Ballyclare Ladies gearing up for new campaign

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FOLLOWING last season’s double league triumphs, players and officials at Ballyclare Ladies Hockey Club are looking forward to the new campaign with confidence.

Three adult teams will again be fielded each weekend, but the top two teams will be playing at a higher grade, while the 3rd XI dropped down to Junior League Section 7.

After clinching the Senior League Section 2 title, Caroline Darragh’s girls moved up to Section 1 - the second tier in Ulster women’s hockey - and Caroline has handed over the baton of responsibility to new captain Suzanne Dickey.

Her first priority will be consolidation. A few years ago the ‘Clare girls gained promotion, but dropped straight back down following the defection of several key players.

This time around most of last season’s regulars are expected to check in again, but the position will be clearer come Monday evening (July 30) when training resumes.

The club’s public relations officer, Zoe Reid, said everyone is gearing up for the new season and she expects to have a full turnout at training, and she appeals for new recruits.

“We have a sound squad of players, but going up to Senior 1 poses additional problems, and we would be keen to have new players who would be keen to play at this high level.

“Training starts at Ballyclare Rugby Club on the Doagh Road in Ballyclare on Monday at 7pm when new members of whatever standard will be assured of a very warm welcome.”

Reid’s 2nd XI came up from Junior League Section 3 as champions, and they will be going all out to record back-to-back promotions, but the new captain has not yet been named.

Similarly, at 3rd XI level their new captain will be named later, and it is hoped that this very youthful side will be able to cope better with the demands at the lower grade this season.