Norwich city centre hockey club, fun, friendly and competitive

NDHC League Match Reports: 30/01/2016

Women’s East Hockey League Prem
Norwich Dragons 1s 3-6 Cambridge Uni 1s

After such a good result and performance last week, Dragons were keen to continue in this manner against Cambridge University.

However, it was the University side who dominated the early passage of play and despite some good defensive work from Maddie Denman and Lou Murray, they found themselves 2-0 up early on. Dragons grew into the game and were able to create some chances of their own but these were snuffed out by the well organised defence and ex dragon player, GK Freddie Briscoe. Before half time, Cambridge were able to increase their lead through a well worked short corner.

Dragons started the second half much brighter and after some good work down the left from player of the match Rachel King, Emma Tabrett was able to coolly slot the ball home. This should have spurred the Dragons on but it was Cambridge who scored shortly after the retain their 3 goal cushion. Despite this Dragons showed some real grit and determination and were able to take the ball forwards. Some good interlinking play from Aoife Lowe Davis and Hayley Toleman saw Stacey Lee at the back post to sweep the ball over the line. This end to end game continued, both teams attacking and after Cambridge added a fifth, Dragons quickly pulled another back, this time Marie James ensuring the ball crossed the line. The away side had the final say, finishing in style and deservedly earning the 3 points.

The second half was much more pleasing from the Dragon’s point of view, but a sloppy start gave the well organised University team a head start which the dragons couldn’t pull back. Away to league leaders West Herts next week, Dragons will need to be at it from the off.

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

Dragons Ladies 2’s arrived at sunny Wisbech bright and early with the ‘Fun-Bus’ making a welcome return! Dragons once again were taking on lofty opposition, with Wisbech sitting in 2nd place. Captain O’Neill-Simpson asked for the team to give all they had in what was going to be a tough game. The warm-up was a little subdued, so Captain Karen asked for a bit more ‘fire in bellies’ right from the outset………one team member clearly took this too far, with Hannah Hardy earning a green card within 10 secs, directly from the pushback.

Early proceedings were quite even, Wisbech had their attacks but the defence and midfield were battling well to limit Wisbech’s chances. Sophie Thomas, playing in a new position showed calmness and maturity in her tackling and good positional sense. Going forward, once again blessed with the pace of Laura Shreeve and Marcy Windsor-Waite, meant Dragons always threatened on the break, but their opportunities were limited to counter attacks.

Wisbech threatened and forced a number of short corners, however joint Players of the Match Rowie York-Smith and Angela Murgatroyd were literally laying their bodies on the line for the cause, supported as always by Ally Windsor-Waite, who expertly took another short corner off the line and Amy Forse who was ‘Forsed’ into many a strong save!! Eventually however, the Wisbech pressure told with a player getting through down the right and forcing a cross in from the baseline, which was slotted home by Charlie Paine.

Dragons were very much in the game and as the 2nd half started, they created opportunities again largely on the break, but with some good work, especially through Gail Thomas, who was having a fine game at left midfield and Pip Howes on the right, Dragons always threatened. Lauren Lawrie was making some intelligent runs, putting the Wisbech defence under pressure.

Having soaked up another spell of Wisbech pressure, Dragons pushed up the field. Sophie Thomas made a strong run into the attacking 25 and with some calm stick skills, moved into the D where she was fouled, earning Dragons 2nd short corner. Marcy Windsor-Waite dragged out firmly and accurately and Gail Thomas unleashed a bullet into the left corner, giving the keeper no chance.

The remainder of the half continued in the same vein – defensively Dragons were working extremely well. Geo Beckwith, Karen O’Neill Simpson battling for every ball and a draw seemed like it was going to be the final outcome. Unfortunately however, with less than a minute on the clock, Wisbech earned a long corner, the ball was played and was closed down quickly by Dragons and cleared up field, however the far umpire blew and conferred with the other umpire and gave a short corner for an earlier infringement……. from here, a mis-hit effort trickled over the line, much to the elation of the Wisbech players and sideline.

For the 2nd week in 3, Dragons had succumbed to a very late goal robbing them of what would have been a well earned draw. Clearly there was disappointment, but the team had given all they had. In the last 3 weeks, they have taken all top 3 teams down to the wire and should be proud of their efforts. Strong team spirit and hard graft, will see the team get the results they deserve.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 3s 0-1 Norwich City 2

Dragons Ladies 3rd team knew this was going one of the harder tests of the season so far. Both teams in contention for the top spot in the table.

Although City took the first push back, Dragons started with a high intensity and took the game to City playing some attractive attacking hockey and enjoying a lot of the possession. Lara Taylor and Sian Lawrie created space with great linking play and the City defence were definitely the busier but they showed great resilience and limited the Dragon side to few goal scoring opportunities. City 2’s proved to be quick on the counter attack and it was the home side who had the first clear cut chance when they broke through the Dragons midfield. With the well drilled defensive line up of Sarah Wagstaff, Laura Bruce and Carmel Windsor-Waite along with the Dragons keeper Kristina Smyth to beat, the away side were determined not to make it easy for the City team. Smyth was quick to spot the danger players early and with great communication to her defenders they made a superb clearance at the top of the D sweeping the ball to safety. The Dragons continued to push forward and Wagstaff often found space through the tight City press smashing the ball up field. Forwards Natasha Blyth and Caroline Wolfe sprinting to catch the ball, sadly the end of the pitch came too soon.

The second half was similar to the first. The Dragons maintained their discipline, Laura Goodbun holding her own up front and Natasha Falzon giving support on the left, skipping over the City press with an aerial to Issy Wolfe. City matched the well drilled passing game working in groups to assault the Dragons side. It was clear that this would not be a high scoring game. Consistently end to end it was the City side that broke the deadlock scoring the only goal of the game from a miss hit reverse that dinked into the goal leaving even the City player surprised of the direction it took. Undeterred the Dragons, with great ferocity, went in search a goal and although they did look the more likely of the two teams to score City continued to prove dangerous on the counter attack as they had speed and ability in their forwards which kept the Dragons defence on their toes.

Several corners, both long and short, gave the Dragon side opportunities which sadly they were unable to capitalise on. Despite the slick stick skills of Issy Wolfe and PoM Lara Taylor, as well as the clean distribution of Debs Smith, the speedy wings Hazel Sumner and Sam Franklin were unable to find a clean Dragon stick on their frequent crosses into the D.

The final score 1:0 to the City side could easily have been in the opposite favour, but sadly it wasn’t the day for the Dragons side. Continuing the keep their heads high and play with intensity Dragons are eager to try and get back to their winning ways next week.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 1
Norwich Dragons 4s 1-1 Norwich City 4

This was billed as possibly the match of our season. Norwich city were top of the league with an amazing goal difference. The Dragon ladies were sitting fourth but it was very tight at the top of the table, and we were desperate for a win.

The majority of the matches this season we have had to fight back form a goal down. This was not going to be one of those games when Dragons took the lead half way through the first half.

The ball was worked out of defence by some confident play by Louise Davis. It was then moved around the midfield by Gemma Rump and Megan Williams who found Kate Mc Kenna wide. Kate drove it in to the D slipped it back to Megan, then on to Sue Cross who had just arrived at the post.

The defence played well against a young pacey opposition. Kate Atkins made a number of timely tackles, and also worked hard to channel the attackers along the line.

Louise had an excellent game, and was very unlucky when the ball caught her foot in the D. The umpire originally signalled for a short corner  then changed his mind after discussion with the other umpire  and awarded a flick. This was converted and city had equalised.

Harriet Green was awarded man of the match, for a determined play in midfield. Dragons were able to keep possession with Debbie Santa Clara, Megan Williams, Charlotte Poundle and Kate McKenna linking well.

The forwards struggled to penetrate the city defence with individual direct runs at goal, although we did have a number of shots that were saved.

The game became more exciting when first City and then Dragons had a goal disallowed for no contact in the D, Harriet watched in dismay as Kenny just couldn’t get her stick to the ball in the dying minutes.

A draw was a fair result but both teams will be left thinking what if……

POM : Harriet Green
Scorer :  Sue Cross

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2

Norwich Dragons 5s 3-1 Herlings

After a lot of rainfall overnight the Ladies 5’s were prepared for the grass game with studded wellies and snorkels. Spirits were very high and we arrived early to practise striking the ball and not the turf. As history goes the Ladies 5 had not won a game against Herlings on grass. A plan was struck if the toss was won the 5’s would start the game going downhill to give an extra edge, fitness levels were high and we could still maintain pace going uphill in the second half.

Herlings had first push back, the ball was intercepted by Vicky Earley at bottom of the diamond and distributed out to Rachael Matthews who weaved through the opposition to pass the ball onto the forwards. Herlings defence would not let us pass that easily and were solid. On her debut for Dragons and the 5’s, Georgie Manly picked up the ball and struck a solid strike across the D, Lucy Morton in a great position saw it flash past, no goal this time. Mel Widdows was doing a fantastic job at top of the diamond retrieving any balls and injecting them back into the D. For the first 10 minutes the Herlings were pressed into the D, trying to stop our advances. One hard strike and Herlings cleared the ball out. Jemima Williams was quick to chase and hold back the charge, passing the ball through to Ellie James who still managed to squeeze in some stick skills around the opposition. The forwards again were looking dangerous in the D. Lisa Harwood stuck the post, luckily Mel was on hand to push it behind the keeper. Jubilation all round! Herlings pushed back again and was soon intercepted by Jess Tye-Leech who also had several charges forward to move the ball. The defence were working really well, pressing forward, chasing down making it extremely difficult for the Herlings to even make it into the D. Freya Clogan used her wallop to best advantage down the wing, bouncing it over the oppositions sticks and down to our waiting midfield. The 5’s again charged down hill, Holly Bailey moving the ball at speed into D, Lisa battling her way around the opposition defence, passed the ball across the goal to a waiting Megan Farrant who eased it in behind the keeper. The whole team were elated with the score 2-0 up at half time, and still full of energy ready for round 2.

Alice Smith at this point was getting bored and a sore throat from extremely loud shouting! The 5’s knew that Herlings would be trying to come back strong and had the down hill advantage. But the 5’s were still hungry for more goals, Vicky used her speed and competitive nature to pick off the Herlings attempts to pass through. Herlings were trying more hard strikes to clear through the pitch, one pass was charged down by Jess, one cleared with Alice’s muddy hoof, one ball unfortunately made it through and was struck hard into the goal. Still we were 2-1 up, and Georgie was testing out all the moves to crack a goal off. The final goal of the game came from Lucy who reads play well to get herself into positions for goal scoring, strike! The whole team played incredibly well and were determined until the end, plenty of turf was dug and some comedy misses. Great game and still on top.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s 1-2 Yarmouth 2

The games between these two teams have proved close tussles in recent seasons, with the higher placed Yarmouth having a slight edge. This match was no exception, but circumstances conspired to stack the deck slightly against Dragons and they went down to two second half goals.

It was clear from the off that if Dragons were to get anything out of this game they would have to do it the ugly way, and for the first half their tactics worked. Stand-in goalkeeper Bridget Le Good (POM) somehow kept everything out. Defenders and mids tackled like their lives depended on it and all the players made every effort to be first to the ball. After about 20 minutes of very shabby passing and what seemed like a determined effort to give the ball away at every opportunity, Dragons began to press. Jo Eke had another outstanding game at the bottom of the diamond, and Jade Blanchflower (welcome back after glandular fever), Gill Walker top of the diamond and Beth Elgood raiding down the right began to push Yarmouth back, and from one scrimmage in the circle Jasmine Mansfield (who does take up some excellent positions) forced the ball home.

The same old same old 6s problem of failing to get shots away was possibly at its worst this week, with the pinball wizards hitting every buffer and foot available. Gill, Beth, Jade, Jasmine, Catherine Matthews, Rosie Skipp and Jess Vernon all made every effort, but the lessons practised in training did not come off for the 6s this week. The penalty corners also need major attention.

Yarmouth came out in the second half determined to make Dragons pay for failing to take their chances. Bridget was unable to maintain the focus of the first half and was beaten by a penalty corner drilled straight down the middle and by a lifted shot minutes later.  The defence – Katie Franks, Ilona Motyer, Alice MacNeile and Ginny Simkin and Jo maintained the timely tackles, but the clearances lacked consistency  and we did not get our attack going.

Rosie is commended as one player who did continue to track back and make herself available. Jade, unsurprisingly, faded with her efforts and was not helped by catching a stick to the neck! Unfortunately, towards the end of the second half when the equaliser failed to come Dragons lost their shape. The accuracy and timing of the passes went off again – the biggest criticism being that that were made far too l-a-t-e and were open invitation .to the home side to nip in and intercept.

The 6s have even tougher opposition next week and it is to be hoped that players don’t let their heads drop, just because some tough comments have had to be made. If there is one thing the whole squad could take away from this match it is that sometimes sheer effort is not enough and does not get a reward. Game play and the techniques have to be there as well.

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Empresa Norfolk Women’s Division 3

Norwich Dragons 7s 1-1 Magpies 7

Dragons 7 were keen to put last weeks match behind them and have a good game against Magpies 7.

There was good end to end play from the start with Dragons managing to intercept some of the strong hits from Magpies. Dragons were rewarded in the first 10 minutes when Mia Amiss broke through, picking up a nicely weighted ball from Claire Fairhurst, and slotting it into the corner of the goal. Buoyed by their goal, Dragons continued to battle Magpies, keen to score again. Beth Coates at the top of the diamond again shone, tackling hard for the ball and getting in Magpies way. A welcome return of Tracy Stuart-Sheppard, positioned at bottom of the diamond and who made a good partnership with Beth. The defence had a lot of work with Frankie Paul getting the ball out wide and up to midfield with the aid of the other defenders of Jo Baker, Becky Gallagher and Johanne Steward. Emily Roper (POM) made her debut in goal and did a great job clearing the ball and was only defeated by a penalty shop awarded to Magpies halfway through the first half. The midfield of Katy Cole on the right and Brooke Simmons on the left both battled hard to get the ball up to the forwards of Mia, Claire and Katrina Speirs, all keen to get their names on the score sheet.

The second half got underway with Dragons to find the back board again. Unfortunately they just couldn’t get the much wanted second goal, but were pleased that neither could Magpies. The match ended with a score of 1:1. Dragons were pleased with their efforts, a marked improvement on last week. Keep it up ladies!

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Mens East League Division 2N
Norwich Dragons 1s 1-4 Norwich City 2

Off the back of an 8-1 victory last week, Norwich Dragons 1s faced a strong Norwich City, having made the long trip down the Taverham road, full of hope.

The game started well for both teams, with an even balance of possession.  It was the home team who were able to make the most of their chances however, entering the D on a number of occasions.  Only some strong defending from Olly Buck and Ed Smith, prevented them from taking the lead earlier.

What can only be described as generous defending from the visitors, lead to two first half goals for Norwich City.  Errors aside, when the chances fell to the City forwards, in the form of a simple pass into an empty goal and a well worked short corner, they were clinical and went into half-time with a 2 goal lead.

Aware that two goals in hockey means nothing, the Dragons started the 2nd half filled with hope after much positivity at half time from Cley Hamilton.  These hopes would sson be tempered, if not dashed, when City made the better start to the second half, after what can really only be described as an own goal!  Stringing more passes together in midfield, and sterling work from Sam Avery did not allow the Dragons to reduce the deficit in the opening passages of play.  Some very experienced and calm defending from City, despite plenty of pressure, kept Alex Browne and Matt Knights at bay.

Browne did eventually get one back for the Dragons with probably the antithesis of his trademark exocets, the ball dribbling into the goal.  The sniff of points was soon in the Dragons, now curled nostrils and they applied further pressure to the resilient City defence.    Another goal was to eventually come, but at the wrong end for the Dragons, as City extended their lead again, working the keeper and defence to create an early chance.

On the balance of play and mistakes, 4-1 was certainly a fair result.

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IMG_3852More photos click here.

Mens East League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 2s 6-3 Norwich City 4

The 4pm start at the Den allowed both teams to call upon their local schoolboys which significantly reduced the average age of the normally mature Dragons side. It did not take long for the Dragons youngsters to create a number of clear cut chances, but with the (even younger) Norwich City keeper in inspired form the breakthrough did not arrive until 15 minutes in, when Jonty Gosling poked home from close range after skilful build-up play by Jason Wolfe.

The tone of the remainder of the half was set when Norwich City broke with speed and found holes in Dragons defence to equalise, only for Henry Laming, fresh from a pre-match traffic incident, to fire Dragons back in front with an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.  The play remained mostly in the Norwich City half, but the visitors continued to pose a real threat on the counter-attack, and sure enough they equalised, to make the score 2-2, with another swift move and shot.  The final goal of the first half was Gosling’s second, when he poached a goal-bound effort, to send Dragons into half-time 3-2 up.

Captain Wolfe’s team talk at the break stressed the need to protect against the opposition’s direct attacking style, but that was largely ignored when City scored the goal of the game soon after the restart with a raking pass from defence and a first time reverse stick shot into the corner of the goal.  After that setback, however, Dragons started to show some composure and gradually took more and more control over the game.  Goals came from Richard Gill and classy reverse stick efforts from Ben Watson and the evergreen Rupert Snelling at the final whistle, crowning a 6-3 win.

Dragon’s Man of the Match was donated to City’s keeper, without whom his team could have been out of the game by half-time.  DOD went to Henry Laming for his lack of driving ability.

So, 6 goals today and 6 wins out of the last 6 for Dragons 2’s.  Another late game at the Den next weekend will see the team going for 7 in a row, but something will have to give against the high-flying Ipswich and East Suffolk 2’s who have also won their last 6, scoring 25 and conceding 8 in the process, compared to Dragons 25 scored and 7 against.

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Men’s East Hockey League Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons 3s 2-8 Pelican 2

A game to forget, and move on from this week for the Mens 3s.  They travelled up to Kings Lynn for a later pushback.  Pelicans were only 3 places ahead of Dragons in the league, and after some brilliant performances against top of the table sides, Dragons were confident going into the game.

Within the first 2 minutes, Pelicans had scored, but it wasn’t long until Dragons equalised from a short corner, in which Ali SMYTH repeatedly slammed the ball at goal, for Rich PHILLIS to slip it past the keeper.

Pelicans kept up their attack and were very well drilled in coming forward.  They scored another 2 just before half time, taking it 3-1 into the break.

The second half continued in much the same way, with pelicans looking strong coming forward, and Dragons struggling to get the ball up to their forwards.  A bad spell for Dragons saw the Pelican’s forwards score some impressive goals to extend their lead.  Dragons kept on working and they did have chances, but failed to get back into the game.  A consolatory goal came from an Ali SMYTH cross to Matt JENKINS, who knocked the ball into the goal.

The game ended 8-2 to pelicans and Dragons were left feeling that there wasn’t much more they could have done, except ordered steel hats for the defence who weathered many attacks.

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Men’s East League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons 4s 3-0 North Norfolk 2

The 10 o’clock push back saw Dragon 4s play against North Norfolk Hockey Club 2nds. At the start of the game Dragons were in the drop zone on 13 points and NNHC were two places above on 16 points making this game a virtual 6 pointer.

Dragons started brightly, passing the ball well and seemed to have the beat on the NNHC midfield.  In the centre, Alberto Embarba and Rob Jenkins marked tightly, whilst Man of the Match Lee Keeler intercepted the ball on numerous occasions on the left wing and released the ball well up the field.  Rob Chaney-Baxter and Max Laming kept the right side tight, showing some good skills in possession.  This lasted for most the game.

The first goal came on 8 minutes when Hipper scored a penalty flick after the NNHC goalkeeper took out two Dragons players whilst saving a shot. After the penalty flick NNHC did play brighter having multiple attempts on getting into the dragons D, but were stopped by a tight Dragons defence of Andy Hipper, Neil Shorten, Paul Keating and former NNHC player Matt Armstrong.

Dave Pentin’s match was brought to a premature conclusion after a nasty bang on the knee, after which he assumed a management position in the dugout. In goal, Giles Brooks had little to do, but did it well.  On 18 minutes NNHC had one of their closer attempts with a shot from a short corner but put it just wide. This seemed to get their heads down and Dragons capitalised on the break with nice goal by Ben Harvey on the second attempt after the first shot hit the NNHC defender but advantage was called.  At this point in the latter part of the first half it became all Dragons in the driving seat.

Up front, the lively Adie Kemp and Ed Murphy joined Ben Harvey, with Ed’s dribbling skills causing bemusement amongst the NNHC players.  With three minutes left in the half, Dragons won a short corner, after playing it onto a defender’s foot. Up came Hipper to strike a powerful hit low to the keeper’s right making it 3-0 dragons.

For the 2nd half the team spoke of trying to get a clean sheet.  In the 2nd half the NNHC defence seemed tighter but they offered very little going forward. Dragons played nice flowing hockey and would force NNHC into mistakes in the midfield, but attempts on goal by both teams were limited. The game ended 3-0 to Dragons. With Dragons getting their 2nd clean sheet of 2016. The victory lifts Dragons out of the relegation zone on goal difference, but the league is tight at the bottom.

So, Dragons have another 6 pointer next week at home against IES 4s who are bottom of the league but only 1 point behind.

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Men’s East League Division 6NE
Norwich Dragons 5s 3-3 Pelican 4

It was a tough fixture for the 5’s. A predominantly young team was going up against a much older more experienced side. This was shown in the first half where there which had the dragons making mistakes leading to 2 goals for the Pelicans. There could have been more but some good saves were made by Ben Nkrumah kept it there.

In the second half the dragons came out firing on all cylinders. A goal was scored in the second minute of the half by Razzaq Fazail.The whole team pressed hard and were able to convert 2 more goals by Andrew Cross and a second for Fazail. The game finished 3-3 with the Pelican able to convert a short coner in the final play of the match. Man of the Match went to goal keeper Ben Nkrumah for some outstanding judgements great saves and keeping the Dragons in the match.  

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Men’s East League Division 7NE
Norwich Dragons 6s 5-0 Watton 3 conceded 

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Empresa Norfolk Boys Development League
Norwich Dragons 4-3 Pelicans

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Empresa Norfolk Girls Development League
Norwich Dragons 8-1 Pelicans

Dev Girls started nervously as last time we played Pelicans we lost 3-1. But on Saturday we managed to score 3 goals in the first quarter without playing at our best. Opening goal was scored by Ellie Hipper and 2 goals from Blanca Gomez. Goalkeeper Tilly Connors-Beckett made some fantastic saves using what she had learned in coaching by coming of her line to scare the oncoming attackers. We all agreed at the half time break that we were not playing our best hockey, as not getting into space or calling for the ball enough. It is good that we now all realise the difference when we aren’t playing to our best. In the second half many of us got the chance to try new positions, Lily Sore at top of the diamond, Lucy Buxton on right wing, Blanca in right midfield, Aditi Naik at Centre Forward. It made a real difference and we played our best hockey this season to date. We scored 5 more goals with Lucy Buxton and Blanca completing a Hat trick each and Aditi also scoring a goal. We all voted Tilly as Player of the Match for some fabulous saves in goal, especially a shot saved with her glove that was rocketing at head height!!! Final score was 8-1 victory! We hope Maisie Dermer ankle gets better after a nasty knock in the first half