Hockey: Penalty shootout heartbreak for Harrogate in Investec Trophy Final

The Harrogate Hockey squad at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The Harrogate Hockey squad at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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Harrogate Ladies suffered penalty shootout heartbreak on their grand day out as Alderley Edge lifted the Investec Women’s Trophy at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday.

‘Gate went down 5-4 on penalty strokes after the sides had shared a 1-1 draw in front of hundreds of spectators at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre.

Eleanor Start put Harrogate in front early but the Cheshire opponents earlier equalised in the second half after the umpire awarded a penalty stroke for a Harrogate foot on the line.

Edge keeper Harriet Whittaker then made the crucial save in the shootout to clinch the coveted national prize for the North League Division Two champions.

Proud ‘Gate captain Lucy Wood was upset that an umpiring decision had cost her side but praised the efforts of her players.

Wood said: “It was really disappointing especially having to watch the video highlights that clearly show the wrong decision was made but that’s sport really.

“Alderley Edge were a fantastic opposition to play against, they were a very strong side and will do well next season in our league.

“The team couldn’t have put in any more and I’m proud of each and every member of the squad.”

Harrogate were slow to get started and the Edge pressed on the defence forcing Caz Hurst into a number of important saves.

The Yorkshire side found momentum and after the Cheshire team left their defence open Harrogate took full advantage on the counter seeing Start beat the keeper one-on-one.

The Harrogate squad under the Olympic Rings

The Harrogate squad under the Olympic Rings

The second half saw Alderley Edge dictating the play but the crucial swing of momentum came when Wood saw yellow and the black shirts won a penalty stroke after a Harrogate foot on the line.

Sarah Hopkin coolly stepped up and slotted it away to take the game into a shoot out.

Harrogate missed their first two attempts with Alderley Edge scoring theirs, putting them on the verge of clinching the title. However, Edge’s next two attempts were saved as goals from Wood and Hall took Harrogate into sudden death.

The teams traded goals until Edge’s Izzy Reyonold-Duff scored leaving it down to Danielle Henderson from Harrogate but Harriet Whittaker was not to be beaten and saved.