ACADEMY TAKE NINTH RICHARDSON CUP

Banbridge Academy U15 3 Wallace High 0

ON Tuesday the Belmont Hotel sponsored Banbridge Academy U15 boys' hockey squad came up against the best opposition in their age group in the final of the Ulster Bank Richardson Cup.

The pressure was already on to potentially win a ninth consecutive Richardson Cup in a row and with formidable opposition in front of them, the team initially went into the final a little nervous.

However it was obvious from the pass back who was the more dominant with the Academy attack creating holes in the Wallace defence early on.

Although these efforts were cleared away by the Wallace defence the Academy team were relieved as Philip Doyle and Hugh McShane played some great link up play down the right hand side allowing Ryan Gregg to beat the first defender and slot the ball over the keeper's foot to give the Banbridge side a much deserved lead.

The two teams then exchanged attacks at each end with Wallace coming close only for Hector De Courcey Wheeler to thwart them with some astute defending.

Half time brought the difficult weather conditions and with the wind and rain on their backs the Academy team took full control. The midfield unit of Niall and Ciaran Kelly clicked well with Matthew Knox and the Lurgan Road boys won a resulting penalty corner.

A sharp pull out allowed Robin Smyrl to double the Academy's lead, his shot smashed low and to the left, past a hapless Wallace keeper.

The weather conditions deteriorated further forcing the game to be abandoned for a five minute spell but it was a case of more of the same after the restart.

Once the game recommenced the Academy sealed the win when skipper Philip Doyle played in a ball to Joshua Moffett who made no mistake at the back post to give them an unassailable 3-0 lead.

There was now only one side in the game and with their tails in the air the Academy began to show a great deal more confidence and flair and but for the Lisburn netminder the score would have increased dramatically in the last quarter.

So the game ended with scenes of jubilation as the Ulster Bank Richardson Cup was handed over to the Academy skipper Philip Doyle.

The squad would like to thank coach Mr Mark Miskelley, the parents and pupils of Banbridge Academy Hockey players and, of course, this season's sponsors, The Belmont Hotel.