Norwich city centre hockey club, fun, friendly and competitive

NDHC League Match Reports: 21/11/2015

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Women’s East Hockey LeagueΒ East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 6-2Β Tunbridge Wells 1

On an extremely cold and windy day, Dragons welcomed Tunbridge Wells to the Den looking for their 4th consecutive win.

It was the home side who started the most positively in the conditions and soon found themselves 2 goals up through two short corners. The first came from Hayley Toleman who, under extreme pressure from the defence, managed to coolly slot the ball past the keeper. The second minutes later from a superb Stacey Lee deflection.

Dragons didn’t sit back and played some really attractive hockey, creating some good chances.Β  They were rightfully rewarded when the ball moved from one end of the pitch to the other and Rachel King was able to pick out Olivia Thomas who finished in style to put the home side three up going into half time.

Dragons started the second half where they left off, passing the ball round the pitch and scored another team goal, this time through Nat Beal, who was at the back post to slot the ball home.

Credit to Tunbridge Wells who didn’t give in and pushed forward and were rewarded with 2 quick goals, one through a short corner and the other via a penalty flick where GK Siobhan Cleeve was unlucky to not to keep out after she got a strong hand to it.

Dragons could have easily faulted here, but learning from previous performances and buoyed by well deserved player of the match Niamh Lowe Davis, who worked tirelessly in defence and attack, they pushed forward and scored their 5th through Emma Tabrett who calmly finished another short corner with a great drag shot. The home side were still not finished and neither was Hayley Toleman who scored another, making it her 4th goal in two games, and Dragons comfortable and deserved winners.

Next week sees Dragons travel to St Albans who are equal on points in the the top of the table.

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Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N
Norwich Dragons 2s 2-2 Saffron WaldenΒ 1

Dragons Ladies 2’s visited League leaders Saffron Walden hoping the forecast of 50+mph freezing winds wasn’t going to come to fruition – it is fair to say it was probably worse conditions than were forecast! The team knew it was going to be a tough game, however the positivity in the changing room was excellent and Captain Karen O’Neill Simpson made sure the team went out full of belief and in no doubt what they needed to do, to get a result.

Early encounters saw Saffron Walden start strongly, moving the ball around at pace and playing some nice triangles, putting pressure on the Dragons defence, however marshalled well by GK Amy Forse, the back line of Ally Windsor-Waite, Angela Murgatroyd and Rowan York-Smith battled hard and kept the home team at bay. Somewhat against the run of play Dragons had some pressure of their own and opened the scoring. From a long corner, Sophie Thomas found Gail Thomas, who smartly drilled the ball into Marcy Windsor-Waite in the D, with confidence Windsor-Waite turned sharply and slotted the ball into the corner beyond the GK.

Dragons had further opportunities – Laura Goodbun showed her great pace and skill on a couple of occasions to get down the right and fire in a cross, one of which Laura Shreeve was just inches away from. The midfield were working hard to keep the league leaders at bay, with Karen O’Neill Simpson, Gail Thomas and Pollyanna Watson keeping strong in the middle to prevent a well drilled team getting through, whilst the wide midfielders of Pip Howes and Sophie Thomas were working tirelessly up and down the flanks. Eventually however, there was a break down the right, which lead to a smart ball across the D which was dispatched at the far post to make it 1-1 at halftime.

The team gathered for the half-time teamtalk which was quite a different to their usual tactical discussion. There was some hilarity from the girls who had become slightly delirious, given most were barely able to hold their sticks or feel their legs! The call was to simply try to thaw out a little, in the tiny wooden dug-out!

Walden started the 2nd half brightly again and Dragons were under pressure. Short corner defence practise for Dragons had clearly paid off, with the defence looking really strong, but if the ball did get through Amy Forse was in inspired form. Eventually however, a bit of individual brilliance from a Saffron Walden player saw her beat 2 or 3 players and then dispatch a tomahawk reverse strike into the bottom corner to take the lead.

The wind continued to blow and a few comedy moments resulted, one seeing Ally Windsor-Waite lose control of her stick to see it fly behind her, nearly going over the back fence ;-)! The home team always threatened however, as did Dragons on the break and it was during this spell that Dragons had a free hit just outside the D. Pip Howes moved around the circle, then fired in a great ball which was eventually put into the goal, following a bit of a scramble in the D. Sadly however, on appeal by a Walden player, the umpire furthest from the D decided that the ball hadn’t gone the required 5 metres, despite the closest umpire confirming to the Dragons that it had. After discussion, the goal was somewhat surprisingly disallowed.

This understandably unsettled Dragons and they possibly lost their concentration a little and were rewarded with a couple of cards. It is fair to say however, Dragons rode the storm and ended the game very much the more determined of the two teams. Marcy Windsor-Waite picked up the ball on the right from a strong defensive clearance by Rowan York-Smith. Windsor-Waite looked up and placed a perfectly weighted ball into Laura Shreeve, who continued to be full of running, even with 2 minutes to go. Shreeve took on the defender and entered the D and unleashed a rocket, which smashed the back board with some venom!

The result felt like justice for Dragons, given the disallowed goal. The team celebrated, possibly just through sheer relief to be retreating indoors from the biting wind. Player of the Match was run-away between Amy Forse and Rowan York-Smith, with GK Amy Forse just edging it, however the whole team should be proud of their performance in tough conditions.

Our thanks go to our brave sideline support who endured the elements to cheer us on!

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Premier Division
Norwich DragonsΒ 3s 1-0Β Dereham 3

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ DivisionΒ 1
Norwich Dragons 4sΒ 0-1 Dereham 4

The Dragon ladies were very pleased with their victory against Diss ladies last week. On paper this week’s challenge should have been a much easier affair. The conditions were testing, with the two teams duelling each other through the wind, rain and hail.

Dragons had the lion share of the possession. Louise Davis had an exceptional game this week with a very determined performance. Chelsie Crawford was also impressive. Megan Williams, Sophie Farrow and Holly Francis covered a great deal of ground in the midfield. Gemma Rump was very committed in every tackle.

Dragons won five short corners, however failed to hit the target with any. This is an area that Dragons will need to improve on if they wish to remain competitive.

The Home team had three shots on goal, which all sailed past the far post.

Dereham had one opportunity to score, but they took it well and after 25 minutes were leading by a goal.

In the second half Dragons lost their shape and became ill disciplined in a frantic attempt to find an equaliser. Dereham defended their lead wellΒ  until the final whistle.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5sΒ P-P Beccles

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6sΒ 0-2 North Norfolk 2

Another game which the 6s thoroughly enjoyed, despite losing to a very strong North Norfolk team and getting soaked to the skin. More last minute changes – very many thanks to everyone who made sure we got a team out. The 6s still need to learn to put the ball away, and to start each half hard and with intent, because that was when North Norfolk got their goals, but for the rest of the match the 6s matched the home team for possession and certainly for skills. Kat Speirs made her debut in goal and was POM for some very brave saves and some phenomenal clearances – one of which almost reached the half way line. She also showed excellent judgement when choosing which balls to swoop on, and which to leave alone.

In front of Kat, Katy Saide had a strong game in the middle, with Ginny Simkin and Katie Franks on either side. These three were very solid, and initiated plenty of attacks from the back. The mids flexed around during the course of the match. Emma Buxton calmly commanded from the bottom of the diamond and made some outstanding interceptions. Rachel Matthews is a formidable left mid, who is fast and tenacious and added real strength to the 6s midfield play. Sophie Thurtell continues to improve every game, and she rotated with Sarah Norman who was equally determined when she had the chance to move further forward. Birthday girl Gill Walker had her hands full at the top of the diamond against a very powerful pair of rushing forwards, but Gill also showed her value by taking a stint in defence, enabling Dragons to stay sold at the back when they had their best attacking spells.

Beth ElgoodΒ  played a total forward role this week. Hard to believe less than a month ago she was considered to be key in defence. She has genuine speed and determination to get onto the post, but this week she was not lucky; the North Norfolk keeper was a brave shot stopper. Catherine Matthews and Lucy Morton are getting to grips with the inner positions and did a lot of skilful ball carrying and passing. Jess Vernon joined the 6s this week and played well on either wing.

This was a game in which the entire squad played well, earning six penalty corners which must be our best tally this season so far. Catherine nearly got what might be considered a fair reward when her powerful sweep was cleared at the last second. Rachel had two excellent strikes from the top of the D, and Lucy’s injection was consistent and accurate.

So another defeat recorded, but the 6s agreed that this defeat felt as good as a win against high-flying opposition. The 6s, unit by unit, are stronger than they were at this time last season. If the entire squad can continue to improve, and enjoy their hockey, they should be able to achieve their ambition of consolidation in this division. And let’s not forget, the 6s don’t start to ‘play’ until after Christmas!

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 3
Norwich DragonsΒ 7sΒ 2-3 Pelicans 3

Dragons 7 gritted their teeth and prepared themselves for their first match of the season in wintery weather conditions against Pelicans 3, who had made the arduous journey down from Kings Lynn.Pelicans dominated the first half from the start, managing to score 2 goals in the first 20 minutes. Dragons defenders Emily Roper, Ruth Barton, Jemima Williams and Jo Baker all had their work cut out fighting off the attack, with goalkeeper Alessandra Pelligrini making a great number of saves. Bottom of the diamond Emma North aided the defence and kept trying to push the ball up to the midfield. Nikki Moulson made great interceptions, getting the ball past Pelicans and trying to get it up to Pelicans goal. Brooke Simmons on the left and Sophia Gilbert on the right kept making great runs up each wing, trying to get the ball over to forwards Katie Moulson, Mia McGhee, Amy Hunter or Claire Fairhurst.

After a motivating team talk from sideline helper Rich Moulson, where they were reminded to look up before hitting the ball, Dragons started the second half keen to find the backboard. Pelicans managed to score again, but it didn’t stop Dragons, and their persistence was rewarded. Dragon’s first goal was scored by Nikki, with a great strong hit from the top of the D. Their second goal was scored by Mia, who made a break for it and despite the talents of the Pelicans keeper, managed to hit a lovely firm shot straight into the back of the goal. Dragons kept on fighting until the last second, but had to settle for a 2:3 loss.

Jemima earned herself POM for her great defending in her debut match for Dragons.Dragons finished the match knowing that they played so much better in the second half and with a few minutes more may have scored more.

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Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 4-3 St Ives 1

Clear and crisp moments with patches of stormy uncertainty. Words that could be used to describe both the weather and hockey on show during the mens 1st team game against St Ives this weekend. The Dragons claimed three well earned points and continue to build on a sense of positivity that is Β spreading through the team.We thought we’d give St Ives a fighting chance by gifting them a short corner less than 5 mins into the game. An astute deflection form the resulting corner provided us with the required vigor to realise the task in hand.

Shortly after conceding the first goal, Robbie ‘not in my D’ Bell came charging off his line to make an important sliding save to prevent Dragons going 2-0 within the first 15mins of the game. Whilst the previously plucky St Ives forward lay on the ground contemplating; ‘Maybe if I hadn’t read the entire Harry Potter book series… this would never had happened’ Norwich Dragons began stamping their authority on the game.Captain George Walker leveled the scores after a maisey and somewhat lumbered run into the opposition D ended up with a wild swing which left the ball rolling round the top corner of the St Ives goal. The goal visibly provided the team with a lift, if George just beat 2 players and lifted the ball in the top corner…. anything felt possible.Unfortunately the delusions were short lived as St Ives went 2-1 up following another soft short corner giveaway.

The Dragons were not fazed. Mark ‘flat sticks’ Clubman and Henry Shumacher denied the St Ives midfield any time on the ball and eventually their hard work paid off. Mark robbed St Ives’s play maker of the ball and led a purposeful charge towards the baseline. Mark pulled the ball back for super sub Lewis Jackson to place the ball neatly into the bottom corner of the St Ives goal. 2-2 Game On!

Shortly before half time Mary Berry Smith provided Dragons with the lead. His drag flick thumped against the back board from a short corner. ‘Low for scorey… high for glory’ he said at half time. Never has a truer word been said.

The second half of the game was stretched with both teams desperate to claim the three points. St Ives scored on the break and some lumberjack esk tackling from Nick Deayton reduced Dragons to 10.

Up steps the bearded wildling. After playing a cleverly thought out one two with the St Ives goal keeper he calmly pushed the ball into the bottom corner of the opposition’s goal to secure three desperately needed points for the first team.

Plenty of positives to build on and next weeks game at Ipswich provides the perfect opportunity to maintain momentum.

DRAGONS!

RB – MOM
ND – DOD
# OllieKing

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

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Men’s East Hockey League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-5 Newmarket 1

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Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 1-3 Newmarket 2

Dragons travelled to a Newmarket team one place above them on the league.Β  Despite the loss of a few regulars due to a clash with the Postwick WI cookery demonstration (A Casserole dish special) Dragons more than matched their opponents in the early exchanges.Β  R Rai , C Nunn & Bangers. proved a constant threat from midfield. Against the run of play Newmarket took the lead with a quick counter attack following a Dragons attack.

Dragons edged their way back into the game, bustling Captain Rob and our dashing spaniard Alberto, help blunt the Newmarket threat a allow the teams young players to roam forward. Β One such break into the D by Charlie end with a fine shot, Charlie beat the keeper but not the post…luckily Cross was on hand to put away the rebound. Β Dragons continued to have good spells of possession leading up to half time but sadly the ball never quite broke kindly. Β Newmarket had the perfect chance to add a 2nd before half time when Dragons conceded a flick. The cat in goal, Chris Millar, used all his guile to stop the flick and keep the scores level.

In the 2nd half Newmarket resorted to crashing the ball forward at pace, this eventually worked as a hard shot from the 25 was deflected passed Chris Millar , Chris had no chance. Β As Dragons pushed forward gaps started to appear and Newmarket were able add a 3rd goal to seal the game. Keeper Miller made a number of fine saves to keep the score respectable.

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Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5sΒ 5-0 IES 5

Thanks to the inclement weather the team were already cold and wet before this epic match began. We were about to start with bare 11 when luckily Ray Hansell arrived to lend a hand. Who was to know he would be needed within the first few minutes as Joel pulled a muscle and had to be subbed off. George Bowman also appeared and subbed on for us later. To say the conditions were appalling is an understatement. With high winds beating the cold rain into our faces we battled to 3 goals up in the first half with Rob Wagstaff hitting the ball as hard as I have ever seen him hit it (and scoring a goal).

With jaws that hurt from clamping against the cold, there was some beautiful passing between the forwards who made the most of the open space they were given. Tim and Daryl did some nice tackles and the youngsters Tom Williams and George Wright did amazing runs down the wings (Tim and George W both scored). It was a tough battle in defence but Robbie Bell did an amazing save from a scorching shot. Joel came back on and scored two in the second half for us to finish the game 5-0. Man of the match was Hamish Packham whose energy in the midfield and total commitment to the ball regardless of personal safety was inspiring.

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Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6sΒ P-P Watton 2

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Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 11-2 Dereham

On the 21st November the boys development team played against Dereham in their 11th game of the season. From the beginning of the match morale was up, as we were expecting a good game. Once the warmup was finished, the boys got ready for the game ahead. Pushing off first, we passed the ball around for the best part of 5 minutes until we slipped into their D, and Jono was the first to knock a goal in. After barely a minute had passed, Jono slipped yet another one in behind the Dereham goalkeeper.

At the beginning of the second quarter, hail started to rain down, but the boys kept on fighting as Jono slipped in yet another two, and Johnny got his first of the game all in rapid succession.Β  Unfortunately, we couldn’t score anymore in that quarter though unfortunately as the ever raining down hail became stronger and stronger, leaving the pitch looking as if snow had fallen on it. Half-time score, 5-0.

After deciding to play a straight half, we begun with Jose using some great 3d skills to push into their D, and with some help from the rest of the players, scored another. It was at this time Dragons would be punished, as strikers from the opposition managed to sneak past our defence in such a way that could only be described as us relying too heavily on our keeper to save every shot. After they scored a goal, the midfielders quickly passed the ball forwards for Jose to neatly whip around the opposition, passing the ball off to Johnny who delivered another punishing goal to the Dereham side. Once again, both Jose and Jono scored another. It was at this point when it would be the time for Dereham to score an excellent goal, leaving the defenders hopeless to protect the goal from the quick skill and powerful shot Dereham executed with somewhat ease. Not wanting to give them anything else more, the dragons side finished off the game with Jono and Jose scoring one more each.

Final score: Dragons 11, Dereham 2

Man of the match: Jose San Millan.

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Empresa Norfolk GirlsΒ Development League
Norwich DragonsΒ P-P Pelicans