Words by Paul Lewis

“Et augebitur scientia.” [“And knowledge will be increased”]

University of Leeds motto

Learning comes in many different forms, often from unexpected sources. Building upon the lessons of the previous week, Leeds Adel Men’s 1st XI were able to dish out some schooling of their own, this time to the whippersnappers of LUUMHC 1st XI at the former fortress, Weetwood.

However, this fixture arouses a singly important question: When is the number one a number three? Something that the local academics have been considering for a number of years, the maths problem to end all puzzles. However, the answer is simple – when it’s the University of Leeds Saturday 1st XI who are the BUCS 3rd XI – a curious by-product of the local merger between Leeds HC and the University’s top sides. Nonetheless, a stern examination of Adel’s promotion hopes could be expected over the course of this match, a test they passed with first class honours.

Adel started the game with a slightly unfamiliar line-up, and some changes in key personnel. Hemming, Kastelik and Butterworth were all notable absentees, but Horsey, Boag and Coach Walker stepped into the team to provide new options. The initial pace of the game was frenzied and much of the play in the central third of the pitch, but Adel’s metronomic passing game began to take hold as the first half wore on, much of the play going through the deep lying Hendley.

Mayhew broke the deadlock in Adel’s favour midway through the first period after a flowing move down the right hand side, his first goal since a Bosman transfer from Marton. This was swiftly followed by a second for Adel, Evans deflecting Hendley’s shot and continuing the strong start to the season for penalty corner routines. This seemed to fire the hosts as they attacked strongly finding a goal of their own prior to the change of ends during a power play following Ransley’s temporary, but regular enforced sit down.

Adel regrouped at the break and set out with the intention to stifle the opposition through good movement and enforcement of their distinctive strong passing game. The men in black were rewarded with a goal almost immediately after the restart. A slick combination of passing saw Hendley, Hill, Ransley, Boag and Lewis move the ball well in the deep before finding Mayhew high in the opposition half. His strong run and pinpoint cross found Portnell free in the circle, and he slotted an excellent reverse stick strike into the bottom corner to make it 3-1. Adel at this stage were reminiscent of their Oranje cousins from the 1974 World Cup final.

The positivity continued, Hendley effectively ending the match as a contest with a further penalty corner to take it to 4-1. A lucky late consolation penalty corner goal for the hosts couldn’t take the gloss and satisfaction away from a job well done. Adel closing down the match by denying the students possession through quick and effective passing, strong pressing, and teaching them some tricks along the way in terms of game management.

After the game Coach Walker regained his breath and told the waiting press corps: “I was delighted with the way our lads played today. We were strong, passed well and worked as a team to beat more youthful and athletic players. We proved that there is more than one way to win a game of hockey”.

Thanks to the match officials and loyal Ultras who watch us home and away.

MoM – Boag. Tireless work in midfield and up front, an excellent debut.

DoD – Portnell. Maybe he took notes at Paris fashion week and the joke is on the rest of us?