“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”
Adel men’s first XI will do well to heed the wise words of the former Mr Universe and seven time Mr Olympia following a difficult opening day on the newly laid Adel pitch.
Perhaps it was first night nerves, but the boys in black never really seemed to fire consistently in this topsy-turvy fixture, and had to settle for a point against Slazengers. Halfway through the first period, Adel held a two goal lead and seemed destined for all three points, but a crazy ten minutes saw the visitors pull them back. The heated second half saw a goal apiece with both sides reflecting upon how they failed to win the match.
Adel began the game comfortably in the heat of the afternoon, and restricted the visitors to limited forays into the home side’s territory. The deadlock was broken after fifteen minutes when Lewis stepped through from defence to win the ball and supplied Hemming who slotted a shot into the bottom corner of the goal, giving the cultured midfielder a second goal in two matches.
Newcomer Jaap Kastelik continually tested the Slazengers ‘keeper with a number of excellent strikes from penalty corners, and managed to grab himself a second career goal for Adel midway through the first half. The penalty corner routines for Adel have become something of a strength recently, which will no doubt please Coach Walker, and this was no exception. A smart exchange of passes in the circle led to the strapping defender continuing his own scoring hot-streak as he pushed past the stranded goalie.
However, the satisfaction of this well-earned lead was short lived. The Horbury-based team struck back with two goals in ten minutes to ramp up the pressure on a creaking midfield and back line and they drew level in time for the change of ends. Coach Walker will no doubt feel that both goals were avoidable and have something for the team to work on during training in the coming weeks.
The second half seemed like a battle as the unseasonal warmth and small squad sizes impacted upon the quality of the hockey. Hosts and visitors exchanged shots and penalty corners with neither team fully seizing the initiative. Hill finally managed to break the deadlock, following up a Kastelik penalty corner to scramble home what appeared to be a winning goal as the sides approached the final whistle.
The scrappy nature of the contest was epitomised as Slazengers saw their South African international sin binned for the final portion of the match for a crunching challenge on the often rapidly moving Portnell. This appeared to hand Adel the tie, however a poor challenge from Ransley saw him join his opposite number on the side-lines for the remaining minutes leaving Adel a defender light after Partner’s earlier withdrawal through injury. Slazengers seized their moment to draw level with minutes left on the clock, scrabbling home a penalty corner of their own, which Adel were understandably miffed to concede following no obvious infringement.
A three-all draw felt like a defeat for the home team having lead twice. But there are valuable lessons to learn from this chastening experience, and positives to take away. Chiefly, they are unbeaten in two games, and have yet to lose at the new pitch. A local derby against Leeds University 1st XI next week should provide the Adel side with all the motivation they need to return to winning ways and look to continue the positive progress in the league.
As ever, thanks to the match officials and loyal Ultras who watch us home and away.
MoM – Tino. Strong like Ox. And a goal.
DoD – Ransley. Making friends with umpires wherever he goes.