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Banbridge hoping to home in on play-off places

 

By Graham Hamilton

Banbridge have a chance to move back into the EY Irish Hockey League play-off places when they stage two games at their Havelock Park base over the weekend.

First up is the mouth-watering showdown against rivals Lisnagarvey on Friday evening (8pm) and then it's Railway Union making the trip north in what is a full Sunday IHL schedule.

Mark Tumilty's lads are firing on all cylinders again after a spate of injuries disrupted their campaign before Christmas.

But their crushing 7-1 win over Cookstown on January 23 lifted them out of the trouble zone to a healthier looking sixth place.

Now two home wins over the weekend can send them right back into play-off contention, especially as some of the teams above them have difficult games.

It's an important weekend for Cookstown too, as they desperately try to haul themselves out of the bottom two.

But they remain upbeat as they prepare for another trip south to take on Pembroke.

Reds captain Jon Ames said: "We've been going well in training, but we have got to put that dismal display against Banbridge behind us and really hit Pembroke right from the start."

Annadale look safe in mid-table but have a tough test at second-placed Three Rock Rovers, who are trying to hang onto the coat tails of unbeaten leaders Glenanne, who should romp to a home win over Cork C of I.

Meanwhile, the last three games in the first phase of the Ulster Premier League take place on Saturday ahead of the split into the top and bottom seven.

Instonians are hoping to move up to second spot but have a difficult game at Belfast Harlequins, while Mossley are out to maintain their fourth position on their visit to South Antrim.

Finally, the Bangor trio banned from playing in the Linden Cup final over alleged ineligibility have won their appeal to Ulster Hockey and will be permitted to play in any remaining cup competitions.

Brothers Philip and Stephen Hamill and Cody Walker transferred from Mossley to the Seasiders but missed out on the chance of a medal over the interpretation of the ineligibility rule.

It has now been deemed the interpretation was wrong and the rule is likely to be redrafted to avoid ambiguity in future.

Belfast Telegraph

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