With spring having sprung and the grass having riz, the hockey season is usually well over by this stage of the year, but the snow of last December knocked the entire match programme of the Ulster Hockey Union out of kilter and is the reason Donaghadee are still playing fixtures rearranged from earlier in the 10/11 season. Having played Cooke only a couple of weeks ago in what should have been the final game of the season and which they lost, Donaghadee were looking to bounce back and get something from the return fixture at the Valley Leisure Centre last Saturday.
Travelling with a sub this week, captain Jen McVeigh had almost her strongest team to choose from, with only Katie Drummond missing from midfield. With Cooke well in the top half of the table and Donaghadee not, this was always going to be a tough fixture. The teams lined up in bright sunshine – all the better to see and admire the fantastic new kit which Donaghadee finally took delivery of and which looks just gorgeous! It’s been a while in coming, but the players who joined the club this season were finally able to pull on their Donaghadee tracksuits and, with sponsorship arranged with Ards Fireplaces, new tops and skorts for the team. Made from the latest fancy posh lightweight material, the Kukri kit is still the traditional Dee red and green, but has brought a much needed modern take on the girls’ old kit.
So line up looking like professionals they did, but unfortunately that’s where the similarity ended for the Dee on Saturday. Cooke proved quicker and stronger in midfield with much of the first half being played with Donaghadee pushed back inside their own half; the home team going in at half time two goals to the good. Donaghadee reshuffled slightly during the break to drop an extra player into midfield to try and stem the flow a little bit and this seemed to work, with Cooke only able to convert a penalty flick in the second half, awarded when the ball was deemed to have been kicked on the line by a Donaghadee foot. Somewhat harsh, with goalkeeper Teegan Greer facing her second flick in as many weeks. Unlike last week, which Teegs saved brilliantly, she wasn’t able to reach the Cooke strike which was put into the roof of the net. Donaghadee didn’t play badly as a whole, with everyone on the team working tirelessly for each other right up to the final whistle. Many thanks to Brian for umpiring and to Ian and Alfie for supporting.
Donaghadee will play Bangor at home on Saturday, pass back 2.30pm in what could well be the last fixture of the season. The Dee also have an outstanding fixture against Ballynure, with the Ballyclare team due to come to Crommelin Park, but with the newly formed Co Antrim side struggling to field a team on numerous occasions this season, it remains to be seen whether the fixture will happen. For all the latest info on the club, come and visit the website atwww.donaghadeelhc.co.uk