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Press Release - 27/10/1996

East Antrim Hockey Club
27 October 1996

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


EAST ANTRIM V SAINTFIELD

East Antrim began their league campaign on the unfamiliar shale pitch at Saintfield. With an average age of just under 22, the East Antrim team had been groomed on astroturf, and found the going tough on a pitch which was obviously created without a "spirit level".

Unable to get to grips with the elements, East Antrim found themselves a goal down within 15 minutes. Saintfield scored from a penalty corner. The East Antrim players protested to the umpire about the validity of the goal, claiming that the ball did not and did not look at any stage to hit the backboard.

The umpires were confronted with another situation minutes later, when Hermon was strucj by a stick during a stoppage in the game. Hermon was taken to the Lagan Valley Hospital for X-Rays. The disruption and obvious anger from the Glengormley men at their treatment came to a head when Stephen Swann, club captain, was asked by one of the umpires to "calm his team".

A rocky spell lead up to the half-time whistle, with neither team looking threatening. The second half livened up with East Antrim piling the pressure on the home team. Allen Hull scored his first goal for the 1st XI after a free hit inside the 25 yard line. But within minutes Saintfield were in front again, as East Antrim players neglected their duties whilst arguing with the umpires.

Allen Hull, again stepped up to equalise, again from a free hit inside the 25 yard line. It was the East Antrim right flank that suffered the most from verbals from the swelling spectators, but veteran Raymond Hughes showed his cool by latching on to a cross at the far post, only to be denied by an outstretched leg.

Laziness in the East Antrim defence, however, did not help the cause as Saintfield were gifted a third opportunity to take the lead. With a minute left on the watch, however, East Antrim were denied another equaliser, when what seemed to be a perfectly legitimate goal was disallowed.

On arriving back to home base, a disappointed 1st XI was greeted with good news as it learnt that Neal Hermon may be fit for next week's match with Larne.

East Antrim 2nd and 3rd Xis maintained their good starts to their respective campaigns during their home matches against Cookstown and Kilkeel. 2nd XI Captain, Robert Gibson was amongst the goals in the 4-1 victory over the Tyrone men. Colin Black, Adam McDonald and Richard McCullough got the other three. Meanwhile, 3rd XI captain Tom Watson was in inspirational form as he gave a half-time team talk to turn a boring nil-nil stalemate into a 7-0 demolition of Kilkeel.

Super striker, Leon Currie, grabbed four goals to make him the club's top scorer so far this season. Paul Reid scored twice and "old-timer" Jim Strange bagged the other in the 3rd Xis biggest victory for over a decade.