Four goals from Zoe Wilson and two from Lydia Mills helped Ballyclare High’s First XI book their spot in the last four of the Senior Schools’ Cup, thanks to Saturday’s 6-1 win over Carrick Grammar.
The two sides met earlier in the season with Ballyclare registering a resounding win. It could have made the Rashee Road girls complacent, but any fears of that happening were wiped away in the opening exchanges as they mounted attack after attack.
They camped themselves in Carrick’s half for the majority of the first session and were rewarded early on when Victoria White won a short corner which Randalstown player Zoe Wilson converted.
Some penetrating runs from the midfield of Alex Graham and Emma Wilson led to pin-point passes to Rebecca and Megan Quinn, and again resulted in a penalty corner. Emma Wilson drove toward goal and the resultant rebound was smashed home yet again by Zoe Wilson.
Ballyclare had an effort disallowed before a fast cross-court ball allowed Mills to pounce on a ball at the post, giving her side a 3-0 advantage at the break.
Courtney Agnew and Carla Smyth had unique opportunities to advance into attack on numerous occasions. And both Laura McCowan and Julia Cooke delivered great service to the forwards. The girls broke down Carrick’s defence again through a great collect and run by Anna Lawther who managed to win another short corner skilfully converted by Zoe Wilson.
This was quickly followed by a great cross from Alice Christie to find Mills who turned nimbly to slot home number five. There was no let-up for the Grammar as Zoe Wilson scored number six from open play.
With Ballyclare now playing a high line, Carrick broke though the Ballyclare defence on the counter-attack and a great individual run resulted in them scoring past Stephanie McIlroy.
The scoreline reflected the effort, enjoyment and guts Ballyclare showed throughout the game, despite the horrific weather conditions.
It means that Ballyclare have reached the semi-finals of the Schools’ Cup for the fourth year in a row. They will take on Lurgan College on February 5 at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club.