Senior League 4: Donaghadee LHC 1st XI v Cooke 1st XI
Donaghadee LHC 1st XI have found victories hard to come by this season, but coach Brian McKee has remained adamant that it was only a matter of time before the results started matching the performances, and this turned out to be the performance of the season for the Dee – with the result to match. Donaghadee welcomed back Katie Donnelly from an injury layoff, and she immediately made her presence felt with a dynamic burst from midfield less than two minutes into the game. Her pinpoint pass found right winger Carolyn Scott unmarked in the circle and, with her first touch of the game bringing the ball under control, the winger’s second touch was to unleash an unstoppable shot across the Cooke keeper and into the far bottom corner. Cooke weren’t going to take that lying down and both teams attacked and counter-attacked looking for an opening, until after ten mins, Cooke worked their way into the Dee circle and with the keeper unsighted by the crowd of players the ball ended up in the Dee net: 1-1.
The next ten minutes were fast and flowing, end to end hockey, with chances for both sides and some good defending by Hannah McAdam and Claire Stewart, whilst Ali Lawther dominated play through the midfield helping to spread the ball wide to Katie and Kerry Kennedy as the Dee swept forward without success. Midway through the first half Cooke were awarded a short corner. A great clearance from Lisa Higgins got the ball moving wide and forward with pace, just as coach Brian McKee had been asking, with Ruth Kennedy driving down the left and with centre forward Kerrie Turtle breaking in on goal. With the Cooke keeper eliminated, Carolyn was on hand to make it 2-1.
The Dee started to dominate with less than ten minutes to go to half time and with a great attacking spell added two more, firstly Carolyn completing her hat trick and then Kerrie getting in on the act to make it 4-1. Cooke however refused to lie down and from the restart were able to get into the Dee circle almost untouched. Despite a great save by keeper Siobhan McAdam, the ball rebounded to the Cooke striker who slotted it home. 4-2 at half time.
The Dee started well in the second half as they knew it was important to keep Cooke from gaining any momentum following their goal just before half time, and quick and accurate passing out from the back through Captain Suzie Ferguson and through midfield led to another goal when Kerrie got her second and made it 5-2, pretty well killing the game off.
With the confidence now obvious, Donaghadee kept the pressure on the visitors with wave after wave of free flowing attacking play and, from a penalty corner, Carolyn made it 6-2 to Donaghadee with her fourth. Finally just after the hour mark Donaghadee were in seventh heaven as Carolyn got her fifth to make it 7-2.
What a great day (finally!) for DLHC on a day when the weather threw everything at players and spectators alike; sunshine, wind, rain and even hail stones; but when you pull off a 7-2 win the weather doesn’t really matter!
Many thanks to Mike and Will for umpiring and the supporters who braved the elements to watch. The 1st XI now have a week off before Ballynahinch come to the Grammar in the final league game of the season on Saturday 1st March, but DLHC 2nd XI are in action this Saturday at home to Instonians 2nds.
Tickets are now available for the DLHC fundraising A Night at the Races on Saturday 8th March in the Meadowbank Social Club in Donaghadee. Please see any club member to secure yours!