|Team||Date||Opposition||H/A||Time||Score||Scorers||Player of Match|
|L1s||14/04/18||Cam Uni 1||H||13.30||3-1 (W)||Gail Thomas|
|L6s||14/04/18||Lowestoft Railway 2||H||11.45||4-0 (W)||Gemma Ballard x2|
|L7s||14/04/18||City 7||H||09.45||4-0 (W)||Mia McGhee x3|
|L8s||14/04/18||Carrow 2||H||10.00||0-1 (L)||Mia Somers
|M2s||14/04/18||IES 3||H||11.15||3-0 (W)||Alex Browne x3||Ed Murphy|
|M5s||14/04/18||Ips Cranes 1||A||14.00||1-3 (W)||Tommy Chapman|
|GD||14/04/18||Harleston Magpies||H||15.00||0-5 (L)|
|L4s||15/04/18||UEA 2||H||10.30||1-1 (D)||Gina Hunt||Hannah Edwards|
|L5s||16/04/18||Broadland 1||H||19.30||0-12 (L)||Sue Cross|
Women’s East Hockey League, Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 1s v Cambridge Uni 1s: 3-1
Norwich Dragons Ladies 1s found the form they have been searching for all season, and finished the season on a high with a 3-1 win over Cambridge University.
The team took to the pitch in high spirits after strong performances the previous week, but were hungry for the as yet elusive win. The game was very evenly matched in the initial stages. While the visitors did a good job of stretching the game and asking questions of the Dragons defence, their high positioning left them exposed to attacking breaks, and the hosts capitalised upon these opportunities. After some excellent work in the midfield from Sophie Mullan and Issy Wolfe, the ball was threaded high up the pitch to the forwards and driven into the circle. After a scramble in front of goal, the ball fell to Gail Thomas, who calmly slotted home to put the Dragons 1-0 up.
Both teams stepped up the intensity as we approached half time, with the students winning a short corner close to the whistle. Gina Hunt dealt expertly with the strong drag flick – one of many excellent saves she made throughout the game – ensuring that the Dragons went into half time with the advantage.
The second half saw much of the same, with the forward line of Maddy Reynolds, Katy Hands and Tabba Tabrett continuing to exert pressure on the Cambridge defence. The pressure paid off and the Dragons were awarded a short corner. Recent changes to the corner set up paid dividends as a slick routine saw Issy Wolfe deflect the ball into goal from the left post. Cambridge responded shortly after, with their own short corner, also finding the back of the net and bringing the score to 2-1.
The hosts were not through, though, and a fantastic interception and a superb piece of individual skill from Olivia Thomas saw her break into the attacking circle. Drawing the keeper out and forcing her to ground, Thomas coolly lifted the ball into the goal to put the Dragons 3-1 up. The students continued to test the hosts, finding spaces for long balls through the middle of the pitch. However, the tight marking by Sophie Thomas, Shelly Seaman and Karen O’Neil-Simpson meant that there was very little to aim for, and allowed player of the match Sarah Jenkins free reign to cut off the direct route to goal. The hosts played some smart possession hockey to eat up the clock and the whistle brought with it a well-deserved victory.
After a tough season, the grit, determination and tenacity shown by the squad bodes well for next year. While it was unfortunate that the team could not find this recent form earlier in the season, the squad will look to build on this heading into next season and are already eyeing up the Division 1N title.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League, Division 2
Norwich Dragons Ladies 6s v Lowestoft Railway 2s: 4-0
A cloudy but mild day at the den saw the crowds gather to cheer on the 6’s in their top of the table title clash against Lowestoft Railway. Having lost 4-0 to Lowestoft earlier in the season and knowing only a win would do, Captain Woodsy, fuelled by RedBull, gathered her dragons for the last pre match team talk of the season and fired them up.
The Dragons started strong with some early attempts on goal just falling short but they kept the pressure on throughout the first half. Dragons held most of the possession with Floss, Coco, Clara and Harriet all strong in the midfield and Anita distributing balls to the forwards and the first goal soon came for Gemma.
The forward line of Gemma, Jane, Amy and Jemima continued to challenge Lowestoft, with a cross from Gemma finding Jemima perfectly positioned on the left to slot it home for a second and then Gemma with another to make it 3 just before half time.
Dragons continued to be the dominant team in the second half with every player giving it their all. Lowestoft did look dangerous on the counter attack and won a couple of short corners, but with the 6’s defensive line up of Kate, Hannah, Jen and Jade all staying strong and confident we were soon back pressing Lowestoft and attacking again. With a succession of short corners being awarded to the dragons, but not being able to find the goal, the final goal eventually fell to Anita (literally the ball fell out of the sky) for her to expertly reverse volley onto the backboard with great cheer from all. Kate was finally unleashed from her castle at the back for the last 5 minutes to have a play up front and made an excellent run up the right.
The final whistle blew. An excellent performance to end the season on which crowned the SuperSixes CHAMPIONS!
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League, Division 3
Norwich Dragons Ladies 7s v Norwich City 7s: 4-0
Dragons completed the seasonal double over their ‘derby’ rivals to secure second place in Division 3 and are keeping everything crossed this will be enough to secure them promotion. This was almost a re-run of the away game at City, with two goals in each half and this time Mia McGhee being the hat-trick hero. But this time, the goal difference was better because their much improved goalkeeper Emma Northie North kept another very tidy and competent clean sheet. A super way for her to end her season.
This was a good advertisement for Division 3 hockey, with both teams using the squad players who have served them so well this season and giving it everything they had in a very sporting game. Dragons are at their best when they build their attacks from the back, quickly and with plenty of ball speed. Their first came from Bridget Le Good to Maisie Dearmer up to Claire Fairhurst and then Jess Vernon, whose shot was very smartly picked up on the rebound by Mia. Jess was in the mood to run and work hard and she can claim three assists and was very unlucky not to score herself. Emma Dyer and Lily Crew (defenders) also contributed to the quick balls down the line, and were very sharp in picking off the City raiders as they tried to make progress down the wings. City were, in fact, more dangerous through the middle but Louise Brooksy Brooks and Esme Mackinnon-Evans were tackling well at the top and bottom of the diamond. Top class consistent performances are routine each week for Brooksy, and she turned in another against City. When she had to go off with an injury, Maisie and Esme showed their growing confidence by taking responsibility for ‘top and bottom’ and making sure Dragons weathered something of a City storm.
The second half brought Maisie up to her tenacious best, and with a whole hatful of players getting POM votes, she edged it. Brooksy was able to come back, and another slick move from back to front saw a neat pass from Jess find Claire who swept home. No-one deserves her goals more and in a second half ‘action replay’ from the away game, ‘Claire scored a beauty from that little space off the near post that she works so well’ and the 7s should find a way of exploiting that in future.
Meanwhile Mia was bombing along down the right and was always looking to attack. She completed her hat-trick and could have doubled it as she worked on her sharpness and accuracy. She was fed some excellent passes by Becky Gallagher, another player who has notably improved her all-round game since Christmas. Sophie Drew got in some good pitch time and is working her way back after injuries and illness and she made a good contribution.
Dragons are now looking to prove themselves against the likes of Loddon at their strongest, and even working hard in training to keep pace with the brilliant 6s. They still need to work on being first to the ball, keeping up the ball speed and not giving the ball away. But they have had an exceptional season, perhaps being a dark horse for promotion and steadily building their reputation for being a difficult team to beat, particularly thanks to some exceptionally skilful coaching in the second half of the season. Now is the time to celebrate coming through the tough times, looking back on some really enjoyable hockey, some great fun and brilliant team spirit. Well done Claire and the 15 or so regular Super Sevens, and the talented players who have gone onwards and upwards. You can all be proud of yourselves!
Empress Norfolk Women’s League, Division 3
Norwich Dragons Ladies 8s v Carrow 2s: 0-1
POM jointly shared between Nic Harrison, Tracy Stuart-Sheppard, Mia Somers and Katy Cole.
Dragons may have started this game thinking that the opposition that they beat previously, would be another simple defeat. However, it was obvious from the beginning that Carrow 2 were keen to up the ante and included two strong players to help the team. It seemed that the Dragons lost some of their confidence in the first half and were not able to match the determination of their opposition until the second half when they were given some firm advice from coach Mike who knew that the 8’s had enough fight in them to equalise in the second half and give as good as they got. Dragons raised their stakes and put in some valiant efforts in the second half but still struggled to score.
8’s newcomer straight up form Dev’s and only 13 years old but has the confidence and will of a much more experienced player, Mia Somers gave a cracking debut performance! With her speed and determination, the score line would surely have been much higher if not was not for her skill. One to watch for the ladies teams.
Jo Baker as centre back was fabulous as always and the defence worked very well with her leadership. Jo gave great direction and continued to take some epic 16 yard hit outs going into some great spaces, she also made good use of the defenders when they were free to pass to.
Johanne Steward as right back, worked super hard to fend off the fast Carrow forwards and took some impressive side line hits.
Anna Chapman as left back, she was quick to the ball and made some firm hits up the wing, played lovely and confidently and was a force to be reckoned with.
Louise ‘Bondy’ Bond as bottom of the diamond – it was great to have her back with the 8’s. Bondy took some fierce free hits and put herself in was in some great positions to receive the ball.
Tracy Stuart-Sheppard as right mid. Played excellently, great work output, always quick for side line hits and didn’t any waste time in attacking. Made some powerful tackles several times and didn’t give up! Tracey also gave good positive affirmation to players when they did something well.
Nic Harrison, left mid. Always reliable, also never gives up. Great work output. Has good speed and grit.
Captain Katy Cole – Top of the diamond. Made some great interceptions that resulted in gaining the ball on several occasions. Tacked well and made some good passes to available players.
Emma Fielding – played both right mid and covered as centre back. Emma has great speed and is fearless when she attack. Emma confidently took some good hit outs resulting in the mids driving the ball up the pitch.
Kim Brenchley – right forward and half right mid. Kim worked hard and showed determination, got in to some great spaces ready to receive the ball. .
Emma Young – always has her eye on the ball and takes direction well. Always determined and fought hard to score but was thwarted by the Carrow goal keeper.
Shaniece Claxton played centre forward – worked hard, tackled well and made some great passes to her fellow forwards to try and get around the Carrow strong defence.
Sadie Jacobs as left forward, she ran rings around the defence by constantly moving position whilst in the D – the defence did not like this. Sadie worked hard to gain possession of the ball and had a couple of shots at goal but they were not quite on target.
Next week is the last game of the season – the 8’s need to be confident, have faith in their abilities – continue to post up and go to the ball, on to on too many occasions we are still waiting for the ball to come to us, especially in the first half. We can’t afford to do this next week.
We need to show Dereham that we DO have grit up front and we are NOT afraid to get in the D and smack it! We can do it ladies – believe in yourself and give it your absolute all for the last game of the season. We can win if we continue to apply what we have learned in training, protect the middle, use the width and post up!
Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 2s v IES 3s: 3-0
Men’s 2nds finish on a high beating IES3 3-0 (2-0 HT) in a dead rubber at the den ending the season in fourth place. Alex Browne put dragons in front early courtesy of a rare outfield goal, then later doubled the lead via a more traditional short corner strike. IES3 rarely threatened and Alex Browne secured the points midway through the second half via another short corner. Dragons keeper, felt like arsenal’s Peter czech – finally grabbing a clean sheet! MOM Ed Murphy with DOD going to Olly Buck for breaking his stick then shinguard/shin before and during the game.
Men’s East Hockey League, Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 5s v Ipswich Cranes 1s: 3-1