Leeds Hockey Club’s two top teams made the trip to Belper looking to go into the pre-Christmas break celebrating.
Sitting just one point below Leeds Ladies in the National North, Belper were hoping to create a bit of space between themselves and the bottom three, and that’s exactly what the home side did.
As in previous games, Leeds started slowly and it took just four minutes for Sophie Aspinall to double her season’s tally with a well-taken goal from open play for the hosts.
This provided the wake-up call Leeds needed but they were still one down after the first 35 minutes.
Winning a penalty corner, Leeds showed their dangerous side with a glorious conversion by stalwart Katie Toogood.
With only four minutes left, Leeds found themselves a little too high up the pitch as Belper broke on the counter. A few swift passes and a perfectly timed run saw Anna Boyd slide the ball past a despairing dive from Pheobe Menear in the Leeds goal.
Leeds go into the mid-season break seventh in the table.
The men’s game was a different affair, as the spectators were treated to a dominant first-half display by Leeds.
From the starting whistle, Leeds turned up the heat on their hosts, forcing them back with a solid team showing. Eight minutes in and that pressure paid off with a well-taken drag shot by Nathan Hill following a penalty corner.
This goal put Hill on six for the season, level top scorer for Leeds with Harry Lankfer.
Leeds weren’t happy with just the one, however, and in four first-half minutes they put another two past a struggling Belper keeper. First, David Swarbrick got his name on the score sheet, then Lankfer took back his top scorer’s spot with a perfectly worked team goal.
Despite pulling one back in the second half through Sam Dixon, Belper still finished the game three behind, with Martin Sutherland sneaking the ball into the goal with less than a minute left.
This win keeps Leeds in touching distance of the league leaders, in fifth place only six points behind the top two.
Leeds Hockey Club full results: Men’s 1sts 4 Belper 1; Men’s 2nds 1 Harrogate 2; Men’s 3rds 2 Sheffield Hallam 4; Men’s 4ths 3 Boston Spa 1; Men’s 5ths 2 Harrogate 2; Men’s 6ths 1 Bradford 2; Men’s 7ths 0 Tadcaster 4; Men’s 8ths 1 Grimsby 2; Ladies 1sts 1 Belper 2; Ladies 2nds 1 Huddersfield Dragons 0; Ladies 3rds 2 Bridlington 3; Ladies 4ths 5 Otliensians 0; Ladies 5ths 0 University of Leeds 0; Ladies 6ths 4 Thirsk 0.