Hockey: London-bound Harrogate Ladies gunning for glory in Olympic Park showpiece
Harrogate Ladies are gunning for Olympic glory when they head to the capital for an historic final on Saturday.
Harrogate face Alderley Edge in the Investec Women’s Trophy showpiece at the Lee Valley Centre, the home of hockey at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Up to 150 supporters are expected to make the journey south to roar the Royal Blues squad to victory in the 3,000-seater stadium.
Harrogate beat Lewes 2-0 in March to secure their final berth and the excitement of a trip to London has been brewing amongst the players ever since.
Captain Lucy Wood said: “Getting to lead the team out from the tunnel is going to be a massive moment for me.
“Seeing my family in the crowd and knowing the team have worked so hard to get there. I just hope that it’s me lifting the cup at the end.
“We have to be confident. I know my team can do it.”
Harrogate play in the league above Alderley Edge, but Saturday’s opponents will join them in North Hockey Division One next season after winning two of three play-off promotion fixtures in the last month.
The Cheshire side’s most recent defeat came against Adel, whom Harrogate beat 5-1 in the first game of the summer league on Monday night.
Wood said: “They’ve won two our of three play-off games so will come into the game on a bit of a high but they did lose their last game so we are hoping that set them back a bit.”
Shelley Harrison will lead Harrogate’s attack after topping the scoring charts in the league campaign while England Masters goalkeeper Caz Hurst provides security at the back.
Wood also pinpointed the talents of right-winger Becky Sagar as a player to watch.
“We have got a lot of really good individual players but our main strength is that we play well as a team,” Wood added.
“We have really bonded this season in terms of knowing all the players strengths.”
The Ladies are the first of two Harrogate teams to play at the Olympic Park in the next month, with the club’s U14s team set to play at Lee Valley on May 14.
Ladies club captain Sue Pimblett said: “The club is just starting to punch its weight in terms of the hockey world.
“We have been a sleeping giant. It’s nice to have something as a focal point and announce ourselves.”