Harrogate Hockey captain Luke Lambert has declared himself satisfied with his club’s first season back in North Division One, despite finishing the campaign with defeat.
Gate went down 5-2 at home to Chester last Saturday which sees them end up in fourth position in the table after winning promotion to this level last year.
Bowdon and Formby took the two top spots – both sides Harrogate defeated during the season – with Urmston and Didsbury unable to escape the clutches of relegation.
The Granby-based club will now take a well-earned break over the summer, but plans are already underway for next season with talks taking place regarding two signings and a coach.
Harrogate will have to replace top scorer David Swarbrick who goes away to university, while several up and coming second teamers will be looking to push for a place in an ageing squad.
Reflecting on his first year as captain Lambert believes Harrogate had a “reasonable” campaign, adding he has “failed in attempts to improve professionalism, commitment and discipline”.
“However, one of our main aims was to tighten up defensively and we have achieved that. Credit must go to the back five for this, as well as those in front who have set the tone with a good work ethic.
“David has been our outstanding player of the season, his goals, pace, dribbling and directness have been a threat all year,” he added.
It was this skill which got Harrogate back into the game against Chester, with Swarbrick scoring a fine solo goal to pull the hosts back to 3-2 behind mid-way through the second half. Stu Norman had earlier scored a penalty flick following a lacklustre start to the game which saw ‘Gate fall two goals behind.
Lambert’s side created enough chances to win the game twice over but were unable to capitalise, with Chester ptaking advantage of poor marking at the other end.
Harrogate’s ladies side also finished fourth as their North Division One campaign came to an end with a 6-0 thrashing of Wigton.
The result marks an excellent end to the season, with Tilly Hall’s side winning their last five games and eight out of 11 since the turn of the year.
The girls face a similar challenge to the men in 2014/15; with a number of key players heading to university,they will prove big shoes to fill.