Big day for Bann and Cookstown
Published 28/02/2009 | 00:00
Ulster's top goalscorer, Banbridge's Ross McCandless, is hoping he can maintain his goal a game record as his team chase glory on two all-Ireland fronts.
Bann are top of their pool in the Irish Hockey League and favourites to qualify for the semi-finals with two rounds to go. And today they are in the deep south to take on Cork Harlequins in their bid to reach the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals.
McCandless is one of three brothers who play for the Havelock Park side - older brother Scott is at the heart of the defence and younger brother Bruce is in attack - but it's Ross's goals from penalty corners that have helped them squeeze through in many games.
Already he has 20 to his name, the bulk from set pieces, and he is a comfortable six ahead of main rivals Chris Barnes (Instonians), Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey) and Simon Todd (Mossley) in the scoring charts.
Annadale and Mossley are also involved in Irish Senior Cup ties, with the Dale expected to beat much-improved Dublin side Corinthian and Mossley expected to succumb to cup holders Pembroke.
Cookstown are awaiting the winners of that Bann/Cork tie but in the meantime captain Ian Hutchinson (pictured) is likely to get his hands on the Podium Premier League for a second successive season if his side get the one point they need when they visit Bangor today.
There's no doubting the top scorer in Senior One - North Down's Andy Forrest who is already on 36.
Premier League's top scorers: 20 - Ross McCandless (Banbridge); 14 - Chris Barnes (Instonians), Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey), Simon Todd (Mossley); 13 - Ian Hamilton (Annadale), Adam Reading (Bangor); 12 - Peter Caruth (Annadale); 10 - Thomas Hutchinson (Cookstown), Ivan Steen (Cookstown), Dane Ward (Banbridge); 9 - Andy Barbour (Cookstown), Simon Hunter (Bangor), Eugene Magee (Banbridge); 8 - Chris Kirk (Instonians), Matthew Martin (Instonians), Mark Irwin (Instonians), Mark Gleghorne (Instonians), James Corrie (Raphoe), Timmy Smyth (Cookstown.
Senior One top scorers: 36 - Andy Forrest (North Down); 28 - Aaron Gill (Civil Service), William Annett (Kilkeel); 27 - Richard Nummy (Newry); 23 -Dougie Anderson (Belfast Harlequins); 21 - Simon Watt (Queen's); 17 - Peter Johnston (Civil Service); Johnny McMeekin (Antrim), Scott Caruth (Cliftonville); 16 - Mark Forrest (North Down); 15 - Ian Brownlees (Antrim), Sam Graham (Kilkeel); Eddie Agnew (Kilkeel); 13 - Gareth Grundie (Civil Service), Gareth Russell (Kilkeel), Chris Speers (North Down); 11 - Gareth Bailie (North Down), Alistair Reilly (Antrim), Richard Maybin (Antrim).