Newmarket Men’s 1s & 2s combo: 0-1 friendly loss vs St Ives Men’s 2s, 3s & 4s combo (Away)
Team: Bailey (GK), Prentice, Wilson, Hrebeniak, Pears, Wood, Dawson (C), Labuschagne, J. Atkinson, Skelton, Bunker, Evans, Wade.
MOTM – Labuschagne (Dan the man) for a solid midfield performance. Unfamiliar centre-half pairing Hrebeniak and Wilson came in second with a couple of votes each.
DOTD – James Atkinson for missing an open goal after a dubious shot/pass from Ollie Wade. Clean through, it was Atkinson v The Post, the latter coming out on top. DOTD was a surprisingly close run thing with Bunker coming in a close second, thanks to his wardrobe choice.
Newmarket Men’s 3s: 0-1 friendly loss vs St Ives Men’s 5s (Home)
February 20th 2016 will now be a date to go down in the long and distinguished history of Newmarket Hockey Club as the inauguration of the Men’s 3s. St. Ives were kind enough to travel to Newmarket Leisure Centre for this friendly, momentous occasion and although they did bring 7 wives, the sacks, cats and kits were all, thankfully, left at home. The opening ceremony was a grand affair, with moving speeches made by local dignitaries such as John Benedikz, and an impressive flypast courtesy of a couple of Red Sparrows.
St. Ives were a stronger team than we had expected, but it later became clear that some of their 3s had joined their squad of 12. But Newmarket held their own and it was a closely fought competition. Just getting back into the game after a long break, keeper Laurence Chapman was resplendent in his vibrantly coloured kit and made some great saves, enough to earn himself MoM. The defence was made up of Rory Podd, Captain John Benedikz, Simon Everitt and Henry Frost, who all held up well especially given this was the first time they had played a competitive game together in these positions. Midfield was made up of Peter Booth, Ollie Trent, Patrick Morris (also returning to competitive hockey after a long break) and Ben Atkinson while Jordan Walker and Oscar Kenny started up front. We were fortunate to have a 12th man in the shape of William Frost who was used on a regular basis.
The first half was very even although St. Ives did carve out several penalty corners for themselves, but these were defended well. The second half was much the same although about 10 minutes in, St. Ives played some nice passing hockey that split the defence and left keeper Chapman with no chance as the ball was slotted it. Newmarket did create some chances, perhaps the best going to Ollie Trent who beat a couple of players on a drive into the ‘D’ and managed to chip the ball over the keepers stick as he came out. There was an audible gasp in the crowd as a goal was expected, but the chip was a little heavy and ran out of play about a foot wide of the left upright.
Newmarket did manage to get the ball into the St. Ives net for what might have been an equaliser; the ball was drilled into the St. Ives ‘D’ by Morris and young Walker, momentarily grabbing his left thigh with both hands as if it were a hockey stick, managed to get his left foot under the ball and lift it perfectly over the keeper and into the goal. He peeled away to celebrate but Umpire Colin Seakins was having none of it as he shook his head, tut-tutting and signaling a free hit for St. Ives. Walker later picked up a few votes for DoD for his ‘antics’ but this accolade finally went to Rory Podd, who, despite having a good game, could have done so much better had he worn his Astros rather than carpet slippers. Still, at least he remembered his stick this time.
All considered, this was a good result for Newmarket and it was great to see so many younger players getting so much match time and experience. But there is work to do in areas such as fitness and positional awareness if we are to compete to the best of our ability. The younger players in particular acquitted themselves well, showed real determination and should be applauded as there were many positive signs of a successful season ahead. It will be critical now that the team and the club maintain this momentum with regular training as we go into Summer League, in preparation for the 2016/17 season and much to look forward to.
Newmarket Ladies’ 2s: 2-4 loss vs Leadenham Ladies’ 2s (Home)
After travelling down on a frosty morning in mid January and seeing the game called off after just 10 minutes, Leadenham made the trip to Newmarket once again to face Town’s team. Although there was still a chill in the air, this time the match was able to be played out in full.
Newmarket started strong, with great possession and ball control, the play was much more evenly distributed between the two teams than other opponents they have faced in recent weeks. Despite some great defensive work from Faye Andreou, Jazz Freed, Phoebe Peacock and Jess Felton-Page, Leadenham were able to take an early lead, slipping the ball past keeper Jess Boyle. Undeterred, Newmarket took the push back and were soon able to equalise with some great 1-2 passing between Hannah Kelly and Helen Hansgate, who ultimately took a strike and scored. From this Hansgate made it two shortly afterwards, finishing the first half with Newmarket 2-1 up, something which has been a rarity this season. A half time talk saw them confident and ready to hold on to the lead, however Leadenham had also had a talking to and seemed to dig deep and came back fighting with a goal. Bea Jones playing up front for Newmarket made some great runs into the D, and at one point the keeper was drawn out and Kelly made a great pass to Jones to deflect it into the goal but the opportunity was missed. Leadenham then managed another 2 goals in the second half, bringing the final score to 4-2.
Newmarket Ladies’ 3s: 7-1 win vs Cambridge South Ladies’ 3s (Away) (Cockerill 4, Farrow, Hogg, Podd)
Above: Tracy Cockerill celebrates after slotting home her 4th goal.
Click here to view photographs of the match by Michael Bennett.