Friendly: DLHC 1XI 0-4 Saintfield 1XI
With the prospect of a third consecutive Saturday with no match following a free weekend, a bye in the cup and then the postponement of the away league fixture with PSNI, Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI were pleased to welcome Senior 2 side Saintfield to Bangor Grammar for a friendly on Saturday.
With several players playing out of position and a couple unavailable, the new(ish) look lineup took to the pitch knowing they would need to perform well to be in with a chance of taking anything from the game, and it’s lovely to be able to write a report which is dedicated to the usually unsung heroes of the Dee defence.
Right from the first whistle the Donaghadee defenders grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in showing their forwards how it should be done.
Sarah Hooks was the first to demonstrate the power of a fabulous deflection when she completely rerouted a wayward Saintfield shot brilliantly past Dee keeper Janice McVeigh to give the visitors the lead.
Right back Amy Long, in her first game of the season following recovery from injury, looked to have forgotten which sport she was playing when she got her head in the way of a sweeping shot as she tried to flick on a magnificent glancing header past her goalkeeper.
No lasting damage done thankfully and a timely reminder that ducking out of the way of a flying hockey ball is probably not a bad idea in the grand scheme of things.
Having hitherto performed as one might expect of a defender by making a number of pretty decent clearances, left back Paige Reilly was clearly feeling a bit left out so got in on the act with a superb nippy little deflection of her own to make it 3-0 to the visitors.
Saintfield then scored – entirely unaided by Donaghadee this time – from a well taken penalty corner. Having had her goal completely under attack by the whole of the opposition and half of her own team all match, keeper Janice returns to the Seconds for a well deserved rest, bless her.
It would seem churlish to write a whole report without mentioning the Donaghadee attack, so we will finish by saying the forward line did a brilliant job of showing their defenders a thing or two: keeping the ball out of the circle, ensuring the keeper had little to deal with and making sure all clearances got well away to safety!*
Thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring and many thanks to Saintfield for the game at short notice to get the rust out of the system.
The 1XI are back to Senior 3 league action on Saturday at home to Enniskillen when, having tried out each other’s roles, the team will aim to go back to the more traditional style of playing. Pass back at BGS is at 1pm.
DLHC 2XI Update
Having played Bangor 4XI in a friendly on Monday evening, the 2XI of Donaghadee LHC take on Bangor 3XI on Friday night in Junior 9.
*While it may seem from this report like the entire defence didn’t know their glutes from their funny bones in this match, we do of course point out that they were brilliant (as always), we love them dearly, and we wouldn’t be without them (as we’re sure Saintfield would agree…)