NDHC League Match Reports: 4th November 2017

TeamDateOppositionH/ATimeScoreScorersPlayer of Match

Women’s East Hockey League, Premier Division

Norwich Dragons Ladies 1s v West Herts:  3-2

Norwich Dragons ladies 1s travelled down to North London in search of a much-needed win to improve their position in the league.  The team knew that 100% effort and focus would be needed to take the three points from former national league side West Herts.

The game was relatively evenly matched for the opening 10 minutes, with both sides seeing attacking opportunities. But it was the Dragons who took advantage of their possession early on, and after a great interception and mazy run from Holly Reding in the defence, the ball was moved beautifully through Liv Thomas in the middle of the pitch to Hayley Toleman on the left. Toleman drove into the D and after forcing a deflection from the keeper, slotted the ball in the back of the net to put the Dragons ahead.

The team held onto this one-goal lead for much of the first half, absorbing plenty of pressure from the home side. Player of the match Siobhan Cleeve made some crucial saves, calmly dealing with a couple of 3 on 1 situations and short corner drag flicks. However, as the first half drew to a close, West Herts took advantage of a break in the Dragons’ concentration, and after a series of long corners, managed to thread the ball into the D to an unmarked player, who made the most of the opportunity and levelled the score.

The intensity of play continued into the second half, and the Dragons were forced to defend a flurry of short corners. One of these led to the opposition being awarded and scoring a penalty stroke, leaving the visitors to face an uphill struggle in the last twenty minutes. But the Dragons did not give up, and continued to push high up the pitch and pressure the West Herts defence. After a shot on goal was deflected high, Katy Hands brought the ball under control and drew the goalkeeper off her line.  She passed the ball to Hayley Toleman on the right post, who leveled the score.

Nerves were high in the final 5 minutes, seeing the Dragons need to defend a number of attacks, culminating in a final short corner. But a good step in front of the attacker by Holly Reding saw the corner break down and the Dragons take the opportunity to go on the attack quickly. The ball found Issy Wolfe on the  right hand side of midfield, who then made great use of her pace, driving into the D and getting a reverse stick shot off. ‘Hat trick hero’ Hayley Toleman was once again on hand to put the Dragons ahead with just a few minutes to go.

The visitors kept their heads for the final few minutes, staying tight in defence and maintaining possession of the ball. The final whistle brought much relief and celebration. Through hard graft, teamwork and perseverance the team brought an end to a series of frustrating losses and are ready to take this winning momentum forward into next week’s game.


Women’s East Hockey League, Division 2NE

Norwich Dragons Ladies 2s v North Norfolk 1s:  3-3

Dragons welcomed North Norfolk to the wet and grey Den. Welcoming Sophie Mullan into the team and following the loss of Kiera Goymour to the 1’s following a late call off, plus Sam Franklin for her return to the 2’s squad.

The game started with the home team in the ascendancy, winning an early short corner. Emma Tabrett had a strong effort on goal, which was initially saved, but Lucy Morton pounced at the far post to force the ball home. More opportunities came, with Debs Painter, Gail Thomas and Lucy Morton combining really well on the left, but too often Dragons either delayed their pass or ran into trouble.

Despite Dragons having more possession, North Norfolk always threatened on the break, particularly with the pacy Lucy Spencer who was causing issues on the right. After a mele in the D, a penalty flick was awarded as Dragons Keeper Luisa Valentini was adjudged to have laid on the ball, however she made amends with a save to her left. Just on the break of half time however, the visitors made one of their quick attacks count, with a goalmouth scramble finding the ball squeezed over the line.

Second half saw a few adjustments by Captain Karen O’Neill Simpson, which seemed to work to good affect, Having missed an earlier opportunity, Hannah Hardy took a later chance, being able to turn and place the ball into the corner for a 2-1 lead. However this lead wasn’t to last long, with North Norfolk equalising.

The last 10 mins was end to end stuff. Sarah Borrett was having a strong game in defence and was determined to break down the quick breaks, however North Norfolk kept pushing and with just minutes to go, had a great run in behind the defence and was fouled by a Dragons defender trying to make a last ditch tackle. A penalty flick was awarded, which this time was dispatched.

As always Dragons refused to give up, and earned themselves a late short corner. Sarah Borrett executed the perfect injection to Debs Painter, who stopped cleanly allowing Emma Tabrett to take her time and pick her spot in the corner.

Dragons were disappointed with a point in a game which had they played to their best ability they probably should have taken the points. Player of the Match deservedly went to Lucy Morton, who in just her second game at East League level, made some fine runs and created some good opportunities for the team. A tough match away to IES next week awaits the team, who will work hard in training to get their ‘A’ game together.


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division

Norwich Dragons Ladies 3s v Magpies 4s:  7-0

This week Norwich Dragons Ladies 3rd Team travelled to Harleston to play Magpies 4th Team, with many changes to the team due to four players being pulled up to the 2nd team. The changes included 3rd team debuts for Harriet Marlee and Aditi Naik and a return for Hazel Knights following her two honeymoons!

The game started slowly with players getting used to the changes in the team, however any early dangers from the opposition were cleanly and calmly dealt with by the new look defence of Sophie Barrow, Kath Mares and Ismay Whitaker. Midway through the first half Dragons soon found their quick passing game and the scoring was opened by Harriet Marlee, who also scored the second goal in the first half.

The dragons began the second half as they finished the first half with great use of transfers across the pitch into triangle passes up the wing. This patient play lead to the third goal being scored by Katie McKenna, the fourth goal by Hazel Knights, the fifth goal by Ally Windsor Waite, the sixth goal by Hannah Ellis and the seventh goal by Harriet Marlee for her hattrick on her debut and the Man of the Match award. A great team performance on a miserable wet day to put Dragons 3rd team back to the top of the table!


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division

Norwich Dragons Ladies 4s v  Evergreens 1s:  0-0


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 5s v UEA 2s: 1-1

On a rather wet November morning the Ladies 5s arrived at UEA for a fixture which was always going to be a tight affair, with both teams coming into the game with very similar records so far this season. Despite the weather the squad was in great spirits and were keen for a game of hockey!
Learning lessons from last week’s game the squads aim was to go out strong from the start, whilst protecting the all-important castle! The first half saw good efforts on goal from both sides, but neither team was able to convert. Some strong saves from Goalkeeper Esther Jacobs, denied the nippy UEA attack and the UEA keeper was also kept under pressure, with Sue Brumby in particular working tirelessly along the right wing. Despite hard work from both teams neither was able to convert by half time.
Unfortunately the second half didn’t start well for Dragons. Within minutes the fast UEA forwards had made a string of strong passes in the D, finally beating the keeper with a well worked goal. Not to let their heads go down Dragons immediately responded with strong central work from Steph Sampson and Hannah Edwards working the ball up the pitch into the D and winning a short corner.
Mel Widdows stepped forward to inject the ball to Sue Cross, slipping skilfully right to Sophia Haenhelt (MOM), who passed the ball at speed back to Mel at the front post to slam it home. Dragons continued to play well, using their passing triangles nicely to attempt to tire the UEA squad. But with 2 minutes to play Dragons found themselves defending a UEA short corner. A strong injection and straight strike from the top of the D looked like it would deny Dragons of any points, but some sharp eyed umpiring confirmed the ball had never left the D and the goal was disallowed.  
At the final whistle 2 soggy teams left the pitch in continued good spirits. UEA were great hosts and hot drinks were warmly received by the still damp players. The most exciting part of the day was yet to come though with great thought being put into naming the 5s new team mascot. Eventually man of the match Sophia had the deciding vote and ‘Scorch’ became the 5s latest Dragon.

Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Division 2
Norwich Dragons Ladies 6s v Magpies 6s:  0-1

Ladies 6s travelled to Harleston Magpies for an early start in torrential rain. Welcoming more new players to the fold this week several players were out of position.

The game started very evenly – Magpies did not look like a side yet to win a league game. They put pressure on the defensive line of Emma Gillard, Kate Atkins, Jen Buskell and keeper Tilly Conners-Beckett winning a short corner in the first half which was well executed and led to their goal.

It took Dragons a little while to settle and get used to playing with each other but this did not mean they didn’t have their fair share of chances. Debutants Flori Smith and Maisie Dearmer worked tirelessly on the mid-field flanks, supporting the defence well, and creating some great build-up play in the attack.

The second half showed a more familiar 6s style of play. Jess Vernon playing out of position at top of the diamond worked extremely hard to support the forward line of Jane Wells, Gemma Ballard, Harriet Rant and Ellie Hipper. Jess switched with Anita Mancini who, returning from injury, made a real nuisance of herself in midfield, getting into some great positions.

PoM went to 6s out of position captain Hannah Woods – leaving her defence line and moving to bottom of the diamond, finding herself in the attacking D for the first time in a long time she controlled the centre of the pitch and set up some lovely set pieces.

The score line does not reflect Dragons play. The second half they were the more dominant team, putting substantial pressure on the Magpies defence, they just could not capitalise. The hard work that players have been putting in at training is paying off and is obvious in game play. As we gel together as a unit we will be a force to be reckoned with!


Empresa Norfolk Women’s League,  Division 3

Norwich Dragons Ladies 7s v Pelicans 4s:  9-0

Dragons sparkled in their match against bottom of the table Pelis and rattled in their goals at regular intervals with Alice Bishop taking the player of the match vote for a cracking hat trick, including two very special goals into the corners. Mia McGhee also scored a hat trick. Her bustling efforts in the second half showed excellent controlled aggression as she forced her way through the middle of the circle. Adelice Kraemer scored twice, one of them a delicious Addi reverse stick special as she hid the ball from the keeper at close range. The scoring was completed by Claire Stuart with a neat touch.
With good availability in the lower teams, Captain Claire Fairhurst was able to select an exceptional and balanced squad. Louise Brooksy Brooks was a strong and steadying influence at the bottom and top of the diamond and the 7s benefited from her tackling and distribution skills. And for her all-round skills and attitude, the 7s are always happy to see Mia’s name on the team sheet.
As usual, the 7s did not get a fluent start. This week, the whole team was possibly a little over-excited as we tried too hard for that first goal. But Alice’s super effort calmed everyone.  The mids worked hard pushing the ball up and tracking back, with Stevie Spencer, Sophie Drew, Claire Fairhurst and Claire Stuart all playing attacking midfield roles during the game. The defence just had the odd foray to deal with – Pelis were very quick and had some good stick skills and were occasionally able to turn our defenders. However, keeper Emily Roper only had two serious shots to deal with and she despatched them very smoothly to keep another clean sheet. Stella Windsor Waite had another fine game at left defence and bottom of the diamond, and the other defenders  – Katy Saide and Emma Dyer – always looked comfortable with their opponents, especially when they tried to rush in from the wings. Bridget Le Good did a good job as the last ‘stopper’ and relieved any pressure with strong hits that usually found a Dragon and gained plenty of territory.
Pelis deserve credit for never letting their heads drop and keeping their passing game going. Their keeper Molly Gromett made a string of outstanding saves and this is a team for the future. But the 7s are very much the team of the moment. Captain Claire said all areas of the team had played well, and every player had done her best to carry out her role in the game plan. Claire showed how to win some much-needed penalty corners, and set an example at keeping the forwards buzzing in the circle with Stevie, Sophie and Brooksy all linking well with Alice, Mia and Adelice. And we all had fun!
Next week’s opponents, Loddon, will be the 7s most serious threat to date, and apart from hoping we can keep the same squad, on the agenda for midweek is more work for the forwards on laying the ball off in the circle; some sharper penalty corner shooting and tighter marking. We are also committed to inventing more variety in our moves on goal. The last point is a measure of how far the 7s have travelled this season. To begin with, just getting the ball into the circle was enough! Now more is demanded of the whole squad every week as we try to ensure we beat every other team and still continue to enjoy our hockey.


Empress Norfolk Women’s League, Division 3

Norwich Dragons Ladies 8s v Magpies 7s:  0-1

Ladies 8’s player of the match – Sophie James (7 players were nominated)!

#Awesomeeights are back with a bang! (Sorry that’s enough of the firework related references)! After a week off due to a scheduled league slip week the entire team were itching to get going again and prove we hadn’t forgotten anything, well what a game to come back to! Prior to the match feelings were that it should be even, with both teams being in similar places in the league. Well we were right from the first to the last whistle 14 determined dragons battled hard and never gave up. Despite the final score every player left the pitch feeling like they had given it all. Once again the team received complimentary feedback from both umpires and spectators (which is always helpful).

Their annoying goal came in the 36th!!!! minute when despite some close marking the magpie’s pivotal player slipped through and smacked the ball over the line. There was a definite consensus amongst the team of “we were robbed.”

GK Emma North continues to thrive in her new role making some great clearances with strong hits out of the D and communicated brilliantly with the defenders.  Defender Johanne Steward made some fab tackles and strong accurate side line hits and gains more confidence each week.  Anna Chapman also showed way more confidence, pushed up to attack the on-coming Magpies but has the speed to drop back to support the other defenders when needed. Anna really shone in this game and listens to instructions well. Jess Lockwood effortlessly switched positions to cover substitutions making her a valuable member of the team. VC Jo Baker made some excellent weighted hit outs always using the pitch width towards waiting players or for players to run to (which they mostly did.) Jo also added additional pressure to the Magpies by pushing up the pitch to meet the oppositions attacking players, she also provided communication, instruction and encouragement (which could be heard from the other end of the pitch lol.)

It was decided that we would benefit from strengthening the back by playing with two bottoms of the diamond’s. These roles were shared brilliantly by Tracey Stuart-Sheppard, Becky Gallagher and the returning Dr Bondy Bond! Becky who played mostly right bottom of the diamond but also a mid and at one point played as a forward after Captain Katy was injured by a weighted ball to the knee which gave her an instant bruise! Becky played brilliantly in each position earning her the flexi-player nick name this week. She continues to make good tackles and had the arduous task of marking Shirley!!! Tracy continues to be a tough opponent who won’t take no for an answer she is always very quick to the ball for a free hit and plays fiercely as left bottom of the diamond assisting the defence with some great clearances. Another force is the fantastic Bondy who returned to the team this week thanks to an obliging work schedule also provided strong tackles, accurate passes out to the waiting wingers and her medical skills and knowledge were once again put to good use when Captain Katy needed to hobble off with a very bruised and ball printed knee!

Once again Tenacious-Nic Harrison proved to be a go-getter who made some great runs up the side lines, some fantastic passes and her speed only increases as her with her confidence! Player of the match Sophie James is definitely a great example of “looks can be deceiving”. She may look quiet and shy but WOW! Get her on the pitch and she is strong and confident who valiantly drove the ball up the wings, attacked and ran back to assist with some strong defending, the man of the match award was well deserved.

Not only does captain Katy have moves on the pitch, she has moves that defy gravity which then results in the #awesomeeights being awarded the only short corner of the match! If they ever do a re-make of the Matrix Katy has to be up for the lead female role!! Katy continues to command the top of the diamond position linking midfield and forward with some good passes and once again showing how using the width of the pitch only benefits the game. Unfortunately getting struck on the knee by a flicked hit within very close proximity of the D meant a premature end to her game. Luckily Dr ‘Bondy’ Bond was there to assist.  Well done to all players for picking themselves up following this, getting back to the task in hand and changing positions so we stayed as strong as possible.

Lois Metcalf was one of these players who lead from the front but switched to the top and bottom of the diamond positions after the switch around to provide necessary cover.  Once again Lois made some great tackles, put a lot of pressure on the opposition gaining control and made played some great passes to the mids and forwards. Fellow forward Sadie Jacobs gets stronger each week! As does her confidence with tackling which resulted in winning the ball and passing to other fellow Dragons. Olivia Dickinson played right and left forward received some great passes from the mids and made some good fast runs driving the ball up towards to D, we were so close, so very close!

So, bring on next week! First another training session to polish our skills. We don’t give up and if we continue to play as we did in this match the wins (that’s plural because there will be more than one) will come thick and fast! Well done #awesomeeights!


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 2N

Norwich Dragons Men’s 1s v St Ives 1s: 4-3

Following a day in which existential conflict deeply troubled the Men’s 1st team, and an event that was characterised by disjointedness and hysteria, a haiku seemed the best way to picture, and consequently report the match:

St Ives crushed four-three

Snappy saves; some fiendish play-

Panicked game, yet still.

Scorers:  Ollie King, Rupert Snelling (flick), Rohan Kaushal, Henry Laming

MOM:  Peter Dickerson


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE

Norwich Dragons Men’s 2s v Newmarket 1s: 5-3

Men’s 2nds beat last season’s bogey team Newmarket 5-3 (4-0 HT) in a cracker away at the home of the sport of kings. Dragon’s set light the touch paper and stormed into a commanding lead courtesy of another  hat trick from Alex Browne and another by MOM Eddie Gould. The second half promised pyrotechnics, and sure enough Newmarket scored, but a rocket of a short corner strike fourth for Browne re-established the four goal cushion, with the home team rallying to score a second and sparkling third. Fortunately for  dragons time ran out for the resurgent home side eliminating the possibility of a damp squib after such an explosive start. DOD Andy Hipper for verbal outburst but principally accidentally rearranging opponen’ts family jewels from raised free hit!


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE

Norwich Dragons Men’s 3s v UEA 2s: 2-4




Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE

Norwich Dragons Men’s 4s v North Norfolk 2s:  4-1

 Dragons travelled to a wet and windy Cromer to take on bottom of the league club North Norfolk 2.  The first 20 minutes or so of the game were quite even, with both sides playing attacking hockey.  However, once Dragons opened the scoring through Rob Chaney Baxter, they began to dominate.  Up front, Johnny Taylor’s nifty skills were evident as he repeatedly beat North’s defenders, whilst debutant Harry Williams worked very hard to continually pressurise the opposition when in possession, bringing about a number of turnovers.  Jordan Hambling, McCartney Aldous and Rob Chaney Baxter all played some excellent attacking hockey and did a bit of defending too.  Jordan scored Dragons’ second, making the half time score 2-0.  North Norfolk began to tire in the second half and Dragons added two further goals through Chaney Baxter and Richard Phillis.  Chaney Baxter also hit the post to avoid a deserved hat trick, but still earned the Man of the Match plaudits.  North Norfolk pulled a goal back through a penalty flick, whilst Peter Davison missed one for Dragons in spectacular fashion, only the high fence around the pitch saving the ball from ending up in the North Sea.

A solid performance from Dragons to make it two consecutive wins and move them into mid table.


Men’s East Hockey League, Division 5NE

Norwich Dragons Men’s 5s v Lowestoft Railway 2s:  3-0


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

Norwich Dragons Men’s 6s v Norfolk Nomads 1s:  2-3

A wet and windy day with copious traffic jams nearly reduced the Men’s 6s to a 9 man team for the game against table toppers Norfolk Nomads 1, but luckily pedal power came to the rescue for a number of the team and a full squad of 14 players assembled minutes before the 1.00pm push back. As has been the story for this season so far, we were up against another team from a division higher last season and again although we came away with ‘nul points’ we showed that we can fight and hold better teams to a close and competitive game.

Soon after the push back Nomads scored first, but the 6s fought back and Tommy Chapman made a great effort into a good goal, by hard work and skilful play in the opposition D. Nomads grabbed a second goal against the run of play and were ahead 2-1 at half time. After much discussion and debate, a slightly rearranged Dragons 6s line up emerged for the second half and soon was taking the game to Nomads with a succession of short corners won after excellent build up play. The short corners payed dividends in the end with a classic Mike Banham strike straight from the push in, as straight as an arrow into the Nomads net. With the game level, Nomads were starting to make errors as Dragons kept pressurising. Graham Muff had a goal disallowed after it bounced on top of his foot, popping up just right to be netted, and it was Nomads who re-took the lead with a disputed goal after breaking through the Dragons defence.

There were a few more dramatic moments as one of the Nomads forwards received a loose ball in the face and ended up with a shiner that a certain M. Tyson would have been happy with dishing out. Although in this case it was completely accidental from a 50/50 challenge. In the end Nomads squeaked the game 3-2 but another spirited and hard-fought effort from Dragons 6s to see them lift off the bottom on Division 6NE (N) on superior goal difference.

Man of the match went to Tommy Chapman for a display full of effort, grit and the well taken goal.



Norwich Dragons Hockey Club

Dragons Dev Boys A v Dragons Dev Boys B:  5-0

The A team dominated in the 1st quarter, with good passing skills, resulting in the first goal being scored within the first 10 mins. The B team fought back with great passing from midfield and defence in the second quarter, keeping more possession and a couple of shots at goal
Second half A’s continued possession.
A good, fast paced game all round!

Raul Wigglesworth

A competitive match with good hockey played from both teams.
The final score of 8-0 to the A’s didn’t do justice to the B’s, who fought tirelessly and created numerous chances.
Stand out performances include Alex Brooks for the A’s, who defended very well. Edward Cross played the ball around at pace and vision. Will Bowman showed real pace along the wing to generate numerous chances.
For the B’s Alex Wolfe made some good saves and remained spirited throughout the match. Raul moved the ball very well and created chances.
Ben Panter

Goalscorers:  Edward Cross x2, Casper Lind x2, Arjuna Puvanachandra

MOM:  Casper Lind


Norwich Dragons Hockey Club

Dragons Dev Boys B 

see above



Dragons Dev Girls v Norwich City A

City could not raise a team for this game, unfortunately it was left to an annoyed and embarrassed City parent who had arrived at the Den for the game to advise the Dragons players and coach. Notification had been issued by email just over an hour before the Dragons meet time. Given Dragons were unaware, they had gathered ready to play the match.

Despite the obvious disappointment for the Girls, they agreed that they should use the time wisely to brush up on their skills and play an internal game between themselves.

The promise of pizza kept the girls going through the rain and the halftime sweets helped them to get through the teamtalk from the coach!