The longest away game of the season and playing a team the 2’s often struggle against was the treat bestowed upon the Men’s 2’s on the opening day of the season by the Yorkshire Hockey Association. I suppose we provided payment to the hockey gods for every other team to have a home game.

Brigg (or rather Scunthorpe) was the location of the clash and the opposition was familiar in colour. However, it was filled with new faces; athletic, young ones replacing older fatter men.  But this 2’s team was also unrecognisable from last season with just a midfield trio of Giles, Boag and stand-in captain Jackson remaining in a squad of 12 from the previous seasons mid-table exploits.

After a warm up involving 15 minutes of cardio surprised and nearly killed half the squad, and some stick and ball practice the starting 11 were just about ready to face the clash.

The game started with pace, athleticism, and a few miss trapped and misplaced balls. However, as it progressed some cobwebs were blown off and a degree of flair and fluent movement from both teams was exhibited to the crowd of almost 10. End to end play, partly due to the initial ineptitude and placement of opposing midfields (or rather mine), transpired.

Early in the first half Adel had opportunities that resulted in several shots on target being thwarted. First by the keeper, then last ditch tackles and finally an opposition defenders foot which blocked debutant Max Lockyer’s shot from a certain goal. A flick? Surely? Not according to the umpires. Not even a short! The decision can only be described as questionable with one only presuming that, like the players, the umpires had yet to blow off their own cobwebs – from their spectacles.

Flabbergasted by the decision Brigg hit us on the break. 1-0.

But, testament to the attitude of the newly formed squad, Adel quickly struck back by gaining a short corner within seconds of the game restarting. Turned goal-bound by returning star Jonny Staunton-Sykes it looked a certain goal for the Cambridge (I heard) graduate. Centimetres from the line the goal was cruelly stolen from him by debutant Edd Holford purely for the fantasy points. 5 points to Holford.

It quickly became apparent that Brigg also had a fantasy league, with players complaining that they weren’t being passed to by other members in the attacking third simply because they didn’t have them in their team. Disgraceful behaviour. However, I’m not sure quite how, but the score at halftime was 2-1 to Brigg.

Halftime saw adjustments to formation and roles that meant that Adel were dominant in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Jonny finally got his goal, from open play, to make it 2-2 and Holford scored his first non-poached goal of the season from a well drilled short corner practiced earlier in the week at training. 3-2, and Adel were 15 minutes away from a famous victory over a team that usually somehow punish us by 3-7 goals home and away.

Then disaster struck. Ash Hardaker forgot he wasn’t the umpire and got a bit too involved in the decision making for the umpires liking – earning himself a green card. Without him at the back Adel conceded, 3-3.

The last 10 minutes was a test of fitness, with end to end play. Without a 13th man on the bench after Paul Lewis sustained a horrific injury whilst jogging slowly on Wednesday we fought through. Opportunities were afoot for both teams. Adel unlucky to not convert a late short, and Brigg stopped brilliantly by Dan Perkins in a one on one situation after a calamity in positioning of the entire team.

In the end, a fair result and a great work out at the start of the season. Thanks to Brigg for the incredible tea’s after.

BAGs was great, thanks to Jimmy in the 1s for organising that for the 20 or so lads, and one missus that stuck around at the clubhouse for a few hours after the games!

Next up four home games on the trot – with newly-promoted Acomb 1’s visiting for this weekend’s early (10:30) push back.

MoM: Jonny Staunton Sykes for his goal (2 goals) and general team play.

DoD: Joint between Ash Hardaker, for aforementioned reasons, and Sam Jackson (I keep referring to myself in the third person for some reason) for apparently a multitude of reasons.