Harrogate Hockey Club’s preparations for the new season will enter the final lap on Saturday when they travel to Weetwood to take part in the Yorkshire Cup, writes Rob Stanworth.
Graeme Bevington’s side will face City of York, Leeds and Sheffield University Bankers in the curtain-raising tournament before their North Division One campaign gets underway on September 20th with the long trip to Chester.
‘Gate have managed to build up good momentum during a busy pre-season, winning two and losing two games, while also enjoying a mini tour to Birmingham.
Last weekend the Granby-based side again gave chances to a number of 2nd XI players and ran out comfortable 4-1 victors over Driffield thanks to goals from Russ Bowen (2), Othon Sennett and Ian Small.
And Bevington, who takes over the armband for a second time from Luke Lambert this year, is again giving a chance for players to push for a place in the opening league game by taking a squad of 18 to Leeds on Saturday.
‘Gate have lost last season’s top goal scorer David Swarbrick to university, while Lambert has opted to take a break from the sport.
However, Bevington’s squad will be boosted by the arrival of Barbados international Paul Gill who should step off the plane in time for the club’s first league game, while Ian Small has also signed from Leeds and James Edmondson returns from university.
“We’ve had a decent pre-season so far and got some good miles in the legs,” said the skipper.
“We’ve been able to have a look at a lot of players and asked people to play in different positions which has created good competition for places in the group.”
“There’s still plenty of work to do over the next few weeks and we need to put the hard yards in at training if we’re going to achieve our goals this season,” he added.