Bann kick start championship campaign in style

The Banbridge Men’s 1stXI hockey team opened their premier league campaign against Belfast Harlequins at Havelock early Saturday afternoon and came away with a 9-0 win.

The rain soaked conditions had little effect on the clinical Bann performance and they broke with deadlock after 10minutes when midfield maestro Bruce McCandless expertly deflected a Stevie Dowds cross into the far corner.

The Harlequins defence was nothing if not stubborn in the face of wave upon wave of Bann attacks, however quick hands and outstanding spatial awareness allowed Owen Magee to find Pete Brown who won a short corner. Ross McCandless expertly rifled into the top right hand of the goal.

Following this two well taken goals from Pete Brown and some adept improvisation by Bruce McCandless after a wayward short corner injection saw Banbridge end the half five goals clear.

The ever-present Scott Forbes was scything through on the left and following some world-class 3D skills at the top of the circle, fed Dane Ward at the far post who deflected in with ease.

An aerial from Matthew Bell found Bruce McCandless who cushioned the ball toward Drew Carlisle before bursting forward with pace in search of the return. Once being found again, Bruce linked with Pete Brown who passed to Magee to score.

Banbridge were technically, tactically and physically too good for Quins who tried throughout but simply couldn’t match the pace generated by the home teams front six. The young goal keeping debutant Aaron Appleton had little to do but worked hard in directing his composed defenders from the back. The Bann midfield swarmed all over their counterparts while the forwards ran with pace, skill and purpose. Man of the match was Peter Brown.

The bulk of Banns large training panel represented both the first team and second team at Havelock, with the seconds outwitting reigning Junior League champions Lisnagarvey by four goals to three, a great win after being three down after fifteen minutes. Bann thirds meanwhile found it tough going at Lough Moss, being taught a harsh lesson by an experienced Annadale seconds side, losing by four goals to nil.

All roads lead to Havelock Park tomorrow with the Kirk Cup Super Sunday semi finals.

1.30pm Banbridge v Garvey

3.30pm Cookstown v Annadale