Every once in a while, you step on to the pitch and everything clicks. And so it was last Saturday when Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club welcomed newly formed Ballycastle to Crommelin Park. After two closely fought away defeats to Holywood and Cooke, Donaghadee were out to prove that they were up to senior league hockey against a totally unknown quantity in the new team from the North coast. On a bright, warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, Donaghadee won first pass back and really got stuck in right from the whistle. While the teams were fairly evenly matched in the middle of the pitch, Donaghadee looked more threatening from the outset, with Ashley McCormack, Nicky Banford and Carolyn Scott up front peppering the visitors’ goal. The break through came however after Lisa Higgins found herself in acres of space in the middle of the circle. A pinpoint pass allowed her to calmly slot the first goal through a crowded goalmouth into the back of the net.
Donaghadee’s defence, including Rachel Johnston and Robyn McVeigh, were dealing ably with the Ballycastle attacks, and Donaghadee were quick to build on their lead when a Nicky Banford cross found Ashley McCormack, who was rewarded for some really strong running and stick work. At 2-0, Donaghadee perhaps thought the job was done, and sat back a little, when Ballycastle took advantage; a strong run from a midfielder took her through the Dee defence, where she calmy slotted home. From that point on however, only one team ever looked like being the winner, with great support play, good passing and strong tackling from the Dee girls. Nicky showed she’s not just an excellent sweeper when she struck a sweet reverse stick shot into the roof of the net at the back post, with two excellent tap-ins from super-sub Laura Gibson following. Ann Savage, fit kid in midfield rounded off an excellent Donaghadee performance when she pounced on a rebounded shot at a penalty corner. Final score was 6-1 to Donaghadee. The girls travel to Newcastle on Saturday to try and build on last week’s excellent performance.
Training continues on Wednesday evening at 7.30pm at Crommelin Park.