Adel hit the road and travelled across the top for the first of several trips to Manchester this season, Didsbury Greys providing the opposition. The usual suspects were joined by a few notable new additions who made their league debut. Anna Shields, one of Adel’s home grown talents was joined in her debut by Abbie Taylor, formally of Kendal and our league winning 3rd XI and finally Izzi Pugh, who joins us from Leeds Uni.

The team have been looking forward to the challenge of the league above ever since securing promotion with a final whistle short corner back in April. Since then Adel have won a further two games against Lindum and Ben Rhydding with final whistle short corners, the team can only imagine the heartache of such denial…

Whilst Adel had a busy preseason to prepare for the league, Greys started the brighter of the teams and despite the best efforts of McCall in goal to keep the score deadlocked, they opened their account for the day with an early penalty corner conversion. The pressure continued to mount, relief for the defence was minimal however the game took a shock turn with a solo goal from Bickley, picking the ball up on the left wing, beating one defender, then another before calmly rounding the keeper and passing the ball in to the awaiting goal. Exchanges from here were much more even, Smith, Bickley and Wright having more success on the wings, Love, Hairsine and Shields pushing up the pitch to offer deeper wide options to the attack. Greys grabbed another and this was quickly followed with an equaliser from Adel, a successful move down the right wing, finished at the back post by Jones. An added bonus saw a Greys player binned for arguing something that didn’t happen, Greys now unsettled were caught again by Bickley carving in from the left wing, rounding players with ease, with just the keeper to beat, a horrendous and desperate tackle cut her in half, thankfully not injured.  With the appropriate card issued and penalty stroke awarded, K.Blyth converted with a no nonsense approach and Adel went into the break with a 3-2 lead.

The 2nd half started with a little more calm, Hesselwood, Pugh and Taylor much more settled at the back and taking control of defence. The spaces now opening in midfield and allowing sisters Blyth to really find some speed and create danger in front of the opposition goal supporting by the ever trusty Gibson mopping up behind them and distributing the ball out of defence. Goal four rattled the backboard, a slightly wayward penalty corner fired into the area from Gibson, Hesselwood’s soft and gentle hand applying the deflection past the static keeper. Some may have believe this game was nearly settled, however Greys responded with a couple of their own. 4-4 with ten minutes to go. The frantic manner had now returned and chances were quickly exchanged, McCall making several top class saves to show her class. Adel again grabbed the lead, K.Blyth adding her 2nd with what surely would be the winner. Adel pushed forward again, A.Blyth dodging tackles and even a right hook as she carried the ball forward, another penalty corner awarded. Adel were sure they had won it with another deflection from Hesselwood, this time the ‘dink’ of the post dashing hope of a sixth goal, just enough time for Greys to mount one last attack, as a penalty corner was awarded, the final whistle blew.

Whilst the equaliser was a disappointing end to a frantic game, Adel can be happy with some excellent passages of play, individual performances and a real show of mature character in a testing environment. You could say it was unlucky, but most will know that passing through playoffs and gaining promotion in the manner it played out was a little more lucky than a four leaf clover, so we know we get a fair share of lady luck!

Next week see’s the visit of Harrogate who will be looking to avenge April’s result. PB is 12noon and we would love to see friends, family and pets there!

MoM- Emma Bickley. If you’re going to wear international stash to games, you must perform like one and Emma did not disappoint

Many thanks to NHUA and the umpires who made some bold and correct decisions, and the travelling support as always!

#ATID