New signing feeling the chill at Havelock Park

Brad Logan in action on his Banbridge debut. Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Brad Logan in action on his Banbridge debut. Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Banbridge Hockey Club’s South African defender is still acclimatising to his new home.

On the pitch, Saturday’s Irish Cup exit at the hands of Railway Union was far from an ideal debut for Brad Logan.

Bann’s defence of their trophy ended in Dublin, while they are also five points adrift in the EY Irish Hockey League.

Speaking on his arrival at Havelock last Thursday though, it was off the pitch matters that were troubling the 24 year-old.

“It’s cold,” he said with some concern, “although apparently 12 degrees is a mild day over here so that’s something I’ll have to get used to.”

The plummeting temperatures over the festive period will no doubt come as a shock to the system but as a team, Bann will have to prevent any more surprises if they’re to save an ailing season.

It is, of course, an historic campaign for the sport in Ireland and it was that factor that helped to persuade the South African inernational that Ireland was the right destination for him.

“Recently, of course, the league has become nationalised so that’s a huge step for hockey in terms of improving the level,” he said.

“With the performances at international level recently, the sport is hugely on the up. Usually Ireland get associated with a hard, grinding style of hockey but they have improved a lot and Irish hockey seems to be booming.”

His transfer to Havelock Park arrived thanks to the help of a former Ireland coach, who recommended Bann above other clubs.

“Ex-Irish coach Paul Revington is now a coach at my club in South Africa Maties Hockey,” said Logan. “I contacted him and he put a few feelers out there. Once Banbridge came back, he said that’s it, no other choice; that’s where you’re going.

“This is obviously a very hockey orientated town. Everybody seems to knows everyb ody else and hockey seems to play a very big part in what goes on. There’s a good vibe around here.”

Bann got their first glimpse of Logan in action on Saturday and he hopes he can offer a new benefit at both ends of the pitch.

He said: “Over the years I have specialised as a right half and I’ve adopted my own unique style of play, particularly joining attacks on the overlap but not shirking my defensive responsibilities at the same time.

“I try to be something unique and new in a position that I feel I’ve kind of made up.”

As if Saturday’s result wasn’t enough evidence that he has to be on his game in his new league, Logan has been well-warned by his compatriots.

He said: “One of my friends plays for Glenanne and there’s another two at YMCA in Dublin. They all said you can expect a hard physical game. You have to run hard and in a 50/50 altercation, you have to be prepared to do some dirty work.”

Next up for Logan and his Bann team-mates is a home EY League game against Cookstown on Saturday.

Logan, of course, will not be joining Bann’s Irish internationals at the Rio Olympics, after his side weren’t permitted to go to the tournament despite qualifying via the continental route.

He said: “I’ve only just turned 24. South Africa not getting to the Olympics isn’t the end of my career as it is for some of the other players.

“For me, it isn’t a full disaster. There are still World Cups and Commonwealth Games that South Africa usually participate in that I’m keen on going to.

“I still have aspirations. I would like to be a full on South African starting international so that whenever the series comes about im there, I’m on the team sheet.”