HAVELOCK avoided the snowfall which had caused the majority of Ulster hockey fixtures to be called off and allowed league leaders Banbridge entertain mid table Cookstown.
The teams had shared ten goals in the previous fixture and spectators were to witness another goal fest.
Banbridge started brightly and Woods won Banns first corner after a strong run. McCandless made no mistake from the top of the circle powering in a drag flick to give Bann an early lead.
Bann continued to control the game but were unable to capitalise when they were awarded another short corner. Cookstown started to get into the game towards the middle of the first half and were unlucky not to equalise from a short corner but O’Neill made a great save low to his right hand side.
Cookstown continued to press forward and Caruth was well placed to save a shot off the line following a shot which evaded O’Neill.
In the final five minutes of the first half Bann won another corner through good work from Reay and McCandless doubled Bann’s lead with another fierce drag flick.
Bann finished the first half the better side and were able to add to their lead when McCandless intercepted a Cookstown pass in midfield and after an excellent exchange of passes with Bell stepped round the keeper and rolled the ball into the empty net.
Bann were unlucky not to add to their lead in the second half when Scott McCandless found himself free in the circle but his shot was well saved by the Cookstown keeper.
Cookstown were fighting to get back into the match and pulled a goal back through an excellent reverse stick shot which went high past O’Neill. Cookstown continued to press forward and after some poor defence play allowed a Cookstown player to get a shot on goal which O’Neill did well to save however a Cookstown player was first to react to flick the ball into the Bann goal.
Bann reacted well to conceding the two goals and managed to gain control of the game again when McCandless intercepted another Cookstown pass in midfield and fed Woods in the circle who slotted the ball low past the Cookstown keeper.
Woods was creating havoc now with the Cookstown defenders and extended Bann’s lead with a great individual effort when he eliminated two Cookstown players from the left hand side of the circle before rolling the ball under the advancing Cookstown keeper.
Cookstown managed to win a further short corner but O’Neill saved well to maintain Bann’s three goal lead and Bann saw out the rest of the half to maintain their lead at the top of Junior League One.
Bann now travel to Dublin next Saturday to take on Fingal in the second round of the Junior Irish Cup knowing they’ll be in for a tough game.