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Frazer skips German indoor series to play for Elks

By John Flack

Ulster Elks have received a huge boost ahead of the new Premier League season with confirmation that fit-again Ireland World Cup star Megan Frazer will be available for the bulk of the campaign.

The 27-year-old midfielder has been handed a one-year contract extension by German club Mannheimer but she will be free to play for the Jordanstown outfit between November and March.

The German outdoor hockey season shuts down for almost five months when the action there switches indoors, so Frazer will return home as her contractual commitments do not extend to the six-a-side code.

The Londonderry woman was in a similar position last season but didn't play any hockey for the Elks as she was recovering from a serious knee injury which sidelined her for 17 months and, instead, helped out coaching.

However, she is now well on the road to recovery, having played a key role in Ireland's magnificent World Cup campaign which culminated in an unprecedented silver medal finish in London.

Frazer improved game by game in London, however she had to pull out of the final due to a hamstring injury.

Elks have made a number of new signings as they attempt to recapture the glory days which saw Frazer help them win back-to-back Irish Senior Cup finals and a European gold medal a few years ago.

South African midfielder Bronwyn Kretzman (23) arrives with an impressive CV having been a senior international.

Welsh Under-23 international Chloe Jordan has also joined the Newtownabbey club, who have recruited UK School Games gold medallist Katie Craig from Ballymena, while Anna Hutchinson returns from Queen's.

Team captain Emma Quinn said: "We are very happy with our new players and we now want to start challenging again and aim for the heights we achieved a few years ago."

Newly-promoted Lisnagarvey and Dungannon kick off the new campaign tomorrow night at Comber Road, where the home team will also parade several new faces.

Irish international Robyn Chambers has joined from Belfast Harlequins, while the Hillsborough side have also boosted their squad with the arrival of former Queen's players Robyn McKee and Paige Brown.

Garvey captain Scarlett Holdsworth said: "As the new team on the block, our obvious goal is to survive in the top flight and, although it will be a jump in standard, we're up for the challenge."

The other promoted side, Ballymena - back in the Premier League after a 12-year absence - have a tough start away to Ballymoney on Saturday, while champions Lurgan travel to Mossley (4pm).

There are two games on Friday night when Queen's entertain Banbridge and Randalstown host Rainey.

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