In the second match of the 2012/13 season, Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club headed off to Lisburn last Saturday to play newly formed South Antrim LHC. Promoted from the Junior ranks in their inaugural year last season having gone the entire campaign without losing a game South Antrim, whilst an entirely unknown proposition for the Dee, certainly looked a good prospect on paper.
Having suffered defeat at the hands of an irrepressible Mossley – who incidentally added another 13 goals to their 2 game tally on Saturday past – in the opening week of the season Donaghadee were keen to get back out on the pitch to get their season back on track and the determination was evident from the first whistle. Welcoming back defender Nina Wells, this season’s Captain midfielder Ali Lawther, and forward Ruth Kennedy steadied the ship and the Dee started to put some good passing moves together, working the ball from the back as had been practised in training. Early chances went a-begging but the forwards stuck to the task in hand, with Ruth in particular having a storming game on the left wing. Her tenacity and skill didn’t take long to pay off – although her initial shot was saved well by the South Antrim keeper, she made no mistake with the rebound. 1-0 to the Dee before half time.
South Antrim weren’t rolling over though and the Dee defence were kept honest by some strong running from the home side’s midfield. Jen McVeigh and Nina Wells were ably flanked by Lisa Higgins and Suzie Ferguson and these four provided good cover when required. Mention should also be made for super goalie Laura Gibson who stepped in to the pads and kickers to do the business in the absence of injured Teegan Greer and unavailable Siobhan McAdam. Laura is no stranger to the keeper kit, having played on numerous occasions over the last few years and on Saturday, it looked like she’d never been away – cool as you like when pressed into service.
Last season’s top scorer Kerrie Turtle got her goal tally up and running against Mossley and she added another on Saturday. Closely marked for much of the match, Kerrie managed to lose her marker at the crucial moment in the second half to double the Dee’s lead after some determined play. The other Kerry – Kerry Savage, returning to the Dee this season after a spell in Scotland – added a third after she and Carolyn Scott worked their way up the right wing, with Kerry bursting in to the circle to finish a great move.
Donaghadee once again had the luxury of subs on the side line – what a lovely habit to have – and Manager Will McAdam was able to switch the personnel to keep the legs fresh and the momentum going. Leona Wells, Carmen van der Schyff and Hannah McAdam were all used to really good effect on Saturday, with each linking in seamlessly to the play. A very good team performance and a big 3 points for the Dee as they welcome near neighbours Holywood to Bangor Academy on Saturday (6th October). Pass back is at 2pm (to be confirmed) and ex players and friends of DLHC are being invited to come and support the team with drinks and nibbles after the match in Donaghadee Rugby Club – all welcome!
Donaghadee LHC Juniors are in the middle of their 6 week training programme and attention is now turning to the Junior Tournament being hosted by Donaghadee LHC in conjunction with Ulster Hockey. The tournament is the culmination of 5 weeks hard work put in by the Juniors and they will pit their skills against girls from the same age group from Ards LHC, Knock LHC and North Down LHC. Taking place on Friday 12th October from 7.30-9pm at Ballykillaire (Bangor Sportsplex), all current club members and supporters of the Dee are encouraged to come down and show their support for the future stars of DLHC.