With promotion already secured a few weeks before, the ladies 2s knew that a win in either of their last two games would be enough to also secure the title. A home game against Hull gave them the opportunity to do this with a game to spare and avoid a potential nail-biting last match against their nearest rivals from Bridlington.
A big crowd of nervous parents, partners, pets and mens 2s waiting for their game eagerly awaited the completion of the ladies 3s playing beforehand. A full squad of 16 players went through the usual pre-match warm ups, nerves were kept in check and everyone was fully aware of the need for an early goal to calm things down and allow the team to settle into their usual free flowing hockey that has served them well over the whole season. The early goal arrived after less than 5 minutes. Clever passing, overlapping runs and movement of the ball created the chance for Sophie to squeeze the ball home from an almost impossible angle on the byline. Ten minutes later a short corner move from Adel saw a Hull foot stop the ball on the line and a stroke was correctly awarded. Jade confidently stepped up, flicked high to the keepers left and a two goal lead was in the bag. The first round of rolling substitutions saw Robyn join the party keen to join her fellow forwards on the scoresheet and 5 minutes later she followed up a short corner routine with a well struck shot to the corner of the net. Surely now the title was in the bag and it was just a matter of how many more goals the team would score to secure the crown in style.
The second half saw a rejuvenated Hull come out stronger, some tactical reorganisation and some solidity at the back limited the Adel opportunities. Several opportunities went begging and perhaps the constant rotation of players led to a loss of fluidity and awareness. Adel continued to press forwards, but the final goal of the game went to Hull who slotted one past the otherwise redundant Emma in goal who apart from chatting up her boyfriend behind the fence had little else to do. A few last minute nerves at 3-1 not helped by giving away some bad tackles in the 22 which were upgraded to penalty corners, but the final whistle soon brought relief and celebration across the pitch as Adel wrapped up the title with a game to spare.
The team has benefitted over the course of the season from having a stable squad who have been committed on both match days and at midweek training. Additionally, the coaching from Paul and Ash has been invaluable to allow the team to play a style of hockey that suits their strengths and Hannah’s leadership and organisation has ensured a happy squad which bodes well for next season.
Perhaps more pleasingly has been the development of some of the promising juniors who have been given the chance to play in the 2nd team this season. Megan and Emma were already established as 2nd team players at the start of the season and both have become more established and confident players in the team offering pace and strong running to threaten the opposition. Both Millie and Flo have settled in to the team and added further skill to complement the more experienced squad members. With Sophie, Hannah and Presty all being former Adel juniors, its great to see a squad that is largely home grown thereby confirming the importance of junior coaching from an early age.
But a team is successful if it has the right balance and the experienced defence of Nat, Sarah and Becky, the tireless work done in midfield by Jo and Laura, the work rate and silky skills of Sandra, the strong running of Lolly and the goal threat from Robyn and Jade have all been important throughout the season. Plus the promise of home made cakes might have something to do with it as well.
With the current squad still improving and learning, there is no reason why they cannot challenge at the top end of the Premier Division next season and no doubt there will be more juniors coming through to challenge for a place in the team to avoid any complacency setting in.
With only one blip over the whole season (how on earth did you lose to Harrogate 5-1?!), consistency has been the key to success. Perhaps the biggest challenge over the summer will be trying to squeeze a squad of 16 into a 7 a side summer league team with everyone keen to start next season where they left off.
Congratulations to all of the squad and everyone who has helped the ladies 2s over the successful season.
Muppet: Presty for wasting all the champagne!