Men’s 1s: 1-3 loss vs Norwich Dragons 3 (Away)
Newmarket Men’s 1s went down by 3 goals to 1 in the club’s last fixture of what has been a very positive year for NHC. Their squad heavily depleted by injuries, Town travelled with a bare 11 players and welcomed youngsters Ollie Trent and Jonny Bunker into the team to join Ben Atkinson in the youth contingent. Captain Jordan Newnes also shuffled his pack, switching full backs Darren Jenkins and Louis Hrebeniak to opposite sides and pushing Harry Bell into midfield alongside the ever-present Chris Leggett. James Atkinson, in his final game for the club this season, was moved to the left side of midfield to accommodate Bunker starting up front and Rob Green fulfilling the eponymous ‘Skelton role’.
Newmarket started well and perhaps had the best of things early on, but after 20 minutes they were undone by a quick turnover in the middle and a fast counter in behind centre halves Newnes and Will Wilson – the chance finished well past visiting keeper Iain Robinson. Soon after, Dragons increased their lead – a dubious tackle on Wilson resulted in an easy opportunity for 2-0 which gave Robinson no chance. To add insult to injury, Newmarket were reduced to 10 men and lost Wilson to a hangover straight after.
Following half time, Robinson was forced into action early and produced a string of outstanding saves that would later win him a deserved man of the match. However, the Town resistance was broken once more when Hrebeniak misjudged his weight of pass in midfield and Dragons again executed a clinical counter attack to bring the score to 3-0. Not disheartened, Newmarket adopted a 2-0-9 formation and entertained themselves by chatting to (or in some cases, up) the opposition and passing the captain’s armband around. This ploy clearly worked as Bell fired home from a short corner and Town were desperately unlucky to see a deflected shot hit the post late on – a goal that would have really set up a grandstand finish. However, the final whistle blew with Dragons running out 3-1 winners in a good-tempered occasion that results in Newmarket only having one ‘double header’ in January.