PROUD Harrogate Hockey Club chairman Derek Mitchell has praised the club’s first team after they sealed the Yorkshire Premier League title last weekend.
‘Gate have three more games to get their teeth into before closing the chapter on a wonderful campaign, starting tomorrow at home to Brigg (1.30pm start).
“I’m delighted,” said Mitchell.
“They’ve had an excellent season in the league and are hoping to go the whole season unbeaten.
“It is a step up in standard (next year) but if you look at the team that went up last season (Gainsborough Roses) they’re third in the table at the moment.”
‘Gate went into last weekend needing four points to seal the championship and passage into the North England East League next season.
They were given a boost on Friday night when Lincoln pulled out of Sunday’s trip to Granby handing ‘Gate a 3-0 victory by default.
It meant two points from their trip to Lincoln a day later and a Brigg win over Sheffield Hallam would be enough to give them the crown.
Despite a scratchy display ‘Gate eventually pulled off a 4-1 win thanks to goals by Peter Shipston, Steve Couture (2) and Simon Lockwood.
And when news filtered through that Brigg had actually won, the party- albeit a quiet one, began.
“We weren’t expecting it,” said coach Gary Nash.
“We stayed for a bit afterwards but then we got back to our clubhouse and had a few drinks but I think there will be a bigger celebration this Saturday.
“We’ve got a Vice Presidents day. There will be a lot of members watching the game. That starts at 12.30pm, we start at 1.30pm so they will probably be shouting some comments over the pitch.
“It promises to be a good atmosphere.”
After sealing the title at the weekend Nash now wants ‘Gate to win their remaining three games to go the whole season unbeaten.
“It was really great we won the league, that was our target at the start of the season,” he added.
“But it would tarnish everything if we don’t beat Brigg.”
Jimmy Greenwood and Graeme Bevington are away tomorrow with Nash ready to slot in at sweeper.
James Edmondson, brother of Charles and son of coach Tony comes into the squad for the first time.
“Tony will be a very proud man,” added Nash.