I am sure everyone is fully aware that the club secured their 3rd promotion of the season at the weekend, with another team in the fortunate position of finding they had been promoted before setting foot on the pitch.  A surprise win for Horsforth over Bradford meant the Leeds Adel Ladies 4s could go into their final match of the season against table-toppers Pickering safe in the knowledge that they had guaranteed at least 2nd place in the table.  The match ahead of them was now a case of the winner securing the title with the runners up finishing 2nd but with promotion secured.  A tough game against the table toppers on their home pitch was always going to be a difficult task and a 2-0 deficit at half time was perhaps not the way the 4s wanted to end their season.  With a half time team talk from skipper Hannah, the 4s came out stronger in the 2nd half, clawed a goal back and were unlucky not to get an equaliser.  Whilst beaten on the day, the reward of promotion is due to a whole season’s efforts and its great to see the 4s secure their 2nd promotion in 3 seasons as the conveyor belt of talent coming through the ladies section continues to look healthy.

The season is of course not yet over for one team with the Ladies 2s having a play off v Lindum to see which team enters the North leagues.  If Adel 2s are successful they will be the first 2nd team from Adel (mens or ladies) to enter the North leagues and only a small handful of ladies clubs are able to offer such a high level of hockey for their 2nd team players.  Good luck to Sandra, Robyn and their team when they travel to Doncaster to do battle on Sunday 23rd April and a travelling army of fans from Adel is welcomed to cheer them on.  The 2s ended their league campaign with a 4-1 win over Sheffield Hallam 2s who look likely to be relegated from the Yorkshire Premier League.  Katie Wood bagged a brace of goals, Tina added to her tally for the season and with goal threats across the pitch, a squad of players able to play in a variety of positions, some wily old brains and some talented young legs, the team should not be afraid of the task ahead of them.

The 3s missing skipper Gaby ended the season on a high with a 3-1 win over Wakefield Wanderers and finished just outside the promotion slots in 4th spot whilst the 5s ended their season with a good 4-1 win over Huddersfield to finish a credible 7th place in their first season back in the leagues.

On the mens side of the club, the 2 promoted teams had home games to finish their campaigns.  The 1s took on Slazengers keen to preserve their 100+ goal difference and a 3-1 win was a satisfying end to the season after the draw away at Slazengers earlier in the season in one of only 2 games they failed to win.  The 4s record was sufficient to dissuade York 9ths from making the trip so a 3-0 home win was awarded by the league, thereby ensuring an unbeaten season for the team as they recovered from last seasons disappointment of relegation to bounce back at the first attempt.  The 3s had a thriller of a game against Thirsk where a 4-1 lead was overturned and in the end both teams settled for a point in a 5-5 draw. The 3s ended their campaign in exactly the same spot as last season in the middle of their division.  And finally the mens 2s had one of the longer journeys of the season with an away trip to relegated Worksop who play somewhere in Nottinghamshire.  After a storming run since mid-February it was something of an anti-climax to lose the last game 3-1 but with the hope of player retention for next season, some summer training, and the promotion of some of the talented juniors coming through, promotion challenge next season is the 2s priority.

As ever at the end of a season we wave goodbye to some players as they head off to University and we also are disappointed to lose the services of 2 committed club coaches in Sam Ransley and Ash Hardaker as they head west to pursue new employment and educational adventures.  Both will be sorely missed and leave holes the club are keen to fill for next season.  The committee also approach the end of their year with the AGM on 26th April at the AWMA club with everyone invited to attend.

Whilst the meeting covers a number of routine matters such as the accounts etc, there are also vacant roles to fill for next season and all committee posts are open for nomination if you think you are keen and able to add something back to the club.  Its also an opportunity to contribute to the debate about how to take the club forward and raise our standards on and off the pitch.  Most clubs in Yorkshire survive due to the extraordinary efforts of a small handful of enthusiastic members and we are keen to share the burden across a wider base of members.  Fresh ideas are always welcome.

Its an opportune moment for me to thank all the skippers this season, the coaching staff for their commitment to training which has seen high levels of attendance, all of our umpires who give up their time to ensure games can go ahead, those who act as TD in the dug out (Mr & Mrs Blyth primarily!), and all of the committee who ensure pitches, opposition, neutral umpires, changing rooms, teas, match fees, subs etc are all dealt with so games go ahead without problems.  Over the season there has been the odd challenge (floodlight failure, changing room allocations, parking….) but having attended a recent England Hockey meeting with other clubs its clear some of our opponents have much more difficult challenges to deal with a their clubs including access to school pitches, relationships with other sports sections sharing the same facilities, player availability, umpiring availability and committee roles with one club in serious danger of folding as their Chairman who has carried out multiple roles is stepping down with no replacement lined up.  Life at Adel may not always be perfect but we have a lot to appreciate on and off the pitch and I hope next season the club continues its upward trend and is stronger to challenge for honours across the teams.