Norwich City Men’s 2nd XI 4 – 1 Newmarket Men’s 1st XI
Newmarket travelled to Norwich with a squad deprived of Oliver Wade and David Worrall though work commitments, James Wrinch and Chris Routs through injury and Matthew Holden who was washing his hair.
With Norfolk providing two poo umpires, of whom I refuse to put any negative in writing, but you may draw your own conclusions from the lack of any positive the game got underway.
Despite a few players being out of position Newmarket played quite well for the first half. Martin McCourt was again deputising in goal and made a few important stops. With the Norfolk pitch being more than a little bouncy Newmarket reverted to the more tradition grass hockey last seen over 2 decades ago, or 20 years in Triggers case.
Norwich took the lead midway through the half only for Will Wilson to equalise with a direct strike from a penalty corner. Newmarket dominated the rest of the half with Norwich occasionally threatening on the counter, almost scoring a second which was thwarted by a superb diving block from Jordan Newnes.
The second half became very fractious the game disintegrated as a spectacle, I’m sure this was all the players fault, in fact it must have been, we can’t after all play without umpires. Mike Skelton and a Norwich player spent some time in the bin as tempers flared as a result of a particularly period of play, again one can say no more!
Newmarket’s 11 men began to tire and with their subs and greater stamina Norwich scored two unanswered second half goals with Simon Harrington completing the routs with a nice reverse stick deflection into his own net.
With the game petering out to a conclusion Harrington tackled the centre forward in the middle of the pitch and was fouled, he proceeded to roll around on the floor in a manner that Luis Suarez would have been proud, only for the umpire to reverse the decision and send Harrington to the corner of the pitch to spend a few minutes on the naughty step. It was without doubt the most ridiculous thing I have seen in over 23 years, but I’m sure it’s an event that will be laid down in club folk law.
Newmarket haven’t had any luck this season, but Saturdays performance with a weak squad was unacceptable. It now looks very unlikely the team will stay up and they will need to re-double efforts to try an earn some luck during what is left of this fleeting visit to division 2N.
Newmarket Ladies 1’s v Haverhill Ladies 2’s: 4 – 0 win to Newmarket
The ladies’ First team cemented their challenge for the league title this week as they produced a dominant display against Haverhill second team.
Despite the end scoreline Newmarket struggled initially to find the back of Haverhill’s goal and the away side’s keeper was very skilful. Newmarket were able to hold possession but lacked the end drive to convert. Thankfully the winning mentality began to kick in and following a swift charge up the pitch Grace Evans fired home to get her first goal for the ladies 1’s this season.
Haverhill were not without chances and experienced players were able to shield the ball from Town leaving the tackles to be made later than Newmarket would have liked.
First team debutant Vicky Sievewright was a credit to her team using her pace and skill to advance the ball towards goal. Relentless tracking and tackling from Kerry Alderson ensured that Town could make quick breaks down the right had side.
With just a goal advantage at half time strong words needed to be said to inspire a better performance from Newmarket and the fear was that Haverhill could win the mental battle and start to control the game.
It did not take Newmarket long to get into their stride after half time and brilliant driving work from Zoe Bailey up the wing forced a short corner. The ball fell to the stick of Lydia Evans and she launched an unstoppable shot at goal meaning that the Evans sisters had a goal apiece.
As usual Claire McDonnell was a key element to Newmarket’s possession in midfield and she combined superbly with her sister Gail Parkins. Taking the ball to the D, Parkins snatched a quick strike that was out of reach of goalie and defenders to give Newmarket a 3 – 0 cushion.
Due to illness Faye Andreou was sidelined for the match but showed tactical team management after bringing on Di Thomas, who with her first touch sneaked a goal to take the tally to that of the away leg against the same team.
It was a pinnacle week for Newmarket taking 3 points with both Cambridge University and St Ives who sat above Town on the table both failing to get victories meaning that Newmarket sit second in the table by a single point with a game in hand. However the league is still wide open as the top 5 teams are all within 5 points of one another. Newmarket certainly have their work cut out for them and every game left will be competitive.
Newmarket Ladies 3s take on Huntingdon 2s 1-5