Norwich city centre hockey club, fun, friendly and competitive

NDHC League Match Reports: 20/09/2014

Women’s East Hockey LeagueΒ East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 3:0 Saffron Walden

Newly promoted Norwich Dragons Ladies 1st team got off to a fantastic start to the season by taking all 3 points when they visited Saffron Walden also newly promoted to the premier league. Although the visitors were confident going into the match they only managed to take a point from Walden last season so they knew this was not going to be easy but were determined to make a good start in the premier league which had alluded themΒ  for 10 years.

The Dragons welcomed a number of new players to the squad who have certainly given a great balance of experience and youth to the team. The Dragons were pleased to welcome Siobhan Cleeve and Sophie Mullan both new members to the club and also it was fantastic to see the return of vice captain Donna Vaughan and young Niamh Lowe-Davies who has earntΒ her selection through some strong performances and work rate during preseason.

As the match got under way it was Walden who were the stronger of the two teams pinning the Dragons back in their own half earning a number of short corners howeverΒ  they could not capitalise on the pressure. The Dragons defence held strong and new keeper Siobhan Cleeve made some fine saves to keep the home side at bay.

After 20 minutes the Dragons began to find their rhythm and started moving the ball quickly. Walden could not cope with the speed andΒ  movement of the Dragons and found themselves a goal down as Rachel King got on the end of a cross after some good work from Nat Beal. It was end to end stuff following the goal but the score line remained as they went into the break.

The Dragons now looked comfortable and were well organised with Vaughan being an anchor for them at the back. A quick pass from a free hit situation from Captain Marie James into the feet of Nat Beal at the top of the circle led to a second goal as Beal played the ball skilfully into the path of Kate Trelawny-Gower who had made a run behind the Walden defence and was able to beat the exposed keeper at close range. With 10 minutes left the Dragons were urged to keep their heads which they did together with composure and patience and were rewarded as their fluent hockey gave them a third goal putting the match beyond Walden’s reach. Some great individual skill from King who beat and rode 4-5 challenges in the Walden circle before sliding the ball to Beal for an easy finish. Great start for the Dragons and I’m confident there is still more to come. Player of the match was jointly awarded to Vaughan, Lowe-Davies and Olivia Thomas another young squad member who had a great performance in midfield.

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Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 5:0Β Yarmouth 1

A new league season gets underway at the Den for Norwich Dragons Ladies 2’s, with a strong performance and deserved victory against Great Yarmouth 1’s. With a strong squad, Dragons went out in determined mood, keen to gel quickly as a team. The long, cross country warm up led by Shelly Seaman set them up nicely!

From the outset Dragons forced the pace, with the ball essentially in their attacking half. Strong runs by Laura Shreeve and Aiofe Lowe-Davies put pressure on the Yarmouth defence, who held firm for the first 15 mins. Eventually the pressure told, following good work from Laura Shreeve her goal bound effort was forced over the line by Laura Tompson-Wright.

Hollie Limmer making her league debut was resolute at the bottom of the diamond, mopping up any long hits that found their way through. Whilst Dragons continued to force the pace, the score remained 1-0 at half-time.

Dragons talked at half-time about keeping their shape and taking a little more time and care on the ball, all of which they did to great effect. A second goal came early on, from a well worked short-corner routine involving Gail Thomas, which was dispatched by Karen O’Neill-Simpson. The next two goals came from Player of the Match, Laura Shreeve, both goals smartly finished following good team build up. Dragons saw further chances come and go, one particular chance, when it was perhaps easier to score than miss!! The scoring was completed by Hannah Hardy, to make the final score to 5 – 0 to the home team.

Particular mentions go to Hollie Limmer and Sophie Thomas, who closely pushed Laura Shreeve in the Player of the Match vote, however it was the overall team performance that was most pleasing. An extremely solid start to the League campaign by a Dragons squad who are looking forward to the season ahead.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier League
Norwich Dragons 3s 2:0 Carrow 1

Starting as they mean to go on, the Norwich Dragon Ladies 3’s commenced the season with a strong performance against the recently relegated Carrow 1’s. Good offensive play from the outset, with swift clean passes and good pace on the ball, Dragons maintained the majority of possession for the first half. A few strong free hits from the Carrow ladies, cutting through the Dragons defense, looked as though the opposition may catch the Dragons on the break. However, hit with such pace, and difficult for the Carrow Ladies to get on the end of, they were swiftly mopped up by Sarah Wagstaff and Hannah Ellis. Manoeuvring the ball around the back of the pitch, followed by well placed passes, this frequently lead to ever increasing pressure on the opposing D. Just before half time a well placed ball from Geo Beckwith from the base line to Debs Smith alsmot saw a superb goal in the top left corner. Despite the Dragons constant pressure the half time score was 0:0.

Returning from half time, and with a thirst for goal from both teams, Carrow started strong on their attack. Once again, this was picked up by Sarah Wagstaff, neatly slotting the ball across to Harriet Green and down the left wing to Marcy Windsor-Waite. Playing the ball gracefully around several of the opposition, Marcy delivered the ball to Caroline Wolfe who, with a strong hit and deflection from a defender, scored the first goal.

Once again Carrow attacked strong, attempting the break Dragons strong offensive play with hard through balls. Each time these were picked up by the midfield. Managing to intercept one of these passes Natasha Falzon managed to work her way the length of the pitch, manoeuvring around players as she went. Arriving at the D she passed to Geo who saw the ball across the face of the goal and picked up by Caroline who, once again, with a strong strike, and a deflection from Carrow defence, scored. Final score 0:2.Β 

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 4:0 CarrowΒ 2

Dragons 4s took to the pitch today welcoming several new players to the team. In what turned out to be a perfect balance of experience and youth, Dragons dominated the play from the outset. Kate McKenna and Mel Widdows worked the width of the pitch creating space and movement for the ball. This allowed forwards like Sophie Farrow and Laura Goodbun to make some lovely early runs into the D, putting the pressure on right from the start.

Play was fluid and the Dragons seemed comfortable on this rather slow pitch, adjusting the pace and weighting of the ball accordingly. During the first half Gemma Rump and Freya Clogan worked hard from the back to try and move the ball forward, setting up play for Katie Buxton who made some lovely movements in midfield. Passing was precise, players were meeting the ball and movement into space really opened up the play. It seemed that a goal was imminent, but in usual Dragons style we left it to the final minute of the half to actually score, courtesy of Debbie Santa Clara, who placed the ball beautifully behind the keeper.

In the second half Dragons picked up the pace further, keeping the ball in Carrow’s half for the majority of the game. The second goal came fairly quickly, scored by Sue Cross (PoM), it was a bit of a scrabble on the goal line, but the ball eventually got round the keeper and across the line.Β  While Carrow tried hard to turn play and attack, a strong midfield and defence held them back. Abi Cowe worked the ball time and again up the right, passing into the D and setting up the third goal which was scored by Kate McKenna. The final goal came about 10 minutes from the end of the game and was a lovely strike from Sue Cross, which thundered into the backboard.Β  While this was the last goal scored, it certainly wasn’t the final attempt, the post was hit on at least three occasions, to the groans of the spectators.

Dragons left the field, pleased with a great team effort.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 2:2 Herlings

In the first league game of the season, the Ladies 5s put in a sterling performance, which resulted in a 2:2 draw. We knew it was going to be a tough match from previous experience with Herlings, and also this week we were missing several key players, not to mention captain Lois McGregor. However the players did not let this daunt them, and went out determined from the beginning.

The players had to start the match without fully completing their match preparation with no practice of short corners. Yet we started well, with Issy Wolfe and Anja Finegan working hard together up front, with newly christened forward Rachael Matthews making some excellent runs to support them. The play was end to end, but our defense held strong, with Emma Buxton, Carmel Windsor-Waite and Chelsea Crawford working superbly to help each other. Although the Herlings ladies had players with the ability to whack the ball from one end of the pitch to the other, Dragons were quick to get in front of their hits with our sticks down, and were soon stopping the majority of the balls that came our way with some quick work by Sarah Moore.

The first goal came with some excellent teamwork from Issy Wolfe and Anja Finegan, who managed to pass it around the Herlings players for Issy to score against just the keeper. Our next goal was truly spectacular, and came courtesy of a penalty flick when one of the Herlings players kicked the ball off the goal line. Anja Finegan stepped up and truly delivered, with an excellent flick into the top left corner that the keeper had no chance of saving. Herlings then really started to push back and managed to score two goals before the end of the first half.

After a half time talk from Mike Hardy, Dragons went back onto the pitch determined to pull ahead. Although some excellent runs and passes were made by Laura Hansell, Helen Marsh and Rachael Matthews, and equally brilliant tackles from our defence, we could not seem to score again. However it was still an achievement that we held off Herlings from scoring again, as they too seemed more determined and goal hungry than before holding Alice Smith to account. We finished the game a draw, and our true team effort was reflected in the man of the match when a wide range of people received votes and there was even a vote for the team. Overall a great start to the season against a tough side.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6 4:0Β Norwich Dragons 7

Another chapter in the Dragons’ history was written when Dragons 7s took to the pitch for their first league match. It is a measure of the strength of the club that the two teams includedΒ six graduates from the development squad and eight from the Hardys’ academy of Get Back Into, only formed in the summer but already producing players who can play the flowing, short passing Dragons’ game. The 7s wereΒ paid the respect of facing the strongest opposition available on the day, and did well to hold their more experienced opponents to four goals. Alice Smith had an excellent game in goal for the 7s, saving with pads, glove, stick and by sheer presence forcing the rushing forwards into errors. Arabella Sabberton, making her club debut, was their player of the match. Tall and strong, she impressed in defence. Up front, Jane Morton caught the eye for some speedy runs in wide positions, equalled by daughter Lucy who formed a good partnership with Catherine Matthews.Β  Jasmine Mansfield showed all-round improvement in her core skills. Captain Claire Fairhurst commented, ‘ The 7s have several players with potential. All they really lack is experience. It they put inΒ regular attendance at training, and make themselves available for matches, we will have a useful team’.

There was close voting for the 6s player of the match, with the players who chased, passed and ran non-stop being praised by their colleagues. Victoria Earley (top of the diamond) Jade Blanchflower (who settled into the high forward role) and Jo Eke (very reliable at the bottom of the diamond) were all excellent. Rhianna Belham and Emily Montgomery-Wright wereΒ energetic and worthΒ their midfield places, and the defenders (Katie Franks, Bella Capps and Jasmin Daniels) were calm and reliable in front of Laura Tuck, who showed good early season form. Rosie Skipp opened and completed the scoring by making herself available on the post, withΒ Rhianna and Victoria scoring after powerful runs. This was a promising start for both teams.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7Β 0:4 Norwich Dragons 6

See report for NDHC 6s above

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IMG_2367Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1sΒ 2:0 North Norfolk 1

Dragons launched their new campaign with an important 2-0 win against a strong North Norfolk side on Saturday. It was a terrific occasion – the first league game under lights at the Den, in front of a crowd at near capacity (some of them certainly seemed to be), and against local rivals led by former Dragons pin-up Ben Roadrunner Miles. The Dragons side sported six new faces, Robbie Bell rewarded for his outstanding progress with a place in goal, Nick Deayton, Dom Samways, and Mike Farrow in the back four, Sam Avery up front, and the squeaky clean Alec Bidet-Steele in the midfield.

Before the game, coach Wagstaff expressed his satisfaction that the club’s transfer business had been well done over the summer and the side settled quickly, Knights and Flatman’s muscularity dominating the midfield, Samways and Samwise linking well from back-to-front, and Snelling, Charlish, and Hamilton combining well in attack. Snelling almost broke the deadlock with a deft deflection on the spin and Charlish was denied only by a desperate covering tackle when played through by Hamilton. At the other end, Bell and Farrow were assured when called upon. Dragons finally went ahead when a driven cross from Knights was allowed to run too far and Charlish, ghosting in at the far post, tapped in at full stretch. Were he not the tallest member of his family, the sides would surely have gone into the break at level pegging.

The only sour notes of the first half were the loss of Sloman (for once the name seemed apposite), who limped off with an Achilles injury (he later claimed he’d have played on had it not been for the hectoring of the crowd) and the cynical play-acting from Miles whose shin-pads repeatedly tore great chunks out of Rutledge’s (cast as Wile E. Coyote for the day) stick.

Determined to start the second half brightly, Dragons instead let North Norfolk back into the game, giving the ball away too cheaply too often. Had it not been for Miles’s asking the umpire for protection once too often (the mind boggles – can’t that sort of thing be dealt with after the game?), the visitors would surely have equalised. Instead, with an extra man, Dragons took control of the game, Samwise a constant threat down the right and Bidet-Steele finding space in between the lines. Dragons might have extended their lead when Snelling lashed Bidet-Steele’s cross into the keeper’s helmet at point-blank range; instead, they had to wait until the final five minutes for the game to be settled, Charlish and Samways combining well before a surging run and crunching finish from the team’s physio put the game beyond doubt. Coach Wagstaff, when asked whether Charlish had at last secured his place in the side’s front line, wryly observed, β€œto be honest, we only really expect a couple of goals from him a season; now he’s got those he might as well pack his socks and go and join Overstall.” He added, β€œCharlish’s goals were the difference today, but, for the connoisseur, the stand-out player was Smith. He was impeccable at the back. It was a great occasion – a great way to start the season. The crowd were immense. I hope we can take that kind of support with us to our away games too.” Stand-in skipper Flatman was more philosophical: β€œthree points is three points, but not all triangles are equilateral.”

Some snaps from the game here.

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Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2sΒ 6:2 Lowestoft Railway 1

The first 3NE league game of the 2014/2015 season took the Men’s 2nd XI away to newly promoted Lowestoft Railway 1st XI with game being played at East Point Academy. The 2nd XI team consisted of a core of 5 from last season (Gordon-Brown, Phillis, Masterson, Wilkins and Nisbet) and quite a few new faces and debutants. Mitch Smith, Rory Jackson and Sam Worster with their first league games for Dragons; Rohan Kaushal of the 3rd XI last season and the Dev Boys the season before has shown a lot of promise in these last two seasons and earned a call up to the 2nd XI; Will Kirby and Sam Mann also joining from the 3rd XI and 1st XI stalwarts Jason Wolfe and Rich Smith moved into the 2nd XI this week.

Lowestoft Railway won promotion from 4NE along with champions Pelicans 2nd XI. Lowestoft finished 2nd with W15 D4 L3 GF89 GA38 Pts49, 3 points ahead of Ipswich-East Suffolk 3rd XI.

The first half started with great intensity from Dragons and the first goal was scored in under a minute courtesy of some great linking play, working from the back, up the wings, across the D and into the goal courtesy of Sam Worster. 1-0. The intensity continued from Dragons with a great deal of possession in our favour despite the very sandy pitch. The defence worked smoothly together, passing was composed between one and other and joined up well with the midfield with Mitch Smith making his debut look like a walk in the park. Lowestoft initially struggled with the possession and pace of the passing play but continued to hassle the defence and began to see more of the ball mainly though break away plays. Simon Nisbet made some great plays up the right wing, playing from the right inner position and linked up well with Rich Phillis at the back and Will Kirby up top. Simon Nisbet worked around the defenders in the corner of the field and fired in a cross almost from the baseline outside of the D to be deflected in at the near-post by Rory Jackson. 2-0. Dragons made it 3-0 within 15 minutes with some great work, yet again, from our forwards with Jason Wolfe working it patiently around the keeper at close range and popping it in at the right post. Pressure continued with a handful of short corners and Jason Wolfe making it 4-0 with a straight strike from the top of the D.

Lowestoft’s forwards continued to push back with numerous good chances towards the end of the first half. Pace was on their side and they managed to squeeze more balls through the defence but were unable to convert any of their opportunities. Lowestoft began to win short corners but misfired on several occasions including one bouncer which caught Glenn Masterson by surprise in the chest on the line and a P-flick was awarded. Sam Mann had been warmed up by the increasing attacking play towards the end of the first half and had made half a dozen saves already. Lowestoft’s mis-firing short corner straight striker stepped up and put a mid-powered flick to the left at chest height and was parried away by Sam Mann. Just before halftime another P-flick was awarded against a disputed stick block via Piers Gordon-Brown. The same Lowestoft forward stepped up as before and put this flick to the left of the goal. Halftime, 4-0.

Lowestoft started the second half with more composure and more vigour than before which Dragons did well to soak up and counter-attack. The game was more even in this half, Dragons continued to press and perhaps too much at times which left space for Lowestoft’s pace to break through. More saves from Sam the Mann. An untimely defensive error on the 25 yard line allowed a one-on-one with the keeper which Lowestoft managed tuck home. Heads were kept up as Dragons went back on the attack. Sam Worster, Lewis Wilkins and Rory Jackson linked together working through the Lowestoft midfield and defence and feeding the ball though to Jason Wolfe and Will Kirby who hounded the keeper forcing more and more saves from their keeper. More Dragons short corners followed and Rory Jackson unleashed the top secret “Drag(on) scoop” which naturally found the back netting (just). 5-1. Lowestoft fought on and looked more and more dangerous in our 25. Sam Mann made fine save after fine save and really did keep Dragons in lead as Lowestoft managed to work their way through a defence that was growing tired and more frustrated by some of the stick tackling and more physical play. Lowestoft short corners followed and were cleared away until one crept back into the D and a powerful strike from the top-right surprised all was buried into the netting of the near post despite confusion as to whether this was the first shot on goal or not from that corner. 5-2. Dragons adapted their formation to put an end to break aways from Lowestoft and Rohan Kaushal and Lewis Wilkins worked well to keep possession in the opposition 25 to earn more attacks into the Lowestoft D which resulted in Will Kirby’s well worked shot on goal hitting a defender’s a foot on the line allowing Will Kirby to convert the P-flick. 6-2. Full time.

A fantastic start to the season, some great hockey from new and old faces and this team really did look like it had been playing together for some time. Sam Mann was unanimously voted MOM for incredible goal keeping. This result moves the 2nd XI into 3rd place.

Next week the 2nd XI take on the recently relegated Newmarket 1st XI at home at 11:30. Newmarket 1st XI also won at the weekend 7-0 to Sudbury 2nd XI moving them into 1st place.

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Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3sΒ 3:2 Felixstowe 2

Dragons began their season with an excellent, hard-fought win against a Felixstowe side who narrowly missed out on promotion last season, finishing 3rd.

The first twenty minutes belonged to the away side as the Suffolk side earned a succession of short-corners without testing Robbie Bell in the Dragons’ goal. Bell was called into action from open play as Felixstowe pushed for the opening goal with Dragons struggling to get a foothold into the game. Dragons stood firm in defence with Jon Goodson, Peter Davison, Henry Eades and man-of-the-match James Goodson all providing excellent cover for Bell in the face of Felixstowe pressure.

The introduction of Will Main gave Dragons energy upfront and shortly after, Main scored his debut goal for the club against the run of play, slotting in past the keeper from close range after some good work by captain Adam Sayer. The goal seemed to take the wind out of Felixstowe and within minutes Dragons found themselves 2-0 up when Matt Jenkins took his marker by surprise with a reverse sweep which left the keeper unsighted and crept in at the near post.

Good pressure from the midfield of Rob Goodson and Stu Kelly forced Felixstowe up the pitch and Dragons soon raced into a 3-0 lead before the break; Adrian Kempβ€˜s excellent interception and quick thinking put Jenkins in at the top of the D to score his second of the match with a first time shot into the bottom corner.

Despite the expected increase in tempo from Felixstowe, Dragons continued to look a threat after the break; John and Will Ives both providing strong, positive runs down the wings while looking to create further chances for the home side.

The game grew more fractious and tensions grew as Felixstowe received a couple of yellow cards for deliberate fouls and dissent and Dragons were perhaps lucky to not receive a yellow card themselves after a wild challenge from Jenkins on the Felixstowe skipper, with the umpire deciding that a green card was sufficient punishment.

Felixstowe ensured that there was a nervy ending to the game; firstly with a superb lob from the edge of the D into the top corner and a cool finish into the bottom left-hand corner but Dragons held their composure and nerve to record an excellent victory against a side expected to be one of the stronger teams in the league this season.

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Mens East League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 3:1 Sudbury 3

Unbeaten in pre-season, Dragons made the long trip to Sudbury with high hopes, despite late withdrawals reducing them to a bare 11.

The game started in frenetic fashion with Sudbury quick to close down the Dragons players.Β  The umpire soon lost patience with Sudbury’s shoulder barges and stick tackles and twice during the match they were reduced to 10.

Solid defending from the experienced back four of Shorten, Pentin, Keating and Price (Old Spice) and some good saves from Giles Brooks allowed Dragons back into the game.Β  Upfront, young Rob Chaney-Baxter and Bradley Howlett ran the Sudbury defence ragged and when Rob’s shot was saved, Man of the Match Nick Turner lifted the rebound over the prone keeper.

Sudbury came back into the game with a (disputed – had the whistle gone for a short before the ball went in the net?) goal before half time, but the break saw inspiring team talks from Rich Moulson and Jon Price.

Sudbury started the second half strongly, but the Dragons midfield kept them in the game.Β  Moulson was solid in the centre, whilst Turner caused wreaked havoc on the right and Dragons started to dominate the match, earning a number of short corners.Β  Eventually a nerve-settling goal came when Howlett’s shot was deflected in and another soon followed to make the game safe when Moulson prodded/lifted the ball home from close range.

A friendly post match session saw the hungry Dragons rewarded with sausage beans and chips, Rob (C-B) eating his own weight in bangers, before the long trip home to Norfolk as night fell… THE END

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Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 5:0 North Norfolk 3

Following last season’s promotion, Norwich Dragons 5th XI began life in Division 6NE with a comfortable home victory over the newly formed North Norfolk HC’s 3rd XI.
Not knowing what to expect from their opposition, and expecting an adjustment to the demands of a higher division, Dragons started cautiously and took their time to get going. Their opposition were a blend of youth and experience, and looked dangerous when attacking with speed early on. Whilst Dragons build-up play was solid, the final ball was lacking, either played too far infront of the forwards, or forcing them to drop deep to collect.
With half-time looming Dragons did find some rhythm, and having won a couple of penalty corners, converted one at the second attempt when Andy Key fired home from a tight angle.
Dragons came out positively after half-time and the second half was largely played in North Norfolk’s half. Dan Ryan, having shifted position slightly at half-time, began to find a lot of the ball in space, and was able to test the keeper and attempt to set-up his colleagues in the forward line on a couple of occasions. Ryan added Dragons’ second when from one such move he was on hand to place the rebound past the keeper.
Shortly afterward Ryan turned provider when his pull-back found captain Joel Lawrence who promptly swept the ball home, and a similar routine just moments later found Alan Quinton at the top of the D to fire a powerful strike into the corner.
Dragons kept pressing for more goals, but North Norfolk defended well and started to cause some more problems on the break, ensuring that the Dragons’ defence, well marshalled by Duncan Evans and Andy Carver, were on their toes. With time running down Ryan completed his play-making exploits for the day with another pull-back to Lawrence for a carbon-copy of his first goal.
A good start for Dragons, that bodes well for the season ahead.

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Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 0:8 Norwich City 7 (f)

Friendly so no match report

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Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich DragonsΒ p-p Dereham

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Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 0:4 Lowestoft RailwayΒ