Women’s East Hockey League East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 1:2 Magpies 2s
Norwich Dragons travelled along the A140 to play their closest rivals Harleston. This was always going to be a closely contested match as it is a local derby game with pride at stake and there was only a point separating the teams in the league.
The Dragons took the match to the home side from the start pressuring the defence and forcing them to play their hockey in their own half. It felt like it was only a matter of time before they took the lead however Harleston, to their credit, defended strongly and the Dragons were unable to find the final pass in the final third to test the Harleston keeper and were unable to convert any of short corners that they had been awarded to them.
The wind was well and truly taken out of the Dragons sails as the first time Harleston found an opportunity to push forwards the Dragons defence left their keeper, Siobhan CLEEVE, exposed; there was little more she could do but to concede a penalty stroke which Harleston made no mistake of giving them the lead.
Before Dragons could dust themselves down, within 5 minutes, Harleston won their first short corner of the match which they finished off in style. The Dragons undoubtedly had the majority of the possession in the first half and played the better hockey, however it goals that count and at half time they found themselves 2-0 down.
The visitors went into the second half full of confidence as they were playing the better hockey and the score line did not reflect the game. They pressed and pressed but Harleston packed their defence and held strong protecting their keeper who really had not been tested.
Finally after a number of short corners throughout the match the Dragons got a goal back; Lizzie MOULTON, who had an outstanding game got her first goal of the season through a strike at the top of the D. As the half wore on the Dragons became sloppy in their play and gave the ball away far too easily which put their own defensive back line under constant pressure. Harleston got stronger the latter part of the second half and it was difficult to see the Dragons getting another goal. In the end this proved to be the case as the match finished 2-1.
Disappointing for the visitors as for much of the match they were by far the stronger but became frustrated with decisions being awarded against them and Harleston packing the defence making them difficult to break down.
Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 8:2 Bury St Edmunds 2s
Under wet, grey cloudy conditions at the Den, the Ladies 2’s went out in good spirits following their team talk, lead this week by Daniel. With Niamh and Aoife Lowe-Davies both making themselves available, and with Ally Windsor-Waite taking an extended lunch break, the squad of 12 looked strong. Captain Hannah Hardy continues to be extremely grateful to the squad, for making themselves available on a regular basis, meaning there is great consistency in the team, so the understanding being developed is a key factor to the teams’ current successes.
From the start Dragons took the initiative, with a quick break from the push back, almost seeing a goal within the first 30 secs. However, in the very next attack the forward line of Aoife Lowe-Davies, Laura Shreeve and Hannah Hardy combined well for the first goal by Hardy with less than 2 minutes on the clock. Credit to Bury, who didn’t let their heads drop, despite the early goal, and within 5 minutes they were level, a short corner being initially well saved high on the line by Ally Windsor-Waite, only for Bury to react quickest and force the ball over from the rebound.Dragons were a little unsettled initially, however they quickly regained their composure and took the lead again following strong work from Laura Shreeve who found Aoife Lowe-Davies in a good position, to turn and slot the ball past the keeper. With no more than 15 mins on the clock, Dragons made it 3-1, following a pacey run down the right from Niamh Lowe-Davies who found Laura Shreeve in space, who picked up the ball cleanly and placed it past the outcoming keeper.
The defensive unit of Ally Windsor-Waite, Angela Murgatroyd, Sophie Thomas and Keeper Freddie Briscoe worked well together to cut out any threats from Bury St Edmunds forwards, and in addition they supported the Dragons attacks exceptionally well from deep. Special mention must go to Dragon’s Player of the Match Karen O’Neill-Simpson, who had an exceptional game at the bottom of the diamond, breaking up play in her usual commited way, but also finding some good space deep in the middle and distributing the ball excellently out wide.Just before the half-time break, Dragons scored a 4th from a short corner routine, clinically slotted away by Gail Thomas.The second half saw continued Dragons pressure, with some good sharp passing moves and fast flowing hockey. Marcy Windsor-Waite and Hannah Ellis in the wide positions, helped release the forwards with strong early passes, working good space in behind the Bury defence.
A number of short corners were forced, one of which was clinically dispatched by Gail Thomas for her 2nd of the game, a perfect strike into the corner. Laura Shreeve was next on the scoresheet creating space for herself with some tricky stick skills, to score at the near post. Shreeve then completed her hat-trick, with more tenacious work infront of goal, working the ball beyond the outrushing keeper and once again stretching from a seemingly impossible angle, to nudge the ball home at the far post. Gail Thomas, (with new stick), quickly followed suit completing a hattrick of her own, once again a smartly taken effort, from another well worked short corner routine.To their credit, Bury St Edmunds continued to look to push forward and a momentary lapse in concentration just before the end, saw a somewhat soft effort sneak in at the Dragons left post. This completed the scoring, making the final score 8-2 to Dragons.
An enjoyable day at the office, despite the wet conditions. The manner in which this game was won was the most pleasing, with the team playing their strong passing game and working hard for one other, to get their just rewards. Dragons will continue to work hard as a team in training, to ensure their fitness levels remain high, as they go into the final 3 games before the Christmas break, looking to continue to build on the strong base they have built for themselves.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 2-0 Dereham 3s
On a dark and drizzly late November evening, 13 Dragons assembled at the Den readying themselves to face a well matched Dereham 3’s.
From the first whistle both sides started with great vigor, neither side offering much breathing space to the opposition. Dereham, strong on the attack, hunting in groups made their way down the left side of the pitch for their first shot on goal. Goal keeper, Amy Forse, with a keen eye on the ball got a toe to the strike, tipping it wide of the goal. Dereham, still with a taste for the net, continued their attack. Working it around the Dragons D but unable to secure the goal, the ball was repeatedly snapped up by the Dragon defenders Sarah Wagstaff, Natasha Falzon and PoM Laura Bruce.
Taking advantage of the turn of play the Dragon midfielders switched the ball from left to right. Linking passes from Hazel Sumner, Debs Smith and Harriet Green quickly progressed play into the Dereham half. A shot into the D, deflected by a Dereham defender saw its way to the backboard, but due to the change of rule the own goal was disallowed. Determined not to allow the ball out of the Dereham half Dragons set their defensive circle around the Dereham hit out picking up the strong hit and returning once again to the D. A strike from Pollyanna Watson just outside of the D to the left post made its way past the keeper but with out a touch from a Dragon forward, once again the goal was denied.
Half time was soon upon the evenly matched sides. An encouraging half time talk from coach Pete Thomas saw the Dragons even more fired up for the second half, eager to continue the fantastic play.
Dereham had the pushback to start the final half of the game, and didn’t put it to waste. Once again strong on the attack they made their way toward the Dragon D. A strike from the top found its way to the Dragon goal but it was Derehams turn to have the celebrations denied as the shot was outside the D.
Intense play from both sides saw the teams lock horns, play stretched from one end of the pitch to the other, both searching for goal. A hit out from the Dereham defense, lifted into their player, temporarily gave the teams a break in play allowing both sides to regroup and prepare for the next skirmish. More determined than ever, the tenacious Dragons continued the battle, starting to dominate the play. Attacking from all angles, midfielder Holly Bailey running the ball up the left wing, switching it across the pitch and then again from the right. A hit out from defender Wagstaff finally found the Dragons in their stride. Deftly picked up by Laura Goodbun, sprinting the length of the pitch, stick never leaving ball until she reached the Dereham back line, crossed with force from right corner to left post. Ready and waiting, forward Sophie Farrow snuck the ball behind the keeper and into the goal.
It was clear from the following ten minutes that Dereham wouldn’t let Dragons take the three points easily. Relentlessly attacking the Dragons they had several shots and short corners, each denied by the Dragon defenders. Once again capitalising on the quick turn of play Dragons made their way to the Dereham D. Crossed to the right post by Amelia Dawson, Debbie Santa Clara sealed the final score and three points, whipping the ball in on the post.
Some fantastic hockey on show from both sides, putting on a great show for the great supporters who joined us on the dark, damp evening.
Final score, 2:0 to Norwich Dragons Ladies 3’s.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 2:1 Dereham 4s
This game saw Dragons at their most determined, there was clearly something in the air as the team battled for the win from the first whistle to the last.
Dragons started on the attack and straight away Sue Cross was in the D striking on goal and it looked like Dragons might take an exceptionally early lead, but the keeper managed to get a well-placed foot to the ball at the vital moment. Katie Buxton continued to put on early pressure with several well timed runs into the D, but it was packed with Dereham players and the shots simply weren’t possible. It was actually Dereham who scored first from a well-executed short corner, which had the ball recoiling off Laura Tuck’s pads and back in over the line. Dragon’s fought back and attacked almost continuously for the rest of the half with Emma Buxton and Sarah Moore working the wings moving play forwards. Issy Wolfe made some lovely runs to the D but just couldn’t get on target with the final shot and Chelsea Crawford battled through several players in order to reach the D, only to have it saved on the line. While Dragon’s dominated the first half, they just couldn’t quite converted the opportunities into goals.
The second half saw a determined performance from all, with Gemma Rump (PoM) making her scoring debut with a lovely reverse hit, which took the keeper by surprise and brought Dragons level. This signalled a change in pace for Dragons with every player fighting for possession, we were resolute in our belief that we could win this game. Dereham had a couple of runs on goal but with strong defending from Abi Cowe and Freya Clogan most runs stopped well outside the D. Louise Davis made some expert plays from bottom of the diamond, distributing balls out wide to the awaiting players. It was from one of these wide balls that Sue Cross was able to make a lovely run into the D and score the second and winning goal.
With 5 minutes left Dragons kept on the attack, with both Katie and Emma Buxton having a go on goal, as the final whistle blew a short corner was awarded and all the Dragons pushed up trying to grab another goal but the ball was efficiently knocked out of the D by the opposition and the game ended 2:1.
This game really showed the 4s at their best, excellent team work and support and really well executed passes and use of the whole pitch – well done ladies.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 2:5 Dereham 5s
On a dreary drizzly day the Ladies 5s turned up at Dereham highly motivated and ready to rock! With Dereham one point above us in table Dragons knew it was going to be a tough game and one they did not want to lose.
The pace was fast from the start and with Jess Tye-Leach at the centre of defence holding back any oncoming action from Dereham. Dragons quickly realised that Dereham were looking to get the ball to one, extremely strong player, whenever they were in possession of the ball. Not expecting to see a player of that strength in this Division, Bella Capps was given the job of man-marking her and did a great job at channelling her threats and managed to maintain pace throughout the game. Unfortunately for Dragons, she did manage to evade her marker and scored! Undeterred the Dragons pushed up the pitch with Carmel working the bottom of the diamond, picking up any long balls from Dereham and distributing them out wide to Laura Hansell or Anja Finegan. Helen Marsh, a great battling midfielder, who under no circumstance wants the ball taken from her and will weave her way around the opposite. The Dragons held the ball and threatened the goalkeeper with charges in from Megan Farrant, Chiara Bond and Jade Blanchflower. A short corner awarded to the visitors with Blanchflower stepping up with full power ready and delivered! First goal. Fired up by this the battle continued, with Dereham unfortunately scoring another.
With coach David Bond giving us his usual top tips at half time, no-one was ready to give up. The game flowed back and forth up the pitch, until what Dragons felt was a strike from outside the D was given as a goal. This spurred Dragons on, passing the ball up the pitch supporting each other until a pass to Farrant, who seems to find herself in the D in the right place and right time pushed the ball past the keeper! Dereham also weren’t ready to settle there and Lottie Korn found herself sweeping out balls from the D. Laura Tuck leapt into action on several occasions to hoof the ball out and scare off the Dereham forwards.
After the game the Young Dragons seemed downcast but they should be proud of how well they played and kept their heads up and played professionally. Bring on the home game!
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6s 0-1 Magpies 7s
Dragons learned the hard way in the last minute of this hard fought match when a defender slipped and fell heavily on the greasy pitch and our first concern was for the injured player. Magpies played on and slotted the ball past the keeper with 30 seconds left to play.
Gill Walker is speedy and uses the ball well; Kat Speirs played with intelligence in each position on the forward line and Rebecca Elkins is useful in midfield and in defence. Our defence was excellent. This week the lineup was Christina Murgatroyd in goal, who marshalled the defence well and kicked some powerful clearances; Jasmin Daniels was central, with Katy Saide on the right and Katie Franks on the left, and Jo Eke at the bottom of the diamond.
It did not matter how hard Magpies hit the ball, or where they tried to place it, the Dragons picked up the ball magnificently and got the ball away to Ciara Willmott and Izzi Ferguson, the hard-working mids, or further out to Jasmine Mansfield who improves with every game. Our player of the match was Rachel Bruce, playing at the top of the diamond but also injecting penalty corners, taking long corners, and distributing the ball beautifully. It was Rachel who almost got us a goal, when one of several well taken penalty corners just eluded her off the post. We go into the long break with plenty to think about, not least how we can turn the tables on the teams that have got the better of us in the first half. We think we have five defenders who are the best in our division, and changing our formation slightly could give us a stronger attack and a better grip in midfield.
Photos from the game can be seen here.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 3-0 (CW) City 7s
City 7s have conceded 4 games in the league and are therefore due to be removed from the league at the next Norfolk League meeting. A friendly fixture was offered but not enough interest.
Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 1:0 Ipswich 2s
Men’s XI entered this game on the back of a strong performance last week, knowing that a win would be pivotal for the season. Calling up Cley Hamilton and Jonty Gosling, Coach Wagstaff called for a disciplined first 10 minutes and that is exactly what was delivered. Man-marking and superb tracking by the forwards ensured that Ipswich were repelled again and again. But this was no sit back and get battered like waves against the shore game, no instead Dragons produced again a masterclass in switch the ball, creating space and movement. Wing Backs Alex and Nick combining excellently with the forwards to produce some sublime forward play up the left and right hand-side. Unfortunately, as has been the case all season the ball in the final third was seen to be lacking and chances went begging.
After a stirring half-time speak by Captain Overstall that left some with a tear in their eye (the unkind would say tears of laughter) Dragons came out firing after the break with intent on getting all three points. Again excellent control of the ball and some mazey runs by Messers Knights (who had learnt that hockey is better when the stick isn’t between your legs), Browne and Avery created more and more chances. However the break came when the play was switched effectively through the middle out to the right where Flatman, Knights and Overstall combined well to set up a reverse stick shot from the top of the D for the captain. Luckily for the team the captain choked (definitely not a backstick hit!) as per normal, mishit the shot allowing Sam Avery to tap it in for the lead.
A frantic last 10 minutes had the Dragons defending a lead that had been so hard-fought for. With excellent tackling by the back line and Ed Smith confusing the opposition by making them think there was a 3 year old girl screaming on the pitch Dragons held onto the lead for a “season defining” win.
Coach Wagstaff said after the game “It just goes to show…..when we have Sam Avery banging them in, who needs Nick Charlish”. Upon rumours of some tension after the game Captain Overstall said “Whilst we are a cohesive team and I will not be drawn to comment upon these rumors – if George Walker doesn’t sort out his Flapjack recipe soon then there will be a riot”
Dragons travelled to Magpies in this proverbial ‘6 pointer’ knowing that a defeat would leave them staring at the reality of 4NE hockey next season. An inspiring team talk in the changing rooms before the game roused the troops. Nick Turner, Chris Simmonds and Sam Worster were welcomed back and a few positions were tinkered as Simon Nisbet and Lewis Wilkins moved to the forward line and Rory Jackson dropped into midfield.
Starting with a high tempo, Dragons compiled a lot of possession and looked threatening. A few half chances were created but Dragons, crucially, couldn’t convert penetrations into the D into goals. It was on the break that Dragons were stung. A swift counter attack allowed a young Magpies player to clinically finish a good move into the roof of the net. Dragons found themselves trailing 1-0 at half time.
A positive half time team talk focused on not treating the ball like a bomb and in time the goals would come. Unfortunately, due to an injury, Graeme Smith would no longer be able to take a part in the game.
Dragons stormed out of the blocks in the second half. A swift attack down the left from Simmonds unleashed Jason Wolfe who managed to win a short corner. With the usual hitter off the pitch, up stepped Rory ‘Dragflicker’ Jackson. Jackson’s ‘flick’ was well evaded by the limbo-ing keeper and brought Dragons level. Immediately after, in a positive move on the left, Simmonds threaded to Wilkins who put the ball into Magpies’ D. Worster found himself in space and with a cool flick over the floored keeper to put Dragons ahead.
Unfortunately, as Dragons looked to consolidate their newly found lead, two yellow cards were issued within a minute of each other. Down to nine men, however, Dragons looked more dangerous than ever. Wilkins moved to the lone striker whilst Nisbet and Turner tucked into midfield. Instead of defending with nine men behind the ball, Dragons followed the philosophy that ‘attack is the best form of defence’. Focusing on keeping the ball in the opposition half, the reds frustrated Magpies. Turner’s battle in one corner for a succession of side-line hits was a particular highlight. Rich Moulson, Jackson and Worster held strong in the middle. Good play through Jackson in the center of the park allowed Turner space in the D. His initial shot was pushed into the path of Simmonds whose reverse stick shot put nine-men Dragons two goals ahead.
Nine-man Dragons continued to dominate proceedings. The inspirational defending between captain Piers Gordon-Brown, Mitch Smith, Glenn Masterson and Simmonds ensured Magpies had no chance to take advantage of their superior numbers. Nisbet burst through the right and put Wilkins through in the D who nutmegged the ‘keeper to make it 4-1 to Dragons. A few close chances fell to Dragons, but were unfortunate not to add to their lead; in particular an audacious reverse stick shot by Wilkins which flew past the post.
With eleven men back on the pitch Dragons continued to fashion chances through some total hockey with every person involved. Pushing everyone forward in the last few minutes, Magpies pulled a goal back. There would be no fairytale ending for the hosts, however, as the final whistle blew just minutes later.
Gordon-Brown’s men had avoided falling to the bottom of the table and must build on this performance in the next two matches as they face the two teams just above them. Man of the match was the dynamic Turner who was a constant threat whenever in possession. DOD was Wilkins who one can only assume was voted because of his team mates’ jealously of his witty-charm and handsome looks.
Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 4:0 Pelicans 3s
This week the Dragons Men’s 3’s were at home Pelicans. Pelicans are sitting 1 place above the UEA who gave the Dragons a testing game the previous week, so nothing was taken for granted and the team talk mainly focused around keeping it simple, short accurate passing and keeping possession but more importantly getting ahead in the 1st half.
It was very wet and the pitch a bit slippery so both teams had to get used to the ball speed but Dragons were making early runs with both Will Main and James Goodson working the ball out wide from the back and James snubbing out any runs into the D down the right. When Pelicans did manage to get through Dim Ives (No, he’s not my son.) made some fine saves as he has done in the last 3 games. Pelicans also worked the ball out wide a few times but could not penetrate through the defensive midfield of Rob Goodson and Stu Kelly, who were both winning the ball and distributing well. 1st goal was on the cards and another fine strike from the on form “Mexican Matt Jenkins “and Dragons were 1-0 up. We had more chances in the D created from runs down the left from Will Ives (No, he’s not my son either…) and down the right from John Ives (that’s me). Alex Stone then came on and also worked well testing the Pelicans defence down the left. Adam Sayer came on in his position of top of the diamond and created some good runs into the Pelican’s D.
Excellent work upfront from Ben Watson who was unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Recently Dragons have been working on short corners and once the chance arose a short was superbly put away by Stu Kelly, who I’m sure was pleased judging by his war cry, Goal face and double fist pump!!! So 2-0 to Dragons at half time.
The half time team talk was all positive but we did focus on keeping our shape so that we could work the ball better. This was taken on board straight away as Dragons were moving the ball around really well and creating changes. Ali Smyth worked really well down the right winning the ball and creating space down the right to John Ives also putting in some great aerial balls up the pitch to the forwards. Once again though every time Pelicans made a break they just could not get past Stu, Rob and James and then finally Peter “The ice man” Davidson who again tackled hard and distributed the ball really well.
Will Main also pushed up into attack giving extra movement linking up well with Adam Sayer and the wings. The 3rd goal came when a ball was pulled back to the top of the D, Adrian Kemp stepped up and nobody was in any doubt that is was going anywhere other than in the back of the net. When you’ve scored as many goals as Aide he manages to make it look easy, it was rumoured that he had time to change out of his slippers, put his cigar out and still managed to put the ball firmly past the Pelican keeper. Dragons kept pushing on and creating chance and then another great strike from MOM Matt Jenkins made the final score 4-0 to Dragons… Next week we face big rivals Norwich City 5’s but on current form are feeling confident.
Men’s East League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 4:1 Norwich Exiles
Dragons travelled up to Taverham to take on an experienced Exiles team and got back to somewhere near their best form with a solid team performance and comfortable win.
Exiles had push back to start the game, and were unable to leave their half before conceding a short corner. Up stepped Andy Hipper (legitimately in an advanced position this time) to strike from the top of the D.
Within a matter of minutes Dragons had made it 2-0, Robbie Whiting making a great run down the right, turning inside and hitting an unstoppable shot on the reverse side (not like a Wilko/Pentin backstick, which is not the same as a reverse hit).
Exiles then joined in the game, and quickly pulled back a goal with a classy lifted finish.
The game then settled down, Dragons enjoying the bulk of possession and creating some half chances. The Exiles’ playmakers were well marked in the centre of the pitch by Rob Jenkins, Wilko and the Yorkie bar kid, whilst the vocals of Dave Pentin and Giles Brooks ensured the defence remained organised. Jon Price and Paul Keating snuffed out a number of attacks and distributed effectively down the wings to Ricky Powley and Bradley Howlett.
Up front, Andy Cross and Rob C-B worked hard to support Robbie who scored Dragons’ third before half time, putting his bloodied body (well, knees) on the line to lift over the onrushing keeper.
The second half saw Dragons controlling the game and Exiles never looked like getting back in the match as tight marking and solid tackling broke down their attacks. Midway through the half, Dragons scored their fourth goal via a well taken Phil York-Smith drag (sort of flick) from another short corner.
Despite not scoring any further goals Dragons were delighted with the performance and Rob C-B was notably impressed with the teas, demolishing the curry and claiming not to realise it was supposed to be for the whole team.
|Average age / years||41||68|
|Pass completion / %||83||60|
|Possession / %||65||35|
|Cards||1 Yellow||1 Yellow|
Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 0-3 Bury St Edmunds 5s
Photos from the game can be seen here.
Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 1:1 City 7s
After a tough pre-season friendly, Dragons knew what to expect against a young, skilful and organised City outfit. City started strongly and superb defending from Mike Banham, Ben Dures, Steven Trivett and James Hansell kept them at bay.
On the rare occasion that they did break through, Joel Lawrence, making his 6’s debut in goal, was more than a match for them. As the half progressed, Dragons came more into the game, Tom Williams and Josh Bingham providing good wide options and the tireless running of Sam Hobdell ensuring a link to Rob Lee, who excelled as alone striker for much of the game. Rick Stuart-Sheppard and Sean McKenna came into midfield to provide a new burst of energy and Dragons finished the half strongly.
With the score still at 0-0 at half time, Dragons believed a better result was possible and tried to focus on using width to get around some very solid City defence. Disaster struck early in the second half. After a series of many short corners, one eventually found its way through and despite another superb save from Lawrence, the rebound was slotted home.
Undeterred by this blow, Dragons went straight on the attack and finally started to create some good chances. After the shortest cameo in history by captain Robert Coyle (hit by a ball as he ran on), Ray Hansell came back on and pushed higher up the pitch. This proved an inspired decision as a pinpoint pass found Tom Williams and although his shot was well saved, Josh Bingham showed cool composure to crack the rebound home with only three minutes remaining.
There was still some pressure to absorb but with the unflappable John (You don’t lose when I play) Butler rock solid at the back and Ray and Sam continuing to cover more miles than the Norwich Half-Marathon, we held on to achieve an excellent result.
This was a superb team performance and a game played with superb energy and spirit, with every player displaying their best hockey and it sets us up nicely for an important run of games to come. Our game in hand means we are lurking nicely beneath the surface, waiting to strike at the top of the table.
Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League