Harrogate Hockey Club will take a big step towards securing a top three finish in North Division One this weekend if they defeat Sheffield Hallam in the Steel City.
The Granby side’s chances of promotion have all but disappeared after they were beaten 3-0 by Bowdon last time out, leaving them ten points behind the Manchester club with just four games remaining.
This weekend’s tie at Abbeydale Sports Club (3pm push back) will be played on the 2012 London Olympic pitch which was torn up and re-laid in Sheffield.
However, Gate’s chances of picking up a crucial victory have been dealt a blow with up to six players missing.
Graeme Bevington will captain the side in the absence of Luke Lambert, and he believes that his side have nothing to lose this weekend.
“Hallam are a good side and it’s a shame we will be missing six regulars but with a lot of hard work we can grind out a result,” he said.
Against Bowdon the visiting Harrogate side got off to a bright start and should have taken the lead from a well-worked short corner but were unable to add a finishing touch.
Bowdon’s organisation and movement up front started to cause problems as the first half wore on and they soon took the lead when a speculative ball into the ‘D’ was deflected past ‘keeper Rob Stanworth by Mark Gibbons.
Not soon after Bowdon doubled their advantage through Harrogate old boy Charles Edmondson with an unmarked tap in at the back post.
In the second period ‘Gate got to grips with their opposition with David Swarbrick forcing a couple of excellent saves from the Bowdon ‘keeper.
However, with Harrogate pushing on to get back into the game the hosts added a third and drew a number of other saves out of Stanworth.
“In the end we got beaten by the better side,” added Bevington.
“But we didn’t throw in the towel and kept fighting until the end, which is all you can ask of the players.
“We have to pick ourselves up and compete well over the remaining four games.”
Harrogate’s ladies side recovered from defeat last time out to beat table toppers Didsbury Greys 3-1.
They host Deeside Ramblers at Granby this weekend (1.30pm push back) as they look to break into the top four in North Division One.