Player drain causing headaches for Harpenden Hockey Club

PUBLISHED: 12:12 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:15 29 October 2018

Megan Anderson prepares to shoot from a short corner in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

Megan Anderson prepares to shoot from a short corner in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

Harpenden Hockey Club hope they can attract more players will head to the club soon as they battle an all too familiar drain of talent.

Kelsey Alderman takes on Liz Phoenix in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOKelsey Alderman takes on Liz Phoenix in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

Saturday saw the Woollams-based club’s ladies, one of six senior sides to turn out in the white shirts, lost to Stevenage to extend their winless run in East Hockey League Division Two South West to six.

Beth Carlisle takes on Gemma Roakey in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOBeth Carlisle takes on Gemma Roakey in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

It was a far cry from their battling performance away to East London which almost saw them shock their high-flying hosts.

Kelsey Alderman on the ball in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOKelsey Alderman on the ball in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

But of far more concern at the moment is the loss of playing members, something that affects every club in all sports at some point.

Steph Oliver tries to finish off a short corner in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOSteph Oliver tries to finish off a short corner in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

It has left the ladies having to field a team with a wide age range.

Beth Carlisle takes on Gemma Roakey in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOBeth Carlisle takes on Gemma Roakey in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

Ladies’ first-team captain Megan Anderson said: “We’ve got one young player who is around 14-years-old but then we’ve got some much older, more experienced players.

Beth Carlisle turns her opponent in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOBeth Carlisle turns her opponent in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“It’s a balance but we want to attract a few more players and some decent ones as well.

Joanna McGuire in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOJoanna McGuire in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“It’s a strength that you can bring so many junior players up, which as a club we are trying to do, but they don’t have that experience and aren’t quite as strong as those who are a few years older.”

Megan Anderson prepares to shoot from a short corner in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOMegan Anderson prepares to shoot from a short corner in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

Anderson admitted the loss of players was a worry with the problem affecting what can be done on the training pitch as well as on matchday.

Judith Weston plays a pass in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOJudith Weston plays a pass in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

She said: “Someone goes off and has a baby, you get someone else who moves away so we have lost a few.

Stevenage defend a short corner in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOStevenage defend a short corner in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“We have gained one or two strong players but we just need a bit more time as a team.

Katie Lampton plays a pass down the line in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOKatie Lampton plays a pass down the line in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“We’ve got a massive junior section so they are coming up but it is slow going.”

Yasmin Munro on the ball in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOYasmin Munro on the ball in the match between Harpenden and Stevenage ladies first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

Against Stevenage one goal was all they could manage as a poor first-half showing led to them slumping to a 7-1 defeat.

And according to Anderson it led to a deserved dressing down after the game from coach Jane Hurt.

She said: “We played so much better last week against a much-stronger team but then this week sadly we let Stevenage walk all over us.

“We had some moments to say the least but nobody played their best game.

“We’re very disappointed really.”

The second team had a slightly better day as they drew 1-1 at home to Letchworth 3rds.

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