Bangor geared up for tight title race despite getting off to flying start
Bangor's Robert Hastings admits his team's NIBA Division One title credentials will come under scrutiny when they travel to Banbridge today.
The Seasiders have set a hot pace at the top of the table since day one, having reeled in an impressive 39 points from their six opening games.
But Banbridge have managed to hang on to their tails and are currently only four and a half points behind, so something must give at Meeting House Lane this afternoon.
"It's a big game for both clubs," admitted Hastings. "We've been picking up points which is crucial at this relatively early stage.
"But Banbridge are doing the same, while champions Whitehead are only a couple of points adrift, so it has the makings of a very tight title race."
Bangor face a big week in the fight for triple trophy success. They come up against Sydenham in the semi-finals of the NIBA Cup on Tuesday ahead of their clash against Old Bleach in the IBA Senior Cup next Saturday.
NIPGL Div One: Ballymena B v Dunbarton, Belmont v Salisbury, Larne v Falls, Pickie v Ewarts, Old Bleach v Ballymena
NIBA Div One: Portadown v Dundonald, Banbridge v Bangor, Londonderry Park v Whitehead, Balmoral v Donaghadee, Sydenham v Lurgan
NIPBA Senior League: Portrush v Ballymoney, Letterkenny v Limavady, Cookstown v Coleraine
- Ireland will have three new faces on show for the Home International Series staged at Northfield, Scotland, on Saturday and Sunday, June 29-30.
Jack Moffett, Matthew Hastings and Cameron Gaw will pull on the shirt for the first time, while Gary McCloy, Colin Hogg and Stephen Millane have forced their way back into the side.
Even though Neil Booth's boys racked up an impressive 133-98 win against England last season, they could still only finish third.
"It was a case of so near, yet so far," said Booth. "We were narrowly beaten by both Wales and Scotland in our two other games, so were not far away.
"Hopefully, we can add a little bit of consistency to our game this time."