Harrogate steeled for tough November

hsb  Harrogate v Huddersfield.  Simon Lockwood.  (111001M3c)
hsb Harrogate v Huddersfield. Simon Lockwood. (111001M3c)

Harrogate are preparing themselves for three key battles in November after moving five points clear at the top of North Hockey Division Two East.

The Granby outfit hammered bottom of the table Huddersfield Dragons 8-2 last weekend, setting themselves up nicely for what could be a season-defining run of games.

They welcome fourth-place Wakefield this Saturday (1.30pm start) before hosting closest challengers Sheffield University Bankers and travelling to Lincoln Roses in the coming weeks.

Coach Gary Nash knows these next games could help his side pull further away from the competition, or open things up again if they do not perform to their best.

“It has been an excellent start to the season but we have won nothing yet and must not get complacent,” he said.

“However, we have not reached our potential and that will be the challenge for the players in the next few weeks.

“Wakefield will be tough opponent this weekend as they are the only other side unbeaten in the league.

“And we know all about Sheffield Bankers and Lincoln from last season where we had some hard-fought matches.

“The next three matches are key to deciding the title as three good wins and we can put some real daylight between us and the rest.”

Last weekend, Harrogate strolled to victory against Huddersfield, despite not being at their best.

A poor playing surface made for a disjointed game, which ‘Gate had sewn up early after scoring four early goals.

Steve Couture, who is due to miss the rest of the season as he goes travelling, scored a hat-trick, with Bart Zywiczka (2), Simon Lockwood (2) and David Swarbrick also notching.