And so the final week of the league season arrived. Whilst winning the league was wrapped up a few weeks ago, there was a chance to make history as the first team in the history of North league Hockey to finish with maximum points (according to Rod Wilson!).
The team travelled to Halifax, having last left the venue soaked in champagne following victory at the North Challenger Tournament some six months ago. This time the competition would prove to be a little stiffer.
The spring sunshine brought out the crowds, and whilst Halifax could boast the majority, Adel would be buoyed by the usual support of families Blyth and Jeavons, the appearance of club legend Fie Hopper bringing even more excitement to the game.
As coach Ransley called for early possession, Halifax quickly took control of the ball as Adel struggled with the irregular bounce of the turf, the defensive line of Jeavons, Byers, Henry, Hairsine and Love called into immediate action to ensure the team didn’t let too many chances fall to the Halifax forwards, McCall alert to the danger as always in search of clean sheet 18. Adel’s young stars Bickley and Straughan using some tricks and raw pace to create some confusion in the area, Smith, C.Goacher and Wood looking to find the finish would be thwarted by a determined Halifax defence. as Adel thought they had taken the lead, a brave defender clearing from waist height on the line.
0-0 at half time, Adel would need to find another gear.
Adel started the second half with a little more composure, moving more as a unit the chances Halifax were creating were becoming more and more infrequent. H.Goacher carefully marshaling in front of the defence, A.Blyth and Hesselwood trying to create the opening. Following more and more chances, Adel finally got the lead, C.Goacher finishing at the back post to continue her fine run of scoring. Rather than subdue the Halifax team, the goal spurred Halifax into looking for a reply, the crowd lifting the team and encouraging them forward. However Adel grabbed the break, Wood picking the ball up with no Halifax outfield players in their own half. nerves jittered as she ran the 30 yards to the top of the area, however Adel celebrated doubling the lead as she calmly rounded the keeper and passed into the open goal. +100 goal difference brought up in style.
Halifax continued to commit players forward and got reward for their efforts as they claimed a goal back, with a penalty corner awarded the final whistle blew, could Halifax spoil the party? Byers raced out of the goal, quickly followed by Love, the corner successfully defended, I can offer no further detail as my eyes were clenched shut! The final whistle blew and the record book rewritten, the perfect league season completed! Champagne moment number two of the season.
Many thanks to the YHUA umpires who were excellent as always and the travelling support.