Frustration for Harrogate Hockey Club Men, but Ladies pull clear at the top
Harrogate Hockey Club Men’s 1s endured another frustrating afternoon when they entertained Leeds 2s in the North Premier Division.
The visitors managed just three shots on target during the entire contest, but scored from all of them to condemn Tom Harris’ team to a third defeat in four winless outings.
“They punished our sloppy mistakes,” said the ‘Gate skipper, reflecting on a first home loss for his side since March 2018.
“In the end we created chances, but did not put them away.
“We had the initiative, but gave it away. We dominated the second half and once we scored I thought we would go on and win the game.
“I felt we should have kept the ball better and we need to learn from this result.”
Both teams shared goals during the opening 10 minutes of Saturday’s contest at Ainsty Road with Leeds drawing first blood following a defensive error.
Alfie Weaver dispatched a drag flick to make it 1-1 but the game swung back in the favour of the away side after Harrogate equalised.
And two short-corners in quick session then saw Leeds into a 3-1 lead, somewhat against the run of play.
Will Rogers and Luke Lambert spurned good opportunities to reduce the deficit before the half-time whistle arrived and the second period went on to follow a similar pattern.
‘Gate were camped in Leeds’ half, however the visitors defended resolutely.
Weaver did make it 3-2 with 10 minutes to go, but with the away team often keeping 11 men behind the ball, Harris and his troops were unable to force an equaliser.
Harrogate Ladies 1s moved five points clear at the top of North Division One courtesy of a 4-0 triumph on the road at struggling Stokesley.
It took until late in the first half for the league leaders to make a breakthrough, Shelly Harrison’s pace leaving the home defence bewildered and earning her side the first penalty-corner of the game.
Demonstrating a clinical edge, Lucy Wood netted the first of a hat-trick with a precise strike into the bottom right-hand corner.
‘Gate doubled their advantage early in the second period, Tilly Hall feeding Wood at the top of the ‘D’ for the latter to power a fierce shot past the Stokesley keeper’s right foot.
After some neat one-touch passing between forwards Jaclyn Smith and Anna Blyth, another penalty-corner was awarded, and this time captain Laura Beardsmore stepped up to convert.
The scoring was then rounded off when Wood completed her treble, pouncing on a rebound following good work by Evelyn Wright.
Harrogate Ladies 2s pulled off a near-impossible victory on Saturday, winning a seven-goal thriller with Hull 1s despite playing with 11 outfield players and no goalkeeper.
The hosts began the North East Division Three South encounter well, pushing forward in their usual attacking style, and were rewarded when Sam Swenson tucked home from close range.
Hull managed to get back on terms, however shortly before half-time Swenson knocked home her own and her team’s second of the game.
The second period was a well-contested affair with the end-to-end play and goal-mouth action proving entertaining for the spectators on the sidelines.
Matilda van Breeman was a constant thorn in the side of the Hull defence, but it was the away side who notched to first goal after the resumption, levelling things up once more.
Undeterred, Harrogate pressed forward, and following a brilliant van Breeman run, Rachel Clarke was able to finish off for 3-2.
A late penalty-corner then made it 3-3 late on and appeared to have earned Hull a share of the spoils, but ‘Gate weren’t finished.
Another strong run from Swenson led to her completing a hat-trick for the second week running, finishing clinically from an extremely tight angle to secure a 4-3 success that leaves her team fifth in the table.