After announcing the ladies section award winners for the 2019-20 season last week, this week its the turn of the men’s section.  With 6 senior teams, competition for places and several teams finishing the curtailed season well up their respective league tables, choosing award winners proved to be a difficult task for the committee.

We all know that presenting the awards has proved to be problematical this season, but I did manage to get out last night and hand over a suitable substitute award to three of our younger recipients from a safe social distance.  Thanks to Saltaire Brewery for their “disinfected and left on door step” Amarillo beer in club colours.  All photos were taken from over 2 metres away and the winners were told to give their bottles to their supportive parents…..

MENS GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR – MIKEY McWILLIAMS

Mikey’s shot stopping ability has never been in question. From the sublime to the ridiculous since he first joined the senior ranks at 13 he has often made some of the top saves of the season across the club. This year, he’s added the maturity and concentration to command a back line (its rare to see young keepers with a strong voice organising their defence, but then this lad is a McWilliams!), provide effective distribution and now stops the simple stuff from going through his legs. Regularly he has kept the 3s in matches, and even won them games. Given his age, and progression to date it won’t be long until he’s playing North league hockey and challenging for our first XI GK shirt. Tom Taylor watch out!

MENS MOST IMPROVED PLAYER – JOE GREER

From the moment Joe made his 1st team debut in a pre season game at Leeds we knew it was a long overdue selection. From his debut to being one of the first names on the team sheet in such a short space of time takes some doing. After 2 years of training with Stroomer in his pocket for 1s vs 2s games he continued throughout last season putting the majority of opponents in that same pocket. A perfect balance of having an experienced head on such young shoulders, an ability to find space in a crowded midfield and the youthful flair to unleash reverse stick bangers at will. Long live the phrase “Joe has just Greered them”.  And its not just Adel that recognise his talent, as Joe also attended National Age Group trials this season where he will no doubt have come to the attention of the quality coaches and had agents tapping him up for a move to a higher level club – stick with us Joe.

P.S. please don’t go to Uni anytime soon, unless its within a short commute of Adel.

MENS YOUTH PLAYER OF THE YEAR – TOM ALLDRED

Since starting out in the under 10s, Tom has continued to improve year in, year out and is now a true asset to the men’s 2s. The fact that he is still a junior is often overlooked as he brings a mature, level-headed and selfless mindset to the team. Combine that with the ability to be a menace around the D and a steady supply of goals (some with first time strikes that benefit from spending his summers playing cricket!)  and you’ve got yourself a forward who delivers the goods. As with the majority of the 2s – an all-round good bloke with excellent taste in juice.  The even better news for the club is that his younger brother JJ already looks to be following the same path as Tom so how long before we see the Alldred brothers playing alongside each other in the first team?  Tom made his 1s league debut last season and didn’t look out of place and whilst competition for a spot in the 1s forward line is as strong as ever, Tom is knocking on the door.

MENS 1’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR – NATHAN HEMMING

One of his many man of the match votes last season claimed that “Nath is like a fine wine, only getting better with age”. He is the vital cog that keeps the Men’s 1st team ticking all season long and has done so for the last decade. Dependable, consistent and all you could ever want from someone who runs the middle of the park. We would say he is Adel’s version of Xavi but that would be doing Nath a disservice.  A thoroughly nice bloke now playing without the pressure of the skippers armband but still willing to pass on his worldly knowledge to newcomers to the team.  Long overdue this award…..

MENS 2’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR – SAM BISHOP

When your right back comes in as top goal scorer for the season it doesn’t go unnoticed. Bish combines blistering pace with fast hands and has the right hand-side of the pitch in his pocket. His ability to defy physics with a signature disguise slap has earned him a short corner conversion rate better than a lot of top level drag-flickers. He has been known to tell opposing defenders where it’s going, stay true to his word and still rattle the backboard at shin height.  When occasionally asked to do some defending as you might expect from a right back, he is rock solid and can swiftly turn defence into attack with one perfectly executed 50 yard pass. An all-round good bloke with excellent taste in beer.

MENS 3’S PLAYER OF THE SEASON – ANDREW BOAG (AND HIS DOG)

For Andrew Boag last season was the most significant period of challenge in his life. His home country, China, was cracking down on fellow rich expats at university campuses across Hong Kong.  Andy martyred himself swiftly and decisively in the face of COVID-19. He quickly utilised his love of trucks, and his desire to do good in order to enable WalMart to maximise their profits during a time of crisis. Key worker, but for whom?  Sometimes injury prone, this year his body has held up remarkably well.  He is the only athlete I know looking ahead to build up their fitness for the 2026 season. Andrew did make it to training once last season – only for it to be cruelly cancelled due to the lack of lights.

However, with all that in mind, he remains the player to most under-utilise their talent on a hockey pitch. To play at a level that is a little better than average for the 3s on a semi-consistent basis, is quite an achievement.  Given all the above points and his record breaking tally as top goal scorer he is clearly the man who deserves to be the 3s player of the year.

MENS 4’S PLAYER OF THE SEASON – BEN HENDLEY

After retiring from a successful coaching career, dusting off his old stick, Ben was back to playing for the 4s, bristling with misguided confidence to become the midfield maestro and bang in a silly number of goals. Although his ambitions to outscore everyone didn’t quite come to fruition he did make double figures and, well he did pretty much run the show from his midfield role where he seemed to be chained to the centre spot on a 5 metre chain. After lengthy discussions before EVERY game about the press, which the 4’s now have nightmares about, he was able to bring the best out of all them and produce skills which have never been seen at this level of hockey before. His ability to distribute and rebuild play resulted in many a goal although his tracking back still needs some improvement. It is often said that form is temporary but class is permanent, we can gloss over the class, but his form last season was top notch.

MENS 5’S PLAYER OF THE SEASON – DAVID MARGERISON

David is now into his 57th season of playing hockey at Adel, having represented every team, skippered several of them, played on grass and astro and worn the green and gold, black and now orange.  The #ATID motto was invented for members like David whose on pitch contribution is supplemented by many years of service in committee roles.  Still as fit as a fiddle, he has been a regular in the 5s when international duties for Scotland over 70s have permitted.  Rumour has it that in one game last season the combined age of David and our Welsh Masters player Ian Phillips was more than the total age of the other 9 players on the pitch.  The recipients of the first three awards in this article have all benefitted from David’s wise words and guidance when they started out in their senior hockey careers at Adel and I hope there are still more juniors to come through and be equally as fortunate.

MENS 6’s PLAYER OF THE SEASON – MATT LILLEY

Matt has long been one of the most important and influential players in the 5’s. A regular at training, his work rate, effort and consistency means he always has a big impact on every game in the midfield. A tough tackler, he also gets forward frequently and was one of the top scorers last season. We also gather that his MOM/DOD ratio is impressive and therefore Matt is a near unanimous and popular choice for player of the year.

MENS TOPSCORER AWARD – PAUL HORSEY

Paul Horsey wins the Paul Horsey award for another year (5th?) with 42 to his name (yawn). A quick glance at the YHA league tables will tell you that this tally is more than some teams managed as a whole team. Without his dedicated ability to find the net more consistently than Patrick Bamford, (Ed- this comment looks a little out of date?)  it’s fair to say he’s contributed massively to the 4s since moving to the team.  With the 1’s sharing goals around the whole team, Miles Buller moving away to pastures new, is there anyone in the club who can mount a serious challenge this season to compete with Horsey?  A quick glance at the trophy will tell you that many moons ago, a Studholme once won the award, can son Robbie follow in his Dad’s footsteps this season and mount a serious challenge?

MENS TEAM OF THE YEAR- MENS 1’S

The 2019/20 season saw leadership changes for the mens 1’s with captain of 5 years Nathan making way for Stroomer, and a change in coach with Ben stepping away to be replaced by the long-term injured Bally.  A stable squad over the last few seasons is clearly a huge benefit, a commitment to training week in week out and a style of play that always guarantees goals and entertainment for the Adel faithful watching on the sidelines.

The hockey played by the 1’s was some of the highest quality played by an Adel side, with an array of fantastic attacking play and hard pressing combined with some newly found solidity at the back. When Covid intervened, the team were top of the league with 20 wins out of 22, scoring 120 goals and conceded just 29 with a goal difference of +91.  In any normal season this would have seen a team win their division at a canter, but unfortunately the other 2 games were narrow defeats to Brigg. Brigg, still had 1 game outstanding when the season was stopped and with the North rules not catering for such a situation, the league committee adopted an average points per game policy resulting in Brigg being in effect awarded a victory in their unplayed game.  If we were Donald Trump we would have disputed the outcome, claimed the victory and turned up for the first game of this season against a North Div 1 team but Adel are more gracious in defeat and used the disappointment as an incentive to come into this season determined not to see the same situation arise again.  An impressive 5 wins from 5 to date shows the quality and commitment is still there and perhaps it was always going to take some global pandemic to potentially stop the 1s from notching a century of goals for the 6th league campaign in a row.  Fingers crossed, league hockey can recommence shortly and see all teams back on the pitch banging in the goals again.

Congratulations to all the award winners. Hopefully when the trophies have been gathered in, engraving shops have reopened, we can present you all with your awards at a suitable occasion.