England and Yorkshire cricket star Jonny Bairstow was in town to support Harrogate Hockey Club’s championship-winning men’s 4th team.
Bairstow, who is good friends with the Harrogate Hockey Club chairman and 4th team player Julian Rich, turned up to support the team in their last league game of the season at their Granby home base against local rivals Ben Rhydding.
Harrogate won the match 2-1 to round off a successful season – claiming the Yorkshire League Division 4 title and the club’s Centenary Cup for the most points gained in a season. The side, captained by Fraser Mitchell, pipped the 3rd team into second place.
Mitchell said: What a brilliant way to finish the season – the sun was shining, we had a special guest and we won two titles! We started our campaign badly, losing the first game but following that had just two draws and the rest wins. Our team is made up of youth and experience with six under 16s in the squad who all have representative honours.
Bairstow was happy to pose for pictures with the winners and also took time to have a hit-about with some of the club’s junior stars ahead of their trip to the National u16 finals in London next weekend (April 8&9). Bairstow was a talented hockey player during his days at St Peter’s School, York and he clearly hadn’t lost his skills, demonstrating some drag-flicks and hard-hitting passes. He could have easily gone on to play hockey at a higher level had his cricket not taken over.
Jonny Bairstow said: It’s great to be able to come along and support hockey in Yorkshire. It’s a brilliant game and I’d love to have been able to keep playing but cricket is my focus. There is some amazing talent at this club and so good that two of the junior teams are heading to the national finals.