22/10/16 Donaghadee LHC 1XI 0-3 Holywood and Donaghadee LHC 2XI 0-3 Ards

Senior League 3 Donaghadee LHC 1XI 0-3 Holywood 1XI
Having played only 10 minutes hockey since the first week in October, thanks to a free week and then the South Antrim fixture being aborted after only 10 minutes last week, DLHC 1XI were looking forward to getting back on to the pitch with neighbours Holywood the visitors to Bangor Grammar last Saturday.

The match got underway in lovely autumnal sunshine and Donaghadee were quick to attack with some delightful interlinking play; probing runs from Ruth Coulter linking with Amy Long on the right and speedy breaks from Helen Hooks set up by Paige Reilly on the left certainly posed questions of the visiting defence, but Donaghadee were unable to find the killer final ball when in the circle.

Donaghadee continued with this sustained pressure during much of the first half: Kerry Kennedy unleashed a demon of a reverse stick shot which unfortunately just whistled up over the cross bar and Kerrie Turtle pinged one off the outside of the right post, all efforts which were in vain and the scoreline remained 0-0 at half time.

The fluid play which had served the team well in the first half seemed to ebb away in the second. Holywood certainly pressed higher up the pitch but Donaghadee contrived to make things difficult for themselves with all sorts of muddles and melees in the Dee circle not helping the nerves of the watching spectators. It was courtesy of one such mix up which allowed a Holywood forward to stab the ball home and give her side the advantage.

Midfielders Ali Lawther and Lynsey Sloan found themselves deep in the Donaghadee half as they tried to help centre back Claire Stewart stem the flow but there was nothing they or Dee keeper Nicola Patton could do about Holywood’s second – a well-struck penalty corner.

Donaghadee did have the odd flash of attacking intent in the second half, with Ruth making superb inroads up the right on one occasion to pick out a pinpoint cross for Carolyn Scott but the Holywood keeper was able to make a save at close quarters to clear the ball to safety before the forward could make clean contact. Sub Angela Parker came on to add fresh legs but with the game all but done and dusted, Holywood added a third to give the scoreline a very one-sided look. Thanks to Caitland Crockett for umpiring.

Junior League 7: Donaghadee LHC 0-3 Ards 5XI
The 2XI fared no better in their Junior 7 match, with Ards 5XI running out victors by the same scoreline in a match where the young Dee stars showed some lovely hockey skills of their own – they can surely feel slightly aggrieved not to have taken something from this much more evenly contested match than the scoreline suggests.

Both teams are at home again this Saturday: the 1XI play Newry at 1pm followed by the 2XI against Coleraine at 2.30pm.

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