Ulster derbies can kickstart Dale's season, insists Caruth
Annadale player/coach Peter Caruth is hoping the next two games - at home to Ulster rivals Banbridge this evening and then Cookstown on Saturday - will shape the season for his club.
The Dale lost their opening two EY Irish Hockey League games, but a fine 2-1 win at Pembroke Wanderers in Dublin got them off the mark before last week's contest at Cork C of I was postponed in case of travelling difficulties due to Storm Callum.
But with just four IHL games to go before the programme grinds to a halt for three months due to Ireland's involvement in the World Cup finals in India and then the winter break, Caruth would like more points on the board sooner rather than later.
"These two home games are important, but we know what to expect from them," said the Irish international striker.
"We know how good Banbridge can be, but we have run them close in the past. And Saturday's game against Cookstown is a six-pointer.
"We have a good track record against them, although they are getting better results this season, but it's up to us to bring the same level of performance that earned us a win at Pembroke Wanderers recently."
Ryan Burgess, their new signing from Bangor, was prolific last season but has yet to score at this higher level, although that doesn't worry Caruth.
"It's my job to score," he laughed. "But he is flourishing, as is Cameron Ruttle who joined us from Three Rock as he is studying.
"Along with our regulars, it's looking encouraging for the season ahead."
Garvey should sweep aside YMCA in Dublin, while Bann attempt to maintain their unbeaten home record on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Monkstown team that are the league's highest goalscorers at the moment.
Monkstown also feature tomorrow evening when they host Three Rock Rovers in a Dublin derby which was postponed almost a fortnight ago due to Three Rock's EuroHockey League commitments.
There are also four Irish Senior Cup ties listed, with Kilkeel and Mossley hoping to progress to the third round, where the 10 IHL teams join in.
The Mournemen have something to prove to their doubters after crashing 6-2 at home to Corinthian in their opening IHL2 game.
And so expect them to take it out on Bandon, who make the lengthy trip across the border from Cork for the second successive week.
Mossley head to Clontarf aiming to maintain their five-game unbeaten run this season, which takes in one cup and four league matches - quite an encouraging start for their new coach Ali McNeill.
The Ulster Premier League is curtailed to five games, the pick of which is Bangor's clash with Portadown at Aurora, both having started their programmes unbeaten.
The opening Linden Cup pool games and the opening Irish Junior Cup ties are also down to be decided in what is a busy weekend.
TONIGHT: EY Irish Hockey League: Annadale v Banbridge (7.30pm).
TOMORROW: EY Irish Hockey League: Monkstown v Three Rock Rovers (8.20pm).
Ulster Premier: Bangor v Newry (8pm).
FRIDAY: Intermediate: Portrush v Down.
SATURDAY: EY IHL: Annadale v Cookstown (2.30pm); Dublin YMCA v Lisnagarvey (3.30pm); Pembroke v Cork C of I (2.30pm); Glenanne v Three Rock (2.15pm).
Irish Senior Cup: Clontarf v Mossley (2pm); Kilkeel v Bandon (2.30pm); Railway v Corinthian (4pm); Kilkenny v Dublin Univ (1pm).
Ulster Premier: NICS v Newry (1pm); South Antrim v North Down (2.45pm); Instonians v Antrim (2.30pm); Raphoe v Harlequins (2.30pm); Bangor v Portadown (2.30pm).
Linden Cup: PSNI v Ballynahinch (2.30pm); Parkview v Antrim (2.30pm); Ballymena v Armagh (1pm); Down v Portrush (2pm).
SUNDAY: IHL: Banbridge v Monkstown (2.30pm).
FRIDAY: Ulster Premier League: Ulster Elks v Dungannon (8pm).
Senior One: Portadown v Coleraine (8pm).
SATURDAY: EY IHL: Belfast H'quins v Muckross (2.30pm); Cork Harlequins v Pembroke (1.05pm); Loreto v Ards (2.50pm); Old Alex v UCD (2pm); Railway v Pegasus (2.30pm).
Ulster Premier League: Ballymena v Randalstown (2.30pm); Lisnagarvey v Banbridge (2.30pm); Lurgan v Rainey (2.30pm); Mossley v Queen's (4pm).
Senior One: Castle v CI (1pm); Omagh v Armagh (2.30pm); Priorians v North Down (2.30pm); Raphoe v Club KV (1pm).