League leaders meet in Shield final

With the Premier League season now entering its traditional Christmas break, it’s looking like a two horse race as far as the title is concerned with Ards and Pegasus the protagonists.

And that will add even more spice to the Denman Ulster Shield final when the two heavyweights meet in the final on Boxing Day.

Both teams should be at full strength for that game but they will be without key players when they meet in what could well be a title decider in mid-January.

That’s because Pegasus striker Vanessa Surgeoner and her Ards counterpart Chloe Brown will instead be in warmer climes.

They are among the seven Ulster players selected for Ireland’s warm weather training camp in Terrassa on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Ireland have arranged four test matches against Spain, who at 17, are ranked just two places below the girls in green on the world list.

Obviously Vanessa and Chloe, who will win their first caps, will be missed by their clubs but as they are both strikers, their absence should not be too badly felt.

Going into the festive break Ards hold a four advantage at the top of the table.

But crucially, Pegasus have a game in hand - against Harlequins - so the margin could well be trimmed to the minimum.

So a lot will rest on the match at Ards Leisure Centre in the New Year when the hosts may not be too unhappy with a draw to maintain their slender advantage.

Meanwhile, as well as the Denman Ulster Shield final which should be an intriguing dress rehearsal, there is another match if you can’t get enough hockey over the Christmas holidays.

Ballymena and Cookstown will have their day in the sun when they meet in the Senior Cup final on Saturday December 28th at Mossley’s Glade headquarters.




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