Senior League 3: Enniskillen 1XI 1-0 Donaghadee LHC 1XI
Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s newly promoted 1XI kicked off life in Senior 3 with a trip west to Enniskillen on Saturday.
Donaghadee have strengthened the ranks over the summer with a number of new faces appearing during the close season. With defender Kat McFarlane returning to Northern Ireland and joining the Club at the end of last season from Hamble Hockey Club, midfielder Helen Hooks, previously with Bangor, forward Sarah Harkness moving from Coleraine and former Ards keeper Nicola Patton also joining, incoming 1XI captain Ali Lawther was delighted to have such choice at her disposal.
Indeed all were to make their competitive debuts for the Dee in this match as Donaghadee tried to emulate the good opening form of last season. The Dee probably shaded possession in the early exchanges of this match and forward Carolyn Scott really should have done much better when, at the edge of the Enniskillen circle with the keeper far off her line, she shot well wide.
Having survived the early scare, the home side then began to dominate, putting the Dee defence under considerable and sustained pressure. Claire Stewart and Amy Long were linking well together at the back however and, with the added stability offered by Kat McF and Lisa Higgins on the left, little was penetrating the Dee circle. A slight shuffling of positions saw Maura Hennessey dropping back to help Helen and Ali in midfield and this did seem to stem the blue tide slightly, although a lucky ball snuck through to a home forward at the edge of the circle. With the Dee defenders halting, believing they had heard a whistle, the Enniskillen forward played on and the ball ended up in the back of the net.
There was much better attacking play from Donaghadee in the second half, with Tasha Paxton enjoying a lot of space wide on the right and Kerrie Turtle holding a wide left position but there was ultimately little for new centre forward Sarah Harkness to feed off; the Enniskillen goalkeeper was generally well protected by those in front of her, with none of the Dee forwards able to make many inroads towards the home goal line.
Despite the 1-0 final scoreline there were many positives to be taken from this first game in the higher flight; keeper Nicola Patton made several well timed saves and was quick off her line to thwart any attacks, there was good link up play round the back and both the midfield and forwards showed glimpses of some neat interplay; indeed it will be an interesting test when the team play Bangor (away) on Saturday. Special mention to 2XI player Caitland Crockett who stepped up to umpire this match, doing so with aplomb and a confidence that belied her years!
DLHC 2XI will start their league campaign against Bangor 2XI on Friday night at Bangor Aurora with a number of new faces set to make their debuts for the club.
First Skills Masterclass
DLHC forwards and goalkeepers are very much looking forward to the first Skills Masterclass which takes place tomorrow (Monday) evening at BGS. The session is being taken by Adam Louden of QUB LHC and Boost Hockey Academy and should prove a very worthwhile hour for all involved! There will be NO training for those not involved in the Masterclass. There will be training as usual on Wednesday night for all club members.
DLHC Players’ Barbeque
Members of DLHC are very much looking forward to the first social of the season at the Players’ Barbeque at Pier 36 on Saturday after the Firsts’ match at Bangor Aurora – all members, past present and future, are welcome.