Most hockey games begin slowly and build up to a battle between the two teams, but Leeds Adel start as if they are already chasing the game; never allowing the opponents time to settle on the ball or ease into a match.
This mentality was in clear evidence on Saturday, as it took less than two minutes for Adel to take the lead against visiting Harrogate. The contest began and before the crowd had settled, Adel had a one goal lead. Some fantastic pressure in the middle of the field, coupled with swift passes left Harrogate reeling. Before the visitors could compose any form of defence, the ball was past the goalkeeper and in the back of the net.
This set the tone for the rest of the first half as one turned in two, which very quickly became three. Harrogate didn’t seem to know how to cope with the relenting wave of orange shirts bearing down on them, as Adel were seemingly unstoppable.
Coach Ball tried a new formation in this game, but it’s hard to tell whether it was a success or not, as Adel are no strangers to scoring with ease this season. However, it would be impossible to view the slight change as a failure, as by half time, the game was well and truly beyond Harrogate. Goals from Sam Harris and Will Purdy, a double from Alex Belshire and James Moorhouse claiming his first hat-trick of the season, meant that a score line of 7-0 at half time led everyone to believe the competition was over.
The second half was a more toned-down affair, as Adel looked to increase their lead but were unable to do so. Harrogate were able to get a few consolation goals to make the score a little more respectable but could never mount the comeback their travelling supporters may have hoped for. A yellow card to Alastair Young didn’t help the Harrogate cause, as they struggled to break down a resolute Adel team.
Time ran out, and Adel kept their position at the top of the league- if only by a narrow margin, as they chalked up their thirteenth win of the campaign. With only eight games left, Adel will want to keep their foot on the gas and record a few more first half destructions of any they face.
The Ladies of Adel travelled away to Thirsk for their game on Saturday, looking for a repeat of the victory they achieved over this team earlier in the season.
Sitting comfortably in fourth, Adel are hoping to close the gap on the top three and keep winning their games to help this target. Unfortunately, the top three seem to be doing the same, and Adel are left chasing the pack.
Able to dictate the tempo of the match from start to finish, Adel settled into their rhythm quickly; showing some slick passing and movement off the ball. Win or lose, Adel Ladies have always been a true team, and this game was no exception. All players worked hard and fought for each other, and the pressure soon paid off as the first short corner awarded to the visiting side was happily converted for the lead.
This game wasn’t all one way, like the Men’s was, and the Adel keeper was required to show her skills numerous times within the first half. A rare mistake in defence allowed Thirsk to get back to level terms, before Adel took control once again. Some strong passing soon gave Adel a chance to regain the lead as the team move was finished in style, with the ball being lifted over a despairing keeper. A third soon followed as a deflected shot caught everyone off guard and doubled the travelling teams lead.
Returning from an away game, is always sweeter when you have a victory under your belts, and Adel enjoyed their return to the War Memorial knowing they had played a great game of team hockey and done their club proud.
Adel results in full
Men’s Ones 7 Harrogate 2
Men’s Twos 2 Harrogate 1
Men’s Threes 1 Scarborough 4
Men’s Fives 0 Thirsk 1
Men’s Sixes 0 Wakefield 2
Ladies Ones 3 Thirsk 1
Ladies Twos 2 Kingston Upon Hull 1
Ladies Threes 1 Skipton 1
Ladies Fours 2 Thirsk 3
Ladies Fives 0 City of York 6