Leeds Adel U16 girls posted two teams last year, but due to adult hockey and exam commitments we could only put out one team this year. Featuring only 3 players from last years A team, the squad has turned up in all weathers from a balmy 17 degrees where point skills were developed to a cold and rainy 2 degree Friday where the focus was on keeping moving. Massive thanks to the adult volunteers, without who we couldn’t keep everyone warm and involved.
The girls have worked hard together and shown huge promise in doing the basics well, making decisions as a team and generally enjoying their hockey.
On Saturday morning, coach Hilton set off for his Mens 3s game with a girls squad of 13, by the time he got back from a good win over Harrogate he was down to 10 due to mock exams and illness.
By the time his alarm had gone off on Sunday, he’d gained Helen and Evie due to trumpet and netball cancellations so the squad was looking good. A bonus call up from Jamie after the Webbs ringing around helped a really positive start to the day.
The first game was potentially a real test for the girls against local rivals Ben Rhydding who had come down from Division 2. It was damp, wet and cold, but the girls were up for it, building during the game and arguably having the better of the last 10 minutes. Sisters Molly and Alice were looking dangerous up front, being fed by strong midfield work from Hannah and Evie. Izzy was solid in goal, keeping concentration when needed and snuffing out any Rhydding attacks. Despite plenty of pressure from Adel in the last 5 minutes the score was to remain 0:0.
Onto the next game vs local rivals Leeds. An end to end game, with Adel looking the better side but unable to capitalise on some short corners and attacks on goal. Some great positioning on the near post from Alice allowed her to slot home the only goal of the game for Adel to win 1:0. Lizzy Snow player of the game, controlled the right mid and passed hard and accurate.
Two games off, the girls were buzzing, could they win the league? If so what was needed? As Rhydding beat Leeds 2-0 it meant the girls had to score 4 to match Rhyddings goal difference and 5 to get promoted. Surely that’s not possible in a single half of 23 minutes?
A simple matter of scoring 5 then. Given fixtures at this level are usually decided by the odd goal this was a tough ask vs a team playing on their home turf.
Player decision making, requests for trying new positions, let’s go for it and see what happens. Solid central defender Katie pushed up to centre forward, centre forward Jaimee moved to centre mid. Alice and Molly running hard up front, the coach dreaming of a sisterly hat trick, Hannah being combative in the middle, and Amber running fast and wide, could we pull this off?
Slazengers started strong, unsung hero Phoebe snuffed out their right wing, Holly worked hard on the right and made some great sideways passes into Hannah and Katie as well as strong crosses into the D.
Hearts in the mouth as Slazenger broke fast and strong down the middle, only to be met by a stoic Zoe, picking the ball open and reverse stick and distributing superbly to the Adel midfield. Helen playing out of position was running back hard and disrupting any Slazengers attacks.
Evie played out of position at left mid to break down their strong right winger with Helen asking to play centre mid defence and picking some crucial interceptions at the right time.
Amber’s strong bursts down the right created plenty of chances, the girls were passing into space, running onto balls, passing around the keeper. This is why I coach, seeing it all come together, nothing to do with me now, all down to the girls. The Webbs even passed to each other which I’m told is a rarity!
Jamiee, usually on the receiving end of passes was creating chances, and passing some fantastic balls onto the forwards.
Katie positioned herself superbly in the D, she got 1 in her first game as centre forward, then 2, a hat trick and then the fourth, that could be the nail in the coffin for her defensive career!
Well done girls, enjoy the moment, big tests ahead, you are all capable of going further than you thought possible…