Having begun 2017/18 with two victories, Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies’ 1st XI suffered a first defeat of the season when they were edged out by local rivals Ben Rhydding 2nds.
Saturday’s North Division One derby clash began in end-to-end fashion with the visiting ‘Gate side producing some fine interplay.
It was however Ben Rhydding who drew first blood courtesy of an impressive drag flick from a short-corner.
‘Gate hit back almost immediately, however, when a through-ball from player of the match Lucy Wood sent Megan Clark one-on-one with the home keeper and she skilfully carried the ball around her opponent and fired into the empty goal.
The visitors then began to take control the game, maintaining the majority of possession with some smart creative passing, but it was Ben Rhydding who struck the next goal on the counter-attack, re-claiming the lead.
The ball appeared to strike an attacker’s foot in the build-up to the goal, but the infringement was not spotted by the match officials.
Undeterred, ‘Gate managed to get back on terms for a second time before the interval with a fine goal that began with some tidy first-time passing all the way up the pitch and ended with Sarah Gibbins slotting home with ease.
The pattern of the opening half was repeated in the second with the away team piling on the pressure but unable to convert befotre Ben Rhydding took the lead once more, again from a short-corner.
A strong home defence then managed to hold their own for the remainder of the game as Rachel Till’s team did their best to conjure up a third equaliser.
They thought they had done just that five minutes from full-time when Wood found the net, only for the effort to be disallowed following a change of decision by an umpire.
Reflecting on the defeat, skipper Till said: ‘A number of decisions just didnt go our way, but the Ben Rhydding team produced a solid performance and were clinical with their chances.
“This was however some of the best hockey the team have played to date, which is promising for the season ahead and we’ll definitely be looking for a win back on home turf next week”
Next up for the 1st XI is the visit of Lymm at noon on Saturday.
Harrogate Ladies 2nds smashed seven goals past Airedale 1sts in a one-sided encounter.
During the opening exchanges, ‘Gate had most of the possession but there were chances at both ends.
The deadlock was however eventually broken from a penalty corner when the ball was sent to Kathryn Patchett who shot emphatically past the visiting keeper.
The second goal was scored by Rachel Armstrong who directed Kathryn Patchett’s slap home from close range.
A third quickly followed when player of the match Patchett picked up the ball on the top right-hand side of the circle and it deflected off the ‘keeper into the goal.
The final goal of the first half was a fabulous team effort with the ball starting in defence and quickly being worked up the left and into the circle where the returning Rachel Wilcox smashed in.
In the second period, Wilcox scored her second goal of the game before Nikki Gill netted from a straight strike at a penalty-corner
The hosts’ final goal of the afternoon came from Rachel Clarke, who struck from close range following another cross from the left flank, before Airedale netted a consolation strike late on.
The Ladies 3rd XI were narrowly beaten by Wakefield Wanderers.
Trailing by a goal at the interval despite having dominated the first half, ‘Gate fell further behind early in the second period.
They reduced the arrears when Margaret Pimley injected a pacey cross from right wing and Hollie Cruise executed a brilliant finish at the back post to bring the score to 2-1.
From a short-corner, Abi Laura swept the ball home at the second attempt to tie things up, but Wakefield stole the points late on when they re-claimed the ascendancy with just two minutes to go.
‘Gate 4ths played out a 4-4 draw in a high-scoring affair at Bradford 1sts.