Banbridge delve into the unknown as they prepare for Euro Hockey Champions Challenge 1

Mark Tumilty
Mark Tumilty

Banbridge arrived in the unknown town of Rakovnik in western Czech Republic for the Euro Hockey Champions Challenge 1, which gets under way on Friday and finishes on Monday June 9 .

They will be confident in topping their pool that includes the club champions of Gibraltar, Croatia, and one of the two Czech sides competing namely Salvia Prague.Bann open their programme on Friday 6th June 2014 against the Grammarians from Gibraltar.

The Mediterranean based side competed in the famous Euro event at Bann’s previous base at Castlewellan Road back in 1985 and were an instant hit with their approach to the game and their loyal band of supporters.

Next up on the Saturday will be Slavia Prague.

Bann then their round off their pool games with a clash with Croatian outfit Akkord on Sunday afternoon.

Bann coach Mark Tumilty will have the services of the majority of his usual squad with the exception of Drew Carlisle, Adam Marshall, and Colin Dowds, due to work commitments, and Johnny McKee and Aaron Reid due to exams. Bann captain Eugene Magee will link up with the team on the Saturday for the final two games.

Irish champions Monkstown are also involved in European action this weekend, as they play in the Club Champions Trophy in Cagliari, Italy. They will be joined by top Scottish side Grange and Welsh champions Whitechurch.

Meanwhile, Ulsterman Mark Gleghorne helped England’s men remain on course for the semi-finals of the World Cup after a 2-0 win over Malaysia in Holland.

Despite dominating throughout they had only Gleghorne’s fourth-minute goal, scooping reverse-stick past goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam after Ashley Jackson and Barry Middleton combined, and the closing stages became tense.

However, Jackson – nursing a shoulder injury which means he is only used on penalty corners in times of real need – converted a set-piece three minutes from time to ease the nerves.