The club sent out 14 senior teams into battle this weekend, over the course of 2 days. 9 home games gave the Adel faithful plenty to support, cheer and with over 50 goals (plus one mysteriously chalked off in controversial circumstances in the big game of Sunday) the orange goals of the Adel astro were given a serious test.
So where do you begin when Saturday saw not one Adel team lose a game, we have four teams leading their respective divisions and all 5 of the mens teams came away with victories? Well, lets begin at the beginning which for some of us meant an 8.30am arrival at the Adel astro to see if Sam Jackson had found a way of curing the permafrost that exists in the top right hand corner at this time of the year. Fortunately, the pitch looked good, the junior footballers were arriving for their weekly kickabout to help defrost any patches of ice and knowing there was a long day ahead, I went off to West Park café with ladies 2s skipper Sophie Powley and fellow umpire James Moorhouse ahead of the first game at 10.30am. The 2s began the day 5 points clear of their nearest rivals, Slazengers and Ben Rhydding and after 2 weeks of slow starts, Katie Wood took matters into her own hands this week by dribbling from the first push back all the way into the Wakefield D and after a couple of attempts slotted home the first goal of the weekend in about 25 seconds of match 1. Perhaps she had no other option but to do things on her own as a couple of the Adel players managed to arrive without a hockey stick in their possession…..
Further goals came from a couple of short corners with Jane Holmes sliding in (perhaps there was a patch of ice there after all) to neatly deflect a second and the third came from another nice deflection but this time it was a Wakey foot that helped bring Big Bird, Jenny Hopkins tracer bullet of a strike back on target and into the roof of the net. Half time team talk this week would be much easier and things got better when Harriet stepped up with a clean strike from the top of the D to make it 4-0 and the Adel keeper had barely touched the ball. Perhaps with minds on what to do over the rest of the day, Adel allowed Wakey back into the game and they had their own short corner striker who confidently strode up to hammer home 3 goals and with 5 minutes left the score was 5-3 (another goal from Woody to give some breathing space) but Wakey on the attack. Their 4th goal gave everyone some nervous jitters but some clever possession hockey in the corners of the pitch saw Adel run down the clock to sneak home. All 3 of their nearest rivals had also had narrow wins so no change at the top of the Yorkshire Premier League with a game less to go and the 2s now need to win 3 from their last 6 (as long as one of them is against Slazengers) to secure top spot after 2 years of being runners up.
The mens 3s then entertained another side from Wakefield (their 4s apparently although a few of them seemed in need of a fast car back down the M1 on the final whistle for some strange reason) and in a closely contested match, Dave Mattinson finally settled it with a diving deflection which skipper Beale could not replicate a few minutes later perhaps as a result of under an hours sleep the night before. The 3s continue to push hard for 2nd place in the table but have a big double header next weekend including an away game on Sunday at Scarborough who are running away with the league with a 100% record still intact.
The mens 1s reports are already up elsewhere courtesy of “card machine” Will Purdy. Saturday’s game against Hallam was enjoyable to watch as both teams tried to play good hockey but the difference between the 2 teams was evident in the final third of the pitch where Adel created plenty of chances whereas debutant Matt Cooper’s only threat came from a wayward back pass that he did well to let go off the backline. Moorhouse fresh from umpiring the previous two games broke the deadlock by following up well after a penalty corner, Harris, Purdy, Ball and even Bayford got on the scoreline and even though news came from a big Bradford win to reduce the goal difference, everyone knew the real challenge was still to come on Sunday.
The ladies 3s played local rivals Leeds HC and came away with a well earned point and a 1-1 draw, especially pleasing in view of the unavailability of several players throughout the club so most ladies sides were understrength compared with other weekends.
The mens 5s on a winning streak of 2 games, with 12 goals in their last 2 games concluded Saturday’s proceedings and came away with a thumping 9-1 win over yet another Wakefield side to travel to Adel and leave pointless. Stefan Palenski took the individual honours with 4 goals, Hedgie got back on both scoreboards (goals and cards apparently) and the other juniors showed the quality coming through the sides with Joe, Matty, Fin, Murf and Max running rings around the opposition and learning how to finish in style. Perhaps this boyish enthusiasm should have been managed a little better to keep some in the tank for Sunday as the 5s were back on the pitch less than 18 hours later as they took on title challengers Worksop who came with a strong team that don’t quite fit the usual side you see in this division (most teams generally have an average of 33 – 6 of them under 16 and 6 of them over 55 whereas Worksop’s youngest player looked to be about 30 and the oldest no more than 40). The 5-2 scoreline to Worksop was perhaps not a fair reflection of the game overall but I am certain the junior players will have learnt more from this defeat than they will have done from the previous days victory. Charlie maintained his goal scoring run with a brace of goals and there was a cameo appearance for his Dad, Simon when Tom Poll had to rush off to do his shift at Leeds Bradford Airport.
And so, finally the game most of Yorkshire has been waiting for since the postponement back in November, had arrived. Bradford had brought a strong youthful squad, a large contingent of fans and were also high in confidence after a 10-1 win over Halifax the previous day. It was clear from the start that chances would be few and far between and whilst Adel had the best chance of the first half, they also spent several periods of it playing with 10 men as some tackles were being punished with spells on an already crowded middle bench (full of Adel fans afraid of the cold weather primarily). The second half finally saw the breakthrough when Adels slick passing found the waiting Watto (or was it Harris) wide of the goal to neatly deflect in to break the deadlock and a few minutes later skipper Hemming provided a mirror image goal from the other side of the D having ghosted back on from a 2 minute spell resting in the middle dugout. I know the Development Committee have been offering naming rights in return for sponsorship of the dugouts but I didn’t expect so many players to want to go and have a closer look at the naughty boys bench before deciding whether to go ahead with their investment.
Bradford continued to work hard and from their first penalty corner of the game they had a well worked move deflected in past the otherwise unemployed Josh Berry. Game on, the next goal would surely be crucial. As Bradford pressed forward in search of an equaliser they had to leave gaps at the back and finally a slick passing move down the right hand side saw Adel get to the byline and the pulled back cross was expertly finished by Simon Ball to give some breathing space to the scoreline. As Adel regrouped in their own half, the umpires then seemed to decide to review the goal and the disengaged umpire thought he had seen an obstruction in the D on the Bradford keeper from his vantage point of over 50 yards away. If you thought the disallowed Wales try the day before was the most controversial decision of the weekend, then this one went and trumped it by some margin and it gave Bradford renewed hope as they went back in search of an equaliser. Another short corner given against the defence was well defended and as the game approached the final seconds and Adel were awarded a penalty corner at the other end, the majority of the 100+ crowd could breath a huge sigh of relief knowing the 3 points were in the bag.
A hugely entertaining game, played in excellent spirit by both teams and either side would be strong challengers in the league above next season based on their performances. Both teams now go into battle again in the penultimate game of the season with Bradford knowing nothing less than a victory will be needed to restore their title hopes whilst Adel continue to hope they can go through the season with a 100% record to follow the same achievement by the ladies 1s a couple of years ago.
The mens 2s clearly not wanting to be outdone and keen to avenge their one defeat of the season against Ramgarhia then played in front of a decent crowd who stayed on to see the strength in depth the club has this season. Buller scored within the first minute and goals followed with frequent regularity as the 2s completed a successful weekend of 2 wins with 17 goals for and none conceded to maintain top spot. There is a huge game against nearest rivals Sheffield Hallam 4s looming on the horizon in a couple of weeks and the 2s know this game will determine the outcome of their season.
The final home game saw the ladies 4s playing their second game of the weekend having had an away draw at Selby on Saturday. Sadly, they could not quite match the efforts from the previous day and went down 4-0 to Cleckheaton but they maintained their mid table position.
Saturday’s away games not reported above saw the ladies 5s continue where they had left off the previous week with an impressive 4-0 away win at Chapeltown. They seem to be getting it together, results are improving and they are rising the table with a few more new players joining the team and hopefully starting out on their hockey journey at Adel. The mens 4s had a narrow 1-0 away win at Chapeltown to maintain their top spot and the ladies 1s travelled to Lymm (somewhere in deepest darkest Cheshire apparently in case you were wondering) and came away with a point courtesy of Rosh McEwan’s first goal for the first team and hopefully a turning point for the 1s as they look to pull away from the relegation zone.
With 14 games I am sure I must have missed one somewhere along the way and next week is notionally a slip week but due to the weather affected postponements we will see 4 home games featuring the mens sides starting at 12 noon when the 5s take on Bankers and then the mens 1s play Huddersfield followed by games for the mens 2s and 3s to keep the Adel faithful from an afternoon watching the winter Olympics.
A huge thank you to anyone who coached, umpired, cheered on our teams this weekend. The club spirit is as high as ever, we have several teams threatening to bring home some silverware and the pipeline of talent coming through from the lower teams to the top end of the club continues to keep competition lively for places.