Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies 1st XI's perfect start to the season ended by Whitley Bay

Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies 1st XI's perfect start to the season finally came to and end on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 5:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 5:14 pm
Rosie Dale was Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies 1st XI's player of the match in Saturday's defeat to Whitley Bay. Picture: Gerard Binks

Having begun the 2021/22 campaign with 10 consecutive Yorkshire & North East Premier Division victories, the Ainsty Road outfit were edged out 3-2 away at Whitley Bay.

Lucy Wood's side have been fast-starters in the majority of their games so far this term, but the tables were turned at the weekend, their hosts putting them under pressure from the start as they spread the ball wide at pace whenever they could.

With a much-changed defence, it was a case back to the walls for Harrogate, with Laura Thompson and Tilly Hall very much to the fore.

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Given how long Bay had spent in the ascendancy, 'Gate did well to make it to the interval without conceding.

The home team struggled to convert their pressure in open play into clear scoring opportunities, though they did threaten from short-corners where visiting goalkeeper Sarah Mirtaheri pulled off some fine saves.

In the second period, Bay continued to press and eventually got their rewards, converting three superbly-executed short-corners, with smart deflections bursting the Harrogate net.

They could have scored more, but Wood's charges showed great character by replying with a couple of strikes of their own shortly after conceding for the first and second time.

Their first goal of the afternoon was a flick converted by player of the match Rosie Dale after a Julia Coleminas effort hit a defender on the line.

Then, Coleminas made a rapid break and slipped a pass to Holly Oldham to apply a finishing touch.

Trailing 3-2, the visitors had a last-gasp chance to equalise with a short corner that was deflected past the post seconds before the final-whistle sounded.

“Whitley celebrated like they had won the league, showing how good a team others think we are," skipper Wood reflected.

"They were the best team on the day and deserved to win”.

Harrogate's Ladies 1s remain seven points clear at the top of the league despite Saturday's defeat.