Senior League 4: DLHC 1XI 1-2 Instonians
After a week’s break, Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI were looking to halt the recent slump in form in this league fixture against Instonians, a team sitting just below the Dee in the league table. After the disappointing performance against Parkview when Donaghadee were last on the pitch, coach Brian McKee was keen that the team raised their game back to the level seen at the start of the season. To a player, each responded and Instonians found themselves with very little time on the ball in the opening part of this match.
Donaghadee enjoyed several good early spells of possession down the right with a Maura Hennessey cross a few minutes in shaving just wide of the left post. Donaghadee continued to use the width to good effect, with short accurate passing down both sides between Catherine Armstrong and captain Ruth Kennedy on the left and Maura and Kerry Kennedy on the right but with no success in the visitors’ circle.
Suzie Ferguson, Claire Stewart, Paige Reilly and Lisa Higgins were also clicking smoothly through the gears at the back, switching the play quickly from left to right as they dominated possession in the Dee’s defensive half of the pitch, ensuring a clean sheet was kept until the half time whistle.
After half time the forward positions were switched with Ruth trying her luck on the right and Kerrie Turtle on the left with Maura now in the centre and Victoria Speers being used to good effect as an impact sub with fresh legs as Donaghadee pressed in search of the opening goal.
Donaghadee had had the majority of the play in the match to this point but the Instonians centre midfielder seemed to be everywhere the ball was, and she was involved when a penalty corner was awarded to Instonians just after the restart. The resulting shot was deflected off a Dee stick past keeper Siobhan McAdam into the goal to give Instonians the lead. The response from the Dee players was immediate, with all 10 outfield players working the ball to red shirts as quickly and accurately as possible.
A run from Ali Lawther from the halfway line showed some lovely stick skills as she bypassed several Inst players to release Maura in the circle. The forward buried her chance and it was back to all square at one apiece.
Much of the remaining ten minutes were spent deep in Instonians territory with Donaghadee having several good chances to finish the game off but there were no more goals for the girls in red.
With the umpires signalling two minutes remaining, Instonians were awarded another penalty corner, with exactly the same outcome for the second time – a very late blow for Donaghadee although there should be consolation from the much improved performance from the previous match.
The 1XI will be looking to turn the good performance into points against South Antrim away on Friday night.
DLHC 2XI v Newcastle: Donaghadee conceded
Donaghadee 2XI were unable to field a team for their trip to Newcastle with late illness and injury cry offs combining with work and holiday commitments to leave captain Deborah Gilmour with no option on Saturday morning. The 2XI hope to have a number of players back for next Saturday’s Home fixture against South Antrim 2XI, pass back 1pm.