NDHC League Match Reports: 27th – 31st March 2018

31st March 2018
Norfolk Women’s League Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 5 v Lowestoft Ladies 1s:  0-3  
Finally we got to play our home match against Lowestoft Railway 1s, it having been previously cancelled on more than one occasion due to the wintery weather. Well the Easter weather wasn’t perfect today with rain and sleet trying to bring our spirits down. However, in true Dragons style, we embraced the typical hockey weather and carried on fighting.
The first 10 minutes of the match was a very defensive period and we spent most of our time defending our goal. The defence and midfield did this perfectly and Lowestoft were unable to convert their chances. This gave us the encouragement we needed and we got the ball out to be received by Elsa in the middle, Ellie in the midfield and Harriet on the wing who all made some good runs and passes into the D. Unfortunately we were unable to convert the chances we had and Lowestoft were able to intercept our passes and drive the ball back down the pitch using their youth and speed. Their first goal game from open play and a one on one with goal keeper Esther, unfortunately they won on this occasion. Esther secured many saves from several short corners and the defensive skills of Katie Franks, Lou, Jemima and Ginny ensured the ball was safely hit out of the D.
Halftime came and we hadn’t lost our spirit. We went back on the pitch determined to level the score and try to slow down their central line, unfortunately we remained unable to convert the crosses delivered by Lilly or the long passes down the pitch by Lou and Ginny. Although we had the chances, so did Lowestoft and their second goal came from a short corner. The ball took an unfortunate deflection off a defender’s stick and over Esther’s head. 
A ball directly to Ginny’s knee took her out for the remainder of the game but Elsa stepped in to bottom of the diamond, Katie Lister to top of the diamond and they continued to distribute the ball out to Mel and Ellie in left and right midfield. Unfortunately the forward line of Sue Cross, Lilly and Lizzy remained unable to get the ball past the oppositions defence to score a goal, although it was close on a few occasions, and the game finished 3-0 to Lowestoft.
A well played game by everyone and the POM was well distributed but was awarded to Esther for her great saves and determination not to give up.
27th March 2018
Women’s East Hockey League Div 2NE 
Norwich Dragons Ladies 2 v Bury St Edmonds:  4-0  
The final game of the season saw Dragons travel to Culford for their 3rd game in just 4 days. Whilst there were some weary limbs, the squad were raring to go and continue their excellent run.

Bury were a strong, youthful team, and they started the game brightly, dominating the early possession. Dragons had Gina Hunt in goal once again and she was in outstanding form from the off, making some commanding early saves. The defensive unit of Karen O’Neill Simpson, Harriett Green, Carmel Windsor Waite and Shelly Seaman knew they were going to need to be at their sharpest to keep Bury at bay.

With Emma Tabrett returning to the squad, having been unavailable for a few weeks, adding her usual fire and energy to the forward line, supported by the pace of Laura Ward and the skills of Kate McKenna. The game started to level out, with Dragons getting in behind the Bury defence on a couple of occasions. In midfield, Gail Thomas, Sophie Mullan, Lucy Morton and Kiera Goymour were starting to win the 50/50 battles and were feeding the forwards with some excellent through balls. With one such attack, Gail Thomas found Emma Tabrett, whose powerful drive and square pass found the willing run of Lucy Morton on the back post, for the lead. Before halftime this was doubled, this time Morton squared to Tabrett who found the backboard.

Bury had a number of opportunities to get back into the game before half time – there was some excellent defensive work by Dragons though and the score remained 2-0 at the break.

The second half saw Bury change their formation a little but the game still remained pretty even – both teams playing at high pace and having decent opportunities. It was Dragons however who took their chances, Tabrett claiming her second to make it 3-0,  whilst the fourth came from Kiera Goymour, her first for the Club, which was well deserved. Whilst 4-0 sounds a convincing scoreline, this was only achieved with some outstanding defensive work and some top saves from Dragons Player of the Match Gina Hunt – one instinctive save high to her right which was gloved away nonchalantly.

The final whistle was blown by two of the most impressive umpires we have seen this season and Dragons, playing some of the finest hockey of the season, took another 3pts, temporarily taking them to top of the table, however teams have games in hand to overcome their points tally. A fine end to a hugely competitive and enjoyable season in Div 2NE.

Great credit goes to the team for their commitment and dedication. Huge thanks go to Captain Karen O’Neill Simpson – its been a tough season in many ways, none more so than because of all the injuries the team have had to contend with, but her belief, passion and commitment for the team is unrelenting!

Dev Boys A v Norwich City:  0-1  

For this re-arranged fixture, on a damp Tuesday evening, it was City who came out of the blocks fastest. Sustained pressure from them lead to a number of short corners but these were all repelled with a number of great saves from Alex Wolfe in goal. Dragons gradually worked their way back into the game with some good passing and runs from Sam Hancock and Kit Scott, but no clear cut chances were coming. Once again good defence kept City at bay so honours were even at halftime.

The second half started much the same as the first with City pressure but this time it resulted in a well worked goal for them. This seemed to be the kick that Dragons needed and they began to put together some good inter play in the midfield between Isaac Diver Gall, Tommy Chambers and James Cross with tireless running from Harvey Nkrumah and Casper Lind up front. But again, for all the great build up play, no equaliser could be found. City always looked dangerous on the break but great defence from Freddie Royall and Tom Jackson kept them at bay, and so the game ended 1-0 to City.

Although the result didn’t go Dragons way this was a really enjoyable game, played in the right spirt.