Bann girls have another gear to hit in title quest

Banbridge Ladies are preparing to take on Ballyclare at Havelock Park on Saturday. INBL1537-286PB
Banbridge Ladies are preparing to take on Ballyclare at Havelock Park on Saturday. INBL1537-286PB
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Banbridge Ladies have fired out a warning to the rest of the league.

The girls set out at the start of the season to secure their first ever stint in the Ulster Premier Division.

Banbridge Ladies forward Rachel Kerr.

Banbridge Ladies forward Rachel Kerr.

And it’s so far, so good as they sit five points clear in the Senior One league table.

Nonetheless, forward Rachel Kerr says they still haven’t hit top gear.

She said: “Our aim for the second half of the season is to continue with what we are doing. This season we have played great hockey but I think we can still go up another gear.

“We set an aim of reaching the Premier League at the start of the season and we are all aiming for that together. We know the second half of the season is going to be tough and we have to keep going and pushing to the finish line.”

That determined message is not good news for Saturday’s opponents Ballyclare, who visit Havelock Park for a 2.30pm start. Despite their dominant displays and a record of eight wins and one draw from their opening nine league matches though, Kerr doesn’t foresee a straight-forward afternoon against their mid-table opponents.

“Ballyclare were a tough team when we played them away from home in the league and it was a hard fought game,” said the talented forward, who also plays football for Ambassadors.

“We need to make sure we start the New Year the way we want to continue.

“We go in to all games with a must win view and this one is no different.”

Kerr, a former Portadown player, has been a key cog in Banbridge’s success so far this season, netting eight goals, a total held up by a month out with a back injury. However, she’s keen to stress it’s been a squad effort.

“We have good depth in the squad and when girls have been out injured or unavailable, the players are there to step in,” she said.

“That has helped us massively as the season has gone really well so far. We’ve met the mark that we set for ourselves.

“We have so far accomplished what we’ve set out to achieve and we’ve been playing the way that we set out to play. The team atmosphere is so good right now and we are really working together and for each other.

“The season has been going very well for me personally too. I’m enjoying my hockey and being part of the team. I’m just glad to be back from injury now.”