Newmarket Men’s 1s: 4-3 win vs Norwich City Men’s 4s (Away)
(Bell 2, Wilson 2)
With newlywed Captain Matthew Holden streaming his honeymoon live over Facebook, the team travelled up to Nelson County without their inspirational leader, although with Facetime’s help he watched most of the game. Holden wasn’t the only absentee from last week, Mark Pears & Jonny Bunker were working, James McTaggart completing another 192 hour working week in our beloved NHS and Sam Smith healing after last week split lip on debut.
Town welcomed back Michael Skelton for his first start of the season and called up three players from the seconds, youngster Ollie Trent for his debut and veterans Alex Andreou and Lee Blades.
With a midday pushback in the blistering October sunshine, the game started at a furious pace, Newmarket looked a little disjointed and conceded possession in their own half setting Norwich on the attack, on this occasion the wolfpack as they refer to themselves of Simon Harrington, Jordan Newnes, Darren Jenkins and Lois Hrebenianiak (so close, and yet so far -L) let the sloth outpace them to round McCourt in goal and take the lead.
Newmarket regained their composure and started to link some good moves together, through midfielders William Wilson and Chris Leggett, the intelligent running of Lee Blades and Michael Skelton created space and Harry Bell put in several dangerous crosses from the right.
Town forced a penalty corner, the slip to Bell found Andreou at the far post and his effort was blocked by foot on the line, Wilson stepped up and buried the penalty flick to equalise. Newmarket were starting to dominate possession and a succession of chances went begging, before they were hit with a sucker punch just before half time, over committing after a free hit in the opposing 25, Joe Montana launched an aerial half the length of the pitch, catching the wolfpack off guard as the giant tortoise outpaced them and put Norwich back in the lead.
At half time the team talked about taking more care of possession in the final third of the pitch and making their visits to the D count. It wasn’t long before they were level again the ball was worked out to Jenkins on the right who played the ball into Leggett, his pass sent Bell down the right to cross feed Skelton, who set up Wilson to strike first time from the top of the D.
Newmarket were really on top now, but the aerials were still causing problems and from one foray down the right hand side the umpire harshly judged the circus juggling in his own D to be dangerous and awarded a penalty corner. As fate often has it Joe Montana buried his flick into the top left hand corner.
With time running out and the heat sapping the energy out of both teams, Wilson rode a couple of challenges and from a quick free hit on the half way found Bell in the D, who deflected the ball over the onrushing keeper to equalise. It was all Newmarket now, Blades and Skelton again went close, on another day the pair could have had a brace each. Newmarket scored the winner with minutes left from another penalty corner, which Bell finished emphatically into the bottom right corner.
Credit must go to Norwich City 4s, they had lost the 2 previous games after promotion last season and they gave Newmarket a real game. Newmarket need to work on their finishing in coming weeks. Special mentions should go to right back Darren Jenkins who continues to grow in confidence and his marauding runs down the right flank caused no end of problems. Lois Herbenianianiak continues to develop and look composed at left back and young Ollie Trent made a solid contribution to midfield, leaving the first team knowing they have a promising youngster they can call upon when needed.
Newmarket Men’s 2s: 0-2 loss vs Norwich City Men’s 5s (Home)
As the region’s ‘Indian Summer’ continued this week, it was a glorious Saturday afternoon that welcomed the Men’s 2’s back to home astro. If that were not enough, the welcome was further extended by a partisan crowd, not capacity, but certainly the biggest gate of the season. The team took to the field for their warm up encouraged by shouts of “Yellows, yellows!” and “Do you need whiskey with that?” plus the fact that Norwich had arrived with only 11 players. It was an eventful warm up as first choice left back and team sponsor Mungo developed a groin strain, but more significant was the unexpected solar eclipse. It passed in a matter of seconds, but only when full daylight had returned did the players realise that it was not an eclipse, but Norwich had brought on a barn loosely disguised as a hockey goalkeeper! This mountain of a man proved unbeatable for Newmarket as he filled the goal like a well worn suit.
The match was a closely fought affair with both teams creating chances. Newmarket had 5 new faces in the team, some of which were carrying injuries into the game but they were well supported by the ‘young legs’ of regulars Rory Podd and Oscar Kenny. Despite the flux of players, Newmarket played some good hockey with the back 4 retaining possession and combining well with mid-field and attack. Adrian Atkinson at right back proved difficult to beat as his stick had a near magnetic attraction to the ball (rather like money in his wallet!) while keeper Seth Bailey also had another good game making some important and athletic saves. But it was Norwich that took the lead about 10 minutes before half time after the ball entered the ‘D’ as if it were a pinball machine. Shots, blocks, tackles and counter tackles all flew in as Newmarket tried to clear their lines but the ball was ultimately clipped in. Newmarket bounced back quickly and almost equalised before the break when Drew Wood, Andy Beardon and Will Hosegood combined well down the left only to see the shot squeezed to the left of the goal.
The home crowd swelled to near capacity during the break as the Men’s 1s returned from their victory against Norwich City 4s to support the 2s, although it later became clear they came for pizza. The second half continued in similar vein to the first but Norwich were leaving a player high in Newmarkets defensive 25. Both teams had good chances and played some good hockey with Norwich perhaps earning more possession in the midfield and creating more shots on goal. Newmarket went close when Hosegood released an Exocet of a shot that would have beaten most keepers, but not the man mountain! Half way through the second half after a Newmarket attack broke down on the edge of the ‘D’, Norwich countered with a quick break down to the lone player and as Newmarket struggled to get back in numbers the game was sealed. It was a closer contest than the final score of 0:2 would suggest, but Norwich were able to convert and Newmarket were not. The 2’s will be looking for a more consistent team next week as they welcome North Norfolk and hopefully no further astronomical events.
Newmarket Ladies’ 1s: 1-4 loss vs Cambridge Nomads Ladies’ 1s (Away) (Cockerill)
A slow start from Newmarket meant they found themselves conceding a goal soon into the game. Taking their time to get into any kind of rhythm, they found they were doing a lot of hard work then passing it straight back to the opposition, soon getting themselves 2-0 down. There were some lovely pieces of play but never enough to make an impact on the game. Something needed to change – a half time talk made Newmarket see they needed a more grit and determination. The second half saw much tighter marking from Newmarket and more pace on the ball, taking back control of the game. The ball was played into the attacking D but it wasn’t enough and the score continued in the Nomad’s favour. There was nothing goalie Sue Bullimore could do and 2 more goals were scored against Town, however without her the score would definitely have been much higher!
Working tirelessly up front and on the left, Tracy Cockerill was finding space and working the line throughout the game, in the end earning herself a goal which was worked brilliantly by Callie Cannon driving in from the 25 yard line, passing to Beth Wombwell who quickly played in back to Cannon. Nomad’s goalie had committed and Cannon saw this opportunity, slipping the ball to Cockerill, who slotted it neatly into the goal. Unfortunately, this was only ever a consolation goal in a 4-1 defeat. Newmarket need to up their game otherwise it is going to be a tough season.
Next week sees Newmarket take on Lindum at home at 2pm. Hopefully they can increase the goals and come back from this week.
Newmarket Ladies’ 2s: 0-12 loss vs St Ives Ladies’ 2s (Away)
After the superb win from last week under their hats, Newmarket travelled this week to St Ives. However, with a few players away or struck with illness, Town were only able to field a team of 11 meaning a lot of work had to be done. This wasn’t the case for St Ives, and strong from the off, ploughed through the Town midfield and defence without even a second glance to try and score moments from the whistle. But, the quick reactions from keeper Jess Boyle saw not only the ball cleared away from the danger zone but also the St Ives player somersaulted in to the air. Having time to reset, Town tried their very hardest to win possession of the ball. With Mel Podd, Holly Woods, Jess Felton-Page and Tiff Seymour working their hardest to defend the Town goal, their efforts went unrewarded as St Ives managed to slip a couple into the back of the net. St Ives’ third came from a sloppy reverse stick left by Boyle as it appeared to be going off the pitch but snuck in to the left hand corner graciously with a smirk on its face (if balls had faces). However, Town did manage to get a breakthrough with the ball being passed through the midfield of Hannah Fox, Lydia Willmott, Vikki Waspe and Angel Fayers up to the awaiting Bea Jones upfront who despite her efforts was unable to get past the St Ives defence. As the half time whistle approached, St Ives managed to slot 3 more past Town as the side began to lose the battle with tiredness after playing their socks off, finally entering the half time whistle trailing 6-0.
After a team talk from coach Chris Evans and a few strategic changes to positioning, Newmarket picked their heads up for the second half to try and win back some goals. With Podd dropping in to the midfield and a quick few passes saw Olivia Haste running with the ball with the determination to score and Jones eagerly waiting in the attacking D. However, St Ives managed to win possession and guide the ball swiftly back up the pitch into the Town defence earning themselves a short corner and slotting it past the Town defence into the goal. With a couple more short corners given after that and a couple more goals earned by St Ives, the heads of Newmarket began to drop. With sheer determination, the Newmarket defence tried to stop St Ives any way they could. With keeper Boyle sliding left right and centre to try and get rid of the ball and the players, and Woods, Seymour, Felton-Page and Waspe all trying their hardest to get the ball back up the field, their efforts were rewarded when a quick free hit taken by Waspe found Fayers in the midfield who managed to launch it up field to awaiting Jones’ stick but the St Ives defence were hard on the shoulders of the Town forwards and managed to get the ball back up field slotting another goal in to the back of the net. Before the final whistle, St Ives managed to net 2 more goals making the final score 12-0.
Coming off the pitch disheartened at the score, a few pick me up words managed to bring the team back together and lighten the mood. The shock pace and skill of div 3NW finally etched in the minds of Newmarket players, and the determination of both coach and team to stay in the league, Newmarket host Ely City 1s at home next week at 12:00 to try and win back some points and goals. All support welcome!
Newmarket Ladies’ 3s: 1-9 loss vs St Ives Ladies’ 3s (Home) (Hall)