With Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 2nd XI’s game against Ballymena called off due to a frozen pitch, it was left to the 1st XI to keep the red and green flag flying last weekend when they made the short journey to Ashfield Girls’ School on the Holywood Road to play in the second round of the Intermediate Plate. Having got a bye in the first round, the Dee were able to bring forward this second round match to keep the momentum going on an otherwise free weekend.
Having suffered a disappointing 3-0 defeat away to Instonians in the league earlier this year, Donaghadee were determined not to be on the end of a similar scoreline this time round, not least with the return league match against the same team in a couple of weeks’ time. With one shady end of the school pitch to remain frozen for the duration of this Plate match, the rest of the playing area was bathed in low winter sunshine and was in perfect condition to get the match played to its conclusion.
The first half was a really scrappy affair with neither team able to string too many passes together to give the large support for both sides much to cheer about. Donaghadee probably worked their opposing keeper the harder but attacking the circle at the frozen end led to ginger steps from both sides and the chances went begging.
Donaghadee started the second half with much more decisive and incisive passing and it began to reap its rewards. A cross came in from wide on the right and with the Dee forwards advancing towards the circle, the lone Instonians defender stuck out a stick to deflect the ball past her own keeper to make it 1-0 to Donaghadee. The Dee were to add their second when a shot from the top of the circle towards the left post by Kerrie Turtle was stopped dead by Carolyn Scott in front of the Inst keeper. With her back to goal, the forward executed a neat reverse stick flick high into the right hand side of the roof of the net, much to the delight of the team and the travelling support. The 2-0 victory for the Dee puts them into the third round of the Intermediate Plate, to be played in February.
The second half was by far a much improved performance from the Dee and they will hope to build on the positive aspects of this game when they travel to Newry on Saturday for their next league match in Senior 4. Donaghadee LHC 2nd XI are also in action this weekend against Bangor 2nd XI.