As we enter the Christmas break, a number of our teams are well placed to come back in the new year with lots to play for and once again the club has the chance to earn promotions and championships. This time, after 2 years of the ladies section dominating the promotion successes, it is the mens section leading the way with 2 teams heading their tables and still undefeated at the midway point of the season.
The mens 1s have opened up a 6 point gap with a game in hand over nearest rivals, Slazengers. They are the top scorers across all of the Yorkshire leagues with 66 goals and only 3 other teams have conceded fewer goals than mens 1s keeper Rob Darling (and one of them is another Adel keeper in the mens 4s). After a couple of seasons of near misses, fingers crossed that Big Bens men complete their target this time around and get the mens 1s back into the Premier League once again.
The mens 4s are also undefeated and are the only team in the mens Yorkshire leagues to have a single figure digit in the goals conceded column. Andy Miles must be a top pick for many fantasy league managers (as long as veterans games don’t count…). Hopefully, the 4s will continue their fine form and bounce back after the disappointment of last years relegation.
Just as encouraging is the Mens 5s sitting in 4th place in the same division as the 4s with only 2 defeats (one at the hands of the 4s) and a double promotion from this division is not beyond the realms of impossibility if the 5s can win their games in hand, including one this weekend. With a number of talented youngsters starting to progress from under 14/16 junior hockey into the 5s, the old men of the team appear to be rejuvenated and I expect a number of the side (the younger ones…) to soon move up to higher teams to progress their hockey careers.
The mens 2s under the astute leadership of Rich Partner have gathered momentum in recent weeks and are sitting quietly in 4th spot in Div 2, handily placed for the second half of the season with the hopes to have a late run to challenge for promotion. Saturday’s away win at Doncaster who lie in 2nd place, shows how competitive this league and this was a particularly pleasing victory after losing the home game to the same opposition only a few weeks earlier.
The 3s are nicely placed in 6th spot, firmly in the middle of the table with Rich Bingham’s men hoping to come back in the New Year and look upwards rather than downwards.
So, 2 league leaders and 2 other teams in promotion contention with the prospects of some end of season silverware. Only 7 defeats across the whole of the mens section and 199 league goals at the midway point. It seems only fair that this weekends Chairman’s challenge should be a pint for the scorer of the 200th mens league goal for the season….
The ladies section might have expected things to be tougher on the pitch after 4 promotions across the club over the last 2 seasons but with the talented pipeline of juniors coming through from the Pam Hardaker production line, the ladies teams continue to go from strength to strength with the top 4 teams all handily placed in the top 4 to have renewed energy in the New Year, train hard and convert some of those annoying draws into victories to climb into the promotion spots at the business end of the season.
The ladies 1s have had some close contests with most games only being decided by the odd goal. Whilst the students from Leeds Uni look like running away with the league, the next 6 teams are separated by only 4 points with Adel holding a slight advantage in 2nd place. Despite some departures from last seasons successful team and a couple of injuries to key players this season, the squad have been boosted by several players stepping up from the 2s and showing the clubs overall strength in depth.
The ladies 2s have also gone through something of a transformation under Sandra and Robyn’s leadership this season with promotions to the 1s, retirements, injuries and illnesses impacting on the team early in the season but with another raft of juniors stepping up, the team have competed well and are hoping to convert some of the 5 draws from their 11 games into victories in the 2nd half of the season to climb the table and push for promotion once more.
The ladies 3s continue to play free flowing hockey, boost the bar profits, cheer on the other teams and generally have a good time all round. Promotion last season to division 2 has not stopped their run of success and they lie in 3rd place (only 1 goal difference stops them being 2nd) with all to play for in 2017.
Likewise the ladies 4s under Hannah’s organisation are having a great season on and off the pitch and also sit in 3rd place with the top 2 spots still within their reach. Having watched the 3s and 4s a few times this season its clear to see that there are several players more than capable of playing at higher levels which can only be a good thing to have competition for places and keep the 1s and the 2s squads on their toes and fully committed.
And last but not least are the new kids on the block this season, the ladies 5s who have had the extremes of a 20-0 defeat and a 14-2 and 11-0 victory from their 11 games to date. You are always going to see an entertaining game if you turn up to watch this team with goals aplenty and there are some talented players starting out in their senior careers who look to have the potential to be competing for places in the 1s squad in a few years time.
One thing that has stood out this season is the increased number of spectators watching games at Adel and cheering on other teams in the club. This is great to see and helps create an overall club “spirit”, which along with the return to a common shirt colour across all teams helps create the “Adel club” that benefits everyone. Everyone plays a part in achieving this but in particular a huge thanks to the captains and the social secs who have helped in this regard. If we continue to progress in this area then Gaby may well be having to look for a bigger venue for the end of season bash.
Have a great Christmas and I hope Santa is kind to you all and brings you new hockey gear for 2017.
|Leeds Adel HC – mid season league table summary|
|Played||Won||Draw||Lost||Goals for||Goals against||Goal diff||Points||League position||average points|