NDHC League Match Reports: 26/09/2015

Women’s East Hockey League East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-2 Bedford 1

Dragons set off early on a chilly, but sunny morning to face a very competitive Bedford team who recently played National League Hockey. Although Dragons had an emphatic win last week, they knew this week would be a new test.

Bedford started the brighter, having much off the possession and made Dragons work hard to keep possession of the ball. Bedford won numerous short corners but were unable to convert thanks to some excellent defensive work from Maddie Denman and Niamh Lowe Davis. The home side continued to push players forward and were rewarded with two similar types of goals, both coming from wide areas and Dragons unable to prevent the ball going in at the back post. Dragons’ player Louise Murray was forced off for part of the game due to a clash of heads which meant a reshuffle but this didn’t deter the Dragons who created a few opportunities and were rewarded with short corners but, unlike last week, were unable to convert them, thanks to some good work from the Bedford goalkeeper.

Dragons started the second half much better and were rewarded for their patience with a well worked team goal. The ball starting in defence with Niamh Lowe Davis was passed to Olivia Thomas who quickly moved the ball to Stacey Lee, whose cross was met expertly by Hayley Toleman to score her 4th goal in 2 league games. Dragons felt they could get something from the game and after another head injury, this time to a Bedford player, they pushed forward in search of an equalizer. Lee worked  herself in the Bedford circle to be challenged by the keeper winning a short corner which unfortunately came to nothing. Bedford had chances to increase their lead but for some fine saves by goal keeper Siobhan Cleeves.

Dragons, although downhearted should be pleased with their team work against this well organised side and will look to bounce back next week at home to Bromley and Beckenham.

Women’s East Hockey League Division 1N
Norwich Dragons 2s 6-0 Bedford 2

Another warm day at the Den saw Dragons take on Bedford 2’s who finished 3rd in Div 1N last season. Dragons welcomed Pollyanna Watson to the team for the first time this season.

The game started well for the home team with Aoife Lowe-Davies ‘flying’ straight out of the blocks, and immediately putting the Bedford defence under pressure. With Marcy Windsor-Waite supporting with pace on the right and Laura Shreeve causing her usual problems in behind the defenders the game started brightly for the home team. One such attack at pace saw Gail Thomas find Marcy Windsor- Waite who flew down the right, on reaching the by-line she drove into the D and fired in a great cross where Laura Shreeve had taken up a perfect position to glance the ball past the GK for a deserved lead.

The remainder of the half saw the bulk of the pressure on the Bedford goal, with a number of short corners being forced, but despite their efforts Dragons couldn’t further trouble the scorer. Bedford to their credit continued to battle hard.

Captain Karen O’Neill-Simpson called for more of the same at halftime and her team didn’t disappoint. A spell of pressure saw a flurry of 3 quick goals. The first saw Lowe-Davies and Shreeve combine well, Shreeve then played a quick ball up to Dragons player of the match Hannah Hardy, who spun and turned the ball past the GK. The next came from good work on the right, with Shelly Seaman picking the ball up, driving into the D and scoring from the tightest of angles. The fourth from the dynamic combination of Shreeve and Lowe-Davies, Shreeves’ shot saved by the keeper, only for Lowe-Davies to smartly pick up the rebound and fire home.

As a team Dragons were working incredibly hard for each other – the defensive line looked assured and communicated well together and dealt with any threats. The wide midfielders of Geo Beckwith, Pollyanna Watson and Marcy Windsor-Waite attacked with paced and looked to move the ball on early, whilst Karen O’Neill Simpson and Gail Thomas, helped to snuff out the threat in the middle.

The final 2 goals came following a good spell of pressure from Bedford – the fifth with the ball being won well on the left by Pollyanna Watson, who found Hardy in space, her firm push into the D found the incoming Shelly Seaman who timed her run perfectly and placed in at the far post. The final goal came from a short corner slipped to Hardy who fired goalwards for Shreeve to run in and deflect perfectly past the Keeper.

A performance that Dragon’s 2’s should be proud of. As always there is still plenty to work on, but this is a result which confirms they are more than ready to compete in this higher league.

A few photos from the game here.

L3s CelebrationEmpresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 3-0 Loddon 1

Missing a few of their usual significant players, instead welcoming some rising stars into the foray,  and on the back of a good win last week, Dragon 3 were keen for the start of the game against current second place rivals Loddon 1.

Winning the toss Dragons started with the ball. Caroline Wolfe initiating play with a firm pass to Sam Franklin, setting the tone for the game. Finding their way to the Loddon D, unfortunately for the opposition Dragons found a foot and were awarded a short corner. The Loddon defenders quickly closed down the straight strike from Wolfe, the strike picked up by the keeper who deftly cleared the ball wide, denying Dragons a goal. Another onslaught came from the Dragons, however they found the back line, not inside the goal.

Now on the attack Loddon seized the opportunity, using the fast centre midfielders to pass the ball around some of the Dragon players. This break was kept out of the Dragons defensive D by the strong defensive line-up of Angela Murgatroyd, Sarah Wagstaff and debut performance from Carmel Windsor Waite. Excellent communication between the trio closed off the opportunity and allowed play to continue in the opposite half with an excellent clearance.

Loddon being forced to play a deflection off their back line gave Dragons a long corner and their second opportunity of the game. Taken by player of the match Natasha Falzon, who drew in Loddon defenders creating space behind for a strong pass to the waiting stick of Laura Goodbun. With slick stick skills Goodbun wove her way through several defenders and smashed it to the back board giving Dragons their first goal.

Dragons were now hungry for the ball, quickly intercepting the Loddon’s first pass after the restart of play and again hunting the goal. Lauren Lawrie’s shot from top D smothered by the solid barrier of the Loddon keeper. Goodbun followed in close having another attempt with the rebound from the keeper’s pads. Again the keeper kept strong, denying yet another goal. This time the rebounded ball was returned to Lauren Lawrie at top D. With a slap to right post the Dragons fusillade finally managed to seek out the chink in the diving Loddon keeper’s armour. Mere millimetres inside the right post Dragons had their second goal.

Loddon now had their 5 minutes. A great combination of possession and passing allowed them to break into the Dragons D. Their attempt on goal thwarted by the expertly placed toe of keeper Kristina Smyth.

The second half saw similar share of possession as the first. Dragons intercepting Loddon passes and keeping a sustained attack on the Loddon D. A clean reverse shot from Sophie Farrow again forcing a nimble save from the Keepers top left corner. Undeterred Dragons continued. A crash ball in from Wolfe, struck by Natasha Blyth was again saved. Quickly in on the keeper’s pads for the rebound Sian Lawrie slapped the ball past the keeper giving the final score of 3-0.

A valiant effort by every player on the pitch on an unusually hot late September morning.  Today’s win sees Dragons more securely at the top of the Premier Division and Loddon down to 5th, however only 3 games into the season there’s still all to play for.

Photos from the game here.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 4-1 Lowestoft Railway

Dragon Ladies were looking forward to a challenge at Lowestoft this morning.  After scoring in total sixteen goals in the last two league games (nearly half of our goal tally for last season) confidence was high despite a new line up.

Dragons were a number of players light, Gemma Rump who has been instrumental in midfield the previous two weeks featured in defence, and we welcomed Christine Musowe, Megan Williams and Anna Brook.

The first twenty minutes of the game were the best Dragons had played all season. Demonstrating good communication, the ball was moved quickly between midfield and defence, enabling us to switch the play between the right and left wings.

It took a while for the Dragons to break the deadlock with Lowestoft Railway packing the D, and the forwards having to consider alternative tactics from those that had served us well the previous weeks.

Dragons’ first goal was a result of taking opportunities at a short corner. Sophie Wood injected the ball to Amelia Dawson who took a shot herself, which was saved by the Railway keeper only to rebound to Sophie who was waiting at the post to push it into the goal.

Player of the match Anja Finegan made some fantastic individual runs up the middle. Her first goal again was from a short corner. She received the ball and player it around the rapidly approaching defenders before taking a powerful shot which sailed past the Railway keeper.

The third goal came from Melanie Widdows. Similar to Dragons’ first goal, Mel injected the ball at a short corner and then waited at the post to receive the ball from Anja Finegan and then proceeded to slot it past the keeper.

The last of Dragons goal came in the second half when Anja Finegan received the ball from Debbie Santa Clara and ran at pace up the centre of the pitch. On reaching the D she took a shot unchallenged.

Captain Kate Atkins had to work hard in the heat to get the better of the Lowestoft Railway’s forwards. Louise Davis showed great composure when challenged in our quarter to pass the ball out of trouble and into safety.

Christine Musowe had an excellent game in midfield. Megan Williams and Anna Brook were invaluable in ensuring Dragons won their third league victory this season.

Next week Dragon Ladies 4 take on Magpies 5 at Harleston.

Scorers: Anja Finegan 2, Mel Widdows, Sophie Wood.Player of the match : Anja Finegan

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

As the Ladies 5’s stepped out onto the shiny blue pitch we knew to maintain our position in the table we had to secure a win and hopefully increase the goal difference.  City 6’s had the first push back and off we chased, they tried to put long balls through to their forwards.  But with Holly Bailey reading the play and her long strides the balls were quickly intercepted.  Pushing up the pitch Zara Howes, Helen Marsh and Charlotte Pounder used their skills to bypass City.  The Dragons forwards of Den Howes, Lisa Harwood and Megan Farrant were in the D and moving the City defence around to get some shots in.  Unfortunately goals denied. The majority of play was favouring the Dragons and we knew a goal would come. Chiara Bond at the top of the diamond was always on hand outside the D to intercept the ball and pass it right back.  With City trying to halt Den from getting her stick on the ball in the D she weaved around the defenders and cracked off a lovely shot into goal.

City were getting frustrated and it showed in their game, they only had a few chances in our D before being picked up by our speedy strong defence of Jess Tye Leech, Freya Clogan and Laura Hansell.  They passed the ball around the back to move it further up the pitch and also pushed forward as City tired.  Rachel Bruce had an excellent game moving into free positions and lovely passes along the wing between herself and Zara.  At half time the score was 1-0 and with some words of wisdom from Krystina Smyth and advice from David Bond we were set for more goals.

The Dragons had a shuffle of positions to give Laura a chance to stretch her legs up the wing, Helen’s grit required at the bottom of the diamond and Holly in on defence.  Charlotte who is often a blur on the pitch from high speed interception, passed the ball around well and out to the forwards.  Megan ran out wide to pick up balls and run them up to the D.  With a few balls hitting the feet of City players and several short corners later, we felt a goal must be coming! With a slip to Chiara and a lovely slap into the goalie, the rebound was picked up by Zara and pushed in.  2- 0.  With the game becoming quite physical we were pleased when the final whistle was called.  Congratulations to Rachel, player of the match for her skills, continued effort and first player to receive a green card!

A few photos from the game here.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s 1-4 Watton 3

The 6s are gradually bonding as a squad and there were improvements in all areas compared with their first match of the season. Possibly the final score does not reflect how close the game was – the main difference being that Watton were able to create several penalty corners, and converted some of them, while Dragons needed to be more positive in the attacking circle.  Beth Elgood made a welcome return, and quickly settled into the defence. However, she has lost none of her ability to run with the ball and added some bite to the attack when she moved up to midfield. Fitting in behind her was Brooke Simmons, making her debut and showing a welcome versatility in a number of positions. Sophie Thurtell again impressed  and scored a super goal from a penalty corner. Lucy Morton injected the ball flat and hard to Bridget Le Good who achieved a clean stop. Sophie called for the slip left  and then swept the ball hard past the keeper.

Dragons played much better in the second half, restricting Watton to a single goal. Izzy Ferguson and Rosie Skipp made some telling runs on the left and right.  Mids Gill Walker and Ellie James vied for POM  for their determination and tackling back, with Ellie getting the nod for some great distribution and increasing confidence to lead from the top of the diamond. Jo Eke stepped back to the bottom of the diamond and continues her path to fitness with typical energy and bravery in the tackles. Alice Smith in goal made some good clearances and Katy Saide and Katie Franks are continuing their good defensive understanding. Lois McGregor took up some good forward positions, and the 6s will learn to release the ball to take advantage of them. The 6s have a clear idea of what they need to work on to improve and look forward to the next match.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 0-3 Norwich City 7

Another fine, sunny day saw Dragons 7 take on Norwich City 7 in their first home match of the season.Dragons started off well with some good passing play, pushing the ball up towards City’s D. The forwards of Mia McGhee, Sarah Norman and Katrina Speirs made several attempts at goal, but were continually stopped by City’s defence. Jasmin Daniels at bottom of the diamond was a force to be reckoned with, intercepting the ball from City and passing it up to top of the diamond Claire Fairhurst or wingers Sophia Gilbert, Anja Wimmer or Beth Coates. Dragons defence of Ginny Simkin, Emma Cadley, Jo Baker or Frankie Paul kept fighting off City’s attack, with goalkeeper Alessandra Pelligrini making some good saves. Unfortunately City managed to find the backboard twice before half time.

The second half got underway with Dragons keen to keep their heads up and not let the score affect their determination. Dragons made several attempts on goal, with lots of near misses. City managed to score another goal but Dragons kept on fighting. Play was stopped for a few minutes when one of City’s players received an accidental hit to the face, forcing her to leave for hospital and play continued with a bully off.Final score was 0:3 to City, although the score does not reflect the effort put in by Dragons. Player of the Match was shared by Sarah and Jasmin. Thanks to the supporters and especially to the awesome sideline support.

A few photos from the game here.

Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-3 Cambridge Nomads 1

Dragons 1s made the journey to Cambridge Nomads, full of hope, taking many positives form the previous week’s fixture.  After an incredibly slow start last week, Dragons started very strongly, turning the ball over high up the pitch in the first few minutes, creating a good chance, which was not unfortunately converted.    From the resultant 16 Yard hit, Nomads hit the Dragons on the break, from a well executed aerial and converted to make the game 1-0 to the home side.

Once again Dragons fought hard and managed to gain a lot of possession, yet this was not to bear any fruit as an experienced Nomads team, were able to deal with all the Dragons threw at them.  Nomads extended their lead after an unfortunate piece of defending lead to a penalty for the home team, which busy keeper Robbie Bell, who always runs the show, was unlucky not to save (despite some supposedly impressive “mind games”).

Dragons dug themselves back into the game and eventually got on the score sheet, after Man of the Match Mitch Smith’s drag flick was parried into the chest of the skillful winger mark Flatman.  The ever calm and alert, Lewis Wilkins took advantage of the umpires advantage to put a shot carefully and precisely onto the foot of an unsuspecting Cambridge defender.

Nomads caught the Dragons on the break again, with the final score mirroring the result from the previous week.  

Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 9-1 Sudbury 2

Dragons started this game in solid, if unspectacular, fashion – looking to keep hold of the ball and challenge a young Sudbury side to work hard on a warm day. The home team created a number of good chances, and when Wolfe slapped the ball into an empty goal after good approach work from Moulson, the plan appeared to be working well. However a nervy 10 minutes followed and Sudbury were gifted a goal when a deflection from O’Meara sent the ball past Wang. The game threatened to be a frustrating one for Dragons at this point, with a number of good chances going begging, and the game evenly poised at 1-1 at the break.

Immediately into the 2nd half though the home team came out and scored 3 goals within 5 minutes, effectively ending the match as a contest. Sudbury managed to regroup a little, but goals came at regular intervals as the passing and movement of the more experienced Dragons team asserted itself. The game ended 9-1, with 4 goals to Jenkins, 2 for Wolfe and 1 each for O’Meara, Allen and Rutledge.

A few photos from the game here.

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

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

The game started with Ipswich Cranes 1st team scoring within 5 minutes with some very creative play from their forwards. Dragons after getting over the initial shock started to pass the ball around well and the youngsters in the midfield with Captain Jenkins at he helm started to develop a few chances for us to equalize. Adie, Crossy and RCB all worked hard chasing and hassling their defense up until the break. After half time Cranes came out looking to extend their lead but the Dragons defense held firm with Elliot making some excellent saves. The midfield with some excellent help from PYS were again creating chances and with about 5 minutes to go we got our just rewards. Phil fired the ball into the D where Max Laming guided it sweetly into the back of the goal. Both teams had chances to win the game but a well earned draw was the final result

A few photos from the game here.

Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 1-2 Ipswich Cranes 2

Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 0-0 Watton 2 (f)

Dragons Mens 6’s kicked their season off with a friendly against Watton 2’s. Despite the glorious sunshine, it was a less than ideal start as Dragons had to begin the game with 9 players. Owain Hall quickly arrived to make it 10 and Dragons energy and workrate ensured that they never looked a man short. In a game largely played in midfield, chances were few and far between and some solid defending from both teams ensured it was 0-0 at half-time.

Both teams had chances in a more open second half. Superb defending from Dragons, especially from Man of the Match Andy Webb and sweeper, Adrian Howes, ensured that Watton failed to benefit from a series of short corners.

At the other end, Rob Lee managed to get several balls across the goalmouth but missing player showed as there was nobody there to connect with the crosses. Two players made their senior debut in this game and looked perfectly at home. George Bowman worked tirelessly up front, Harry Williamson defended brilliantly, especially in the second half and we look forward to more great performances from them!

Captain Robert Coyle was delighted to keep his first clean sheet as a goalkeeper (largely due to a superb back 4) and the 0-0 final score was a fair result all around. We look forward to doing it all again next weekend when we meet Watton again in our first Div 7 league game.

A few photos from the game here.

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons: No Fixture

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons P-P Watton