Each year, I am reminded by Greg to update the Chairman’s welcome on the club website and if you have bothered to read it, you will see that it tends to be forward looking to the new season, with hope and optimism for the year ahead.

This year I have decided to look backwards and share my experience of 35 years at the club, how it began, how it has evolved and how our culture and identity has formed.

I am sure all members (and hopefully former members too) will have seen the plans to celebrate the club’s 75th anniversary on the weekend of 4th/5th September. A quarter of a century ago in 1996, some of our older members might recall celebrating our 50th anniversary in great style, with a commemorative brochure, a weekend of hockey and a grand celebration dinner. Looking back at that brochure, it’s fascinating to see how the club has since progressed in the last 25 years, both on and off the pitch. However, it’s also worth noting that only 8 of the 66 patrons listed in the 50th anniversary brochure, are still actively involved with the club, this despite hockey being a sport for all ages, both sexes and all levels of ability.

There is a great summary of the club’s first 50 years on the website (History – Leeds Adel Hockey Club), covering the initial beginnings when the club was successfully run by a handful of people who gave great service in a variety of roles – Peter Franklin, J Bibby, Geoff Potts and Morris Crossfield (the latter two being umpires with wonderful personalities in the days before competitive league hockey commenced), then passing on the mantle to George Buxton (Chairman for a record 10 years), Peter Craven, David Margerison, David Hall ( a staggering 23 years as Treasurer!), and Eileen Clark, Steve Freshney, Joan Hunt and Liz Greenlay having similarly long stints running the ladies section.

Over the last 25 years, Pam Hardaker, Bridget Petty, Richard Poll and Ian Phillips have been long standing committee members as the club transitioned from playing on grass to astro-turf, merged the ladies and men’s sections into one club, expanded a successful junior section, embraced league hockey through to the last decade where Greg Hilton, Gaby Nusenbaum and the current committee have overseen a successful period for the club with EH national awards, representation at EH finals weekends, the replacement of the astro playing surface, many promotions and recognition from YHA & YHUA for our progression and hospitality.

We have seen former juniors go on to receive international recognition, and more recently our veteran members have represented each of the home countries in Masters tournaments around the globe. But for me, Adel is a club with strong family links as players from different generations pass through…..

McAleer, Barney, Craven, Crocker, Hardaker, Hedge, Hockin, Hogg, Holden, Petty, Poll, Powley, Sibley, Studholme, Sweeting and Taylor would be an interesting challenge of the generations, and hopefully in a few years time you could add Primmer, Henley and several more into the mix. Siblings also feature prominently with Potts, Grange, Grubb, Clark, Blyth, Shields, Akroyd able to put out a team between them with the current crop of Greer’s, Hedge’s Aldred’s and Webb’s able to provide some youthful much needed legs . In my playing years I managed to play with two Tim Warner’s and two Simon Taylor’s, sometimes in the same team but they were not actually related!

Who knows where the club will be in 25 years time when we hopefully celebrate our 100th anniversary, at the moment, it’s just great to be back out on a pitch after 18 months of turmoil caused by a global pandemic no one could predict. At Adel we have had games cancelled for snow, rain, floodlight failure and fog, but I don’t think anyone foresaw covid-19 as a recent addition to that list.

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