Last Friday night Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club travelled to The Glade in Newtownabbey to play Mossley LHC. Mossley ran out clear winners at the start of the season when the two sides met, with Donaghadee seemingly caught somewhat short on match practice as the league got underway. Since then however, the Dee have been quietly going about their business and have, to date, amassed 5 good wins against teams they may have struggled against in the past. Indeed with only half the season gone, there is a very good chance that the final tally will see the Dee having won more league matches in one season this term than they have done in many recent years.
Anyway, that’s for the Spring and there are plenty of matches to be played between now and then. The Dee were determined to give a better account of themselves than they did in the home fixture back in September and this was evident right from the first whistle. Mossley are a well coached and skilful side but Donaghadee gave their hosts no time to settle on the ball with the Dee defence of Hannah McAdam and Jen McVeigh neatly breaking up any Mossley attacks through the middle. The pace in the first fifteen minutes was ferocious, with both sides trying to find a way through the respective defences, showing off plenty of accurate passing and good movement. Donaghadee were finding quite a lot of joy down the left with Lisa Higgins, Katie Donnelly and Ruth Kennedy all seeing plenty of the ball. Midway through the first half, the ball was worked from this trio through Captain Ali Lawther in the centre and out to the right where Carolyn Scott and Kerry Savage combined well to advance up the pitch. Kerry was able to get a cross in which, after an initial Mossley clearance, found its way to Ruth on the back post, allowing her to add to her goal tally. Mossley pressed hard in search of an equaliser but with Suzie Ferguson and subs Emma Gray and Christine Hooks all on form weren’t able to find their way to goal.
The second half continued in much the same vein with both sides creating chances – the Dee’s centre forward Kerrie Turtle was unlucky to see a shot just shave the wrong side of the goal and there was a ball which rebounded off the Mossley post but Donaghadee weren’t able to add to the score line. Siobhan McAdam in the Dee goal pulled off numerous fine saves to keep the team in the running with her new kickers seemingly having springs on occassion, but Mossley pulled a goal back half way through the second period after a hopeful ball was crashed into the Dee circle; a Mossley stick tipped the ball just beyond Siobhan and suddenly it was back to all square. With not very many minutes remaining on the clock Mossley began to press higher up the pitch and, after a succession of penalty corners, doubled their goal count. The final score was 2-1 to Mossley in an entertaining end to end game and the Dee, though possibly a little disappointed not to take something from the game, can be pleased with how they played as a unit. Many thanks to Will McAdam for his umpiring debut. The final game for the Dee before Christmas is on Saturday (15th) at home to South Antrim (pass back time 1.30pm), which the girls will hope to win before they head to Grace Neill’s for the club’s Christmas Dinner.
Regular readers of these match reports will have been aware for some time that Donaghadee LHC has been enjoying fantastic numbers at training this season and, with fringe players keen to get more match practice, the committee has been working hard to secure a few friendlies. After a couple of local teams were unable to fulfil Sunday afternoon fixtures and the club just playing a couple of training matches between themselves, Bangor LHC were pencilled in as opposition for last Sunday at Bangor Sportsplex. While neither team fielded 11 players, those who did play were determined to enjoy the match to the full. The Dee started well with some great interlinking play which was not only lovely to watch but effective too. Defensive duo Hannah McAdam and Lisa Alexander played their part in clearing the ball when it came anywhere near the Dee circle, protecting Siobhan McAdam in goal. Donaghadee kept the pressure on with hard work in midfield from Emily Morris and newcomer Kerry Kennedy, with Lisa Higgins and Caroline Davison thwarting the wide attacks. With Bangor playing without a keeper, the Dee attacking trio of Andrea Girvan, Caitland Crockett and Maura Hennessey tried to get into the attacking circle as much as possible but found stern defence in the shape of Bangor’s Val McKibben and Suzanne Rea. Donaghadee managed to find a way through midway though the first half with Andrea Girvan, who scored on her 1st XI debut last month, finding the back of the net for Donaghadee.
After the switch round Bangor started to enjoy more possession, possibly having shaken some of the lethargy from the legs after the late pass back of their league match the evening before and Sophie Rea got herself on the score sheet to level things up. Shortly after, with Donaghadee understandably tiring this far in to their first competitive game, Bangor centre forward Petra Armstrong, who had threatened the Dee goal in the first half, finally found her shooting stick and added another two for Bangor. Late on in the match, the Dee had a couple of great chances to pull at least one back, but they could only find Jenny Keery hovering on the Bangor goal line. The final score was 3-1 to the Bangor XI (or XIII as it was on the day) but the scoreline was secondary on the day when Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club fielded a 2nd XI for a competitive match for the first time in 20-odd years. Thanks to Will McAdam and Carolyn Scott for umpiring and to the Bangor girls for playing their part in what was a very enjoyable afternoon. DLHC 2nd XI will be back in action in the new year when they head to Belfast to play Civil Service on Saturday 12th January, pass back 4pm.
With plenty in the pipeline for both teams, there will be training both this week (12th Dec) and next week (19th Dec) before the Christmas break. With the 1st XI back in league action against high flying Holywood away on Saturday 5th January, training will recommence on Wednesday 2nd January for all club members. In the meantime the club would like to wish all players, supporters and friends of DLHC a very Merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year – here’s hoping for bigger and better for the Club in 2013! http://www.donaghadeelhc.co.uk, http://www.Facebook.com/DonaghadeeLHC