As we enter the final week of what seems like a lifetime of preparation for the EH Mixed Finals weekend at Lee Valley, its worth recalling how our club has progressed and advanced over the last few years, culminating in what promises to be a weekend of great excitement for all involved on and off the pitch, as well as a chance to extend the name of the club to a wider audience.
In recent years we have seen our mens and ladies sections have great success on the pitch at different times, with both first teams achieving the remarkable feat of ending a league campaign with a 100% record from their 22 games played.
In 2016 it was the ladies 1s who completed the perfect season, and this was capped off at the EH Awards that year in Reading when the team were awarded the ladies club team of the year. Two years later, the men repeated the achievement as they won the Yorkshire Premier League but were sadly denied the EH award which the ladies had won.
Mixed hockey has always been popular at Adel from long standing Easter and Whitsuntide tours to our thriving summer leagues. However mixed cup success is a challenge for many sides due to fixtures being played on Sundays, sometimes at short notice and in later rounds you can find a tricky away game beckons sometimes after a heavy Saturday night out celebrating a league title win. In some cases the sides who do well in mixed cups are those who show the commitment and enthusiasm to get out on a Sunday and play their games.
The article in todays Yorkshire Evening Post provides details of the cup run to date but this is only part of the story…
Having watched or umpired most of the mixed team games this season it has been wonderful to see the squad gel together in the true Adel way. The team is a pleasant mix of some long standing club members along with some recent recruits but its been great to see everyone pull together, give each other support and play the game the right way. The commitment to the punishing fitness sessions and mixed friendlies throughout May has been admirable but it has also been great to see the team bond off the pitch at social events and other club activities.
I know there were some tough decisions to make when selecting a final playing squad of 16 for the semi final on Saturday and the final call was always going to be hard for 6 other players who have been part of the cup run so far and been just as committed and enthusiastic in the last few weeks. But it has been great to see those unfortunate not to be selected to still come along and support, take part and be part of the wider squad training.
Since the quarter final we have also been fortunate to secure sponsorship for the club from Blacks Solicitors and we thank them for their support and hope that the new shirts with their company logo get some great coverage this weekend. We also look forward to a great partnership with Blacks in the season ahead.
We should also thank the mixed teams from Leeds, York and Ben Rhydding for playing friendly fixtures as part of our preparation. A true sign of the Yorkshire hockey community supporting each other and we appreciate their time to help.
Sam, Gabby and Ellie have all spent a great deal of time to make the weekend happen off the pitch too. It promises to be a great weekend not just for the players but other club members and friends and families and I can’t wait to see a sea of orange shirts and hats in the stands on Saturday along with the new banners. The game against Horsham wont be easy and our team will have a tough challenge if they want to get to the final but the support from the stands from the Adel contingent can hopefully act as a 12th man to spur on the team.
It goes without saying that this is the first time the club has ventured as far as this in a national tournament so I am sure everyone is as keen as me to make sure our club reputation and image is enhanced further afield and the name of Adel becomes better known to the teams from the south. Win, lose or draw, we can still make sure we follow our codes of conduct and respect codes whilst having a great weekend.
Finally, thanks to everyone who attended the mucking in weekend end last week and contributed to the improvement of our facilities at the astro pitch. Success on the pitch is being matched by success and teamwork off the pitch which can only be positive for the new season ahead!