A warm welcome to the new season to all current, new and past members of Leeds Adel HC. This will be my fifth season as Chairman of Leeds Adel HC and over the last four seasons the considerable success on the pitch has been the result of a lot of hard work by a sterling group of club members off the pitch. Last season saw success on the pitch for several of our league sides, resulting in promotion and league title victories across our senior teams. However, the highlight of the season came in June when our mixed team competed in the EH finals weekend at Lee Valley losing narrowly to the eventual champions, Horsham, and having a competitive game against the UK Fire Service to finish a valiant 4th in the country. On the back of this, we were also fortunate enough to see 5 of our club members go on to represent the England Mixed teams in tournaments over the summer months. With Suzy Petty hoping to help Team GB qualify for the 2020 Olympics and many of our veterans playing international masters hockey, the club is clearly reaching a wider audience and our reputation and success helps attract new players all the time.
Off the pitch, anyone going up to the pitch cannot help but notice the improvements to our playing facility with new fencing, dugouts and pathways although there remains a few areas to still be completed. Please offer to lend a hand to finish off this work that has been overseen by Sam Jackson with his usual determination and enthusiasm. Whilst this has come at considerable cost, it has also been a result of hours of effort and commitment from a dedicated small group of volunteers. Please make things easier by offering to help when the next day is organised to complete the finishing touches.
Those of you who know me, will know that my ambition at Adel is not necessarily for us to be the best team in Yorkshire but it is to make sure the club offers hockey for everyone, we give the warmest welcome to our visitors and we provide a fair and consistent approach to all that we offer.
From the outset my ambition for the club during my time as Chairman has been to achieve the following
1. To provide a safe and secure environment for all club members and visitors to enjoy their hockey experience at Adel – the new fencing is a step forward in this direction
2. To enhance our reputation as a club with governing bodies, opposition teams and other AWMA sections – we now have well established links with EH, YHA and North Hockey
3. To ensure the club’s stated policies are followed so that all members are treated fairly and equally – this is key to our selection process
4. To improve our facilities at Adel – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Adel but look back to 5 years ago to see the progress we have made
5. To restore the club to a single identity playing in the same colours – done!
I continue to believe that we have either completed the above or are making excellent progress in all areas and I may need to come up with some new bullets as the season progresses. One additional area I am keen to support is the development of our volunteers who support with our umpiring and coaching requirements. With Jim Cockburn and Simon Ball leading these initiatives, I am keen to make sure we support our club umpires and coaches, provide more learning opportunities for them to improve and naturally that then means everyone at the club benefits from better quality training and umpiring. I am also delighted to say that after many years at GSAL and Becketts, we have finally brought our junior training back to Adel War Memorial to help make our junior section feel more involved with the club.
Adel is very much a family club and even if your family members don’t play the game, I hope they come along to support and cheer from the sidelines and then join us in the bar afterwards. We are fortunate that our pitch, car park, changing rooms and bar are all on one site making us the envy of many other clubs around the county who share school or University or sports centre facilities. Our teas have gone through a huge transformation thanks to chef Higgins and the bar staff led by Eszter are sure to give you a warm welcome.
This weekend sees the first league games for most sides (other than the mens 4s who were quick out the blocks last weekend) and I wish all teams and skippers every success for the season ahead. There are a number of new skippers this season with a change in the mens section at the top end of the club after many years of success under Ben Henley and Nathan Hemming. Good luck to new coach and skipper, Simon Ball and James Stroomer as well as our other 5 mens teams. On the ladies side we also welcome a new coach in Lucy Horsfield to work alongside new skipper Sophie Powley as our ladies 1s look to improve on their mid-table finish last season.