DLHC 1st XI 2-5 Holywood
After a heartening win in Lisburn against South Antrim last weekend, Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club 1st XI were hoping to continue that form against Holywood this week. Things looked to be right on track when, within 5 minutes of the first whistle, Donaghadee won themselves a penalty corner after super play from the Dee frontline of Ruth Kennedy, Kerrie Turtle and Carolyn Scott. Carolyn got the first strike away cleanly and the Holywood keeper managed to parry it out but only as far as Ali Lawther who was lurking for the rebound. She returned it with interest back towards the Holywood goal and Donaghadee had themselves a dream start.
It was another penalty corner which got the Dee’s second goal shortly after, with a well worked shot from Katie Donnelly causing problems for the visiting defence. In the melee that resulted, Ali was on target again with Kerry Savage on hand at the back post to help the ball over the line. Whether Donaghadee’s concentration slipped or the legs began to tire, Holywood came much more into the game in the second half, scoring three goals without riposte. The Dee can maybe count themselves unlucky with at least one goal resulting from a shot from a penalty corner which looked to be heading well high of the backboard until it was deflected down by the Dee defence but on the whole, there can be few complaints with the final score of 5-2 to the visitors.
While the scoreline was not particularly flattering, there were certainly reasons for cautious optimism; coach Brian McKee has been instilling in the girls the need to play thoughtful passing and supporting hockey and in places this was more than evident on Saturday with a lot of good work being done in particular down the left with Lisa Higgins, Kerry and Ruth all connecting well to build momentum. Ali is quickly becoming the lynch pin in the middle of the pitch and is providing the impetus for getting the ball switched from left to right, with Captain Suzie Ferguson providing the outlet at the back on the right and Leona Wells offering plenty of running in midfield. While there were a few hairy moments round the back – with even keeper Siobhan McAdam getting involved in the passing between full backs Nina Wells and Hannah McAdam at one stage, it is clear that the girls are willing to try to adapt their game from what has been the staple diet of crashing the ball forward at every opportunity; route one hockey which was more than effective on gravel but which is less so on the club’s newly adopted astroturf surface. Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring duties. Next Saturday sees the 1st XI welcome Newry 1sts to Bangor Grammar School, passback 2.30pm and, with the 2nd XI also at home against Ballymena, passback 1pm, both teams will be hitting the Dee – regardless of results – for post match drinks.
Banbridge v DLHC 2nd XI
After a week’s break Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club 2nd XI were eager to get playing again as they travelled to Banbridge to continue their league action. From the first whistle the Dee forwards and midfielders put pressure on the home side by passing the ball quick and fluently up the pitch only to get closed down repeatedly by the covering Banbridge defenders. Donaghadee did manage to break into the home circle on a number of occasions, but the shots were saved by the Ban keeper, resulting in frustration for the Dee attackers as they eagerly tried to convert.
On a break which caught the Dee defenders off guard Banbridge got their first goal, and just before the half time break they scored again from a penalty corner which at first was defended well by the Dee but which was fired in on the rebound. The Dee girls did not let the score line dampen their spirits as they were playing well and they came out with renewed fervour for the second half, but they found Banbridge equally as keen. The game was very evenly contested with the Dee eager to pull it back and Banbridge wanting to hold on to their lead. Banbridge were awarded a succession of penalty corners with each one being cleared by the defence of Tegan Greer, Lisa Alexander, Laura Boyle, Karen Fegan and keeper Tina Sterling. Depsite the Dee’s hard work though, Banbridge got their third goal.
Still the Dee girls fought on as they knew they deserved a score line which reflected their hard work. A break up the left saw the forwards and mids put together a string of great passes which found centre forward Maura Hennessey unmarked just inside the circle. She didn’t pass up the opportunity and her shot found the backboard giving the Dee 2nd XI their first goal in this year’s league campaign. With still 15 minutes to go they had hope that they could still pull it back. Banbridge were awarded another penalty corner which keeper Tina saved, finally clearing the ball beyond the back line to safety. Some confusion ensued however, with the Banbridge players convinced that the ball had crossed the line for a goal. After some deliberation between the umpires, the goal was awarded leaving the Dee girls feeling slightly aggrieved by the decision. Taking away the many positives from this week’s tough match, Donaghadee were pleased with their performance and felt that their efforts did not reflect the score line. Many thanks to Will McAdam for umpiring. The 2nd XI are in action next Saturday (12th Oct) for their first home match of the season against league leaders Ballymena 4ths, passback 1pm at Bangor Grammar.