Banbridge could lose Premiership advantage

Paul Gleghorne
Paul Gleghorne

By 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon, Banbridge could have seen their six point lead at the top of Premiership disappear, if results go Instonians way.

For the second week in a row, Bann have had to sit it out after last week snow forced the cancellation of their game and now an Irish training weekend has caused the postponement of their game against Civil Service.

Bann had to sit back and watch Inst reduce the gap to three points after their game against Antrim went ahead. And now, if Inst defeat Linagarvey, the Shaw’s Bridge side will go joint top on the same points, albeit having played a game more.

It is very frustrating for Bann coach Mark Tumilty, because they have four players involved in the Irish training squad, they are permitted to cancel their game.

However, with the Under 21 inter-pros next weekend, Bann will also have no game as they have no fewer than six players named in the Ulster squad – timing is everything.

Meanwhile, both Inst and Garvey will be missing key players. Inst will be without Paul Gleghorne and Garvey will be missing Johnny Bell, as both will be involved in the Irish training weekend.

Tumilty would have been hoping to build on the momentum which has taken his side to the top of the table.

However, this training session whilst it is necessary, as Ireland prepare for their trip to Delhi next month, it is far from perfect timing for the Havelock Park boss.

A win for Annadale on Saturday against visitors Antrim, should see them firmly close the door on fifth place and qualification to the IHL next season.

Belfast Harlequins welcome the current premiership champions, Cookstown to Deramore Park. The Reds are anticipated to be at full strength and should be too strong not to leave without all three points in the bag.