Hockey: Newcastle victory gives Harrogate top half finish

Harrogate Hockey (S)
Harrogate Hockey (S)

Harrogate Hockey Club secured a “well deserved” top half finish in North Division One after they ended the season with a 3-2 victory away at Newcastle University.

Graeme Bevington’s side continued their fine form since Christmas and took a commanding 3-0 lead against their hosts, thanks to goals from Joe Horne, Bevington and Will Rogers.

Newcastle then ensured a nervy finish as they took advantage of a tiring Harrogate to score two late goals, denying the back five a well-deserved clean sheet after a commanding performance.

The result confirmed Harrogate finished sixth, well clear of the relegation spots and just four points behind Newcastle in fourth.

“Saturday was a very good end to an enjoyable and successful season,” said Bevington.

“The squad has battled hard and pulled together which has led to a strong finish.”

“Throughout the season we have introduced seven players to the side who were playing second team hockey last season.

“We have been unfortunate to lose key players to injury and other unavailability.

“I am really pleased that we bounced back strongly.”

Bevington added that planning is already underway for next season, with a manager having been appointed and potential new signings approached to bolster the current group.

“The lads will now enjoy a well-earned break to refresh before we can look forward to a good pre-season and try and pick up where we left off,” said the skipper.

“There’s also the extra fillip next season of playing against Ben Rhydding following their unfortunate relegation, which is something I’m sure the club as a whole will embrace.”

Bevington’s side will now turn their attention to cheering on the second team, who will guarantee promotion to the Yorkshire Premier if they win their remaining two fixtures.

Elsewhere, Harrogate’s ladies side continued their poor run of form with a 2-1 reverse at home to Newcastle University.

It extends their winless run to nine North Division One games and Cecilia Allen’s side will look to finish their season with a morale-boosting three points at home to Wakefield on Sunday (1.30pm).