Senior League 4, Donaghadee LHC v Rainey Ladies L1-0
Donaghadee welcomed Rainey LHC to a Crommelin Park bathed in bright and warm sunshine last Saturday in their latest league fixture. Rainey is a newly formed team, and there is a general thought that they are destined for a higher league than their current Senior 4, but that’s for the future. The task for these girls was how they were going to cope with Donaghadee’s gravel pitch, and the test for Donaghadee was going to be to see how they could measure up to supposedly one of the better teams in the league.
An interesting proposition then. Donaghadee had all personnel available for this game, and it was great to have a sub on the sideline too – a luxury captain Jen McVeigh hasn’t had too many times this season. Coach Brian McKee shifted things around a little this week, with Lisa Higgins pushing into midfield and Nina Wells dropping back to partner Jen and Natasha Cameron in defence, in front of Teagan Greer in goals. The defence worked really well as a unit, with the midfield of Lisa, Ali Lawther, Katie Drummond, Ali Gordon and Carmen van der Schyff pressing and rushing the Rainey attack, and despite their movement in midfield, the visitors didn’t really have too many opportunities in the circle. When they did, Teagan was equal to the task, making a couple of really good stops to keep the score level. Rainey broke late in the first half and a high shot, which was heading goalward, was met by a Rainey stick in something akin to a tennis shot Rafa Nadal would have been proud of, but which I’m not too sure is in the rule books of the Ulster Hockey Union. Despite queries raised from the home umpire, the goal was allowed to stand. 1-0 to Rainey.
The second half continued in much the same vain, with the visitors getting more and more frustrated – vocally so – at Donaghadee’s tight defence. Jackie McKee and Kerrie Turtle led the defence from the front, closing down the Rainey rearguard where they could, and despite a couple of late crosses, were unable to equalise. Brian had the girls working on defence in training before this match, and it really showed, as they closed ranks and defended for all they were worth against a team who had been storming past others in this league with 3-0 and 5-0 wins. All in all, a 1-0 loss courtesy only of a dubious goal was not a bad result, and the girls can be pleased with the execution of the tactics set out by Brian.
In a league which is incredibly close this year, with the lead and subsequent positions changing almost on a weekly basis, Donaghadee are only one win away from catapulting themselves back up to the top half of the table, and a visit to free-scoring, third placed Ballycastle on Saturday would be the perfect time to get those three points – come on the Dee!
The order is about to be placed for new tracksuits and skorts, so could every player please make sure Carolyn knows what sizes they need. Fees are now also due for every player, so please see Lisa to get your dues sorted. For all this, and more information on the club, please visitwww.DonaghadeeLHC.co.uk.