After a break in the league for the first round of the Intermediate Cup to take place, Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club were back to Shaw’s Bridge last Saturday for the mid-table clash with Cooke LHC. Only a point separated the two sides with Donaghadee on 9 points, Cooke on 8 before this match got underway. While the weather on the day was bright and reasonably mild for November, the water-based astroturf pitch was soggy and heavy meaning the ball wasn’t travelling as quickly as it does on the Bangor Academy pitch the Dee calls home this year.
Cooke won the toss for first pass back and were quick to settle in to their game with several attacks testing out the Dee defence. It took Donaghadee a few minutes to adjust to the surface underfoot but when they did, they started to match the home side for territory and put some passing moves together which quickly advanced them into their attacking 25. The Dee had a wonderful chance to open the scoring when the Cooke keeper cleared the ball straight to Donaghadee at the edge of the circle. The resultant shot was heading just wide of the right post but was tipped goalwards by Kerry Savage, always eager improve her goal tally. There was just enough pace on the ball for it to trickle agonisingly along the line with the keeper stranded before a relieved Cooke defender swooped to clear the ball to safety.
Shortly after this escape, Cooke found themselves down at the other end of the pitch. The Dee players felt that Captain Ali Lawther was fouled on the edge of the circle but with no whistle forthcoming, Cooke played on to their forward directly in front of the Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam, getting her shot away to put the home side 1-0 up. Again Donaghadee felt somewhat aggrieved, believing that the ball had struck a Cooke foot on the way through, but the goal stood. With Donaghadee feeling that not much was going their way, Cooke doubled the scoreline just before half time.
After the turn around the Dee got back to the task in hand, with great defensive performances from Nina Wells, Lisa Higgins and Suzie Ferguson allowing the red and green to build their attacking moves. Despite several really good chances to break and isolate the Cooke defence, the Dee were unable to capitalise. They did manage to work themselves an opening though, winning a penalty corner around the hour mark after a discretion in the home circle. While the initial shot was well saved by the Cooke keeper, Ruth Kennedy was on hand on the back post the sweep in to make the score 2-1. In spite of further Donaghadee pressure that was the final score with the girls disappointed not to have got something from the game. Thanks as usual to Mike Smyth for umpiring duties.
Attention now turns to the Club’s main fundraiser for the year, A Night at the Races, which takes place on Friday evening (16th November) in Donaghadee Rugby Club. Doors will be open from 7pm with the first race starting at 8pm sharp. There are lots of fantastic prizes to be won and the Club would like to encourage everyone to join in what is sure to be a great evening’s craic to help raise some much needed funds.
The next match is away to 8th placed College Hill on Saturday (17th) when the Dee will be hoping to improve on last week’s result. The club also has a slot booked at Bangor Sportsplex for the 2nd XI on Sunday 18th November with opponents to be finalised. More information at http://www.donaghadeelhc.co.uk or on Facebook/DonaghadeeLHC.