Women’s East Hockey League East Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 3:2 Broxbourne 1s
With their disappointing defeat last week, the Dragons were determined to bounce straight back this week as visitors Broxbourne visited the Den for the first time.
After a good warm up the Dragons put pressure on Broxbourne who were obviously nervous of the home side as they set up a defensive half court press. Dragons managed to counteract this style of play with slick passing and great movement and within 5 minutes were 1-0 up; a great team effort ending with Hayley Toleman finding inform Kate Trelawny-Gower in space who finished in style. Broxbourne retaliated within 10 minutes and drew level from a short corner routine.
The home side continued to put their visitors under pressure surging forwards in numbers and forced the Broxbourne defence to concede a penalty stroke. Emma Tabrett stepped up and coolly placed the ball out of the keepers reach for her first goal of the season (photo submitted). The Dragons were rampant and had Broxbourne against the ropes and were rewarded 5 minutes before the end of the half when Toleman, being provider again, drove the ball to the back line and unselfishly pulled it back to find Sophie Mullan who fired the ball into the corner of the net (photo submitted).
Broxbourne came into the match in the second half enjoying more possession in the Dragons half and putting the defence under pressure, forcing the Dragons to make mistakes. They got a second goal mid-way through the first half which left for a nervous end to the game and the Dragons finding it difficult to regain control in a match which they had dominated for so long. They defended well, limiting the number of chances for the visitors and the experience of Donna VAUGHAN and player of the match Lizzie MOULTON, both in the centre of defence, was vital. The home side held on to take all three well deserved points.
A much improved performance from last week, particularly in the first half when, at times, the visitors could not compete with the Dragons fast flowing attractive hockey.
Norwich Dragons 2s 2:0 UEA 1s
The second half started with UEA the brighter of the 2 teams, forcing Dragons deeper and earning a number of short corners, which Dragons defended excellently. Once again Karen O’Neil Simpson was at her competitive best, charging down a number of straight strikes. Dragons again looked dangerous on the counter attack, breaking quickly but just not quite being able to force home the all important 2nd goal. The pace of the game was high and Dragons needed to work really hard to retain their advantage.
It remained end to end stuff and mid-way through the 2nd half, Freddie Briscoe made a fine one-handed high save from a short corner, tipping the ball over the bar. As play moved to the UEA defensive D, Dragons forced a couple of short corners of their own and came close, however the all important 2nd goal came from open play. The ball made its way to Natalie Beal, who had found good space at the top of the D. Turning quickly, Beal unleashed an early strike, which beat the keeper, and doubled the advantage for Dragons, settling any nerves along the way.
There was still defensive work to do, however, and to a player, Dragons desire to work extremely hard for each other, meant the cleansheet remained intact.
A tough, challenging game for Dragons, resulting in one of their best all-round team performances of the season. Having now played every team in the league, Dragons have “Played 11, Won 11”, which is a fantastic achievement at the half way point. The team know however, that there is still a long way to go, and the strong opposition in this league will continue to throw challenges at this team, but if they continue to work hard (particularly during the Christmas break), and continue to believe in themselves and their strong team ethic, they will get their rewards.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-2 Broadland 1s
Ladies 3s were going into this game on the back of a great performance last week. With the table very tight in the middle (only 2 points separating 4th and 6th) it was important for the Dragons to go out and give it their all.
Broadland 1’s, recently relegated and fighting for promotion, played with great skill and dominated play from the start. Quick stick skills allowed them to find their way through the Dragons and into the D. Determined not to give Broadland an easy game the defenders clamped down on the loose Broadland forwards, Sarah Wagstaff (PoM) intercepting the ball time and again, clearing it wide and with precision to Laura Bruce. Accurate passing from the young defender allowed Dragons to move out of their half and return the pressure on Broadland.
Attacking in packs, Hazel Sumner, Geo Beckwith and Pollyanna Watson pushed their way up the field of play with some quick passing around the opposition. Passing up the wing to the speedy forward Laura Goodbun, Dragons seemed to put Broadland defence on their back foot. A swift cross into their D sadly didn’t find the stick of a Dragon forward.
Broadland are to be commended on their fast turn of play, rarely giving Dragons time to get back behind the ball. Again on the attack, Broadland once again managed to find their way to the Dragons D. Following a spectacular diving save from keeper Amy Forse, the ball rebounded to the oppositions forwards. With a scramble around the keeper they managed to find a Dragon foot and were awarded a short corner. With precision Broadland injected the ball, and took a straight strike from the top of the D. Saved by the keeper, Broadland continued their onslaught taking the ball back to the top D for another strike. This time, despite the quick reflexes of Forse, Broadland struck the ball and found the backboard.
The start of the second half saw Broadland return with increasing pace. Relentless in their persuit for another goal Broadland continued their barrage on the Dragon defence. Several short corners ensued, each saved by the Dragons. Retuning from the clearances with more and more force, each time channeled into the corners by the Dragons, breaking up play and stopping the Broadland attack.
With 10 minutes to go, Dragons starting to tire, Broadland seized their opportunity. A strike in open play from the edge of the D, lifted to head height, whipped past the Dragon keeper.
Final score Dragon 3s 0:2 Broadland 1s.
Some excellent defensive play on show from the Dragons side, although the stick skill and play style of Broadland is to be commended. Although they didn’t secure a win, Dragons certainly made the win difficult for Broadland, never giving up.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 0:3 Broadland 2s
While there were still elements of last week’s beautiful hockey throughout this game there didn’t seem to be the same well linked play, communication wasn’t as clear and passing wasn’t as neat and a strong Broadland team took advantage of that.
The game quickly went in Broadland’s favour with them being award two short corners in a row, excellent work from Louise Davis saw several strikes deflected out of the D and to a waiting Dragons player. Laura Tuck was kept busy with multiple attempts to drive the ball back into Dragon’s D. Gemma Rump and Abi Cowe worked well together trying to move the ball out wide, but several passes were intercepted putting the pressure back on Dragons. Broadland scored twice in fairly quick succession, one from a well-positioned player on the post, and the other came from a long run down the centre of the pitch, which finished with the ball crossing the line just inside the right post.
Dragons hit back and went on the offensive, finding their feet and moving play towards the D, Issy Wolfe and Chelsea Crawford made some lovely runs down the wings but just couldn’t get passed the experienced Broadland defence. There were a couple of near misses from short corners, with Sue Cross taking some lovely hits, but there just wasn’t the space to get the ball across the line, although Katie Buxton came very close to edging Dragons back into contention, only to be denied on the line by the keeper.
In the second half Freya Clogan (PoM) made some excellent runs across the back to switch play and made several attempts to drive the ball back into Broadland’s 25. Emma Buxton made some lovely passes down the wing, getting the ball on more than one occasion to the waiting forwards but they just couldn’t get the ball over the line. Mel Widdows made a couple of excellent runs down the left wing, passing the ball off at just the right moment. Dragons seemed close to scoring several times and were therefore incredibly disappointed to concede another goal in the last 10 minutes of the game, a well-timed break, beat the majority of the defence and a strong strike beat the keeper.
Dragons can keep their heads held high, as they continued to battle right to the end, never giving up, playing their hardest against and physically strong team until the final whistle.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 5s 2:5 Dereham 5s
Ladies Dragons 5s were extremely happy to complete their Breckland match 4-0 which secures them 4th position in the table again (although the next 2 matches will be critical to whether they retain it!).
Opening the scoring with 3 goals in 12 minutes was Sarah Norman in her debut for the 5s. In an excellently lifted strike by Rosie Korn, Sarah got the final touch to place the ball through the keeper’s legs. Rosie Korn was on fire securing goal number 2 with a text book sweep which placed onto the p spot. Some excellent play outside the D by Chiara Bond kept the balls coming into the D and the hard work by Rachael Mathews and Laura Hansrell distributed the ball excellently. Sarah Norman taking residence of the post was always in the right place at the right time slotting in goal number 3. At this point Breckland started to up their game and made it hard to penetrate them leading to some very scrappy hockey.
Half time came and discussions were had and Dragon’s really wanted to improve the standard of their hockey but alas it continued to be a slog with many short corners won. Some excellent play by Lotte Korn, Jess Tye-Leech, Carmel Windsor Waite & Christina Murgatroyd kept a clean sheet.
In a bid to try and hold the scoreline, Breckland brought some players from upfront to defence which proved hard to penetrate. Jade Blanchflower completed some lovely runs, one of which finished with an excellent strike and goal (unfortunately disallowed for being just outside the D).
The final goal came through a slightly interesting reverse stick move from Lois McGregor to Helen Marsh who took the opportunity to score a cracker of a goal. Her position in the D and execution were excellent!! This finished off this somewhat interesting game and they do same variety keeps things interesting. I have no doubt next week’s game will hold differing challenges.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 6s 3-0 City 7s (City 7s withdrawn from the league)
Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3
Norwich Dragons 7s 0-5 Hornets
Forget the score, this was a really positive performance from the 7s as they worked hard to put into games the skills and tactics they have been learning in training. With Captain Claire Fairhurst off playing underwater hockey for the dolphins versus the sharks somewhere exotic, Christina Murgatroyd took on the role of manager, Natasha Falzon and Amy Forse were on hand for 1:1, and Lead Coach Pete Thomas dashed back to organise team shape. The 7s were immensely appreciative for this galaxy of support, but as is often the way, putting the ‘right hockey’ into place did not bring immediate rewards.
Goalkeeper Alice Smith, returning after a broken arm, was kept busy and earned the player of the match vote for her determined kicking, and was not beaten by the long range shots. The goals came from the scrimmages in the circle, where the Dragons’ were dragged out of position and often unable to get their tackles in on time. In open play, Emma North showed confidence and control in the centre of defence, and together with Jo Baker made some solid block tackles. Persy Magdalene, full of determination to learn, would still rate herself as a beginner and improved her clearances in defence and made some good runs when moved up to play forward. So she’s not frightened of a challenge! Katy Saide played well at the bottom of the diamond and was able to get her square passes out to Gill Walker and Ciara Willmott. Gill, Ciara, Tracy Stuart-Shepherd and Amy Hunter have genuine pace on the ball. Ciara showed her creative abilities when she moved outside on the right to cut back in again and pick up a pass and cross from the base line, and this is a move she should work on. Amy made a similar successful foray down the left, and running past two defenders should give her confidence.
We were left wondering what might have happened if we had had more luck from a very determined run from Jane Morton on the right who put the ball right on the ‘P’ spot. Kat Speirs met the ball instinctively, and her shot was just wide. At that stage, Dragons were only one goal down and trading Hornets run for run. In the second half, Christina set us up in a more attacking line up to get that elusive goal. Unfortunately, it did not really come off, but it was worth a try. What we learned was to keep a shape, and to try to play the ball out safely wide from the back and to work it down the line, combining stick skills and positive passing. When Jane Morton moved up front, exchanging lateral runs with Kat, and Bridget Le Good went back to the top of the diamond, Dragons stemmed the goals. The defence were playing with more confidence, and with Emma, Jo, Gill, Tracy and Jane all moving with energy and purpose. Dragons thoroughly enjoyed this game, which was played hard but in a sporting manner. Hornets are a stronger team than their league position indicates, using the hard hits of their mature players to effect to find their two young players (Ellie Kirby and Emma Taylor) who have speed and stick skills.
The 7s know that with more hard training and the return of their regulars, they have nothing to fear in this division for the second half of the season.
Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 3:2 Sudbury 1s
This weeks the Men’s 1XI headed down to Sudbury hoping to build on some solid performances over the last few weeks. Immediately there was the sense that it could be a good day for Dragons; the flapjacks were moist, the pre-game hype mix was on and the in-car entertainment was in full flow.
The first half started with a solid half court press enabling Dragons to scope out the opposition. A cagey start by all meant that soon after the start Dragons found themselves 1-0 down after a Sudbury forward walked his way from the right flank avoiding the Dragons diving tackles that made him look like Lionel Messi. Heads didn’t drop however and we continued to play some solid hockey switching it around the back and some good forward play through Deats, Knights and Dom. Charlish came alive on the left hand side dinking in over sticks, turning guys inside out and generally anti-skilling his way into the D to win several shorties. Shortly before the break Sudbury won several corners on the bounce but luckily some solid saves, some by sticks on the line (some not) meant that Dragons went into the break 1-0 down which at least gave Smith a chance to get some freeze spray on his ankle for quote “A pre-existing injury”
Coach Wagstaff tried to rally the team at the half with words of encouragement whereas a different tact was taken by the Captain who turned it up to a 6/10 “talking to”. Straight into the second half dragons conceded a shortie and decided that it was a better tactic to try and surprise Sudbury by not running out and instead watching them have shots on goals. Many thought that Bell would be up to such a challenge however as the ball slipped through his legs he was heard to mutter “That Harry Potter is such a nerd, he would 100% get bullied at school”.
Dragons rallied after played some spell-binding balls across the pitch spreading play allowing Deats to walk into the 25 unchallenged before pinging a terrific cross into the D where Knights rolled back the years to finish a very well worked goal, further cementing claims that a move back up front was on the cards for 1XI top goal scorer. Continued pressure and a 1.5 increase in effort from Mr Avery allowed dragons to create chance after chance. It, however, came to Mr Knights once again to bring the scores level with another superb back post gamble. The winning goal came after a goal mouth scramble where to be honest no one is really too sure what happened. After the game the goal was awarded to Flatman who said “Honestly I thought I’d run into another flatstick but hey seeing as I might not score again all season I’ll take the credit”. During the last 10 minutes both teams had good chances but Dragons held out for the second win in consecutive weeks.
After the game Coach Wagstaff said “Honestly I couldn’t watch the last 10 minute, I was too busy choosing my bollywood film to watch tonight”. Captain Overstall said of Man of the Match Knights “An ageless wonder who continues to get goals for Dragons, I’d be surprised if the club doesn’t retire his jersey soon”.
Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 4:2 Sudbury 2s
Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 3:1 City 5s
Men’s East League Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 4:0 Lowestoft Railway 2s
Dragons are now 7 points clear at the top of the table after a comprehensive 4-0 win over Lowestoft Railway 2, whilst nearest rivals IES could only draw at Bury.
Dragons were missing half their regular defence but drafted in quality replacements in the form of Robbie Kay and Neil Shorten to join the ever reliable Mr Pentin and versatile Wilko and managed a 5th clean sheet of the season. Keeper Giles Brooks’ only touch of the game was to retrieve the ball from the corner prior to a Dragons 16 yard hit sometime in the second half.
Railway started the game well enough, but once Dragons settled down and organised their marking, Railway struggled to make any impact in the attacking part of the pitch.
Dragons put in an excellent team performance, with slick passing moves and good movement off the ball when in possession and hard work closing down the Railway players when they were on the ball.
Dan Ryan was another player enjoying a rare game for Dragons and scored the first goal when he, quote, “lashed home” after a pass from Andy Cross.
Dragons created a number of chances and shortly before half time, a great cross from the Yorkie Bar Kid was met by Ricky Powley who smashed the ball into the roof the net to make it 2-0.
Half time analysis saw general agreement that we were having a good game and playing decent hockey.
Nothing changed in the second half as Dragons continued to dominate, soon adding a 3rd goal when Rob Jenkins beat a couple of defenders in the D before finding Robbie Whiting who slid the ball under the keeper from close range.
Whiting also scored the 4th goal when he picked up a fantastic long ball down the right from Kay. His dodgy first touch took him past his marker. As Bangers (R C-B) charged into the D, ready to receive the cross, Whiting unleashed what is becoming his trademark (since he learnt it last week) reverse strike, beating the keeper from a narrow angle.
With four players named Rob/Robbie, MoM voting caused some confusion, with Robbie W claiming it for a second successive week of ‘hat-trick avoidance’.
Norwich Dragons 5s 3-4 Norfolk Nomads 2s
Norwich Dragons 6s 0:6 Watton 2s
Captain: Ben Nkrumah
- Tom Williams goal off the short corner
- Dominance throughout the second 10 minutes of the first half and first part of the second half with great ball skills being played as well as strategic thinking to find space and play the width of the pitch
- Great defence throughout the second half by McCartney Aldous and James Hansell
Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 1:2 Harleston Magpies
Well done to all the girls who played on Saturday against Magpies. It was a challenging match but we had lots of opportunities. The final score was 2-1 to Magpies and Catherine scored the Dragon’s goal. This was the highlight of the match. Well done Catherine!
Thank you to the adults who helped us. The new girls also did well, especially Katie who also got man of the match. She had many opportunities and took them well. Alex was strong at the back and I hope both girls enjoyed their first Dragon’s Dev match. Overall, we played really well and just need to work on getting it past the defenders. Thank you to Jason for being coach and to Katie’s dad for helping as well. By Lara Taylor.