Newmarket Men’s 1s: 1-1 draw vs I-ES Men’s 2s (Home)
Newmarket host league leaders I-ES in 3NE looking to put last week’s disappointment behind them. They welcomed back skipper Matthew Holden and new player Sam Smith, but lost Chris Leggett to a training injury and the early push back meant that Louie (not sure if intentional or just incompetence -L) Hrebeniak and Mike Skelton were also unavailable. Having made promising debuts in the last fortnight both Oscar Kenny and Ollie Trent were included in the 12 man squad.
The game was keenly contested with chances at both ends, in the first half Newmarket won three penalty corners which they wasted and restricted the visitors to one of their own. Newmarket’s keeper Martin McCourt was the busier of the two and made a couple of key stops to keep Newmarket in the game although he was powerless to stop a fine reverse stick drive that cannoned of the crossbar into the field behind.
I-ES took the lead their play had deserved just before half time, Newmarket failed to clear the D and the I-ES player finished into the far corner on his reverse from a tight angle.
Newmarket came out in the second half much more positively, James McTaggart and Harry Bell were a threat from either flank and skipper Holden linked well on midfield, I-ES were still dangerous on the break, but Newmarket were dominating possession and territory.
Newmarket equalised from their 5th penalty corner, the ball was slipped right to McTaggart, his initial effort was saved but he reacted the fastest to force the rebound home.
Harry Bell twice almost clinched a winner, deflecting Wilson’s long ball just over the bar, before racing onto a Wilson aerial and seeing his shot just clear the far post. There was still time for I-ES to force a penalty corner which Newmarket defended well and cleared before the final whistle went.
Ollie Trent acquitted himself well at right back and Oscar Kenny looked more confident after last week’s first outing. Darren Jenkins played very well out of position at left back. Lee Blades again went close to opening his account for the season. With the numbers of players soon to be returning to the squad Captain Holden will look forward to having some difficult selection decisions to make.
Next week Newmarket head to Harleston Magpies 3’s, a team only one place and one point behind in the table for a 3:30 push back.
Newmarket Men’s 2s: 2-5 loss vs Ipswich Men’s 3s (Away)
It was 869AD when Ipswich fell under the ominous, black skies of Viking rule. Centuries later, after all that raping, pillaging and now with a hockey club that has teams knocking on the National League door, it remains an ominous place to go. But the Men’s 2s were facing a team that had yet to pick up a point this season, a team languishing at the bottom of the league. The team headed East feeling confident and when they arrived, the faint smell of North Sea air combined with a very dark sky, rousing the spirits of Viking Gods within all the players. But from the pushback at 2pm, all was not well. It wasn’t just the strange acoustics around the ground that made every hit sound like a crack of thunder, but Ipswich were on fire. Their strikers were at another level in their speed, agility and skills and the Newmarket back line of Marc ‘Mungo’ Prentice, Andy Baker, Adrian Atkinson and John Benedikz were immediately under pressure. It wasn’t long before Ipswich took the lead after one of their forwards dribbled towards the ‘D’, lifted the ball gently over the first tackle, then again over the second and just in case that were not enough, over a third before drilling it in, leaving keeper Seth Bailey with no chance. Newmarket’s travelling fan looked on in disbelief, wondering how such a team could find itself at the bottom of the league. Newmarket meanwhile, didn’t let their heads drop. In fact, they played some of their best hockey this season with Alex Andreou, resplendent in white headband, orchestrating from the midfield, Rory Podd to his left, Pete Boyle on the right and Captain Drew Wood at the top of the diamond. Will Hosegood and debutant Johnny Bunker made up the attack with Oscar Kenny on the bench, fully recovered from his DoD award at Bury. Many times Newmarket played some lovely, quick passing hockey, using the angles to create space and it wasn’t long before Andreou picked up the ball in mid-field and drilled it into the ‘D’ where Hosegood was chomping at the bit. The Ipswich defence were unable to control the ball and it fell to Hosegood with his back to goal. Turning, he let loose a thunderbolt which smashed into the boards in the left corner. Now at 1:1 it looked like anyone’s game and Newmarket certainly had their peckers up. Another period of even play followed but it was noticeable that the sky had darkened, voluminous black clouds threatening a downpour and possibly a thunder storm. Newmarket’s youngsters continue to develop and gain confidence every week although some additional spinach and testosterone wouldn’t go amiss. After some pre-match shenanigans, Johnny Bunker finally had both hands on his hockey stick and from the right of the Ipswich ‘D’ he hit a hard and high cross, well above head height. Everyone relaxed as the ball was bound for Ipswich docks, but there was a low, distant roll of thunder and Drew Wood’s stick seemingly transformed into a hammer. The Nordic God Thor must have been looking down favourably upon Wood as he took the ball on the fly, over-head and hammered the ball into the net. A stunned silence fell across the ground as people realised the enormity of what they had just witnessed. The lead Newmarket had taken was short lived however, as Ipswich created a very intricate and skillful move that lead to an equaliser before the break. In the second half both teams enjoyed good spells of play, both creating chances. Newmarket played more direct while Ipswich used their width well and their speed. It was Ipswich that converted twice however, taking a 4:2 lead with about 15 minutes to go. Five minutes before time the Nordic Gods were again amongst the Newmarket team. This time it was Andy Baker, perhaps frustrated by a difficult afternoon, whose stick suddenly took on the behaviour of Odin’s Sword, thrashing through the Ipswich attack, cleaving sticks as if felling trees. The umpire, covered in splinters of carbon fibre, was none too impressed and awarded Ipswich a penalty flick and Baker DoD. Seth Bailey faced his third flick of the season and although he had made some very important saves during the game, he couldn’t reach this one. The game closed at 5:2 to Ipswich. Hosegood picked up Man of the Match award after an excellent game as he continues to make his mark up front. Next week the team face top of the table I-ES 3’s at home.
Newmarket Ladies’ 1s: 1-10 loss vs St Ives Ladies’ 1s (Away)
This week saw two of the NHC club getting hitched which meant a shortage of players as many attended the wedding. Nevertheless, the 1s had 11 players going into this week’s game. Told to play a defensive game, the team took a 4-1-4-1 formation and started strong, keeping the ball around midfield, however Newmarket were soon 2-0 down. Keeper Sue Bullimore managed to keep the score down making some great saves and the ball was worked well between Vicky Beeton and Hayley Stoneman, finding Beth Wombwell, and ultimately the back of the goal, enabling Newmarket to see a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately though, this was dampened when St Ives scored another goal before half time.
The second half saw a flood of goals from St Ives. It seemed to slow at one point but Newmarket were unable to get into a rhythm and more goals slipped past, making the final score a disappointing 10-1.
Newmarket Ladies’ 2s: 0-7 loss vs Spalding Ladies’ 2s (Away)
This week, an 11 man Newmarket travelled to Lincolnshire to face Spalding 2s who are sitting 1 place above them in the table! Bundling in to the always freezing port-a-cabins, Newmarket knew that they had a lot of work to do in order to not let last week’s score line happen again. With Anna Sambrook pulling a muscle in her bum cheek (how that is even possible I do not know!) during the warm up nonetheless and leaving the team with just 10 men, Town called upon veteran Bev Rolph who gladly came out of her 4 year retirement from hockey to step up and help the girls out! If anyone who saw last week’s game had seen this week’s they would have thought that a totally different team had turned up! From the off, Newmarket strongly picked up each Spalding player with the intent of not letting the ball through. With the return of Stef Howard in the midfield along with Bea Jones, Rebecca Barnes and Sambrook, Spalding found it difficult to get the ball towards the goal! Some spectacular tackles from skipper Holly Woods and Jess Felton-Page in defence saw the ball on more than one occasion leaving the defence and hitting the midfield with the play being superb from all players. Unfortunately the hard earned play from Newmarket went unrecognised and Spalding managed to sneak a couple of goals past remaining defenders Sarah Ganiford, Mel Podd and Rolph into the awaiting path of keeper Jess Boyle and into the back of the goal. With heads still held high, Town battled their way in towards the half time whistle with a couple of short corners given against them for footwork in the D and another goal sneaking in to the back of the their net with the half time score ending 3-0 to Spalding.
The half time team talk couldn’t have been more positive from skipper Woods. After reflecting on the half on the positives and negatives and a couple of strategic position changes, Newmarket knew what they needed to do in the second half to try and win back some goals. Again, Newmarket dominated and kept the ball securely away from Boyle until a short corner was given for an intended kick off the backline from Boyle (who ironically had pre-warned the team during half time about this happening!). Some great defending from Felton-Page who had no fears about ploughing in to the Spalding attack saw her win the ball and run the line into the midfield, allowing Clodie Rolph to step back to cover her in defence. A phenomenal pass from Woods to Howard in midfield, and a spectacular wallop of the ball from Howard into the Spalding defending zone where there were no players whatsoever, Jones found her ‘big wheels’ and sprinted for the ball and successfully made contact with it before it was unfortunately kicked away by the Spalding keeper. Spalding’s fourth came from a short corner which narrowly missed the face of C. Rolph and popped in to the goal, the same with the fifth. Newmarket battled hard within the last 10 minutes of the game knowing that however hard they tried, they were unable to go away from this game with a win. Instead, heads turned to stopping Spalding scoring more goals. Unfortunately, the hard work of Newmarket again was unrewarded and Spalding went on to score another 2 goals before the full time whistle taking the final score to 7-0.
This week the score line did not reflect on how the team played. Everyone played fantastically and worked so hard to stick to their players and defend the ball. This week’s man of the match went to Bev Rolph for offering to help the struggling team whilst dick of the day went to Anna Sambrook for managing to injure herself before the game had even started! Next week Newmarket face Cambridge South 1s at home at 12:00.
Newmarket Ladies’ 3s: 0-2 loss vs Ely City Ladies’ 2s (Home)
After the previous few defeats, Newmarket Ladies 3s were looking forward to a game that they could be more assertive in. This weekend they fought hard and it was evenly matched but Ely clearly had more panache in their attacks than previous seasons. Their first goal was from a short that was hit with precision to lift enough to be above any sticks but dipped nicely into the corner.
Their second goal was from a mistake that was capitialised and then they hit the far corner.
The game was a good reflection on how the L3s can battle as a team, but needed to make more of our opportunities in front of goal, including testing the opposition keeper more. Clearly lots of strength within the team with lots of potential and still areas to improve.
Players of the Match: Charlotte Wyatt and Sophie Bell.