Harrogate Hockey Club’s Men’s 1sts’ attempts to gain their highest league position since dropping out of the National League in 2007 are “still in their own hands” despite them suffering two defeats in as many days at the weekend.
On Saturday, they were comfortably beaten by University of Durham 5-0, a result which confirms the students’ place in the top two of North Division One.
With ‘Gate missing several members of their squad they were always up against it, and Durham made their task even harder with three goals in a clinical first-half display.
Will Rogers’ side struggled to create any meaningful openings as the students defended resolutely and they extended their advantage in the closing minutes to put themselves in a position to fight Didsbury for the league title.
If Saturday’s result was excusable, Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to relegation-threatened Lancaster & Morecambe was less so.
Re-arranged after being cancelled due to a frozen pitch two weeks ago, it took a disallowed goal in the second half to really get Harrogate firing.
Shortly after the controversy they levelled the contest at 1-1 through Harry Henderson but a deflected short corner and well-worked third strike handed Lancaster a deserved three points as ‘Gate again found difficulty in creating clear-cut chances.
The results mean that ‘Gate remain in third position in North Division One, two points ahead of Neston South Wirral and three ahead of Preston. A top-three finish would represent the team’s highest finish since they left the National League in 2007.
“The league doesn’t lie – Durham have had a great season and possess quality all over the pitch. The gulf in quality showed at times but for our younger lads, it was a good experience,” said skipper Rogers.
“At times we competed with the best team in the league but without creating too many chances.
“Sunday was far more disappointing. They were fighting for their lives but we were too passive and the manner of the goals we conceded was not good enough.
“We now have two home games, starting with University of Liverpool on Saturday (1.30pm push back), where we have the opportunity to cement third spot.”