Newmarket Men’s 1s: 1-2 win vs Felixstowe Men’s 2s (Away)
Newmarket’s opposition was the Felixstowe 2nd XI, who had enjoyed mixed results this season and were a couple of places below Town in the league.
This was Newmarket’s first game of 2016 and they were again missing a number of first team regular players in Worrall, Skelton, McTaggart, Smith, de Burgh and vice-captain Dawson. With this many unavailable, skipper Matt Holden was able to make use of some up-and-coming young blood in Oscar Kenny and Ollie Trent, both of whom have shown potential in their second team appearances.
Newmarket knew that, as this was the first game back after a long break, it would be important to get their eye in pretty quick or find themselves in trouble, but this was not helped by the slippy wet conditions. The game started at a sluggish tempo, which was to be expected, and was only punctuated by one of the umpires requesting that midfield stalwart Will Wilson remove his watch for fear of causing injury – a gesture that seemed not a little futile when one considers that the game is played by twenty two amply proportioned blokes brandishing metre-lengths of carbon fibre composite. Once this minor disagreement was sorted out, the match soon turned into a close battle with both teams having half chances. Town’s back line held the ship steady, Jordan Newnes & Simon Harrington ably protecting the middle from the oncoming forwards and fullbacks Darren Jenkins & Louis Hrebeniak providing cover from ‘Stowe’s wingers. Newmarket could have been in front when Wilson, Mark Pears and Harry Bell linked up well for a back post effort, but the shot skidded just past the left post. However, 15 minutes into the game, Newmarket found themselves 1-0 down. The goal originated from a slight lack of concentration out wide and the back line were caught out by the oppo’s pace, a ‘Stowe forward managing to slide past reliable Scotland international keeper Martin McCourt. Midway through the first half, Newmarket were under pressure but the solid holding midfield shield of Wilson and Chris Leggett kept things in check. The first half kept playing at a sluggish pace, and in the dying minutes a Felixstowe winger manage to get away with a foot, ending the half with the away captain being called over to the umpire.
The half time team talk began with the skipper telling the players to concentrate on the game in front and stop worrying what had happened before. Holden was confident that the away team was still in the running to emerge victorious, and that Town should have the self-belief that they could get all 3 points.
The second kicked off with both teams having equal possession, with very few clean chances. Trent was working hard out wide, the senior players giving the youngster advice as best they could. Newmarket’s back line remained in the thick of the action and threw everything they had into preventing another ‘Stowe goal, the legendary Wolfpak displaying the unbreakable team spirit of those that are #highandproud. The half progressed with the home team having the better chances, but the excellent McCourt made some good saves and Felixstowe were unable to make the breakthrough. Newmarket eventually started to get more of the ball and Bell was switched to left midfield with Kenny moving to the right, giving Town a better balance. Newmarket were now piling on the pressure but still could not find a way through ‘Stowe’s defence, winning a few penalty corners but unable to capitalise due to the absence of a stopper. With just 5 minutes to go, Newmarket managed to win a free hit midway between the half way line and the 25. Holden played a twenty yard ball to Bell, who in turn played a great cross into the ‘D’, where Pears was lurking in anticipation of a poacher’s goal. The centre forward was soon able to scrape the ball into the back of the net under the keeper’s foot, sparking off wild Newmarket celebrations and making the score 1-1. But now Town had come to life and were pushing forward hard, with chances from Leggett and Holden narrowly missing the target. However, Town got caught on the counter and a pacy ‘Stowe forward managed to break in the ‘D’, skipping past McCourt and then unleashing a powerful shot towards the bottom right corner. Unfortunately for him, the Felixstowian made a fatal mistake in neglecting to factor in the brilliance of Town centre-half and Wolfpak co-founder Jordan Newnes, who somehow managed to dive in for a magnificent goal line clearance. Then, the unbelievable happened. Newmarket, with 30 seconds to go, found Wilson in the middle. He rampaged forward and forced his way into the opponents ‘D’ before picking out Holden, standing 5 yards out. Alas, the skipper could only direct his shot directly at the keeper, but he somehow managed to get to his knees and slip the ball under the flailing keeper for a scrappy goal. 2-1. Game, set, and match. An incredible comeback win for the away team.
With Newmarket missing a number of players, this just goes to show the strength in depth of the current squad. A massive well done is due to youngsters Oscar Kenny and Ollie Trent, it’s not easy coming into match where a lot is expected from young players.
MOTM: Jordan Newnes – Hie goal line clearance was nothing short of heroic, as were a number of his tackles throughout the match. Chris Leggett was a close second for his usual ceaseless effort.
DOTD: Mark Pears – A tough choice, but a green card for an altercation following his goal proved to be enough.
Next week, Newmarket Men’s 1st XI are at home for a 15:30 pushback. All are welcome to come down and watch us against Norwich City 4th XI, a game in which Town will be disappointed if they don’t get all 3 points.
Above: Newmarket M1s have enjoyed a rich vein of form recently, rising to 5th in the Division 3NE table and sitting only four points from top spot.
Newmarket Men’s 2s: 1-3 loss vs Bury St Edmunds Men’s 2s (Home)
The M2s welcomed top of the table Bury to Newmarket Leisure Centre for their first encounter after the excesses of Christmas. Bury were flying high, having won 10, drawn 1 and lost 1 game in the run up to the festive period, so Newmarket expected a hard game. A few regular players were missing this week so some new faces were also welcomed, as James Atkinson returned from a seven month injury lay off and Daniel Labuschagne made his debut, giving Town a squad of 13.
It soon became clear that despite there being 18 points between the teams, the differences in play were quite subtle. Bury had apparently cancelled Christmas this year and were fitter overall, while perhaps having collectively more experience. But the onslaught that the back four and keeper Seth Bailey expected never really materialised as Newmarket more than held their own in the first half. In fact, Newmarket dominated the game for much of the first period, regularly attacking the Bury goal and giving their keeper plenty to do. Town won countless penalty corners in the first half and conceded none, although Newmarket’s conversion rate of PC’s continues to be a concern. But the pressure on Bury eventually paid dividends when a shot on goal was illegally blocked by a defender and the resultant penalty stroke was coolly dispatched by James Atkinson.
It was only a momentary lapse of concentration in the dying seconds of the first half that allowed Bury an equaliser and, despite the disappointment at the break, Newmarket justifiably felt they could get something from the game.
Unfortunately the start to the second half was not Town’s best. Three times this season we have been caught napping from the push back and after a fast interchange of passes during the opening minute, Bury found the net to take a 2:1 lead. Despite being behind, Newmarket fought on with Andy Baker marshalling the defence and himself having a solid game that earned him MoM. The balance of the game did, however, shift in Bury’s favour and Newmarket found it more difficult to create goal scoring chances while spending more time defending. A neat move involving Labuschagne, Atkinson and finally Captain Drew Wood saw Newmarket come close to equalising, but Wood was unable to get a solid shot on goal. Bury did not have it all their own way, and their frustration spilled over when their midfielder Lowiq began to brandish his handbag while having a pop at Alex Andreou. No shrinking violet and soon to be DoD, Andreou walked about a mile and took the number 69 bus in order to go nose to nose with Lowiq and the ensuing fracas resulted in both players being yellow carded for the final 5 minutes of the game. Bury sealed the game with a third goal in the closing minutes.
With only 1 point separating the bottom 6 clubs in the league, Newmarket will need to capitalise on the many positives from today’s game and work on some weaker areas in order to stay out of the relegation zone. Next week’s away game at Norwich City who are 7 points clear of Newmarket takes on a new dimension as Town try to put right the 0:2 loss from earlier in the season.
Newmarket Ladies’ 1s: 1-2 loss vs Wisbech Town Ladies’ 2s (Away)
The match was supposed to be held at the Wisbech astro at 12:30pm, but a last minute venue change to March, as the Wisbech pitch was flooded, also meant a time change to 11:15am. It was a game Newmarket Ladies needed to win to help prevent them from being in the bottom two teams in the league. Sadly this did not happen as Wisbech scored their first goal within the first 10 minutes of the match. Then, about 5 minutes later, they scored their second goal from a short corner. However, Newmarket’s Claire McDonnell managed to crash home one goal from Newmarket’s second short corner just before half time, making the score 2-1 to Wisbech. Newmarket then had to fight hard in the second half to get back into the game, but unfortunately didn’t quite make it with the opportunities they had. Kerry Alderson played on the right wing and made a number of runs down the wing, putting pressure on the Wisbech defence and hence she received ‘Man of the Match’.
Newmarket Ladies’ 2s: 0-7 loss vs Cambridge University Ladies’ 3s (Home)
The ladies knew they had a tough task ahead of them when taking on top of the table Cambridge Uni in their first game back after Christmas, and Uni did not disappoint!
The game was fast paced from the start and 4 minutes in saw Uni tuck their first into the back of the net. Town were without their usual goalie, but Claire Spiers stepped up and put on a great show. The Town defence was kept very busy and on interception battled to get the ball away. The back line of Jazz Freed, Captain Holly Woods, Jess Logan (Man of the Match) and Phoebe Peacock were all working hard. Helen Hansgate joined the Ladies 2s for the day and had a cracking game. Midfield play was overseen by Hannah Kelly and Clodie Rolph. Bea Jones was never far from the action, which saw her take shots on both knees shortly into the game.
By half-time, Uni had managed to put 3 past Newmarket and there was a 4th, but it was disallowed. The half time team talk saw Coach Evans encouraging the girls to keep up the good work.
The second half started similarly to the first, seeing a Uni goal within 3 minutes, after which Town settled down again. Uni kept the pressure on right to the last minute and landed themselves with a short corner as the final whistle went, which they went on to convert. This left the final score at 0-7.
The girls should feel very proud of the challenge that they gave to such a well drilled team who haven’t lost all season, and worked tirelessly throughout the game.
Above: ‘Jester’ Bea Jones (left) and Man of the Match Jess Logan.
Newmarket Ladies’ 3s: 0-2 loss vs Haverhill Ladies’ 2s (Away)
Newmarket Ladies 3s started their 2016 campaign with a promising team performance against promotion contenders Haverhill Ladies 2s.
The two teams played the majority of the duration as evenly matched opponents, both with their fair share of possession. Newmarket started the stronger side, with the midfield of Sam Brooke, Charlotte Abersteen, Abbie Farrow, Charlotte Wyatt and Becca Barnes keeping the Haverhill offense away from the Newmarket circle.
Jersey Bennett made her second start in goal for the yellow and blue machine and showed exactly what progress she’s made since joining Newmarket HC in October. With a defense of Captain Rach Pegg, Donna Seymour and PoM Zoe Lander, Bennett ably kept the Haverhill goal attempts at bay, saving the Haverhill opener 5 times before the ball somehow managed to sneak under her arm.
Rachel Hogg, Verity MacMahon, Georgia Rolls and Jane Dryland worked the ball well up the top-half of the pitch at the start of the second half, transferring the one-two passing from training neatly into their match-play. The Haverhill defense stayed strong and prevented any Newmarket intrusion into their D.
Newmarket are not to be disheartened with a 0-2 score line. With a few minor details to be refined at training by Coach Colin Seakins, the remainder of the season looks bright, especially with a trip to Cambridge South 3s next on the cards.
Above: Keeper Jersey Bennett scrambles to block a close range strike from the Haverhill No.30.