NDHC League Match Reports: 30th September 2017

TeamDateOppositionH/ATimeScoreScorersPlayer of Match

Women’s East Hockey League, Premier Division

Norwich Dragons 1s v Maidstone 1s: 0-1

A depleted Ladies 1s team made the long trek down to Kent to take on Maidstone in their second Premier league clash of the season. With a number of the team playing out of position, the visitors were pleased to start the game on the front foot. The opening quarter saw chances for both sides, with Dragons goalkeeper and joint player of the match Siobhan Cleeve making some crucial saves. The first half was end to end, and although the Dragons won a short corner on the cusp of half time, they were unable to convert.

The second half saw both teams up their game, with plenty of opportunities at both ends. After a scramble in front of the Maidstone goal, the Dragons were awarded a penalty flick. A brave attempt from Hayley Toleman saw the flick saved and the score-line remain at 0-0. Bolstered by this close call, Maidstone capitalised on a moment of disorganisation in the Dragons camp, breaking through to score from a 2 v 1 situation.

The last 10 minutes saw the Dragons putting their training into practice and pressing the ball high up the pitch. Successive chances and short corners unfortunately came to nothing and the game ended 1-0. While a disappointing and frustrating result, the work-rate and intensity right up to the final whistle was impressive, and the team pulled together under difficult circumstances. The spread of votes for player of the match – eventually shared between Lucy Ripman, Olivia Thomas, Lara Taylor, and Shiobhan Cleeve, – was reflective of the team effort, and the girls are ready to come back fighting next week.


Women’s East Hockey League, Division 2NE

Dragons 2s v Magpies 3s: 4-2

The last of the summer sun shone at the Den, for what promised to be a well fought game v Magpies 3’s. With high unavailability at the top end of the club, Dragons fielded a bare 12 players, which was a challenge in the warm conditions.
Dragons Keeper Emma Cleland needed to be alert from the off, with Magpies starting the brighter of the two teams and having a couple of good chances. One bought an outstanding save from Cleland sticking out a leg, to glance a powerful shot wide. Dragons began to find their rhythm through Marie James in the middle, well supported in midfield by Emma Tabarett, Gail Thomas and Mary Alexander on her league debut.
After a good move in the middle, Marie James found Gail Thomas at the top of the D, her sharp pass found Hannah Hardy, who turned and found the corner for the lead on 13 minutes. The hope was this would settle Dragons, but Magpies always threatened on the break and they levelled the scoring on the 18th minute. This only served to inspire Dragons, who were now moving the ball much more fluently, and finding the willing runners up front in Laura Ward, Maddy Reynolds and Charlotte Pounder.
The second goal was created by Mary Alexander, whose persistence on the right, saw her drive into the D, move the ball on to Laura Ward, who found Maddy Reynolds in perfect position on the back post to score her 2nd goal in as many league games. The 3rd followed from a short corner effort, a shot from Jess Bennett was saved initially but the rebounding / bouncing ball fell to Hannah Hardy, who nudged it forward to Laura Ward to force the ball home.
The momentum was all with Dragons going into to final few minutes of the half, Marie James again finding space deep and spreading the play well via Gail Thomas and Mary Alexander, creating a number of opportunities. Earning a number of short corners late in the half, Emma Tabarett was close on a couple of occasions, and with the half time whistle blown, dispatched a flying drag flick to the top corner to make the score 4-1 at half time.
With the temperature rising, the Captains call was to keep our shape and keep moving the ball. Defensively the team were looking assured, Sarah Borrett making important tackles and interceptions in the middle, supported well by Karen O’Neill Simpson and Jess Bennett either side, both making important tackles against the speedy Magpies wing players. Magpies earned a number of short corners but Charlotte Pounder was flying out of defence and bravely closed down a number of strikes.
Mid way through the half Magpies were rewarded with a penalty flick following a foot on the line, this was firmly dispatched to make the score 4-2. Whilst Dragons weren’t playing poorly, they had lost their shape a little, and the fluency of the first half was lacking. Ward and Reynolds were still combining well upfront, and Dragons had a few opportunities, which came and went. Rachel Baynes in the heart of the Magpies defence was playing well, before limping off with injury.
The remainder of the game was played out with no further goals. Dragons Player of the Match vote was well spread with the youth of Maddy Reynolds and experience of Marie James sharing the honour. Work to be done still to maintain the high level of play for 70 mins, but plenty of positives as the team head into week 3 of the league.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division

Norwich Dragons 3s v Norwich City 3s:  1-0

This week saw Norwich Dragons Ladies 3rd team travel to Taverham for a competitive match against Norwich City Ladies 3rd Team. The game started with Dragons pressing high up the field creating goal scoring opportunities that were not converted, but City were quick on the break causing Dragons problems to be solved defensively. Even though there were chances either end both defences and goal keepers played well and kept the score to 0 – 0 at half time.

Dragons maintained the attacking pressure, with Jess Haw narrowly missing wide past the post early in the second half. However, dragons remained calm and patient and with 10 minutes left on the clock player of the match Lucy Morton managed to slip the ball over the line from a rebound from the keeper. City pressed high to gain an equaliser but dragons showed great composure to gain the win.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division

Norwich Dragons 4s v Norwich Dragons 5s:  0-1




Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division
Norwich Dragons 5s v Norwich Dragons 4s:  1-0



Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Division 2
Norwich Dragons 6s v Norwich City 6s:  2-1

Ladies 6s had a lunchtime fixture against Norwich City 6s – with both teams pushing for promotion they knew it would be a close game. Both encounters between the 2 teams last season ended in draws but Dragons knew with their run of form and the strength of their squad they stood a good chance.

The first half saw dragons dominate – the defensive line of Kate Atkins, Amy Forse, Hannah Woods and keeper Tilly Connors-Beckett stood strong and pushed City wide shadowing them out of the pitch and re-claiming possession.

Although in the first half Dragons created many chances, the defence of City stood firm to deny them.

A half time team talk spurred Dragons on – knowing they needed to score quickly, but also knowing that City would be looking to do the same.

The mid-field worked hard. Jade Blanchflower made numerous interceptions. Elsa Scott made great runs occupying the top of the diamond role. Beth Elgood, Sue Brumby, Lily Sore and POM Liz McDonnell commanded the wide midfield roles, intercepting and confidently moving the ball forwards. Dragons made a breakthrough very early into the second half, with versatile Amy Forse moving from centre back to centre forward she scored a corker! A straight strike from just inside the D hard and low into the corner.

The forward line of Gemma Ballard, Harriet Rant, goal a game Jemima Dorman worked tirelessly to create chances. Jemima scoring in quick succession to Amy to give Dragons a 2-0 lead.

This spurred City on to dig deep. They scored with 10 minutes to go drawing the dragons defence to create space. In defence of their unbeaten run – Dragons dug deep. They kept a good level of pressure on City and managed to keep the score line at 2-1. Another win! #topoftheleague


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Division 3

Norwich Dragons 7s v Magpies 7s:  6-0

The 7s had an emphatic 6-0 win over Magpies. They were particularly pleased with the result because every Dragon’s unit dominated their opposite numbers. Waves of attacks into the Magpies circle meant the forwards caught the eye, and Mia McGhee was rewarded with four goals and the player of the match vote as she powered her way down the left and put the keeper under constant pressure. Esme McKinnon-Evans also scored from the left, and was valuable for her tackling and passing skills in midfield. Right forward Ade Kraemer completed the scoring and had a number of shots saved in the second half.

All the Dragons’ goals came in the first half, and credit to Magpies who were far more determined in the second and more resolute in the tackle. They packed their circle, and Dragons, ever keen to score, tried to batter their way through instead of using the ever-patient Claire Fairhurst who was always in position to pounce or divert the ball to her wide players, creating several more chances.

The left side was completed by Stella Windsor-Waite who is rapidly maturing as a defender, always able to snuff out any danger from one of the two nippy and skilful Magpies forwards. The other was mastered by Jen Buskell whose jab tackle was outstanding on the edge of the circle just when Magpies looked like breaking through.

The 7s have the potential to be a strong team, building as they do from the back. Tilly Connors-Beckett did not have much to do in goal, but cleared away a couple of shots with strength and purpose. Centre back Bridget Le Good is able to distribute the ball with power to either side, where Stella, Lilly Crew and Katy Saide send it accurately down the lines. Katy is a high percentage player, and picked up all the raids down the Magpies left. Lilly demonstrated her versatility playing two defensive positions and also in midfield.

Jen was a real asset at the bottom of the diamond, and as it became clear that the 7s were going to win this game comfortably, she confidently stepped up and created some attacking moves. Louise Brooks made the perfect partner at the top of the diamond, making some excellent early interceptions before the Magpies attack could get going.  Brooksy’s distribution to both sides and through the centre was also outstanding. The team’s group of speedy youngsters – Mia, Esme, Stella and Lilly –  was completed by the hard-working Sophie Drew, who ensured the Dragons were as strong on the right as they were on the left.

Magpies are one of the barometer sides in Division 3, always well drilled and like Dragons a blend of youth and experience. For Dragons to beat them comprehensively down the left and right, across the back, for speed and passing skills in the midfield and for chances taken in front of goal was a boost to the confidence of this team which is quite a new mix this season. But captain Claire Fairhurst wants the squad to be a blend, not a mixture, and will be insisting on hard work and greater intensity at training every week with a couple of pointers to work on for the challenges to come.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Division 3

Norwich Dragons 8s v UEA 4s:  1-4

Ladies 8’s player of the match – Emma North (GK) – The goalie was on fire!

Bolstered by advice given at training the #awesomeeights entered once more into the fold, fought hard and never gave up!

The eights once again welcomed some new faces and re-familiarised themselves with some returning friends. Defender Anna Chapman returned to the team following those pesky GCSE’s and summer break, don’t be fooled the break has made no difference to her determination and skill level and she showed that she can be utilised regardless of which side of the pitch she played on. Becky Gallagher also returned to hockey after recovering from “dodgykneeitis.” From the off she showed what an awesome asset she is to the team bringing experience pace and determination and was also a perfect example of versatility playing in numerous positions and excelling in all.

Girls development graduate Flori was the perfect choice for injecting short corners (for which we were awarded 3 or 4) and showed glimmers of how dangerous she can be in the D, it can only be a matter of time before her efforts are rewarded! Fellow newbie Olivia proved to be versatile and speedy in both forward and top of the diamond positions, worked well with Flori but once again was thwarted by the UEA goalie, again we are confident that her efforts will soon be rewarded! Last but by no means least hockey new comer Emma Fielding also proved her worth following a pre-match change to her normal position (a great decision by El-captino and the strategist) proved to be a speedy addition to the forwards.

The eights worked hard at last Wednesday’s training and there was a visible improvement with both long and short passes, maybe need to try a bit harder with putting a name on the ball and the communication in general during the match. Tenacious-Nic continues to improve, receive balls confidently and is a force to be reckoned with down the wing. Likewise bottom of the diamond Tracy is settling well into the position, her eye for the ball is excellent and made some fantastic passes into some great spaces. Her equal love of attacking and defending makes her a perfect choice for this position and she also shows the less experienced members of the team how to communicate effectively. Sadie Jacobs once again showed a gain her in confidence and made some fab runs to pick the ball from the line before the oppositions defence could clear it! Lois’s confidence and years of experience was rewarded when a weighted hit made it passed the goalie and over the line! Lois also stepped up to receive the ball and quickly distribute it to the other waiting forwards. Her fabulous hockey brain and ability to read the ball makes her a massive asset to the team. VC Jo continued with some great weighted slap-hit passes to the waiting wingers and encouraged players to run onto the ball when they were sent into space. Right defender Johanne provided some great side line passes and tackled the attacking forwards.

Despite a slight winding from a ball to the chest (bet that’s going to be a pretty bruise)! Captain Katy also tackled well and fully utilised her gazelle like running skills to distribute the ball, a perfect example of how not to let an injury deter and came back fighting, hard!

Last but by no means least, hence why she has her own paragraph! Goal keeper Emma North, bolstered by the disappointment of last week proved to be a pivotal member of the team. Emma delivered clearance after clearance (has she been watching Iron Man because you can see some similarities in her moves). Emma also used her experience as a defender to support, instruct and advise the back line, making sure that the attacking players were marked and players stayed in positions. Emma, rightfully so for all the effort she put in was unanimously awarded MOM with Flori in 2nd.

Sooooo on to next week #awesomeeights tackle their first away match of the season and take on Carrow. Some post-match reflections to take with us include;

  • Don’t give up until the final whistle
  • Let’s be hearing you!
  • Continue to play to the width
  • Keep hitting the ball towards the goal, fancy passes around are great but sometimes we just need to hit it in and hope!
  • Keep having fun!  


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 2N

Norwich Dragons 1s v Cambridge Uni 3s:  3-0

Cambridge University started strongly, forcing Dragons to absorb formidable pressure throughout the initial phase of the game. Around 5 minutes in, however, the home side began to stoke the furnace – marking the beginning of the no-holds-barred adrenaline fuelled thrill ride that was yet to ensue. George Bowman’s physical presence, coupled with Sam Avery’s unrelenting work rate set the tone for the half, and the Dragons engine room began to seize control of the match in the middle of the park. The ever impenetrable fortress in defence provided a solid grounding on which to build the Dragons attack, whilst visionary forethought from the forwards permitted the home team to launch an unremitting offensive campaign to draw in the half. Sam Avery opened the scoresheet with a seemingly perfectly weighted deflection from the baseline, and Oli King, having been passed a sweeping long ball from the depths of the pitch scored the second goal following the beating of multiple Cambridge defenders in a sickening display of unadulterated flair and pace.

Half-time score: 2-0.

The rhetors got to work during the half-time team talk, and despite the tenacious attempts of the away side to narrow the gap, a ruthless finish from forward Charlie Nunn quashed any remaining hope with a sickening thud of the backboard. The Dragons rode out the final quarter of the match in exhibition-hockey style, solidifying the result.

Full-time score: an irrefutable 3-0 thumping.

MOM:  Ben Nkrumah


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE

Norwich Dragons 2s v Norwich Dragons 3s: 5-0

Pre-match hyperbole suggested an explosive affair but Dragons 2’s secured a comfortable victory over Dragons 3’s in this club derby match.

The 2’s were quick out of the blocks and were both lively in attack and solid in defence. A succession of short corners resulted in 3 goals for Tom Vaughan and one for Alex Browne. Max Laming completed the scoring in the first half. The 2’s led 5-0 at half time!

No goals in the second half but plenty of cards. The 2’s lost their shape somewhat and the 3’s upped their game. Over enthusiastic tackling resulted in enforced rest breaks for players on both sides but, ultimately, that had no impact on the outcome. The 2’s ran out 5-0 victors, having scored 5 goals for the second week running and having kept a clean sheet into the bargain.

The return fixture will be a belter!


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE

Norwich Dragons 3s v Norwich Dragons 2s:  0-5

It was an incestuous affair at the Den on Saturday with the much anticipated local derby between the Men’s 2s and Men 3s taking place in front of a large crowd of fans ready for a hockey feast.

With the club being keen for the 2s to get promoted, club management were not keen for a repeat of the tight games of two years ago, particularly in a league which could be settled by goal difference.

Being the good club men we are, the 3s decided to gift the 2s five quick goals in the first 13 minutes so as to aid their promotion push. Our duties to the club being completed, the 3s then started playing and the game began properly.

(NOTE TO EAST LEAGUE, OPPOSITION TEAMS AND ANYONE ELSE BOTHERING TO READ THIS – none of this is remotely true..the 2s were superb from the start and we, the 3s, were poor, so very very poor that it made us look like we’d taken up hockey that morning for a bit of a laugh after pulling an all night session on Prince of Wales Road. The pity and bemusement from the sidelines was almost the hardest thing to take. )

During the remaining 57 minutes, the 3s performed fantastically, keeping an excellent shape, working exceptionally hard for each other and enjoying the majority of the territory. The team really took the game to the 2s, putting in plenty of tackles and never giving the opposition a moments peace.

The match was played in an excellent spirit with particular highlights being Phil Goode and Tom Vaughan’s numerous passionate embraces and Pedro Goss accompanying his trademark drop of the shoulder (which left two 1st team legends sat on their bottoms) with a wave and an apology for embarrassing his elders.

However, chances were few and far between at either end, and the match finished in a disappointing nil all stalemate (apart from the minor point of those 5 traumatic goals conceded in the opening 13 minutes – which don’t really count do they?).

Joel Dennis was the OAP man of the match, Digger (Jonno Chaney-Baxter) young man of the match, with Joel taking the overall award solely for the fact that he didn’t score an own goal this week. Special mention again to Paul whose best work goes unnoticed to all but those with a keen eye for the game.

The match ended in a final set of big hugs and cuddles, Tom Vaughan and Ali Smith being allowed back in the 3s WhatsApp group, Deep Heat in the captain’s trolleys and the 3s vowing revenge in the return fixture.

Well played 2s – a thoroughly deserved win.


Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE

Norwich Dragons 4s v Felixstowe 2s:  0-4



Men’s East Hockey League, Division 5NE

Norwich Dragons 5s v Felixstowe 3s:  11-0



Men’s East Hockey League, Division 6NE(N)

Norwich Dragons 6s v Norwich City 6s:  0-2 – friendly fixture



Dragons Dev Boys A v Magpies: 5-2


We started the game on top and managed to get an early goal which James scored with a reverse stick hit from the edge of the D but they were still piling on the pressure. Soon we got another when Bobby ran through the defence and then played it across goal for Freddie to put in. Throughout the game our defence looked very solid with some very good tackles from Alex and Will. By this point we were on top of the game. Then Magpies stole the ball and broke out of defence and within an instance, they were one on one which their winger calmly slotted past our keeper. 2-1

The game started to become closer with some chances for both sides. But soon we had another, a great ball which split the defence in half and then Freddie couldn’t miss from there. In the second half we dominated early and soon showed that by scoring another when Freddie made a great run to the post and slotted it home. 4-1

Magpies had one standout player who was very quick and impossible to tackle and soon he had his second of the game after running down the line, cutting in and scoring. Then in the last minutes of the game Tommy passed a ball to Isaac who was at the top of the D who had a shot and Freddie was on the post to score his fourth.

Overall it was a great team performance which bodes well for the season.

Isaac Diver-Hall


Dragons Dev Boys B v Watton: 7-0

The game ended up as 7 to Norwich Dragons B team and 0 to Watton at The Den on Saturday. The Goal scorers were Billy Hall with 3 goals,  Harry Fuller with 2 goals, Toby Finch and Alex Marjoran both with 1 goal each. The team captain was Daniel Murphy who had to leave at half time. The person that was voted man of the match was Mac Beaumont with 3 votes, the reasoning for it was that he spread the ball around a lot. Noah Bradbury, Billy Hall, Toby Finch and Harry Fuller who also got voted for. The match overall was a learning curve for our team.


Dragons Dev Girls v Watton: 0-0