Norwich city centre hockey club, fun, friendly and competitive

NDHC League Match Reports: 22/10/2016

Women’s East Hockey LeagueΒ Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-1 Cambridge Uni 1

After suffering a painful loss away at Bedford the week before, the Dragons were keen to fortify their position in the top few spots of the table and felt confident about their chances against Cambridge University.

Dragons dominated from very early on, moving the ball around quickly and efficiently; the youthful team from the fens fought hard to pressure the home players but it was the Dragons who controlled much of the play. Time and again, Sarah Jenkins, Louise Murray and Liv Thomas combined brilliantly on the right to find an on form Hayley Toleman, or the looping runs of Stacey Lee. Any counter-attacks were calmly seen off by Siobhan Cleeve in the Dragons’ goal and at half time the score remained 0-0.

Captain Rachel King led the charge in the second half, committed and skilful, she dominated much of the pitch. She worked well with Aoife Lowe-Davies and together they forged many chances that were well saved by a strong Cambridge keeper. However, the home side maintained the pressure and the goal eventually came. Louise Murray passed it out of defence to Sophie Mullan, who with a beautifully weighted ball found Jess Bennett, at full steam on the right wing. Bennett cracked it in to a waiting Toleman who finished clinically. King’s goal last week was a beauty but is now in stiff competition with this one for the goal of the season.

The relief was sadly short lived. Dragons lost possession in the middle of the pitch and from what seemed like an innocuous position, Cambridge had the advantage. Despite brave defending from Jenkins and Murray, Cambridge won a short corner and converted it with a skilful deflection. With minutes left on the clock, Dragons fought back and won a short corner, then another, but were unable to convert and the game ended 1 – 1.

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Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N
Norwich Dragons 2sΒ 1-3 Lowestoft Ladies 1

Dragons welcomed Holly Reding into the squad for this important fixture against Lowestoft, who like Dragons had been struggling to get results this season. The warm up was good and the team were ready for this local derby battle.

From the outset, the tone was set, with Dragons forcing the play and putting pressure on the strong Lowestoft defence from the start. It was clear however, that they were up against a determined team, lead by Master GK Kate Bond, who made her mark from the outset, by flying out of her goal to snuff out early chances. An early short corner saw Holly Reding slip the ball smartly back to Hannah Hardy, who should have done better with her effort, finding the Keepers pads rather than the backboard.

Lowestoft forced their way into the game with some good early runs and quick breaks down the right, and from these runs the home team forced a couple of short corners, the second of which they scored from through an unfortunate deflection high of a Dragons stick, looping over Keeper Emma Cleland. Dragons kept their heads up, as they had been creating chances and an equaliser came, following good work from Issy Wolfe in the D, finding a small gap between keeper and defender to slot home for the equaliser.

Dragons continued to push forward, being driven on by Donna Vaughan and Player of the Match Shelly Seaman, who dominated the middle of the pitch. They nearly scored through a quick break and great link up play between Laura Shreeve and Issy Wolfe, with Wolfe playing a great diagonal ball across the D to Hardy who slid in reverse stick, but was disappointed to see the ball just spin wide, having got the ball underneath the outrushing GK. Despite this pressure, Lowestoft pushed themselves and forced another short corner, which they forced home at the near post to take a 2-1 lead into half time.

Whilst the second half was pretty much dominated in terms of possession by Dragons, they produced fewer clear cut chances, as Lowestoft sat a bit deeper and defended well as a team in numbers. Further short corner opportunities came and went and this needs work. Helen Busfield took one great chance late on, with an intelligent run and and sweeping an effort over the keeper, but also just over the bar. Other chances were created, but too often the team try to force the ball through the Keeper rather than work round her or indeed lift over her.

With Dragons having pushed defensive players forward to try to get the equaliser, Lowestoft broke and forced a short corner, which they slipped wide and once again their goal bound effort, took a massive deflection off a Dragons stick to fly over keeper Cleland, who had no chance.

The visitors were disappointed with the scoreline, having dominated possession but they have to learn to be more clinical and take their chances, despite coming up against an outstanding GK who was in inspired form. In addition, they need to defend short corners better with all 3 goals coming from shorts. Undoubtedly work to do as a team and that starts again on Tuesday in training but also off the field too, with high levels of fitness required in what is an extremely tough league.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Premier Division
Norwich DragonsΒ 3sΒ 1-2 Broadland 1

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 4sΒ 2-3 UEA 2

On a sunny Saturday the 4XI made their way to the University to take on UEA 2’s. After a shaky 5 minutes the play was very much back and forth. UEA caught us on a break and with a cheeky back post tap in they had scored their first goal. Our 3 E’s holding up our back line: Emma, Esme and Ella kept cool and calm at the back each receiving a nomination for POM due to their strength and skills on the ball. They used each other well and switched the ball between them to find Rachel and Sophia on the wings. Using their speed with Lucy M, we managed to work it down the pitch numerous times and our attacking earnt us opportunities for Sue, Jasmin, Lucy B and Megan to have a try at the keeper. The attacking finally paid off with a short corner and a goal. Megan smashed the ball for Rachel to pick up the rebound and slot it through the keepers legs. With the wind back in our sails we kept fighting but unfortunately after some cracking saves from Amy the managed to score another leaving the game 2-1 at half time.

After the longest team talk, Dragon’s entered the pitch feeling hopeful to score another. With the triple E defence keen to ping it out to the wings; Clare, Lucy M and Sophia did a great job of working it down the pitch. We were definitely looking the stronger team. Jasmin, Lucy B and Sue giving the keeper lots to do with midfield working hard to give them the balls. Dragon’s managed to get the equaliser with a well worked ball into the D passing round for Lucy M running in and hitting the backboard. Dragon’s looking perky kept working hard with Jasmin noticeably running and screaming to ensure she was heard. Sophia playing behind her and this weeks POM for the second week running due to her effort and high performance. Alas it wasn’t our week to score our first point as a last minute goal saw UEA take the win 3:2 in the final few moments of the game. Great teamwork and work rate see the 4XI hungry for their first points.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ DivisionΒ 1
Norwich Dragons 5sΒ 2-3 Broadland 2

In the Ladies 5’s game against Broadland 2’s we lost 3-2 in a close and unlucky game. In the first half Dragons opened with the a great scoring goal from Laura Hansell off the post within the first ten minutes or so, then unluckily for us they got one back from a short corner a little while later. Lisa Harwood then nearly scored another goal but missed marginally. Β The next goal was an unexpected but no less good goal from Megan Farrant which once again put us in the lead. However despite some great defending they got another goal drawing us equal. Throughout the first half it was a tough game but we had confidence we could win it back in the second half thanks to some fast running up the line from Harriet Marlee, Laura, Megan and Catharine Matthews and some great passes from all.

In the second half they unfortunately scored another goal putting us in the losing position despite some great saves from Alice Smith in Goal. Dragons then came back harder to try and get another goal and therefore dominated the last of the second half getting some near misses and some short corners but unfortunately despite how well the attackers played none were lucky enough to get in the goal due to the oppositions strong defense.

Throughout the game Vicki Earley, Holly Bailey and Chelsea Crawford played some great defending and attacking achieving some near misses at the goal and being options for passes throughout. Lisa and Jenna Inglis were strong attackers throughout the game and as always Jemima Williams was a solid defender in the middle. Louise Davis played high in defense throughout the second half repeatedly sending great passes into the D whilst still defending well.Β  Katy Franks proved herself to be a nippy defender reading the ball and quick to intercept up the left side.

Despite the fact we lost we played a strong game and will be sure to beat them next time.Β  Man of the match jointly goes to Katy Franks and Harriet Marlee for strong continual effort.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s 0-1 Breckland

This Saturday’s fixture ended in an unfortunate loss for the 6s, in a game where we held a good amount of possession we were unable to come away with a win. Lily Sore debuted for the 6s this week proving her capabilities as left forward, she was able to hold her own against the ever physical Breckland team, sending some really nicely placed balls in to the D. Lily shared the role of left forward with Anja Wimmer who looked as composed as always, keen to create opportunities. Our speedster Rosie Skipp had stints in right wing and right forward, she was notably determined in the D –Β  working hard to keep possession and not letting feisty players intimidated her (a justified choice for joint POM with Beth Elgood).

Centre forward Kelly Mills focused on staying high in order to be first to the post but on this occasion the balls just weren’t finding her stick. Beth Coates worked tirelessly to keep driving the ball in to the home team’s attacking half as did Liz McDonnell, who gets a notable mention for coming straight from a night shift! Ellie Hipper was initially playing up front but found her form in midfield. She settled in to play a mature game, again refusing to be intimidated by the opposition. This fixture was always going to be a difficult one to be faced with so having the kind of determination Elsa Scott brings to a game was exactly what was needed, she is always a hard working player who never gives up. Beth Elgood got some early runs in – starting on the wing but switching between there and her usual position at the bottom of the diamond. She made sure to distribute the ball plenty and support on the attack as well the defence, although performing the splits mid-game understandably landed her with the D.O.T.D accolade.

Considering the 6s were missing a fair few of their usual players (Hannah Woods, Hannah Edwards, Sue Brumby and Katy Franks) the two on one channeling and team work was impressive, displayed particularly by experienced player Kate Atkins who put in clean tackle after clean tackle. Ginny Simkin’s fitness levels were put to good use whilst she was making extra effort to support midfield whilst holding the defensive line and Katy Said looked exceptionally comfortable as centre back where her reverse stick stops came in very handy indeed. Nicola Robinson had big shoes to fill this week in the absence of Katy Franks but her willingness to get stuck in meant that she held her own as left back.

The first 60 minutes of the match saw Dragons with the majority of the possession, who played with their usual level headedness and with ten minutes to go before the final whistle a penalty flick was awarded to Breckland putting Luisa Valentini under serious pressure. Despite Valentini’s best efforts the flick resulted in a goal and Dragons were unable to utilise any of the chances made in the final part of the match. It just goes to show that anything can happen in a game of hockey and that’s why we love it!

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 3
Norwich DragonsΒ 7s: No Fixture

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Empresa Norfolk Women’sΒ Division 3
Norwich Dragons 8s: No Fixture

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Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1sΒ 2-0 Cambridge City 4

The day got off to the best start possible with Sam Avery only turning up 2 minutes late to the meet time, rather than his usually 20. This was shortly followed by captain George Walker pointing out the β€œbeautiful rainbow”. With the words β€œLook boys, it’s a full arc!” still echoing in their ears, Norwich Dragons Men’s first team set out for the land where cyclists rule over those mere mortals who only have a car; Cambridge. Here the they were met with beautiful sunshine, but only 1 umpire. As the warm-up came to a close and push back drew near, there was still no sign of the second yellow shirted official. Unfortunately, the poor chap was stuck in traffic!

After a further 20 minute wait the match got underway. Dragons started strongly – something that has typified their season so far but eluded them last year. With a short and pacey passing game, they began to apply more and more pressure on the Cambridge City defence. The deadlock was broken when a free hit on the edge of Cambridge D was met with a bursting lead from the back by Olly Buck. He managed to fizz the ball into the opposition area where it was met with a lovely backhanded deflection by striker (and Dragon’s current top goal scorer) Rupert Snelling. The touch completely wrong-footed the goal keeper and gave Norwich Dragons a thoroughly deserved 1-0 lead.

Dragons used this momentum to carry on putting Cambridge under pressure and crafted several more chances, with Alex Stone and Charlie Nunn being denied by the opposition keeper. Ben Watson also had a goal disallowed when his strike from a penalty corner crossed the line above backboard height. However, Cambridge managed to rally and ended the first half looking the more threatening team after dragons went down to 10 men when Mr. Walker was given a 2 minute sin bin for hooking sticks with a Cambridge attacker in the defensive area.

With a psych-up speech at half time from the Dragon’s captain and leader (a speech that could have rivalled that of those delivered in the defining moments of The Mighty Ducks or Space Jam), the team went out determined not to let the match slip away from them. Dragons once again began to dominate the Cambridge side with their electric passing, but a second goal, which would have surely killed off the game, never quite materialised. Then disaster struck! Olly Buck, the superstar that Dragons signed last year from North Norfolk Hockey Club, was given a thoroughly undeserved yellow card (and a hefty 10 minute sin bin). Apparently, he had not retreated 5 metres before reengaging a Cambridge attacker. All I can say is that they must measure 5 metres differently in Cambridge than they do in Norwich.

Morale in the Dragons camp was at an all-time low, but the remaining teammates dug in and fought against all odds to win a penalty corner. Up stepped Rupert. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. A super drag flick managed to make it 2-0 to Dragons. With Dragons 2 goals to the good, and back up to 11 players the victory was all but assured. A last-minute penalty corner for Cambridge City looked as though it had spoiled Dragon’s clean sheet, but the goal was disallowed because an attacker had started with his stick and feet in the D.

Final score Cambridge City 4s 0-2 Norwich Dragons 1s.

A hard fought and thoroughly deserved win where perhaps the score should have been much higher. The juniors played some awesome hockey and not once did any of them look out of their depth. It’s a shame we will be saying goodbye to some of them at the end of this season. A special mention should be made to Grandpa Ed Smith, who had a superb game despite having pulled his back when stretching in the warm up!

MoM – Sam Avery (played extremely well, but mainly won because he wasn’t too late!)

DoD – Olly Buck (very harsh considering the assist of the century that he provided, and the fact that he was one of the few people to remember all his kit. Between a team of 13 players there were only 11 towels, 11 boxers and 10 pairs of socks!)

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Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2sΒ 2-1 Bury St Edmunds 2

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Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3sΒ 1-2 Felixstowe 2

The Men’s 3s travelled away to Felixstowe to play a team that had followed them down from Div 3NE.Β Β  Felixstowe were sitting top of the league, so Dragons knew it would be a challenging game. There were 4 third team debuts this week for Andy CARVER, Ben NKRUMAH, George WRIGHT and Pedro GOSS.

Felixstowe started the game with a lot of pressure, pressing high and got an early goal.Β  This didn’t deter Dragons as they turned the play on Felixstowe.Β  Rob GOODSON and George BOWMAN worked well in the middle to control the game, cutting out balls coming through and linking up with the forwards.Β  John IVES and Jack O’MEARA stormed the flanks, providing Dragons with width.Β  For the rest of the half, Dragons had control of the game.Β  They were very unlucky not to draw the scores level a number of times, with the Felixstowe keeper making a number of goal line saves.

Unfortunately for Dragons, a counter attack by Felixstowe in the last minute of the half gave them a short corner, and with the half time whistle blown, all their team swarmed the D.Β  They passed the ball around and slotted it in the corner.Β  Dragons were not disheartened and kept their heads up as they started the second half.

Dragons completely dominated the second half, and Felixstowe had to work very hard in their area to stop Dragons scoring.Β  What odd attack broke through the Dragon middle was swiftly dealt with by Andy CARVER, James GOODSON , Adam SAYER and George WRIGHT.Β  Keeper Ben NKRUMAH was confident in goal and made some decisive clearances.

Max LAMING, Pedro GOSS and Tom VAUGHAN kept the Felixstowe defence busy and winning some short corners.Β  On one such short, a slip right to John IVES beat the defenders and allowed him to pass the ball across to VAUGHAN who slotted the ball in.

Despite their domination and excellent play Dragons were unlucky not to score another, and Felixstowe were reduced to time-wasting ball in the dying minutes by shielding the ball in the corner, to keep the hungry Dragons away.

The whole Dragons team played well and the younger members of the team played with confidence and skill, a real testament to the Club’s youth development work.Β  A very promising game for the rest of the season for the Men’s 3s.

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Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4sΒ 1-3 Ipswich Cranes 1

Unbeaten in their last four games (W2, D2), Dragons hosted Ipswich Cranes 1 at the Den looking to continue a good run of form.Β  Dragons’ squad was affected by availability and injury and saw Dim Ives, Phil York Smith and Ali Smyth playing for the team for the first time this season.

Both teams started the game at a high tempo, Cranes having some skilful players in midfield who were able to launch numerous attacks on the Dragons goal.Β  Dim Ives made some good saves, but Cranes scored midway through the first half and maintained their 1-0 advantage until half time.

Dragons had plenty of possession, but struggled to create many clear cut chances and had to work hard to stay in the game.Β  Even when Cranes doubled their lead, it still seemed there might be a way back into the game and Dragons were handed a boost when Rob Chaney Baxter poked home to make the score 2-1.Β  Garnett Jones hit the post during a good spell for Dragons, but Cranes continued to threaten, earning a number of penalty corners.Β  A third goal came when the ball was deflected past a wrong footed Ives.

Dragons worked hard, but were unable to get back in to the game and couldn’t have too many complaints at the result against a decent Cranes team.

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Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5sΒ 2-1 Norwich City 7

On a Saturday evening the 5s faced a Norwich City 7th team, with a few familiar faces recognised. Dragons got off to a strong start, with some good early passing particularly in the middle of the park. This was rewarded when a McCartney Aldous run beat two or three players, before squaring it to Sol Blazer who slotted it home to put Dragons 1-0 up.

From the start the game was very open from the start, with attack vs defence being the main style of the game. However the defence stayed strong, and Chris Millar made a couple of important saves. However dragons were largely on top, and we went into half time leading 1-0.

After re fuelling with new skipper Lee Keelers oranges, a determined dragons went out knowing three points was very achievable. However sadly after a slow start to the half, City equalised with one of their young players getting through. Apart from this I can’t recall any more City chances.

A good response was needed by Dragons and who better than Andrew Cross, who was in fine form after a hat trick the previous week. A Josh Bingham hit found its way to Crossy in the D, and he very cleverly deceived the keeper with a fine finish (no mis-hit involved).

We knew City pressure was to come, and the defence held firm, with father son duo of Ray and James being key in the defensive works, along with Keysy and Graham. Andy Webb was first to every loose ball, and Dragons held on for a fantastic 3 points.

Everyone played their part in victory today, however Andy Webb was rightfully given MoM for a fine performance. On to next week, a lovely trip to Felixstowe.

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Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6sΒ 1-2 UEA 4

With 2 players not appearing, M6’s set up with 10 outfield players & 2 keepers, playing one half each, but found a sub when Joel handed over to James in goal at halftime, to reappear in the forward line, to allow some youngsters a breather. M6 had their fair share of play but slack marking allowed the UEA winger to get clear in the D for the first goal. After half time skipper Mike Banham slotted a short corner to equalise & several good chances went begging before a clearance went in field to set up a UEA attack & a winning goal. Dave Pentin made a commanding return from injury at centre midfield & with Darryl Robinson was instrumental in keeping UEA pinned in their half. Sam Nutt made an excellent debut. Tommy Chapman again showed excellent attacking & passing skills to earn MOM. Defensively M6 need to mark tighter & clear the ball out to the side rather than give the ball away.

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Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons A: No Fixture

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Empresa Norfolk BoysΒ Development League
Norwich Dragons B:Β No Fixture

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Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons:Β No Fixture