Senior League 4: Donaghadee 2-2 Instonians
Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club kicked off their 2011/12 Senior League 4 campaign last Saturday when they welcomed Instonians 1sts to a warm, sun-bathed Crommelin Park. Despite the prolonged rain in the days leading up to the game, the pitch was in excellent condition although the lines did require some pre-match attention from club captain Carolyn Scott.
The Dee won pass back and it didn’t take long before the girls in red were threatening the Instonians’ circle. Finding some joy down the right, it was from one such attack that resulted in the first score of the game. Carolyn found room to get a cross in and Kerrie, just as practised in training, managed to tip her stick and direct the ball looping over the helpless Inst keeper’s head. 1-0 to the Dee. Instonians weren’t long in asserting some pressure of their own, and as was the story for much of the game, the play swung from end to end. With Nina Wells and Lisa Higgins protecting Teegan Greer in goal, several Inst attacks were well thwarted, with the midfield of newcomer Leona Wells, last season’s Player of the Year Ali Lawther and youngster Natasha Cameron helping the defence to break up the visitors’ play.
The Dee defence was caught napping just before half time however, and a ball across the face of the Dee goal was well swept in by an Instonians forward. Half-time 1-1 and everything to play for. Pleased with how the ball was being spread around, and with the passing moves starting to link up, Donaghadee began the second half with renewed vigour, with the belief that they could indeed get something from this game. Young defender Hannah McAdam came on to replace Leona Wells in the second half after a solid club debut from the younger Wells sister. Shortly after the restart however, an Inst forward unleashed an unstoppable shot which whistled past Teegan’s head. 2-1 to the visitors.
Donaghadee weren’t done yet and, with Connie Singleton and Carmen van der Schyff linking up well on the left, the Dee continued to ask questions of the visitors’ defence. It was a through ball from midfield from the tireless Katie Donnelly which found Kerrie one on one with the Inst keeper. The centre forward made no mistake and coolly slotted the ball home to make it two apiece. The Dee then spent a spell peppering the Instonians’ circle with crosses which unfortunately weren’t converted, but what was encouraging was the eagerness of the midfield and forwards to keep pressing the attacking circle right until the final whistle. With Siobhan McAdam coming on following Ali L’s withdrawal through injury, enforcing a couple of positional changes, the game became strecthed in midfield and Instonians finished the game strongly but the Dee were able to hold on for a well earned point.
Captain Carolyn Scott was happy with the draw: “I am really pleased with how the girls played today. Instonians are a strong team who have caused us problems in the past and for us to get a point in our opening fixture in what will be a tough league this year, I’m happy with that. We have a number of new players coming in so there will be some bedding in time as we try to find the best positions for everyone, but with the new faces at Senior Training and the record numbers turning up for the first Junior Training session last week, the season has started very positively for us.”
Many thanks to Mike for umpiring and to Stephen Bailie Estate Agents for sponsoring the match ball. The next game is away to Bangor this weekend – see the website www.DonaghadeeLHC.co.uk,www.facebook.com/DonaghadeeLHC or Twitter @DonaghadeeLHC for more details on the match and all other club info.