Mens 1st xi lose out in Cookstown
North Down completed their Kirk Cup programme on Monday evening with an away trip to Cookstown against the IHL side.In an entertaining game for the enthusiastic crowd the home side came out victorious by the margin of 4-2
North Down without three regulars played some of their best hockey of the season.They showed no fear of their opponents and attacked at every opportunity causing many anxious moments in the Cookstown defence.North Down got the perfect start scoring after 3 minutes with what was probably the best goal of the game.A quick slick passing movement involving five players cut the Cookstown defence open and Gilmore slotted home.Cookstown leveled the scores after 13 minutes from a well rehersed short corner routine.Rodgers made some fine clearances as the Cookstown forwards homed in on goal.The defence brilliantly marshaled by Ritchie and Linter used every opportunity to set up attacks.Cookstown took the lead midway through the half when a midfielder ran on to a loose ball and slotted past Rodgers.To their credit North Down kept plugging away and were awarded a couple of corners.McKeowns effort from the first was blocked but the second flashed into the net.With about a minute to go to half time North Down gave the ball away in midfield and with turnover ball Cookstown won a penalty corner from which they took the lead.
The second half followed a similar pattern with both sides playing fast open hockey.Cookstown extended their lead 10 minutes into the half.North Down defence got drawn out of position and the winger had a simple task to tap home at the far post.Linter with his up and overs was causing the Cookstown defence problems and both McKeown and Gilmore almost created chances.Rodgers at the other end had to be on his toes to make a number of important clearances.Both sides fought hard to the end but no further goals were scored
We wish Cookstown good luck when they take on Annadale in the semi-final on Sunday.Its back to the league on Saturday when North Down entertain Harlequins at the Leisure Centre
There were many fine performances but PMB player of the match goes to Darren Rodgers
Mens 1st xi Back to Winning Ways
North down entertained Harlequins on Saturday in the Premier League at Comber Leisure Centre and got back to winning ways with a comfortable 4-1 victory.
North down were in control for most of the game although Harlequins posed a threat on the break.After 11 minutes the home side took the lead .Templeton found space on the left and played a beautiful crossfield ball into the circle.McKeown got a touch but an unfortunate Harlequins defender deflected into his own net as he tried to clear.
In a rare attack on the North Down circle the home defence backed off and allowed the winger to cross for a simple tap in at the back post.North Down won a number of corners but the harlequins keeper made some fine saves.Moore was unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions when he failed to get a touch at the back post
The second half saw North Down up the pace and put the Harlequins defence under a lot of pressure.After 15 minutes the game was as good as over.Some great teamplay and accurate passing movements allowed Jonny Moore to score 2 identical goals in a three minute spell when he scored from close range..Harlequins had no answer to the quick passing game and Gilmore added their fourth when he scored with a reverse from mid circle.Mark Shannon could have got number five.He created great space for himself in the circle but shot tamely at goal.Harlequins could have reduced the arrears but their shot was deflected onto the bar and away to safety.North Down played out time and secured a comfortable victory.
PMB man of match Paul Ritchie
Victory for Fourths at Queens
North Down men’s 4s travelled to the DUB to take on Queen’s in what was an entertaining game.
The game started under the floodlights with both sides coming out of the blocks. Soon Queen’s started to dominate. The legs, youth and skill of Queen’s started to frustrate the North Down defence. A centre back pairing of Phil Dorian and Jamie McKee defended fiercely soaking up plenty of pressure. Roger Graham in nets pulled off a few close range saves on a somewhat wet and slightly muddy pitch. Things were getting tight. Despite all Queen’s efforts they struggled to take advantage of the chaos that was evident in the North Down ranks. Just before half time Queen’s missed a sitter. The half time whistle brought relief and a generous scoreline of 0-0 remained. North Down needed to up their game in the second half if they were to take home at least a point.
After a powerful half time team talk. North Down came out with fight in the hearts. Young Rhys Barrat and Skipper Chris Drysdale at wing backs pushed forward, this propelled North Down into the oppositions half allowing Jamie Consiglia and Jacob Craig to create space and movement. North Down had vastly improved from their first half sluggishness. Suddenly Queen’s got on to a loose ball and made it 1-0. Despite this setback North Down refused to settle. Martin Moreland was some operator in midfield with strong tackles and good distribution with the help of Jason Purvis and his dazzling skills. The men in white kept going and Jacob Craig made a twisting run towards the Queen’s circle before beating the Queen’s defender and firing home on the reverse from a tight angle to make it 1-1. Queen’s started to panic. Sam Brown playing a striker role hit a number of chances wide. A good run from Scotty Irwin and young Robbie Davidson won a short corner which was wasted. It remained level with only minutes to go.
Suddenly a free hit from outside the 25 yard line was struck by Martin Moreland to be beautifully flicked home by Craig to give him his second and what appeared to be the winning goal, 2-1 to North Down.
North Down fought to the bitter end but cruelly conceded a penalty corner. Could Queen’s rescue a point?!? No! It was hit wide and the Comber men saw out the remaining seconds with ease and professionalism.
It was genuinely a game of two halves. Grit, determination and pride in the shirt is ultimately what saw North Down come back from a disappointing first half and turn the tables to win the game against a very talented opposition at a very tough venue. A fantastic effort from everyone in the team and this result sees the men’s 4XI continue their outstanding league form.
PMB man of match Jacob Craig
Ladies 1st xi versus Castle
On Saturday the ladies first entertained Castle in the early slot at Comber Leisure Centre.
North Down started the game determined to take the game to Castle and ensure territorial dominance. A well marshalled press saw North Down pressurising Castle high up the pitch and resulted in North Down regaining possession quickly and attacking the Castle circle. In the early stages North Down were, perhaps, guilty of forcing the pass into the circle but as the half wore they developed more patience and waited for the opportunities to enter the circle. Castle were dangerous on the break and the defence had to remain focussed to eradicate any half chances for Castle. Shortly before half time on of the Castle players suffered a nasty leg injury, taking no further part in the game – we wish her a speedy recovery.
With the half time team talk focussing on a positive first half performance the need for patience around the circle was emphasised. The second half commenced with the same pattern as the first half with North Down pressing hard and winning the ball high up the pitch. Following a good passing move Caitlin Taylor was through one-on-one with the keeper but just put her effort wide. After 15 minutes North Down scored the goal their performance deserved. Rachel Mornin won two crunching tackles in a row in her own half, drove forward with the ball and released the ball to Olivia Brown on the right hand side of the circle. The ball was then played back to Rachel Mornin who had continued her run into the circle. At this stage Rachael Murphy decided to take the pressure off Rachel Mornin and made a run in front of her marker (and Rachel Mornin) and first timed the ball into the left hand corner of the goal. North Down had spoken before the game about the crucial period just after a goal has been scored or conceded and, marshalled by Lauren Brown, they executed their plan perfectly valuing possession when they had it and allowing the opposition possession in areas that would not hurt the home team. North Down continued to dominate but could not take a second chance that would have made the game comfortable. Castle came into the game more and won a couple of short corners that were well defended by the defensive short corner team. North Down remained solid defensively and continued to look dangerous when attacking with Selina Lewis prominent, having switched to right midfield for the sake of her blood pressure.
A good, solid performance from North Down who, though deserving of a few more goals, were happy with the win.
PMB Player of the match: Selina Lewis and Rachel Mornin.
Ladies Fourths Defeated at Castle
On Saturday North Down 4ths faced a strong and determined castle 2’s. From the whistle it was clear that Castle were there to win. North Down defended well but continued pressure from the castle forwards and midfields saw an early goal for the visiting side. This was then followed by another 2 well worked attacks. North Down appeared to wake up soon after this and managed some much better link up play with the midfield and forwards. They started to put the pressure on the visitors and a good press out of defence saw Hilary West steal the ball from the sweeper, bypass another defender and find the back of the net with a reverse stick flick. Score at half time remained 3-1. Some shuffling of positions at half time worked well for the home team and the second half started stronger. Maxine Taylor led from the back and kept her team’s defence calm and steady. A more determined home team played some good hockey and slotted another home from a well worked corner. North did have a few more chances but struggled to make any further closure on the goal deficit. Castle continued to attack and unfortunately, even with some great defensive play from Kathryn Rogers and Fiona Ellis, managed to slot a fourth home. Lots to work on and think about before Mossley on Friday night.
PMB Player of the match Kathryn Rodgers.
Ladies 5th xi lose out by odd goal
North Down ladies 5ths played Ballynahinch 2nds away on Saturday determined to improve on their performance from last week and they certainly did! Ashleigh kindly motored up from Dublin to play in goals and the defence looked a lot more confident, particularly centre back Cara McConnell making well timed tackles and distributing the ball well. Mother, Bev and newly married daughter Bethan Brittain linked well as sweeper and right back Special mention to Camy Chandler and Robyn Eakins for never giving up. It was a superb team effort in which North Down were very unlucky not to score, eventually losing one nil.
PMB player of match Bethan Brittain/Crawford
Ladies 2nds lost 2-3 against Harlequins with goals from Jenna Hoey and Anna Crooks
Ladies 3rds lost 1-2 against Dromore .Olivia Davidson with the goal
Men 2nd xi lost 3-4 to NICS with goals from Mark Shannon 2 and Scott Moore
Mens 3rd xi lost 0-2 to South Antrim
Mens 5th xi beat Antrim 8-1 with goals fromMillar 3 Murray 2 Stewart Long and Bond
Scotty Moore scores his 150 th goal for the club