Belfast Telegraph

Banbridge must react after early wake-up call, warns Dennison


By Alex Mills

Banbridge's Clifford Dennison insists it is vital that his team give a big response following last weekend's disappointing defeat at Lurgan.

Having pushed Whitehead and Bangor to the finish line in the NIBA Division One title race last season, Banbridge looked capable of breaking the dominance of the top two.

They got the new season off to the best possible start by pocketing seven points from their opening home game against Donaghadee, but were quickly brought down to earth by Lurgan.

However, they have the chance to get that result out of their system when they roll out the welcome mat for Sydenham today.

"The defeat last week was an early wake-up call," said Dennison. "In saying that, the team has changed quite a bit from last season due to the fact that we've lost a few players.

"Tony Bell has returned to Dunbarton, while Brendan Davis, Gavin Clingan and Paul O'Keefe are unavailable due to various reasons. On the plus side, Peter Haughey has arrived from Rathfriland and looks a good prospect. There have also been a few B team players promoted.

"It's difficult to eat into the domination of Whitehead and Bangor, but our aim is to hang onto their tails."

There will be a unique occasion at Old Ballymoney Road today in the NIPGL's Division One when Ballymena B host Ballymena A for the first time.

The A team are still smarting from a home thumping by Belmont last week, so to lose against their newly-promoted colleagues would be unthinkable.

Ireland will be in action today in the 2019 Atlantic Championships in Wales. Aaron Tennant, Neil Mulholland, Andy Kyle, Adam McKeown and Mark Wilson will feature in the men's section, while Courtney Wright, Ashleigh Rainey, Gemma McClean, Shauna O'Neill and Sara-Jane Curran will compete in the ladies' tournament.

McKeown, Mulholland and Kyle will feature against Spain in the triples, while Tennant and Wilson must negotiate ties against Jamaica and Brazil.

Courtney Wright faces Switzerland and Brazil in the ladies' singles while McClean, Rainey, O'Neill and Curran go head-to-head with Jersey and Argentina.

Weekend fixtures:

Private Greens League Division One: Belmont v Pickie, Ballymena B v Ballymena A, Salisbury v Falls, Dunbarton v Ewarts, Larne v Old Bleach.

NIBA: Bangor v Donaghadee, Portadown v Lurgan, Banbridge v Sydenham, Londonderry Park v Balmoral, Dundonald v Whitehead.

NIPBA: Ballymoney v Coleraine, Letterkenny v Dunluce, Limavady v Portrush.

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