Senior 3: DLHC 1XI 0-2 Ballynahinch
It’s been something of an annus horribilus for the 1XI of Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club this year in terms of injury and unavailability with a different team taking to the pitch virtually every match this year.
Saturday was no different but, thanks to the 2XI’s fixture away to Parkview being postponed due to an unplayable pitch, stand in captain Sarah-Louise Baird was delighted to be able to call up youngsters Katie and Molly McKee, Erin Hamilton and Vicky O’Neill to the team to face Ballynahinch at BGS.
The Dee dominated the opening periods of this mid table clash, with Katie and Molly tearing up and down the flanks at will and Vicky using the experience she’s gained from 1XI minutes this season to distribute calmly and turn defence to attack.
With Donaghadee pinning Ballynahinch in for sustained periods in the opening spells, the Dee midfield were able to push high to prevent any respite: Helen Hooks was her usual industrious self in the central role while Sarah-Louise took several opportunities to drive along the by line as she searched for the killer ball to high forward Hannah McAdam.
Despite the early pressure the visiting defence kept their keeper reasonably safe and they weathered the red and green storm. It was a breakaway goal by Ballynahinch which opened the scoring before they added a second just before half time to give themselves a substantial cushion.
The second half was an open affair as Donaghadee went in search of their first goal and Hinch did their best to counter. They found Amy Long and Paige Reilly in imperious form however, with Laura Boyle, dropping deep centrally, cutting out several attempts by Ballynahinch to get through to Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam.
Going forward, Lisa Higgins added her experience to turn defence to attack, showing the willing running off the ball to provide space for the pass. One such move freed Hannah in the circle but the resulting shot was just the wrong side of the post for the Dee.
Erin, finding herself on the edge of her own circle in the dying stages, showed how much she has learnt since joining the Dee at the start of the season with a super block which she then turned to the Dee’s advantage to get them attacking again.
Despite the attacking promise however, Donaghadee were unable to breach the Hinch line and the final score remained 2-0 to the away side.
Thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring and to William McAdam of Stanley Woods Accountants for sponsoring the match ball, with special mention to William’s Coleraine 2XI who clinched promotion to Junior 3 on Saturday with an emphatic 3-1 win over Queens. Congratulations, Willie and team!
The 1XI have a break this week before heading to Lisburn to play South Antrim on Friday 22nd March, while the 2XI are at home this Saturday to Lurgan – pass back is at 1pm at BGS and all support is welcome!