Leeds Hockey Club Ladies first XI began their assault on the National Conference North with a trip to face Fylde, and travelled back from Preston with three points in the bag.
Coach Gawaine Mackenzie-Hogg described the team’s first game as ‘hard, tough but amazing’, and the ladies did the club and themselves proud by registering a 2-1 win. Initial nerves showed but, after going one down in the first half, Leeds showed why they had gone unbeaten the previous season.
Niamh Elston broke down the right side to create some much-needed space for Leeds, before passing to Lauren Ellewood. Ellewood, in turn, found Becky Hutson on top of the area, and she hit a first-time shot past the Fylde goalkeeper into the bottom-left of the goal.
Spurred on by this, Leeds began to control the game, and after some great play in midfield by Emma Bray allowed Ellewood to create a two-on-one situation, it was Mae Welch who had the final touch to score and secure the victory.
The ladies will be hoping to keep the momentum going with their first home game of the season on Saturday, when they host Sutton Coldfield.
With the ladies celebrating their first foray into the National League, the Men’s first XI were also hoping to get off to a winning start. Their opponents at Sports Park Weetwood were Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Hallam.
After a cagey first half, it was Sheffield who took the lead from a short corner, their no7 placing the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs. It wasn’t long before a second from Sheffield, with another short corner, doubled their lead.
Luck wasn’t with the blues, as, despite a late consolation goal by Justin Brown, the game ended with a 2-1 loss. With Bowdon away this week, head coach Lewis Butcher will be hoping to turn things around quickly.
Full results from Leeds Hockey Club: Men’s 1sts 1 Sheffield Hallam 2; Men’s 2nds 2 Bowdon 1; Men’s 3rds 3 Morpeth 0; Men’s 4ths 7 Doncaster 1; Men’s 5ths 1 Brigg 1; Men’s 6ths 8 Grimsby 1; Men’s 7ths 2 Harrogate 1; Men’s 8ths 1 Wakefield 1.
Ladies 1sts 2 Fylde 1; Ladies 2nds 2 Thirsk 1; Ladies 3rds 2 Airedale 0; Ladies 4ths 4 Horsforth 3; Ladies 5ths 4 Leeds Ladies 6ths 0.