Banbridge Hockey Club’s season is already approaching a make or break stage.
That’s according to coach Mark Tumilty, who is preparing his side for the visit of fellow title challengers Pembroke on Saturday (pass-back 5pm).
“This game is massive,” he said. “We need to win this one to stay in contact with Monkstown. We have to keep doing that before we go down there to face them in December.”
Bann, of course, have had over three weeks to mull over the disappointing defeat to rivals Lisnagarvey and another loss at Havelock this weekend would already mean it’s a long way back into the title race.
“We have to be better than we have been recently,” admitted Tumilty. “We haven’t started the season overly well but I probably expected that because the whole squad came back together quite late.
“Hopefully things can kick on between now and Christmas. We’re always better when we have a good run of games.”
After a stuttering start, the EY League games are coming thick and fast for Bann now, with a double header against Three Rock and Cork C of I to look forward to on 14th and 15th November.
“The period between now and Christmas will define our season,” said the Head Coach. “We could be in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals and challenging for the league title but we need big performances and that starts on Saturday.”
Pembroke have also slipped to defeat to Garvey in their opening three league matches but with their top striker and short corner expert Alan Southern, midfielders Kirk Shimmins and recent recruit from Garvey Jason Lynch, they won’t be easily beaten this weekend. Pembroke, in fact, inflicted a defeat on Bann in pre-season but the hosts should be a different prospect with a full squad available for the first time this season.