High-flying Bann do the double and send out warning
Banbridge enhanced their chances of qualifying for the end of season EY Champions Trophy play-offs by running up two crucial wins in what was a double-header weekend.
Mark Tumilty's lads came from behind to win 3-2 at Cork C of I on Saturday and, showing few signs of tiredness after the 480-mile return journey, they followed it up yesterday by crushing Cookstown 6-1.
It was Josh Moffett who did the damage on Saturday with two goals but Zach McClelland was the hero with a late winner.
Yesterday they were four up by half-time with goals from Edward Rowe from open play, Josh Moffett from a deflected penalty corner, Luke Witherow after good work by Fraser Mills and a Eugene Magee penalty corner.
Stuart Smyth pulled one back but David Rae and Alex Tinney completed the scoring.
With Glenanne beating Monkstown 4-3 yesterday, Bann are two points clear at the top as the second half of the all-Ireland programme approaches.
Lisnagarvey's 5-1 success over Cookstown saw the three Nelson brothers all on the scoresheet, almost certainly the first time that any IHL team has had three siblings score in the same game.
Oliver Kidd and a James Corry penalty stroke put Garvey on their way and then the Nelsons took over, with Ben getting the third from a deflection, Matthew getting the fourth, and Daniel crashing home on the reverse for the fifth.
Cookstown had a much better second half and scored the only goal in this period through a Greg Allen penalty corner.
Kilkeel remain top of the Ulster Premier League after a 3-2 win at Mossley where Johnny Aiken scored twice and David Finlay once to give them a comfortable lead before the Newtownabbey team made it an uncomfortable finish by hitting back through Neal Glassey and Simon Todd.
Second placed Instonians stayed in the frame with a 2-1 win at Newry Olympic where Robbie McGaughan and William Robinson scored their goals.
Chris Barnes got a hat-trick in Bangor's 4-1 win over derby rivals North Down, Paddy Gray struck twice in Belfast Harlequins' 7-1 win over Antrim, and Stephen Armstrong also got a brace as Civil Service beat Queen's 3-2.
Adam Stevenson got a hat-trick for Portadown and Timmy Orr a hat-trick for Raphoe as the two teams drew 5-5.
IHL (Yesterday): Banbridge 6 (E Rowe, J Moffett, L Witherow, E Magee, D Rae, A Tinney) Cookstown 1 (S Smyth); Monkstown 3 (D Cole, G Sarratt, G Watkins) Glenanne 4 (D Keogh, C Jacobi, S Boucher, B Venner).
Saturday: Lisnagarvey 5 (O Kidd, J Corry, B Nelson, M Nelson, D Nelson) Cookstown 1 (G Allen); Cork C of I 2 (J Jermyn, P Brownlow) Banbridge 3 (J Moffett 2, Z McClelland); Monkstown 3 (G Watkins, R Nichols, G Sarratt) Pembroke 2 (G Chambers, S Miller).
Ulster Premier: Mossley 2 (N Glassey, S Todd) Kilkeel 3 (J Aiken 2, D Finlay); Newry 1 (C McKnight) Instonians 2 (R MCGaughan, W Robinson); Bangor 4 (C Barnes 3, A Tweed) North Down 1 (T Finn); Harlequins 7 (P Gray 2, D Frazer, S McGrath, J Medcalf, N Anderson, J Neale) Antrim 1 (D Wilson); Civil Service 3 (S Armstrong 2, D Bradley) Queen's 2 (J Hermon, J Taggart); Raphoe 5 (T Orr 3, J Long, K Meehan) Portadown 5 (A Stevenson 3, R Bennett, M Winter).