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Press Release - 02/03/1997

East Antrim Hockey Club
02 March 1997

For further information, contact:
Stephen Swann
Press Release Officer - East Antrim Hockey Club
34 Carnmoney Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 6HP
078 0316 7731


The 1st XI traveled to Portrush to play against a team which had already scored 16 goals in their previous two encounters. Team captain, Stephen Swann, received a bitter blow when one of his players failed to turn up at the pitch leaving the team with only 10 players. Another blow was dealt when it became apparent that the game would have to begin without official umpires, although this was rectified 10 minutes before half-time when Messrs. Foster and Gowdy arrived for what they thought was a 2 o'clock start.

The East Antrim team seemed relaxed on the ball and comfortable in defence - safe in the knowledge that the game was beyond them before the start. After 10 minutes when Portrush took the lead from a penalty corner, onlookers must have been waiting for the floodgates to open it didn't happen. When the half-time whistle blew, it was East Antrim that seemed happy with the 1-0 scoreline. A well worked move at the beginning of the second half resulted in Portrush extending their lead, but still the home team found it difficult to find a way through the East Antrim defence with the same regularity of the previous meetings.

Midway through the second half it was the Glengormley men who started to play the attractive hockey. Allen Hull and Alan Burgess contributed greatly to East Antrim's more dangerous attacks. With 10 minutes to go to the final whistle, David Caldwell struck a speculative pass through to Neal Hermon who had wandered behind the Portrush sweeper. Hermon controlled the ball and slotted it underneath the advancing goalkeeper for his ninth goal of the season. Minutes later, Caldwell again split the home defence finding Tim Browne in a similar position to Hermon. This time however the ball spun wide of the goal.

The whistle blew with the scoreline at 2-1 to Portrush. Swann congratulated his team afterwards saying "We played some of the best hockey all season. Maybe we should turn up at every match with only 10 men." The result leaves East Antrim in a mid-table position with just two games left to play.

East Antrim - J Hamill, R Hughes, S Swann (captain), A Murphy, A McDonald, A Burgess, A Hull, D Caldwell, N Hermon, T Browne

East Antrim 2nd XI are trying their best to throw away the Junior League 5 championship. Leading the way most of the season and with just a handful of games to go, East Antrim slumped to their first defeat at the Valley Leisure Centre for 2 years.

Portadown capitalised on an inept performance scoring the only game of a contest which saw East Antrim strike the goalpost twice and squander half a dozen chances. It was also the first time this season that the 2nd XI had failed to score a goal.

East Antrim 3rd XI also played the better hockey during their match with North Down. North Down arrived with only 10 men, but despite the possession that Tom Watson's team enjoyed, a Paul Reid consolation goal was their only reward during a 3-1 home defeat. Promotion for the 3rd XI has now slipped away, and the rebuilding for next season has already begun.

On a lighter note, East Antrim celebrated their annual dinner dance at the Glenavna House Hotel on the Saturday night. The club awards were presented by Stephen Swann, the recipients being:

Neal Hermon (Young Player Of The Year), Robert Gibson (Most Improved Player Of The Year), Paul Reid (3rd XI Player Of The Year), Colin Black (2nd XI Player Of The Year), Alan Murphy (1st XI Player Of The Year and Club Player Of The Year) and Frazer Mills (Willie Irvine Trophy Winner).