I had the fortune to spend most of the weekend watching or officiating in games at Adel and once again the Adel fortress stood strong with all home teams undefeated.  The even better news is that all away teams also remained undefeated and there is a chance that the whole of the ladies section might go through October undefeated on the pitch.

For me, the team of the week was the Ladies 4s who were up against Pickering, one of the clubs who only have one team in the leagues so they have some strong players who might play higher up if they were at other clubs.  In front of a tremendous crowd made up of the mens 2s and ladies 1s who had played earlier plus the added support of the Mens 4s who had returned from their away game, the extra man on the sideline (assisted by bottles of beer from the bar) were entertained for 70 minutes as the Ladies 4s battled hard, ran all game and came out deserved 3-1 winners with Charlie among the goals once again.  The game before saw the Ladies 3s also face strong opposition from Wakefield Wanderers and after taking an early lead from a well converted penalty stroke they were pegged back by a Wakefield equaliser and despite the efforts of Gaby and her team mates the 3s could not quite find the winning goal their efforts deserved.

The opening game of the day for the Ladies 1s has been reported on elsewhere by coach Ransley and for those who were there, another great game of hockey which looked like a comfortable win for Adel after being 2 goals up by the mid point of the first half.  However, Chester showed some resilience and came back into the game before half time with a couple of goals. The second half saw Adel regain the lead through fitness coach Jenny Wright but Chester then threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Adel defence for the last 10 minutes and with the rub of the green going in their favour they scored an equaliser from a penalty corner after the final whistle.  The team may have been despondent but I am sure they will soon pick themselves back up again for next weeks cup and league double header and return to winning ways.

The ladies 5s had an early start away at Huddersfield and came back with a point in a well earned draw.  The Ladies 2s went to Abbeydale to play Sheffield Hallam 2s and took an early lead before the game had to be abandoned due to a head injury to young Maddie Bickley (courtesy of Twedds deflection….).  Fortunately, Maddie seems to be ok and we all wish her well and hope she is back in action again this weekend.

So another undefeated weekend in the ladies section which was then matched by the mens section across both days.  The 1s had the toughest game of their season to date playing Slazengers away which has often proved to be a tricky fixture in previous years.  A 3-3 draw still leaves the 1s in equal first place and with some newcomers strengthening the side, promotion challenge is still the number one target.

The mens 2s took on Worksop and in one of the strongest 2s teams I have seen for a long time, led by the man of the match Rich Partner who controlled the midfield and marshalled his troops excellently, the 2s came away with a convincing 5-1 victory against a skilful and physical opposition.  The goals were shared around and this looks to be one of the teams strengths with goal threats from all over the team.

The 3s had a solid 3-0 win away at Thirsk who are definitely a club on the up with a strong junior section being integrated into their senior sides and the 4s maintained their 100% record (the only team in the club who can claim this) with a 3-1 win away at York.  Matty Brayshaw bagged a brace of goals to earn man of the match and seemed to celebrate his day well into the early hours of the night.

Sunday saw the usual round of junior fixtures in the morning and then the Mens 1s began their quest to win a national trophy with a game against Keswick in the EH Vase.  Again, one thing that stood out was the strength of the Adel support on the sidelines and they were treated to one of the best games of hockey I have seen on the new astro with both sides playing attractive, open and fast hockey.  The first half saw Adel take the lead twice only to allow Keswick to strike back with equalisers and the second half saw Adel once again take the lead and then extend their advantage before Keswick again pulled a goal back to set up a grand stand finish.  Some green cards and a couple of yellows for two of the Adel players did not make life easy for the Adel defence, but they were superbly marshalled by Mens Captain Paul Lewis who stood tall at anything Keswick could throw at him and when they did get round him, 1s debutant keeper Josh Berry pulled off several fine saves.  The good news for fantasy league managers was another couple of goals from star man Will Purdy.  The bad news is that this was undone by a late yellow card which sees points deducted.  The next round sees the 1s have to travel across to Liverpool Sefton who play in the same league as Keswick on the other side of the Pennines.

Thanks to all club members, friends and family who came along to watch the various games over the weekend.  In previous seasons this has perhaps not always been as apparent as it has been this season but support from the sideline makes a huge difference to the players on the pitch and it is particularly pleasing to see the club pulling together as one hockey club with men and ladies supporting each others teams.  Keep up the good work!

This weekend sees a slip week for the men but there are still ladies fixtures on Saturday and then on Sunday there are some EH cup games for various teams including the mens over 40s with a tricky away tie at Alderley Edge.  Now where did I leave that stick from the last veterans game in February…..