Hockey round-up: Norwich City Ladies suffer narrow defeat in East League opener

Action from the opening day clash between Dereham and St Albans II in the Premier Division of the Ea

Action from the opening day clash between Dereham and St Albans II in the Premier Division of the East League Picture: CHRIS & CATH PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's two representatives in the top flight of the Women's East League both made losing starts to the season on Saturday.

Norwich City were beaten 1-0 at home by Wapping and Dereham went down 4-1 at St Albans II but Harleston Magpies II had a good first day, beating Cambridge University 4-2.

City showed some excellent movement and determination throughout a goalless first half. Wapping responded with some good play of their own but City remained calm, with Helen Busfield distributing excellent balls from the middle.

However, it was the visitors who took all three points after sneaking one past a committed defence. Sophie Mullan was City's player of the match.

Dereham were 3-0 down inside 10 minutes but regrouped well and pulled one back early in the second half through Hayley Toleman before St Albans had the final say. Tash Grapes was the visitors' player of the match.

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Norwich Dragons picked up a well earned 2-2 draw against Bury St Edmunds in their opening Division One North encounter, with all the goals coming in the second half. Kate McKenna opened the scoring with an excellent goal only for the hosts to turn it around by scoring twice. However after a strong fightback Katie Taubman scored a fantastic equaliser two minutes from time. Player of the match was Liv Leary.

Newly promoted North Norfolk went down 4-1 at home to Ipswich and East Suffolk after going in at half-time one up courtesy of a goal from Ellen Vanlint.

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In Division 2NE Norwich City's second team were quickly into their stride as they romped to a 5-0 win at Christchurch, despite travelling with just 11 players. Rosie Humphrey led the way with a hat-trick, Leigh-Ann Worrall and Rosie Ringer were also on target and Frankie Birkenhead was player of the match.

Watton beat East Coast, formerly Lowestoft, 5-1 while Dragons II went down 4-2 at the UEA. Hannah Ellis scored both goals for the Dragons for whom Georgia Rant and Lilli Ballard made their East League debuts and newcomer Jillian Christie her first appearance in goal. The thirds drew 1-1 with Yarmouth (Harriet Martlett).

Broadland's return to action in the East League will now take place next week against Yarmouth as their game against Harwich and Dovercourt was cancelled due to the Essex side being unable to fulfil their home fixtures.

Men's East League

Norwich City made a solid start to their Premier A campaign when they recorded a 2-2 draw at Chelmsford, with the goals coming from Louis Preston and Tom Cooke.

Dereham lost their opening fixture 1-0 at home to Wapping II.

Norwich Dragons made a flying start in Division 2N when they beat Dereham II 5-2 at The Nest, with the goals coming from Pedro Goss, Matt Knights, Dan Rix (2) and Cley Hamilton. Norwich City II drew 1-1 with UEA, with the equaliser coming when Richard Silvester set up Harry Gill.

Elsewhere Harleston Magpies II beat St Ives 5-1 while the club's thirds went down 4-1 at Pelicans.

Empresa Norfolk League

The new Premier Division season got under way with a derby at Taverham and it was Norwich City's third team who took the spoils by beating the fourths 5-0.

Gabby Sharp scored twice while Olivia Greenway, Emma Richardson and Emily Spencer also got on the scoresheet.

The newly promoted teams both made good starts, with Reepham winning 2-0 at Evergreens and Diss 1-0 at UEA II.

Loddon were the top scorers, hammering Pelicans II 9-0, while East Coast II beat Broadland II 4-1 and Magpies IV cruised past Dragons IV 6-1.

Holley Becker scored Broadland's goal from a penalty flick after Jen Crawford had earlier saved a flick from East Coast. Broadland's joint star players were Jen Crawford and youngster Connie Harris who was magnificent in midfield.

The Dragons derby in Division One was a one-sided affair, the fifths thrashing the sixths 8-0 (Claire Stuart 4, Lizzy McDonnell 3, Jane Wells).

National League

The new season gets under way next weekend with two Harleston Magpies teams now involved following the men's promotion to the new-look set-up last season. The women are now playing in Division One South and open their campaign with a long trip to Canterbury on Saturday.

The men's season in the East Conference gets under way at Weybread the following day with a home fixture against Wapping. Magpies lost their final warm-up match at Peterborough 1-0, with Simon Hipwell being denied a late equaliser by some excellent defending.

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