With Christmas approaching rapidly, it was wholly appropriate that the weekend saw frost and cards impact on the weekends hockey schedules.

The early risers for Saturday’s 10.30am slot were unfortunate to find that the overnight frost had not disappeared in time and a day of Christmas shopping beckoned for the ladies 2s.  The ladies 1s followed at 12 noon and with opponents from Leeds Uni not having far to travel, a delayed pushback was planned in order to allow the pitch to de-frost completely – much to the umpires delight having travelled from Fylde and Chester (not sure who decides on their appointments but they may want a re-think at this time of the year).

A fast and furious game followed with Adel coming back from conceding an early goal to go into half time 2-1 up with strikes from fitness coach Jenny Wright and skipper Katy Blyth.  However, the students roared on by their coach, fought back and with 3 well worked short corners they took a 4-2 lead as the game entered the final 10 minutes.  The Adel support from the sidelines tried to act as a 12th player and Katie Wood pulled a goal back to set up another tense finish.  Coach Ransley played his last card and substituted keeper Sarah McCall with the kicking back duties falling to April Fowden for the final few minutes.  Sadly Adel could not quite create one final chance and the game ended with the students having another penalty corner against an Adel defence with no keeper.  Fortunately, their slick routine let them down and April’s body survived to live another day.

The mens 1s also faced tough opposition from Hull who are one of their main rivals for promotion this season.  Another fast game, hotly contested by both sides saw Adel take an early lead and this was doubled before the interval with Purdy once again on the scoresheet to please fantasy managers.  Hull pulled one back from a well struck penalty corner but Johnny Staunton Sykes eased the tension with a well taken goal only to then raise the tension levels again as he sat out the final few minutes after a couple of “centre forward” tackles that broke up play to avoid Hull counter-attacking.  A 3-1 win was a fair reflection of the game and with Slazengers again losing on their travels, some daylight is starting to appear at the top of the table.

The ladies 5s followed with a competitive evenly matched game against Huddersfield with a young and inexperienced team, and a first time keeper competing well.  A 1-1 draw was a fair result and after the previous week’s defeat, will have restored confidence into our ladies 5s who should get better as the season goes on.

The final home game was potentially in doubt with a 5pm start and the threat of further frost but fortunately the mens 4s were able to complete their game against Harrogate and continued their excellent run of form and promotion push with a convincing 5-0 win.  This made up for an earlier defeat for the mens 3s against Harrogate 4s who had to rely on a couple of short corner strikes from one of their senior players who was still turning out for the first team less than a couple of years ago.

However, performance of the day had to go to the mens 2s who travelled to York and came away with a resounding 7-0 win and continue to rise the table under Rich Partner’s leadership.

The ladies 3s and 4s games were also victims of the frost so face the prospect of rearranged games.

Sunday also saw a busy set of fixtures at Adel with the Ladies Over 35s coming from behind to beat Macclesfield 4-3 and they eagerly await who their next round opponents are with hopes for another home tie.  A great win in view of the injury to skipper Clare Hesslewood.  The ladies 1s then followed on with a league fixture under the floodlights (now approved by the NHA) against Lymm and with a weakened team they won 3-1 although green cards exceeded goals scored by both teams.  Perhaps the floodlights have shed some light on things that have otherwise been missed in the previous league games when cards have been as a rare as hens teeth….

After 2 games in the weekend, you might have been forgiven for thinking the ladies 1s would have had enough but some of them still had the energy left to turn out for the Mixed team in their EH cup game v Sheffield Hallam, a game which began at 4.45pm.  Despite trying to gain inside knowledge by picking a current Hallam player in the Adel team and despite guest appearance from Andy Portnell (plus club coloured headband) and Melanie Smith who probably thought it would be the only opportunity to actually see Sam all weekend, the Adel team came off a convincing second best against a strong Hallam team.  This might have had something to do with a strange selection policy of picking a team with 2 goalkeepers with the end result that Sarah McCall showed she was more than capable out of goal whilst Josh Berry made up for a quiet game in the mens 2s the day before.  Hallam raced into a 4-1 half time lead with Rosh McEwan scoring our goal and in second half we were indebted to Josh for keeping the score down to single figures (just!) and the losers plate now beckons.  Thanks to Scott Riley for coming along to umpire for us.

Thanks must also go to a couple of people who will have spent most of their weekend at the Adel astro from the first game on Saturday to the last game on Sunday.  Sam Ransley managed to coach at least 3 teams and play in the mixed game (no goals or cards…) as well as oversee Brinkley on the sidelines and Jim Cockburn began by watching the ladies 1s, umpiring the mens 1s, ladies 5s and mens 4s and then umpiring the ladies over 35s and playing in the mixed team on Sunday.  Without these two club stalwarts a number of our games would not have been possible due to a lack of organisation and umpiring availability.  With the longlist for the Sports Personality Awards being announced tonight, some of those nominated as unsung heroes at their clubs are going to have to reach dizzy heights to beat these two!