Men’s Premiership: Title race goes to the final day

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The title race for the Ulster Hockey Men’s Premiership will now go to the final day with three teams still in contention for top spot.

Friend’s High School was the venue for the biggest fixture of the day as South Antrim hosted Bangor, with both teams in the top three and in with a chance of becoming Champions.

It was the hosts who rushed to a 3-0 with goals from James Brown, Max Taylor and Chris Henry as they looked set to go three points clear at the top of the league.

However, in the final quarter two goals from Bangor’s player-coach Ryan Burgess and another from Rhys Cunningham sparked a magnificent comeback from their title rivals as the game finished 3-3.

The other side in the race for top spot are Queen’s University who thrashed Mossley 7-0 on Friday night. Two goals each from Harry Scott and Conor Irwin as well as strikes from Andrew Clarke, Gabriel Tenner and Aidan McMahon rounded off the victory as they go top.

The results now mean just three points separate the Students in first and Bangor in third however, despite it still being mathematically possible, it would take a dramatic 15 goal difference swing for Ryan Burgess’ side to prevail as Champions.

Meanwhile there were three other games in the division on Saturday, the first of which saw Belfast Harlequins travel to face Portadown.

The visitors fell two goals behind before half time, but a James Hutchinson penalty corner in the third quarter gave them a route back into the game.

Ultimately it proved to be a consolation goal as the home side restored their two-goal lead in the final period and saw out a 3-1 victory. The game was the final fixture of the season for Portadown who now can’t be caught in fourth place.

Elsewhere, two more sides finished their campaigns as Newry hosted North Down and it was the travelling side who came out victorious. Late goals from Gareth Bailie and Phil Wilson secured the win as they stay in seventh, meanwhile the home side were already relegated.

In the final game of the day Kilkeel thrashed NICS 5-1 at Stormont with a goal from Johnny Aiken and two each from David Rae and Luke Russel, whilst Josh Fiddis got a consolation strike for Civil Service.



By Andrew Morrison

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