Banbridge suffer two defeats in Euro Hockey League
Coach says better preparation needed following defeats to Polish and Belgian sides
Banbridge were defeated by WKS Grunwald Poznan and Racing Club de Bruxelles over the weekend. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Banbridge were unable to produce the heroics of 12 months ago as they fell to slightly inflated 6-0 and 6-2 defeats to WKS Grunwald Poznan and Racing Club de Bruxelles over the weekend in Barcelona.
Slightly inflated because of the new Euro Hockey League ruling of field goals counting double, it left Banbridge with a few sorer than usual wounds to lick.
With Matthew Bell and Kyle Marshall moving on to European clubs in the summer and Jonny McKee and Eugene Magee injured, Banbridge were always going to be in transition mode.
But, with just one Irish league match under their belt due to the umpire’s strike, Bann arrived in Barcelona undercooked.
Despite the results, coach Mark Tumilty looked to the positives for the remainder of the domestic Irish season.
“I didn’t think the Poznan match was a 6-0 game or anywhere close to it if we had taken our chances,” he reflected, pointing to a glut of chances when the game was in the balance before the Poles added three to their score in the closing four minutes.
“They were very clinical so there’s disappointment that way. The positives are it was good to get away together; we have definitely developed on the pitch and we will take that into the double-header next weekend.
“It’s been difficult because of our preparations but over the weekend, we have grown into games. We definitely need to have better preparation coming into this tournament which is something Irish hockey need to look at.
“But with the age of the group, the new guys have come in from schools hockey and the Ulster Premier League last year – some being relegated from that – to coming in now against seasoned internationals, it’s a definite positive for us.”
Elsewhere, Irish hockey lost one of its great characters with Philip Duke passing away suddenly last Thursday morning, aged 56, at his home in south Belfast.
Up until early September, “Dukie” was working with the Ireland under-21 men’s team in Valencia as part of the support staff.
He was involved in Collegians and subsequently Belfast Harlequins as a player, umpire, coach and tournament judge as well as managing Ulster and Irish teams.
He also played an active role in organising more social tours under the Dirty Dozen and Team Gordon’s touring names. He was also a regular blood donor to the Belfast City Hospital, contributing more than 250 times.
It is expected his funeral will be held in St Bartholomew’s Church, Stranmillis, on Monday, October 16th.