COOKSTOWN Hockey Club competed indoor at the weekend in the Ulster Section of the National competition.
Indoor hockey is making resurgence in the Irish game and the locals have an array of talent suited to the six aside game.
Saturday 8 January
Cookstown 3:2 Annadale
Cookstown played their first match against an experienced Annadale team which had ex internationals David Smyth and Chris Jackson in their defence. The reds rushed into a three goal half time lead with well taken counter attack goals from Greg Allen, Gareth Cuddy and Timmy Smyth. Annadale did fight back well in this game with two goals from Peubert and Mills.
During this game Mark Crooks and Timmy Smyth stood out as natural indoor players both playing in defence with Michael Anderson very secured in the Cookstown Goal.
Man of the Match (Mark Crooks)
Cookstown 4:3 Instonians
This was a game that once again the Reds took an early advantage with goals from Greg Allen and Gareth Cuddy, Instonians then fought back to take the lead with two goals from Donegal man James Corry and one from Peter Fraser.
Coaches David Ames and Michael Haycock implemented some changes at half time and they seemed to have the desired effect with Captain Greg Allen equalising for the Reds and with seconds left Timmy Smyth got the winner from a set piece.
Man of the Match (Greg Allen)
Sunday 9 January
Cookstown 4:3 NICS
Cookstown entered this game knowing that a win would secure a place in the following weeks National Championships in Dublin. The Reds started very well and went three up through Gareth Cuddy, Jon Ames and Timmy Smyth only to let NICS straight back into it with goals from Priestly, Grundie and Saunders.
NICS were unlucky not to take the lead but Michael Anderson’s stick save was out of the top drawer. The Reds never gave in and Gareth Cuddy scored the winner with two minutes on the clock through a short corner variation.
Man of the Match (Gareth Cuddy)
Cookstown 3:0 Mossley
Cookstown completed their indoor triumph with a disciplined three nil win over Mossley who failed to secure any points in the competition. Jon Ames and Stevie Allen gave the Reds a two goal half time cushion with Timmy Smyth scoring the goal of the tournament. The left back wizard beat four Mossley players inside eight yards before passing the ball in off the upright past a Mossley keeper who had no chance. A cameo appearance by Brian Simpson near the end was the icing on the cake for a very successful weekend for the club.
Millar, Shearer and Black Most Valuable Player – Mark Crooks
Mark had a fantastic weekend at right back and is a naturally gifted indoor defensive player. He sustained a nasty facial injury during the Annadale game which required five stitches but played on throughout the tournament. Mark had an excellent defensive partnership with Timmy Smyth.
Squad : Michael Anderson, Timmy Smyth, Mark Crooks, Greg Allen (Captain), Gareth Cuddy, Jon Ames, Ryan Millar, Stevie Allen, Stephen Cuddy, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Brian Simpson & Graeme Black. Coaches: Brian Hall, David Ames and Michael Haycock.
David Ames who was the clubs indoor coach was very pleased with how the weekend went.
“I play a lot of indoor in England and was delighted to be able to help the club out. With the exception of Gareth Cuddy none of the boys had indoor experience but I knew that they would be suited to the game. Mark Crooks was my stand out player of the weekend, he is an intelligent player who grasped the indoor tactics with ease.”We had an excellent foundation to build on with Mark and Timmy Smyth as our platform. Michael Anderson had a superb weekend showing how good a signing the club have made in the schoolboy keeper. “
Greg Allen was captain for the weekend and he was delighted with the performance from his teammates.
“It was a fantastic weekend for us and has come at just the right time in the season for us. It has given us a break from the outdoor game and we know we have players that are really suited to playing indoor hockey.
Over the weekend every player knew exactly what was expected of them and they all delivered. The coaches brought in Stevie Allen and Graeme Black who they knew would have the first touch and necessary passing and elimination skills to play the game. We now look forward to the National Finals weekend next weekend in Dublin.”