Knockout Finals: Harrogate on the hunt for honours

Harrogate HC

As we approach the Knockout finals weekend teams from across the country are relishing the chance to play on the same pitch as some of the best hockey players in the world, from Alex Danson to George Pinner and plenty more besides. This weekend is their moment in the spotlight at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre; Our Wembley. Our Twickenham. Where hockey history happens.

Yorkshire club Harrogate will be facing Alderley Edge in the Investec Women’s Trophy final on Saturday. Despite finishing seventh in their league they are eager to make an impression on the big stage.

As hockey players know you can come from all walks of life to make up your team so we delved deeper into Harrogate ladies 1s to find out a bit more about this Yorkshire side.

22-year-old Lucy Wood captains the diverse side which features farmers, students, marketing experts, doctors and even a dentist who kindly provided the team with new gum shields!

Carolyn Hurst their goalkeeper is part of the O45 England Masters and in Laura Beardsmore they have a three-time World Champion in Aikido, a form of martial art. Up front is the ‘Usain Bolt’ of Yorkshire, top scorer Shelly Harrison.

In typical Yorkshire fashion they have got a fun bus full of friends and family to cheer them on.

"The commitment of the fans is somewhat like Premiership football – getting up at 8, packed lunches at the ready just to come and support our Harrogate ladies. It’s great to have such a fantastic bunch of supporters; it really does spur us on. We have treated them to a bus with a toilet too!’ jokes Wood.

In terms of the team's preparation for the final they have forced themselves to those extra fitness sessions, knowing every advantage is crucial: 

“With it being past the end of the season it’s been tough for us to keep match fit ready for the final. We’ve continued training and have had extra fitness sessions as well as arranging a few friendlies to keep us at match standard.” Wood continues “Jonathan Till our manager has been keeping an eye on our training and given us the extra motivation when we’ve needed it. He’s also been doing a lot of research on our opponents – he’s great at facts and tactics!”

Despite getting stuck in a lift at their own awards evening and missing the all-important flight to their tour, these Yorkshire roses are determined to go back home with the trophy. They are certainly planning to enjoy every moment along the way. Wood and the rest of her team are extremely excited to be playing in the Olympic Park and just oozing passion for the game we all love.

"All of us love the club and are so proud that we get to represent Harrogate in a national final and the club are definitely proud and supportive of us too!"

Who will win the war of the roses in the Investec Women’s Trophy? Not long to find out! Tickets still available here.