Twos back to winning ways against Garvey

JL1 Cookstown II 3 Lisnagarvey III 1

A new look Cookstown team, shorn of talent by illness, had a great victory against a Lisnagarvey III team coming off the back of two big wins in JL1.

Cookstown began the game at a great pace, targeting a better performance than their last outing against Civil Service. Tony Johnston grabbed his second goal in three starts when he got on the end of a fine move that took Cookstown from deep within their own half to the byline where McWhirter squared for the schoolboy to finish.

McWhirter then turned goalscorer when another passing move saw Nelson smash the ball onto McWhirter’s stick, and he was able to deflect past the goalkeeper.

With just minutes remaining in the half, Richard Nelson capped a good first half performance with a signature powerful run into the heart of the Lisnagarvey defence before finishing with pinpoint accuracy into the bottom corner.

The Reds took their foot off the pedal in the second half and were unable to convert any of the many chances which they were able to create. In the end it was left to Stuart McQueen to score with a powerful drag flick with time up.

Cookstown: Michael Anderson, David Atkinson, Ian Cheevers, Mark Wilson, Gavin Butler, Richard Nelson, Andrew Mcwhirter, Philip Morton, Tony Johnston, Steven Allen, Ian Johnston, Graeme Black

Man of the Match: Richard Nelson

Many thanks to Malcolm McWhirter for umpiring this game.

JL2 South Antrim II 4 Cookstown III 3

Cookstown set out on Saturday wanting to get the first win on the board this season after a walkover, a loss and a draw.

With South Antrim the opponents, the game was always going to be a tough encounter.

The first half sparked into life quite quickly with a lot of quality play from both teams. Cookstown soon got into a way of running and scored early on when McGaw forced South Antrim’s defence into an own goal - a season’s first for the Threes.

The score was doubled shortly after when McGaw received the ball on the 25 yard line, beating two defenders to slot home on the reverse for his third goal of the season.

With South Antrim reacting, Cookstown’s defence were forced into making some solid tackles and Adz Henry in nets pulling off a few great saves.

Shortly before the half Matt Smyth rounded of a great half by putting the reds 3-0 up after some great play from Cookstown’s midfield resulting in Mitch Greer squaring to Smyth for a great finish.

Cookstown were in the driving seat at half time however, with what seems to be a bad trend forming, Cookstown went 4-3 down to South Antrim in the second half but, for the last five minutes, Cookstown played some great linking hockey that resulted in a penalty stroke with less than two minutes to go. Captain McGaw stepped up and drew the sides level...and the rest is history.

Cookstown: A Henry, M Millar, G Thom, A Thom, P Morrow,P Watt, M Greer, R McGaw, M Smyth, G Donaldson, P Kee, I Hagan

Man of the Match: Mitch Greer

JL3 Mossley IV 2 Cookstown IV 3

Cookstown IV finally got their first points of the season on Saturday as they travelled up the M2 to Mossley.

With a threadbare squad and after succumbing to two heavy defeats already this season, morale was far from high before the game, but the team knew what had to be done, and that was to give Mossley a game.

The game started at a quick tempo with chances falling to both teams. Brian Simpson went close with the Reds’ first short corner and this seemed to ignite some hunger in the rest of the team.

New signing, James McAllen was quick to turn defence into attack from left back, linking well with midfield maestro Stephen Stewart. The combination of McAllen/Stewart was to lead to the first goal of the game which was expertly dispatched by a reverse from the latter.

Further chances fell to Crooks, McWhirter and Hutchinson before half time but it was the impenetrable force of Barnes and Simpson at the back who were to thank for keeping the sheet clean until half time.

As the second half started it was clear to see gaps appearing in the middle of the park as both midfields tired, but this seemed to benefit the Cookstown team as the triumvirate of Stringbean, Crooks and Hutch all showed determination and desire to be first to every ball in the midfield battle.

A quick counter by Mossley lead to a lucky goal but Cookstown replied immediately through excellent composure in the dee by hutchinson to restore the one goal lead.

What happened next was described as some as “the greatest hockey moment of the past decade” when, after chasing down a seemingly lost cause, Agnew managed to pull the ball from the corner to the top of the dee only for the masked rider, D. Dawg himself to connect first time and send the ball low and hard into the corner.

At 3-1, and despite a Mossley short corner finding the back of the Cookstown net with a few minutes to go, Cookstown saw out the remainder of the game comfortably to pick up a valuable three points on the road.

Cookstown: Gillis, Major, Barnes, Simpson, McAllen, Bean, Crooks, Hutchinson, McWhirter, D. Dawg, Agnew, Ruddock.

Thanks to Razor, Aggie and Major for umpiring.

Man of the Match: James McAllen