After their convincing 3-0 win over Ballynure Ladies Hockey Club a couple of weeks ago in which winger Jackie McKee upped her goal tally by two, and Nina Wells got herself on the scoresheet thanks to a well worked penalty corner, Donaghadee LHC were looking to build on those very valuable three points with a visit to the Dee by Newry Olympic last Saturday. Things did not look good first thing on Saturday morning with a late cry off due to illness by Ali Gordon but captain Jen McVeigh opted to go ahead and play the game with 10 players anyway. It turned out to be a fine decision as Newry made the trip down on numbers too, so each team lined up a player short. With regular goal scoring centre forward Kerrie Turtle away on holiday, right winger Carolyn Scott took to the centre of the pitch and it didn’t take long before she found herself through the Newry defence with only the sweeper and keeper to beat. Mis-control and a poor shot kept Newry safe, but shortly after, a clearance through the centre of the pitch from Jen McVeigh (her first direct assist this season?!) found the forward free in the same situation. No mistake made this time, and the ball was duly dispatched into the far corner. 1-0.
Newry hit back very quickly, winning their only penalty corner of the game, and sweeper Tara McShane – who has previously guested for the Dee on several occasions – struck a sweet shot which left the Dee defence flat footed. It’ll be a while before she’s asked back! All level again. In what was an entertaining game of hockey, and fairly end to end stuff with both teams exploiting the extra space created from being 10 apiece, Donaghadee were having more joy in attack and it wasn’t long before Jackie McKee took advantage of some static defending from Newry. Again, the away side didn’t take long to respond, and it was 2-2 fairly quickly. Despite the two goals, coach Brian McKee was happy with how the defence played as a unit, with Nina and Jen both mopping things up nicely in the middle, and the two full backs Orla and Jenny providing ample cover when needed.
Jackie McKee continued her rich vein of scoring with a fine individual effort which saw her dribble along the back line, eliminate the keeper and finish off her move with a reverse stick tap in – a fitting goal to round off a match in which a draw may have been a fair result, but which Donaghadee will be very pleased for the three points. Special mention should go to Katie Drummond, who seemed to be everywhere on the pitch, and Carmen van der Schuyff who, playing in the second striker role, had possibly her best game yet for the Dee with one particularly sweet reverse stick cross springing to mind.
On two points before the Ballynure game, these 6 points have the potential to lift the Dee up to mid-table when everything is totted up, with their goal difference considerably better than the several other teams who are also on 8 points. Next game is at home to Ballynahinch on Saturday, and as has been seen from the trouble Jen has had getting players for the last few matches, all members of the club are asked to make a big effort to make training and to be available for matches. Ballot tickets for the grand draw in December are selling well, and any member of the club will be delighted to avail you of some, so please ask any of them. Details of the prizes and everything else club related can be found on the club’s website www.donaghadeelhc.co.uk.