Chloe continues scoring run as Ards go fourth
Assistant Ireland women's coach Arlene Boyles was an interested spectator on Saturday when Chloe Brown scored for the fourth game in a row as Ards jumped to fourth place in the EY Irish Hockey League standings after an important 2-1 victory over Pembroke Wanderers.
Brown added the insurance goal with a 44th minute penalty corner strike after Ellen Robinson's first half opener although the North Down side had to sustain some late pressure after Caroline Hill pulled one back.
Boyles was running her eye over Brown, who has been named in a 26-strong Ireland squad which will be reduced before the World League II tournament, scheduled for Malaysia in January.
The 21-year-old striker has been in and out of the squad in recent years but missed the 2015 final eliminator for the Rio Olympics when Ireland narrowly missed out, losing to China on penalties, before being re-selected for the triumphant European Championship squad later the same year.
However, if Ards captain Caroline Adams had any influence, Brown would be a shoo-in for the trip to Kuala Lumpur in the New Year which is the first part of the qualifying process for the 2018 World Cup.
She said: "Chloe has worked really hard on her fitness and has matured a lot as a player in the last while so, obviously, we feel that she would make a valuable contribution to the Ireland squad."
"Her goals have helped us get to where we are in the IHL standings and, on Saturday, the result was even more pleasing as we were without Kerri McDonald and Katy Bennett, both of whom were unavailable.
"However we realise that, with tough games against Cork Harlequins, Pegasus and UCD to come before Christmas, we will need to keep building on our recent momentum if we are to stay in the play-off zone."
The Ulster Elks' dismal run continued with a 5-0 defeat by leaders Hermes-Monkstown in Dublin while the Belfast Harlequins versus Pegasus game fell victim to a frost-bound pitch at Deramore.
In the Ulster Premier League, champions Lurgan moved three points clear at the top after beating nearest rivals Ballymoney 2-1 at the Joey Dunlop Centre, with goals from Phoebe Preston and Lauren Wright before Kate Minihan got a late consolation.
EY IHL: Hermes-Monkstown 5 Ulster Elks 0; Cork Harlequins 1 UCD 1; Ards 2 (E Robinson, C Brown) Pembroke Wanderers 1; Ulster Premier League: Ballymoney 1 (K Minihan) Lurgan 2 (P Preston, L Wright); Senior One: Ballyclare 0 Rainey 5 (R Burns, A Burns, K Ferguson, S Semple 2); Ballymena 2 (K Young, R Reynolds) Knock 2 (H Lewis, J Doak); Larne 1 (J Finch) Cookstown 0; Mossley 4 (L McKee, L Creighton, N McMillan, M Dougan) CI 1 (H Platt); Irish Hockey Challenge: Kilkeel 4 (N Graham 2, R McKee, R Johnson) Weston 6.