Amid snow and cold temperatures Newark Ladies 1s travelled to Nottingham to play Beeston in an early start on Saturday. Clearly the weather affected both teams as the game took a while to show any glimpses of true hockey.
When those glimpses appeared, it was the visitors that took advantage and put the home side under lots of pressure. This pressure saw many interceptions, and Laura Donaldson was on hand to capitalise on on these and open the scoring for Newark.
Beeston's goalkeeper was small but very agile and clearly dealt with any shot near her. This was very true of the second goal for Newark when Becky Wells was fed the ball as she charged down on goal. The 'keeper easily saved the first shot but Wells managed to get another off and the teams went into the break with Newark on top.
The movements and passing were slower than usual, although there were some good attacking moves thanks to sisters Charlotte and Rosie Staniforth.
Thankfully the Newark's defence mopped up any Beeston attack, and the game was pretty much sowed up when Wells and Donaldson combined for the third goal. Another interception by Wells saw her turn provide for Donaldson to make sure with a cool strike.
With the snow falling, Newark knew they had the three points they needed and were catch napping when Beeston attacked down the right an d exposed the opposition defence and managed to score a consolation goal.
Hard work but three points none the less. Next week Newark face Ashfield Aztecs in a rearranged away fixture.
A return to Boots for Newark Ladies 2s to play their Ladies 4s this week. Overnight snow on the pitch was fortunately all cleared by the morning rainfall before the 9am pushback. Newark started strong enjoying much of the early possession and keeping Boots in their half. Boots defended well and Newark had to work to create chances through penalty corners. Newark eventually made one count with a typical precision finish from Shanade Bradley. Newark relieved to be ahead, relaxed far too much for Coach McMunn's liking and allowed Boots into the game soon after the start of the second half. The game was becoming much more stretched as the teams started tiring in the near freezing temperatures. Player of the match Hannah Laughton still fresh on young legs worked tirelessly creating space and havoc for the opposition linking well with Vicky McMunn. Newark took a gamble pushing further up the pitch with Rachael Vickers supporting the midfield, this paid off when Newark went ahead again following another penalty corner, a hard strike from Vicky McMunn. Back in control, Newark didn't sit back this time and kept up the high tempo until the final whistle and confirmation of a valuable 3 points.
Final score: 2-1 to Newark
Scorers: Shanade Bradley, Vicky McMunn
Player: Hannah Laughton
Newark were determined to put last week's defeat behind them as they faced a 10 man Redhill. They started out strong, with a short corner quickly being awarded in Newark's favour. Both teams were too keen off the mark, with Laura McMunn being sent back for running in too soon. Redhill then lost one of their players to the half way line for the same reason. Unfortunately Newark failed to take advantage and despite a further short corner and 4 attempts on goal in the first 10 minutes, the score remained 0-0.
Redhill had a late arrival to take them up to a full 11 but Newark weren't deterred as Sara Jackson passed the ball to Izzy Wells on the right of the D where she struck home. Soon after came goal number 2, with Zoe White passing to Ann Crockett-McLean who found Tash Gresswell in the D, striking the ball into the right corner of the goal.
Before the half time whistle, Izzy took the ball up into the D to score her 2nd goal of the match.
The second half left goalie Freya Grocock redundant as Redhill struggled to make headway. Midfielder Maddie Horrocks kept the ball up high and Tash received the ball in the D, slotting it past the left post and taking the score to 4-0.
An injury to Louise Goodman saw a change in the back line and the ball was switched beautifully between Sue Birkett, Rachel Spolton and Hannah Bond. The remainder of the match showed Newark were back on form as they remain top of the table.
Player Tash, Ann and Rachel
On this cold Saturday afternoon Newark welcomed Buxton to the Magnus, the game started at a very cautious pace with both teams exchanging possession in the opening minutes.
Newark then started to press and create chances, with balls being fired across the face of the goal and past the back post but no one managed to get on the end of them but the chances were there for the taking and on 25 minutes Newark managed to break the deadlock when Buxton tried to clear a short corner but only found Tom Roper stood on the edge of the D where he fired the ball into the back of the net. This seem to wake Newark up who then went 2-0 up only moments later where Tom Broome scored a neatly finished move by firing the ball off his reverse stick into the back of the net, Newark continued with the pressure and had their 3rd on 28 minutes when Ryan Foster was found free on the back post to put the ball away, Newark were not finished for the half yet and Foster again stepped up to claim his 2nd and Newark's 4th with a break down the left and cutting into the D he fired the ball into the top corner leaving the Buxton keeper no chance. Buxton composed themselves for the last few moments of the half and kept the score at 4-0.
The second half started much like the first but this time Newark only took 10 minutes to add to their score already when Sam Smith fired a pinpoint ball into the bottom corner to make it 5-0, again it only took Newark a minute to Score again this time Scott Robinson stepped up for the short corner and put away his flick into the back of the net making it 6-0. The game then went into a stage of Newark pressing but not getting anything for their Efforts and as the half carried on Buxton managed to grab 1 back with a nicely finished ball into the back of the net but it was not enough to affect the game with Newark running out 6-1 winners.
Man of the match: Ryan Foster
Goals: Ryan Foster x2, Sam Smith, Scott Robinson, Tom Roper, Tom Broome
In recent times the Mens Over 40s games have been the most anticipated matches....mainly by the men aged 40+! A chance to see what the 1xt XI would have looked like 20 years ago, and what a team it would have been!!
This weekend saw a home game (finally!) in the England Hockey Over 40s Trophy against Norwich HC. Having dispatched Harpenden in the last round Newark were confident going into the Quarter Final and were looking to place a giant foot towards the final in April.
And it started so brightly, although the same could not be said about the weather. Despite this the small home crowd were on hand to see Captain Arran Coggan smoothly finish a Simon Higgs cross and put Newark ahead. The game was evenly balanced throughout and Norwich hit back through a penalty corner.
The Newark defence stood firm and did not allow Norwich to take further advantage as they were awarded many further penalty corners, but at the other end running by Stevie Littlewood and Dave Woods down the wings gase Newark plenty of opportunities. The visiting goalkeeper was kept very busy, and this was shown as he was given man of the match by his team mates.
As the first half drew to a close, Higgs was on hand again to deliver a ball fro,m the opposite side and again Coggan right in front of goal (had he actually moved anywhere else?) to reverse sweep the ball home. And the crowd went wild!!!
The second half again saw lots of pressure by Norwich but thankfully for Newark it wasn't their day as penalty corners were awarded but just not put away. The home side dug deep and had a few chances to close the game but it was Norwich that hit back to send the game to penalty strokes. Finally a penalty corner worked for them and they brought the match level, the final score ending 2-2.
So the match ended on penalty strokes, 5 from each team, and could the hardly souls summon up the strength for one final act of heroism? Unfortunately for Newark, Norwich could. The home side were on the losing end as the Norwich keeper stood firm and saved two shots with Simon Chambers in goal for Newark could only manage one save. So Norwich advance and we wish them well in the next round. Newark have been in this position before, same competition, same ending and surely next year is our year?!
(A bit of weird news from the game - the goal scorers for the teams have the same birthday/year, both scored twice, and a stroke each, and have similar sounding names - spooky!)