Senior 3: DLHC 1XI 1-2 Instonians 1XI
On an afternoon when Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI was missing no fewer than 6 regular starters for the home game against Instonians, Captain Kerry Kennedy placed her faith in the young up and coming stars in the club.
In the perfect example of leading from the front, Kerry herself got the team off to an absolutely flying start when she unleashed a powerful strike within the opening moments of the match to give the Dee a much welcome initial cushion.
There was plenty of youthful exuberance going forward in the early stages with Erin Hamilton making her 1XI debut and twins Molly and Katie McKee doing their best to keep Donaghadee on the front foot.
Both teams enjoyed good spells of attacking hockey in action that ebbed and flowed fairly evenly: Donaghadee defending as determinedly as they were attacking. Ali Stevenson – again the rock in the heart of defence – worked well with Amy Long making several excellent interceptions on the right, with Natalie Jamieson protecting the Dee’s left.
Keeper Siobhan McAdam was also involved in repelling early Instonians’ attacks as the team tried to protect the lead.
Shortly before half time Instonians carved themselves a chance to draw level going to go in the break: 1-1 at the turn around and no clear indication who was going to come out on top.
Back came the Dee again, with Helen Hooks and Laura Boyle shoring up the midfield to allow forward Hannah McAdam to lie high and press every out ball played by the visitors, the pressure forcing a number of good saves from the Instonians keeper.
Donaghadee were also finding joy in the attacking half thanks to jinky runs of Ruth Coulter, the speedy winger turning this way and that to find the extra space to get her passes away.
Vicky O’Neill added impetus on the other flank, providing a number of probing balls into the circle that required attention from the visiting defence.
With the match finely balanced, Instonians took advantage of a free hit awarded just outside the Dee circle and in the ensuing melee, slotted home to take the lead – a lead they did not relinquish until the final whistle.
Final score 2-1 to Instonians, with thanks to Jon Scott for umpiring and to Groomsport Playgroup for sponsoring the match ball. The 1XI are next in action away to Newry on Saturday for a big mid-table clash.
Junior 8B: DLHC 2XI 3-1 Bangor 3XI
Donaghadee 2XI were fighting for a chance to keep promotion hopes alive this week when facing Bangor 3s.
With a strong team out – some of whom were on their second match of the day – along with a welcome selection of subs, the Dee were able to sustain attack with very strong play from the mids Katie Donnelly, Vicky O’Neill, Erin Hamilton and Molly McKee who were able to break through Bangor’s defence multiple times in order to feed the ball to forwards Katie McKee, Connie Hampton and Emily Morris.
It wasn’t long before Donaghadee were awarded a penalty corner and after an excellent deflection from Katie McK, the score was 1-0 to Donaghadee.
Play continued to be pretty end-to-end with screens Tasha Paxton and Carmen Van der Schyff doing a great job of breaking up play before it reached the back three. After a combined effort to work the ball back up to the Bangor circle, the Dee scored again following a well-placed shot from Molly, bringing the score to 2-0, which was how the score stayed for the remainder for the first half.
Not long into the second half Donaghadee, after a sustained attack, were caught out due to a quick Bangor break and the opposition were able to get one past keeper Nicola Patton.
Despite conceding the goal, the Dee were not deterred and through a great series of link-up play and distribution from the defence of Mia Park, Natalie Jamieson, Hannah McAdam and Amy Long, were able to set the Dee up to score again when the ball was delivered to Katie Donnelly.
Katie’s fabulous reverse-stick shot made the final score to 3-1 with Bangor unable to breach the home defence again before the final whistle.
Many thanks to Mike Smith for umpiring and as ever, the amazing sideline support. The 2XI are next in action away to CI 5XI on Saturday, pass back 4pm.