Skipper strikes to earn ‘Gate Ladies derby victory over York

Harrogate Ladies 1s beat City of York 1s at Ainsty Road. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Harrogate Ladies 1s beat City of York 1s at Ainsty Road. Picture: Caught Light Photography

A solitary strike from captain Rachel Till was enough to earn in-form Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies 1s a derby day victory over City of York 1s.

And the result moved the in-form Ainsty Road outfit up to fourth in the North Division One standings following a fine run that has seen them beaten just once in their last 11 outings.

York arrived at Granby desperate to make up for a 6-3 defeat on home turf back in November, and a fierce contest ensued.

The visitors’ game plan appeared to be to try and take control of the middle of the pitch, but ‘Gate recognised this early on and showed good movement to create space to play in elsewhere.

The only goal of the afternoon arrived during the first period after a drag-flick from Freya Wilde hit the inside of a post and fell for skipper Till to slot home.

York did create chances to get back on terms but they were thwarted by some excellent defending and a couple of great saves from Caz Hurst.

At the other end, the away back-line also held firm to deny ‘Gate the opportunity to extend their lead, but the damage had already been done.

Tilly Hall was named as the hosts’ player of the match.

The Ladies 2s produced a stunning first-half performance too as they also completed a league double over York 2s.

‘Gate began the match with 11 outfield players on the pitch due to the unavailability of their regular goalkeeper, Niamh Hutchinson eventually arriving after 15 minutes to deputise between the sticks.

The lack of a keeper forced the visitors to work tirelessly to keep hold of and win back possession.

Sian Simpson and Jayne Montague worked tirelessly in midfield and Jenny Allen and Kathryn Patchett made a number of crucial tackles to ensure that the hosts were kept out of the circle.

Despite the obvious advantage, York weren’t able to capitalise, even failing to convert from a penalty-corner.

After a spell of home pressure, Harrogate eventually began to threaten with some quick passing taking them up the pitch.

Captain and player of the match Allen broke the deadlock with a clinical strike from a penalty-corner when the away team were still playing without a custodian.

Harrogate continued with their high-tempo game, even once Hutchinson had arrived, and this intensity brought a second goal before half-time, Simpson finishing off a fine team move to seal the points.

‘Gate 3s lost 3-0 to Hull University, while the 4th XI triumphed 3-2 at Thirsk 3s.

Goals from Katie Baines (2) and Ella Hampson fired the Ladies 5s to a 3-2 win over Northallerton 2s.