Intermediate Cup Rd 1: Owls Ladies 1st XI 4-0 Donaghadee LHC 1st XI
With Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 2nd XI enjoying an unexpected Saturday off due to Coleraine 3rds conceding, only the Dee’s 1st XI were in action as they travelled to North Belfast to play Owls 1sts in the first round of the Intermediate Cup.
Owls 1st XI are currently in the top half of Senior Three to Donaghadee’s Senior 4, so this was never going to be an easy fixture for the girls in red and green. They started brightly though with the whole team working well as a unit; pressing and harrying the home team when they were on the ball and trying to elicit a mistake. There was the odd chink for the forwards Kerry Savage, Kerrie Turtle and Carolyn Scott to break through, but the chances were quickly subdued by the Owls back line.
The first third of the match was a very evenly contested affair, with Owls also having a few chances to take the lead, but the Dee defence of Lisa Higgins, Hannah McAdam, Claire Stewart and Suzie Ferguson did an admirable job of breaking down the attacks to set up the next forward ball for the Dee. Siobhan McAdam in goals is also worth a mention for a number of diving saves to keep the Dee girls in it. Just before the half time whistle however, a period of Owls pressure led to a penalty corner from which they duly scored.
The second half saw the overcast afternoon turn into a washout, with driving rain slowing the pitch up, making sticks hard to grip and more than an idle passing thought that there must surely be drier and warmer (indoor!) pastimes of which to avail! The Dee ploughed on mind you, with Ali Lathwer getting through an enormous amount of work in midfield, ably assisted by Katie Donnelly, Melissa Rollo and Leona Wells, with Ruth Kennedy coming on also to add fresh impetus to the forward line. Despite Donaghadee having a few chances in the second half, the Owls defence was robust enough to withstand the attacks, while the home forwards made sure of the victory by adding another three goals to their tally. On the day, the result wasn’t to be, but the Dee are definitely showing glimpses of how good their hockey can be when they put their collective mind to it. Many thanks to Brian McKee for the coaching advice, to William McAdam for stats and to Mike Smyth for umpiring.