NDHC League Match Reports: 28/01/2017

Women’s East Hockey League Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-0 Holcombe 1A

After two weeks of postponed matches due to the weather, the Dragons travelled down to Kent to face Holcombe, the visitors were eager to improve their position in a tightly packed league. Before the match, the Norwich Dragons ladies were sitting in sixth position, tied on points with several other teams, but losing out on goal difference.

Captain Rachel King, heading off to Chile, left the team with some big shoes to fill and so a reshuffle saw Marie James move to a holding central midfield position and young Olivia Thomas come in to the middle of the pitch, so she could influence our attacking play. Dragons started strongly and within 15 minutes had won 3 penalty corners.

Whilst Hayley Toleman looked menacing at the top of the circle, the goal remained elusive. Dragons battled on though and eventually consistent pressure from Hannah Phillips, looking impressive on her debut for the 1s, resulted in another penalty corner. This time the ball found its way through a wall of defence to Holly Reding who was waiting on the post. Reding calmly and efficiently slotted it past the Holcombe keeper and Dragons took the lead, to go 1-0 in to the break.

The second half was a matter of discipline and maintaining our composure. Lara Taylor, Lou Murray and Olivia Thomas combined brilliantly down the right hand side of the pitch and held strong, whilst Liv Leary pushed forward and fed the returning Stacey Lee with some opportunities on goal. Sometimes that goal just doesn’t come though, and Saturday was one of those days.

Thankfully the Dragons defence were solid, with Sarah Jenkins looking strong and Murray refusing as ever to take any nonsense from the opposition’s attack. Whilst Holcombe looked dangerous on the break, Siobhan Cleeve let nothing past her and pulled off some excellent saves. Dragons maintained control and as the final whistle blew, secured the 3 points. The victory sees the team move joint second and though a long way off the league leaders, the team looks forward to securing their position in the top section of the league in the forthcoming weeks.

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

With back-to-back league wins before the Christmas break and a comprehensive post-Christmas friendly win over the team that was sitting top of the Division below, Norwich Dragons Ladies 2s had been disappointed not to get their league campaign back underway until this week.

Bedford 2s had beaten Dragons 4-1 earlier in the season and with their 1st team sitting at the top of the East Premier as runaway leaders, the home side were expecting a tough match.  The Dragons’ squad had dropped to 12 players before the game, however Captain Karen O’Neill-Simpson sent the team out full of confidence and a determination to keep their run going.

Sophie Mullan and Jess Bennett were welcomed to the squad, taking up central midfield positions covering for the unavailable Shelly Seaman and the call up to the 1s for Hannah Phillips.  Both players very quickly slotted into the team and linked up well with wide midfielders Gail Thomas and Ally Windsor Waite, as well as creating good opportunities for the forward line of Issy Wolfe and Hannah Hardy.

Bedford started well and were finding space in midfield, however Bennett and Sarah Borrett in central defence soon recognised the danger and picked up the spare players to snuff out most of Bedford’s creative play.  Donna Vaughan, Rowie York-Smith and Karen O’Neill-Simpson in defence, alongside Emma Cleland in goal calmly dealt with the limited attacks into the D from the visitors.

After just 12 minutes, a ball was struck high by Bedford and Ally Windsor Waite took a nasty blow to her thumb, causing her to head straight off to A&E for an x-ray, thankfully no broken bone, however this left the home side with no substitutes for the remainder of the game.  A slight re-organisation resulted in Kiera Goymour being asked to play out of position at right midfield, a position in which she grew into and performed well for the team.

Bedford, as expected, moved the ball quickly and confidently around the back, however Dragons were disciplined in their press and chose the right moments to look to regain possession, Wolfe and Hardy working hard to defend from the front.

The game was decided in two key minutes during the first half, with two superbly taken goals, one for each of the forwards.  Good work in midfield saw Player of the Match Issy Wolfe pick up a through pass outside the D, with confidence she drove at pace into the D, and unleashed a powerful, high strike beyond the keeper into the net.  Just minutes later, smart work between Bennett and Thomas, saw Bennett play a perfectly weighted pass through into the D for Hardy to pick up and fire a quick, long range strike into the backboard, to give the home side the lead they deserved.

Half time saw the call for the team to let the ball do the work, given they were down to a bare 11. Dragons managed to control the game, keeping very disciplined in their shape, conserving energy when they could and limiting the visitors to very few clear cut chances, whilst still creating opportunities themselves. The game finished with Dragons on the attack and coming close to adding a third, but finishing with a well deserved three points to continue their strong run.

Much work still to do to survive in this league, but the group remain strong, determined to work hard and achieve their goals.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 1-2 Loddon 1

After 2 weeks without a game due to the freezing temperatures the 3s were looking forward to getting back in the action away at Loddon.

After a slow start Dragons started to find their slick passing game and dominated possession, using Trish Hagan as the pivot player effectively. However, Loddon were tough to break down and were resolute in defence as well as being threatening on the break. It took a well worked move from midfield to open up Loddon’s defence with Debs Smith playing the ball out wide to Christina Musowe who found Sian Lawrie in the D. A cross to the far post found Sam Franklin who deflected the ball home first time. Dragons grew more confident after the opening goal and were unlucky not to score through Caroline Wolfe and Katie McKenna. Then from a famous Chuckle Brother short corner routine Sian’s goal bound shot was stopped by a Loddon foot on the line, resulting in a penalty flick. Katie stepped up to take the flick, but was unfortunately denied by a fine save from the keeper with her outstretched right leg. The well marshalled defence of Sarah Wagstaff, Angela Murgatroyd, Carmel Windsor-Waite and player of the match Emma Woodhouse kept Loddon’s goal chances to a minimum,  with Harriet Green closing the opposition down so well she ended up with a ball print on her thigh! Dragons continued to press until the half time whistle with some crisp passing but couldn’t add to their goal tally.

In the second half Dragons looked to build on their excellent first half performance and continued to test the Loddon keeper, but found it difficult to maintain possession against a determined opposition.  Loddon still possessed a threat on the break but found goalkeeper Kristina Smyth in fine form. However, Loddon continued to press for an equaliser and got their reward half way through the second half with a well worked goal. There were still chances for both sides, but Loddon proved to be more clinical in front of goal and went ahead with a goal on the break towards the end of the game. Dragons worked hard for an equaliser but found the Loddon defence determined to keep their lead. The team were frustrated not to build on their excellent first half but have much to build on for the remainder of the season. Top spot is still all to play for!

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 4s 1-6 Broadland 1

With one dislocated finger and one massive shin. Dragons lost 6-1 to Broadland 1XI. Goal from Lucy Morton and Pom was Helen Marsh who kept on fighting. #wearestillfabulous #fabulousfours

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 5s 3-0 Thetford

The 5’s were looking forward to this game as Thetford are a nice team to play, they give you a challenge and are better than their table position (bottom) suggest.  From the off we decided 100% effort as per the previous game was needed.  Thetford had first push back and off we set chasing the ball back.  The first 10 minutes the 5’s were chasing and pressuring the opposition, with attacks in the D.  The Thetford defence is solid and goals would need to be worked around and in behind or side of the keeper.  The midfield of Mel Widdows, Racheal Matthews and Catherine Matthews were running back and forth with good link up between Lynne Price at top of the diamond.  Again we had three defenders! Jemima Williams quick to close down any through balls.  On the wings Katie Franks and Amelia Smith were able to push hard and support the midfield without too much pressure from Thetford.  Thetford’s main threat was a lady who to deceive us wore a knee protector and then was like lightening down the wing but was unable to connect with the forwards.  A ball worked up from Vicky Earley into Lynne, who passed it through the opposition to Lisa Harwood lurking in the D, shot into goal, rebound off the keeper picked by again by Lisa and across to the right post, duel effort with Fiona Fletcher the post hanger making sure it goes in.  Many attempts on goal were seen in this half, with Amelia cracking a shot down the sideline to Megan Farrant, resplendent in green skort and weaving through the opposition.  Laura Hansell and Catherine looked fly linking up well on the right wing.

At half time the score was 1-0 but the Dragons looked a bit sloppy and needed to up the pace, meet the ball and weight those passes, and score a few more goals!!  Our defence had good movement and were quick to cut down any progress from Thetford, they thought their luck was in with a cross into goal but the whistle was called prior to this.  Kat Spiers was in goal ready to wallop the ball and with Vicky running at you on a short corner you need to be quick and Thetford could not convert.  In this half there was increased movement and use of space down the right side.  Karenza Moffatt, with her morning gym warmup was quick on the ball and created many chances feeding the ball into the D.  The second goal came from a Thetford short, the ball cleared out to Karenza, across to Amelia into Fiona in the D, one on one with the keeper, calm and composed put the ball past the keeper 2-0! Thetford kept trying to penetrate our D and with a tussle Katie took an injury to the eye, Racheal stepped up to man the defence. Pressure was high now, to keep the goal coming, in the last minute the 5’s gained a short corner.  Injected by Lynne to Amelia struck across to left post and slotted home by Lynne, final score 3-0.

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

Ladies 6s travelled to Yarmouth for what they knew would be a tough but friendly fixture but grateful for a game of hockey after 2 weeks of postponed matches. After unnerving the opposition from the start after using their changing room and being first out for a thorough warm up, Dragons were ready for the start.

Yarmouth had first push, but Sue Brumby was straight in to disrupt their play. During the first half Dragons moved the ball well, something Ginny emphasised the importance of in her team talk. The ball moves a lot faster than we do. However the Yarmouth pitch was a lot slower than we are used to!

Sue linked up well with Mia McGee, Lilly Sore and Ellie Hipper, creating some brilliant chances with Hannah Edwards working tireless up front with them. The area we knew we needed to be strong was in the centre of the pitch. Ginny Simkin, Beth Coates & Anita Mancini held their ground in the centre of the pitch meaning Yarmouth found it difficult to dominate possession in the way they had been used to.

Rosie Skipp and Nicola Moulton both worked hard on the midfield flanks cutting out several of Yarmouths runs towards goal.

The defensive line up of Kate Atkins, Amy Forse and Hannah Woods stood firm although they were tested with several short corners. The backing up from midfield by Rosie Skipp, Ginny Simkin, Nicola a Robinson and Beth Coates showed the strength and support the sixes give each other week in week out.

PoM Emily Roper was tested and pulled off some spectacular saves. Notably one in the second half that earned a pat on the back from former Keeper Amy Forse.

The second half showed much of the same. Every player gave the all and that showed in the nominations for PoM spread across much of the team.

In her de-brief captain Ginny praised the team on their work rate, communication and teamwork in what was a fantastic point earned on the road at Yarmouth.

What is always nice is the comments we receive from the opponents. With the Yarmouth captain saying they enjoy playing enough. That we pose as a tough opponent but the game is always played in a friendly spirit. Something that we should all be very proud of!

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 5-2 UEA 4

Dragons 7 looked forward to another match, buoyed up from their resounding win last week but well aware that league leaders UEA 4 were going to be a challenge.

UEA won the toss and chose to have first push back. Dragons went on the attack from the start, stopping UEA from having an easy ride. The midfield of Stevie Spencer, Maisie Dearmer, Ruby Rose-Turrell, Louise Brooks, Amelia Keitely-Webb or Claire Fairhurst intercepted UEA’s balls, tackling and distributing the ball to forwards Jemima Dorman, Lois Metcalfe, Katie Moulson or Sophie Thurtell. When the ball did get through, the solid defence of Frankie Paul, Emma North and Katy Saide aided keeper Alessandra Pellegrini from keeping the ball out of goal and away from the D. Dragons persistence was rewarded with a goal from Amelia in her 7s debut. Dragons kept up the fight, with Sophie scoring Dragons second. UEA fought back, getting the ball past Dragons for their first goal. Dragons were undeterred, and Sophie scored again, making in 3:1 to Dragons at half time.

Dragons spirits were high going into the second half, keen to keep up the good work made in the first. Dragons tenacity was again rewarded as Jemima, then Amelia both scored. UEA made a break, with a one on one with keeper Alessandra, and UEA managing to slot the ball past for their second goal.

Dragons were ecstatic with the final result, 5:2! Amelia’s great debut for the 7s earned her POM. Dragons are keen to keep up the momentum this side of the season. Well done ladies!

Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 8s: No Fixture

Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 2-0 Pelicans 1

Dragons got off to a fairly slow start, creating few chances, but with most of the possession were in control. One card for a Dragon meant we were under real pressure for the duration of the sending off, but we managed to keep them out with some great saves from Peter ‘The Keeper’ Dickerson and some sublime defending from our back four. The half ended at 0-0
In the second half the home side came out as a new team and brought intensity and fluency to everything they did. Dragons were rewarded for their quick, sharp play with a goal from Ben Watson, with about 20 minutes to play. The home side dominated the rest of the half with Rupert Snelling bagging a goal to make it 2-0. Final score 2-0. MOM Jonty Gosling.

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

Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 5-0 Norwich City 5

A local derby this week saw the Men’s 3s host Norwich City 5s at the Den.  The away fixture had resulted in a 2-2 draw and an earlier friendly also a draw, so Dragons were determined to get a win this time.

City started brightly and it took Dragons a moment to settle into the game.  Once this happened, Dragons dominated the next 15 minutes of play.  It seemed as if every attack from Dragons resulted in a goal.  Goals came for Matt JENKINS, Will KIRBY and 2 for Tom VAUGHAN.  Dragons worked perfectly as a unit, with everyone working hard.  Lloyd SAYER and Man of the Match Rob GOODSON controlled the centre of the pitch, with John IVES, Will MAIN and Jon GOODSON providing excellent support down the wings.  It was these attacks down the wings, and linking up with forwards which led to Dragon’s goals.

City got back into the game the last 10 minutes of the first half and had a succession of short corners.  Keeper Dim IVES calmly saved every attempt at goal.  The Dragon defence worked well as a unit.  Centres Adam SAYER and Stu KELLY were a wall, cutting out every attack without fail.  Tom HARRIS confidently dealt with every attack on the right, and made some fantastic runs down the wing.  The left was covered by “brave” James GOODSON, who soldiered on through injury to keep City frustrated.

The second half was more balanced play, but City just couldn’t link up and work as well as Dragons.  Dragons claimed another goal from Tom Vaughan and it was clear City were never going to catch up.  A truly great team performance.

Dragons took the 3 points, winning 5-0.  They are now second in the table, with the most goals scored and the best defensive record in the league.

Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 0-2 Magpies 4

Dragons’ first game of the year away to Magpies proved to be a tough fixture with Magpies fielding a strong team.

Early in the match, Magpies opened the scoring through a short corner and Dragons realised they were in for a tough afternoon. Nevertheless, the team put in a lot of work with Pedro Goss and  Connor Adams providing some pace and width to the attacks.

The strong Magpies defence and midfield restricted Dragons’ attacks on goal, though an equaliser almost came shortly before half time.

At half time the score remained 1:0 to Magpies thanks to some strong defending from the Dragons, Pete Davison putting in a MoM performance.

In the second half, Magpies continued to play strongly, pushing the Dragons’ midfield deeper as they enjoyed plenty of possession.  Further short corners resulted in a second goal midway through the half.

Credit to the Dragons, who worked hard to try and get back in the game, but were beaten by a solid performance from Magpies.

Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 1-4 IES 5 

James king mom dod Andy key goal scorer matt Armstrong

Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 1-1 UEA 4

The start of the 6s match away against UEA 4 was delayed due to previous game overruns and a nasty injury during the preceding match between Sudbury and UEA, so it was under darkening skies and flood lights that this week’s game began. It wasn’t ideal as most of the team had warmed up before the main delay so we had a bit of a slow start to the match. It was useful for Rob Wagstaff though as he was unable to be there for the beginning, this later push off allowed him to play more of the game. And make a very positive impact.

UEA 4 had the look of a well drilled team and although had variable results recently were still above Dragons 6 in the league. There was a noticeable age difference between the teams with the young, early 20’s UEA being faced by the more mature and varied line up from the 6’s. Mind you there is no point getting older without getting wiser, as the game was to prove.  UEA’s main tactics were for a fast build up play and attack in the centre of the pitch to generally to wear us down. Early in the first half UEA’s tactics came good and after a bit of a goal mouth scramble they scored the first goal. UEA 4 1-0 Dragons 6.

Throughout this initial pressure the Dragons defence was working well as a unit with James Hansell, Chris Orme, Alex Riddoch and our captain Mike Banham keeping UEA honest with excellent defending. Joel Lawrence in goal was alert to any danger that broke through and made some great saves from close range including a fine stick save. After 15 minutes Rob Wagstaff rotated onto the pitch and made an immediate impact moving the ball around at pace and working up into the UEA circle. This work along with fine support from Darryl Robinson and Ed Crosier resulted in a Rob making a great strike on goal from just inside the circle, the ball scorching into the back netting of the goal a full 4 feet off the ground. Pretty unstoppable….UEA 1-1 Dragons 6

Because of the pace the game was being played at, and now the game level, things settled into a tight fought battle in the midfield with both sides determined to get the advantage. Tireless running from Sam Nutt and Shiv Kapur on the wings ensured the tempo was kept high and the half time break came with the scores level.

With the restart John Butler took some time off the field but continued to inspire from the sideline with positional advice and encouragement. The game continued where it left off with both side working at 100% effort to make a breakthrough. A couple of Dragons players did come to the notice of the umpire on occasion but it was their commitment to the team that meant they just nudged the boundaries of the rules. UEA tried to take advantage of the loss of a Dragons player for these short periods, but again the whole team dug in and played some great hockey, not just in the defence but right through to the centre forwards, with everyone making the effort to get back on UEA penalty corners. At one point, the Dragons midfield was effectively doing shuttle runs as UEA took three attempts to play a penalty corner…

At the final whistle, both teams were still pushing for the winning goal but neither was able to make the breakthrough. The game finished UEA 4 1-1 Dragons 6. Bearing in mind that we had lost to UEA earlier in the season, this was a great result for Dragons 6 with a point won rather than a point lost. Once again it was a continuation of the spirt and effort shown over recent weeks by the 6s and was a credit to the whole team. Given the outstanding performances by all, it was a tough decision for man of the match, but with a tireless work rate and good positional play, Sam Nutt was awarded man of the match.

With our next game at home against Norfolk Nomads 2, I feel the whole team will be ready to work hard again and get that win.

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons A P-P Norwich City

Floodlight failure at Taverham meant a postponement.

Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons B 0-8 Magpies

Dev boys b battled hard against Magpies, lost 8-0 but a great game played in the best spirit. MOM Will Pank.

Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 4-0 Yarmouth

Dev Girls have a good win 4-0 against Yarmouth with 3 goals from Maddy Reynolds and 1 from Sophie Barrow. Good to see so many players gaining more game experience! POM Maddy Reynolds.