HOCKEY: Ulster hockey looks to attract players

Queens Jessica McMaster
Queens Jessica McMaster

Ulster hockey has launched a new initiative aimed at male hockey players in the over-50 age-group, who are either still playing for clubs or would like to revive their careers.

t’s hoped to organise a series of blitz tournaments which will be played on a seven-a-side format, provided there is sufficient interest.

While those of all abilities are welcome to take part and teams can be comprised of players from different clubs, there could be opportunities to participate at a higher level.

Veterans hockey is thriving these days and the new initiative, the brainchild of over-60 international George Blackwood, it is hoped, will prove to be recruitment tool.

“At present, there are no formal or informal playing opportunities for older players and clubs in Ulster.” said the Bangor man.

“Masters and Grand Masters hockey is developing in Ireland with teams competing internationally in the Home Nations, Celtic Cup, European Cup and World Cup and player recruitment is key to this. said the Bangor man.

“Many older players are currently playing club hockey with and against players who can be 30 – 45 years younger than they are so the aim is to encourage and develop the social aspect of Masters’ Hockey in Ulster.

“How often the games will take place will depend on interest level; but initially once every four to six weeks.”

For further details contact georgeblackwood@hotmail.com

Meanwhile, Mossley ladies are on the brink of a place in the semi-finals of the Denman Ulster Shield following an impressive 4-0 win over Rainey.

Stef McCullough hit a hat-trick as Banbridge moved closer to the last four also after a 3-1 win over Ulster Elks.

In the other section, Nikki Parke hit the winner as Ballymoney beat holders Randalstown 1-0 while Queen’s thrashed North Down 8-0, with a Jessica McMaster treble.

The men’s Kirk Cup continues tomorrow with Kilkeel facing Newry and South Antrim taking on Portadown and Harlequins at home to NICS and Instonians entertaining North Down.