Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies crowned champions after sinking title rivals on final day

Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies 1st XI captain Lucy Wood said she "couldn't be prouder" after her team were crowned Yorkshire & North East Premier Division champions.

By Rhys Howell
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 2:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 2:22 pm
Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies celebrate after winning the Yorkshire & North East Premier Division title. Pictures: Gerard Binks
Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies celebrate after winning the Yorkshire & North East Premier Division title. Pictures: Gerard Binks

The Ainsty Road outfit beat title rivals Whitley Bay & Tynemouth 2-1 on Saturday afternoon to move six points clear at the summit and round off what has been a superb season.

Wood and her charges have won 19 of their 22 matches this term, scoring 93 goals in the process and conceding just 23 on their way to promotion to the England Hockey League Women's Conference North.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the squad this season," a jubilant Wood reflected.

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Lucy Wood on the attack during Harrogate's 2-1 success over title rivals Whitley Bay & Tynemouth.

"It was great to finish on a high, especially against such talented opposition, who were led by former Harrogate player Ali Sedcole. The team really dug deep and worked hard for the win.

"It’s been an honour to be their captain and we are looking forward to new challenges next season."

With the title race not mathematically over, Whitley Bay arrived in North Yorkshire needing to beat 'Gate by a 13-goal margin in order to overtake them at the top of the table.

As a result, they started fast in front of a raucous crowd at the Granby Hockey Centre, disrupting their hosts' play and dominating possession.

The visitors took the lead from a well-worked short-corner, however some resolute defensive work from the likes of Kate Froggatt, Laura Beardsmore and Helen Goacher ensured that the deficit remained at just one at the interval.

A shrewd tactical adjustment at half-time by Harrogate coach Lewis Butcher helped the league leaders nullify the threat of Whitley Bay’s play-maker in the second period, and as a result it was the home side who took charge of proceedings.

Their equaliser was typical of the incisive attacking play which has seen them score so many goals this term and started with Beardsmore, who won a tackle on her own 22.

She then passed to Julia Corominas, who accelerated away from her markers and slipped the ball out wide to Holly Oldham, whose pinpoint cross was swept in from close range with and with some panache by Sam Swenson.

The decisive strike then arrived from the stick of Corominas, who followed up a saved short-corner with a powerful flick past a flailing keeper.

Harrogate had further chances as Rebecca Sagar, Tilly Hall, Charlotte Crossman and skipper Wood took control of the midfield area, though they had already done more than enough to wrap up the title.