Cookstown will face the second half of their make or break double-header weekend of games against Annadale tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30pm.
While most eyes will be on the Irish Senior Cup semi-finals, there will be few Irish hockey grounds as tense as that at Lough Moss Leisure Centre which will host the showdown.
The two Ulster rivals are currently locked in a relegation scrap at the wrong end of the table with just seven games left to play.
Cookstown struck first in the head-to-head, winning an edgy affair at Steelweld Park last Saturday thanks to goals from Mark Crooks and Jon Ames. Annadale’s sole response came from Aussie import Robbie McGuire.
The Carryduff men will have to improve upon their indiscipline which saw them down to ten men at key points of the match in Cookstown. There is little doubt that they will be targeting a victory which will take them level on points with the Reds.
For Cookstown - who will, all things being equal, be able to deploy their full squad for almost the first time this season - it will no doubt be about defending well and leaving Lough Moss with anything other than defeat. In so doing they will maintain the gap between the two sides to at least three points.
Both teams have a tough runs in against teams all vying for Champion’s Trophy places including Banbridge, Monkstown and Lisnagarvey.
EY HOCKEY LEAGUE
LISNAGARVEY 12 33
MONKSTOWN 12 24
BANBRIDGE 12 20
THREE ROCK 12 18
GLENANNE 12 16
RAILWAY UNION 12 14
PEMBROKE 12 14
CORK 12 12
COOKSTOWN 11 9
ANNADALE 11 6