Senior League 3: Ballynahinch 1XI 0-1 Donaghadee LHC 1XI
The terrific start to Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI’s season continued last Saturday with a 1-0 victory away to Ballynahinch 1XI.
In stark contrast to the balmy conditions of the opening weekend, the weather seemed to suddenly have got the memo that hockey season is back; gusty driving rain right from pass back making things soggy and unpleasant for everyone on the pitch. Undeterred Donaghadee started brightly and were soon camped in the Ballynahinch half, where they remained for much of the opening period. Emily Morris made several piercing runs on the right, with Kerrie Turtle peeling wide to give a good option on the left. Donaghadee’s midfield of Kerry Kennedy, Ali Lawther and Helen Hooks were able to push up to prevent any escape route for the home side.
Indeed an early pinpoint cross from Ali found Carolyn Scott free in the circle but the forward was unable to make a clean connection and the chance went begging. Kerry K then stepped up in fine individual style to show the forwards how it’s done, gratefully seizing her chance to get her tally for this season up and running with an unstoppable shot which flew past the hapless Hinch keeper. Donaghadee 1-0 to the good going into half time and no less than they deserved.
It was definitely a game of two halves and, with the weather showing no signs of improving, the Dee defence found themselves with more to do. Central defender Claire Stewart marshalled her defenders well though; Paige Reilly, Amy Long, Lynsey Sloan and Lisa Higgins were able to snuff out many of the threats before they reached the circle, although the Hinch forwards found Dee keeper Nicola Patton in her usual bullish form on the odd occasion they did find space: no way through there!
Donaghadee were delighted with their second win in a row which takes them to joint top of the table; Annadale the only other side with maximum points at this early stage of the season. Thanks to Maura Hennessey for umpiring and the Firsts now look forward to Saturday’s trip away to Kilkeel.
Junior 7: Ballynahinch 2XI 2-1 Donaghadee LHC 2XI
The next billing at St Colman’s, Ballynahinch was the clash of the Seconds, with Donaghadee hoping to emulate the result from the Firsts’ match. The home side put pressure on Donaghadee from the start however and that paid off, with an early goal going in despite a great initial clearance by Natalie Jamieson. The ball unfortunately fell to a Ballynahinch forward and she made no mistake to make it 1-0 for her side. Donaghadee were then dreadfully unlucky to lose Teegan Greer to injury – a knock to the head put not only her out of action, but also Carmen van der Schyff as they made their way off to hospital to get Teegan attended to.
Susan Pierce and Emily Morris, getting her second soaking of the day, came on to try to redress the balance, with some success in helping Debs Gilmore and Karen Fegan to put Ballynahinch under pressure. Rebecca Bolton made inroads up the left with Row Moore on hand to get a strike away but her shot was saved by the home keeper to keep her team ahead. Play swung back down to the other end of the pitch with Susan, Lisa Alexander and Georgia Fergsuon all making timely clearances to make it hard for the home side.
A further brilliant clearance from Georgia sent the ball to Natalie who took on seemingly most of the Ballynahinch team before rounding the keeper to slickly pop the ball into the back of the net – what a time to get your first strike for the club! Lisa Higgins then showed her experience when she was able to step in to clear several hard strikes by Ballynahinch as Donaghadee tried to keep the score at 1-1 but the defence could do nothing about an initial strike from a short corner which powered into the back of Donaghadee’s goal, even despite Dee keeper Janice McVeigh’s best efforts. Final score 2-1 to Ballynahinch. Thanks to Maura Hennessey for umpiring. The Seconds are next in action at home to Queen’s on Saturday.