Harrogate Hockey vice-captain Graeme Bevington sang the praises of the club’s young players after his much-changed side secured a creditable 1-1 draw away to Sheffield Hallam.
The result keeps fifth place Gate in touch with both Hallam and Sheffield Bankers going into the last three games of the season, with relegation-threatened Urmston next up at the Granby Hockey Centre on Saturday (1.30pm push back).
The hosts expect several experienced faces backafter missing the trip to the Steel City last weekend, with skipper Luke Lambert, Simon Lockwood, Steve Couture, Russ Bowen, Stu Norman, Will Rogers and Peter Shipston all unavailable.
This meant Gate made the trip to Hallam, the new home of the London Olympics 2012 pitch, with a much-changed side.
Veteran Gary Nash was joined by second team players Nick Wilcock and Rob Tinker, while Louis Rogers and Joe Horne both made first team debuts without any reserves on the bench. Hallam started brightly and ‘keeper Rob Stanworth was called upon to make five diving saves.
Harrogate’s Dave Swarbrick raced clear and finished smartly with his reverse stick to give the Granby side a half-time lead. It took Hallam until the 55th minute to find a deserved equaliser.
Bevington was quick to praise the work rate and skills of his side. “I thought that we battled hard against a good side and were well deserving of a point,” he said.
“We kept good defensive discipline and commitment and the players who came up from the second team gave a great account of themselves.”
Looking ahead to Urmston, Bevington is expecting a tough battle. “Saturday will be a very different game against a side who are trying to avoid relegation,” said Bevington.
“They may not have as much individual quality but I expect they will fight for every ball and we will need to match that commitment and desire if we want to try and get that third position back.”
Harrogate’s ladies side earneda 2-0 win over Deeside Ramblers in North Division One.
On Sunday they crashed out of the Investec Women’s Trophy, losing 2-1 to Didsbury Greys.This weekend they travel to lowly Bolton (11.15am push back), looking for another three points.