With the promotion secured the previous week with an impressive victory at Weetwood v Leeds, last Saturday the Mens 1s took on Airedale at the Adel Astro needing a point to guarantee the title, although superior goal difference might to some people have made this academic. A depleted first team squad missing several key players knew that they could not afford any complacency and this was confirmed by the sight of coach Hendley in his playing kit to ensure there was at least one sub on the bench should the need arise.
A slow start, with some resolute Airedale defending could have frustrated Adel but around the mid point of the first half, local boy Phil Bayford scored with a shot into the roof of the net in front of his personal fan club (well parents and girlfriend). This seemed to relax Adel who followed up with a further 4 goals before the interval, primarily from Will Purdy in hot pursuit of the club’s top goalscorer trophy although it will need some serious notching to overtake the 4s Damian Greig. The second half started like the first, with Adel slow to breakdown the Airedale back line and some good saves from their keeper. With several players not used to having to play a full half of hockey without a breather, coach Hendley stripped off and prepared for action in an attacking role. Within 5 minutes he had drifted back to a deep lying centre half position spraying passes around the field the pick of which was a 40 yard pin point through ball into the sliding Watkins in the D who gratefully got on the scoresheet. Airedale stuck to their task to the end and scored one past the otherwise statuesque Josh Berry in the Adel goal but a 9-1 scoreline at the final whistle showed the champions superiority across the whole of the season. Purdy (4), Buller (2), Watkin, Bayford and Mayhew bagged the goals and with 2 games left the 1s having scored over 100 league goals are keen to try and end the season with a goal difference over over 100 as well.
Congratulations to all of the mens 1s squad on and off the pitch. After a couple of seasons of near misses, this season has seen the 1s dominate most games and win by convincing margins (the exception being an away defeat at Hull and a fighting draw at Slazengers). The team have gelled into a formidable unit on and off the pitch with a pleasant mix of home grown talent (Maver, Sykes up to Christmas before leaving for London, Bayford), some north eastern grit and determination (Mayhew, Darling and coach Hendley), some Midlands guile (all good teams need a Brummy as Auf Wiedersehen Pet fans will testify and this team have 3 with skipper Hemming, club captain Lewis and midfield maestro Watkin) and some fresh new blood with Bird, Green, Savage providing fresh impetus for this seasons challenge. With club stalwarts Robinson and Hill ensuring the Adel way of playing proper hockey and developing players like Buller who have stepped up this season from the 2s, plus the frightening speed of Bishop that will hurt many teams at higher levels, an assault on the Premier league title next season is not beyond the realms of fantasy.
Elsewhere the mens 2s had an impressive victory at Ramgarhia who are never easy to beat, the 3s came back from Bradford with 3 points and a 4-2 victory, the 4s maintained their unbeaten season with a thumping 9-0 win v Driffield and the 5s travelled to Airedale and had an impressive 4-2 win to maintain 3rd place in their division.
A full house for the mens section with 5 wins from 5 games, 2 teams having secured the league titles with games to spare, another team in 3rd place in their division, and the 2s still fighting hard for a promotion spot that might just be beyond their reach. The 3s are safe in their division so after a couple of seasons with disappointing relegations and struggles to get 5 teams out, this season has been the turnaround the mens section has needed in order to see a return to glory for Adel.
The ladies section had some tough fixtures last weekend and the 1s were keen to stop the rot after a few weeks of tough games and some long journeys. After going a goal down to Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, they fought back and showed the never say die spirit of Adel to grab the three points with a much needed 2-1 victory. A mid table slot is secured ahead of the final game away at Lymm this weekend and the team will want to give coach Ransley an appropriate farewell in his last game on the sidelines for Adel after a successful few years that have seen the ladies 1s attain their highest league position as well as win national team awards.
The ladies 2s also had a tough game at home to 3rd placed Brigg 1s, and the away team took an early lead and looked strong across the pitch with several goal threats. Again the Adel fighting spirit rose to the fore and an immediate response to going a goal down was needed, which Twedds duly obliged by scoring an equaliser within 5 minutes. Not wanting to rest on their laurels the 2s grabbed another goal before half time and completed the task with a further goal in the 2nd half with Tina Parson and Rosie Baker getting on the scoresheet once again. 2nd place in the division guarantees a promotion play off with Lindum and the 2s have it in their own hands knowing one win from their last two games will guarantee 2nd spot.
The ladies 3s made the short trip to Otliensians and were unfortunate to lose out by the odd goal in a 5 goal thriller but the 4s ensured a nailbiting end to their season with a 3-0 win at Thirsk. They currently lie in equal 2nd place with Bradford who have the slight advantage of a better goal difference (only 2 goals in it). The 4s and Bradford both have games against Leeds Uni teams this weekend with both teams keen to improve their goal difference against relegation threatened teams. Its all set up for a thrilling finale the week after when the 4s play table toppers Pickering in a must win game for Adel. I am sure Hannah and her squad will be battling hard to the end of an exciting season for them.
And finally the ladies 5s had a home game against Phoenix with everyone hoping to avoid a repeat of the away game earlier in the season when Phoenix had a 4 player advantage and Adel had a rooky keeper. This time around the 5s put up a determined display against a team who have scored freely all season (99 league goals to date) and it is testimony to the level of improvement across the season that the 5s went down 4-0 to a side who should be playing much higher up the divisions but have had to start at the bottom rung of the ladder as a new team.
Good luck to all our teams this weekend as the business end of the season approaches. Its the third year in a row the club have enjoyed a double promotion season (it must be the lucky new pitch!) although there is still a chance for this season to be a treble or quadruple!