DOUBLE strikes from Nicci Bagshaw and Sarah Blackburn steered Huddersfield Dragons Ladies first team to an impressive 4-1 victory over Durham Ladies III in their latest North Division II East outing.
The Dragons started strongly, but then lost some of their focus and went through a nervous period when they coughed up possession, allowing Durham to press forward, but the visitors’ defence proved up to the task and remained firm.
Eventually the confidence came back and Huddersfield started attacking as a unit which resulted in a goal from Bagshaw before half-time.
A positive team talk during the interval saw the Dragons open the second period with increased pressure which led to a second goal coming from a Blackburn deflection, shortly followed by Bagshaw’s second strike to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
Laura Benson suffered a hit to the head which forced her to sit out the rest of the game, and although Dragons re-shuffled their formation, Durham did bag a consolation goal from a breakaway.
Dragons responded, however, and from another short corner Blackburn scored her second and the team’s fourth, for which the team earned a heap of praise from captain Kelly Fillingham at the final whistle, and was testament to the work the new coach is doing with the side.
Team: Creedon, Benson, Thomas, Hemsley, Higginbottom, Fillingham, Maddford, Blackburn, Longstaff, Higginson, Bagshaw, Durrans.
Dragons II 4 Otliensians 7
HUDDERSFIELD got away to a good start and opened the scoring through Chanelle Luxford, and when Otliensians fought back, they were initially kept at bay by young keeper Alex Wagstaff who made some great saves.
After some good work in midfield, Dragons went 2-0 up when Danni Tackeuchi scored just before the break.
The second half, however, proved a different kettle of fish as Otliensians roared into action from the restart, quickly getting one goal back and then blitzing Dragons with another six strikes to leave Huddersfield shell-shocked.
With the result beyond doubt, Dragons still kept pushing forward and were rewarded with two late strikes from Lisa Lawton and Elly Herring.
Team: Wagstaff, Eade, Dobson, Bates, Durrans, Takeuchi, Hargreaves, Herring, Peyman, Pinder, Luxford, Lawton.
Dragons II 1 Sheffield Bankers 3
THE Dragons didn’t let the previous day’s defeat dampen their spirits and with a few youngsters coming in, the whole team was fired up.
Quick, sharp passing almost brought a goal for Huddersfield, but they were kept out by a strong Bankers defence, who then forced a break and the opening goal followed by a second from a penalty corner before half-time.
Player-of-the-match Danni Takeuchi had some great runs forward in the second half and were soon back in the contest when Becky Pinder fired home, but their hope was short-lived as Sheffield responded with a third goal, and despite Huddersfield pressure, the score remained unchanged.
Team: Livesey, Eade, Dobson, Higginbottom, Clark, Takeuchi, Hargreves, Ramsden, Herrind, Durrans, Pinder, Luxford, Dunne.
Huddersfield Dragons Men 5
Leeds Adel Carnegie 2
FOLLOWING the previous week’s embarrassing performance in their 5-3 home defeat by Leeds University, Huddersfield got back to winning ways and took an early lead from Rob Kelly before Ed Haigh deflected a second past the keeper.
Two goals from Leeds at the start of the second half levelled the game, but that seemed to stun Dragons into action and Jimmy Swinden and Steve Durrans quickly restored their two-goal lead before Swinden sealed the contest when he stole the ball off a defender and then rounded the keeper to score from a tight angle.
Team: King, Clark, Buckley, Gregory, Kelly Matharu, Jones, Wyer, Haigh, Swinden, Durrans, Lee, Goldsmith.
Huddersfield III 5 Ben Rhydding 0
THE Thirds took on Ben Rhydding at home and continued in the dominant form they displayed in last week’s win over Sheffield Hallam.
Although it was still scoreless at half-time, Huddersfield could reflect on a number of squandered chances, and it was only a question of time before they netted in the second half, which came when Lewis fired low into the net.
Clarke then doubled the score, and in the last 20 minutes Kullar fired in twice from the top of the D, and then completed his hat trick when lobbing the keeper.
Sheffield Hallam VIII 1 Dragons V 9
THE Dragons’ fifth string got off to a flying start and were 2-0 up in minutes with a short corner from Martin Laithwaite and a low flick from Conrad Dales.
The pressure was constant and Gary Clarke went on to score a first-half hat trick, and another strike from Dales put Dragons 6-0 up before Hallam struck a late consolation.
The second half was more even, but that didn’t stop the leading scorers adding another three between them, two for Dales and one for Clarke.
Team: Donovan, Ridings, Ford, Wood, Simon, Flavin, Laithwaite, Dallas, Kullar, Dales, Clarke, Swindells, Thwaite.
The Dragons’ Girls Under 16s were in action at the Pocklington Festival and they started with a good solid display earning a draw with Driffield, and then dominated to beat Selby.
But Thirsk and York proved too strong in the next two games, and although they battled hard and played some good hockey in the final match against Sheffield, they couldn’t prevent them netting twice.
It was a promising start however, with plenty of room to grow and Helen Clark was voted players’ player of the day.
At the same tournament the club’s Under 12 side earned three wins and a draw scoring their five goals.
Results – Under 16: Driffield 0 Huddersfield 0; Selby 0 Huddersfield 1; Thirsk 2 Huddersfield 0; York 3 Huddersfield 0; Sheffield 2 Huddersfield 0.
Under 12: Leeds 0 Huddersfield 0; Leeds 0 Huddersfield 1; Halifax 0 Huddersfield 3, Halifax 1 Huddersfield 0, Huddersfield 0 Wakefield 0, Huddersfield 1 Wakefield 0.