Three-way shoot-out for Pool B playoff places in men’s Irish Hockey League

Banbridge and Lisnagarvey share of second place behind Three Rock Rovers

Banbridge’s Stephen Dowds (left) who scored twice in his side’s 4-4 draw against Lisnagarvey

Banbridge’s Stephen Dowds (left) who scored twice in his side’s 4-4 draw against Lisnagarvey

 

Banbridge’s 4-4 tie with Lisnagarvey on Saturday evening at Havelock Park has left an intriguing three-way shoot-out for the playoff places from Pool B of the men’s Irish Hockey League.

It was the first tie Bann had missed out on victory in 15 games this term, a result that sees both sides in a share of second place behind Three Rock Rovers in the chase for the two semi-final berths on offer.

For Bann, Stevie Dowds (twice), Matthew Bell and Bruce McCandless were all on the mark, returning from Irish international duty in confident mood, but the vastly experienced Stevie Arbuthnot and Timmy Cockram helped annul those efforts in tandem with Andy Williamson and Sean Murray.

It leaves the two leading Ulster clubs locked on 10 points after three games with Rovers on 12 after they dispatched UCD 5-1. Ross Canning scored twice against the students from whom he moved earlier this season while Jonny Bruton and a thunderbolt from Jody Hosking also made their mark.

It sets up some epic ties in the New Year with Rovers travelling to both Banbridge and Garvey to complete the preliminary phase of the competition, fixtures that will ostensibly decide who advances.

Pool A

Pembroke

Instonians are level with Pembroke thanks to a 2-1 win over Annadale but have played an extra game.

Reigning champions Monkstown, though, were surprised on home turf by Cookstown who nabbed a 1-1 draw. Jon Ames’ deflection put the Co Tyrone side ahead on half-time but Richard Sykes nailed his 12th goal of the season with nine minutes to go to earn the draw. Town are fourth in the group with Cookstown fifth as a result.

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