Harrogate Men go top of the pile following Bowdon success
Harrogate Hockey Club Mens 1s took over at the top of North Division One after beating Bowdon at Ainsty Road.
In what was a showdown between the league's only two unbeaten sides, Tom Harris' men - who began the weekend in second place - triumphed by a 5-3 scoreline to leapfrog their opponents in the table.
The opening few minutes featured end-to-end action and this set the tone for the rest of Saturday's contest.
It was 'Gate who got on the score-sheet first when Graeme Bevington picked his spot and slotted the ball into the corner of the net following a good save by the visiting goalkeeper from a short-corner.
It wasn’t long before the hosts doubled their lead, a counter-attack finding Charles Edmondson on the left-hand side of the pitch, who turned under pressure and found his onrushing captain Harris with a nicely-weighted crossfield pass.
The latter took a touch and fired past the keeper for a 2-0 lead.
Bowdon then won a short-corner of their own which they converted to reduce the arrears.
The scores were then levelled almost immediately as the visitors forced another corner and dispatched it confidently.
Harrogate responded well though, and won themselves a penalty-stoke from which Andy Clemerson stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to restore his team's lead.
It wasn’t long before that advantage was increased again when a searching ball from Alfie Weaver found Ben Collinson unmarked in the 'D'.
Showing no nerves on debut, he lifted a strike over the onrushing keeper to hand the hosts a 4-2 lead at the end of an eventful first half.
The second period began at the same frenetic pace with both sides having plenty of opportunities to score.
In the end, it was Bowdon who struck next following a period of sustained pressure, trimming the gap to just a single goal.
Once again, 'Gate responded well when put under pressure.
Almost immediately from the re-start, the ball came to Joe Horne who surged through the middle of the pitch before finding Edmondson who flicked confidently into the top corner to round off the scoring.
Harris and his troops travel to Stockton on Saturday (1.30pm) looking to extend their lead at the summit.
Harrogate's Ladies 1s are also enjoying a fine start to 2018/19.
They moved up to third spot in North Division One courtesy of a 4-1 triumph on the road at rock-bottom Kendal, Sarah Gibbins helping herself to a hat-tick.