The Anderson Cup Super 9s comes to a conclusion on Wednesday night, April 25 in Havelock Park with the final four, round-robin tournament. One of the most innovative competitions in recent years, the revamped competition is based on the Lanco Super Series which made its debut last October in Australia.
The nine-a-side format, with modified penalty and long corner rules has proven a big hit with crowds in Ulster with 66 goals scored in just eight hours of hockey – approximately one every seven minutes and 16 seconds.
The four venues hosting midweek series of games with each club laying on food, scoreboards, ball patrol, music and a PA to help promote the game.
It has revived a competition which had struggled to find a niche in the busy schedule. The trophy was originally donated to the Ulster Hockey Union by Mr T N Anderson as a memorial for his brother Captain J G Anderson MC.
He was a prominent member of Banbridge Hockey Club and an Irish International player who was killed whilst serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War I. One of the conditions requested by the donor was that the Final should be played at the ground of Banbridge Hockey Club.
Since its inauguration, Lisnagarvey have gone on to win the title 26 times but they were ousted in the group stages by the Dale Dragons who are bidding for a fifth Anderson Cup in the last decade. Their star man was Josh Woodrow who incredibly scored a hat-trick in 87 seconds.
Standing in their way are the Banbridge Bears, Instonian Seahorses and the Cookstown Mavericks. The Bears names is derived from a chant which the renowned Bann team of the 1980’s used in their pre-match huddle.
The chant was initially the idea of Bann legend Joe McKnight and the team carried on using it well into the 90’s. It was “If you wanna be a Bear, be a grizzly!”
The Cookstown team are called the “Mavericks” after the nickname of their captain, Godfrey Irwin, who sustained a fractured skull during the European Hockey League match against Amsterdam in October 2011 which has ruled him out of playing for the remainder of this season.
The action tips off at 6.40pm with the Bears against the Dragons with the six-game series running until about 10pm.
Final Four (Havelock Park, April 25): Games are 12 & ½ minutes each way in the Final 4
Schedule: Banbridge Bears v Dale Dragons, 6.40pm; Dale Dragons v Cookstown Mavericks, 7.15pm; Cookstown Mavericks v Instonians Seahorses, 7.50pm; Instonians Seahorses v Banbridge Bears, 8.25pm; Banbridge Bears v Cookstown Mavericks, 9pm; Dale Dragons v Instonians Seahorses, 9.35pm
** One of the features of the competition has been the use of new media to cover the tournament. To follow the finals night on twitter go to https://twitter.com/#!/AndersonCup. There is also a youtube channel with plenty of interviews and highlights http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_M1oaMzytg1v6wzpv29IYg?feature=watch