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CI Ladies join Bangor in appeal over relegation imposed by Ulster Hockey

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CI Ladies captain Jenna Maghie

CI Ladies captain Jenna Maghie

CI Ladies captain Jenna Maghie

CI Ladies have joined Bangor men in lodging an appeal to Ulster Hockey against their relegation from their respective leagues after the season was deemed to have been finished due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The east Belfast outfit finished in penultimate place in Senior One based on the percentage equalisation method, which was applied to determine final standings in all the provincial leagues across the island.​

Normally, the teams which finish second-bottom in the various senior leagues are given a chance to stay up via a promotion/relegation play-off against the side which ends up second in the division below.​

However, Ulster Hockey decided that there would be no such play-offs and, instead of opting for a one-up, one-down system, CI, Bangor men and others in similar positions would be relegated and the second placed teams in the leagues below would be promoted.​

CI feel aggrieved that they have not been afforded a play-off (against Limavady) at worst, particularly as they were just three points behind third-bottom Portadown with a game in hand and six matches still to play when the leagues were halted.​

Club captain Jenna Maghie said: "The percentage equalisation system does not take account of the fact that we had yet to play any games against two of the teams around us when we could have reasonably expected to gain points from them.​ Whilst appreciating the difficult position Ulster Hockey were in, we believe there were more creative and fair solutions open to them to draw the season to a close and as such have appealed their decision to remove the play-off match and relegate CI."​

If the appeals submitted by Bangor and CI fail, that would likely be the end of the matter and they would reluctantly have to accept their fate.​

However, if they were to succeed and have the decision to relegate them overturned, there would be wider ramifications.​

It's highly unlikely the two clubs would be the only ones afforded play-offs, with the same system applied to all senior divisions in normal circumstances.

Belfast Telegraph