Kilpatrick back to further boost Quins' quest to avoid the drop
Belfast Harlequins welcome back experienced defender Claire Kilpatrick for Friday night's important EY Irish Hockey League clash with Ards at Londonderry Park.
The former Ulster player sat out most of the last three months due to two separate hand injuries but, despite her absence, Quins have managed to haul themselves clear of the relegation play-off zone.
Crucially, important wins over their fellow strugglers Ulster Elks and Pembroke Wanderers have left the Deramore girls five points off the drop zone.
Now they want to build on that and secure a few more positive results which would leave them mathematically safe in this their first season in the top flight.
Harlequins captain Claire Weir said: "It took us some time to get up to speed in the IHL but even when things weren't going our way, we were still enjoying our hockey and learning all the time.
"We didn't have much luck either at times but, against Pembroke, we got more of the rub of the green and that result has meant we can relax a little."
Pegasus are the best placed of the four Ulster teams, just two points off the play-off zone, following a 1-0 win at Loreto at the weekend but they've a tough assignment against UCD this Saturday.
The Elks, who are bottom of the table, drew some confidence from an improved display in losing 2-1 to Ards in their last outing but they need to pick up points very soon as they prepare to host Railway Union.
In the Ulster Premier League, Ballymoney can extend their lead at the top with a win at Portadown on Friday night.
But champions Lurgan, who lie in third place, and second-placed Randalstown should claw it back again on Saturday when they take on second-bottom Banbridge and third-bottom Lisnagarvey respectively.
Senior One leaders Mossley face derby rivals Larne on Friday evening.