Huge victory puts title in Harrogate hands with five to go

hsb   Ben Hotham playing for Harrogate against Huddersfield.  (130202M3c)
hsb Ben Hotham playing for Harrogate against Huddersfield. (130202M3c)
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Harrogate took a massive step towards winning the North Hockey Division Two East title after they beat Lincoln Roses 4-3 in a thrilling match at Granby.

It extends the side’s lead to eight points at the top of the table over last weekend’s rivals with just five games left to play.

Coach Gary Nash was delighted with his team’s performance against Lincoln, but has reminded his troops that they have won nothing yet.

Their run-in begins this weekend away at Sunderland (2pm push back), with the Wearsiders needing a victory of their own to take them out of the relegation zone

“We all celebrated what was a superb team performance; every player was on his game and gave his all,” said an ecstatic coach.

“We bossed the game, showed immense pace and skill at times and finished clinically. I was delighted with the way the team kept to the tactics to earn their win.

“We have to get back down to earth however as we still have work to do to win the league. It is ours to take if we remain focused.

“Discipline and a good attitude are things we will need on Saturday as Sunderland can be an awkward side to play.

“We won by the odd goal in the last two outings against and them and are expecting a tough match.”

Last weekend Harrogate battled back from being a goal down to take a 3-2 lead in to the break in front of a passionate Granby crowd.

Lincoln created a number of opportunities during the first 35 minutes but Harrogate grew stronger as the half went on and were unfortunate not to add to their tally.

A composed second-half performance settled any nerves which might have been hovering, with Charles Edmondson completing a hat-trick and David Swarbrick grabbing the other goal.

The victory was all the more impressive after ‘Gate were thrashed 7-1 by the same opposition earlier this season.

Harrogate will seal the title and promotion to North Hockey Division One if they pick up eight points from their remaining five games.