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European status is retained by Ards in Dundee

By John Flack

Ards did Ulster and Irish hockey proud yesterday when they held on to their second-tier status at the European Indoor Trophy tournament in Dundee.

After a crucial 2-1 win over Croatian side Mladost on Saturday, Ards were left sweating after losing 3-2 to Turkish champions Highway yesterday.

They were left needing a win for Dundee over the Croatians to stay up and the hosts duly obliged with a 5-3 victory.

"We are very proud to have retained our place in the second division and it was a great overall performance by the whole squad and coaching team," said Ards captain Caroline Adams.

Meanwhile it was a case of 'get me to the church on time' for Pegasus and former Ireland captain Alex Speers during her team's 3-1 EY Irish Hockey League win over Cork Harlequins.

Speers dashed off to Ballynahinch to catch the tail-end of her cousin's wedding ceremony a few minutes before the end of the match at Upper Malone, but by that stage, the damage had been done as she had scored the insurance goal.

"I had hoped to let her leave a bit earlier, but the way things were going I couldn't take the chance as Alex is such an influential player as she proved with the late goal that sealed the win," said Pegasus coach Arlene Boyles.

Stephanie Thompson scored early on and Vanessa Surgeoner made it 2-1 after Quins had equalised through Yvonne O'Byrne before Speers struck.

The result sees Pegasus move up into second place in the table behind Hermes, who wrapped up the title with a 9-0 win at Greenfields.

The Ulster Elks are also well in contention for a place in the play-offs after a 3-1 win over UCD.

Results: European Indoor Trophy: Sunday: Ards 2 (C. Brown, A, Benson) Highway (Turkey) 3; Saturday; Ards 2 (C. Brown, K. Harvey) Bowdon Hightown 3; Ards 2 (C. Brown, K. Harvey) Mladost (Croatia) 1.

EY IHL: Pegasus 3 (S. Thompson, V. Surgeoner, A. Speers) Cork Harlequins 1; Ulster Elks 3 (M. Frazer, D. Axon, R. Chambers) UCD 1; Greenfields 0 Hermes 9; Pembroke Wanderers 0 UCC 1.

Ulster Premier League: Armagh 2 (L. Wright, C. Russell) Dungannon 5 (D. Robb, K. Elliott 2, S. Kelly, H. Smyth); Ballymoney 1 (R. Minahan) Queen's 0; Lisnagarvey 2 (R. Montgomery, J. Kirkwood) Belfast Harlequins 3 (L. Geddes, C. Weir, R. Millar); Lurgan 1 (E. McStea) Randalstown 2 (N. Moore, K. McDowell); North Down 2 (K. Hill 2) Portadown 0. Senior One: Ballymena 0 Grosvenor 0; Cookstown 1 Larne 0; Raphoe 2 Rainey 2; Victorians 2 Banbridge 6.

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