Mid season update from Mens Club Captain, Paul Lewis

As we approach the festive season, it seems appropriate to give you all an update on our season so far. Four teams are playing this weekend, and in the evening we have the Christmas social at AWMA, I hope to see you all there!

On the pitch, we are generally being successful as we try to stick to our aims of being competitive yet sociable. I am pleased that for the most part we are able to represent the Club following these key sporting principles.

In Yorkshire Division 1 Nathan Hemming’s 1st team started the season with a bang, blowing away Sheffield Hallam, Wakefield and Lindum in the first three matches, scoring twenty five goals in the process. Top of the table with seven wins from seven matches and threatening to take the league by storm, promotion seemed well within grasp. Tough trips to Slazengers and Airedale followed however, halting any premature celebrations and the season has stuttered since allowing the chasing pack to close ground. A good performance this Saturday in the top of the table clash versus Rotherham will keep the side at the top of the table heading into the Christmas break. Promotion has always been the goal and Coach Walker will have much to ponder over the festive break to keep the dream alive. Thanks as always to sponsors V1sion Properties and the Ultras for their support each week, no matter the weather!

Richard Foster’s 2nd XI have experienced a topsy-turvy season to date, with some outstanding performances more than making up for some heavy defeats. As the squad has settled down, performances have improved and the side are now 3rd in a tight division, only outside the promotion spaces on goal difference. If current form continues, Fozzy will no doubt be hoping that the side can keep up their challenge throughout the season.

Under the guidance of Richard Bingham, the 3rd XI have also had a mildly unpredictable season so far, putting double figures past some teams, whilst being on the receiving side of one or two heavy defeats. The 3s have not travelled well and have yet to get a point away from home and getting a strong 11 for away games has been tricky – especially for Hull, when a strong team travelled, but there was only eight players and no keeper! Frustratingly, when the 3s have had their best side for away matches, the weather has intervened. Home games have been a happier story – putting 10 past Leeds Uni on a frozen Adel morning was fun and notching up 8 against Lindum was probably the best performance of the year.  Hopefully in the second half of the season, the squad will stabilise, find their travel sickness pills, and build towards a top half finish.

 

In Division 5 North, Matt Brayshaw has been leading the Men’s 4th XI and they too have had a mixed set of results. Up against some experienced and strong sides, the highlight of the season so far has probably been the 6-0 shellacking of York 7s. Matt is looking to develop the side as we head into the New Year and will be hoping that they can continue to secure important victories and play well against the leaders in the division.

The two main aims this season for the 5th team under the guidance of Stuart Blair are to integrate some of our junior members into senior hockey, and to ensure that we can gather 11 men each week, to fulfil the majority of our fixtures. So far so good on both these counts. The first few weeks of the season saw a few problems for the team – it looked like we would struggle to generate enough players to continue with the team, however, through the help of some of the other teams in the section, we gathered together a squad for the opening day, and battered Leeds 8s 5-0. Great start to the season. The following week saw quite possibly the result of the season. Eight people travelled to Harrogate, including a junior playing his second senior game, a President and his dodgy knees, no goalkeeper, and at least 3 aged between 50 and 70. Not much emphasis was put on going for the win in the pre-match team talk. Seven at the back and Ian Philips on his tod up front was the day’s formation. It worked a treat. Despite our numerical disadvantage, and losing two quick goals, our energy and enthusiasm to contest every challenge and attack at every opportunity was superb, and continued to give everyone a massive lift throughout the game. Somehow, with ten minutes to go we were 4-2 down, but this didn’t hamper the spirits at all, and with a few minutes to go we managed to snatch two incredible goals, and a well-deserved draw. Massive credit must be given to the elder statesmen of our team, who have continued to make themselves available for most of the season, and encouraged the younger lads in every game that we have played. The 5th team certainly wouldn’t be around without their dedication.

The Men’s Masters team led by Dave Akroyd had a thrilling encounter with City of York in the England Hockey Plate. As they finished the game second best, the Adel team will continue into the England Hockey Masters Shield competition, with a trip to Durham on 10th January to look forward to.

For both Stu in the 5s and many of us in the Club, the emergence of some of our younger players must be the highlight of the season so far. Across the Club they continue to develop as players, show great commitment to learning and most importantly, have played some excellent hockey. The future of the Men’s section is bright. Before I sign off a couple of notices:

– Men’s Training will take place as usual this Thursday (17th Dec), and will resume in 2016 on Thursday 7th January at 19:30.

– Any player who has not paid their annual subscription fee by the start of 2016 will not be selected for any side.

– If you have any questions or suggestion about the running of the Club at any time, please get in touch with me. We’re always looking to improve so constructive comments are welcomed.

All that remains for me to do is wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward to a successful 2016 with you all.