Belfast Telegraph

I'm surprised not to have been offered role as Ulster coach: Watt

 

By Graham Hamilton

One of Ulster hockey's most qualified coaches has expressed his surprise at the provincial governing body turning him down for one of their advertised coaching roles.

Stephen Watt says he is disappointed, considering his credentials and his track record, particularly in developing young players.

Currently coach at Instonians, who are top of the Ulster Premier League, Watt has considerable qualifications and among his successes he masterminded gold and silver medals for the Irish Under-18 boys.

He has also had success at inter-provincial level and at the UK Schools' Games.

"I am surprised and disappointed not to have been offered a coaching role with Ulster Hockey," said Watt.

"Particularly so when I understand that I was recommended by Ulster Hockey's Coaching Committee only for the management board not to allow an offer to proceed.

"I had applied for coaching roles with the Ulster Under-16s or Under-18s, but despite my record at developing young players, including a number of the current international players, and coaching on voluntary and professional levels, I was not successful."

Ulster Hockey has received communication from Watt and therefore aren't in a position to comment until it is dealt with.

Meanwhile, Watt must turn his attention to the Anderson Cup and Inst's second-round tie against North Down on Saturday when success would give them a place in the semi-finals.

It's a difficult tie for North Down who must avoid conceding penalty corners when Inst have someone like William Robinson who thrives from set-piece situations, let alone Ulster's top marksman in Stephen Kelso.

There are two Ulster Premier Division A games scheduled, with the top game being the clash between Mossley and Bangor, who currently sit third and fourth respectively and are anxious to keep in touch with leaders Instonians and second-placed Kilkeel.

There are also three games in Division B, with the top one being at Deramore where Belfast Harlequins host leaders Portadown.

Meanwhile, Cookstown are hoping they can book a trip to Europe next season by landing the Irish Indoor title at Antrim Forum on Sunday.

The Tyrone lads won the Ulster title for the second year running when they came through the round-robin series unbeaten at Queen's PEC last Sunday, chalking up wins over North Down (4-2) and Banbridge (4-3) as well as drawing with Queen's (3-3).

Now it's Leinster side Railway Union who stand in their way in the Irish semi-finals, with holders Three Rock Rovers taking on Munster champions Limerick.

The Cookstown team comprises Ashley Gillis, Dan Crooks, Jack Haycock, Stuart Smyth, Michael Kerr, Scott McCabe, Raymond Miller and Mark Crooks.

The Tyrone side are also hosting Lisnagarvey in an outdoor friendly on Saturday as they prepare for the resumption of the EY Irish Hockey League next week.

Finally, the Burney Cup schools competition, backed again by John Minnis Estate Agents, gets under way this afternoon with one preliminary round game and two first-round ties, with the second preliminary match tomorrow afternoon.

TODAY:

John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup Preliminary round: Belfast Royal Academy v Ballyclare High (3pm).

First round: RBAI v Grosvenor Grammar (3.15pm); Portadown College v Sullivan Upper.

TOMORROW:

Anderson Cup second round second leg: Cookstown v Newry (8pm).

John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup Preliminary round: Antrim Grammar v Lurgan College (3.15pm).

FRIDAY:

Intermediate League: CI v Ballynahinch (8pm).

SATURDAY:

Anderson Cup second round: North Down v Instonians.

Ulster Premier League Division A: Mossley v Bangor (2.30pm); South Antrim v Newry (2.30pm).

Division B: Antrim v Queen's (2.30pm); Belfast Harlequins v Portadown (1pm); Civil Service v Raphoe (1pm).

Intermediate League: Portrush v Parkview (4pm); PSNI v Down (4pm); Saintfield v Ballymena (2.30pm).

SUNDAY:

Irish Indoor championships (Antrim Forum): Semi-finals: Limerick v Three Rock Rovers (11.30am); Cookstown v Railway Union (12.30pm); 3rd place play-off (2.30pm); Final (4.45pm).

Belfast Telegraph

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