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!).