Some photos from the day here thanks to Sue for the home photos.
Women’s East Hockey League East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 8-0 Magpies 2
The sun and the crowd were out to support Dragons on their first league match of the season. After three great performances in pre-season friendlies and some new faces to the team, Dragons were excited for what lay ahead.
The home side started strongly with their first goal coming early on from a well placed pass from right back Holly Reding to Hayley Toleman who drilled it into the corner. Dragons played the ball around the pitch determinedly and Emma Tabrett gave Dragons their second goal, with an unstoppable strike from a penalty corner. Harleston defended well, but were no match for Dragons’ penalty corner routines. After good work from Marie James, Tabrett scored the third shortly after. Dragons’ fourth was another short corner goal coming from a deflection from Toleman.
So half time score was 4-0 to Dragons, the team were happy, but knew there was still more to do. Our captain Lizzie Moulton was in need of a little break after ending up with a couple of unfortunate bruises whilst fending off Harleston’s attackers. Coach Pete who was celebrating his 30th (tiny fib) birthday gave Dragons a few handy tips before his debut for the Men’s 1s. The home side started strong with their first goal of the second half slotted past the goalie by Hannah Tipping after some textbook open play.
Dragons continued to win short corners and goal number 6 came from James’ straight strike that went looping over the line. Harleston, to their credit, continued to try and break the Dragons defence, they were quick and had strong skill but Player of the Match Louise Murray was a solid force at the back. Her wonderful drive forward and through ball into the circle allowed Toleman to knock past the keeper, completing her hatrick. The final goal came from Tabitha (also completing her hatrick) with open play working its way past Harleston’s defence.
In admirable strength, Harleston in the final minutes continued to put pressure on Dragon’s defence, needing Reding to make a reverse save on the line to keep the final score at 8-0.
Many thanks to the umpires, all the spectators and players for a great start to the season.
Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N
Norwich Dragons 2s 2-3 City of Peterborough 1
Norwich Dragons 2’s made their debut in Division 1N, following their successful promotion campaign during 2014/15. With Pip Howes and Rachel Cramp making their Norwich Dragons League debuts, the squad arrived early despite one of the cars having to make a lengthy diversion via Downham Market.
After a rousing teamtalk by new Dragons Captain Karen O’Neill-Simpson, the team had a good warm up in the 20c sunshine at Bretton Gate. The game started evenly with both sides having their share of attacking play, Laura Shreeve returning from injury for the visitors picked up where she left off, always causing a threat to the Peterborough back line, well supported by Aoife Lowe-Davies who as always worked tirelessly for the team.
City of Peterborough looked dangerous on the break, with some pacey forwards. From one such quick break, they forced a short corner which they dispatched clinically with a sharp routine slipping the ball to space on the right and firing into the goal, despite a great saving effort by Amy Forse. Dragons failed to be downhearted and responded quickly with Gail Thomas placing a great ball into Laura Shreeve who turned her player and fired across the D for a well taken goal to equalise.
For Dragons, Pip Howes and Geo Beckwith were putting in Player of the Match performances in the wide midfield positions, working exceptionally hard in the heat to breakdown play and launch Dragons’ attacks. Unfortunately Dragons were caught pushing forward, and Peterborough’s right forward showed great pace to get round the back and drive along the baseline to feed the ball across the D, which was slotted in at the back post.
Dragons knew they were very much in the game and went into the 2nd half determined to claw their way back. Peterborough however had a really good spell of pressure and but for some strong defending and great Goalkeeping from Amy Forse, the deficit could have been more. Eventually another short corner was conceded and once again a smart routine created gaps in the Dragons defence and the goal was forced over the line (just!).
This only served to fire up the Dragons who then bossed the last 15 minutes. Unfortunately Dragons’ Captain Karen O’Neill Simpson was forced off through injury, however with Shreeve and Lowe-Davies combining well the visitors created a number of opportunities and short corners. From one short, Gail Thomas slipped the ball back to Hannah Hardy, who fired the ball goalwards, the Keeper saved however Laura Shreeve was quickest to react and neatly put the ball past the keeper at the near post.
The final 5 minutes was all Dragons and the equaliser so nearly came with another quick break Shreeves’ pace once again got in behind the defence and, faced with an out rushing keeper, Shreeve slipped the ball to the back post where Hardy and a defender were coming in, somehow the defender managed to get her stick to the ball and deflect it past the post, to ensure all 3 points stayed at Bretton Gate.
A good game to start the season, really well umpired and played in good spirit. Plenty for Dragons to build on, in what will undoubtedly be a hard fought season in this new League.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 4-0 Broadland 1
The Ladies’ 3s expected their first tough game of the season against Broadland 1s, who last season came third in the Norfolk Empresa Premier Division to Dragons’ fourth place.
Conditions for the second league match of the season were hot and sunny, so having three subs on the bench was a sensible move, enabling players to remain hydrated and able to put their all into the game.
Dragons took command of play as soon as the starting whistle blew, making short thrift of the Broadland side. Passing in short sharp triangles, Deb Smith passed to Natasha Blyth, who then found Sian Laurie in front of goal. Laurie slipped the ball neatly past the Broadland keeper, the resulting goal coming within the first 60 seconds of play.
Broadland then seemed to rally and found their shape for a while, but Dragons kept their cool, along with the majority of the possession.
The second for Dragons came from a long run from midfielder Pollyanna Watson, who picked up the ball from just inside the Broadland half and sprinted for a one-on-one with the keeper. Watson swept the ball with a neat lift up and over the sliding keeper.
Broadland had some opportunities winning a few short corners, but the Dragon’s defensive line proved too good for them to score. It was good to see some short corner aerials from a ladies’ side, but speed and accuracy in those attempts were lacking from Broadland, ensuring another clean sheet for Dragons’ keeper Kristina Smyth.
The score remained 2-0 at half time.
The second half showed a great improvement by Dragons in the transfer and release of the ball up the wings to Natasha Blyth and POM Sam Franklin.
Tireless work by midfielders paid off when Hazel Sumner took a quick long corner/attacking 23 from the left hand side if the pitch. She found Smith at the top of the D, who took a first time hit of the ball to score Dragons’ third goal.
At 3-0, Dragons decided to try out a stick stop for the next short corner. Precision from Sumner at the top of the D allowed a sharp strike from Wolfe which rebounded off of the keepers pads for Wolfe to slip right to Smith. Her strike missed the right post by a whisker.
The final goal for Dragons came from a ‘short’ short corner. Watson dummied the injection to Sophie Farrow, standing at the left slip position. She passed straight back to Watson, now on the left post, who worked the ball into the goal for the second of her day.
Final score 4-0
A special mention to the Broadland side who never gave up and certainly didn’t make it easy for the Dragon side.
A great start to the season sees Dragons Ladies 3s sitting at the top of the divisional table.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 8-0 Broadland 2
After opening the league campaign with a spectacular 8 – 0 win over Carrow 2, Dragons were expecting a much tougher game this week. In both meetings last season our visitors Broadlands 2 were victorious, and we knew they were quick on the break.
Dragons took the game to their opponents with some fluid play from the off. We had numerous goal scoring opportunities in the first half, and were denied by some confident keeping from the visitors and the post. The stale mate was broken after 25 minute, when Debbie Santa Clara lost her marker to nudge the ball off her reverse stick into the goal. This was the turning point in the game.
Amelia Dawson added to her goal tally with two fine goals. The first again leaving her defender behind managed to run at the post and diverted the ball into the goal. Her second from a well worked short corner. The ball was received by Anja Finegan who passed it to Amelia who struck from the top of the area.
Issy Wolfe also added to her three goals last week with a reverse deflection off a short corner. Her pace and confidence on the ball troubling the visiting defenders and was unlucky not to score more.
Lara Taylor was voted player of the match for her determination on the left side of the pitch. She was involved in many of the attacks up the left flank.
Kate McKenna was on devastating form with four fine goals. Two were from short corners with Kate finding herself unchallenged on the right, one clear strike and one deflecting the ball on her reverse stick into the goal. Her last was a reverse volley at the far post.
Confidence was high with both Gemma Rump and Louise Davis steaming up the pitch to take shots. Carmel Winsor Waite and Bella Capp looked in control in defence resulting in the keeper Laura Tuck having little to do again this week except watch the match.
Sophie Woods played some creative hockey on the right, and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet herself.
Next week the dragons L4 away to Lowestoft.
Player of the match: Lara Taylor
Scorers: Debbie Santa Clara, Amelia Dawson (2), Issy Wolfe, Kate McKenna (4)
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 1-1 Norwich City 5
The mission for the game was to maintain our position at the top of the table. For a winter sport it was an extremely hot day but feeling powerful and ready we hit the pitch. The midfield section of Chelsea Crawford, Emma Buxton, Chiara Bond, immediately fired off up the pitch passing the ball between and around the opposition players and played the ball into the D. The forwards were ready to receive the ball and Denise Howes on the end of a pass cracked off a strike. The City goalie read the play well and deflected the shot. In the next 15 minutes the City goalie deflected about 10 more shots, and the Dragons tried a few different manoeuvres without success. The opposition played the ball centrally and tried to get the run on the defensive Dragons players. The ball was picked up quickly by Freya Clogan, Abi Cowe and Jess Tye Leech who were pivoting up the pitch to push the ball out wide. Christina Murgatroyd guiding us with her view from the back and making sure City players were picked up. City made a break down the wing with a pass into the D finding a player and then the back board.
The score at half time was 1-0, the Dragons were still fired up and not despondent about the score. We knew we could pull it back and were ready for round 2. With Mel Widows and Vicky Earley picking up and battling those central City players, they played the ball out wide, trying to pass along the City’s weaker side. Zara Howes, Laura Hansell and Jade Blanchflower ran the ball along the wings using their speed to pass players. Again we had the ball in the City D it was passed round before Chiara Bond picked it up and slapped it straight into the left corner, boom! 1-1. Both teams continued to battle with the aim of scoring more goals. Christina made a magnificent save reminiscent of superman diving to stop the ball. The final whistle blew on an evenly matched game, with some disappointment that we should have had more goals. Lots of players received man of the match votes but the winner was Vicky for her continual drive. Some points to take forward for the next game are to use the full width of the pitch to play the ball and remember our training when faced with a skilled goalie. As usual many thanks go to David Bond for giving up his Saturdays to keep us motivated and in position!
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s 3-0 Dereham 5 (match conceded by Dereham)
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 0-5 Carrow 3Dragons were keen to get the season started although Carrow proved to be a well coordinated team.Dragons welcomed goalkeeper Alessandra Pelligrini into the team on her debut for the adults from development. She was supported in defence by returning Dragons Jo Baker and Emma North and new players Emily Roper and Ruth Barton. Emily also was making her debut for the adults from development, along with forward Mia McGhee. Mia was joined up front by Katrina Speirs, who did her usual strong passes, and captain Claire Fairhurst. Mid-field was made up of Jasmin Daniels at bottom of the diamond and Frankie Paul at top of the diamond, Amy Hunter, and returning to hockey players Beth Coates and Katy Cole.The first half saw Carrow manage to get through Dragons and be 4:0 up at half time. Although Dragons put up a lot of fight, not making it easy for Carrow.Second half got under way with Dragons still with their heads held high, getting into Carrow’s D but not being able to get the ball past the keeper. Carrow managed to get another shot into goal, despite Dragons efforts to stop them. In the last few minutes of the match, Dragons continued to battle but unfortunately had a goal disallowed.At the end of the match, the 5:0 score for Carrow didn’t reflect the effort by Dragons. Dragons know that they need to work hard in training and the results will surely come.
Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-3 Cambrige City 4
Norwich Dragons Mens 1s hosted newly promoted Cambridge City at the TCH Dragons Den, full of positivity for the season ahead. Much of that positivity soon evaporated, when the visitors scored two goals within the opening 10 minutes, which turned out to be crucial in deciding the eventual result.
After this slow start, Dragons became increasingly dominant in the game, maintaining much more possession. However, the team as a whole were unable to apply the requisite finishing touch and only late in the second half, having chased the game for the majority, was Sam Avery able to open his and the teams league account for the season, with a sharp finish in the bottom corner, to make it 2-1.
With Dragons chasing the game, their defence was left exposed at times and inevitably a strong Cambridge forward, who had caused trouble all game, extended the visitors lead to 3-1, out of the reach of the home side.
Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 1-4 Lowestoft Railway 1
Norwich Dragons 2nd team undertook the trip to Lowestoft on a sunny afternoon and after a fine pre-season. Brimming with confidence, the visitors took an early lead after Wolfe found Jenkins in front of an empty goal.
That was to prove the highpoint however, as Lowestoft fought back well. The home team showed themselves to be a strong counterattacking side, and Dragons failed to tighten up sufficiently, allowing them to score twice just before half time.
The tiring legs of the Dragons players were no match for the impressive Lowestoft midfield in the second half, and despite creating more chances they were hit twice more on the break before ending up 4-1 down. The worthy winners from Lowestoft showed Dragons that they still have work to do to get their season under way.
Men’s East Hockey League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 1-2 IES 2
After two wins and a draw during pre-season, Dragons were looking forward to their first game in Div 3NE. Dragons know that there will be some difficult games this season and they will have to work hard to earn every point. IES 2s finished mid table last season so Dragons knew it would be a good introduction to the hockey played in 3NE.
IES started strongly and pressed the attack on Dragons, doing well to make it hard for Dragons to get the ball out of their half. After 10 minutes, and some brilliant defending by the Dragon defence of Peter DAVISON, James GOODSON, Jon GOODSON and Rich PHILLIS, Dragons started to get hold of the ball and string some passes together. Stu KELLY made some good runs down the right side, and this was repeated by John IVES on the left. Centre midfielders Adam SAYER and Rob GOODSON were picking up IES players in the middle and playing the link role well. Dragons looked strong on the ball when playing the trademark 3s style of short, sharp passing. This created some chances upfront for strikers Will KIRBY and Geoff ROBERTS, who were unlucky not to score.
Halfway through the first half, IES scored through a strong short corner strike. Despite this setback, Dragons continued to work hard and were rewarded for their efforts by an equaliser. Showing good composure on the ball, Will KIRBY held the ball up in the IES D, allowing fellow forward Nick TURNER to run around the IES defence, and to slot home the ball from KIRBY. The half ended and Dragons were very pleased with their performance so far.
The 2nd half continued in very much the same vein, with play becoming ever-increasingly stretched out across the pitch. With only one substitute, Dragons were becoming tired, but still fought on. Keeper Dim IVES once again put in a great performance and kept out the IES attack. It was from another short corner that IES took the lead, to which Dragons couldn’t find another equaliser, and despite some other chances, Dragons just couldn’t get the draw.
A 2-1 loss for Dragons, but a game where a draw could have easily been the result. Dragons were pleased with their performance and this gives them confidence as they continue their season in Div 3NE. Player of the match – Rob GOODSON for tireless work in midfield.
Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 1-7 IES 3
Up against a very strong opposition Dragons failed to adjust to the pace of the game and combined with general rustiness this made for a very tough first half. Four goals to the bad and things could only get better.
Moving protagonist Dan Ryan to midfield helped combat some of IES’ s flowing play and the defence and debutant goalie Robert Coyle showed true grit in restricting the opposition to 3 second half goals. There were also bright spots in Adie Kemp scoring a consultation goal and Chiv and Bangers putting in sterling performances on the flanks.
The day was marred by a nasty hand injury to Chiv at the end of the game and we all wish him a swift recovery. Thanks to Andy Hipper for taking him to A & E at Ipswich hospital a place the writer knows only too well.
Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 1-0 Norfolk Nomads 2
It was a fine morning at the Dragons Den that witnessed Norfolk Nomads 2s playing the Men’s 5ths. Whilst Dragons had more possession we lacked the fighting spirit to capitalise on it. It was the third short corner for Dragons that saw Rob Wagstaff pass the ball to Josh Bingham who sent it rocketing into the backboard to make it 1-0. Whereas, Dragon’s keeper Robbie Bell only had to make one save in the first half.
In the second half, Lee Keeler opened up a lot of space on the left. However, Nomads coming closer and closer to scoring in the last 10 minutes of the game but they were kept out by the fine defending skills of the back four; in particular Andy Carver, who got man of the match. The game was played in good spirit throughout with the final score 1-0 to Dragons.
Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s: No Fixture
Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 0-5 Norwich City
Dragons started their season with a performance which looks very promising for the season ahead. Playing a strong City team, Dragons showed good determination and some great hockey. Dragons welcomed some players making their debuts for the Boys Dev, Isaac ROWE and Freddie ROQUES. This was also to be a game which was played in quarters of 15 minutes, allowing more team talking time.
City started strong and it tested the Dragons defence. Keeper Angus REID EDWARDS did well to marshal his defence but City managed to score a couple of goals. Dragons didn’t let this affect their play and worked hard to get the ball moving out of defence. Sol BLAZER, Tom BAILEY, Angus BLAZER, Tommy CHAPMAN and Jo OSBORNE battled in midfield and fed the ball through to the forwards, giving Dragons some chances at goal.
Dragons were unlucky not to score from a couple of short corners, and credit has to go to the City defence for keeping a clean sheet. Excellent play from Isaac ROWE, Freddie ROQUES and Sam NUTT upfront really kept City on their toes.
As the game continued, the Dragons defence of Jack COLLINS, Harry BROWN, Toby DRAKE and Sol BLAZER worked tirelessly to keep City at bay, but were unlucky to concede 3 more goals.
A loss, but a game from which Dragons can take many positives. Man of the Match – Sol BLAZER.
Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 1-3 Pelicans
This was an exciting end-to-end game in which the Dragons steadily improved during each of the four quarters. They quickly went down by two goals in the first quarter whilst they were still getting to know each other’s names. All the Pelis goals were scored by Polly Beales, their player of the match, who was a classy striker at penalty corners, whereas Dragons do not have as much power – yet.
Once our defence settled, Ella Kassulka and Niamh Somers produced some excellent clearances. Esme Potter was injured and could not sustain her usual strong runs out of defence, but she was composed as always and very little got passed her. In midfield Dragons had two players making their debut – Harriet Marlee, and Sophie Barrow, who both impressed with their strong running and determined tackling. Aditi Naik is now a senior player in this team and showed a willingness to run into flexible positions and work hard. Alice Young took up some excellent positions at high forward and frequently outran her opponents, and looked capable of scoring a hatful of goals soon.
Special praise to Lily Sore, who led by example as captain and kept driving in hard at the Pelis defence. She was rewarded with a goal when she pouinced on a cross from Sophie and wrong-footed the goalkeeper. Lucy Buxton, Dragons’ player of the match, was outstanding at centre mid, tackling fearlessly, distributing the ball beautifully and running tirelessly. Tilly Connors-Beckett has been promoted from the Under 12s to the Development team and was only beaten by the very best shots – she made loads of blocks and earned a special round of applause from her team mates. Finally, we were delighted with our two adult players who encouraged our young players throughout the match and gave them loads of tips. They played lovely controlled hockey with carefully weighted passes and contributed massively to making it an enjoyable game for both teams.