HOCKEY: Banbridge Ladies hold off Ulster Elks for great win

Banbridge goalscorer Paula Haugh.
Banbridge goalscorer Paula Haugh.

Banbridge Ladies 2, Ulster Elks 1

Banbridge Ladies welcomed the Ulster Elks to Havelock Park on Saturday knowing only a fully committed performance would suffice against the former IHL side.

Having already defeated the Elks this season, the locals knew they would have to work extremely hard as the previous encounter was a very tight game.

The visitors quickly put Banbridge under pressure but Victoria Parks made a number of good saves as Banbridge struggled to clear the ball away from the circle. The Elks won a short corner but Banbridge managed to keep the ball out of the net.

Banbridge grew into the game, beginning to work as a team and passed around Elks. The pitch began to open up and Rachel Kerr received the ball from the centre and connected with Paula Haugh in the circle, who finished in to the bottom corner.

However, minutes later Elks brought the score back to 1-1 when one of their forwards lobbed the Banbridge keeper after a counter attack.

After half time, Banbridge came back with much more energy and won a short corner from which Charley Brush fired the ball into the back of the net to put Banbridge ahead.

From now Banbridge worked extremely hard to defend and stop circle entries from the Elks. Rachel Cairns got a chance to get another goal when she dragged from a short corner. However, the Elks goalkeeper made a great save and when the rebound fell to Stephanie, she was unlucky as the shot went wide.

Banbridge managed to close ranks as they defended numerous attacks from skilled Elks forwards. The home side held the game together for the last part of the game with excellent passes up the line from Olivia Berry to Emma Gregson who linked with forwards.

This was the same on the other side of pitch as Ellen Reid played to Stephanie who managed to link with other forwards, Paula and Rachel, in the circle, both making excellent runs and working together.

However, the Elks goalkeeper managed to prevent any more goals as a tough game finished 2-1 following a confident second half for the Banbridge girls.

Banbridge Ladies thanked sponsor ‘AB&C Insurance’ for their support.