Seconds still unbeaten after Civil Service draw

BANBRIDGE Ladies Seconds maintained their unbeaten record when they travelled to Stormont to play NI Civil Service on Saturday.

However, Bann only managed to collect a point following a difficult game against tough opponents.

Banbridge took a while to settle into the match and get used to the pitch - this allowed Service time and space to play the ball and create problems for the Banbridge defence.

Bann soon began to play some better hockey but still struggled to break through the NICS defence. However, the girls battled on and were soon rewarded when a cross from Sara Rankin on the left found Ashleigh Mitchell who dived to reach the ball and put it into the net to take Banbridge into the lead.

Banbridge held this lead for most of the first half but came under a lot of pressure from Service who closed down the Banbridge play and made things difficult for Bann all over the pitch.

Once again Diane Madeley was excellent in sweeper, keeping Civil Service from penetrating the circle and gaining anything from their possession.

Towards the end of the half Bann were caught off guard and a long ball through to a free player allowed Service to level the scores.

Bann then turned the game around again, just before the half time whistle when Jayne Graham collected the ball in the circle, found herself one-on-one with the ‘keeper and made no mistake in scoring to restore Bann’s lead.

The locals played some better hockey in the second half with the team stepping up to the Civil Service challenge and Jayne Graham was unlucky on a couple of occasions not to extend Bann’s lead.

Rosie Waddell worked hard in midfield to get the ball up front and made some timely breaks through the Service defence.

Civil Service continued to fight for everything and were awarded a number of penalty corners however Bann managed each time to clear the ball well to prevent any gain for the opposition. Despite better hockey from Bann, a lapse in concentration allowed Civil Service to find an unmarked player who worked through the defence to get the equaliser.

Banbridge fought back to try and regain their lead and were awarded a couple of penalty corners but failed to capitalise from these and the game ended in a draw.

Banbridge Ladies Seconds face another tough side this when they meet Carrickfergus Seconds at home in a league match. Thanks to Sheree Totton for umpiring.