Hockey Club’s night at the races - with a difference

Banbridge Ladies during their race at the Hockey Club's Night at the Races
Banbridge Ladies during their race at the Hockey Club's Night at the Races

Banbridge Hockey Club held a Night at the Races with a difference on Saturday night at Havelock Park.

In a deviation from the tried and tested formula, BHC introduced full member participation with members competing on spin bikes, supplied by Hire Fitness, for two minute races.

There were eight races in total with six competitors in each race, including representatives from parents, supporters and players and an international contest against Banbridge Golf Club. Each rider was “owned” by a club member and attendees were queuing up to bet on their favourite for each race.

Each race was hotly contested as various tactics were employed. For two long minutes the riders pedaled with fury in an attempt to achieve the furthest distance. The event definitely brought out the competitive side of participants and supporters who tried to cheer their chosen rider to victory.

Race 1 was between parents of the junior section of the club and Michael Groves cycled his way to the front of pack.

Race 2 saw representatives from the men’s teams compete and late entry Mark Campbell emerged victorious.

Race 3 was between players from the Ladies 2nd and 3rd XIs with 3rd XI Captain Rachel Groves the eventual winner in a very close race.

Race 4 saw the loyal BHC supporters take to the bikes and William McCandless chose the right tactics to win this heat by a narrow margin.

In Race 5 the Ladies 1st XI competed against each other with Sarah McCracken winning outright.

Race 6 was between players from the men’s teams again and Robbie Scott powered his way to victory.

Race 7 was the show stopper with internationals from BHC (Lee Tumilty, Mark Tumilty and Eugene Magee) and BGC (Rory Leonard, Conor Doran and Richard Kilpatrick) competing against each other in a team event. After a photo finish, the Golf Club team was declared the winners and there was much celebration from the trio from the other side of the river.

Race 8 was the finale with internationals from the Men’s 1st auctioned to the highest bidder before competing in the final race of the night. XI Goalkeeper Gareth Lennox took the honours with an 1st impressive performance.

At the end of the night, prizes, sponsored by the Halfway House, were presented to the winning owners. A competition had also taken place to guess the furthest distance cycled and this was won by Paul Magee.

XI Coach Mark Tumilty had cycled the furthest distance on the night 1st and he was presented with a bottle of champagne donated by Tesco, Castlewellan Road, Banbridge.

BHC would like to thank all the sponsors who supported this event, Johnny Breen and Gareth Stewart who compered and organised the betting on the night, the Fundraising Committee who worked hard behind the scenes to run the event and last, but not least, to everyone who supported the night by competing and attending.