Batley Ladies suffer season’s first defeat in top of table clash with Horsforth

Mel Neal set up a goal for Gail Culshaw.
Mel Neal set up a goal for Gail Culshaw.

Batley Ladies suffered their first defeat in Yorkshire Hockey Association Division Four West when they went down 7-4 in their top of the table clash with Horsforth last Saturday.

The sides went into the game with Horsforth above Batley in the table on goal difference but they had the better of a terrific match in which both sides contributed.

The game started at a fast and intense pace with Batley looking to take an early advantage.

A quick attack down the right saw a pass into the circle by Gail Culshaw fired into the net by Rach Stewart but Batley’s lead lasted a matter of minutes as Horsforth moved down field and slipped a shot past Helen Langwick to make it 1-1.

The end-to-end start continued as Batley regained the lead immediately as Mel Neal made a good run down the middle and the move was continued by Rach Stewart before Gail Culshaw slotted home.

Batley were picking up plenty of free balls to create opportunities as they piled pressure on Horsforth.

Jo Forbes got on the end of a great pass into the circle by Stewart to score and put Batley 3-1 up after 20 minutes.

Horsforth responded with strong attacks of their own, picking out key players but Langwick preserved Batley’s lead with a number of great saves before she was eventually beaten by a good shot.

Both sides continued to have spells on attack but it was Horsforth who grabbed an equaliser.

Batley again responded immediately and Jo Forbes found the back to put Batley 4-3 ahead at half-time.

Horsforth changed things around in the second half, as key players were moved around the pitch in an attempt to chance the course of the game.

Suddenly Batley were on the back foot and it took some good saves from Langwick, with support from the defence, to keep Horsforth at bay.

Eventually Horsforth broke Batley down, making attacks down the right to level for a third time.

Horsforth were then awarded a penalty and faked a shot to the left, to slot it past Langwick into the right corner of the net as they led for the first time.

Horsforth continued to force the play and out manoeuvred Batley with two more shots finding the back of the net before the end of the game as they secured a 7-4 win.

It had proved a brilliant game to play in and an even better one as spectator but defeat saw Batley slip to fourth place in the table, three points behind Horsforth, who are now clear at the top.

Player of the match went to Helen Langwick who kept Batley in the game for long periods.

Batley travel to Northallerton this week looking to bounce back from their first loss.