HOCKEY: Banbridge have the edge over Ballyclare in Senior One clash

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A late strike by Rebekah Beattie threatened to salvage a point for Ballyclare Ladies, but their Banbridge counterparts held out for a 2-1 win.

The result hoisted the County Down girls in to pole position, while Ballyclare dropped from third spot in to the bottom half of the Senior 1 table.

This top-of-the-table clash produced plenty of attacking hockey at George Avenue, where Suzanne Dickey and Caroline Darragh (who wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Vikki Bratten) dominated in midfield in a scoreless first half.

Banbridge edged in front early in the second half and then doubled the lead despite goalkeeper Sara Coulter’s dash outside the circle. But Rebecca Beattie set up a tense finish when she rattled the backboard from a corner taken by Jade Purdy.

In the closing stages Jaquie Hanley, Rachel Maybin and Jessica West almost salvaged a point, but the ‘Bridge keeper rose to the occasion.

Kerry McLeod at right back and Rachel Maybin up front starred for the home team.

Ballyclare Ladies panel: S Coulter, J Purdy, K McLeod, L Holmes, C McGookin, L Ashcroft, C Darragh (C), S Dickey, R Beattie, R Maybin, R Campbell, J West, J Hanley.

Next up: Knock Ladies, away, Friday evening.

Elsewhere in Senior 1, bottom club Larne Ladies are still winless after four outings following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat away to Rainey.

Larne will have the chance to climb off the foot of the table this weekend when they face a Cookstown side who drew 0-0 at Knock. Ballymena were 4-2 winners at Victorians and Raphoe were 3-1 winners over Grosvenor.