another past Dragons Keeper Dim Ives.  Dragons were not to be behind long.  A short corner routine had Kirby put the ball across to Walker who slammed the ball into the Felixstowe keeper, who was scrabbling on the floor.  The ball rolled out of the melee to Adam Sayer who swept the ball through the air, gaining a nick off Ollie King’s stick.  The goal being graciously awarded to Sayer after much protesting!

Dragons were buoyed by equalising and the Midfield of Stu Kelly, John Ives, Jonty Gosling and Adam Sayer were stringing together some lovely balls, and linking up well with the Dragon Forwards.  However, Kirby, Walker, King and Kemp were unable to capitalise anymore this half.

The second half saw a shaken Felixstowe side go on the attack and they were rewarded for their efforts.  The stalwart Dragon defence of Peter Davison, Andy Hipper, Henry Eades, Glenn Masterson and Will Ives, were unable to keep the Felixstowe forwards at bay, and conceded 3 goals.  Dragons were now 5-2 down.

The last 15 minutes saw Dragons get back into the game with Kirby scoring 2 goals, neatly slotting the ball past the Felixstowe keeper.  With time running out and Felixstowe looking worried, Dragons kept on pressing, but the final whistle blew and the game ended 5-4 to Felixstowe.

Man of the Match: Andy Hipper , for valiant efforts in defence.


Men’s East Hockey League Division 5NE

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Norwich Dragons 4s 3-3 UEA 2

The 4ths welcomed some new faces to the team today, some younger, some older! and with this new look were determined not to suffer the same outcome as their fist match against the students when we went down 6-2.

The game started at a frantic pace with both side wanting to win the early encounters but it was Dragons who succeeded in scoring first when Oli Browne smashed home from an acute angle. UEA were spurred into action and after a number of short corners managed to squeeze one in passed the excellent stand in goal keeper Mike Banham. One soon became two as UEA extended their lead and then again to take the score in to half time at 3-1 with a well worked move down the left side.

Down but not out the dragons were determined to get something out of the game and pressed hard to find some early success. This duly came when Henry Lamming dummied the UEA defence and fired an unstoppable reverse stick shot into the bottom corner at a short corner. Despite the temporary loss of the skipper and with inspired goalkeeping of Mike the dragons grew in their belief and finished of a memorable comeback with an equaliser  from Garath Green ten minutes from the end.

Man of the match – Rich Moulson


Men’s East Hockey League Division 7NE

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Norwich Dragons 5s 3-1 Nomads 2

Dragons 5 continued their winning run with a hard fought victory over a well organised Nomads team. Dragons scored twice in the first half, both goals coming following good work down the right wing involving Dragons three Norwich School boys, Ben Watson, Alex Stone & Hamish Packham – both times the ball into the D was swept home by Andrew Cross.  Nomads fought back with their veteran Midfielder, Jim Stather starting to pull the strings.  A brief doze by Dragons defence allowed Andy Podd to run through & set up a tap in reply.  Dragons Man of the Match Ben Watson continued to cause problems down the right wing & his firm ball in led to the third goal, an own goal.


Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N 

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Norwich Dragons 1s 13:1 City of Peterborough 1

City of Peterborough suffered at the hands of the Dragons who were out to prove a point after their shock defeat last week at home against St Ives.

The Dragons hit Peterborough early playing some fantastic hockey, particularly in the first half, playing some fast, slick one touch hockey which the home team could not deal with. By half time the visitors were 7-0 up and understandably playing full of confidence.

As the second half got underway the Dragons lost their momentum but after 10 minutes they soon found it again scoring another 6 goals achieving the best victory of the season.

To Peterborough’s credit they kept working hard and displayed a superb team spirit and punished a Dragons mistake scoring a goal.

This was the Dragons best team performance of the season passing the ball with accuracy and purpose. Player of the match , Lizzie Moulton, was involved in much of the Dragons play and had an awesome display at one point clearing a goal ward bound effort from Peterborough off the line.

Goal scorers :
6 for Rachel King
4 for Natalie Beal
2 for Laura Shreeve
1 for Emily Rolls


Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE

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Norwich Dragons 2s 1-0 Broadland 1

Having just watched their 3rd team colleagues, earn a great result against second placed league opposition, Dragons 2nd Team had reason to be optimistic, going into this tie on the back of a good winning run of games.  A couple of changes to the team from last week showed how strong competition for places is and demonstrates the need for everyone to work hard both in games and in training, to earn their place in the team.

The first 15 minutes, saw a period of complete domination for Dragons, with the ball camped in the Broadland half. Despite this period of pressure and a series of short corners, the home team could not force the ball over the line, with the Broadland keeper pulling of some fine saves.

As the half wore on, Broadland edged their way into the game, and Player of the Match Angela Murgatroyd in the centre of defence, was forced to make some timely challenges and interceptions to prevent the ball reaching the Dragons keeper Amy Forse. Niamh Lowe-Davies and Olivia Thomas made some good runs down the flanks and with that bit more luck, Dragons could have gone into the break a few goals to the good, however the score remained nil-nil at halftime.

Coach Pete Thomas called for ‘more of the same’ at half time, knowing it is difficult to break down teams who are fighting not to concede. Dragons kept their patience and kept moving the ball around. Eventually the break through came, with Hannah Hardy driving along the baseline, pulling the ball back to Karen O’Neill Simpson, whose shot was saved by the keeper, only for Amy Brown to follow up on the rebound and force the ball over the line.

The pattern of play continued with Dragons continuing to put pressure on the Broadland defence, however further goals proved elusive. Dragons keeper Amy Forse touched the ball just the once throughout the game, demonstrating where the balance of play lay in the game, however opportunities came and went and the game finished 1-0.

Whilst Dragons will be disappointed not to have made more of their chances, 3pts are 3pts, and they retain the place at the top of the Division. As always, there is still work to do and everyone knows they can play better, but with continued hard work and determination from this group of players, better performances will come.



Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier League

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Norwich Dragons 3s 5-3 Loddon 1

After a shocking game last week where all of the team members seemed to have an off day, the Dragons were determined to make amends with this game. Loddon came out hard from the off, and within the first 15 minutes had scored two goals. Both came from play straight up the middle of the pitch; the directness seemed to throw the Dragons’ defence.

Heads did not drop though, and from then on, the work rate and passing from the Dragons side did not faulter. A lovely string of passes two minutes from the half way point, involving Charly Burgess and Debbie Santa Clara,  ended with a cross from Laura Tompson-Wright on the right into the D, where Caroline Wolfe picked the ball and shot to the far post from five yards out.

Loddon, who brought no substitutes with them to the Den, tired visibly in the second half. Dragons had the majority of the possession, but were still caught a few times with Loddon breaks, testing the defence to the full. The equaliser for Dragons came again from good passing; the training drills from earlier in the week were on display. Following a melee just outside the D, the ball popped out to Wolfe whose position on the penalty spot gave her an open goal to push the ball into.

Aoife Lowe-Davies scored in a similar manner in free play to take the Dragons 3-2 up, with other chances being narrowly missed from all over the D.

The Dragon’s fourth goal came from a penalty corner, struck by Wolfe from the top of the D. Injector Pollyanna Watson, camped on the left post, a found an edge on the strike causing the ball to be deflected at speed into the top of the net.

Loddon found a brief second wind and, again from a break down the middle, caused a ruckus at the Dragons’ end, finally getting the ball in the net by volleying a raised ball above shoulder height. Following a consultation of the umpires, the goal was allowed, much to the disappointment of the crowd watching on the sideline.

Fuelled by what they considered an injustice, Dragons took command for the last 10 minutes of the game, with Watson securing goal number five in free play.

Player of the match went to Lynne Price, whose hard work in the centre of the field was tireless.

Photos from this game here.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 1

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Norwich Dragons 4s 0:2 Magpies 5

This was always doing to be a tough game with Magpies yo-yoing between 1 and 2 position in the league – but Dragons, as usual, came to Harleston with fighting spirit, determined to improve on their last performance against them (a slightly depressing 7:2 loss).

We started well with good runs from Flora Gregorie on the right, working in partnership with Sue Cross and Rachael Hipperson (joint PoM) in midfield – they tried hard to move the ball out wide but Magpies solid man marking made it difficult to find space and move the ball. Marcy Winsor Waite (joint PoM) and Sophie Farrow both had good runs into the D and Dragons looked like they might score in the first 5 minutes but just couldn’t find anyone to connect with the ball as it sailed in front of the goal.  Magpies tried to create breaks in play – moving the ball sideways as often as forwards – this created space for them to charge in on the D (an boy could their forwards run!)

Magpies first goal came from a short corner where the ball was initially cleared but unfortunately came straight back into the D and although Abi Cowe, Laura Bruce and Morag Morrison (joint PoM) tried hard to stop the shot it just made it into the corner of the goal. Magpies continued to pile on the pressure and towards the end of the first half Dragons made some forced errors – passing directly to the opposition in an attempt to move the ball on.

After the second half and a good group talk about what was hampering play Dragons produced some much nicer hockey. Midfield and the forwards managed to find the space, passing was more accurate and communication was better. Hazel Sumner, Mel Widdows and Felicia Roberts all worked the ball up the field and towards the goal and again we came within a hairs breath of scoring a goal, only for it to be cleared by the defence at the last moment.  Holly Bailey chased down every ball and again Rachael and Sue tried to create opportunities to attack. Magpies continues to fight on, running down the wings and had several attempts on goal – all of which Morag stopped, with some impressive keeping skills being displayed in the process.

In the final minutes of the game Magpies clinched their second goal from a Dragons hit out which was expertly intercepted by a forward who took it straight into the D and smashed it into the corner – a disappointment at the end of such a well-balanced half.

It should be noted that it was very satisfying as a captain to be taken aside by the umpires at the end of the game and thanked for playing so politely – well done team for being so courteous on the pitch.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 2

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Norwich Dragons 5s 0-0 Norwich City 4

A fast & furious match this week for Norwich Dragons 5s against Norwich City 4s led to a evenly matched game & a very fair 0-0 draw.

Dragons were pacey from the beginning breaking quickly in order to win a short corner, alas they were not able to convert it. Play went back and forth like a game of pin ball. Credit really should go to our solid defence of Sarah Norcliff, Jess Tye Leach & Emma Buxton who worked seamlessly as a unit. Subbing on and off was the wonderful Lotte Korn who stood into be our super sub of the day from the Ladies 6s. She made quite an impression both in defence and midfield playing some lovely balls up the pitch. I cannot however talk about defence without mentioning our man of the match Katie Buxton who was relentless both in defence and attack, blink and you would really miss her. The first half went on and on in this pattern of play with both teams very even and neither able to secure the goal they badly wanted. Harriet was an absolute trooper in goal saving some of Norwich Citys finest shots and all this hard work left us at 0-0 at half time.

The second half saw both teams come back stronger and saw the best half of hockey which Norwich Dragons 5s have had all season. They could not secure the shot despite a number of attempts from Lisa Harwood, Anja Finnegan and Lois McGregor as Norwich City 4s expertly saw off their attacks. Dragons kept stepping up the pace and started to see City tire, however it was not enough. The mids worked tirelessly throughout the half and we were glad to have Rachael Matthews, Charlotte Stance and Chiara Bond (who was missed last week).  A lovely break and pass from Lisa Harwood up to Lois McGregor gave Dragons their clearest shot but unfortunately it was saved by the keeper.

Well what can I say, Norwich City fought hard to retain their 3rd place in the division and really do deserve it, however Dragons certainly showed that they intend to fight every inch of the way. As many of our spectators said, we were awesome on Saturday and we need to take that Dragons fire into next week’s match against Reepham.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3

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Norwich Dragons 6s 1-6 Magpies 7

At the Magpies tea, we looked round at the faces of the flushed and happy Dragons, reflected on individual performances and wondered just how we had managed  to lose by so many. Individually, everyone had given as much as we were able, or perhaps think we can.
Magpies were 4-0 up at half time, so withdrew their two stars which enabled us to test their goalkeeper a few times and to score our only goal. Lucy Campbell, turning in a fine performance at the top of the diamond, showed great pace to go the direct route to goal and then unselfishly slipped the ball through to Laura Hansell who, standing on the foot that wasn’t hurting, elegantly deflected the ball into the goal. Sarah Norman, Claire Fairhurst, Jasmine Mansfield and Izzi Ferguson began to get more joy in the attacking third before Magpies decided that that was quite enough of that and put their stars back on to score two more.
Looking for the bright spots, our two debutant Dragons – Becca Elkins and Izzi Ferguson – both impressed.  Becca was asked to double team onto the speedy young Magpies right forward with Jasmin Daniels, and this tactic did stem the flow of goals. Izzi adds to our increasing mini-squad of midfielders, and Tara Johnson, who is not often available, showed what she is able to do. Amy Hunter had another good game and was able to contribute more when she played at the top of the diamond, either covering for Lucy or encouraging Lucy to raid the left channel.
As always with the 6s, it is the defenders who earn their jaffa cakes, and Jasmin Daniels was once again player of the match for her solid tackles and her constant appetite for the game. Lottie Korn was as effective on our right – thanks to her there was little threat from the Magpies left. Jo Eke, in her second game, played well at the bottom of the diamond, but we have to be careful not to overwork her as she continues her return from injury.
We gave Alice Smith plenty of banter about her apparent inability to deal with some feisty cheesy wotsits, but her hand/eye co-ordination was fine on the pitch and she made an excellent stick save and some powerful kick clearances. 6s goalkeepers have to be prepared for anything.
One thing to work on – it is good that the 6s enjoy their matches and have the ability to quickly put the heavy defeats behind them.  But we should work on being just that little bit more determined on the pitch, stronger in the tackle and eager to be first to the ball. Availability is excellent for our next match. Attendance and hard work at training will be essential for those wanting more fun than most hockey players can handle.


Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League

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Norwich Dragons 0-5 Norwich City


Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League

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Norwich Dragons 1-6 Dereham