Newmarket Men Slay The Dragons

Newmarket Ladies 1’s v Norwich Dragons 2’s: 5 – 0 win to Norwich Dragons.
The ladies 1st team again found conditions tough in their new league – Division 2NE, when they faced Norwich Dragons 2’s at home.
In fact the first shot fired at the Town goal after just 3 minutes hit the backboards and called for greater awareness of roaming players.
Newmarket were looking to shift the ball quicker and work the play around the opposition instead of trying to drive through. Strong work from Claire McDonnell and Lydia Evans in midfield gave Town opportunities to move up-field but the skills of the Dragons meant they could read the play and after a 3 pass move they were in front of Jade Atkinson in goal again, and despite great reactions they sunk another shot into the goal.
With the sun out in full force across the Exning Road astro – the Dragon’s keeper unfortunately had to retire to the bench due to heat stroke. The stand in keeper was put straight to work after a fine strike from Newmarket which she commendably parried away with her stick.
As half time beckoned Dragons kept up the pace and scored once more, from the right side.
Despite both teams struggling with the heat Newmarket had the advantage of spare players on the bench. Dragons looked to be trying to conserve their efforts and for the first time in the match Town looked the stronger team and after excellent work from Player of the Match April Atkinson the home team were getting shots goalwards. Team newcomers Vicky Sievewright, Calli Cannon and Denise Wagner all proved their abilities and showed exemplary determination.
Despite the run of play going towards the Newmarket goal, Dragons did get a chance to counter attack and they took it well moving the ball round the back and finding a floating forward up front who finished clinically. This did not dampen Town’s efforts however and fine work on the wings from Tania Fisher and Abbi Pass created opportunities to cross into the D. Angel Fayers showed great versatility to play in both defense and attack throughout the game as required, supported by great communication at the back from Zoe Bailey.
Unfortunately time ran out for Newmarket and despite a fair few opportunities they could not capitalize. In fact Dragons had the last roar – scoring from a mapped out short corner five minutes from time.
This result leaves Newmarket bottom of the league with a goal difference of -10; a rare position for the side to be in. Captain and experienced defender Faye Andreou commented: “Despite the results the team has had so far this season, we are building and learning every week and the team’s performance second half of this match proved we can be a force to be reckoned with in this league.”
The ladies face Norwich City 1’s at home next week who have won their opening two games, 2pm push-back at the Exning Road Astro.
Newmarket Ladies 2’s v Newmarket Ladies 3’s: 4 – 0 win to Ladies 2’s.
The ladies 2’s again had to face ‘their friends’ this season but this time the Newmarket 3rd team instead of the ladies 1’s. A match that was always going to be difficult for all involved – both teams must be commended for dealing with the situation and letting the hockey do the talking.
The game was incredibly close and despite the 3’s only having 10 players on pitch for the first 5 minutes they held shape well and kept their composure to make life hard for the 2’s. Hannah Kelly, Phoebe Peacock and Helen Hansgate put in superb individual performances, especially in the second half, with Phoebe being voted woman of the match for the 3’s. The ladies 2’s became a little frustrated hoping to take full advantage of their opposition having 1 less player but a goal founds it’s way home for Tracy Cockerill. In fact by the time the game was done Cockerill had followed the example of Mel Podd in the previous week and scored a hatrick from great determination and agility on the right of the field. The final goal for the ladies 2’s came from Donna Keats after great hassling in the D. The 2’s are looking to up their game as they continue to strive for a bounce back league promotion. This was a game that both sides identified aspects to work on but showed great teamwork none the less.
Newmarket 1’s vs Norwich Dragons 2’s: 4 – 3 win to Newmarket

The team arrived in convey with plenty of time before the early start of 11:30 like a circus arriving into town.

After some much needed specialised nutrition consumed by Wilson and Dawson the team got ready and prepared for what they knew would be a tougher challenge then last weeks match.

The whistle was blown and the game was underway and despite a very good warm up session Newmarket were a bit slow out of the blocks but soon composed themselves thanks to some fantastic work from the ringmaster Wilson in the middle and the tenacious strong man Dawson.

Newmarket began to carve out some chances with good passing and movement between Skelton, Holden, Griffiths, Bell and debutant Tag but the umpires were not sympathetic with Newmarket claims despite stick tackles going off like a human cannon ball.

The game was even with Newmarket starting to establish themselves when the ever reliable Worrall put in a robust tackle and the Norwich Dragon player making the most of it flying through the air like a trapeze artist resulting in the umpire showing Worrall a yellow card and time on the naughty step.

This decision left Newmarket shaken up resulting in 2 goals conceded, the first unfortunate for all when 2 Newmarket players collided blindsiding McCourt in goal and Dragons took advantage. The 2nd was also due to Newmarket switching off leaving Dragons open to pounce. Newmarket steadied the ship and began to work as a unit again with the back 3 of Worrall, Jenkins and Pears working cohesively.

The central midfield 3 of Wilson, Dawson and Skelton began to dominate with Bell and Holden providing the width. As newmarket began to dominate their perseverance was rewarded when Wilson showed fantastic skill beating two players and firing a rocket from the top of the D past the Norwich keeper.

Half time came and Newmarket were in the mood for a comeback. The team continued to pile on the pressure and after several attempts at short corners Skelton took matters into his ownhands by taking the ball himself form and flicking it into the top corner. 2-2 all level!

Newmarket had momentum and Reed also making his debut worked tirelessly down the wing. This led to Newmarket’s 3rd goal when some good passing found Holden in the D who turned like a acrobat to fire past the keeper. 3-2 to Newmarket!

The game really opened from here with end to end hockey from both teams battling for everything. This attitude led to the 4th with Newmarket players always demanding 100% from each other and Captain Griffiths was encouraged to close down the Norwich left back where he was able to intercept and burst through to find Holden. Holden looked to lob the keeper who was able to get a good touch to put the ball in air. Griffiths had continued his run and was able to hold off the Dragons defender to put the ball in the goal. 4-2 to Newmarket!

Newmarket contained to press but were caught out when Dragons crossed to the far post to find an unmarked player to tap in to complete the scoring resulting a 4-3 win for Newmarket.

Once again plenty of positives for the team who showed they have the stomach for a battle but know that they must continue to improve to fulfil their ambitions. Also pleasing were the excellent debuts from Tag and Reed.

MOTM was awarded to Dawson who was tenacious throughout the game.
Newmarket Men’s 2’s v Norwich Dragon’s 3’s: 3 – 2 win to Newmarket

Newmarket 2’s secured their first league win under new Skipper Drew Wood with a much improved performance against a solid Norwich Dragons side.

Town’s team had a very cosmopolitan feel, with overseas stars from Poland, South Africa, Germany, Denmark and Turkey lining up together for the first time.

With 2nd XI stalwarts Atkinson and Prentice still away town went to 3 at the back and played 5 across midfield, a formation which allowed Alex Andreou to strut his stuff free from the shackles of defensive duties. In the former Cambridge City star Newmarket undoubtedly have the best player in this league and if they can squeeze one more year out of his aging legs Town have a real chance of staying in Div 4.

The yellow and blues started brightly with young Charles Wright looking particularly lively on the right flank before a pulled muscle in his back ended his match prematurely. He was replaced by Ollie Tent who justified Wood’s faith in the youngster with a performance full of running and neat touches.

Up front Newnes linked well with his father-in-law Chris Evan’s in a new look front line that caused countless problems in a very impressive 1st half.

It was Town who went one up with a shorter corner straight from the training ground. Andreou – Harrington – Evans – Goal. I wonder how many time I will be writing that line this season?

Dragon’s pace meant that they always posed a threat and Town had to soak up several periods of pressure but the new look back line of Harrington, Benedikz and Rompkowski did all that was asked of them. Liken by some to a defence of Hoddle, Dicks and Ruddock the 3 30 something’s showed that pretty hair and a turn of pace were no match for good old experience.

The away side drew level after a goal mouth scramble but any Dragon hopes of getting something out of the game were dashed when Wood swept home and Harrington smashed home a short corner that was the talk of the club house long in to the night.

In fairness to Dragon’s they battled well and never gave up, pulling back a late goal as Town legs began to tire.

A special mention must go to Chris Evans, returning to Town colours after several years coaching he rolled back the years with his touches and movement before entertaining the crowd with a tired swipe, spin and trip ending up in a pile on the floor.

Man of the Match was Damo “chopper” Rompkowski who simply put the Dragon’s centre forward in his pocket and did not give him a touch all game.

With Atkinson, Prentice, Reed and Holden still to come into this side Newmarket have a real chance of staying in this league, the highest a Town 2nd XI have ever played.