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Press Release - 17/01/1998

East Antrim Hockey Club
17 January 1998

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


East Antrim 1st XI travelled to the idyllic settings of Queens' Playing Fields to play their Intermediate League tie against Queens' Old Boys. The Glengormley men had won their previous three encounters with the ex-students and did not expect the sequence to end.

Team captain, Stephen Swann, made his return to the team after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with cruciate ligament damage. The reappearance of the captain, however, did not help the side to settle down to the matter in hand as the Old Boys scored with the first attack of the game.

The Glengormley men, however, struck back within a matter of minutes when George Armstrong converted from a penalty corner. The game began to swing in favour of East Antrim as they applied pressure on the home team's goalmouth. Despite the pressure, however, clear cut chances were hard come by.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, however, it was Swann, playing in an unaccustomed left wing position, who scored to put East Antrim in front. It was Swann's first goal for the club for exactly 10 years, to the week.

The half-time team talk was upbeat but realistic. The domination was not reflected in the scoreline, which remained precarious. The restart, however, turned the game totally. Nathaniel Bane, the travelling Australian, scored his first league goal for the club after good work from Armstrong and Hermon.

Minutes later, Armstrong converted another penalty corner for his second of the game. Armstrong went on to complete his hat-trick with another deadly penalty corner conversion, before Bane banged in his second and East Antrim's sixth.

Rab Gibson, playing at centre-back, decided to have a piece of the action up front and scored his first of the season after a goalmouth melee. With Armstrong and Bane waltzing past the Old Boys' defenders as if they weren't there, it seemed inevitable that Bane would grab his first hat-trick for the club.

The final score-line of 8-1 to the East Antrim team was their biggest win in the Intermediate League. Swann remarked afterwards, "I have always maintained that one day we will hit a big score. We are good enough to challenge any team in this league, if we can believe in ourselves. Surprisingly, however, today was a day when we didn't particularly play that well."

The result also came on a day when the club announced that it is to appoint a full-time 1st XI coach and a full-time 1st XI manager. Explaining the reasons behind the move, Swann added "We have had Paul Cooke coming to our training sessions every now and again, and the results have been amazing. If we are to continue with the progress we are making, we must be looking to employing a qualified coach who can command the respect of the squad"

Remuneration for the posts, however, has yet to be discussed, but the club are keen to attract a quality coach. The positions will be filled on a contractual basis and anyone interested should contact East Antrim Hockey Club through the Honorary Secretary, Russell White or by telephoning Stephen Swann on (0411) 206771.

East Antrim 1st XI team : Johnny Hamill. Raymond Hughes, Chris Picken, Rab Gibson, Alan Murphy, George Armstrong, David Caldwell, Scott Higginson, Neal Hermon, Nathaniel Bane, Stephen Swann (captain), Leonard Currie.

2nds Near Safety
Having struggled through the season so far, East Antrim 2nd XI seem to have assured themselves of avoiding relegation with 2 wins from their last 2 games - against Instonians and Lisnagarvey.

The long awaited return of Colin Black proved to be the difference against Garvey as he scored the only goal of the game at the Valley Leisure Centre on Saturday.

Messrs. Black, Duffin and Baker, however, are looking forward to dropping down the club to the 3rd XI in Junior League Seven, were the pace of games suits their creaking joints.

Third XI captain, Darren Martin, was delighted with the news as his team have defied logic by only winning one game from fifteen starts. Despite the attractive play of the 3rd XI, they have consistently lost by the odd goal in the majority of their games.

Hopefully, the arrival of the "old boys" of the club will help the 3rd XI avoid the drop to Junior Eight.