Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Men's Hockey: Astroturf win helps Saintfield exorcise the ghost

Saintfield seem to have exorcised one particular ghost judging by Saturday's impressive 6-2 away win over Ballymena at the Showgrounds.

Generally recognised as a team that prefers the shale pitch they play on at the Demesne they had no problem disposing of the Braidsiders on the astroturf they once feared.

The result made it two wins out of two for the Saints who are justifying the view that they'll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

So Saintfield now sit proudly at the top of the table and they are obviously benefiting from the influx of players from now defunct Crossgar.

"It's going well for us though it's very early days at this stage." said team manager Lawrence Murphy.

"In days gone by even the players seemed resigned to the fact that astroturf was not their preferred surface but that attitude appears to have changed.

"But Ballymena are a team capable of scoring goals and our defence played well.

"Adam Thompson was good and Nigel Jackson had an excellent game at sweeper as did Alan Buchanan at right back.

"Our penalty corners also went well and four of the goals came from set-pieces."

Richard Owens and David Johnston each bagged a double to set the Saints on their way.

Jackson and Gavin Kirkpatrick were also on the mark in what turned out to be a comfortable victory.

Meanwhile, the date and venue for the Linden Cup semi-final double header has been confirmed.

As is now becoming tradition Harlequins' plush HQ at Deramore will play host to the games scheduled for Sunday December 9.

First up is the clash between Down and Armagh (1.30pm) and that will be followed by the meeting of Newry and PSNI (3.30pm).

Down and Newry are favourites among pundits to reach the showpiece hockey final.

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