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William Robinson hits top form as Instonians book final slot

By Graham Hamilton

What a weekend it turned out to be for William Robinson and his Instonians team.

Yesterday the big defender scored one and set up two as the Shaw's Bridge side beat Belfast Harlequins 5-2 to book their place in Boxing Day's Kirk Cup.

And 24 hours earlier he rattled in four goals as Inst romped to a 9-0 success at Portadown to maintain their lead at the top of the Ulster Premier League.

Steven Redpath's lads, though, will have to wait to find out who they meet in the showpiece cup final - yesterday's opening semi betwen Mossley and Civil Service had to be called off after torrential rain left the Shaw's Bridge pitch flooded. Thankfully the rain stopped and the pitch was quickly made playable again and the second semi went ahead as scheduled apart from one hiccup when the floodlights failed in the second half.

Inst took the lead when Robinson's penalty corner was finished off by James Dowling but Andrew Smythe levelled with a crisp shot from the top of the circle just before the interval.

Stephen Kelso restored Inst's lead when he deflected home Robinson's crash ball before the lights went out.

James Corry missed a penalty stroke but Robinson converted a similar award which was followed by two Andrew Coulter penalty corner goals and the second Quins goal from Tom Brann.

Meanwhile Banbridge needed prolific scorer Stephen Dowds to help them come from behind in the final minutes to secure a 3-2 success over Pembroke in the Irish Hockey League. And with Lisnagarvey ending Cork C of I's unbeaten start with a 4-2 away win, and current champions Monkstown being held to a goalless draw at Three Rock, there's just a point separating the top four.

Bann were the better team against Pembroke but just couldn't kill off their opponents until Dowds put two penalty corners away in typical style late on.

Owen Magee had given Mark Tumilty's side the lead but Patrick Good levelled and then Irish international striker Alan Sothern put the Dubliners ahead from a penalty corner.

It seemed a shock was in store, but Bann were rewarded with the double strike from Dowds to stay in the title hunt. Three goals in the opening quarter from Andy Williamson, Timmy Cockram and Daniel Nelson put Garvey in cruise control at Cork C of I and they closed the game out with a great individual goal from Sean Murray to bag an important 4-2 win.

There was no luck for Cookstown and Annadale, though, who lost 7-3 to Railway Union and 3-1 to Glenanne respectively.

In the Ulster Premier League, Inst's 8-0 success at Portadown clearly marks them down as title favourites but Kilkeel kept in the hunt with a 3-1 success at Raphoe.

Spare a thought for Mossley though - not only was their Kirk Cup semi postponed yesterday but Saturday's league game was abandoned at North Down due to floodlight failure after they were one goal ahead.

EY Irish Hockey League: Banbridge 3 (S Dowds 2, O Magee) Pembroke Wanderers 2 (P Good, A Sothern); Cork C of I 2 (P Brownlow S Wolfe) Lisnagarvey 4 (A Williamson, T Cockram, D Nelson, S Murray); Cookstown 3 (S Todd, P Thompson, S Smyth) Railway Union 7 (J Dick 4, M English 2, D Richardson); Three Rock Rovers 0 Monkstown 0; Glenanne 3 (S O'Connor, S Boucher, S Ronan) Annadale 1 (C Roberts)

Kirk Cup semi-finals: Mossley v Civil Service (postponed); Belfast Harlequins 2 (A Smythe, T Brann) Instonians 5 (A Coulter 2, J Dowling, S Kelso, W Robinson)

Ulster Premier League: Portadown 0 Instonians 8 (W Robinson 4, J Dowling 2, S Kelso, J Watson); Raphoe 1 (S Cleverley) Kilkeel 3 (D Rae, N Stevenson, D Tremlett); Belfast Harlequins 8 (N Anderson 2, J Hutchinson 2, P Tweed, C Lemon, D Coates, M Patterson) Newry 0; South Antrim 2 (L Marshall, P Maguire) Civil Service 2 (C Barnes, G Grundie); North Down v Mossley (abandoned due to floodlight failure)

Senior One: Bangor 5 (R Burgess 3, R Cunningham, R Tate) Antrim 1 (J McMeekin); Ballynahinch 0 Queen's 7 (G Leckey 2, P Watt, R Scott, J McCaigue, C Ormonby, T Sturgeon); Cliftonville v Campbellians (postponed)

Irish Hockey Challenge: Portrane 3 Armagh 3 (Armagh win 3-1 on penalty strokes)

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