Pegasus and Railway Union made big moves into the women’s EY Champions Trophy playoff places with comprehensive victories over the weekend, putting a shell-shocked Ulster Elks on the back foot.
Suzanne Ferris scored twice in Pegasus’ 5-1 win over UCC at the Mardyke, a win that moves them up to 32 points as they keep their hold on second place.
They need to avoid defeat to Elks on the final day of the regular season to go through to the final four while they could conceivably get there should they avoid a heavy defeat.
Meanwhile, Railway moved back up to third place with a 6-0 win over Greenfields with six different players on the score sheet.
First quarter goals from Sarah Canning and Niamh Carey set them on their way before Jodie Douglas, Zara Delany, Anna Heisterkamp and Emma Smyth pushed out the scoreline.
Railway also have a game in hand against Ards which, if they win, would rubber-stamp their playoff ticket.
Ulster Elks were the side to drop back as their run of five successive wins ended in abrupt fashion with league champions Hermes scoring a stunning 7-0 win at Jordanstown.
Nikki Evans netted a hat-trick on her return to the team for the first time since the Irish Senior Cup semi-final while Naomi Carroll scored a contender for goal of the season with a sublime piece of 3D skills.
Elks drop down to fourth place on 32 points where they are joined by UCD. The Dublin students have a slim outside chance of reaching the playoffs but need a number of favours from elsewhere.
They were 4-3 winners over Cork Harlequins with Leah Ewart scoring the winner in the closing quarter after the pendulum swung back and forth throughout the first three phases. Pembroke won 3-1 at Ards to move up to sixth place, a result that means Ards still are not out of the woods in terms of the relegation playoff place.