Fraser Mills cleared to make Banbridge debut

Fraser Mills has moved to Banbridge
Fraser Mills has moved to Banbridge

Fraser Mills will be anxiously awaiting news from IHA headquarters in Dublin to confirm if he can play for his new club Banbridge, in the Irish Hockey League and the Irish Senior Cup.

Mills switched allegiance from Annadale just before the New Year after five years at Lough Moss where he was one of the most revered strikers in the Premiership.

But perhaps a lack of silverware arriving at Dale had Mills hankering for glory and at 25 years of age, he felt that if he did not move now the opportunity of possibly playing at the top flight or even in Europe would pass him by.

However, he may still miss out on playing in the IHL and the ISC if hockey’s ruling body apply their rules, that a player must be registered and have played for his club prior to 1 December.

It would seem rather harsh in this case, as Mills did not play for Annadale in the ISC and that the IHL has not started….but rules are rules and that is what they are there for.

But the good news is that he will be able to play for the league leaders this Saturday against Antrim, after the Ulster Branch received clearance from Annadale.

Losing such a player as Mills quality is a blow for Dale’s coach, Andy Smyth.

“No club can afford to loose a player of Fraser’s quality, but we fully understand his reasons and everyone at Annadale wishes him every success, preferably not against us,” said Smyth.

“We have no hard feelings towards Banbridge, this was Fraser’s decision and now we have to move on in our programme of developing Annadale without him.

“He has been a great player for us but there have been massive changes over the last couple of years.

“We have lost several excellent players such as David Smyth, Peter Caruth and Neil Hamilton over the last few seasons and this has meant that we have been unable to compete against the top sides.

“We are only at the beginning of a three year development programme and even with that, it is only to get us into a position where we can match the top sides.”