Sothern’s super six sees Pembroke steal a march in the EY Champions Trophy race

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 17 round-up
Saturday
Glenanne 2 (S Boucher 2) Monkstown 6 (G Sarratt 2, K Smith 2, G Cole, R Quirke)
Monkstown inflicted the first defeat of the season on Glenanne, making a strong case to try and snatch the fourth and final EY Champions Trophy playoff place.

Callum Robson eyes up a pass. Pic: Annadale Facebook (click for more pics)

They led from the first minute as Guy Sarratt dragged home amid an excellent early salvo. Sarratt made it 2-0 with another corner before Karl Smith got the third off the back of some lovely work from Geoff Cole.

Shannon Boucher got one back from a corner but Monkstown continued to be the greater attacking force for the most part and were only denied more by some last ditch defending from Rowland Rixon-Fuller. As it was, Boucher struck again before half-time to keep Glenanne in touch with another corner goal, 3-2 at the break.

But Smith put down the uprising with his classy second goal and finish with an upright reverse. A brilliant counter-attack led to the fifth as Matteo Romoli drew out Iain Walker before slipping to Geoff Cole to score. Ross Quirke completed the win when he rounded Walker and smashed home.

Railway Union 0 Pembroke Wanderers 3 (A Sothern, K O’Hare, N Burns)
Pembroke posted a 3-0 derby win over Railway Union to keep them in range of the EY Champions Trophy playoff places. Alan Sothern gave them the upper hand right from the start when he flipped the ball over the first runner before punching a shot down and up into the net – adjudged to be via a deflection – to make it 1-0.

They went 2-0 up in second half when Sothern tipped a corner move behind his back into the path of Keith O’Hare who slung home a low push.

And the win was complete when Pembroke took advantage of a high Railway press, flicking the ball out of defence to Kirk Shimmins who swept to Sothern in the right corner. He picked out the unmarked Nick Burns who scored into the goal unattended by a padded goalkeeper. Railway now have to hope Cookstown do not get any further points and then win their own game at Lisnagarvey next Saturday.

Annadale 2 (A McAllister, P Caruth) Lisnagarvey 2 (A Williamson, D Buser)
Annadale survived a late penalty stroke to earn a share of the spoils against Lisnagarvey in a result that pushed them to confirmed safety for the 2018/19 season.

Andy Williamson got the only goal of the first half when he netted in the 29th minute. Adam McAllister equalised with a superb near post finish three minutes into the second half but Garvey had the lead back within a few minutes, Daniel Buser reversing into the bottom corner from the top of the circle.

Player coach Peter Caruth levelled once more with 12 minutes to go with a deflected corner slap but it looked like Garvey would nick the win when they were awarded a corner in the closing stages. Buser, however, put it wide of Jonny Moore’s goal to ensure the draw remained in place and Garvey finish the league in third place.

Cookstown 0 Banbridge 5 (J Wright, J Moffett, J McKee, M Barlow, E Magee)
Banbridge continued their interest in the playoff places with a 5-0 win at Cookstown with goals from Jamie Wright, Joss Moffett, Jonny McKee, Mark Barlow and Eugene Magee.

The County Down team knew that they had to win in order to keep alive any chance of finishing in the top four and they played at an awesome pace throughout. Early chances by Michael Kerr and Ryan Millar went unconverted before two Cookstown turnovers gave Bann a 2-0 lead.

Irish international Ian Hughes returned to goals after two years away and in the absence of Josh McCabe, and showed much of his old dominance in the circle. However, he could do nothing to stop Bann scoring a short corner. Several cards left the Reds with a mountain to climb and eventually the numbers told and Bann scored two break away goals.

Cork C of I 0 Three Rock Rovers 4 (J Walker, P Blakeney, D Walsh L Madeley)
Three Rock Rovers continued their good record against Cork C of I, winning at Garryduff for the second time this season with a comfortable 4-0 result.

Peter Blakeney’s corner goal in the 15th minute was backed up by a James Walker effort a couple of minutes into the second quarter. Daragh Walsh’s lovely dinked finish in the third quarter put the result beyond doubt and Luke Madeley added a corner drag to close out the victory.

Lisnagarvey’s Andy Williamson scores against his former club. Pic: Annadale Facebook

It was Three Rock Rovers’ fifth win in succession in the league and the weekend’s other results mean they are guaranteed to play Lisnagarvey in the Champions Trophy semi-finals for a second successive year. C of I remain in eighth place and safe by virtue of results elsewhere.

Sunday: Pembroke 7 (A Sothern 6, S Sweetnam) Cookstown 2 (R Millar, G Allen)
Alan Sothern struck six times to send Pembroke back up to fourth place and into the EY Champions Trophy playoff places, going one point above Monkstown.

Stephen Sweetnam started the scoring just a couple of minutes in before Sothern started his spree, getting on the end of Keith O’Hare breaking out of defence before cutting back to Sothern. He won and scored their fourth corner for 3-0 and then added another corner goal when Ronan Flannery was fouled.

He scored again from a bizarre move in the second half when a Cookstown clearance rebounded off their own foot into the star striker’s path. A quickfire pair of reverse-stick shots built a 7-0 lead before Ryan Millar and Greg Allen got a couple of consolation goals.

For Cookstown, they remain in ninth place going into the final game of the season when they travel to Three Rock, hoping to stay clear of Railway who are two points back and face Lisnagarvey.

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