North Down completed their Kirk Cup campaign with a disappointing 6-2 defeat at the hands of Belfast Harlequins at Comber on Saturday
The game opened at a fast pace with both sides probing for openings but neither keeper was troubled in the early stages. Harlequins won a corner after 15 minutes and it was dispatched into the left corner of the net. It did not take long for North Down to get back on level terms when a Ross Linter shot was deflected into the net by Phil Wilson. Almost immediately Harlequins attacked and Mark Linter was unlucky to concede a penalty stroke when he kept the ball out of the net with his leg. The resultant penalty was easily converted. With 10 minutes of the half remaining the home defence was caught out giving Harlequins a 2 goal advantage. The North Down heads went down at this stage and they were fortunate not to concede again before half time.
Coach Aaron Mills changed tactics at half time but there was no improvement in the home side’s disappointing performance. Too often the defensive unit was caught out of position or gave away possession allowing Harlequins to score three further goals almost unchallenged. In the last seven minutes of the game North Down played their best hockey of the day. Firstly Chris Speers reduced the arrears from a short corner and then Tom Donnan saw the keeper make a brilliant save from a reverse stick shot
Mills will be hoping to have a full squad available for the opening league game of the campaign when they entertain Portadown on Tuesday evening at Regent House with an 8.30 pm push back. This rescheduling is to accommodate Gareth Bailie who gets married on Saturday and we all wish him and Kelly best wishes for the future.