Adel Mens 4s travelled to Boston Spa on Saturday in a top of the table clash – with both teams boasting 100% records, something had to give.
Captain Sam feared the worst on Friday night, as the whatsapp messages flooded in from what appeared to be a less than ideal pre-match preparation program, naturally involving more than a few beverages from a cohort of the squad. He need not have worried since the team arrived at Boston highly motivated, fully prepared for what promised to be a tough, physical outing.
To their credit Boston put on a well organised, experienced defence that withstood heavy pressure for the opening 20 minutes or so, until Adel’s work in training on the press was rewarded. A nick of possession and some good linking play between D. Greig and H. Ellis resulted in the latter opening the books for the day. A cynical foul offered the chance to double the lead from the penalty spot. 4s targetman M. Brayshaw stepped up to the task, calmly and slowly ricocheting the ball off the keeper until it gently settled over the line.
2-0 at the break with plenty to be happy about. The ball rarely leaving the Boston half and any hints of a counterattack had been very effectively dealt with by centre back pairing K. Herbert and N. Crocker – both making their 4s debut for the season.
The Adel pressure continued in the second half as the match opened up. Greig impressed with two astute strikes. As the match ebbed away from Boston, some of the belligerence and gamesmanship on show in the first half diminished and the game became highly enjoyable.
Make-shift forward T. Beale, who had impressed throughout on and off the ball, perhaps demonstrated why defenders should not take penalty flicks after he foolishly opted for power and placement over Brayshaw’s more tactically nuanced ‘gently does it’ approach. He was understandably thwarted by the keeper and received DOTD for his efforts. (He receives no sympathy from the skipper after his passive aggressive match report the previous week.)
4-0 at the final whistle. From start to finish the 4s excelled themselves, playing fast, passing hockey as a team, probably the best performance and best team effort of the season against 13 determined Boston players. 5 wins out of 5. MOTM was split between K. Herbert – a reward for our first clean sheet since mid september and some classy defending – and R. Lister. The medal was awarded to Lister, partly as recognition that his passing ability awareness and running belied his absolute zero hockey experience in what was his first ever match, and partly because he had returned to the clubhouse, enjoying the fish and chips that an away day at Boston offers for your troubles.
Match Report by Sam Ellis.