Batley Ladies show battling qualities to seal fine victory on long trip to Thirsk

Kim Sharples shared player-of-the-match after helping Batley Ladies to a 2-1 win at Thirsk last Saturday.
Kim Sharples shared player-of-the-match after helping Batley Ladies to a 2-1 win at Thirsk last Saturday.

Batley Ladies held on to secure a 2-1 win on their longest trip of the Yorkshire Hockey Association Division Four North West season away to Thirsk last Saturday.

With no rain in sight and a bonus that the sun was starting to shine, Batley were aiming to bounce back from defeat to Halifax the previous week.

They started on the offensive, with great attacking play from forwards Kim Sharples, Gail Culshaw and Rach Stewart backed up from the midfield of Gemma Elsworth and Vicky Almond.

Batley won numerous short corners but were unable to break the deadlock.

Thirsk also had many attacks but were thwarted by Batley’s first choice goalkeeper Helen Langwick as it remained 0-0.

A quick Batley breakaway saw Stewart pass wide to speedy winger Culshaw, who chipped the ball over the goalkeeper for Stewart to slide across the floor and score the opening goal.

Thirsk looked for an immediate response and went back on attack but found Mel Neal solid at the heart of the Batley defence .

Neal sent Batley on the counter, passing to Stewart, who chipped the goalkeeper and Culshaw pounced with a decisive breakaway goal.

Just before half-time, Thirsk replied with a fantastic goal of their own to reduce the arrears going into the break.

The second half saw most of Batley’s attacks come from the confident Elsworth, who showed fantastic skills to create attacking opportunities.

Batley forced a further five short corners but were unable to capitalise on the chances.

Thirsk showed great character throughout and never gave up but Batley held on for victory with player of the match split five ways between Sharples, Stewart, Neal, Langwick and Elsworth.

Victory leaves Batley fourth in the table, four points behind second placed Pudsey, as they face a double weekend at home to sixth placed Otliensians on Saturday and third-bottom side Harrogate on Sunday.

Batley Ladies are looking for new players and anyone wanting an opportunity to join a family orientated team can find them on Facebook.