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
Plenty of matches for all our senior teams at the weekend, plus the start (and end) of some cup runs and then some excellent news from our junior teams playing in the Yorkshire Youth Hockey Leagues.
Saturday began in wind and rain with the ladies 2s having to get out of bed early to play against Slazengers who are looking to bounce straight back up to the North East leagues after being relegated last season. A competitive game saw the lead exchanged several times, the frames of both goals helping defenders, some goal line clearances helping goalkeepers and one memorable save well above her head by Lily Reynolds to deny the Slazengers forwards. With the game evenly poised at 2-2 and the clock ticking down, Adel had defended like Trojans as Slazengers tried to throw the kitchen sink in search of the winner. Just when it looked like the Adel dam would burst, the ball was overturned in the Adel half and two quick passes later Katie Wood was through on goal in a 1 v 1 against the Slazengers keeper. Those on the sidelines knew what to expect and Woody did not disappoint as she feinted one way and went the other leaving herself the chance to roll the ball into an empty net to secure a 3-2 win and her own personal hat trick. First 100% record maintained and the 2s are top of the league after 3 games.
The Mens 3s followed in what can only be described as a lesson in how to play the game with an exceptionally strong Scarborough team playing with pace, skill, movement and clearly a team playing far too low down the divisions. The 9-1 scoreline looked a tad harsh on the 3s who stuck to their task and worked hard but the Scarborough team have bossed all their games this season and look to be heading for promotion even at this early stage.
The next game also saw 10 goals although this time the Adel team were on the right side of the scoreline as the 11 men from Lindum 2s were further reduced due to a back injury to one of their players and the Adel forwards ran riot by scoring double figures for the first time this season. Another 100% record maintained, a top of the table slot after 3 games and goals shared out between the recalled Bayford (4), Moorhouse (2), Purdy (2), Mayhew and the goal of the day with a well executed cover drive from skipper Hemming.
The ladies 3s then finally got their season up and running with a 3-0 home win v Sheff Uni Bankers to put a birthday smile on skipper Gaby’s face and the ladies 5s rounded off the day with a similar scoreline against another team from Sheffield, but this time it was Sheffield Hallam making the trip back down the M1 without the points.
Our away teams did not fare quite as well with the ladies 1s battling hard after a long journey to Chester but going down 2-0 and the mens 2s with a shorter journey away to Ramgarhia losing narrowly 2-1 with the opposition scoring a controversial winner. The Mens 4s had a closer game than they might have expected with a 3-2 win away at Wakefield and the mens 5s came back with a point from Huddersfield with the excellent write up elsewhere giving the full story of the game. It sounds like a policy of playing the youngsters up front to score the goals whilst the oldies at the back try and keep them out but they nearly came unstuck in the last few minutes but some valiant goalkeeping from Mikey secured a point.
And finally the ladies 2s came from behind at Cleckheaton to get a draw in a 2-2 game.
Sunday saw the boys under 16s have another successful day (well written up by John Holden once again) and then the Mens 1s supplemented by half of the mens 2s took on Doncaster 3s in the first round of the cup. In a ding dong game where both sides held the lead on at least 2 occasions, the game looked to be heading for penalties but Doncaster stole a late winner to go through to the next round. In a game when penalty corners looked like being crucial, Jackson had opened the scoring from open play after good work by Moorhouse, Hendley making a rare foray onto the playing surface had taken the lead from a penalty corner and Moorhouse scored in the second half from another penalty corner but only having 11 players finally told as an injury to Tom Ibison and the lack of fresh legs on the bench gave Doncaster the advantage late in the game.
Thanks to all spectators but in particular our umpires this weekend especially Jim Cockburn who managed to do 3 games on Saturday and another on Sunday (just don’t be in the same room as Jim and Sam Jackson in the next few weeks and bring up officiating!).
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
Another full set of league fixtures although the Mens 4s were unable to complete their game due to an injury to the opposition keeper leading to the game having to be abandoned. We hope the Huddersfield keeper is recovering well and fit for when the game needs to be replayed.
As a club overall it was a net win for the weekend with the 9 teams who completed their games scoring 21 goals and only conceding 17 goals. Adel teams collected 16 points and the opposition only mustered 10 points between them.
Top dogs this week were the Mens 2s with a 5-1 win for the 3rd week in a row with goals shared between Bayford, Stroomer and Buller. The Mens 1s had a tricky away trip to Hull who were also promoted with us last season and a 4-2 away victory was sweet after this fixture being the 1s only defeat last season. Sadly the Mens 3s could not continue the run going down 5-1 away at Bradford but the Mens 5s bounced back from losing their opening game to the 4s with an impressive 3-1 win against Rotherham and some impressive juniors on display with a great first goal created by Charlie Sutton for Matty Snow to coolly finish for his first goal in senior hockey.
On the ladies side, the 1s bounced back after defeat away at Bowdon last week and with 3 of the GSAL juniors unavailable due to a school fixture, the squad of 12 knew they would have a tough game against the 16 students from Newcastle University. Katie Wood equalised for Adel and then Adel had several further chances to secure victory including putting the ball in the net with 10 minutes to go, only for the disengaged umpire to correctly spot that an offence had taken place much to the disappointment of the team and Adel faithful on the sidelines.
The 2s had a tricky away game at Dewsbury who have often been a bogey team in the past but a determined performance saw them secure a late winner to retain their 100% record. The 3s lost narrowly in a much improved performance but the first clean sheet of the league season went to the 4s with a 2-0 win. The 5s sadly lost narrowly going down 2-1 in the first game of the day.
Thanks to all who coached, umpired or supported the Adel teams at the weekend. Please make sure you tell your skippers of your availability for this weekend and beyond at the earliest opportunity so that teams can be sorted out in good time next weekend!
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the planned Oktoberfest social event scheduled for 28th October has had to have a late change of plan due to the band Gaby had booked now beginning their world tour that week so they have given backword on performing live at the Adel War Memorial.
But don’t be despondent and down in the dumps, as your social secretaries, Gaby and James have swiftly made alternative plans and the legendary BEER-PONG will take place on 28th October instead. Tickets and further info are available via the usual social media outlets. Having seen some of the photos from last Saturday, it looks like the Mens 2s in particular are already practicing for the event.
Hopefully, the good starts made by most teams this season will be continuing and everyone can come along and have a great evening together.
After two strong pre season friendlies, the Ladies 3s were at full capacity for their first home game of the season against Harrogate. Even having finished above Harrogate last season, they had done very well in their summer leagues – so Adel were leaving nothing to chance.
With new faces mixed in throughout the squad for the game opener, both Adel and Harrogate started nervously. With much of the play in the oppositions attacking D, after less than ten minutes of the defence working tirelessly to ship the ball out, Harrogate scored 1-0. For the rest of the half, Adel mixed in moments of simple, and very good hockey working together down the wings and midfield. Harrogates midfield seemed just slightly stronger, and broke down any chance Adel had at creating play. Ladies 3s kept working – but the half time whistle came . . 2-0 to Harrogate.
After a quick half time talk, Adel started the second half with a different formation and seemed to start the stronger team. Adel had a good fifteen minute period where balls where being transferred through the back and down the wing, and some lovely work in the middle with Morag, Iona and Kiel, where the Adel seemed to unsettle Harrogate. There were periods of good communication throughout, and simple hockey on show. However, with a strong defence, Adel just couldn’t hold Harrogate off, and in the last fifteen minutes Harrogate scored another two, making the final result 4-0. Annabel and Charlie did have chances, but were unfortunately saved by the keeper, but as a team we did keep trying until the final whistle.
Credit to Harrogate for coming and giving the squad a good game, and showing us what ladies 3s need to work on for the season ahead. The squad will be ready for when we return to theirs in January. Even though it didn’t go Adel’s way on Saturday, there is plenty of promise in the squad for the season ahead to get some positive results. Every team we play there is always something to learn from.
Here’s to a tough away game this Saturday at Hull – however Ladies 3s are up for the challenge, but onwards and upwards as a lot can happen in a season!
MOM – this week goes to Morag for her continuously running, and working hard in midfield, and whatever her fitness regime is… I’d love to know!!!
….but having some youthful fresh legs in your team is a welcome addition.
Saturday afternoon saw the first league game for the Mens 4s and the Mens 5s with the YHA fixture schedulers kindly ensuring a home game for both teams by allowing them to play each other in their curtain raiser. I am not sure who was home and away but the 4s commandeered the home dug out and played in the day-glo fluorescent orange whilst the 5s spread themselves in the other 2 dug outs in black shirts and enjoyed the hospitality in the bar afterwards generously sharing the Michelin starred teas.
The Invincible 4s, fresh from their unbeaten last season when they won the league (but then bizarrely due to a lower league restructure don’t seem to have been promoted) were missing a few regulars with some also called up to support the 3s. The 5s were also looking to start where they left off last season with a top half position, and were a mix of the usual old lags and the next supply of talented juniors coming through the Simon Sutton production line.
Indeed the average age of the 5th team was around 35, but this cleverly disguised the fact that half the team were under 15 with 4 league debutants, and half the team were over 50. The age difference between youngest and oldest in the team was 57 years although the 5s were actually including 2 international players in their ranks (Wales and Scotland over 70 Masters players….).
Skipper Poll had a fraught week trying to raise 11 players, not helped by 24 or more players not being available in higher teams for the club. For the first league weekend of the season, this level of unavailability is disappointing, primarily as it meant the 5s had to drag me out of retirement to warm up the bench.
Another challenge was the lack of a second umpire at the start time, with Jim Cockburn having been held up in traffic coming back from umpiring at Huddersfield (Jim – if you are running late, end their game early next time, although this may have then not seen the mens 1s late comeback in the final 3 minutes to secure an away victory). President Poll kindly agreed to step in as temporary umpire to ensure a prompt start whilst simultaneously trying to impersonate John McEnroe with his natty headband.
The first half began cagily with both teams getting to know each other and few shots on goal. The pace of Thomas Poll was a constant threat for the 5s and his ability to dribble the full length of the pitch after a 12 hour shift at Leeds Bradford Airport was commendable allowing young Joe Grier and Matty Snow to quickly recognise that the best way to attack was to use their searing pace too. The 4s were solid as ever at the back with the experience duo of Crocker and Sibley protecting the confident Miles in the net.
Miles was quick to point out that the last time he let in a league goal was 10th December 2016 and the last time he let in more than one goal in a league game probably stretches back to before half the 5th team were born. As the half progressed, the 4s finally made the breakthrough with Allan Carvalho opening the scoring despite several brave saves by debutant Mikey McWilliams in goal and some stout defending by Tim “Skully” Ball and David Akroyd.
This should then have been the signal for the 4s to march on and add to their tally but the 5s had other ideas and after another mazy run by Tom Poll he played a 40 yard inch perfect pass to one of the 5s forwards loitering in the D. A thunderous shot beat Miles at his near post before he had time to move and the 5s were back on level terms. As the game went on, with the 5s juniors growing in confidence, it was clear that the predictable win for the 4s was by no means a certainty. Max Holley and Finlay Holden made good in roads down the right hand side of the pitch and the usual solidity from Dave Margerison prevented further shots on goal. Just before half time, Carvalho doubled his tally (having rather entertainingly put one reverse stick shot into the gardens of the overlooking houses) and the 2-1 scoreline at the interval gave both teams hope for the second half.
The second half saw the 4s suddenly strengthened with the appearance from nowhere of a couple of subs who allowed player rotation and fresh legs to take advantage of a tiring 5s team. Sniffer Phillips continued to apply pressure to the 4s back line and a flurry of short corners which the 4s managed to defend in a variety of ways (feet, breaking early…) still could not produce an equalising goal and eventually the 4s scored a couple more on the break with a well taken hat trick for Carvalho after several saves from McWilliams had denied him and one of the subs applying the finishing touches to another attack.
But the spirit in the 5s was raised when a training ground short corner move saw Poll senior hammer in a thunderbolt of a pass to young Finlay Holden sliding in at the far post to beat Miles once again. Spirits were raised, Snow and Grier in particular continued to drive away with electric running and clever stick work but a final goal for the 4s gave them sufficient daylight to see out the victory.
The 4s write up may paint a different picture but it was good to see a friendly yet competitive game at the lower end of the club supplemented by several pints of Black Sheep in the bar afterwards as on pitch rivalries were forgotten and the Adel spirit was evident. More importantly, it was also encouraging to see some of our talented junior players start out in their senior careers at Adel with many of them already displaying the ability and potential to rapidly progress to higher teams in the club but for the moment its always a pleasure to play along side those with quicker legs!
Thanks to all the parents encouraging both teams on the sidelines – in some cases I hope you are able to supplement the numbers on the pitch in future weeks.
Over the last few years we have usually had to wait until the business end of the season to see Adel crowned with silverware, as 6 promotions in 3 seasons will testify. This year, the trophies have started to arrive before the league season has even begun with success for both the mens and ladies first teams on Saturday. I am sure there will be more in depth and detailed write ups in due course covering the goals, the injuries and the celebrations but a short summary is below.
The ladies pre-league final preparation usually means a long day of hockey in the North Challenger, this time over at Halifax with 12 teams from Yorkshire represented. Adel have of course had previous success at this tournament but with a depleted squad, plus some new faces it was going to need some #ATID spirit to bring home the goods. A long day of hockey saw several injuries, but with the final going right down to the wire, Adel were victorious in a penalty stroke shoot out and Katy and her squad will have celebrated long into the night.
The men keen not to be outdone had a shorter journey to Weetwood for one of the various Yorkshire cup competitions against teams who they will compete against this season in the Yorkshire Premier League plus Brigg who play at a higher level in the North East. Big Ben’s men with a strong squad including a few new faces to provide additional goal threats went through the whole day without conceding a single goal and along the way they saw off teams from Huddersfield, Brigg and Bradford to cap off a successful day for the top end of the club. Both the mens and ladies 1s begin their league campaigns next weekend and based on the pre-season warm ups they should both be competing in the top half of their divisions and who knows where they might end up as the league season concludes in March.
Our other teams had final friendly fixtures with the ladies sides having some tough opposition to overcome. The ladies 2s led several times during their game against Harrogate and a Katie Wood first half hat trick would usually mean victory being a formality. But a young Harrogate side stuck to their task and fought back several times with the game going down to the wire. A well taken follow up strike from Sophie Lancaster at a penalty corner gave Adel further hope but in the end the 2s went down 5-4 and will be hoping that they get back to winning ways next week when the league gets under way. The 3s faced even stronger opponents from Leeds who were well drilled and organised but the Adel 3s should not be too despondent with a 5-2 defeat as they showed plenty of spirit to suggest they will be fighting all the way this season.
The other mens teams took the risky option of playing inter club games which always run the risk of injury if the games get overly competitive. The 2s played the 3s in the early morning start and Andy Boag heroically played on with a hand injury before heading to hospital to find out he had broken a bone and looks to be now spending a few weeks on the sidelines. The 3s integrated several of our promising junior players who were making a step up from their junior sides and the 5th team commitments last season and they equipped themselves well. However, experience (Partner, Primmer and Taylor), goal threats (Boag, Holford and Jackson – who missed more than he scored and somehow managed to get 2 DOD awards in the same day (jug avoidance for DOD awards?)) and the welcome returns to Adel for Wade and Powley (jnr) gave the 2s the edge and a 5-1 victory may have been harsh on the 3s but both sides will have benefitted from the workout. Sholto, Paddy, Simon and Charlie all showed enough promise and potential to progress into higher teams as they gain more experience at this level with the wise old heads of Hilton
Later in the day the 4s took on the 5s and a 1-0 scoreline in favour of the 4s showed the competitiveness of all of our teams this season.
So now we get down to real business with the league games starting this weekend. Good luck to all our sides as we look to repeat our success of recent years but more importantly I hope everyone enjoys their hockey on and off the pitch at Adel and contributes to the growing success of the club.
As the rain hammers down outside in early September, its clearly a sign that summer is over and the new hockey season is ready to begin. For some people the season never ends with summer leagues, representative teams and social hockey but for others the early weeks of September mean that you have to remember where you left those shin pads back in March and then a quick check that your kit was washed after the last game.
For those of you who don’t already know me, I am starting out in my third season as chairman of the club having first joined Adel back in 1986 when I came to Leeds after completing University. Since then I have played in most of the mens teams (1sts to 8ths), coached the junior teams, umpired most sides at least once and seen both of my children progress through from under 10s to the senior teams at Adel but more importantly I have made many friends along the way. My playing days are now behind me and you will usually find me umpiring at Adel on a Saturday or cheering on our home teams from the sidelines. Throughout all this time I can safely say that Adel is one of the friendliest clubs in the country and we pride ourselves on offering hockey for everyone as well as giving all of our opponents a warm welcome to our club (although this hopefully does not extend to giving them 3 points as well).
Whilst we pride ourselves on being one of the best clubs for socialising but we are also ultra competitive on the pitch. In the last 3 seasons we have seen 2 of our teams promoted each year and we also had two near misses last season with 2 of our ladies teams losing in play off finals. Many of our talented juniors have gone on to play representative hockey (including one former player, Suzy Petty who has represented England this summer) but we also have two over 70s who play international hockey for Scotland and Wales so we can claim to offer hockey for everyone of all ages and ability.
The new season got off to a great start (partly as it coincided with the Adel Beer Festival) as the Mens 1s dusted off the cobwebs and had a competitive match against Keswick. Our opponents came across to Adel last season for an EH Cup game and they were keen to stretch themselves in their pre-season friendlies by playing tougher competition than they can get locally. Keswick’s squad of 14 against an Adel squad of 12 was probably a decisive factor in the away team winning 6-3 but a good work out for Ben and Nathan’s team ahead of the new season the Yorkshire Premier League following last season’s title success.
Sunday saw the annual hockeyfest event at Adel organised as ever by Gaby Neusenbaum with the support of James Moorhouse. The morning also saw a similar event for the juniors under Pam Hardaker and Simon Sutton’s tuition and the weather just about behaved to give everyone a day of enjoyable hockey, meet new club members and sneak in for another beer at the festival to complete the weekend.
This weekend we see more friendly fixtures and training for men (Wednesday) and ladies (Tuessday) are now up and running with attendance a key criteria when it comes to selection. The other critical factor is of course paying your subs on time so watch out for the emails requesting payment towards the end of September.
Whilst we said goodbye to a few people at the end of last season we have also welcomed several new players and hopefully a few returnees from University who are back in the area. I hope you all quickly settle into your hockey careers at Adel and enjoy your time with us.
Of course, hockey matches do not happen by chance and we are fortunate that we have a number of committed club members who work tirelessly behind the scenes to sort out fixtures, team selections, changing rooms, teas, training etc so please make their lives easy by offering help and responding to emails/texts etc re availability.
Whatever your role, team or involvement I hope you all have an enjoyable and successful season at Adel and I look forward to meeting everyone at some stage during the season (preferably not with a green or yellow card in my hand!).