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NDHC League Match Reports: 27/09/2014

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Ladies 1s and 2s top their Divisions in the early stages of the season.

Women’s East Hockey LeagueΒ East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 6:2Β Canterbury

Norwich Ladies Dragons 1st team welcomed Canterbury Ladies 2’s to the Den for their first home fixture in the top flight of the Premier League. uncharacteristically the Dragons had two late call offs and were grateful to both Shelly SEAMAN, returning after a long break from 1st team hockey,Β  and Laura TOMPSON-WRIGHT who stepped in to make her debut.

As the sun beamed down and the match got underway it was the home side that were quickest off the mark. A great run down the right by, player of the match, Sophie MULLAN cutting the ball back to Marie JAMES just outside the D who was able to slip the ball into the path of Kate TRELAWNY – GOWER who made no mistake by dispatching a drag flick high into the net leaving the keeper no chance. The Dragons enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first half and were the more dominant of the two teams but at times they gave the ball away cheaply when some composure and patience on the ball was needed. They recognised this and soon got into their stride, a great steal by Rachel KING on the opponents 25 yard line just before half time saw the Dragons surge forwards in numbers and some intricate passing between them ended with KING striking the ball on the reverse stick beating the keeper allowing SEAMAN to knock the ball over the line to double the lead.

At 2-0 up the Dragons knew that they had to keep the pressure on the visitors and they did just at. As the second half got underway Canterbury found themselves 3-0 down; a brilliant run down the right by MULLAN slipping the ball to Olivia THOMAS who passed toΒ  KING at the top of the D who swept the ball into the net beyond the keepers reach. With Canterbury against the ropes the Dragons made made it 4; a short corner routine being dispatched brilliantly by Donna VAUGHAN. A slight lapse in concentration by the home team allowed Canterbury to get one back but the Dragons were hungry for more goals andΒ  responded immediately by scoring a fifth. A flash of brilliance and a great display of skills from KING who rode several challenges in the opponents D before squaring the ball to SEAMAN in front of goalΒ  who chalked up her second of the match as if she’d never been away.Β  The home team still hadn’t finished with Canterbury securing goal number 6; this time a short corner routine saw TRELAWNY-GOWER drag flick from the top of the D finding the right hand corner of the goal. Although the Dragons tired they were still onΒ  the hunt for more goals to please the home support but in doing so allowed the visitors to get a second just before the game ended but what a fantastic team performance and what a dream start to the season.Β  The home support they received was most welcomed and greatly appreciated; it certainly helped keep the Dragons going in the heat maintainingΒ  the high tempo against the visitors which, as a result of the goals scored, has put them at the top of league.

Women’s East Hockey League Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 5:0 Newmarket 1

Dragon’s travelled to Newmarket with 2’s debutant Marcy Windsor-Waite and welcoming back Vice Captain, Hannah Ellis to the squad.

On a what was an exceptionally warm day, Dragons got out onto the pitch in good time and had a vigorous warm up, maybe a little too vigorous, as within 10 mins their Goalkeeper unfortunately succumbed to the extreme heat and was forced off the pitch – Hollie Limmer stepped up to replace the stricken Keeper. Given Dragons resources were already somewhat depleted, to go to a bare 11 in the heat was not ideal, however this is where the team showed their true character and fighting spirit. Hollie was called into action immediately after donning the kit, as the Dragons defence felt it would be helpful to give her some short corner practise early on!

Newmarket struggled to get the ball out of their half in these early encounters, with the whole of the Dragons team seemingly more determined than ever, pressing high and hard. Gail Thomas struck an early goal with a great strike into the corner to take the lead. Further pressure told, with Dragons forcing a series of short corners. A well worked move saw Player of the Match Marcy Windsor-Waite in perfect position at the far post to force the 2nd goal home. Before half time, a further short corner, whilst initially saved by the Newmarket defence, found its way to Emily Rolls at the top of the D, who struck the ball firmly, taking a small deflection as it flew past the keeper.

With the heat rising, Dragons talked at half time about letting the ball do the work. Newmarket enjoyed an early spell of pressure in the 2nd half, giving Goalkeeper Hollie Limmer some further work to do, although the defensive formation of Hannah Ellis, Ally Windsor-Waite, Angela Murgatroyd and Sophie Thomas dealt well with pretty much everything that came their way.

Having ridden this spell of pressure, Dragons pushed on, the tireless running upfront from Aoife Lowe-Davies and Marcy Windsor-Waite, ensured more opportunities were created. The 4th goal came from good work down the left, finding Karen O’Neill-Simpson pop up on the edge of the D, to strike her 2nd goal in as many games. The scoring was completed following a smart short corner routine, which was well dispatched by Gail Thomas for her 2nd of the match.
A really strong, battling performance from this team, with everyone giving everything they had. Β  The team were exceptionally grateful to have sideline support from some of the Men’s 1’s players (Mark and Nick) returning from Cambridge, as well as the now thankfully recovered Freddie Briscoe, plus usual suspects Mike and Rob – thanks to you all!

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier League
Norwich Dragons 3s 0:1 LoddonΒ 1

On a very hot, late September day, the Dragons 3’s faced a fast paced Loddon 1’s team away at Loddon. Barely 1 minute into the game a Loddon striker made a break from a Dragons attack. Sprinting the length of the pitch the striker made it to the D to unleash an undercut strike, making the score line 1:0 to Loddon. Slightly rattled, but undeterred, Dragons came back strong, Excellent interceptions of the repeated Loddon long ball by joint Dragon players of the match, Pollyanna Watson, and Natasha Falzon helped to ensure they were unable to break through again. An early short corner almost saw the Dragons equalise. Pollyanna injecting the ball, stopped with precision by Debbie Santa Clara, struck by Caroline Wolfe to the left post and only by a fraction not deflected into the goal by the injector Polly.

Returning to the second half, the Dragons with a new hunger in their play, started to press the Loddon team further and further into their own half. A few feet and obstruction fouls in the Dragons offensive D gave them some short corner opportunities, which unfortunately they were unable to convert. A few more breaks from the strong Loddon forwards were mopped up by the defensive team, Abi Cowe, Sarah Wagstaff and Natasha Falzon. Any making it through were closed down by Amy Forse, denying them a further goal.

Despite a strong sustained attack in the Second half, Dragons were unable to equalise.
Final score Loddon 1:0 Dragons.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4sΒ 0:4 Evergreens 1

On a very hot and muggy day, Dragons faced Evergreens 1, a recent return from the Premier Division. They were always going to be a strong team, with well drilled passes, solid hitting and a squad that have played together for a long time. Dragons were determined to give it their best and play a clean passing game.

From the start the play was evenly matched, with equal possession for the first 15 minutes, for every attack in Dragons favour Evergreens turned the play and made for goal. Kate McKenna made several lovely runs up the right with the support of Holly Bailey and Sue Cross (joint PoM). There was more than one opportunity in the D, but with a strong defence Evergreens stopped each attempt on goal. Evergreens seemed to have the skill of switching play in the midfield and made quick breaks in play which allowed them to get ahead of Dragons midfield, leading to a less crowded D and clearer strikes on goal, and it was in this way that they scored.

Mel Widdows, Rosie Korn and Jenny Martin all worked hard trying to take the play out wide on the left, but were again stopped from progressing by solid marking and clearances by the defence. Dragons were still very much in contention throughout the half and Louise Davis (joint PoM) made some lovely runs all the way from defence to slot the ball into the D, but alas there was no resulting goal. Before half time Evergreens again scored from a quick turn in play and a well-executed short corner.

In the second half Dragons seemed to find their feet more, with some lovely passing by Sarah Moore, feeding the ball out to the waiting players on the wings, for the first 10 minutes the ball never left Evergreen’s half, and while there were numerous attempts on goal they all failed to cross the line. Dragons kept trying to work the ball, even after Evergreens scored their fourth goal. A high pace was maintained and communication improved, Gemma Rump continued to put on pressure in the midfield and made use of quick takes. If the game had gone on for another 5 minutes I’m sure we would have scored.

The final result doesn’t really indicate the quality of Dragon’s play and we were certainly not disheartened by the result – playing such a strong team has helped galvanise what we need to work on and will help us in the long run.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 3:0Β Evergreens 2Β 

Evergreens conceded so Dragons 5 awarded 3:0 win

Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6 1:1 Lowestoft Railway 2

Norwich Dragons 6s showed their fire in the latter half of this game to scrape back a 1-1 draw and 2nd place in Division 3 league just ahead of Lowestoft Railway Ladies 2s.

An excellent team effort throughout the game kept the Lowestoft railway ladies at bay despite some excellent attacks on their part. Jess Tye Leach controlled the centre back position with Lottie Korn, Sian Eves (New to Dragons) and Bella Capps defending Left/ Right. Bella Capps did some excellent clears and showed great strength and accuracy in her passing.Β  Orchestrating play at bottom of the diamond Jo Eke was a fighter throughout and gave this team structure, determination and passion.

Dragons managed some good attacks in the 2nd half with a rotating forward formation with some determination forwards down the wing by Sarah Norman who battled on and on. Bev Jones (new to Dragons) pushed up and distributed the ball, however Dragons could not however convert this excellent forward play even with Bridget Le Good’s excellent moves to get the ball into the circle.

Caught on the break Dragon’s conceded their first goal, however their heads did not hang low and they showed the true spirit of the sixes by defending off any further attempts. Alice Smith made some excellent saves working well with the defence.

At half time a rousing talk by David Bond, Dragons were more determined and knew they needed to be first to the ball. A little switch around at the back put Katie Franks back in defence doing some excellent work and this meant Lotte Korn like a true team player moved into mid field. She shone in this position showing her skill and fitness working well with Megan Farrant up the wing.

Megan Farrant really showed her fighting forward nature pushing up again and again with some sneaky movements into the circle. Three short corners in a row and finally Dragons captialised with mid fielder Rachel Bruce showing us how it was done with a sneaky deflection off the keeper.

In the last 10 mins, at one point there was so much fight in the Dragons’s sixes I thought we were going to take the lead. Dragons sixes was a great team to play with on Saturday and there needs to be that much fire, passion and determination in every game they play !!!!!!

VV9A0091Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7 2:1Β UEA 4

Dragons Ladies 7s had a great first away match of the season against the newly formed UEA 4s. Dragons dominated play in the first half, with Jasmine Mansfield and Cath Power working hard in the centre of midfield and captain Claire Fairhurst putting some great balls into the D, however the visitors were unable to find a goal.Β  When UEA did break, the defence of Jasmin Daniels, Jo Shadd, Jo Baker and Sally Philpot, did a great job of soaking up the pressure, meaning that keeper Amy Forse had little to do, so by half-time the score was 0-0.

The second half got under way with Dragons keeping up the pressure, pushing forward and getting into the D, however, the students managed turn the ball over in midfield catching the Dragons’ defence flat and despite a storming run back from Sally Philpot, the pace of the youngsters meant that they were able to get to the top of the Dragons’ D and a great strike gave Amy no chance in goal.

Dragons were determined not to be beaten and conceding a goal motivated the whole team to keep pushing forward, resulting in an equalizing goal taken excellently by Jane Morton. This lifted the team even more and they carried on the momentum, getting into the D and attacking the goal, resulting in a calmly placed debut goal by Katrina Speirs.

UEA tried to fight back but Dragons were having none of it, with the defenders working hard to clear the ball, protected by Cath Power and Tracy Stuart-Sheppard dropping back to help, despite a nasty knock on the ankle.Β  Ciara Willmott on the right continued to cause a threat to the home side with great position and runs.Β  In addition to the goalscorers, the rest of the strike-force of Claire Fairhurst and Amy Ward got in great positions to link up play and get in behind the defence, making it difficult for the UEA defenders to keep track of them.Β  Final score was 2-1 to Dragons, a result that all were very proud to have achieved. Player of the match was Jasmin Daniels for her great defending.

Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 3:3 Cambridge University 3

Dragons were held 3-3 in an action-packed encounter with a spirited Cambridge University side on Saturday. The Dragons squad showed four changes, George Walker’s meteoric rise capped with a first-team debut, along with call-ups for the three youngsters Laming, Gosling, and Rich Smith. It was the first time the first-team has had three Dragons youth-team products in its ranks – a real landmark for the club and a credit to the players themselves and to their coaches.

Dragons dominated the opening exchanges, Deayton especially prominent getting forward from right back and they should have built a commanding lead. Samwise had two good chances, dallying too long over the first and then smashing the second high over the bar. Rutledge somehow managed to smear the opening short corner routine high and wide when it must have been easier to score and then couldn’t find the pass to release the disburdened Snelling clean through on goal. Knights, Snelling, and Laming all also had chances. The breakthrough when it came was the result of a fine, flowing team move, Deayton finding Knights whose powerful run released Gosling who picked out Rutledge with a perfectly timed pass, leaving the veteran with the simplest of tasks to steer the ball past the onrushing keeper. Before Dragons could build on their advantage, the goal-scorer turned villain at the other end, conceding a controversial penalty-flick, purportedly stopping a Cambridge attack with a cynical back-of-the-stick tackle. Rutledge looked disbelieving but skipper Flatman could be heard to mutter darkly β€œit’s like playing with blimmin’ Overstall all over again.” Bell almost kept the flick out with a spectacular save, but Dragons went in to the break all-square.

Cambridge started the second half with more intent, pegging Dragons back with their pressing game and might have gone ahead had Samways and Farrow not been strong in the tackle and had Bidet-Steele not done such a good job cleaning up in front of the back line. When Dragons did control the ball, though, they looked threatening and they went ahead for a second time when good build-up play from Laming left Knights to slap the ball home at the near post. Again it looked as though Dragons would press home their advantage, but they were caught by a quick one-two, Cambridge first drawing level after a quick-break left Smith not knowing whether to stick or twist, and then going ahead after Dragons turned the ball over at the back and Bell couldn’t quite keep out Monty Pearson-Smythe’s first-time strike.

Dragons’ response was a credit to the side and a measure of its self-belief as they completely dominated the final 15 minutes. Laming thought he’d scored only to be pulled back by an umpire’s over-zealous whistle; Gosling was irrepressible, playing as much as a winger as as a fullback; and a string of short corner opportunities came and went with Samwise desperately close to opening his account for the club. In the end, it was Rutledge again, jogging on the spot, who picked up the rebound from Knights’ fierce short-corner strike to get Dragons the goal they deserved and they went agonisingly close to netting the winner in the final minutes, Laming almost tucking one away at the far post, and Deayton’s driven cross flashing across the face of Cambridge goal.

If Dragons were left ruing the two points dropped, Wagstaff preferred to concentrate on the positives from the game. β€œIt was terrific to have the youngsters in there today and they look totally at home at this level. A special word for Walker, too – he’s had his disciplinary problems in the past but now he’s put those behind him it’s great to see him developing into the player we all knew he could be.” He was a little less enthusiastic about the performance of prolific midfielder Rutledge: β€œperhaps if he spent a little more time concentrating on his core duties as a defensive midfielder we wouldn’t have conceded three.” Rutledge, with characteristic teammindedness, added, β€œI figured if Charlish can do it, anyone can.”

Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 3:4Β Newmarket 1

This week the Men’s 2nd XI took on Newmarket 1st XI at home. Newmarket finished last season anchored to the bottom of 2N with W1 D6 L15 GF51 GA95 Pts9 and so were relegated to 3NE. Our very own 1st XI had thus played Newmarket 1st XI twice last season managing frustrating draws at both home and away. Newmarket’s first game in 3NE of the 2014/2015 had seen them at home to Sudbury 2nd XI with Newmarket winning by a 7-0 margin. Therefore there was an air of caution in the preparation for this match.

The 2nd XI’s line up saw a few changes this week due to club-wide availability. Rich Smith, Mitch Smith, Sam Worster unfortunately did not feature this weekend but club captain Ali Smyth allowed himself some 2nd XI pitch time this week with baby Smyth’s appearance due shortly. Tim Allen made his Dragons and 2nd XI debut this weekend and Gary Croft donned the pads for his 1st 2nd (not 3rd) XI game of this season and we welcomed back Graeme Smith holding the fort of midfield.

The opening minutes of the game were as feisty as Dragons had feared with Simon Nisbet receiving a stick to the hand which resulted in a few interesting grunts and squeals. The game eventually settled down and it was soon apparent that the 2nd XI had a quite a job on their hands. Newmarket 1st XI passed quickly and accurately in midfield and worked around their Dragons counterparts and forced half a dozen short corners in the first half. The defence of Ali Smyth, Glenn Masterson, Piers Gordon-Brown and Rich Phillis managed to keep the ball from the goal with Gary Croft working very well to mop up and make several last ditch clearances whilst working from the floor with stick and glove. Frustration appeared within the ranks of Newmarket’s players as Dragons remained patient and worked the counter attacks. It was one of these which worked its way across the D from the right hand side to be deflected in by the late (in arriving!) Rory Jackson. 1-0. This was more or less against the run of play but was what had been planned and was executed well by Dragons.

Β The defence continued to feel the brunt of the Newmarket attacking line up but again solid defending, well worked midfielding and counter attacking play brought the ball through the middle of the pitch, up the right across the top of the D to Chris Simmonds who brought the ball over to his reverse stick to strike the ball into the left of the goal to the disbelief of Newmarket (and everyone else there that day). 2-0. The defending Dragons continued with attempts being made to install and keep hold of a half court press. An error from a sideline ball on the right on the 25 yard line was unexpectedly picked up by Newmarket and Dragons defence weren’t able to work back to contain this breach and the ball was inserted into the goal at the near post. 2-1. Half time.

Β After a rousing half time talk Dragons took back to the pitch and the next 20 minutes saw the whole team under the cosh as Newmarket pressed hard to find the goal. Lewis Wilkins and Tim Allen worked tirelessly in midfield and kept good possession of the ball but there were few opportunities to get the ball into the Newmarket half. Ali Smyth picked his battles well and stole the ball away from Newmarket and Sam Mann did a fine job as well. Again a swath of short corners strained the defence but Newmarket struggled find the goal. Eventually one found the back of the net, a short corner taker dodging Ali Smyth’s battling efforts to flick the ball to the left of Gary Croft. 2-2. Dragons worked back and Simon Nisbet ran the right wing well and Dragons saw more of the Newmarket half. Newmarket countered one of these efforts down our right wing, colliding with Chris Simmonds and Piers Gordon-Brown to eliminate these two and to leave Newmarket’s centre forward to sweep home into the left hand corner of the goal. 2-3. Not long after this another scrappy affair developed in the Dragons D; a Newmarket attack, a Phillis:Gordon-Brown sandwich/collision which led to Glenn Masterson’s battle for the ball and subsequent manhandling off the ball after a re-bound from Gary Croft allowing the Newmarket forward to slot home from close range. 2-4. Disappointment began to creep into Dragons but positivity and hard work from Jason Wolfe, Rory Jackson and Will Kirby saw a flurry of efforts in the Newmarket half and Dragons found the goal somehow courtesy of Rory Jackson’s acrobatic forward roll passed the keeper into the left corner of the goal. 3-4 and full time.

Improvements to be made but still an encouraging result from a team earmarked to be one of the stronger sides in 3NE this season. Some fantastic defending, patient play and discipline on quite a warm day. This result sees the 2nd XI drop only 2 places to 5th in the league.

Next week the 2nd XI take on Norwich City 3rd XI, officially at home but at the UEA at 10:00 (set those alarm clocks). Norwich City (currently 3rd) have beaten Harleston Magpies 4th XI and Lowestoft Railway 1st XI, though with only one goal making the difference. Expect this to be another physical and hotly contested game.

Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 2:3 Newmarket 2

Having secured victory in the opening game of the season, Dragons travelled to Newmarket with high hopes.Β  However, a winning day at the races this was not to be.

Newmarket started strongly, pressing the Dragon defence of Henry Eades, Neil Shorten and Peter Davison.Β  For their efforts they were awarded a short corner which they scored from.Β  Dragons counter attacked and showed some strong play down the right side from John Ives.Β  A reverse-stick sweep from Adam Sayer, which almost lobbed the keeper, dropped down to Bradley Howlett, who calmly swept the ball in for Dragons to equalise.

However, Newmarket continued to press Dragons, and defensive midfielders Stu Kelly and Will Main had to work hard to keep Newmarket at bay.Β  Despite valiant efforts, Newmarket managed two more goals before halftime.

Halftime saw Dragons 3-1 down and lamenting a slow pitch which hampered the usual quick-passing style of the Mens 3s.Β  Tactics discussed, Dragons lifted their heads and headed out to the second half.

Dragons really put the pressure onto the Newmarket defence and their efforts were rewarded when Adie Kemp showed great determination in winning the ball back twice in the Newmarket D.Β  A quick strike from an acute angle saw the ball slide in the goal.Β  Score:3-2.

Newmarket did manage some counter attacks, but were kept at bay by the defence and keeper Dim Ives.Β  Man of the Match Peter Davison putting in a sterling effort.

Time was running out for Dragons, who saw a few shots go wide of the Newmarket goal.Β  Good running from forwards Matt Jenkins and Bradley Howlett continued to give the Newmarket defence something to think about.Β  Unfortunately these efforts didn’t bear fruit.Β  The final whistle came and left Dragons feeling frustrated at not being able to get an equaliser.Β  Final score:3-2 to Newmarket.

Mens East League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 3:2Β Ipswich 3

Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 0:12Β Ipswich 4

Norwich Dragons 5s travelled to Ipswich with just 10 men after some freak late availability issues. In spite of the efforts of MoM MikeΒ Banham standing in in goal Dragons were outclassed by a strong Ipswich side 12-0.

Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s v Dereham 5Β (f)

Opposition called off

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 2:1 Dereham

Dragons goal scorers: Charlie Nunn and Tom Bailon

Captain: McCartney Aldous

Player of the match and why: Charlie Nunn for exceptional play and an amazing goal

Coaches: George Walker

Playing adults: no one ( Dom Samways was there if needed)

Memorable moments:
1. In the first half Charlie Nunn could not score a short corner.
2. Charlie Nunn took us level after half time.
3. Tom Bailon put us ahead.

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 0:3Β Dereham

The end score, 3-0, doesn’t show how well dragons actually played. Yes we could of found the space, marked up more and ran to the ball. But we had some all round great performances such as some brilliant saves by Alessandra, Esmie and Lara’s great tackling, some speedy runs by Alice, Issy and Sophie. Also Anya’s powerful pushes outs in the short corners followed by Mia’s excellent runs onto the post ready for a ball to come her way.

A special mention for Lilly as it was her second ever game and it looked like she had been played for years with strong runs up and down the wing making great stops and parses.

Thank you to Issy Wolfe, Laura Hansell and Jaz Daniels for coming at short notice to make up the numbers. It was great to have some experienced members in the team