Hockey point so elusive

Bishop Stortford 4, Dereham 2DEREHAM were once again left wondering what they needed to do to get their first Men's East League point of the season after another promising, yet fruitless display away at Bishop Stortford.

Bishop Stortford 4, Dereham 2

DEREHAM were once again left wondering what they needed to do to get their first Men's East League point of the season after another promising, yet fruitless display away at Bishop Stortford.

Dereham had a number of early attacks and forced the hosts onto the back foot for the majority of the first half. Mike Timm and Sam Plater both came close but saw their shots fall agonisingly wide of the goal.

Bishop Stortford took the lead with virtually their first attack of the game when the forwards' movement meant that Ashley Woodyatt lost his man, who appeared at the back post to slot into an open net.

Dereham learnt from this mistake and limited the Stortford opportunities to a minimum leaving it 1-0 at half-time.

Dereham came out of the blocks immediately in the second half and Woodyatt made up for his earlier error by earning a short corner from which Michael Timm finally broke his duck for the season, hitting a firm shot which could only be deflected into the roof of the net by the defender.

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As with buses, another came along for Timm shortly afterwards, following a mazy run from his own 25 yard line by twin brother Ric Timm who then unselfishly laid the ball off to Michael to round the keeper and complete his brace.

Dereham were in control but Stortford drew level through a disputed penalty flick.

Dereham had their own claims for a penalty flick turned down when Laurie Hill rounded the keeper and was tripped by him with an open goal ahead of him. The umpire however viewed the incident differently and produced a green card for Hill for diving.

With five minutes to go Stortford drew the Dereham defenders in, allowing space at the back for the forward to finish low past Tom Vaughan in the Dereham goal.

This forced Dereham to go in search of their own equaliser, but in doing so they left space at the back. A short corner was conceded from which Stortford added a fourth.

Dereham Ladies II 1, Harleston Magpies II 1

The visitors caught the home side napping to open the scoring after only five minutes.

Dereham, who are a point ahead of Magpies in East Division Two North East, switched back on. Chances came for both sides during the first half as a number of short-corners were defended well.

A storming solo effort from Dereham's Jess Shand brought them level early in the second half. Her fabulous strike found the backboard through the goalkeeper's legs.

Dereham spent most of the second period in their opposition's half, with Shand and Louise Bunning both coming close. Centre-back Sarah Borrett won player of the match for her gutsy performance.

Despite all the possession and pressure, Dereham failed to release the ball early enough and repeatedly got bogged down in the corner.

Dereham have lost ground on league-leaders Norwich Dragons and are now three points behind second-placed Norwich City, who they face at the weekend.

Dereham Colts 2, Yarmouth II 0

DEREHAM went into this game without captain Heather Morgan and two other players. The team played some great hockey in the first 10 minutes. But the rest of the half got very scrappy with not enough effort to be first to the ball.

Although Dereham spent a lot of time in the opposition 25, the build-up play did not result in any positive shots on target. Short corners were gained but not converted.

The team took control of the second half. There were many good tackles by Helen Kiddle-Morris, Emily Crisp and Rachel Lavers. Full backs Hannah Tarry and Beanie Hazel shut out Yarmouth's wing play and midfielders Charlotte Dann and Alice Tarry covered a lot of ground.

From a short corner Helen Kiddle-Morris struck home with a shot that dipped to hit the back board.

Yarmouth heads dropped. Periods of good play broke down at the edge of the D with poor choice of final passes and not enough first-time shots at goal. The second goal came from Alice Tarry supporting the attack, and striking for goal as soon as she got into the D.

Three wins and two draws after five games is the side's best start in recent years and the Ben Burgess player of the match award went to Emily Crisp for her sterling job at centre back.

Brigg U18 0, Dereham U18 2

AFTER a three-hour drive, Dereham were eager to start the match in the bitterly cold wind. This reflected in the pace of the game as both teams started strongly, with play predominantly in the middle of the pitch.

Some good runs from Jess Shand saw Dereham gain the edge over Brigg winning a short corner. Although the first was unsuccessful, a second brought the first goal of the match, scored by Ellie Boyce.

Brigg fought back. However, well organised by Emily Crisp, the defence got strong and pushed back Brigg's front players. Lulu Humberston played some great hockey, consistently getting the ball back to Dereham's forwards. However, time ran out and the score at half-time was 1-0 to Dereham.

Dereham got back on the pitch and started playing excellent hockey. Some great runs gave Dereham many chances that were narrowly, missed before Polly Lockhart ran determinedly into the D and scored a great second goal for Dereham.

Becca Coleman played brilliantly and hassled Brigg's midfield, winning the ball many times. .

Player-of-the-match: Rebecca Colman.

Norwich City Girls U15 3, Dereham Girls U15 1

THE Dereham U15 girls kicked off their EHA (England Hockey Association) Cup campaign with a derby match against Norwich City. Making their debuts at this level were Nat Grapes, Hannah Barnard, Kate Lavers, Laura Bailey, Ali Waters and Gemma Pointer.

The Dereham players were aware they faced a tough task in their first match, most of the City players were two years older and this difference gave them the edge. However they certainly made it difficult for City.

The harrying and tenacity of the whole team was epitomised by Laura Bailey, Kate Lavers and Bex Hazell 11, 10 and 11 respectively, who chased and fought every ball. Player of the match Chloe Cushion-Swales grows in confidence with every performance, her second display at left back was particularly impressive with some tight marking and strong tackling.

Some invisible marking gifted City their first goal and the second was conceded when the whole defence froze as the ball appeared to go out of play.

At 2-0 down they didn't give up and brought the score back to 2-1 when Bex Hazell pounced onto a loose ball and guided her shot into the corner. They almost drew level when a great strike from Ali Waters following a well-worked short corner routine brought a good save from the City keeper.

But time ran for the Dereham players and City added their third goal to make the game safe.

A defeat for the very young Dereham side but a performance that was full of grit and fight. The girls should be proud of the effort they displayed.

The U15s are now entered into the Plate competition and will have to wait for the draw to find out who their opposition will be in the next round which will be played on Sunday, November 30.

Squad: Nat Grapes, Alice Waters, Kim Hazell, Beth Redpath, Chloe Cushion-Swales, Fran Leverett, Imy Crookes (captain), Kate Lavers, Hannah Barnard, Bex Hazell, Laura Bailey and Gemma Pointer.