Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club were in league action for the last time in the 12/13 season when they travelled to St Colman’s High School on Friday evening to play Ballynahinch. Over the course of the season a number of teams – Donaghadee, Cooke and Ballynahinch – have all been vying for the mid-table spots with the 3 teams swapping the 4th, 5th and 6th berths several times over the last number of weeks. With the Dee beating Ballynahinch 1-0 earlier in the season in Bangor, everything pointed to another tight game this time round.
With a number of 1st team players returning after the Cooke game the previous week, Captain Ali Lawther had almost her strongest team available and Donaghadee aimed to get a good strong start under their belts. Both teams started well in fact although Donaghadee certainly weren’t playing the flowing hockey so evident in recent games with the final ball quite often going awry. Ballynahinch forced a penalty corner towards the end of the first half and were able to finish the move with a deflected shot to go into the half time break 1-0 up.
Although Ballynahinch scored again shortly after the restart, Donaghadee started to play much better hockey and the stats from the second half were in direct contrast to the opening period: more shots on goal, more shots on target, penalty corners won… And it was from one of these penalty corners where the Dee found some joy. The initial shot was parried away by the Hinch keeper but only as far as Ali, who was very quick to return the ball with interest, much to the delight of her team mates. This was all the encouragement Donaghadee needed and they continued to press in search of an equaliser. The Dee goal came just too late however with the final score 2-1 to the home side. With Cooke beating bottom side Instonians in their final match, Donaghadee finish the 12/13 season, 2 points behind Cooke, in sixth place out of ten, winning 8 games along the way, which is their best finish to a league campaign since Senior 4 was formed almost 10 years ago.
The season may be over but there is still plenty to look forward to in the coming months for everyone at the club. In less than two weeks, the much anticipated Hockettes on the Piste ski trip takes place with 10 members of the club heading to Sauze d’Oulx in Italy for a week on the slopes. Hopefully all will return with limbs and bones intact with the club AGM set for Friday 19th April!
The club is also in the process of organising a Vets’ Day, scheduled for Saturday 27th April at Crommelin Park, Donaghadee. The exact format of the match(es) has not yet been finalised but all members and supporters of Donaghadee LHC are invited to partake in the festivities – come and watch former DLHC players as they dust off their sticks and their old kit to relive the good old days when sticks had heads long enough to trip up opposition on the far side of the pitch and wrap around skirts and green knickers were all the rage! If any former player is interested, has one last game in the old bones and has not yet been contacted, please get in touch with Alison McNeice on 07821151034 or 91888243. Lasting a full match is optional/optimistic, oxygen will be provided and the craic will be the usual. Non playing former members also most welcome.