Belfast Telegraph

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Ards aiming to build on positive start to season


By John Flack

Ards have made a decent start to their EY Irish Hockey League campaign after slipping under the radar in the build-up because, unlike the two other Ulster-based clubs, they were unable to boast marquee signings.

Belfast Harlequins have captured Ireland stars Zoe Wilson and Lizzie Colvin, while Pegasus have enlisted the services of the country's most capped player in Shirley McCay.

Ards face their toughest test to date on Saturday as they take on Cork Harlequins at Londonderry Park in what will be their third home game in a row.

So far the North Down side have defeated Pembroke and drawn with Railway Union, and team captain Caroline Adams is hoping to keep that unbeaten record intact at the weekend.

She said: "We're quite happy to be keeping a low profile compared to the other Ulster sides in the IHL who, understandably, attracted the headlines because of their new signings.

"But we have made a satisfactory start having picked up four points out of a possible six.

"We were a bit below-par against Railway but we were happy to take a draw from the game and, if we'd converted one of our two late penalty corners, we could even have won it.

"Hopefully we can continue to pick up points on a regular basis and aim for a top-four spot but there's still a long way to go."

Belfast Harlequins travel to Dublin to face Loreto as they attempt to bounce back from Saturday's 6-1 loss to UCD.

It will be a special day for Colvin, who will be up against her old club for the first time after the umpires' strike action saw the original game postponed.

However, there will be no room for sentiment as she will be doing all in her power to help Quins get back to winning ways.

It won't be easy, though, when you consider Loreto put four goals past 2016 champions Monkstown on Sunday.

Pegasus have also made a good start and they are at home to Railway Union on Saturday.

Sunday sees the first round of the Irish Senior Cup with a double-header for both Pegasus and Belfast Harlequins while Ards have a bye into the next stage.

Pegasus should have few problems disposing of Leinster League side Corinthian at Upper Malone, but Quins could find it tougher against Queen's.

The students made it seven wins out of seven between league and shield at the weekend when they defeated last season's double champions Lurgan 3-2.

"It's a nice game for us and we are really looking forward to it as it will give us an indication as to where we stand and what progress we have made," said Queen's coach Simon Bell.

The three other Ulster sides have all been drawn at home but Banbridge, Dungannon and Lurgan will all start as underdogs against Old Alex, Cork Harlequins and Trinity respectively.

There is one Premier League game down for decision tonight as Mossley face Randalstown.

Belfast Telegraph


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