I have given this post the title of a pre-season update… in truth I am not sure the season ever ends now and activity over the summer months is just as busy as in the traditional winter hockey season.

To some people, one season ends perhaps with your final game in March, the club dinner in April or when you attend the AGM in April to help elect the new committee for the season ahead.  But for many people the season has rumbled along throughout May, June, July and August both on and off the pitch.

Summer leagues continue to thrive on Monday to Wednesday evenings with a healthy Adel turnout across a variety of Adel coloured teams…. black, orange, white but now the added bonus of seeing the likes of Will Purdy sporting a pink top and an Adel “junior” team which has an average age of around 32.  The good news is the OAPs team continue to turn up every week under Dave Akroyd’s stewardship with a wide range of former players donning the green and gold – I continue to hope that some of them will have the confidence to come out of retirement to play for Adel again next season, especially as their offspring will soon be pushing for places in the senior teams.  Thank you to Sam and Gaby for their organisation along with all the skippers for making sure we get teams out every week.

Paul Lewis has also been running Back to Hockey sessions on a Monday evening and judging by the numbers this has proved to be an instant success judging by the smiles I have seen on the faces of the regular attendees.  Hopefully some of them will have re-caught the hockey bug and want to join us when the 2016-17 winter season begins as new players are always welcome.

The fixtures for the new season are now on line (YHA website) – please try and avoid looking at them to see when your team has that tricky away  game in Lincoln or Grimsby and finding that you have an urgent hair appointment that day so won’t be able to make it.  I know travelling can be a challenge some weekends but life would be boring if we only played in LS16 every week.

Those of you using the overflow car park must have noticed that the old astro has finally disappeared after 2 years of valiant attempts to find a new home.  Sadly, most paths led to nothing and in the end we decided to bury it in the field next to the astro pitch – it would have been preferable to have come to this conclusion 2 years ago to save us moving it as far as we did, but thank you to Caroline whose horses are in the field next to the pitch (along with several balls from misplaces summer league undercuts) for taking the remaining astro off our hands in order that her horses can run around the field with less chance of picking up a fetlock injury.

The committee continue to plan for the season ahead – Hockeyfest will be coming to Adel at the start of the season, new goals which are desperately needed are being planned, a new coaching structure under Paul’s leadership is in place, EH cup competitions are being entered, a junior parents evening is being planned to improve our communication to parents and much much more.  Please do all you can to support the club with these initiatives where you can.

Further down the page you will see that the new kit and our new supplier (All Rounder in Headingley) are now available to order on line and there will be a small supply of stock in the shop.  I think it is great news that the club is returning to a single identity with common colours across all our teams and thanks again to Andy Bird and Paul Lewis (again…) for their work with All Rounder and planning the launch evening at the club.

An update on President Poll’s pre-season fitness schedule.  Richard, with the support of his wife Sue, is recovering well at home after his triple heart bypass operation over the summer.  Like all good professional sportsmen, it was pleasing to see Richard’s commitment to Adel by having this operation in the off season so that he will be back to full fitness for the season ahead.  In all seriousness, we all wish Richard well and look forward to seeing his return with both a whistle and a stick in hand.

It is easy to be critical of things that don’t quite go to plan at the club but sometimes its worth taking a step back and reminding ourselves where we have come from in the last 2 years.  We have a new pitch, improved floodlights, new kit, ladies teams being promoted across the board and a thriving summer league generating much needed revenue for the club.  Our bar is one of the best around the county and our junior section continues to grow under Pam Hardaker and Simon Suttons watchful management.  I know there are a few areas that we would still like to see improved, particularly the changing rooms in the cricket pavilion, new goals and improvements to the fencing behind them and perhaps a general tidy up of the dugouts.  But Rome was not built in a day, we do not have the benefit of a rich benefactor (unless one of you is keeping it a secret) and sometimes it is a case of prioritising what is needed now in order to survive and be able to play hockey at all.

Having recently attended the AWMA Council meeting (for those of you who are wondering what on earth this body is, the grounds and facilities at Adel are overseen by a charitable trust, the Adel War Memorial Association, which oversees all of the club facilities and management – we as a hockey section are one of a dozen or so sections who benefit and as a result each section provides a representative to oversee the management and development of the overall “club”).  I know that other sections are equally disappointed with the kitchen area and the changing facilities in the cricket pavilion and this latter point is a major project being reviewed by AWMA.  However, to do this justice, it needs to be done correctly with a long term timeframe and not a series of short fixes.  This of course requires more money but the initial stages are encouraging with plans to look at a new building on two stories with viewing on to the cricket and football pitches (bit of a stretch to watch the hockey perhaps) and a possible bar facility to save the long walk back to the clubhouse.  The obvious barrier is the cost and the hockey section has of course exhausted its grant applications in securing the finances needed for the new pitch.  I will keep you posted as this project develops but please bear with the AWMA and the committee.

One way to contribute towards the kitty needed to finance the project is to make more use of the club facilities.  The easiest source of revenue is form bar takings so I would encourage everyone to stop and have a drink after a game (summer and winter) and attend any social functions we run using the back room at the club.

Finally, there is a hockey committee meeting next week at the club – please feel free to send me any areas you would like discussing ahead of the new season.  Its your club and without your input we cannot ensure we take it forwards in the direction our members want to see!