No glee for threes as Bann lose both Cup finals

It was a disappointing weekend for the two Banbridge sides who made it through to their Cup finals as both suffered defeat.

The Men’s third XI were beaten by Kilkeel Twos in a game they were never really expected to win. Just reaching the final of the McClements Cup against many teams in the league above them was a stellar achievement for the young side, captained by Gareth Matthews. They were seen off 4-1 by a much fancied Kilkeel side.

Meanwhile, the Ladies third XI didn’t fare much better as they lost out agonisingly 1-0 to Queens Fours in the final of the Minor Cup, also at Stormont on Saturday.

banbridge men’s 3s 1

kilkeel men’s 2s 4

The Men’s third XI didn’t get off to the best of starts in their big game as Kilkeel snatched an early goal to go 1-0 ahead. From then on, it was an uphill struggle. They didn’t have a couple of opportunities to draw level but they failed to punish Kilkeel from a couple of short corners and they were surely punished.

Kilkeel doubled the score before half-time as a fine effort was deflected past the goalkeeper and into the net.

Bann were given much to play for when they snatched one back before the break, Dougie converting a short-corner.

However, things all turned sour when Kilkeel nabbed a quickfire double to seal the win and a scoreline that didn’t portray the fight shown by the Banbridge lads.

banbridge ladies 3s 0

queens ladies 4s 1

While Queens fourth XI play in a lower league, Bann knew not to underestimate them given that they topped their section and have been in impressive form all season.

Banbridge were missing key defender Katie Uprichard who was on holiday but had Melissa Whan and Jenny Wilson back from injury and the Carson twins stepped up to the squad. The Bann team was a mixture of young players playing their first season in senior club hockey and more experienced players. They have already secured promotion in Junior League Seven this season.

Queens came out strong and it was the students who initially dominated the game putting pressure on the defence with Banbridge struggling to keep the nerves at bay. However, soon Banbridge settled and began to play some better hockey with both Dannielle Thompson and Emma Leeper having some chances at goal.

Bann were forced to work hard all over the pitch with the midfield of Helen Monaghan, Rebecca Graham and Aileen Lawson battling with their Queen’s counterparts and getting the ball through to the forward line

The students were a well organised side and kept the Banbridge defence on their toes with Captain Rachel Groves leading by example and making some vital tackles to keep Queen’s out of the Bann circle.

Despite end to end hockey and chances for both teams, the first half finished 0-0.

The second half saw Banbridge more determined to break through the Queen’s defence and Jenny Wilson, Dani Thompson and Melissa Whan made some threatening moves up front winning a couple of penalty corners. Despite this pressure and Hannah Hopkins and Jayne Walker battling in the circle, Bann were unable to find the back of the net.

At the other end of the pitch, Banbridge keeper Louise Beckett pulled off a couple of great saves and Megan Shannon and Sarah Dale were solid at the back. The Carson twins Amy and Katie combined well on the right and worked hard to get the ball through to the forward line.

The game could have gone either way but later in the second half, Queen’s eventually won a penalty corner and took a great drag flick to find the back of the net and take the lead.

Bann did not let this get them down and fought hard to try and level the game but despite giving it their all, were unlucky not to score. Banbridge should be proud of their achievement in getting to the final and their results in a fantastic season that has seen them promoted.

The team thanked coach Dane Ward who has worked hard to develop the team all season, to the supporters who travelled on the day and to Sheree Totton for her help.