The weekend was not a particularly good one in terms of points on the board for Newark Hockey Club despite the Indian Summer increased temperatures. The Ladies 4s the only team to secure any points in a high scoring draw with Arnold.
Newark Ladies 3's played host to Worksop and it was the visitors that started out strong, pushing straight up and catching Newark off guard. A penalty corner was awarded just a few minutes into the match and Worksop managed to convert, despite Freya Grocock in goal making an initial save. Worksop picked the ball straight off Newark as they pushed back, with a talented player choosing her targets well. A goal from open play took Worksop 2-0 up within 5 minutes of play.
Newark suddenly woke up and managed to even out play, with both teams having short corners awarded. A brilliant high save by Freya contributed to a well deserved player-of-the-match for the second week running. Goals were not forthcoming and Worksop remained ahead at half time.
The second half saw more end to end action and Newark worked hard to try and improve their situation but struggled each time they got into the D. Worksop continued to utilise their quick players on the right and scored a third goal with a beautiful hit.
Newark failed to get off the mark but weren't too disheartened, knowing that Worksop will likely be pushing for promotion this season. Score Newark 0-3 Worksop.
The Ladies 4’s are beginning to come together as a team following intensive input from new coach Sally Halfpenny. The squad can now field 14 or so players regularly, giving plenty of options and opportunities for a five minute break to try to maintain the intensity throughout the match that the coach requires.
The game was evenly matched with the ball travelling from end to end on a regular basis. Arnold were the first to capitalise, but Newark could see that there were possibilities and a goal nudged in by Millie Wightman showed the potential for scoring. With all players gaining confidence in their new positions and everyone getting used to the new squad, the ball was moved around the pitch much better than in previous weeks. Solid defence by Jess Hull and Hannah Broomfield prevented Arnold getting through time and again.
Jamie Davison made several attempts at a run down the wing and was eventually rewarded with the first of her goals, but sadly Arnold countered this and almost immediately brought the scoreline back to 2-2. Goalkeeper Clare Dent had to face a penalty stroke before half time, which she calmly saved - and was rewarded with a well-deserved round of applause when the team gathered for half time. Another first was the visiting umpire who ended up flat on his back having to blow the half time whistle!
Due to the style of play from Arnold, it wasn’t possible for the younger squad members to have as much pitch time as everyone would have liked, but they were an important part of the team and cheered on those playing from the sidelines to great effect. Their time will come when it is skill rather than muscle that is needed on the pitch and it is great to know we have them on board.
Throughout the game, Kanky Andrews was tasked with keeping order mid-field and lead by example with a great array of both defensive and attacking moves, supported by brave moves from Freya Grocock and good ball skills and breaks from Bea Smith giving the forwards much to work with.
The second half, much like the first, was end to end and following a team talk prior to a penalty corner, Sam Wade managed to slot one into the goal around the back of the defenders, putting Newark ahead. Again, Arnold broke back and levelled the score at 3-3 before a stunned Jamie Davison scored again to put Newark back in front. Sadly Newark could not maintain their lead up to the final whistle so the match finished level at 4- 4. The team have showed great potential and persistence and some of the set moves practiced at training are beginning to show themselves to great effect. Player of the match was yet again a three way tie, with Clare Dent, Jamie Davison and Bea Smith gaining three votes each.
The Ladies 1s suffered their first loss as they went down 3-1 on the road at Derby. At home the Ladies 2s were on course for a draw with Manning but a late goal saw them loss 4-3.
The Mens 1s remain at the bottom of the league after being on the end of 5-0 whipping to Leicester Westleigh. The same club's Mens 2s took the points from Newark Mens 2s in a very even game winning 1-0 and the Mens 3s, although losing to Nuneaton 3-1, had a fabulous game which showed encouraging signs for the rest of the season.