Newark Ladies 1s faced a strong Market Harborough side at home on Saturday. The first half saw Newark take the lead thanks to a Laura Donaldson goal after a series of attacking plays. That said it was clear from the half time talk that Newark needed to find their composure as Harborough had stepped up and were playing a more solid game than the home side. Keen to impress their new coach, the first play of the second half showed what Newark Ladies 1s are capable of and why they are sitting at the top of the league they have just been promoted to. An interception from Lynn Combes, slipped straight to Sarah Pask who instinctively passed a fantastic ball in to Donaldson for her to fire home to take the home side to a 2 goal lead. Despite this moment of brilliance, the side didn't seem to settle in to the game and Harborough fought back hard and were rewarded with 2 goals with the final score settled at 2-2. Plenty to work on and develop upon as a side in the coming weeks. A fantastic performance from youngster Charlotte Staniforth who was deservedly awarded player of the match.
Newark Ladies 2 travelled to early league leaders Southwell on Saturday. While Newark started the game well and for the first 15 minutes enjoyed most of the possession, SBU were dangerous on the break, took the early lead and finished the first half 3 up. A few second half position changes for Newark helped create more chances and penalty corners but Newark were denied each time by the very talented SBU keeper. SBU matched their tally with another 3 in the second half; Newark were very unlucky not to score as the team showed strength and determination until the finish. Next week Newark host Manning at the Magnus for their first home game of the season.
Player Lilian Dean
Ladies 3's were finally on home turf as they welcomed Beeston 5's to Magnus, hoping to consolidate last week's victory.
Beeston showed more of the playing level expected in Division 1 and play started off evenly matched. Newark managed to have more of the possession and passed the ball well, with Ann Crockett-McLean feeding the ball out to Tash Gresswell on the left allowing her to make a run up the line. She found Izzy Wells and Maddie Horrocks in the D but the keeper was quick to deflect shots on goal.
Beeston managed to push back up but play remained 50/50. Newark were the first to secure a short corner with Sara Jackson injecting to Ann for a straight strike. The ball was stopped by the keeper and unfortunately all memory of training this week went out the window as Newark stood and watched. Beeston cleared the ball out and the opportunity was lost.
Kicked into action, Newark upped the pace and Sara showed herself to be the stronger player on a 50/50 ball. As the Beeston player went down, Sara passed to Louise Hopper on left wing who stood her ground, playing to the whistle, and drove the ball up. Supported by Zoe White, Louise found no one but the Keeper in the D and slotted the ball straight past them into the left corner. Beeston were unimpressed that play had not been stopped but had a short lesson in the rules and relented.
Newark seemed to panic as they went into the lead and the last 10 minutes of the first half were scrappy. The defence worked hard with Freya Grocock in goal seeing more action this week. Beeston's quick players saw Newark overwhelmed and struggling to choose their marks. Despite this, cleared balls from Rachel Spolton, Jacky Nullis and Hannah Bond kept Newark ahead at half time.
Newark didn't start as strong in the second half but utilised young players Gabby Lucas and Suzie Gray to match Beeston's pace. Beeston managed to break away and got the ball to their high player. Several shots on goal were deflected by an on form Freya but eventually they got one over the line to even the score.
The teams shared possession as Newark worked their new structure well; Sara joined Captain Emily Crisp in the shield and played high allowing some great breaks from Tash, Suzie, Anna and Izzy. Ann come closest to getting Newark a win with a well placed shot on goal as the Beeston keeper was drawn out but a defender came from nowhere, taking everyone by surprise, and stopped the ball on the line. The remainder of the match saw great play from both teams and a draw was testament to the even match.
Player: Freya Grocock
After an eventful preseason of thrown together teams and terrible availability, the Mens first team where finally able to get a full team out for the first league match of the season. Returning to the scene of last seasons triumph, the new look team where full of positivity thanks to a rousing team talk by the new captain Scott “positive attitude” Robinson, and also the tiny oranges he provided pre game. Ashby where the first opposition to venture to the hallowed grounds of the Magnus sports centre and rightfully approached with fear in their eyes.
The game got under way with both teams pressing the pedal to the metal with end to end action and lots of pressure for the first few minutes. Ashby had a lot of time on the ball, but Paul “The coach” Halfpenny’s excellent new formation was not allowing them any options to play through the middle and kept them pressed out wide. After many attempts of trying to crack the oppositions defence Newark had a moment of brilliance as Ryan “Starbucks” Foster hit the ball into the danger zone and a well timed lunge of the stick by Ben “#BenforCaptain” Eagles deflected the ball past the giant Ashby keeper and the satisfying thud of the backboard was drowned out by the crowd of hundreds watching.
Unfortunately John “The Rock” Reynolds made and excellent tackle only to have the opposition run through him and send him crashing to the ground. Our prayers are with John for a speedy recovery, donations can be paid to the First teams fines pot for help buying ‘pain relief’. With this loss we were down to 11 men.
Although there were moments of brilliance, passes to sticks, lead runs, triangles and excellent individual skills, Newark had some lapses in concentration and the opposition managed to score two short corners in exactly the same place.
The half time team talk was a mainly positive outlook on the previous half and most of us came out with our heads held high. One player was told to learn how to pass but he has heard that for the last 10 years, so maybe one day it will sink in.. Scott “can’t do it on a Saturday” Robinson..
The second half contained some amazing moves from the home team. Down the right hand side Bepe “James Barker” McBepeson connected well with Stevie “I’m glad he is on my team” Littlewood and Kieran “Mantis” Meppem and caused problems for the opposition. Similarly down the left Ben “he can play anywhere” Eagles, Ryan “Cramp” Foster and Sam “The diver” Smith had equal success. And at times they even remembered to use Bennie “The reliable” Brown and Dave “Dry shampoo” Colcomb to pass it round the back and retain possession.
However a series of unfortunate events lead to more short corners for Ashby who were clinical in their execution and made Newark pay with a conversion. And soon after an open play goal that the reporter doesn’t really remember (probably should as he was in defence).
A life line was thrown Newarks way as a short corner was awarded and spirits where lifted by this opportunity. Although what happened next was comical to say the least. First, a miss pushed injection. Second, a miss flicked drag flick. Third, a miss hit that some how managed to find its way into the goal and past a probably stunned Ashby defence, as I imagine they had never seen anything so bad in their hockey playing careers, welcome to Newark guys! Congratulations to Ben, Scott and Ryan “We meant that” on a well played corner routine, look out for it in the world league next year. Again Mexican waves could be seen after Ryan “Always there for a tap in” Foster scored.
For a period this spurred the Mighty Newark on and saw some great play with Gary “The utility” Barker making some great moves into the D along with the rest of the attacking line. But the momentum stopped as Ashby were awarded another short corner. This time a well positioned post man deflected the ball past James “He broke my teeth” Wakeland, which sealed a hard fought win for Ashby.
Newark came away with their heads held a little high, for moments of the game there was the free flowing and attractive hockey that had won them the league last season and Glynn “new beard, still scary” Willis was full of praise for once.
Final score: Newark 2 – Ashby 5
Newark Goal scorers: Ben Eagles Ryan Foster