Harrogate Hockey Club raring to go as season begins

Harrogate Hockey were crowned North Division Two East champions on Saturday.

Harrogate Hockey were crowned North Division Two East champions on Saturday.

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Harrogate Hockey Club’s top two sides get their league seasons underway this weekend, with the men’s and ladies’ first teams optimistic ahead of their respective campaigns.

Luke Lambert’s side travel to Newcastle University (midday push back) as they look to start life in North Hockey League Division One on a positive note after promotion last year.

The new skipper is unavailable for Saturday, however the club has strengthened over the summer, welcoming back Polish international Bart Zywiczka, his compatriot Jarek Kulpa and defender Oliver Clark. Steve Couture is also back after missing the majority of last season to go travelling, however Gate need to replace the goals from top scorer Charles Edmondson who has gone to university.

Graeme Bevington will take charge of the troops against Newcastle, and he is confident ‘Gate can get an early three points.

He said: “We are heading into the new season full of confidence, and with the signings we’ve made we feel we have a great chance of making another promotion push.

“The league will be a tough challenge, but we’ve had a good pre-season and are raring to go,” he added.

The anticipation is also shared by ladies captain Tilly Hall ahead of their first fixture against Brooklands Poynton (1.30pm push back at Granby).

The side has lost a couple of players ahead of the new campaign, including England youth international Lydia Clissitt, and the skipper is calling on the club’s talented younger players and those in the second team to push themselves forward for selection.

Hall’s team finished in the top four of North Hockey League Division One last season and she is looking for a promotion push this year to help celebrate the centenary in style.

The captain believes that confidence is already on a high after ‘Gate won the North Challenge Cup last weekend, picking up victories in all four of their group games before defeating Leeds on penalty flicks with ‘keeper Sam Swenson making two vital saves.

“I was very proud of the team and with new players coming through it’s an exciting start to the season. Winning last weekend gives the team great confidence going into the first league game,” explained the skipper.