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Ulster Elks are pondering bid for EuroHockey series

By John Flack

The Ulster Elks are considering the possibility of launching a bid to host next year's EuroHockey Challenge tournament at Jordanstown in the wake of their historic Irish Senior Cup success.

Gemma Frazer's side lifted the famous trophy for the first time ever with a 1-0 win over Hermes in March to qualify to represent Ireland in Europe next campaign.

This season's Irish representatives, Pembroke Wanderers, unfortunately finished last in the second-tier competition in Minsk last weekend.

So the Elks' European debut will be in the third division next year when they will be up against teams from Italy, Wales, the Czech Republic, Austria, Lithuania, Scotland and Russia.

Now they are considering tendering a bid to host the competition in Newtownabbey after Pegasus staged a similar tournament at Upper Malone four years ago.

"We have had preliminary discussions about it but, obviously, the girls would like a trip away," said Elks captain Frazer.

"It cost Pegasus a lot of money but we are fortunate in that we have our own facilities at Jordanstown so it wouldn't be as expensive.

"It's early days yet as the venue isn't usually decided until September so we will continue to investigate the possibility and do a costing exercise.

"I know Pembroke had a difficult and expensive trip to Minsk and they had to travel via Lithuania, so hosting the tournament, if we were to bid for it and be successful, would have its advantages.

"It's a bit of a gamble because you don't know where you might end up if you don't apply to host and obviously we'd like to avoid the expense of travelling to the likes of Russia or Lithuania."

Meanwhile, Gemma's namesake and club mate, Megan Frazer, was on target for Ireland in a 3-1 win over Canada in Toronto in the third game of the four-match series.

Ards striker Chloe Brown hit the opener after only three minutes to give Ireland the perfect start but Brienne Stairs levelled later in the first quarter.

After the remainder of the first half failed to produce any more goals despite Irish pressure, Anna O'Flanagan celebrated her 100th cap with a goal before Frazer scored near the end from a set-piece as Ireland took a 2-1 lead in the series.

Belfast Telegraph

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