6/2/16 Donaghadee LHC 1XI 3-1 Holywood and Donaghadee 2XI 1-5 North Down

Senior League 3: Donaghadee LHC 3-1 Holywood 1XI
Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI secured a most valuable 3 points on Saturday in the quest for safety in Senior 3 with a 3-1 home victory over neighbours Holywood.

Holywood have been enjoying a good season so far, secure in third pace in the league and, with a 6-1 victory over Donaghadee at the start of the season, this was going to be no easy game for the home side. There have been signs in recent weeks though that the Dee have been starting to adjust to the pace of life in Senior 3, with an excellent point earned against second place Saintfield just after Christmas.

After 2 weeks of inaction thanks to opponents conceding in the Intermediate Plate, followed by the postponement of the league fixture away to Coleraine due to an unplayable pitch, Donaghadee were keen to get this game underway.

Holywood had pass back in pretty awful conditions and they immediately tested Donaghadee’s defence with Claire Stewart called into early action to sweep away the danger. Keeper Janice McVeigh certainly earned her callup from the 2XI too, with several timely saves and an outstanding dive to keep Holywood at bay. Excellent positional sense and reading of the game by Amy Long thwarted a number of attacks down Donaghadee’s right, while Paige Reilly tucked in on the left to keep danger away from that side.

Donaghadee were good value attacking too, with midfielders Kat McFarlane, Helen Hooks and Kerry Kennedy providing the link between back and front, and forwards Carolyn Scott and Kerrie Turtle adding impetus to the goal threat.

One foray forward led to a penalty corner for the home side and, in a well rehearsed move, Captain Ali Lawther was left unmarked to sweep the ball past the diving Holywood keeper. Donaghadee then gave themselves a 2-0 advantage going into the turnaround when Sarah Harkness got her second goal for the club just before half time.

Not surprisingly Holywood applied plenty of their own pressure in the second half and they pulled an early goal back to make things a little bit more exciting (nerve-wracking?) for the hardy supporters on the sideline. Undeterred, the Dee kept pressing and their persistence paid off with another penalty corner; Kerry K was on hand this time to scoop the ball over the keeper at the second attempt to restore Donaghadee’s 2-goal advantage. Final score 3-1 to Donaghadee.

Thanks to Brian McKee for umpiring and honorable mention to Tasha Paxton, Maura Hennessey and Lisa Higgins who not only did their bit in the 1XI match, but went on to complete their soaking playing in the subsequent 2XI match! Next match is away to Annadale on Saturday, pass back 1pm at Lagan College.

Minor Plate 1: Donaghadee LHC 2XI 1-5 North Down 5XI
Donaghadee 2XI met North Down 5XI in the First Round of the Minor Plate on Saturday at Bangor Grammar in rather inclement conditions. Donaghadee were missing a number of their regular players but those who were available pulled together.

North Down were clearly an experienced team with slick passing moves and lightning quick finishes within the Dee circle which ultimately led to them rattling the back board on a number of occasions. Donaghadee did have several chances of their own and during one prolonged series of penalty corners in the second half, Maura Hennessey unleashed one of her trademark shots getting the Dee onto the scorecard.

Ultimately on the day North Down took their chances quickly and outplayed Donaghadee finishing the match at 5-1. The two sides meet again on Saturday at Bangor Grammar for the league match encounter, pass back 2.30pm. Donaghadee are confident of having a more even scoreline next week as they now know what to expect. Many thanks to Nicola Patton for umpiring.

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