Well not quite. The mens 1s have their final game of their league campaign against Durham University At Adel at 1.30pm but are likely to end the season in 4th place after challenging the 3 team above them all the way throughout the season. The league winners, Sheffield Hallam 2s had a bit of a fright in the opening game of the season at Adel with a 5-5 draw and then again when the 2 teams played at Abbeydale, with Adel losing a 9 goal thriller by the odd goal.
The team have continued to play attractive, free flowing hockey irrespective of their opponents and player availability and the team have racked up a phenomenal 479 goals over 87 league games in the last 4 seasons. With 2 promotions and league titles over the previous two seasons the team should not be disheartened by 4th place this season and with a strong 2nd team the future looks promising for next season. Over the summer months some focus on defending might be beneficial in view of the 75 goals conceded this season though! However, no other team in the North leagues have scored over 100 goals and you are always sure to be entertained watching the mens 1s.
The mens 2s had a tough battle all the way with local rivals Leeds 4s although the only defeat was the away game early in the season against Harrogate 3s. The 2 derby games v Leeds saw Adel get out of jail with late equalisers on both occasions and this proved decisive in the final league standings with Adel ending up champions by 2 points and automatic promotion into the newly created North league next season. The team has also gone through something of a transition with some elder statesmen succumbing to injury but new blood and some talented juniors have allowed the team to play an exciting style of hockey, racking up 89 league goals but just as importantly having one of the meanest defences across all of the Yorkshire mens leagues with only Airedale 2s in the lowest league letting in fewer goals than Adel’s 18 conceded.
The 3s might have thought they were in for a tough campaign having only been promoted due to the withdrawal of one of the Thirsk teams from a higher league pre-season. With both Scarborough and Grimsby 1s clearly being a different class to the rest of the division (although they do seem to do better at home rather than away!) the 3s knew that they would have to battle hard to grab one of the 2 remaining promotion slots and they left it late waiting til the last game of the season to narrowly beat Harrogate 4s and take 4th place. Again, the 3s have gone through some personnel changes over the season with Greg Hilton taking over as skipper but the promotion of some talented juniors was the catalyst for a change of fortunes and it was great to see the youngsters blossom and develop alongside some of the more experienced players. The 3s also benefitted from several new players joining the club and settling in very quickly.
The 4s did what they have done for the last few seasons and battled hard, played with good spirit but ended up mid table after a couple of seasons of promotion. With a relatively settled squad, eased by the formation of the 6th team a few weeks in to the season, the 4s will be looking to get back on the promotion trail next season, channelling their frustrations and energies onto the pitch but playing just as hard off the pitch in the bar too.
The 5s were in danger of finishing in the top 2 slots as the half way point approached but then the promotion of several juniors ready for higher level hockey led to some rotation of players. But this is what the 5s have done for many years now, bringing in talented under 14s to senior hockey, allowing them to gain confidence and thrive, letting them then fly on to other sides and replacing them with the next batch of juniors who have come through under the watchful eye of junior boys coach, Simon Sutton. Meanwhile, the old lags stay and help develop the juniors and teach them the dark arts of defending, sniffing goals and socialising with opponents in the bar. Fifth place at the end of the year is a decent outcome for a team with half its members over 50 and the rest under 16.
The 6s started their season a couple of weeks after everyone else and initial concerns over our ability to get enough players, pitches and interested opponents were soon put to bed as Stefan created his team from nothing but soon bonded them into a goal-scoring machine destroying most opponents in their way. 4th place could easily have been higher if the early games missed had been rearranged but perhaps the 6s early scorelines put the fear into some opposition who decided the security of a non-game and a share of the points was the best they could hope to achieve.
On the ladies side, all of the teams finished safely in the middle of their tables, which might be disappointing at face value but when the various departures are factored in, it represents a pretty decent effort. Losing several players from the 1s squad over the summer was disappointing, pregnancies to Sammy and Twedds took out 2 of the central midfielders, a couple of the juniors headed off to University but these losses gave opportunities for several of the strong 2s team denied promotion last season to step up and show they were ready to play at a higher level. The 1s ended up in 7th place but gave league winners two good games, introduced some new players to the club who settled in quickly and with some stability ahead of next season the team will be looking to be all the stronger and push for a higher finish.
The 2s ended up in 7th place in their league with injuries also impacting on their squad but a mix of wise old heads at the back and some young fresh legs around them gave the right balance to a team who were always competitive but perhaps in need of some firepower in front of goal to convert draws into wins next year.
The 3s have also gone through a period of change under new skipper Charlie and been unfortunate to lose a few games by the odd goal and 8th place perhaps not a fair reflection for their efforts over the season. Again, they have brought through a new supply of juniors into senior hockey, as have the 4th team in Hannah Fisk’s last year as skipper. A fourth place finish with the tightest defence in the ladies section, conceding only 26 goals should see them continue to compete at the top end of the table next year.
Finally the ladies 5s who had the biggest win in the club all season with a 13-0 victory over Leeds University, so were not surprisingly the top scoring team in the ladies section. Some weeks they had 10 players and others we had enough to put out a 6th team. With a strong summer league to get more experience under their belts, the 5s are my tip for promotion next season!
There is of course another team still playing competitively as the Mixed 1s take on Golborne in the quarter finals of the mixed EH Shield on 7th April at Adel. Hopefully this time half the team will have had a good nights sleep ahead of the game, with a trip to Lea Valley ever nearer!