Down seconds handed debuts to three new players at home to derby rivals North Down fifths last weekend, with the new recruits doing exceptionally well.

Richard Wade, Liam Kearney and Lewis McIntosh did not look out of place and McIntosh almost crowned the perfect debut with a goal, but his shot struck the base of the post and rebounded to safety.

Mark Graham’s side is confident on the shale surface and was out of the blocks quickest last weekend in perfect conditions for hockey. The derby encounter was also a great advert for Junior 6 hockey where the effort and commitment of the players is without question.

While Down had a smattering of young players and debutants, there were also three wise old heads in the starting line-up. Cecil Telford, Alasdair Duff and David Moreland provided the experience necessary for feisty derby affairs.

In fact it was that man Telford who fired his side into the lead after 14 minutes when he gave the North Down Ôkeeper no chance with a crisp finish. But any hopes the home fans had of an easy win were dashed just five minutes later when North Down bagged the equaliser.

The visitors continued to play well and Moreland had to be at his best to keep out a number of goal-bound efforts over the 70 minutes.

Duff scored what proved to be the winning goal midway through the second period and what a cracker it was. Collecting the ball deep in his own half he drove forward, skipping a number of tackles, to score a screamer past the 'keeper.

Telford went close with a few efforts and then McIntosh looked set to score on his debut, but his shot hit the post and flew wide.

An impressive win for Mark Graham’s men who will be hoping to pick up another three points when they face Civil Service sixths at home this weekend.