Ladies hold on to senior spot after Ulster league revamp

Celebrating success at Saturday's prize night for Portadown hockey players.
Celebrating success at Saturday's prize night for Portadown hockey players.

Portadown hockey could be operating at senior level next season for both men and ladies.

The ladies this week received confirmation that a reshuffle in the league structure will allow the town side to retain Premier League status.

The men currently sit in Senior One as runners-up and a final decision is expected to give the green light to promotion into the top flight.

The alterations relate to other clubs moving from Ulster competitions into the Irish Hockey League.

Portadown men’s season featured a memorable midweek fixture at Jordanstown last week after accepting an invitation to face Brazil’s national side.

A Johnny Brown double and goal from Zach McClelland left Portadown with a narrow 4-3 defeat.

“Brazil have a three-month tour of Europe planned in preparation for the Pan American Games this summer,” said Mark Evans, Portadown men’s head coach. “We were asked to take part in a series of games scheduled by Brazil against Ulster clubs and it was a wonderful experience for the lads.

“Brazil train practically on a full-time basis so the fitness issue was the big challenge.

“However, credit to the Portadown players and basically everyone in the squad got minutes.

“It was a worthwhile experience against what is essentially a professional group.”

Portadown Men’s Hockey Club award winners: Johnny Brown (Firsts’ Player Of the Year), Andrew Connolly (Seconds’ Player Of The Year), Alex Webb (Thirds’ Player Of The Year), Scott Watson (Fourths’ Player Of The Year), Dan McKimm (Graham Trophy - Most Improved Young Player), Andrew Connolly (Endeavour Trophy), Zach McClelland (Lynas Trophy - advancing the club name), Scott Watson/Luke Bell (Sam Stevenson Memorial Trophy - best junior club graduate, shared).

Portadown Ladies’ Hockey Club award winners: Emily McStea (Most Improved Player), Laura Smith (Captain Of The Year), Nadene Black/Gaby Silcock (Top Goalscorer, shared), Maureen Vance (Contribution To Club), Wendy Cowan (Veterans’ Player Of The Year), Emily Parks (Award For Sportsmanship), Laura Smith (Clubperson Of The Year), Jenni Martin (Young Player Of The Year), Wendy Cowan (Thirds’ Player Of The Year), Chloe McStea (Seconds’ Player Of The Year), Zoe Jackson (Player Of The Year).

Players from Portadown were on show last weekend in Dublin at the Irish Hockey League finals.

Grace Irwin and Nadine Graham helped Pegasus to victory against Loreto.

Jamie Wright scored for Banbridge but Monkstown finished in front overall by 2-1. Banbridge’s highly-successful panel this season also includes Neil Gilmore and Ross Beattie from the town.