Harrogate Hockey Club Mens 1s captain Tom Harris has spoken of his delight after his team wrapped up promotion from North Division One.
The Ainsty Road outfit have been in fine form throughout 2018/19, topping the table since November, remaining unbeaten until late February and losing just one of their 20 league games to date.
“I’m really chuffed to have achieved promotion and delighted for my team-mates,” Harris said.
“It may only be amateur sport but it takes up a lot of time and requires quite a few sacrifices.
“To see that pay off for all of us, with a very tangible reward like promotion, makes it all seem worthwhile.
“We’ve been there or thereabouts all year and anything less would have been disappointing.
“The manner which we’ve achieved it is just as satisfying. There’s going to be a real scrap in the last few games between the teams below us, so it’s great to have achieved it with a few games to spare.”
‘Gate have not been able to mount a serious challenge for promotion to the Premier Division in recent seasons, and Harris believes that a combination of factors have led to the team’s improved showing this term.
“As with any success it’s always a combination of little things,” he said.
“We’ve added a defensive toughness this year which we haven’t always had.
“Our set-piece is a serious threat and it’s got us out of a lot of tight situations.
“The average age of the team is probably a bit lower which consequently has seen improved fitness levels across the team.
“I think this is shown with the goals we’re scoring in the last five minutes. This is normally because we’ve worn the opposition down over the previous 65.”
Although promotion is secured and they sit two points clear of nearest rivals Leeds 2s at the top of the pile, ‘Gate still need to win both of their remaining two fixtures to guarantee that they will finish up as champions.
“Winning the title has been the goal since we first topped the table back in November,” Harris added.
“We’re conscious that as a 1st XI we’re the most visible team at the club so it’d be great for all the members, not just us.”