Rachel is the two-goal hero as Bann close in on league title

Banbridge Ladies are now eight points clear at the top of Senior One. INBL1604-228EB
Banbridge Ladies are now eight points clear at the top of Senior One. INBL1604-228EB

Another impressive performance from the Banbridge Ladies saw them maintain their unbeaten run and consolidate their position at the top of Ulster Senior League One.

Goals from Rachel Kerr and Amy Atkinson in the second half secured the win which edges the locals ever closer to the league title and a position in the top flight of Ulster Hockey for the first time in their history.

The locals opened the scoring in impressive style with a flowing move from front to back. Gina Woods started the move at left back playing a perfectly weighted ball down the line to Samantha Bann, who picked the ball up on the 25yard line and beat a number of players on her way into the Grosvenor circle.

She showed immense calmness in the circle to pull the ball back to the unmarked Kerr who made no mistake from eight yards.

However dominant Banbridge were, they could not hold onto the lead for long. Grosvenor were back on level terms within five minutes as they won a number of penalty corners and equalised.

The second half followed the same pattern as the first with Banbridge enjoying long periods of possession and Grosvenor having to wait for rare defensive lapses to threaten the Bann goal.

Captain McConnell and Brown in the centre of midfield were seeing lots of the ball and played a number of probing balls into the Grosvenor circle, but the Bann forwards found the home keeper in great form.

It took twelve minutes for Bann to get the breakthrough and it was courtesy of Kerr once again. A free on the edge of the circle was taken quickly by McConnell who found Brown, who played a ball into the circle to Kerr. She superbly controlled and shot on the turn sending the ball past the keeper to restore Bann’s lead.

The locals struggled to find that all-important third goal despite continuing to dominate possession. They also had a number of penalty corners which were rather poorly executed and didn’t trouble the keeper.

With seven minutes remaining Atkinson made sure of the three points pushing into the empty net after superbly skilful build-up play by Cathy Rees.

Samantha Bann made a powerful run and found Rees in the circle. She eliminated the keeper and a couple of defenders with a piece of dazzling stick-work and unselfishly slipped the ball to Atkinson who made no mistake to seal the win.

Player of the match went to two-goal hero Rachel Kerr. The win, coupled with other results means Bann now need two wins from their remaining five matches to win their league and become history makers. Next up is a trip to basement side Victorians on Saturday.

BANN: S.McCabe; G.Woods; C.Brush; D.Campbell, J.Grimes; G.McConnell (Capt); E.Brown; S.Bann; H.Johnston; N.Black; A.Atkinson; L.McGaw; C.Rees; R.Kerr; A.Jenkinson.