Wingman flies in to help Men’s 5s to 4-1 win over Slazengers

Tom Poll set off for work bright and early Saturday morning, only to find when he got to his desk at the airport that he had in fact booked a week’s leave, so he was available for hockey after all. Team mates were surprised and delighted to see the speedy winger on the pitch at 3pm, but there was a grim inevitability about the fines session afterwards. That’s DoD sorted, then.

We’ve had a win, a draw and a loss already this season, so you can forget about those other Adel teams who score 10 every week. If you want real drama and excitement, it’s the Men’s 5s who bring the crazy. Once again the squad featured a random assortment of youths, super vets, and 5th team debutants having a mid-life crisis …. Andy Hedge, for goodness sake, caressing the ball and arguing with the opposition like he’d never been away. At the back Skully was an absolute rock, with multiple outlets down the left through Tom H (another fine game from the relatively new guy) and Tom P, and on the right through flying Finlay and new guy Stef. (Editor’s note: remember to say Stef was rubbish). Sadly Stefan had a very bad game, can’t pass, can’t tackle and definitely can’t dribble. It is probably best if he stays in the 5s for a long time while he tries to find his form again.

Mikey showed once again that he is the best keeper for his age in West Yorkshire and maybe the north east, with a commanding performance, standing up tall whenever Slaz got a shot on goal. Richard Poll joined in the fun at regular intervals, with a bit of abuse from the opposition who said “all he can do is hit”. Which may be true, but resulted in a succession of 100mph rockets straight through the Slazengers ring to pick up out an orange shirt with pinpoint accuracy. Maybe hitting is not such a bad thing after all?

And so to the goals: two in the first half from living legend Ian “Snifffer” Phillips, who broke the deadlock after about 15 minutes with an absolute screamer from the top of the D (Editor’s note: nobody will believe you) and then doubled his tally with a sprint from the halfway line ending in a reverse hit into the roof of the net (seriously?…).

We’d been two-nil up at half time the previous week and only finished with a draw, so the general mood at half time was “please don’t screw up”. Given that Ian was now desperate to avoid buying a jug, we had to find the goals from somewhere else, but who could we turn to?

Cometh the hour, cometh the Max. The 5s forward line is a blend of youth and inexperience, and we are proud of our talented, fast and hardworking attackers, Max Holley, Tom Alldred, and Matty Snow. Regular readers of this column will know that the boys take it in turns to torment opposition defenders, and this week it was Max who finished off the collective effort, with a couple of well-taken goals, firing in from close range for the first and then a cheeky flick for the second. Voting was tight in the bar afterwards, but Max deservedly triumphed as MoM. Slaz got a consolation goal which was fair enough; they were a nice bunch and we made them wait about an hour in the bar for a plate of stodgy garlic pasta, so the least we could do was give them a goal.

So – two wins and a draw from the first four fixtures, everyone’s having fun, and some attractive passing hockey that looks pretty good for this level. Half term next week, usual selection crisis due to family holidays etc. Bring it on. #atid

 

Double promotion for u16 boys

The Yorkshire youth league involves a series of mini-tournaments every month, with one team promoted and another relegated from each division.  The boys u16s have now won their first two tournaments of the season, playing some slick passing hockey and showing nerves of steel when it matters.

In September, the boys began with a cagey 1-0 win over our hosts for the day, Ben Rhydding “B”, thanks to a Charlie Sutton chip past the keeper’s left ear.  Charlie and midfield dynamo Joe Greer have stepped up from the u14s whenever required, and look totally at home in this age group despite often much larger opposition.  The second game was another tight squeeze, against Chapeltown, until Finlay Holden brought the ball down out of the air and rolled it under the flailing keeper: 1-0 again.  Both sides in the final fixture had maximum points so it was a clash of the titans against Rotherham, augmented by players from the now defunct (but very talented) Sheffield Bankers u16s.  Everyone expected a close contest, but the boys had other ideas and ran out 5-0 winners with another goal from Finlay, two from Seb Wilkinson (voted man of the match) and two more from Dan, our returning centre forward.

So – promoted to Div 4, and in October we were up against stronger sides, although we were safe from relegation since Sheff Hallam didn’t fancy the trip to York and stayed at home.  In the first match, a hard-working Northallerton side gave us the opportunity to self-destruct, which we nearly did, conceding a p-flick (missed) and doing some comedy defending which really wasn’t that funny since they scored from their only real chance.  Fortunately Paddy had brought his big stick, and drilled an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner, which was the cue for a period of strong Adel attacks, resulting in a well-taken goal for Charlie high into the net across the keeper, and a richly deserved, nicely finished strike for Ben Wheatcroft, his first (of many we hope) at this level.  3-1.    In the second game, against Harrogate B, the tempo was high and so were some the tackles, as both sides showed they could play but struggled to find any real fluency against well-matched opponents.  Finlay claimed a goal for a deflection through the keeper’s legs, but neither umpire saw the touch and so it stayed 0-0.  Because they had identical records, the teams agreed to an Olympic-style penalty shuttle shoot-out to decide promotion.  Charlie sent the keeper the wrong way, 1-0.  There should be a video clip here if I can master the technology.

Harrogate did the same, 1-1, then Ben Carlin came next and smashed it though the keeper’s legs, 2-1.  At last, time for our x-rated goalkeeper Sholto to restore his reputation, showing great agility to put the striker off and force a miss – advantage Adel.   Patrick Haywood coolly slotted number three, and after another Harrogate goal, Simon Littler converted to make it 4-2.  All the pressure was now on Harrogate’s striker, up against the might of Sholto, and he missed, giving Adel a 4-2 shootout win.

There’s no league fixture in November; instead a cup competition against three of the very best sides around.  We just might not win that one, but it will be excellent preparation for the dizzy heights of Div 3 when we return to action in December.   Congratulations to all the boys for an outstanding season so far, hard work on the training ground is paying off with great results on the pitch.  Over the two tournaments we have benefited from squad rotation to cover the gaps and share out the pain – so well done to all involved – Sholto, Simon, Ben C, Theo, Tom, Max, Adam, Joe, Mathew, Seb, Ben W, Dan, Charlie, Paddy & Fin

FAMOUS FIVES AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PINK LADY by Enid Holden

It’s that time of year again when the Famous Fives load up the car with hockey sticks and sandwiches and a picnic blanket. And head off for an adventure to exciting places like, er, Huddersfield, accompanied by Sniffer, the Welsh border cross.

There was much fun to be had along the way, with 80,000 rugby league fans also heading west on the M62 at exactly the same time.  Oh how we laughed, at three miles an hour.  And naughty Tom Poll had drunk all the ginger beer the night before, so he looked a bit squiffy.

Once the action started it was a joy to watch the young whippersnappers making shapes all over the pitch, passing the ball beautifully and drawing admiring comments from the opposition fans.  Joe Greer pulling the strings in the centre of the pitch, and some very strong performances from newish guy Tom H. who played every position in the midfield diamond, and Max who ran tirelessly.  Congratulations to Tom Alldred who had a fantastic senior team debut, was a goal threat throughout, and made lots of runs for his teammates.   But on this occasion it was a familiar double act who got the goals.  First, Matty Snow, with a clinical finish for his second in two games – by the end of the season some defenders in our league will be having nightmares about marking Matty.  And another goal for Finlay Holden, this time a classy flick into the net, with the ball bobbling around and no one getting a decent stick on it.

So far so good, but this wouldn’t be a proper adventure without a bit of mystery, which was provided by the sinister pink lady, who gave about 27 short corners against the Adel defence, some of which were right.   The pressure told and in the second half a much-improved Huddersfield side worked some nice passes to score a deserved goal.   The game was set up for an exciting, end-to-end finish but Adel couldn’t clear their lines and relied heavily on Mikey in goal to keep out the barrage of shots with his feet, legs, hands (and some of David Maj’s spare body parts).   The back line, including a sub, had a combined age of 403, but despite this wealth of experience, they seemed determined to give the ball to a purple shirt.  Eventually Huddersfield got one of their short corners right and made it 2-2 with about a minute left on the clock.

Game over you would think, but there was still time for the pink lady to pull one more scary surprise with an after-the-final-whistle short corner, from which two defenders were simultaneously sent to the halfway line for “breaking early”.  You couldn’t make this stuff up, that’s what really happened.  Thankfully the wicked Dragons fluffed it, and the game ended in a draw which was probably a fair result on the balance of play.

MoM is impossible to choose: probably a three way tie between Matty for his relentless workrate, Joe who constantly built the attacks, and Finlay who defended from the front, tackling outside his own D and marauding up the wing.  By comparison DoD is easy, it’s the entire Adel back line including wise old heads like Holden, Skully, Maj and Akroyd T., who really should know better.  They will all be on detention with no milk or biscuits, at least until next week’s adventure.