Virginia-based Richmond Spiders drew 1-1 with the Ulster Elks on Thursday evening as part of their tour of the four provinces of Ireland.
It was the last of four games and a substantial crowd came out to watch the exhibition match.
Among the ranks of the American side was local girl Amy Cooke formerly of Ballyclare High School, who currently studies at Richmond University.
The game was a fairly high tempo affair largely due to the high fitness levels of the American students who showed little fatigue from the exploits of the previous few days. And the fixture didn’t resemble the usual run of the mill friendly fixture as both teams clearly set out to win.
It was Jordanstown who drew first blood early on with Kirstie Lammey gladly tapping in from close range.
It looked like the hosts may run away with the game in the period that followed as the visitors rarely made an impression on the Elks’ goal.
However, that would soon change as the Spiders found their range and it took a number of fine saves from Rebecca Davidson to keep them out. In particular, a fine reaction save after 21 minutes, saw her push a shot onto the cross bar.
In the second half the superior fitness levels of the visiting side soon started to tell but the best chance fell to Lammey who jinked her way into the circle on the baseline, only for her tight angle shot at close range to be smothered by the Spiders’ goalkeeper.
The visitors eventually equalises with two minutes left on the clock. A penalty corner was awarded for a stick tackle in the circle, the first attempt was well defended but only partially cleared and the resulting second phase play allowed the visitors to outnumber the Elks defence and pass in to the goal.
The game finished 1-1 which, on the whole, was a fair reflection of the game.
Ulster Elks’ Head Coach, Ricky Lee, commented: “The intensity of the game felt like a league or cup match, not like a friendly at all. There always seemed to be an edge to the fixture which is great for us as, we now look to the IHL wildcard play-offs.”
“We had all heard about the Richmond Spiders and most had seen that video clip of ‘the Rebecca Barry Goal on YouTube, so it was a great opportunity to test ourselves against them in the match and we were able to give a good run out to an extended squad of players.”
Thanks must go to Ryan Elliot, assistant coach of the Spiders, who is originally from Bangor, who organised the tour.