Ladies secure back to back titles and promotion

Banbridge Hockey Club Ladies Firsts with coach Simon Jess and umpire Sheree Totton who have won the Senior Two league title with a game still to play and secured promotion for the second successive season.
Banbridge Hockey Club Ladies Firsts with coach Simon Jess and umpire Sheree Totton who have won the Senior Two league title with a game still to play and secured promotion for the second successive season.

BANBRIDGE Ladies travelled to Knock knowing that a win would crown them as league champions with a promotion to Senior 1.

This pressure didn’t show at the start of the game, Banbridge took the game to knock and soon found themselves controlling the majority of possession in the early stages.

However when this did not lead to any clear-cut chances for the Banbridge team the quality of possession significantly decreased and the knock team came back into the game strongly. This put the defensive line of Ashlea Bell, Amanda Morton, Alex Gordon and Megan Mckenna under a lot of pressure, but the girls were able to deal with this well keeping scoreline to 0-0.

Despite strong defensive efforts, the Banbridge team could not get a grip on the game and soon found themselves overwhelmed in the ‘D’ which led to a relatively easy finish for one of the knock forwards.

This seemed to kick start Banbridge into action and the girls soon began to pick up the pace of their play, finding themselves able to retain a greater amount of possession, forcing knock back into their own half.

Passing work from the midfield of Cathy Rees, Orla Magee Debbie Whitten and Alannah Magee allowed strong linking play with the Banbridge forwards of Anna Moore, Rachel Cairns, Naomi Robb and Amy Atkinson. This was soon rewarded with a short corner that was finished well by Alex Gordon.

Knock continued to fight hard and did not let Banbridge have an easy time in the game, however knock continued to struggle with the strong forward play and Banbridge soon won themselves a second short corner. A very slick set piece allowed Naomi Robb to find Amanda Morton free at the penalty spot where she deflected the ball home leading to a half time score of 2-1.

The second half continued to see both teams battle for possession, knock crowded the midfield well making it hard for Banbridge to progress their possession towards goal, but strong defensive work left goal keeper Sarah McCabe with little to do.

Once in the oppositions 25 Banbridge made sure to pile on the pressure but found themselves frustrated when they were often crowded out of the ‘D’.

As the game was coming to a close a high run into the ‘D’ from Debbie Whitten was found by a strong pass from Naomi Robb, this play looked sure to secure the three points for Banbridge but Debbie’s deflection rattled the post before making its way out of bounds.

Shortly after this the full time whistle blew and the Banbridge Ladies First XI knew that with a game in hand they had secured back to back league titles. The squad have worked hard all season under coach Simon Jess and deserve their league success, a true team ethos and style of play being the key to their performances. Thanks to coach Simon Jess and umpire Sheree Totton.