Buccaneers have scheduled their AIB League division 1B game at home to Ballymena to be played under the Dubarry Park floodlights on Saturday January 16 with the action kicking off at 6.30pm. In an effort to make games more attractive to supporters, the Athlone club approached all the other teams in division 1B seeking floodlit matches (with the Pirates willing to reciprocrate with late kick offs for their away fixtures ) but only two responded positively while the majority of the remaining clubs did not even reply.
With the club game struggling to keep itself afloat when punters are spoiled for choice with Heineken Cup and Premiership alternatives on TV, the Midlanders are willing to endeavour and adapt to coax increased support. Ballymena is willing to participate in this experiment, even though in Ballymena’s case they do not have floodlights at Eaton Park.
So Buccaneers mentors gratefully acknowledge Ballymena’s acceding to the request to play under floodlights and now the Midlanders are hoping that the weather will improve dramatically over the coming days so that the match can go ahead as scheduled at 6.30pm. Buccs game away to Old Belvedere was among the rather long list of cancelled fixtures last weekend. Arguably, the Midlanders were not too disappointed about that as training has been seriously curtailed since Christmas.
Buccaneers scored a morale-boosting win away to Ballymena when the sides met up north on Hallowe’en weekend. Buccs put in a really spirited, co-ordinated, and sustained effort that afternoon to spring a surprise against the Braidmen. They will need to repeat those heroics on Saturday night if they are to return again to winning ways and will welcome back JH Potgeiter to the match squad. The young Springbok is fit again after a brief visit home to South Africa at Christmas. With Connacht due to play Montpellier in the Amlin Challenge Cup on Friday night (kickoff 7pm ), the Midlanders may have the luxury of one or two contracted players available against Ballymena which would considerably boost their chances. For now, however, the weather is the real worry but hopefully Dubarry Park will be playable come the weekend.