Senior 3: DLHC 1XI 1-0 Larne
The 1XI of Donaghadee LHC have been gaining some momentum over the last number of games as the season reaches the business end, with the league programme scheduled to wrap up mid-February.
Larne were the visitors to Bangor Grammar last Saturday and since the two sides met in the first round of the Intermediate Cup at the beginning of December, the Dee have put together an impressive run which has included a 6-0 victory away to Derg Valley and a performance-of-the-season-so-far 3-1 win away to Ballynahinch in their final match before the Christmas break.
Larne arrived in Bangor on Saturday having won 8 games and drawn one in the league so far this season, and that Cup game against Donaghadee in December? A resounding 6-0 win to the County Antrim side, although by all accounts the game itself was a lot closer than the score line suggests. A team in terrific form by any account which meant that Donaghadee went into the game knowing that any sort of result would be extremely hard won.
Those expectations were most certainly not disappointed as Larne proceeded to throw everything – including a couple of kitchen sinks – at Donaghadee for the duration of the match, with the Dee pinned back for long spells in their own half.
It was an unbelievable defensive effort from front to back from Donaghadee, with the forwards trying to press and harry where they could, to the midfield tucking in to bolster the defence, and the defenders gritting their collective teeth in a true display of ‘they shall not pass’.
In one rare foray into the Larne 25 – possibly their first of the match, and coming not until midway through the second quarter – Donaghadee managed to win themselves a penalty corner and the strike team were under no illusion that such opportunities were going to be few and far between. Best make the most of it then.
A couple of swift interchanges between the Dee attackers created just enough space for Carolyn Scott to get a shot away, with the onrushing first runner managing to get just enough of a deflection on the ball to loop it up and over the diving Larne keeper and in between two flailing defenders’ sticks. 1-0 to the Dee at the half time break.
There was absolutely no respite for Donaghadee with Larne continuing to tighten every screw they could think of to get a foothold in the match but the resolute Dee defending continued, the Dee goal line unbreached. Crosses from wide, shots from the top – all were met and repelled by dogged Donaghadee defending: anywhere would do for the clearances, just enough time to regroup and go again.
And go again – and again – they did. Despite Larne’s best efforts – and they were legion – the visitors just could not find a way to get the goal they craved and with each passing moment, a Donaghadee victory edged into sight.
Where earlier in the season a moment’s lost concentration might have given Larne the chance of a last gasp equaliser, to a player Donaghadee kept the clearances clean and the tackles tight to hold on for a magnificent 1-0 victory over a team who will surely be challenging for promotion come the end of the season.
A terrific battle from both teams on the day with some excellent hockey played, and with one game to Larne, one now to Donaghadee, it will be a most interesting final best-of-three game when the Dee travel to Larne at the end of the season for the return leg of the league fixtures!
Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring. The Firsts will hope to continue their good form when they head down the A1 on Friday night to play Newry, pass back at 8pm.
Junior 8: DLHC 2XI 0-1 Ards 4XI
Donaghadee 2XI welcomed Ards 4s last Saturday in the second billing at BGS in a (very!) fresh start to the new year.
Despite it being one of the coldest days of the season so far, the first quarter saw the Dee girls warm up and settle in quickly.
In one great attack, and despite occupying a defensive berth, Lisa Higgins found herself breaking free and heading three quarters of the way up the pitch closely followed by centre back Megan Gore in support, opening the field for a Dee attack which was well snuffed out by the visiting defence.
Despite cracking efforts from forwards Caroline Davison, Katie and Molly McKee, sadly no ball crossed the Ards defensive line meaning the first quarter finished 0-0.
The second quarter received the same level of commitment and effort from the entire team, with midfielders Row Moore, Lauren Mann and Carmen Van Der Schyff weaving the ball amongst Ards players to pass the onto the forwards as Donaghadee went in search of the opening goal, but with no score from either side it remained 0-0 going in to the half time break.
Coming out into the second half the Dee defensive line of Floss Scott, Megan, Lisa, Miya Van Der Schyff and keeper Emma McGimpsey-Young came under more pressure from the attacking Ards players. However the ball remained out of the Dee circle and one strong counter attack saw Vicky O’Neill shot only narrowly wide following a terrific breakaway run from Molly, with twin sister Katie also getting up in support.
The final quarter saw the ball finally cross a goal line in the last five minutes of play, but unfortunately for Donagahdee it was a shot by an Ards player who scored for her team to give a late, late victory to this closely contested derby.
Congratulations to Lisa Higgins who was voted Star Player for the team this week and a huge well done to the entire team for the effort and determination shown by all – especially just after Christmas!
The 2s return to BGS on Saturday to welcome visitors Ballynahinch, pass back 1pm.