Senior League 3: Donaghadee LHC 1XI 0-4 Coleraine 1XI
It’s been a difficult start to life in Senior 3 for Donaghadee LHC’s 1XI with defeats in the last two weeks against top of the table opposition and Saturday promised to be another stiff test, with Donaghadee welcoming last year’s runaway league leaders Coleraine to Bangor Grammar.
Donaghadee started better than they have done recently and were more competitive across the pitch – forwards Kerrie Turtle, Sarah Harkness and Carolyn Scott seeing more of the ball in the early exchanges than they did the previous week. Despite the late unavailability of Captain Ali Lawther in midfield, Lisa Higgins stepped up from her usual defensive berth to fill the gap alongside Ruth Kennedy and the brilliant Helen Hooks and again, Donaghadee made life tougher in the middle of the pitch for the opposition than of late.
Although Coleraine did breach the Donaghadee goal line, the Dee defence are starting to show signs of good link up play with Claire Stewart bossing the central defensive area and spreading the ball wide to Paige Reilly on the left and Amy Long on the right. New keeper Nicola Patton also deserves special mention for a number of outstanding saves to keep the scoreline down.
Tasha Paxton made a real impact when she came on, troubling the Coleraine defence down the right with her pace, although her afternoon was cut short when she fell heavily in the second half and was unable to continue. Maura Hennessey had a great chance right at the end to get on the scoresheet but she was really unlucky when a cross just eluded her at Coleraine’s back post.
Another disappointing result for the Firsts but there are signs that the work is starting to click and the girls are looking forward to Saturday’s match away to Holywood, pass back 1pm at Strathearn. Many thanks to Caitland Crockett for umpiring against Coleraine.
Junior League 8: Donaghadee LHC 2XI 3-0 Coleraine 3XI
Following two successful weeks Donaghadee 2nd XI welcomed Coleraine 3rd XI to Bangor Grammar on Saturday with a new found team confidence. This set the standard for much of the match as Donaghadee took control of the game from the outset and enjoyed one of their best team performances to date.
Early attacking Dee pressure by Caitland Crockett, Elle Fegan and Karen Fegan saw the home side dominate the play winning themselves a penalty corner. The initial strike was successfully saved by the Coleraine keeper but forward Vickie Pollock was quick to calmly slot the rebound into the back of the net adding to her increasing goal scoring tally.
Nikki Robinson and Melissa Rollo played a superb game in the centre of the pitch to break up play by Coleraine and distribute the ball forwards so it wasn’t long before Donaghadee mounted the pressure on the visitors again. Ably assisted by subs Maura Hennessey and Tasha Paxton, when Emily Morris received the ball in the attacking quarter she carried the ball into the circle and the resulting shot was successful in putting Donaghadee 2-0 ahead.
On the occasions when Coleraine did mount their own pressure the Donaghadee defenders of Lisa Alexander, Tori Rollo and Debbie Findlater were on hand to ably defend their circle resulting in keeper Janice McVeigh enjoying a relatively quiet game.
During the second half Donaghadee won themselves a series of penalty corners, two of which were cleanly struck by Karen but just missed getting the necessary deflection by a Donaghadee stick on the post. The third penalty corner was a successful family affair with Tori pushing the ball out to daughter Melissa who struck the ball cleanly to finish the game with a convincing win for Donaghadee 3-0.
Many thanks to Brian McKee for umpiring. Donaghadee look forward to travelling to Ballymena next week to hopefully continue their run of good form.
DLHC Skills Masterclasses
Members of DLHC were delighted to take part in a Skills Masterclass with Ireland defender Jonny Bell last Monday. With 78 caps to his name, Jonny was able to impart some valuable advice to the 1XI and 2XI defenders in what was a very enjoyable and useful session for everyone involved.
It will be the turn of the midfielders next Monday when former Ireland international Mark Raphael takes the helm of the much anticipated third Skills Masterclass on the pitch at Bangor Grammar.