Batley Ladies were edged out 1-0 on their trip to Harrogate as they slipped a place to third in Yorkshire Hockey Association Division Four North West last Saturday.
Having had an enforced week off when their game against Leeds Adel was postponed due to a frozen pitch, Batley returned to action with a fixture which has historically proved difficult.
The game started and it was clear that Harrogate had fielded a strong, skilful side who were taking advantage of some of the gaps in the Batley line up.
Kat Hawkyard was running the defence, which was forced to work hard as Harrogate mounted numerous attacks down the middle and left side.
Batley were struggling to get the ball through and Kim Sharples found herself coming deeper in to the field to retrieve the ball and launch attacks.
Hawkyard, Janna MacInnis and Katie Amis-Hughes were keeping the Harrogate attacks at bay, but it wasn’t long before goalkeeper Helen Langwick was tested.
Harrogate had the upper hand as Batley struggled to plug the gap in the middle of the field.
Gail Culshaw and Rach Stewart had a couple of breaks but inevitably, Harrogate eventually slipped the ball past Langwick and Batley went 1-0 down just before half-time.
Batley took some time to regroup for the second half, moving players around and the impact of these changes were clear as the second half began.
Batley started to close down the attacks and mark out the strong players to put Harrogate under pressure.
Vicky Almond and Mel Neal worked together to shut down the home attacks down the left and funnel Batley to the other end and they won several penalty corners and started to look more dangerous on attack.
Harrogate were still strong though and tested the Batley midfield and defence, winning a penalty corner of their own.
Mel Neal was equal to their attack though and cleared the ball with ease but although Batley battled until the final whistle, they were unable to find an equaliser as Harrogate held on.
Player of the match went to Katie Amis-Hughes for her sterling display in defence.
Batley will look to bounce back as they face two games this week as they host Northallerton on Saturday before meeting Leeds Adel in their rearranged game on Sunday.