Super Saturday -28th January
“Super Saturday” Set For Havelock Park
This Saturday will hopefully see, after last weekend’s icebound cancellations, the return to hockey action at Havelock Park and what a treat with three top games on offer. The first two games will involve Bann men taking on Dublin YMCA at senior and 2nd XI levels and then they will be followed by Bann’s ladies 2nd XI taking on Rainey.
First up at 1pm will be a quarter-final shoot-out in the Irish Junior Cup with Bann seconds taking on YM’s 2nd string and this will then be followed at 2.45pm by the locals senior side against the Dublin side’s 1st XI in the EY Hockey League. Following this Bann ladies 2nds will take on Rainey at 4pm in a key league game.
Bann’s senior mens side, backed by Ulster Carpets Ltd, had been in imperious form before Christmas and sitting proudly top of the EY All Ireland Hockey League but last week’s inactivity, due to a frozen Havelock Park pitch, cost them this place as current grand slam champions Lisnagarvey leapfrogged them with a win on the road in Dublin at Three Rock Rovers.
Both sides know each other well with YM playing at Bann in a preseason friendly and then the two sides played out a pulsating 4-4 draw in Dublin in the opening game of the season. They also then locked horns in the third round of the Irish Senior Cup at Bann with the locals advancing 4-2.
YM have strengthened their side this season with the signing of two current South African internationals, but it is likely they will be unavailable as they compete for their country in the FIH World Cup in India. They still possess a quality side and the locals will have to be keep a close eye on the predatory scoring talents and short corner prowess of Grant Glutz.
Bann have some injury concerns with hand injuries sustained in the last few weeks putting some pressure on the renowned strength in depth of Bann’s squad. Bann coach Scott McCandless will assess the extent of these injures this week before confirming his squad for this vital game. The locals will be looking to shake off the winter cobwebs in training this week having only had a runout last Saturday on the half of the pitch not affected by the ice. Bann will be targeting a win to maintain their push for league and play-off honours.
Prior to this game it will be the turn of Bann’s second string coached by Robin Madeley to take centre stage as they continue their quest for the holy grail in junior mens hockey – the Irish Junior Cup. They will be hoping to secure victory against what is expected to be a well drilled experienced YM side that is likely to set up a trip to face old rivals Cookstown at their High School base in the semi-finals.
The locals secured a very impressive win in their last league outing two weeks ago at Instonians as again their proposed fixture at home last week fell foul of the weather. They will be hoping their heady mix of exciting schoolboys and experienced campaigners will see them get over the line. The result will be decided on the day with a penalty shoot-out available if the two sides are level at full-time.
The final game of an enthralling day will see Bann ladies 2nd XI continue their quest for Junior League Two honours against a Rainey side scrapping for points to avoid the drop. The locals will be looking to keep their goalscoring boots on as they scored seven on their last outing at Dungannon.
With three top games followed by live music in the clubhouse, the Bann Bistro in operation from 3pm with a special curry option available from 5-7pm, live FA Cup action on the big screen and the Havelock Hut in operation all day, Havelock Park is the place to be this Saturday!