NDHC League Match Reports: 24/01/2015

Women’s East Hockey League East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 3-4 Old Loughts 1

After a disappointing result in the previous week, the Dragons set out to reverse the result from when the last time these two sides met. Dragons welcomed back captain Marie James back to the squad after a lengthy spell on the sideline due to injury.

The first half started evenly, Dragons knowing if they kept their discipline and shape, they would frustrate the opposition. It would be fair to say the dragons were on the front foot, with midfielders, Sarah Richards and joint player of the match Sophie Mullen, controlling the possession, when Old Loughtonians were awarded a short corner. This was clinically dispatched, giving the visitors the lead. This didn’t damped the Dragon’s roar who, with great attacking play from Kate Trelawny Gower, Shelly Seaman and Hayley Toleman, were able to force a short corner of their own. An unstoppable strike into the corner from the other joint player of the match, Donna Vaughan levelled the scores up for half time.

Coach Pete Thomas sensed that the Dragons could get more from the game, so altered the formation, allowing the home side to be more attacking. Unfortunately, a lapse in concentration, allowed the away side, an easy path towards goal from which they scored to take the lead once more. Once again the home side were not down hearted. They soon started taking more control of the game and after some good play down the right hand side by Emily Rolls and Marie James the ball found its way to the top of the circle, when Trelawny Gower had a strike which was followed up by Toleman and James to equalise. Dragons took the lead for the first time in the match shortly afterwards when once again Vaughan fired home a short corner.

With over 10 minutes remaining, the Old Loughtonian side showed their premier league experience by forcing the Dragons on the back foot and managed to neatly deflect the ball in from a tight angle to equalise. It turned into a real ‘end to end’ game that the home side wanted to win, but were unfortunately caught on the break from a fine strike that gave the away side all 3 points and take them to joint top of the league with 2 other sides.

Although 2 defeats in as many weeks to the top 2 sides, the Dragons should not be too down hearted. Their work rate, commitment and discipline was there to be seen in abundance. The youngsters, Olivia Thomas and Ruth Willmott, continued to shine and gain experience from this demanding league. Next week, Cambridge City (the third of the joint top of the league sides) away awaits the Dragons, who should go into the game with a high spirit and determination to upset the table and get something from the game, something they have deserved over the last two weeks.

Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons 3-0 Lowestoft Ladies

Having not played since 13th December, Dragons Ladies 2’s were keen to get their season underway again, with an eagerly anticipated fixture against 3rd placed Lowestoft Ladies. Despite some dramatics with police cars and cones en route, the full squad eventually assembled at East Point Academy, in bright winter sunshine.

Dragons started brightly, with some good early breaks involving Aoife Lowe-Davies, Marcy Windsor-Waite and Natalie Beal, who put pressure on the Lowestoft defence, with some great one touch hockey.  The Lowestoft Keeper, Kate Bond, was assured as ever, coming out at every opportunity, to give the Dragons forwards little time infront of goal.

An early attack, built by the strong Dragons midfield, saw a short corner earned.  With Hannah Ellis dragging out at pace, Gail Thomas moved the ball early, to Hannah Hardy who struck to the far post, where Natalie Beal found a great position to deflect home. A good early strike to settle any nerves.

With Hollie Limmer, Karen O’Neill Simpson and Gail Thomas working hard to cut out the strong threat down the middle, Dragons continued to pressure the Lowestoft goal. Laura Shreeve and Natalie Beal continued to link up well and a second short corner was earned. This time, Natalie Beal struck expertly into the corner to double Dragons’ lead.

Lowestoft had their spells of pressure, particularly at the end of the 1st half and the beginning of the 2nd, earning a number of short corners themselves. However they found a Dragons back line on top form with Freddie Briscoe making some excellent saves, and Ally Windsor Waite, and joint players of the match, Angela Murgatroyd and Sophie Thomas, all tackling and clearing the ball out of the danger area excellently, to ensure the clean sheet was kept intact.

The second half saw more Dragons pressure, particularly with some quick breaks in behind the Lowestoft defence, with Shreeve, Lowe-Davies and Marcy Windsor-Waite running at players at pace, however the elusive 3rd goal took a while to come. Eventually it did, from an alternative short corner, which even managed to confuse some of the Dragons! Gail Thomas’s ball was picked up by Laura Shreeve, who found Hollie Limmer in space near the penalty spot, Hollie calmly placed the ball home against her old team.

The final whistle went, with Dragons delighted to take the 3 points, in what had promised to be a tough first match back, against a strong 3rd placed team. Yes, there was a little rustiness from Dragons at times, but that was to be expected.  There was however, no lack of determination and desire from this Dragons team and with this continued commitment and hard work at training and on a Saturday, the team will get their just rewards.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-3 Dereham 2

Facing top of the legue Dereham 2’s, Dragons knew that they would have to find the fire in their bellies to improve on the 5:1 loss they suffered when the two teams last met.Ilness and injury plighted the 3’s this week leaving them thin on the ground, and with only 11 men less than an hour before the game. Many pleading calls later Amelia Dawson stepped up and hot footed it over to Dereham Hockey Club to help the 3’s cause, affording them the much needed sub.

Changing formation this week to a far more defensive line up, the Dragons stepped onto the pitch aware of what would be needed today in skill, stamina and mindset.

Dereham took the first push back and immediately were on the attack. Hunting in packs they started to work their way through the Dragon players. Cutting between their passes and closing in on the Dereham attakers Dragons turned play. However, this advance was cut short by the strong Dereham players, who were once again on the attack.

Their next forray into the Dragon D resulted in a foot and a short corner. A quick injection to the striker at the top of the D, followed by a slip right. The first strike was seen away from gooal by goal keeper Amy Forse. The deflection quickly picked up by another Dereham player who struck the ball, lifting it into the right side of the goal.

Dereham weren’t finished yet, moments after the restart of play they won the ball and were again in the Dragon D. Another strike at goal, another safe from Forse. Again a Dereham player was waiting for the deflection. Striking from top D the ball hit the back of the net, tight to the right post.

Regaining their composure in spite of the quick goals Dragons started their press on the Dereham D. Sophie Farrow driving with pace up the left line, crossing the ball through Debbie Santa Clara in midfield to Laura Tompson-Wright up front. Between Tompson-Wright and Corline Wolfe they put the Dereham defenders under increasing. Staying stong Dereham managed to survive the onslaught without coceeding a goal. A wide clearance picked up by a Dereham midfielder saw them once again on the attack.

Again finding a foot in the Dragon D Dereham were awarded another short corner. Out to top D with great speed but closed down by defenders Natasha Falzon and Alice Guest, Dereham were forced wide with the attack. Tight to the base line the injector picked up the ball. Ignoring calls from her fellow attackers she slapped the ball finding the tiniest of holes in the Dragon defense between the right post, Goodbun and Forse.

Half time came, the score 3:0 to Dereham. Dragons, undetterred, knew what was needed of them. Regaining composure they started the second half. A pass back from Wolfe to Sarah Wagstaff, determined not to make it easy for the closing Dereham players, Dragons held their formation and went on the attack. Picked up by Geo Beckwith and passed wide to PoM Laura Goodbun (in her debut performance in defense) play was swiftly moved up the pitch. Working in tandom Beckwith and Goodbun passed around players, with the final pass laid off by Beckwith cutting through Dereham players and finding Hazel Sumner. Still on the attack Sumner drove towards the D, passing to forwards Laura Tompson-Wright and Caroline Wolfe. Dropped back to Beckwith she started to work her way through the Dereham side. A heavy tackle by Dereham saw Beckwith off her feet, injuring her knee and taking her out of the game.

Play resumed, Dragons with only the 11 players on the field. Undetterred they continued to pressure Dereham. Both teams countering the others attack. Wide passes picked up by Amelia Dawson and Sophie Farrow were quickly closed down by Dereham making it impossible to find the next pass.

Dereham turning play had their turn to attack the Dragons again. A neat tackle from Wagstaff saw the ball poached time and again. With only a couple of minutes left of the game Dereham again entered the Dragon D. Forse commited to the tackle made her way to the attacker. Wagstaff tackled the player and won the ball, the attacker unable to stop collided with Forse taking her to the ground. Sadly this resulted in Forse injuring her hip and unable to complete the game. Dragons now with only 10 players on the pitch and no goal keeper, found every ounce of might to keep the second half score to 0:0.

Although the final score may have been 3:0 to the top of the league Dereham side, Dragons went out and gave it their all.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 0-1 North Norfolk 2
This was one of those games where you can only shake your head at the end and wonder how the result ended up the way it did! Dragons dominated the play throughout, had the majority of the possession and a ridiculous number of short corners and yet still were unable to win.From the outset Dragons were pacey and in control, lovely play from Chelsea Crawford and Kate McKenna on the right saw play quickly heading towards the opposition’s D, but solid defending saw many attempts run off the back line or slammed off to the side and out of dangers way. Gemma Rump and Louise Davis made a strong pair in midfield, picking up North Norfolk’s long hits and returning play in Dragon’s favour.Katie Buxton and Mel Widdows positioned themselves well to receive balls out wide and made some excellent drives into the D.
Numerous short corners were awarded but Dragons couldn’t beat the quick defence in order to get a clean shot on goal. North Norfolk managed to turn play on one or two occasions, but fast feet from Dragons saw most passes intercepted and played turned.The second half continued to see some excellent play from Dragons with Sarah Moore making several huge runs down the right, supported all the way by Holly Bailey (PoM) who again tried to take advantage of Sarah’s speed by getting into open space and connecting with the ball, but alas a packed D resulted in no balls crossing the line.Abi Cowe and Freya Clogan both attempted to switch play and change the direction of travel, they also left the depths of defence to push the ball up. Again Dragons had all the advantages of several short corners, but lacked a killer strike to put the ball away fast enough to beat the defence. North Norfolk made the absolute most of their one attempt on goal in the last 2 minutes of the game they were awarded a short corner – which was slipped wide, before being passed back to the awaiting player on the post, who slotted it in past the keeper.While Dragons tried to rally and bring the score back to 1:1 there simply wasn’t enough time left.This game saw excellent team work, solid passing, great use of space and players determined to win every ball, but at the end of the day we just couldn’t get the ball across the line and that is how you win a game of hockey.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 3-0 Norwich City 6

Ladies Dragons win 3-0 against Norwich City 6s with a convincing and gritty win. It was good to see Dragons back on form this week.

The defence of Laura Hansell, Jess Tye Leach, Bella Capps and Carmel Winsor Waite worked well together. The mid fielders bolstered by some experience in the form of Victoria Early were punchy and active running the length of the pitch moving the ball well and working together.

The forwards who really upped their game this week. 2-0 at half time thanks to some extremely hard work by all to create opportunities. The first goal was an excellently worked by Issy Wolfe (Player of the match) who finished it beautifully. The second goal was text book. Helen Marsh proved how important getting on the post and communicating really are. Lois McGregor slid the ball into her to finish before City even realised what was happening.

The second half City really strengthened their game and a couple of injuries stopping time meant Dragons were a little less structured. But still Norwich Dragons continued with Issy Wolfe demonstrating some excellent work especially her  passing of the ball and hard work continually. Rachael Matthews who continues to be a force to be reckoned with  working extremely hard to create chances. Eventually an excellent goal by Lisa Harwood and several excellent attempts by Jade Blanchflower (hats off to City keeper I don’t know how she saved those) finished the game off nicely at 3-0.

Photos from the first half here.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6s 3-1 Hornets

The 6s completed the seasonal double over the Hornets, and with a two goal cushion they enjoyed a slightly easier victory than the first leg.  Anna Brook made her debut, Izzi Ferguson and Rebecca Elkins were back after a long absence, and Megan Farrant  and Bella Capps joined up again.  It is so nice when a plan comes together! It was very useful that the team was able to spend some time (in the warm) getting to know each other and going through tactics . With only 12 players, the plan was to give the youngsters their heads and keep the team shape by using Bridget Le Good as a sub, filling in wherever and whenever someone needed a breather. However, before going on about the lovely passes and the flowing moves, praise has to be heaped on goalkeeper Christina Murgatroyd. Playing her third game of the day, her clearances were outstanding, many of them beyond the 23. Once Hornets had got their goal, Christina decided the long through balls would be met with a different tactic, and she bravely went out to meet onrushing forwards, timing her runs perfectly.

Dragons had the best of the early exchanges, with Megan in the middle flanked by Izzi on the left and Anna on the right cutting paths through the Hornets defence. However, it was not until Jo Eke stepped up from the top of the diamond to press into the circle that Dragons took the lead. It was a good goal, firmly struck through a mass of players and wide of the keeper.  Hornets came back quickly, with one of their long powerful balls swept through the middle for Kelly Kirby to pick up and score.  Those long balls are a powerful weapon, something which the 6s need in their own armoury if only to practice gathering them up. Rebecca, Katy Saide and Katy Franks got on top of this job, and if the occasional ball did ping away then Jasmin Daniels was ever reliable in making the last tackle.

Credit to Hornets, their style of play meant that the 6s could never quite use Jo and Jasmin full on in the attacking roles they had intended, but the 6s did have their Plan B, which was to work Jo and Jasmin very hard in getting back to defend, whilst Bella (left mid) and Ciara Willmott (right mid) were to take the ball out wide and get the moves going through Izzi and Anna, and then into the middle. The second goal was a reward for Megan’s persistence. She gave another 100 per cent performance, chasing every opportunity and eventually forcing one ball through the pack and past the keeper.

A 2-1 lead  was never enough to allow Dragons to rest easy in the second half. Hornets kept on pressing and at one stage Christina saved on the floor and the melee could have gone either way. There was some untidy play and some fierce exchanges, but Dragons gradually got their composure back and took control of the match. The third goal was crowned Anna’s excellent debut and earned her the player of the match vote. She picked up the ball on the half way line, danced past the entire Hornets defence and calmly swept the ball home. The win takes the 6s to third place in the division.

A few snaps from the game here.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 0-6 Yarmouth 2

A bright, sunny day saw Dragon Ladies 7 come face to face with top of the league Yarmouth 2. Dragons were keen to get stuck in after their week off due to frost. Unfortunately Yarmouth were tough opponents.

Yarmouth were on the attack from the start, dominating play in the Dragons half of the pitch and managing to score their first goal in the first 10 minutes. Dragons battled on with goalkeeper Christina Murgatroyd successfully fending off a great number of attacks, assisted by Isobel Keane, in her first appearance for Dragons, along with Emma North and Persy de Magdalene in defence. Gill Walker earned Player of the Match for her excellent work at bottom of the diamond, her first time in the role, proving herself to be a great asset to the defence. No matter how hard Dragons worked, Yarmouth managed to get another ball into goal, making the score 2-0 at half-time.

The second half got underway with Dragons determined to get the ball up the other end of the pitch to have some attempts at goal themselves. Catherine Matthews at right mid was up and down the pitch, picking up the ball wherever she could to pass up to forward Kat Speirs, who did have some attempts at goal. Centre forward Lucy Morton was also running up and down the pitch, receiving passes from left mid Jane Morton and top of the diamond Claire Fairhurst. Lucy and Catherine did great work, passing to left forward Rosie Skipp, who got into some great positions. Amy Hunter also was an asset, getting involved in running up the width to intercept balls.

Unfortunately Dragons efforts were thwarted by league leaders Yarmouth, who managed to slot in another 4 goals in the second half, the last of which was just before the whistle blew for the end of the match, giving them the 6-0 win. Dragons were slightly disappointed but are looking forward to the next match.

Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 2-3 City of Peterborough 4
Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 2-2 IES 2

Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-1 Watton 1

Dragons 3’s sitting in 3rd position and pushing for promotion took on bottom of the table Watton looking to gain some ground on city 4’s. Unfortunately this was not to be Dragons day.

The game started with Dragons not pushing the play and allowing Watton too much time on the ball. There were a few good chances from Dragons driving it both up the flanks and a few times through the middle resulting in shots on Goal but we did not convert. Watton were playing 3 players high and on one break managed to get a goal taking them to the break 1-0 up.

The team talk focussed around getting to ball quicker to win the 50/50 balls, pushing up the pitch and using the width. This seemed to have effect as in the 2nd half the Dragons pretty much played in Wattons half with keeper Dim Ives only having to make one save. Dragons pushed on attacking the D with balls coming down the flanks and through the middle but up front we just could not convert. Numerous Dragons short corners and a penalty flick still could not produce the goals and on another day it could have ended up 8-1 if we had made use of all our chances. Bit finished 1-0 to Watton.

A lesson learnt, time to regroup and work on short corners and finishing as now 6 points behind City 4’s but with a game in hand so promotion is still the main aim. With a good team spirit, we will learn from this and aim to put this right against Bury next week.

Men’s East League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 2-2 IES 4

Playing at UEA, the early morning sun was just sufficient to thaw out the pitch and make conditions playable.

Dragons were looking for a result to maintain their position at the top of the division, but knew 3rd placed IES 4 would present a tough challenge.

Learning from last week’s poor start, Dragons organised their marking quickly and made it difficult for IES to assert themselves.  The game was evenly matched, until mid-way through the half a firmly struck ball into the Dragons’ D was deflected into the roof of the net by an attacker who had crept behind the defence.

Dragons retained their composure and started to have more possession, creating some chances.  A speculative aerial from Ricky Powley found the IES defenders blinded by the low sun and Robbie Whiting latched onto it to score with a superb reverse strike from the edge of the D.

In midfield Rich Moulson and Ricky were influential in attack, whilst Wilko and Rob Jenkins played in more defensive roles, with Wilko in particular making some great interceptions.  Garnet’s long standing knee injury affected his pace, but not skill as he showed some good touches on the ball.

Up front Robbie and Andy Cross worked hard, helping out the midfield where required.  Dragons created a number of half-chances in the first half but couldn’t find a second goal.

Giles Brooks (Man of the Match) made some great saves whilst the defence of Hipper, Shorten, Pentin and Keating limited chances on goal for IES.

The second half saw IES continuing to attack, earning a number of short corners which Dragons defended well.  A defensive error gave IES possession in the D and they scored to go 2-1 up.

Dragons soon equalised from a short corner, Andy Hippers’ shot finding its way through the defender on the line.  Both sides looked for a winner but ended up satisfied with a draw.

As Captain Keating pointed out after the game “If we win the rest of our games, we’ll win the league.”

Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 1-2 UEA 3

Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 3-0 Felixstowe 4
Fresh from their 1-1 draw with top of the table IES, the Mens 6ths were looking to do the double over Felixstowe. Both teams started strongly and after an opening 15 minutes played largely in midfield, Sam Hobdell finished a good run by slotting home from an impossibly tight angle. Dragons finished the first half strongly with a series of short corners, Mike Banham eventually hitting a shot narrowly wide.
Dragons started strongly after the break and were soon 2-0 up, Owain Hall making no mistake in lashing a rebound home after a good save from the Felixstowe keeper. The game was increasingly played at one end and a 3rd goal soon followed, Owain Hall tackling strongly to win the ball and slot it home once again. A rare opportunity for Felixstowe was superbly stopped on the line by Mike Banham and Dragons finished strongly, always threatening to add another. This was a superb all round performance, with rock solid defending, particularly from the ever solid Davis and Banham. Connor Adams and Sam Hobdell provided great energy in midfield and man of the match Owain Hall distributed the ball well and took his chances superbly. A great win sets us up well for a  push for promotion.

A few snaps from the game here.

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 1-1 Magpies
Coaches: George Walker and Dom Samways          Dragons goal scorer: Ollie Shippam

Man of the match: it was a three way split between Teddy Valentine, Sol Blazer and Raunaq Rai. Teddy was nominated for stepping up to the mark and doing a great job. Sol and Raunaq were nominated for exceptional play and not giving up.

The first half was a battle in midfield with not much attacking or defending but the second half we went one down and realised that we had to fight back. Despite many attempts to push forward we struggled to get through but just before the last whistle Tom Williams set Ollie up for an amazing goal 15 seconds before the whistle blew.

I would like to say a special thanks to Teddy for stepping up to the mark and making some great saves.

By McCartney Aldous

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 1-9 Norwich City
Dragons went into the game with a good attitude but we were not pressuring the ball enough and they got 3 goals in the first 10-15 minutes, however dragons then stepped up their game with a special help from Issy. Dragons went to the players, pressured them and made the early tackles.The girls went into the second half a lot better with the defense clearing the ball out wide, Heather picked up these very well and drove them down the wing, followed by a great run from Mia but unfortunately just missed a shot on goal.   A pass from the midfield onto Alice who dribbled all the way up into the goal with a one on one shot on the goalie! A great goal and a fab celebration by Alice.Well done to all the girls for all the hard work and a lot of chasing back!