Ards have been relegated from the second division of the European Indoor championship after losing 5-1 to Slough in their final match of the tournament in Prague on Sunday, writes John Flack.
Now Gareth Grundie’s side will be turning their attention to the weekend’s crucial EY Irish Hockey League clash with Belfast Harlequins, who will be in buoyant mood after a 2-1 Irish Senior Cup second round win over Pembroke on Saturday.
Temperatures in the Czech capital plummeted to minus six degrees over the weekend which obviously didn’t affect the indoor event but Grundie is concerned that his team might be caught cold as they prepare for Saturday’s game at Londonderry Park.
He said: “We won’t arrive back until late on Monday so we won’t be training in our usual slot and with snow forecast for Wednesday, it’s not looking good as far as training then is concerned. But at least we were able to play plenty of hockey in Prague although we are naturally disappointed that we will be back in the third division next season.”
“Silly mistakes particularly in the key match on Friday against the Croatian side, which we knew was going to be key, cost us dearly and that 2-0 defeat left us with too much to do. We had a chance of staying up if we beat Slough by three goals and we gambled by taking off our keeper when it was 1-1 in the first half but we were left exposed so it didn’t pay off.”
On Saturday, having earlier lost 4-1 to Lithuanians Gintra Ards were ahead on three occasions against Stade Francais after two goals from Chloe Brown and one from Linzi Hamilton. But the French side scored from a late penalty stroke to win 4-3 to leave the Irish champions with too much to do yesterday when Sara Alexander got the consolation goal.
Emily McStea scored twice as Queen’s beat Ballymoney 3-1 in the top of the table Ulster Premier League game at the Joey Dunlop Centre as the students took over at the summit.
Elsewhere, Randalstown were 1-0 winners over North Down while Banbridge and Dungannon fought out a 1-1 draw and in Senior One, there’s no stopping Garvey who beat CI 5-0, helped by a hat-trick from Alyssa Jebb.
In the men’s Ulster Premier, two goals from Ryan Burgess gave Bangor a 2-1 win at Mossley while Instonians kept up the pressure on the leaders. Dane Ward and Gavin Leckey scored in the 2-0 home victory over Portadown, with Harlequins and South Antrim drawing 1-1.
In the John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup quarter-finals, Methodist College defeated arch-rivals RBAI 1-0 while Wallace High cruised to an 8-1 win over Regent House. Sullivan also progressed following a 3-0 win over Campbell College.
Ulster Premier League: Mossley 1 (H Dow) Bangor 2 (R Burgess 2); Instonians 2 (D Ward, G Leckey) Portadown 0; Belfast Harlequins 1 (M Patterson) South Antrim 1 (J Patterson)
Antrim 2 (S Clyde, D Wilson) North Down 8 (J Bond 2, J Moore 2, R Linter, J Linter, J Green, G McKeown); Raphoe 0 Newry 2 (A Irwin 2); Queen’s 7 (M Getty 2, A Doyle, F Harkin, R Blair, N Gamble, R Kelly) Civil Service 5
John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup, quarter-finals: Methodist College 1 RBAI 0; Regent House 1 Wallace High 8; Sullivan Upper 3 Campbell College 0
EuroHockey Indoor Trophy:
Saturday: Ards 1 (K Harvey) Gintra Strekte (Lithuania) 4; Ards 3 (C Brown 2, L Hamilton) Stade Francais 4
Sunday: Ards 1 (K Alexander) Slough 5
Ulster Premier: Ballymoney 1 (C Stacey) Queen’s 3 (E McStea 2, R McKee); Banbridge 1 (S McCullough) Dungannon 1 (K Elliott); Portadown 2 (C Dunn 2) Rainey 0; Randalstown 1 (H Taggart) North Down 0
Senior One: Armagh 0 Raphoe 4 (W Patterson 2, S Barnett, A Kirkpatrick); CI 0 Lisnagarvey 5 (A Jebb 3, R Houston, A Morwood); Knock 0 Ballymena 11 (C Gillespie 4, B Reynolds 4, E Morrison 2, E Anderson); Priorians 4 (R McSparron, J Kennedy 2, S Black) Ballyclare 0; Victorians 3 (J Orr, E Conlin, R Hewitt) Omagh 2 (A Buchanan, E Shortt)