Sincere thanks go to past pupil George Wilson for submitting this report to accompany the pictures of the Boxing Day hockey:
Festive Day Fixture
On an unseasonably mild Boxing Day morning, a selection of Bangor Grammar School Old Boys took the field to play in the annual fixture against the BGS 2nd XI. The Old Boys boasted a strong line-up, with a bevy of replacements to boot, and in the early exchanges they dominated proceedings.
Scales, McClune and MacAfee were incisive and pacey in the midfield, creating a number of opportunities. Gareth Stranaghan was unfortunate not to convert on two occasions but the Old Boys did take the lead when on a third attempt Stranaghan converted, nudging home at the back post following neat approach play from MacAfee. Reading and Scales were instrumental in The Old Boys extending their lead, Boyd popping up at the back post to slot home when Reading had drawn both the keeper and a defender out of position with a dinking run and reverse pass.
However, as the half progressed, the schoolboys began to exert more influence and made several threating forays before reducing the deficit from a short corner switch. Williamson was unable to prevent a cross shot from nestling in the far corner of the net. Soon after though, he kicked efficiently when a speculative pass forward was almost chased down by a BGS forward.
With the score 2-1 at the break, the pattern of play for the second half was similar to the first. The Old Boys held the initial initiative, re-establishing a two-goal lead with Glenn Stranaghan firing home with typical power and accuracy from a short corner. By this stage, the match had an enjoyably open feel, with a prolonged bout of counter attacking from both sides.
BGS created a number of half chances before scoring their second and in doing so, setting up an interesting final 10 minutes. The Old Boys’ play was not quite as fluent but they did manage to score the all-important next goal, Scales, collecting a pass from Irvine before surging into the circle to fire home. The final score was 4-2 to the Old Boys.
Some festive footnotes though – the match had two siblings playing alongside each other, Gareth and Glenn Stranaghan. There were also two father and son combinations, John and Aaron McCalister for the Old Boys, whilst Roger Irvine lined up for Old Boys against his son Zak.
Many thanks to Timmy Campbell and Dowie Holley for umpiring and to Ken (Best) and Alan (Black) for providing the post-match refreshments.