It is usually with some trepidation that I have to approach these match reports, because one of the joys of Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club is their power to test any observer’s ability to find one hundred different ways of saying ‘We lost, but we tried hard…’.
Well, dear reader, this is not going to be one of those reports. On what was possibly one of the worst days of rain we’ve had this year (and given the summer we’ve had, that’s saying something), Donaghadee travelled the short distance to Ashfield Girls High School on the Holywood Road to play Malone on the superb new astroturf pitch there. Fielding possibly their strongest team available, Donaghadee set up with a slightly different formation from that which they’ve been used to in previous years, but one which played to their attacking strengths. Right from the first whistle, Donaghadee pressed and harried the home defence, and within a couple of minutes, had won a free outside on the right. Using the new self-pass to great effect, the Dee attack caught Malone on the back foot, and the cross was met superbly by Jackie McKee on the back post. 1-0 to the Dee.
The score remained that for the rest of that half and after a quick turn around in the still-driving rain, Donaghadee were immediately back on the attack. Having won a series of penalty corners – probably more than they won all last season – Carolyn Scott slotted in goal number 2 in the bottom corner with a direct shot from the top of the circle. With new recruit Ally Lawthor, sitting just in front of the defensive unit of Lisa Higgins, Jen McVeigh and Natasha, mopping up and distributing the ball beautifully to her fellow midfielders Nina Wells, Katie Drummond and Carmen, Donaghadee were looking solid – and dare I say it – confident. They were perhaps caught a little high when a through ball from Malone’s defence found a lone forward who duly finished well. 2-1. In previous seasons, when faced with such a scenario, Dee have more often than not not been able to see a game out, but this time they were able to settle themselves and get stuck back into the task in hand. Carolyn on right wing was finding some joy with plenty of space in behind her marker and was able to get in a number of crosses which were being snapped up by Kerrie Pearson at centre forward. She was able to convert two of these shots to make the final score 4-1 to the Dee.
Special mention should be made for Teagan Greer who was making her debut in goal for Donaghadee. Having only tried the pads and kickers on for the first time a couple of weeks ago, Teagan has impressed everyone at the club with her shot-stopping and decision making, and she did not disappoint on Saturday, making several well timed saves. A regular at training, Teagan has been more than willing to learn from the expert coaching on offer, and has the potential to be a really good goalkeeper with a little work and practice.
Next game is at home to College Hill, pass back 2.30pm. Training continues for all seniors on Monday evenings from 7pm and Wednesdays 7.30-9pm, and we will be ordering kit fairly shortly, so it is important for everyone to come to training to get this sorted. Junior training for girls aged 10-14 continues from 6.30-7.30pm – all girls of this age are welcome.