Once again the wintry conditions decided to intervene and spoil hockey proceedings at the weekend. The 8.30 am pitch inspection on Saturday morning saw the astro covered in light snow and the prospects of play looked very slim. Phil Bayford had already made his own mind up and was still enjoying a Saturday morning lie in. With Harrogate the away team at 10.30 due to play the ladies 2s and Scarborough v the ladies 4s at 12 the first two games of the day were postponed early on and most people could have been forgiven for heading home for a day watching FA Cup quarter finals and the conclusion of the 6 Nations rugby. Phil Bayford rolled over and allowed himself another few hours under the duvet.
However, despite the forecast for further snow all day, the Adel die-hards would not be beaten and after some rallying calls via social media an Olympic squad of Adel athletes gathered at the pitch, armed with shovels and brushes with the determined intent of delivering a gold medal performance to allow the three later games of the day to go ahead. The first game at 1.30 was the Mens 1s looking to extend their 100% record for the season to 21 wins from 21 games and then the 5s were due to take on Chapeltown with the mens 3s then playing the last game v York 7s at 4.30. Nathan Hemming, Simon Ball, James Moorhouse, Will Purdy were clearly keen to get their game played and able support from the ever-enthusiastic Sam Jackson, Jim Cockburn, Sophie Powley, Laura Tweddle (plus Billy) and Paul Lewis along with yours truly set about the task of clearing the pitch. The Adel 4-man synchronised shovelling team are pictured in training sessions for the next Winter Olympics in four years time. Three hours later, the snow was cleared, the pitch was perfectly playable so it was a disappointment to hear that the 3pm game between Adel and Chapeltown had been postponed in the fear of further bad weather forecast and the dangerous travel conditions from South Yorkshire! Mind you, some Leeds 2s players were struggling to make it up the A65 to Ben Rhydding perhaps in fear of attack by polar bears at the Otley roundabout or frostbite as they went around the Burley by-pass.
Once the games did get underway the mens 1s had one of their toughest games of the season, perhaps due to the uncertainty of whether the game would go ahead or not, but also as a young Harrogate side came along determined to try and spoil the party. After all the effort, the game was then late in starting to allow the Harrogate keeper to go back and get his stick and glove that he had left behind. Perhaps he was not expecting the game to go ahead at all, having taken advice from the Adel forward still in the land of nod, despite him appearing belatedly having realised the error of his ways – Phil’s most notable contribution was to eventually turn on the floodlights half way through the first half. An early goal from Paul Watkins from a well rehearsed penalty corner routine, was soon levelled by Harrogate but Adel restored their lead through another penalty corner goal (not quite from the training ground) finally put across the line by Kieran Savage. Harrogate came back once again and equalised before the interval with the game evenly poised at the half way stage. Another inspiring team talk from coach Hendley saw Adel come out of the blocks the stronger and Watkins scored his second with a well taken reverse strike and James Moorhouse gained just rewards for his pitch clearing display with the 4th Adel goal to give some breathing space. A win next week will see the team win every game to match the same record achieved by the ladies 1s a couple of years ago, a remarkable achievement. Congratulations are also due to Andy Bird and his wife for the safe arrival of their baby who we hope to see in Adel colours in a few years time.
The 4.30 game could have been brought forward for an earlier start with the 3.00 pm game postponed but sadly some York players were not able to get out of their commitments earlier in the day (according to their skipper this was playing for one of their higher teams which was a rather honest excuse to give!). The same sides had played the previous weekend with Adel winning out 5-2 and on this occasion Adel 3s ran out winners by a 5-3 margin with a brace of goals apiece for Horsey and Powley, no doubt the pair of them fighting over who would be on strike for the penalty corners. The 3s eagerly awaited the result of Wakefield v Bradford to see if their promotion hopes were still alive and it looks like that game succumbed to the bad weather so the 3s can still mathematically get promoted with a win next week and 2 defeats for Bradford if they ever get to play their games remaining.
The 2s and the 4s travelled away to York and Slazengers respectively, both in the knowledge that wins would see them wrap up their league titles. The 2s showed no signs of nerves with an impressive 7-3 win with hat tricks for Boag and Buller and capped off a strong season with the only blip a distant memory in the away game at Ramgarhia. Congratulations to Edd Holford in his first season as skipper and good luck to the 2s in Div 1 next season. The 4s blip was more recent with a defeat away to nearest rivals Worksop a month ago potentially harming their title hopes. But since then the team has got back on track and a 5-0 victory saw them complete their second successive league win, hoping that this year the league actually promote them out the bottom division. Goals from Phelps (2), Bingham, Carvalho and Lilley mean that Worksop cannot overtake Adel and Worksop are perhaps ruing the couple of games when they have been unable to raise a side and suffering 3-0 automatic defeats as a result. Ross Nichols is another winning skipper in his first season with the team this year having the core of last years squad but also integrating some new juniors and a couple of players stepping down from the 3s to give added quality.
The ladies were less fortunate with the weather with only the 1s and 3s getting on to the pitch. The 1s travelled to Harrogate and in a closely fought game the score of 1-1 for much of the game showed the closeness of the two teams. However, Harrogate finished stronger with 2 further goals and ran out 3-1 winners with Rosie Baker bagging the Adel goal. Next week sees the 1s play their final league game at home to Bowdon with a win needed to avoid the risk of automatic relegation for the bottom 2 teams. The game saw sad farewells to a number of players who have been instrumental in the success and rise of the ladies section in the last few years with Katy and Anna Blyth and Sarah McCall saying goodbye and the club would like to thank all of them for their contribution on and off the pitch during their time at Adel and we hope to see them return one day in the future.
The 3s travelled to Tadcaster and goals from Emma Kiel and Beth Jordan scored the goals which secured a 2-0 away win and a welcome 3 points for Adel. Next weeks final game away at Wakefield Wanderers still has something to play for the 3s as a win and then defeats in their final 2 games for Leeds and Harrogate could leave the door open for another promotion, although the odds are not in the team in orange’s favour!
The 4s and 5s had most to be disappointed about with both teams scheduled to play Saturday and Sunday games and all of them being postponed. Fingers crossed the weather relents in the next couple of weeks so everyone can finally complete their seasons. As ever thanks to the fixture secs, the umpires and anyone brave enough to watch any of the games alongside the coaching staff in the dugouts.