By Terry Ritchie
North Down seconds kept their successful season going with an impressive win over Junior One opponents Newry seconds in the McClements Cup on 9 March in Comber in unseasonably cold and wet conditions.
Newry looked composed right from the start and tested the sometimes suspect North Down defence with some incisive passing. Luckily Matt Jordan in goals was on top of his game and pulled out a number of saves to keep Newry out early on. After 15 minutes Newry made the breakthrough when David England gave the keeper no chance from close in. Five minutes later and Newry were two up but there were no complaints this time from the North Down defenders. Ben Scott picked up the ball on the edge of the circle, made up a few yards and unleashed a piledriver into the roof of the net. It might be said that Matt Jordan did well to get out of the way of the ball but the reality was that he never moved! A real candidate for goal of the season. Newry finished the half well on top.
The second half was a completely different story! Newry sat back and allowed the Comber team to come onto them. They changed their passing style to simple long ball tactics and just tried to run the clock down from the opening whistle as North Down assumed total control of the game. It was all over in an 18 minute spell half way through the second period as goals in quick succession from Peter Shields, Melvyn Nicholls, Mark Forrest and, at long last, Andrew McGimpsey transformed the scoreline entirely. In the end, North Down ran out comfortable winners to move into round two of the competition.
It’s back to the league this Saturday and one more point is required in the away game at Cookstown thirds to secure promotion back to the top flight of Ulster junior hockey. A win in the final match will secure the title but that’s for another day!