HUDDERSFIELD Dragons Ladies’ hockey team came out firing on all cylinders against Wigan and rediscovered the desire that has been missing in their opening three games of the season to register an emphatic 3-1 victory at Lockwood Park.
The win was underpinned by two excellent strikes from Laura Thomas, the first coming from a well-worked short corner.
At the opposite end, the defence were happy to have the experience of the previously injured Gail Gerrard back in the side and she worked hard to keep Wigan at bay, including saving all defensive short corners.
Amanda Sowerby had a plucky drive all the way into the D before half-time, making the score 2-0 from a reverse sweep that caught the goalkeeper off guard, and the story was the same in the second half as Dragons dominated.
Thomas scored from another short corner to seal the points, and although Wigan answered with a goal from a break, it wasn’t enough and the home team came away with the points.
Boston Spa & Acomb II 2 Huddersfield Dragons II 4
DRAGONS’ second XI beat bottom of the table Boston Spa and Acomb in a game that was packed full of goals, yellow cards and injuries.
Dragons took the lead from a penalty corner routine through McEwan, and scored again shortly after when Dexter set up Green for her first goal of the game.
Green scored her second and the team’s third from another penalty corner which led to Boston having a player yellow carded.
Dragons started the second half convincingly with McEwan, Hargreaves-Brown and Middleton linking up well.
But they became complacent and were caught off guard, which allowed Acomb to score.
Green suffered a shoulder injury before later hitting back with another strike to seal her hat trick.
Acomb broke away again late in the game to score again, but Dragons are now up to second in Yorkshire Division I, while
Huddersfield Dragons III 2 Huddersfield Kirklees 0
DRAGONS were on the attack from the start in this derby, but it took them a while to break the deadlock.
Their first goal came from a short corner, when Dunne flicked the ball into the back of the net after the keeper had made an initial save.
In the second half, Dragons were awarded a penalty flick after a Kirklees defender stopped the ball on the goalline with her foot, and Walters calmly placed the ball in the net. Player-of-the-match wasŠLucy Cannon, returning to the side after a six-year break.
Team: Creedon, Di Napoli, Smith, Dunne, Bates, Carter, Hamer, Walters, Bland, Clapham, Cannon, Thomas.
Huddersfield Dragons 5 Marton Furness 2
LOOKING to bounce back from an away defeat to Durham, Huddersfield faced more North-East opponents, but this time at Lockwood Park.
The game started at a high tempo and Jimmy Swinden, back from injury and making his first appearance of the season, didn’t take long to get back to scoring ways as he tucked away a rebound.
The Dragons created pressure for the remainder of the half with runs from Rob Kelly and Clem Gregory, but it wasn’t until the dying minutes that Swinden smashed in his second.
In the second half Huddersfield turned it on in their best performance of the season, man of the match David Pemberton being involved in a number of flowing passing moves supported by Keaveney, Lovatt and Buckley from the midfield.
Huddersfield got some reward for their excellent play when Hirst scored, poking in a Lovatt shot, before Marton Furness briefly got into the game, scoring when Huddersfield gave away possession.
However the Dragons hit back instantly with a passing move finished by Hirst, who flicked a low shot into the corner, and they ended the game with a carbon copy of the previous goal, this time Hirst playing in Fergal Keaveney to score.
Team: Howarth, Beatson, Swinden, Hannam, Gregory, Buckley, Pemberton, Lovatt, Kelly, Keaveney, Durrans, Austerberry, Hirst, Swinden
Bradford 0 Huddersfield Dragons II 3
THIS was Huddersfield’s toughest test so far against a well-drilled Bradford side.
The Dragons looked sluggish early on, not helped by the lightning quick pitch and smoke-filled air, but going into the break there was nothing separating the sides, Cowden keeping Bradford out with some fine one-on-one saves.
At half-time Dragons changed the formation, dropping another body into the midfield and it proved a shrewd move as the breakthrough came early in the half when Sugden pounced and fired home from five yards.
Dragons’ nerves, however, were only settled when the now prolific Haigh struck, again from a penalty corner, this time a straight shot leaving the keeper no chance.
And they capped a splendid victory when Foo watched his drag flick crash against the back board right on the final whistle.
Huddersfield Dragons III 5 Sheffield Uni Bankers 2
THE Thirds put in their best performance of the season so far to make it four wins on the trot with a resounding victory against a good Sheffield side.
Huddersfield started very quickly and soon had Sheffield on the back foot.
Slick passing between the midfield and the forwards was soon rewarded as a move involving Kullar, Beaumont and Hindmarsh resulted in the award of a penalty corner, which Maddaford dispatched with a superb strike.
After maintaining pressure they eventually registered their second through Kullar, who charged into the opposition D and slotted the ball home well.
Sheffield began to find their game however, and a powerful shot beat McCallum low to his right.
The visitors regrouped at half-time and came out with renewed vigour, but Huddersfield maintained their level and were rewarded with two quick goals for Maddaford and Kullar.
Sheffield’s centre-forward added a second, but man of the match Jacob Barker scored his first goal for the team, smashing a shot inside the post from a penalty corner to complete the scoring.
Team: McCallum, Barker, Taylor, Haigh, Blackburn, Hindmarsh, Beaumont, Kullar, Abbey, Connell, Maddaford, Hales
Sheffield Uni Bankers VII 2 Huddersfield Dragons IV 1
THIS was a disappointing result for the Dragons after they had made the journey to a sunny Sheffield for their Yorkshire V match.
The game proved to be close from the start and remained goalless until half-time.
Dragons started the second half brightly and after nearly 10 minutes camped in the opposition half, right wing Chris Parkes delivered the first goal of the game with a fine strike past the Bankers’ former international keeper.
Unfortunately the Dragons took their foot off the gas and Bankers were able to draw level with a goal from the top of the D.
Dragons didn’t drop their heads and went after the win, but were denied by a series of excellent saves by the keeper.
Then with less than two minutes to go, a series of minor errors by Dragons allowed the ball to be served up to the Bankers centre-forward, who finished past keeper Baillie to snatch victory when Sheffield really should have been reflecting on defeat.
Team: Baillie, Flavin (c), Greenhough, Pritchard, Waterhouse (S). Waterhouse (G), Kelly (J), Batty, Saxelby, Kelly (L), Parkes, Jones.
Huddersfield Dragons V 8 Wakefield VI 0
DRAGONS’ fifth team produced some top-class hockey in a rampant show as they triumphed against Wakefield, scoring eight goals in the process.
Huddersfield’s clinical finishing began with little over a minute gone as Gary Clarke took the ball past two players and around the keeper.
Wakefield were unable to contain the pace of the Huddersfield attack throughout the game and Johnny Walker and Josh Dwyer also struck in the first half.
The second half opened with a bang as Dan Stolworthy slotted the ball into the back of the net after great work down the right.
Moments later Mike Pogson scored the pick of the goals with a one-handed reverse stick shot into the left corner, and with less than 10 minutes remaining, Dales scored a hat trick, all coming from well-weighted crosses from out wide.
Slazengers III 0 Huddersfield Dragons VI 2
AFTER losing their first four matches of the season, Dragons sixth XI needed a new plan and their revised formation paid immediate dividends with Ali Chaman scoring with a sweet reverse stick sweep past the despairing Slazengers’ keeper.
Strong midfield play from Burnip, Brown and Lees created a string of goalscoring opportunities before Chaman eventually made the score 2-0 with another reverse stick shot from the top of the D.
Slazengers’ second-half tactics were to defend in numbers, making it increasingly frustrating for the Dragons attack, which led to the dismissal of Foo in the last minute for disputing a decision.
Team: Canham, Moorhouse, Barker, Ford, Burnip, Lees, Brown, Foo, Cooke, Pimblett-Speck, Shaw, Chaman, Fitzpatrick.