Both Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1st XI and 2nd XI were in action last Saturday as the halfway point in the respective leagues approach. The 1st XI were away to Ballynahinch and the 2nd XI welcomed South Antrim 2nd XI to Bangor Grammar.
Senior League 4: Ballynahinch LHC 1-0 Donaghadee LHC 1XI
With a week off under their sticks, the 1st XI were looking forward to getting back to league action after being on the wrong end of a couple of closely fought matches recently. Ballynahinch have traditionally been a tough side to break down with results in recent years between the two teams quite often only being won by the odd goal here and there, and there was no reason to suggest that this would be anything other than a similarly close contest.
It was a lovely day for hockey and Ballynahinch were the brighter of the two teams as the match got underway. Within the first five minutes, the home side had taken advantage of loose Donaghadee tackling and the Hinch centre forward was presented with a chance too good to pass up, giving Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam no chance and providing the home side a very early lead. Donaghadee steadied themselves and started to string a few passes together, with Ali Lawther in midfield once again working hard to distribute the ball from left to right to give Kerry Savage and Katie Donnelly the opportunity to push forward in support of the forwards Ruth Kennedy, Kerrie Turtle and Carolyn Scott. The chances started to come for the Dee but consistent defending from the Ballynahinch sweeper and keeper kept the scoreline in Ballynhahinch’s favour.
The second half saw more of the same from Donaghadee but as they pushed forward in search of the equaliser, Hinch started to find the gaps as they looked for their second. Stout defending from Lisa Higgins, Claire Stewart, Hannah McAdam and Captain Suzie Fergsuon kept the deficit to 1-0 however and although the chances kept coming for Donaghadee, they were unable to convert any of them, leaving the final score 1-0 to Ballynahinch. Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring and Bryan McKee for coaching duties. The 1st XI now have a week off before heading to Newtownabbey to play Mossley on Friday 6th December.
Junior League 9: Donaghadee LHC 2XI 1-3 South Antrim LHC
Donaghadee 2XI welcomed South Antrim to their home pitch at Bangor Grammar on Saturday, knowing that this was going to be a difficult match as South Antrim are currently sitting five places above them in the league. Donaghadee started out in their usual fashion of driving the ball up the pitch, putting the initial pressure on the South Antrim defence. An early shot on target by Maura Hennsey seemed to rouse South Antrim and the tide turned. With South Antrim dominating, the Donaghadee defence was under pressure, especially on the right, but once again Amy Long and Teegan Greer worked tirelessly to ward off the South Antrim forwards. Unfortunately for the Dee, the visitors were able to break through and a bit of crowding and confusion in the circle didn’t give keeper Tina Sterling a chance, leaving Donaghadee trailing by a goal. Going ahead seemed to settle South Antrim and made them a lot stronger and, with the Dee lost their form a little, allowed South to score another two before the half time break.
Undeterred by the scoreline Donaghadee picked themselves up and started to play better hockey. Eager to get themselves on the score sheet, left midfielder Melissa Rollo and left wing Kelly McDowell supported each other and moved the ball quickly finding Maura at the top of circle. She was desperate to bring the Dee back in the game but unfortunately for her the South Antrim keeper was well positioned and her shot was saved. South Antrim then hit Donaghadee on the break and, trying a different tactic, pressed the ball on the left hand side of the defence, but Lisa Alexander and Natasha Paxton were just as strong as their right hand side counterparts and the forwards this time were not getting near the goal mouth.
Working tirelessly on the right wing Emily Morris was quick pick up any passes that came her way and with her speed she was quick to get the ball forward into the circle, earning Donaghadee a penalty corner. The team were eager to convert; this time Maura was rewarded and the Dee found themselves back in the game. Substitutes Alex McVeigh, Jan Morrow and Chloe Noble interchanged to bring fresh legs and energy to an increasingly tiring team, but with the match quickly drawing to a close the Dee were unable to pull this one back.
Another disappointing result for the 2nd XI who continue to work hard every week on their performance. Next Saturday sees the 2nd XI play league leaders Ballycastle, which should be a very exciting match. Thanks to Will McAdam for umpiring duties.