Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club were on their travels last week as they headed off to Ballynahinch to play the latest in their league fixtures. On paper, Ballynahinch are sitting several places above the Dee in the table, but the last time Donaghadee travelled to the Hinch – the last game before Christmas in the 09/10 season – they got their first win of that season and when Ballynahinch came to Crommelin Park back in November the teams finished with a point apiece in a 1-1 draw in which top goalscorer Kerrie Turtle got the goal that day. Fair to say there’s not much between the teams then.
For the first time in a good while, Donaghadee had a sub on the touchline – a luxury the club has not had for several months, but how wonderful to see – and several supporters with sidelined club captain Jen McVeigh and club secretary Alison McNeice cheering on the girls in red. Despite several occasions this season when the Dee have only been able to field ten players, those players who do turn up week in week out have formed a really solid base and are gelling well as a team. Although the league position doesn’t lie – with the Dee sitting in 10th position – the opposition doesn’t get many quarters given, and you’d be hard pushed to say that many teams would feel they got an easy 3 points from the Dee. With the addition of a just a couple of players to give a wider pool to choose from when work and injury strike, the Dee shouldn’t need to concede games as they have had to do this season. How great then to see young Hannah McAdam making a very assured debut for the club in defence on Saturday. Mum Siobhan does a good line in sub work, not to mention Dad McAdam supporting on the sideline too – not a bad little family affair!
With two neutral umpires presiding over proceedings on Saturday, stand in captain Carolyn Scott elected to take pass back and the match got underway on a deceptively cold but dry day. Donaghadee were confident that through the strength and skill of the midfield of Ali Lawther – surely the one of the best additions to the club this year – and Katie Drummond they could get the ball wide for the crosses which have reaped so much reward this season. Lisa Higgins and Ali G did particularly well down the left to set Carmen van der Schyff free, the left winger getting in several good reverse stick crosses – a move which she has made her own in recent weeks. It was Katie Drummond bursting from midfield who registered the first goal of the game – her first goal for the club this season with good build up play from the middle of the pitch. Ballynahinch equalised not long after, but just before half time, a ball from the top of the circle found right winger Carolyn with her back to goal. A quick reverse stick flick saw the ball slotted neatly inside the near post and Donaghadee went into halftime 2-1 up.
Ballynahinch were determined in the second half and although they pressed hard, Natasha, Hannah and Nina did really well to mop up the attacks and keep getting the ball out wide – with Nina stopping a certain goal with her thigh on one occasion – ouch! Ballynahinch were perhaps a little fortunate to get themselves a really scrappy goal towards the end of the second half – one of those horrible bobbly little balls with a mass of feet and sticks in the way, and which Teagan Greer could do little about, and with the Dee having had a couple of really good chances to put the game to bed in the first half, they can feel slightly unlucky not to have come away with the three points.
With the scheduled game against Bangor postponed due to a round of Plate matches, Donaghadee will travel to Portadown Rugby Club to play a rearranged fixture against College Hill on Saturday. With the new tracksuits hopefully arriving tomorrow (Friday), the girls will be heading out after the game to show at least several pubs their grand new finery – watch out Donaghadee, here they come! For up to date news on the club, please visit www.donaghadeelhc.co.uk