HOCKEY: Parkview top the table ... but are they champions?

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With their Senior League Section 4 programme completed, Parkview Ladies sit proudly at the summit. But are they champions, or will they have to face a play-off?.

“The situation is up in the air at the moment,” confirmed team captain Tammy Gamble. “When we defeated Cooke Ladies on Friday evening in our final fixture we drew level with Instonians at the top, each with 23 points. We assumed our superior goal difference would secure the title, but apparently the powers that be at hockey headquarters are considering introducing a play-off between us and Instonians to determine the champions.

“In the meantime we just have to wait and see what happens, but in most other sports when teams finish level, priority is usually settled by the goal difference method, and we feel that should the case in this instance,” she argued.

In the crucial clash with Cooke at Ballyclare High School grounds Gamble’s girls had to come from behind to clinch the odd-goal-in-three win.

Nikki Singleton had an early shot saved, and later Toni Smallwood’s drive ended in the side-netting, but the city girls fared better at the opposite end where they opened the scoring from a penalty corner.

During the third quarter Jenny Morrison equalised from a Jenny Rankin pass.

Emma Stubbs and Gamble tested the keeper, but a draw seemed on the cards until four minutes from time. Stubbs brought the ball out of defence and delivered it in to the circle where Gamble fired in the winner.

There was a nervy finish when the visitors forced a corner in the dying seconds, but Maimie Graham pulled off a marvellous one-handed save to prevent a late leveller.

Coach Becky Linford said: “At half time I urged the girls to fight more aggressively for the ball, and thankfully they picked up the pace and were worthy winners, but we are disappointed at not being crowned champions without further ado,” she added.

Parkview: M Graham, P Purdy, L Glass, E McConnell, E Stubbs, J Murdoch, J Wallace, E Bothwell, N Singleton, N Cahoon, T Smallwood, J Rankin, T Gamble (C).

Parkview play South Antrim in the Section 4 Plate semi-final, on a date still to be determined.