Irish Hockey League: Banbridge and Lisnagarvey continue to set pace with wins
Banbridge and Lisnagarvey continue to set the pace at the top of the men's Irish Hockey League after both sides won their games in contrasting fashion.
Bann coasted to a 6-0 win over bottom side Instonians on Saturday, while 'Garvey came from 4-2 behind to beat Pembroke Wanderers 5-4.
Cork C of I and Three Rock Rovers also recorded victories so only two points separate the top four teams.
In the women's IHL, UCD went top of the table by beating Railway Union 2-1.
UCD took advantage of the game between Pegasus and Hermes-Monkstown being postponed to move to the top of the standings.
At the bottom, Belfast Harlequins edged Ulster Elks 3-2 to gain three vital points in the battle to avoid relegation.
Banbridge see off Instonians
The international class in the Banbridge team proved the difference in the game at Shaw's Bridge as Instonians remain rooted to the foot of the table and still in search of their first win of the season.
Johnny McKee's fine solo dribble into the circle and reverse stick finish opened the scoring and he went on to complete a hat-trick with Bruce McCandless chipping in with two goals and in the closing stages Eugene Magee popped in a penalty corner.
Instonians will hope for better in their rearranged Irish Cup quarter-final against Monkstown on Sunday, also at Shaw's Bridge.
Lisnagarvey kept pace with Bann at the top of the table, albeit having played a game more, after a thrilling 5-4 home win over Pembroke Wanderers.
A hat-trick from Irish international Alan Sothern had Pembroke 4-2 up in the third quarter but Garvey came from behind with their goals coming from Matty Nelson, who got two, James Lorimer, Timmy Cockram and Paul Gleghorne who potted the winner inside the last minute.
Cork C of I remain a point behind the two Ulster clubs in third place after a 3-1 win at UCD while Three Rock Rovers beat Glenanne by the same scoreline to remain in fourth but just two points off the lead.
In the women's IHL leaders going into the afternoon Hermes-Monkstown had their game against Pegasus postponed giving the Belfast side a chance to rest up before they face Cork Harlequins at the Dub on Sunday in their Irish Cup semi-final.
UCD took full advantage to move into first place with a 2-1 home win over Railway Union and Cork Harlequins cemented their third place with a 3-0 success against Pembroke.
The big game at the bottom was at Deramore where Belfast Harlequins beat Ulster Elks 3-2 to move above Pembroke and into eighth place. Ruth Miller gave the home side the lead only for Emily O'Leary to equalise in the third quarter.
Amy Geddes then scored with eight minutes to go and the points were secured when Rachel Johnson deflected in a Gemma Frazer penalty corner. Annabel Hamilton's strike for the Elks, who remain bottom a point adrift of Pembroke, was merely a consolation.
In Saturday afternoon's other game Ards lost 2-1 at home to Loreto with Lucy McKee the scorer for the County Down side.