For those of you who have missed the big sporting news from the weekend, and I don’t mean Mourinho to Manchester United or Jonny Bairstow winning the Test match for England on his home ground at Headingley, it was the England Hockey Award evening and dinner in Reading on Saturday night.

After a long wait where lots of international players, coaches and umpires were rewarded for their respective success, the prizes for the club teams of the year were announced and it was with immense pride and delight that our Ladies 1s were called up to the stage to receive the award for England Hockey’s ladies team of the year.  By all accounts those who made the effort to travel to Reading had a memorable evening partly due to the team also winning Champions Trophy tickets next month and a table tennis table topper.

The team have had the most successful season in history at Adel but have also contributed to the wider success of the club in so many ways.  However, awards like this are not earned over the course of one season alone as there are a number of foundations that need to be in place so that success can be achieved.  Many of our players have been with Adel for several seasons, some starting in the junior teams and our successful junior coaching structure under the guidance of Pam Hardaker are reaping their rewards.  Having improved facilities at Adel helps all the teams at Adel and the new pitch and floodlights benefit not just on match day but also during the week at training sessions.  Having a tremendous club spirit which was evidenced by the high numbers who turned out for the nail-biting play off games will have given everyone a lift when they needed to dig deep and snatch victory from the jaws of play off heartache.  And having a dedicated group of coaches and parents providing the structure and support gives the players the framework to succeed.

Awards like this should also not be seen as the end of a journey – we need to use this as a platform to take the club forwards and continue to grow our membership, support our juniors, improve our facilities and learn from how this success can be replicated in other areas.

With 2 promotions this season (and 2 last season too), Pam Hardaker’s award as Leeds participation coach of the year, our Clubs First award indicating we provide a safe and healthy environment for our players and now this award, the club has completed a successful season (we might even see the old astro finally moved in the next few weeks!).  A number of our local neighbours have also had strong seasons and the competition for the talented hockey players in the local West Yorkshire area is as hot as ever.  Therefore its vital that we continue to be able to offer more than just on field experience as a hockey club and I hope everyone will continue to contribute to the club both on and off the pitch to enable the club to thrive and grow in the seasons ahead.