Matthew Bell puts Banbridge to the top of the men’s Hockey League

Tie of round six was the 5-5 draw between Glenanne and UCD in Tallaght

 

Matthew Bell’s coolly converted penalty stroke was enough to send Banbridge to the top of the men’s EY Hockey League with a 1-0 win over reigning champions Lisnagarvey.

It was the one chance of note in a tie dominated by two defences packed with international quality. As it was, Jonny McKee’s jinking run drew the stroke in the 53rd minute which Bell stepped up to convert.

Before that, Bann had looked the slightly more dangerous though their attacks only amounted to a couple of miscued strikes under pressure from Paul Gleghorne and Jonny Bell.

After that, Garvey attempted a fightback but got precious little change from a tight-knit defence. The result lifted Bann into a one-point lead at the head of the table above Monkstown and Cork C of I with Lisnagarvey and Three Rock Rovers in a tie for fourth, three points off the leaders.

The tie of round six of the league, though, was undoubtedly the 5-5 draw between Glenanne and UCD in Tallaght, the hosts producing a miracle to recover from 4-0 down while it was 5-2 going into the closing 10 minutes.

The students were flying high with recent Irish call-up Jeremy Duncan netting twice as they appeared to be in cruise control. But a Stephen Brownlow hat trick saw the Glens summon a famous comeback.

C of I were handy 3-1 winners over Instonians with Julian Dale - celebrating his first international call-up - scoring a six-minute hat trick in the second quarter.

Luke Madeley’s double saw Rovers beat Railway Union 2-0 while Monkstown swept by Pembroke 4-1.

In Dubai, meanwhile, Irish man David Balbirnie’s bid to be the International Hockey Federation’s president came to an end as India’s Narinder Batra took two thirds of the votes on Saturday morning.

At the event, Ireland’s David Harte was named on the shortlist for 2016 world goalkeeper of the year as he looks to retain the gong.

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