Judging by Saturday’s impressive display in holding champions Pegasus to a 1-1 draw at the Dub, the Ulster Elks have the ability to mount a serious title challenge this season.
As one of only two top flight clubs to have gained rather than lost players the Jordanstown side should certainly be capable of comfortably retaining their place in next season’s Irish Hockey League at the very least.
If they can translate their first half performance into a 70 minute effort then they can aim higher but Pegasus, of course, cannot be written off. They are still short of a few regulars for one reason or another but will take heart from an impressive second half display when they had the visitors under the cosh for long periods.
“It wasn’t such a good performance from us although we still have key players missing and we did have our chances.” said Pegasus coach Michelle Rainey.
It took a fine second half display in defence from Gemma Frazer to keep the champions at bay as she made some brilliant interceptions to protect her goalkeeper.
But the pressure eventually told when in the 59th minute Suzanne Ferris grabbed the equaliser after being allowed to play on a plant the ball into the bottom of the net after a good ‘advantage’ by the umpire.
Jordanstown captain Danielle Wilson had put her side in front with a thundering penalty corner strike five minutes before the break.
At nearby Deramore Ards were 4-0 winners over Harlequins.
Last season’s runners up Ballymoney left it late to defeat Queen’s 2-1 in the first part of the double bill at Upper Malone.
Newly promoted Lisnagarvey went down 2-1 to Lurgan.
In Senior One Larne beat Ballyclare 5-2 while Portadown had a 4-0 win over North Down with the other three games ending in stalemate.