The GOC Estate Agents Premiership title has been virtually handed to Banbridge after Ulster Hockey announced late on Friday that they were imposing a two-point deduction on title chasers Lisnagarvey.
They also imposed two-point penalties on Belfast Harlequins and Newry – and now Harlequins look likely to finish at the foot of the table – all for allegedly not supplying an umpire.
The decision will come as a blow to Lisnagarvey who thought a fine seemed the likely outcome.
Yes, rules are rules, and clubs do have to abide by them, but the question has to be asked – why go straight to the harsh punishment of deducting points when a preliminary warning and a fine could have been imposed?
In a statement issued by Ulster Hockey, it read: “Ulster Hockey Management Board issued correspondence to Belfast Harlequins HC, Lisnagarvey HC and Newry HC earlier today, notifying all three clubs that the sanctions previously imposed in relation to a breach of rule 6a in the UHU Constitution would stand and two points will be deducted accordingly from each of their Men’s 1st XI.
“A three member panel of the Board has reviewed the original decisions on a case by case basis. Following that process recommendations were forwarded to the UHU Management Board relating to each club.
“These recommendations were approved and endorsed by the UHU Management Board and as a result the sanctions are now being imposed on all three clubs.”
It certainly was the talking point of the weekend in hockey circles and somewhat overshadowed the fixtures’ programme.
Cookstown blasted Instonians apart at Shaw’s Bridge, as the visitors slammed five goals past them without reply.
The result severely dents Inst’s chances of automatic qualification to next season’s IHL, as Annadale closed the gap to two points as they squeezed Mossley moved off the foot of the table as they trounced visitors Civil Service 4-0, thanks to two goals a piece from Jordan Robinson and Neal Glassey.
There are two games tonight, as Cookstown entertain leaders Banbride while Instonians face Belfast Harlequins.