Banbridge ladies Thirds went out of the Junior Cup at Havelock on Friday, losing 2-0 to Grosvenor Thirds despite an encourgaing display.
Bann had beaten Carrickfergus Seconds to set up this tie against a team sitting two leagues higher.
Banbridge started strong, and it was clear from an early stage that they were in with a real chance of keeping Grosvenor at bay.
In fact, for a good part of the first half, Banbridge had the majority of possession. The defence of Kate Cunningham, Jo-Anne Lyttle, Rachael Groves and Katie Carson made sure that Grosvenor were kept out of the circle. However, on a couple of occasions, Grosvenor broke through to force keeper Louise Beckett to make some good saves.
In midfield, Hanna Thompson, Naomi Waugh and Amy Carson worked hard to maintain possession and feed the ball to the front line of Jayne Walker, Punam McGookin and Ashleigh Mitchell. The forwards made good lateral runs up front and the standard of passing from all players was particularly impressive. Banbridge were unlucky not to score from a couple of hard fought corners, which were pushed out by Jayne Walker to Kate Cunningham.
Around the middle of the first half, both Anna Waugh and Hanna Hopkins were substituted onto the front line and both worked well with Ashleigh Mitchell, using short passes and supporting runs, which seemed to throw the Grosvenor defence off guard.
It was fair to say that the first 30 minutes of hockey was some of the best the Banbridge Ladies 3rd XI had played this season, with the team really starting to gel.
After a short break, the second half got under way and Grosvenor seemed to get into their stride, creating good passages of play and putting pressure on the Bann defence. Grosvenor won a short corner and after a slip to the left, were able to put the ball in the back of the net after two attempts. The first shot was thwarted by a brilliant stick save from keeper Louise Beckett, but the second managed to get through.
There were moments of good play from Banbridge after that, but Grosvenor continued to dominate the second half, putting another goal away before the final whistle.
Whilst Banbridge lost this match, they were able to take away the fact that the first half had seen some superior passing, movement and team work and they should continue to build on this as the go on to play their next league match against Dungannon at Havelock on Friday at 8pm.