Senior League 4: DLHC 1XI 1-0 PSNI
On a cold, crisp afternoon perfect for hockey, Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI kicked off 2015 with the short trip to Stormont to play PSNI. With no fewer than 5 usual first team players unavailable for this fixture through injury or holidays, a number of 2XI players stepped up to the mark to help out captain Ruth Kennedy.
Donaghadee started well with inside right Kerry Kennedy linking nicely with right wing Emily Morris to get the Dee moving up the pitch. With an early opportunity to go ahead going begging, PSNI started to string a few passes together in midfield but Natasha Cameron and Nina Wells on the right of defence were alert to prevent much danger in the final 25. Claire Stewart was marshalling the troops from the central defensive position with Paige Reilly on the left and Siobhan McAdam completing the rearguard in goal.
Lisa Higgins, playing further forward than she has done thus far this season, made a couple of strong breaks high up the pitch and was unlucky to have her runs thwarted by the home defence at the edge of the circle. The Donaghadee pressure began to tell however, with high forward Maura Hennessey forcing the PSNI keeper into a good save to keep the score 0-0.
After the turn around, Donaghadee continued to press, with Ruth on the left in particular causing her markers all sorts of bother with piercing attacks. She was rewarded after one such run, with PSNI conceding a free hit on their 25. Ruth took the free quickly and, making the most of the self pass rule, tore through the home defence to leave herself one on one with the home keeper. Without breaking stride, Ruth despatched an inch perfect shot low to the keeper’s left to give her side the lead.
Natasha made way for Carmen van der Schyff and she slotted in to midfield beside Ali Lawther to keep the pace high as Donaghadee looked to increase their lead; which they very nearly did with a shot from Maura that pinged off the PSNI goalpost and away to safety. Despite further pressure from Donaghadee, the score remained at 1-0 to give the 1XI a very valuable three points and a great start to the new year. Many thanks to Mike for umpiring. Next match for the 1XI is on Saturday at home to Cooke, pass back 1pm.
Junior League 8: DLHC 2XI 0-2 Mossley 4XI
Donaghadee 2XI started the new year by welcoming Mossley 4XI to Bangor Grammar. Everyone was eager to get back after the Christmas break but was anticipating a tough match as Mossley are currently unbeaten in this season’s league campaign. No surprise then that from the whistle Mossley drove hard at the Dee defence but the quick reactions of goalkeeper Janice McVeigh stopped them from taking an early lead. Melissa Rollo in the centre made short work of any attack by the Mossley centre forward by distributing the ball calmly out toward to the wings where forwards Karen Fegan and Beth Long were finding space behind the visiting defence. With the game still finely balanced, in the dying minutes of the first half Mossley mounted several strong attacks of their own, winning a penalty corner right on the whistle but this was successfully put out of play by defender Tori Rollo.
Following encouraging words from coach Brian McKee the team went out in the second half determined not to walk away empty handed. Donaghadee’s first chance came when a ball played by Amy Long found her sister Beth unmarked on the right wing. This was then played into the circle to Carmen van der Schyff but her reverse strike just missed the mark. The Dee’s defence was then put under extreme pressure by constant Mossley attacks but Tori, Amy, Lisa Alexander and Ruth Howell showed good composure to keep the visitors at bay. Janice once again put in a stellar performance in goal, pulling off some amazing saves with one of her clearances finding Deborah Gilmour in the middle of the pitch. Deborah moved the ball quickly on to centre forward Jan Morrow who was alone in the Mossley circle. It was a great chance for the Dee to go ahead but Jan was quickly closed down by two Mossley defenders and her shot was saved. Her next opportunity came when Lisa made a run out of defence, found Beth on the right, and she in turn made a clean short pass to Jan in the circle but once again her nemesis saved her strike.
With the match looking like the Dee were heading for a draw, in the final few minutes a Mossley strike was initially saved by Janice but resulted in the ball coming to rest on the line of the goalmouth and Mossley were awarded the goal. Much the same as the first half, Mossley won themselves another penalty right on the whistle but this time they scored, making the final result 2-0 to Mossley. The match certainly blew the Christmas cobwebs away and despite the good performance from the Dee team, the score line does not reflect the match. Thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring and also to the ever growing band of supporters. Next week DLHC 2XI heads to Stormont to face PSNI 2XI.