|Team||Date||Opposition||H/A||Time||Score||Scorers||Player of Match|
Women’s East Hockey League, Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 1s v Ipswich 1s: 1-3
After a frustrating loss to City of Peterborough the week before, Dragons Ladies 1s were keen to make amends and take something from the visiting Ipswich team. Unfortunately, with a last-minute injury to star striker Stacey Lee, the team was down to 12 players against the visitors’ 15. In the warm autumn sun, it was going to be a tough match.
Dragons started strongly, moving the ball well around the pitch and especially round the defensive line up of Lou Murray, Sarah Jenkins, Holly Reding and Sophie Thomas. Whereas last season, Ipswich had found space in the midfield, Liv Thomas, Lara Taylor, Lucy Ripman and Hannah Philips worked tirelessly in the first half to ensure that the opposition could not open up any room down the middle of the pitch. Dragons fought hard but couldn’t quite break into the opposition D.
A loss of possession in the middle of the pitch led to an Ipswich break just before half time. The Ipswich forward ran along the base line and slipped the ball past Siobhan Cleeve in goal to take the them 1-0 up at half time.
Dragons continued to look strong on the ball and their passing game was looking sharp in the early part of the second half. The defence picked out any marauding attackers and Holly Reding and Sarah Jenkins looked strong in the centre of the pitch, picking out the pass before it could reach the Ipswich forwards. Cleeve pulled out some brilliant saves as well, denying Ipswich the opportunity of extending their lead. Unfortunately, Ipswich won a short corner and despite a strong first save from the Dragons’ keeper, we couldn’t keep out the shot that came from the second phase and Ipswich moved 2-0 up.
The forward line of Hayley Toleman, Katie Taubman and Katy Hands, who had been putting in a lot of leg work throughout the game, penetrated the Ipswich defence on several occasions in the second half. Some excellent Dragons passing found Hannah Philips in the middle of the pitch, who slipped it left to Taubman. Taubman drove hard along the base line and won a penalty corner. The initial strike was saved by the Ipswich keeper but Taubman managed to follow up and slipped it into the back of the net, moving the score to 2-1.
Dragons kept their fighting spirit alive and some fierce performances from Lara Taylor, Liv Thomas, Hannah Philips and Lou Murray (who went on to win player of the match) in midfield ensured the Norwich team stayed in the game. Unfortunately, tired legs got the better of us and Ipswich again drove along the base line, this time passing it back to a waiting forward, who scored to take the final score to 3-1.
Dragons battled throughout this game and there are a lot of positives to be taken from their performance. Next week, the ladies will be looking to capitalise on these strengths and take 3 points from St. Albans.
Women’s East Hockey League, Division 2NE
Norwich Dragons Ladies 2s v Dereham 2s: 1-2
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League, Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 3s v Loddon 1s: 2-1
Norwich Dragons Ladies 3rd Team travelled away for the third week running, this week to the very hot climate of Loddon, knowing this fixture is always a tricky and tough encounter. Dragons started strongly creating many early attempts at goal, which resulted in a flick being awarded for a foot clearance on the line. Lucy Morton calmly stepped up and converted the penalty flick with great confidence, 1-0 to Dragons. Dragons relentless attack was held at bay by Loddon packing the D and opportunities were squandered, including hitting the crossbar, so the score remained 1-0 to Dragons at half time.
Dragons began the second half again dominating play with a very good high press, created by good communication throughout the team. However, Loddon managed to gain a short corner in one of a handful of times that the ball entered the Dragons half, which they managed to convert levelling the score to 1 – 1.
The Loddon goal ignited dragons fire to attack with more aggression resulting in a second goal from some great quick passing from the left to the top of the D, onto Katie Mckenna who made a brilliant layoff for Katie Hale, player of the match, to step in and put the ball away into the Loddon goal. More opportunities were still further created but not converted by Dragons, so the game finished with a 2-1 win for Dragons.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League, Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 4s v Dereham 3s: 1-2
Dragons started brightly on an unexpectedly summery game at the Den. Several forays into the Dereham circle, a result of the width demanded by coach Wolfe, produced some saves from the keeper and asked questions of the Dereham defence. In particular, Dragons held such a tight press that Dereham couldn’t help but give the ball back. From one of these turnovers Caroline Wolfe converted with a direct strike.
The Dragons midfield, the experienced Lynne Price and Trish Hagan blended with the youthful exuberance of Catherine Matthews and Aditi Naik, backed up by the free ranging force of nature Vicky Earley, worked to close down Dereham and create the space to play through. Lisa Harwood, Lucy Buxton, Caroline Wolfe and Gina Hunt worked tirelessly into the channels and combining well but though chances were numerous, further goals were elusive.
Dereham did have their moments and the defensive cover held with smart interceptions and timely tackles from Bella Capps, Jemima Williams, Amelia Smith and Sarah Wagstaff. This was not to remain the case as Dereham won a short, which was slickly converted. Moments later Dereham broke again but could not beat the impressive Kat Spiers who made a couple of smart saves.
Half-time – Dragons 1 Dereham 1
The second half was played in a similar vein to the first, Dragons moved the ball well, all units combining and Dereham playing a counter attacking game. Despite their pressure Dragons couldn’t convert and were very unlucky on several occasions. It took a well taken reverse strike from Dereham to break the deadlock and ultimately all three points.
It is still early days for this newly formed Dragons team. Each game the teamwork is getting better and the resilience is amazing. There is a lovely mix of youth, experience, skill and determination. The leadership of coach Monsieur Wolfe and Captain Harwood and a little bit of the elusive luck with ensure we start getting the points we deserve.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League, Premier Division
Norwich Dragons Ladies 5s v Magpies 4s: 2-1
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League, Division 2
Norwich Dragons Ladies 6s v Hornets 1s: 2-1
Ladies 6s travelled to Hornets for an early morning fixture. With lots of change to the team – new captain Hannah Woods outlined the plans for the game. A lot of emphasis was put on defending the castle as we knew that Hornets would have some strong hits from dead ball situations.
With lots of support and encouragement on the sidelines from Mike, Anita, Jemima, Gill and the Walker twin the 6s started well. They dominated possession from the off, the mid-field quartet of Hannah Edwards, Jade Blanchflower, Beth Elgood and Sue Brumby worked tirelessly to pick up loose balls and drive at the hornets defence. However, they were solid, stepping out of the D and making crucial tackles to stop the Dragons drive.
The introduction of debutant Floss Andrews and Louise Brooks to the mid added a lot of intensity to the press with some very clean and precise passing – something that has been growing in the 6s all season.
The forward line of Gemma Ballard, Harriett Rant, Jane Wells and Jess Vernon worked hard to move the hornets defence but the first half ended goalless.
Mike offered some great words of wisdom at halftime to help us move an in-form hornets keeper to create some shooting angles. Beth Elgood took one of these opportunity early in the second half after some tireless midfield work from POM Sue Brumby, Beth drove off the ball into the D to sweep home the baseline cross from Harriet Rant. Fantastic works and a much deserved goal for Beth.
The press continued – the Gemma Ballard finding herself with time and space in the D to fire in a slightly lift strike at goal wrong-footing the keeper 2-0!
Hornets fought to come back, with the defensive line of Jen Buskell, Kate Atkins, Hannah Woods and keeper Tilly Connors-Beckett seeing more action in the second half. Tilly making some crucial saves. However, hornets took their chance after splitting the defence clawed back a goal to bring the score to 2-1.
Dragons dug deep. With Beth Elgood, Jade Blanchflower, Hannah Edwards and Sue Brumby all supporting the defence to maintain their 2-1 lead.
Another win secured and another promising performance from a versatile ladies 6s team!
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League, Division 3
Norwich Dragons Ladies 7s v Carrow 2s: 3-1
Dragons recorded their fourth consecutive win to stay on top of the division. They can be pleased with a fact that it was an improved performance from last week, with multiple raids on the Carrow goal and dozens of shots. But, even paying tribute to Johanne Barker, who had an excellent game in the Carrow goal, it has to be said that too many shots were weak or off target, and no first time sweeps or deflections were executed.
Dragons started quietly, even tentatively, as they absorbed the impact of players in new positions and players returning. The mids were pressing strongly, and in their keenness to get into the D they often tended to carry the ball too far and were picked off in the circle before they could get a shot away. So it was a big relief when the ball was collected by Adelice Kraemer at the top of the circle and she forced the ball home.
Minutes later, Carrow were awarded a penalty corner and although the first shot was intercepted, Carrow showed the greater desire to get to the ball first and rocketed the goal into the top corner. It was the first goal the Dragons had conceded this season, and keeper Emily Roper made sure there were no more. Carrow 2s perform far better than their lowly league position suggests, with two or three players combining physicality with good stick skills – enough to keep the 7s defence on their toes. The 7s defence are pretty reliable, perming three from four players, with Katy Saide, Emma Dyer and Hattie Gale sweeping up all threats from wide player. Moving Stella Windsor Waite to the bottom of the diamond gave this young player the opportunity to show just how well she reads the game and she distributed the ball beautifully as she initiated attacks – and then had the speed to get back to defend. Stella got the player of the match vote for the second game running.
At centre back, Bridget Le Good’s strong hits were firing accurately and gave the 7s a lot of territory when they found Maisie Dearmer, Sophie Drew and Stevie Spencer in right or left mid half way up the pitch, or Esme McKinnon-Evans at the top of the diamond. This midfield has plenty of pace, and picking up the ball cleanly mounted waves of attacks. Esme was awarded the second goal. She had taken a snap shot at the top of the circle which took a couple of bounces and a Carrow stick on the way in. Despite some polite protests, Esme was definitely in the circle. The third was scored by Sophie Drew who carried the ball across the circle and deceived the keeper. Adelice was playing on the right, Claire Fairhurst in the centre and Alice Bishop on the left, and all three of them had several shots well saved.
So, the lessons learned were that the 7s must not take their territorial superiority and possession for granted. More practice at shooting skills, particularly with defenders in place is needed to increase the determination to get to the ball first. In training we don’t want to be putting our players at risk, but the attack (whether the forwards or mids) need to be a lot more positive in the circle.
We need to introduce variety in our play, sometimes forcing hard crosses into the circle from just over the 23, where Claire, Alice and Adelice will pick them off. Then at other times, a more patient build up looking to work in the ball in – Stevie and Claire set great examples of unselfish running, getting ahead into good positions. Yes, sometimes they do this to draw defenders out, but they need to be used too for shooting. Adelice is at her tricksy best when she moves into the middle in front of the keeper and can fool anyone with her stick skills. Claire is a master at threading the ball through, and more goals will come from this combination with practice.
The 7s, with their blend of youth with speed and experience with guile, can go into the break quietly pleased with themselves but not complacent. In fact, we don’t want a two week break because we are concerned about losing the momentum as we try to sharpen our cutting edge. Every player in the squad knows she did her best this week and the Dragons’ tails are up ready for some tougher teams in the second quarter.
Empresa Norfolk Women’s League, Division 3
Norwich Dragons Ladies 8s v Loddon 2s: 0-8
Ladies 8’s player of the match – Tenacious-N (Nic Harrison)
Well we always knew that this was going to be a tough one! Even prior to the match Captain Katy and Vice-Captain Jo strategized to tweak the usual formation to a 3-2-2.5-2.5 to make the eights defence heavy instead of the usual central diamond formation. Doubling the bottom of the diamond position, Tracy Shepard-Stuart and Becky Gallagher worked tirelessly to drive the ball wide and out of the danger zone. Communication between them was fantastic as was their accuracy and speed to re-set. Goalkeeper Emma North gains in confidence with each practice and game and made some spectacular saves and on occasions sliding tackles which went a long way to keeping the score in single figures. Yet again her directions from the goal mouth proved valuable to all in the pitch especially when a sneaky attacker slipped nearer the goal-line.
The defence team lead by Jo Baker who continues to make some amazing hit outs to the waiting wingers, also provides great vocals and advice and drove them to keep the see-saw line, apparently 8’s would be lost without her (thanks Captain Katy for the compliment)! Right defender Johanne Steward continues to gain in confidence and speed and produced some fantastic tackles. Jess Lockwood swapped effortlessly to provide cover for both defence and bottom of the diamond players she is also gaining in confidence with tackling and is learning to read the game well. Anna Chapman utilised her long legs and speed to push up higher to successfully tackle and apply pressure on the on-coming Loddon attack. Development graduate Maddie gave an energetic, enthusiastic and speedy performance all match confirming what a fantastic addition to the team she is.
Player of the match Nic “Tenacious-N” Harrison earnt her numerous nominations by just not giving up! Once again Nic made some fantastic drives up the wings and tackled brilliantly which resulted in us being awarded some short corners! Nic has also proved that she is No. 1 choice for short corner injecting, where are accuracy improves week on week. Fellow wingers Sophie and Emma Fielding provided additional pace and energy and both players have continued to grow in confidence, you really can’t tell that one has just come from the development squad and the other hadn’t picked up a hockey stick before the beginning of the season! Captain Katy once again proved to be a stalwart in the top of the diamond position, successfully tackling the opposition and driving the ball to the waiting forwards or out to the wingers.
Forwards Sadie Jacobs and Lois Metcalf had a bit of a thankless task this week but both made sure they were fully involved in the game. Lois feistily received the ball during short corners, reads the game brilliantly and tackles well. Lois also showed how communication can benefit a player’s game. Sadie worked well to find the space unfortunately there weren’t many opportunities when she could optimise this skill (SO close with that goal, it will happen).
So what’s next for this band of #awesomeeights? Well important things first we are deciding when and where the Christmas social is going to be! Due to the size of the league we now have two slip weeks (dam, we’ve only just got going)! BUT! WE WILL NOT GIVE UP! The marking has improved drastically but still requires some improvement as does the communication and vocalisation. We need to continue to “press” the opposition and practice short corners so we can hopefully convert them and get that annoying spherical thing called a ball across the white line!
Men’s East Hockey League, Division 2N
Norwich Dragons Men’s 1s v Horncastle 1s: 7-4
Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 2s v Norwich City 4s: 4-3
Top of the table with a 100% record, Dragons 2s returned home for the first of their four games against local rivals Norwich City.
With the sun shining it wasn’t long before the game too heated up. After a solid if unspectacular start Dragons fell behind to a disputed penalty corner. Was there an attacking foot, no said the unpires after a meeting in the D. Dragons are too long in the tooth to let this sort of thing get to them and soon they were back on level terms after the worst 16 in the history of hockey saw the city centre back pass to Cley Hamilton on the p-spot. With City in disarray Dragons took the lead through Max Laming from the narrowest of angles. Seeing the keeper covering the near post he hit it at the nearest City defender who kindly dispatched it into his own net.
Shortly after the resumption Dragons extended their lead through Brown with a trademark howitzer from a short corner. The second half saw temperatures continue to rise both on and off the pitch, and as the mercury reached 25oC a flurry of cards appeared. Chris Simmonds was sent for a coll down for disputing one too many decisions, swiftly followed by a city player for the same offense. City then down to 9 as another player failed to retreat 5 as wolf powered towards the D. Dragons fourth and decisive goal came from a penalty stroke dispatched by the ever reliable Rich Gill after a mazy run from Alex Brown once more beffuddled the City defense with only a large size 11 on the line stopping Simmonds from finishing it off.
City scored a consolation flick in the last minute after Gill was harshly adjudged to have fouled deliberatly at a short corner, but it made no difference to the inevitable outcome.
Dragons march on played 4 won 4 after giving city 4s what for.
Men’s East Hockey League, Division 3NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 3s v Sudbury 2s: 5-2
Men’s East Hockey League Division 4NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 4s v Pelicans 3s: 4-4
Norwich Dragons men’s 4th team set off in the sunshine to play Pelicans 3rd team in what turned out to be an 8 goal thriller. Dragons were pleased to have 13 players travelling to play as it was clear at the start of the game that Pelicans had fielded a strong team with a good combination of youth and experience. The Dragons with a similar mix of players made a slow start with Pelicans scoring an excellent goal after about 10 minutes. Dragons then settled into the game better with some hard work up front. Rob Chaney Baxter (RCB) dribbled into the D and slotted a delightful reverse flick to beat the goal keeper and draw level at half time. Both teams stated the 2nd half with lots of endeavour to try and get the lead with Pelicans putting a lot of pressure on the Dragons goal with some great saves from Tom Mclean and the rock solid defending from the experienced Paul Keating, Jon Price, Peter Davison and debutant Lloyd Wade. Pellies went ahead, but Dragons soon rallied with an amazing top left corner drag flick from McCartney Aldous from a short corner. The youngsters in the midfield and upfront carried on working tirelessly trying to get in front and Jordan Hambling, also playing his first game for the 4s was brave to challenge a crossed ball and put it in the back of the net before their keeper could react. Pelicans pressed and pressed sending their influential players higher up the pitch and equalised shortly after despite some resolute defending. They went 4-3 in front with about 5 minutes left in a well contested game. Johnny Taylor, Sol Blazer and RCB working hard to regain possession with RCB running into the D and heading towards goal before he was fouled. Dragons wanted a penalty flick but were awarded a short corner which was blocked and came out to Johnny on the edge of the D. Johnny took aim and smacked the ball towards goal to keep up his 100% scoring record since joining the team. 4-4 was the final result.
Men’s East Hockey League, Division 5NE
Norwich Dragons Men’s 5s v Watton 1s: 0-11
Dragons started brightly and competed with Watton for the first 20 minutes, unfortunately once Watton got the lead they didnt look back and kicked on. Harry Williams worked hard up front, putting in a great shift in the 2nd Half to earn him the MOM award. Thanks to Matt for stepping into gaol following Joel’s injury, other notable performances were Dan Ryan for trying to stem the flow through the middle of the pitch & Shiv who never stopped running, until he got a stick round his ankles!
Men’s East Hockey League, Division 6NE(N)
Norwich Dragons Men’s 6s v Pelicans 4s: 1-2
After the break the match resumed at the same high tempo it had been played at, with Josh Bingham asserting himself in midfield and making some decisive runs into the Pelicans circle. The pressure became obvious as Pelicans reverted to falling back into their own half and at every opportunity, blasting the ball down field rather than working it out with passes. Our speed and fitness really showed in the final 10 minutes and we had a succession of penalty corners. So much so that the Pelicans goalkeeper needed to produce some outstanding saves to stop us scoring.
Unfortunately Dragons were unable to make the breakthrough to draw the match and the final result was a narrow 1-2 defeat. This was another really good team performance despite the result. Once again everyone gave 100% and the mixture of young and old players is really starting to gel. I’m sure Owain Hall must be very proud of Issac Diver-Hall to come in to mens hockey and have such a great first game. Especially against a very experienced and aggressive side, as a few Dragons found out to their cost. Bobby Sheppard and Darryl Robinson being but two recipients of some hard stick tackles that didn’t connect with a Dragons stick….The progress this group are making game by game is a joy to be part of and I know the floodgates will open for our goal scoring shortly. Next week against City would be nice!
For an excellent debut into the world of adult hockey and some skilful play through the whole game, Issac Diver-Hall was awarded man of the match.
Dragons Dev Boys A v : 6-4
Dragons Dev Boys B v
Dragons Dev Girls v :0-2