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Arbuthnot follows his winning wife's lead and cooks up recipe for Garvey's success

 

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Garvey specialist: Stephen Arbuthnot key this season

Garvey specialist: Stephen Arbuthnot key this season

Garvey specialist: Stephen Arbuthnot key this season

While happy to let his better half continue to grab the headlines, Steven Arbuthnot has played a significant role in Lisnagarvey's continued success this season.

The regulation season champions have moved to within touching distance of the EY Irish Hockey League title following Saturday's 4-3 win over Three Rock Rovers in Dublin.

Arbuthnot's wife Suzie was voted Britain's Best Home Cook in the recent BBC series but her husband is happy to adopt a lower profile, having been working hard behind the scenes after stepping down from the playing arena last season to assist Garvey's head coach Errol Lutton.

Steven's specialist area is penalty corners and the Hillsborough side's ability on that front has been instrumental in their success.

Two of the goals on Saturday came from set-pieces, with James Lorimer bagging a double with his trademark drag flicks which require strong wrists and deadly accuracy.

Garvey are now five points clear of Banbridge - 2-1 winners at UCD - at the top of the table, with two games in hand and just seven games left in the regulation season.

"Essentially, we have spent a lot of time investing in the flickers' technical development - making sure we have more than one flicker on the pitch at any one time who can score and working on footwork and maximising power in specific areas of the skill," Arbuthnot explained.

"During the winter break, we invested in our physical development, which involves a bit of strength work, which again feeds in nicely to the power we see with our flickers.

"I lead a strength programme which a lot of the guys, young and old, have seen benefit from in the last two seasons and we are essentially creating new habits with players who want to play at the top level for as long as possible with us."

Daniel Nelson - with Garvey's 50th goal of the campaign - and Johnny Lynch were also on target for Garvey on Saturday as they avenged last year's defeats by Rovers in the play-off decider and the Irish Cup final.

At Belfield, Banbridge were indebted to Josh Moffett, who scored both their goals against UCD in the second-half before the students replied late on.

Annadale staged a memorable comeback away to Glenanne, recovering from 4-1 down to draw level only to lose 6-4. Ryan Burgess's hat-trick and David Tremlett's goal were all in vain as the Belfast side are still without a win and look destined for the drop.

In the IHL second-tier, Cookstown remain in promotion contention after a late goal from Scott McCabe sealed a 3-2 win over Clontarf.

Results: EYIHL: Glenanne 6 Annadale 4, Pembroke 4 Monkstown 4, Three Rock 3 Lisnagarvey 4, UCD 1 Banbridge 2, YMCA 2 Corinthian 1; IHL 2: Cookstown 3 Clontarf 2, Cork Harlequins 4 Kilkeel 2, Avoca 1 Railway Union 7, Cork C of I 6 Instonians 2; U23 inter-pro: Munster 0 Ulster 2; Irish Challenge semi-finals: Limerick 1 Antrim 3, Portrush 2 Mullingar 0; Ulster Premier: Portadown 2 Raphoe 3, Queen's 2 Newry 3, South Antrim 2 Mossley 3; Intermediate League: Civil Service 3 CI 1, Saintfield 5 Down 1.

Belfast Telegraph