Hockey: Skipper backs Harrogate to down bogey side Sheffield University Bankers

NADV 1410042AM17 Harrogate Hockey Club's Rob Stanworth. (1410042AM17)

NADV 1410042AM17 Harrogate Hockey Club's Rob Stanworth. (1410042AM17)

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Harrogate hockey captain Graeme Bevington believes his side can bounce back this weekend after suffering their first defeat of the season .

The Granby outfit went down 2-0 away at City of Manchester to end their unbeaten start to the season and they now welcome the favourites for the North Division One title, according to the skipper.

This Saturday, Harrogate face up against table-toppers Sheffield University Bankers (1.30pm push back), who have been something of a bogey side for Harrogate in recent years and they finished one place above Bevington’s troops last season.

They were convincing 8-0 winners at home to Wakefield on Saturday as ‘Gate slipped to defeat, but the captain is backing his side to rise to the occasion.

“It will be a really tough game this week and in my eyes they are the team to beat this season.

“ They have started strongly and we will need to be well-organised, hard-working and clinical if we are to get something from the game,” said Bevington.

“We have a full squad available for selection for the first time this season, which will create competition for places and hopefully drive players on to perform well. We’re also hoping for a large crowd to cheer us on and make Granby a fortress for us.”

Despite the defeat at the hands of City of Manchester, which leaves ‘Gate in fifth spot, Bevington believes his side can be satisfied with their start to the season although he’s urged his players to be more clinical in front of goal.

“It was a disappointing result but not a disappointing performance. Manchester were well-organised and good defensively but we still managed to create plenty of chances and we definitely deserved something from the game,” he said.

“We need to be more ruthless when we create chances, but the fact we’re creating so many is a positive.”

Last weekend Harrogate ladies also suffered a two-goal reverse as they travelled north to Whitley Bay and Tynemouth.

The ladies sit ninth in North Division One and welcome the current table-toppers Kirkby Stephen (12.00pm push back) looking to put an end to their 100 per cent winning record so far this season.