Senior League 4: Ballynahinch 2-3 DLHC 1st XI
Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1st XI were away to Ballynahinch Ladies last Saturday for their second league fixture of the 2014/15 campaign, with the Dee looking to build on their opening 4-1 win at home to South Antrim the previous week. Midfield lynchpin Ali Lawther and centre forward stalwart Kerrie Turtle were both missing for this game but it is testament to the burgeoning strength in depth that Donaghadee are beginning to enjoy that the gaps were ably filled by last season’s 2nd XI top goalscorer Maura Hennessey and Dee newcomer Paige Reilly.
Donaghadee were quick off the mark from the opening whistle, playing some slick passing hockey and putting Ballynahinch under considerable pressure all over the pitch when the home team had the ball. The midfield trio of Paige, Kerry Kennedy and Kerry Savage were working really well to distribute the ball and get wide players Victoria Speers and Ruth Kennedy into the game. This pressure translated into an early penalty corner for Donaghadee and injector Kerry S sent the ball out to last week’s 2-goal Kerry K. She responded with a bullet of a shot which gave the Hinch defence no chance and gave Donaghadee the lead. Maura got in on the scoring act shortly after following strong play down the left, finishing the move with a unreachable shot into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 to Donaghadee. Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam was called into action to pull off a couple of saves as the half drew to a close, with defensive players Claire Stewart, Suzie Ferguson and Lisa Higgins working beautifully together to clear calmly when required.
As the teams turned round after the half time whistle, Ballynahinch regrouped and began to put some pressure on the Donaghadee defence. With one attack hitting a Dee foot the the defensive circle, Ballynahinch capitalised on the resulting penalty corner to make it 2-1. Donaghadee coach Brian McKee was delighted with the Dee response however; in seasons past there has been a tendency towards capitulation in similar situations but last weekend Donaghadee not only dug in but they kept their shape and continued to play the passing game as laid out by Brian. Carmen van der Schyff came on for Maura, which left last season’s top goalscorer Carolyn Scott to push up into a higher position. Ruth made a wonderful mazy run down the middle of the pitch, drawing several defenders to her and she released a pinpoint pass to Carolyn who was left one on one with the Hinch keeper; the forward finishing cleanly to make it 3-1 to Donaghadee. Ballynahinch did break to score one more but it was too little, too late for the home side and the Dee were delighted to take the three points and make it two wins from two.
Donaghadee 2nd XI had no match this weekend as their opponents, North Down 5th XI conceded and both Dee teams now look forward to Saturday’s double-bill home fixtures against PSNI 1st and 2nd XI. All former players, Vets and supporters are invited to join the teams at Bangor Grammar for the matches and for home match drinks back in Donaghadee after the final whistle.