Batley complete impressive weekend double of victories
Batley Ladies moved back into second place in Yorkshire Hockey Association Division Four North West following a terrific weekend which yielded wins over Northallerton and Leeds Adel.
Batley completed a league double over Northallerton as they earned a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
They went straight on attack to create opportunities on goal but although they were denied by some desperate Northallerton defending, Batley maintained the pressure with Sarah Fretwell leading from the front.
Batley took the lead with a well worked goal as Kat Gonzalez Ricardez pushed out from the back and produced a superb ball for Kim Sharples to round defenders and slot home.
Batley were able to roll on and off their substitutes, giving players well deserved breaks and Gail Culshaw came straight off the bench to round the defence and hit a well placed strike into the bottom corner to double the lead before half-time.
Northallerton looked to hit back in the second half but superb defending by Sophie Pearce and Gonzalez Ricardez kept them at bay until a great strike from a short corner saw the visitors pull a goal back with 20 minutes to go.
Batley were left frustrated as they won numerous short corners which they were unable to convert, although they had done enough to secure victory in which player of the match was jointly shared between Kim Sharples and Kat Gonzalez Ricardez.
Batley faced a second home game of the weekend as Leeds Adel were the visitors for a rearranged fixture on Sunday.
Batley took charge from the start, passing the ball around to create dangerous moves.
With less than 10 minutes gone, Gemma Elsworth slipped a pass to Tina Johnson at the top of the circle and she neatly slid the ball home.
A great run by Kim Sharples gave Rach Stewart the chance to score and the roles were then reversed as Stewart set up Sharples to make it 3-0 at half-time.
Batley were keen to pick up the pace but Leeds Adel also started to attack, using a key player in the centre of the pitch to work the ball through and they won a succession of penalty corners which were well closed down by Jenni Pollington.
Batley won a penalty corner and Gemma Elsworth picked up the rebound from an Ash Hallas shot to score a fourth.
A great pass out of defence from Pollington allowed Stewart to work the ball round the Adel defence to score a great goal.
Leeds Adel again forced a series of penalty corners but the strong Batley defence of Pollington, Sophie Pearce and Katie Amis Hughes ensured goalkeeper Helen Langwick barely touched the ball all game.
Stewart twice capitalised on passes from Sharples to score and also latched onto a Hallas ball to take her tally to five goals, which earned her player of the match and Batley an impressive 8-0 win.
Back-to-back victories sees Batley move a point clear of third placed Pudsey and four behind leaders Horsfoth ahead of Saturday’s trip to Slazenger.