As fast as we get a 6th mens team out on Saturdays, our reputation clearly goes before us and sadly the 6s keenness to follow up their 10-1 debut win the previous week, was dampened by opposition crying off – perhaps understandably as they only had 10 days notice of the fixture on a weekend coinciding with half term so hopefully we can look to rearrange this for later in the season.

The other 10 teams went into battle against 3 University teams, 2 from Thirsk, 2 from Chapeltown, 2 from Wakefield (different clubs!) and one from up the road at Ben Rhydding.  It was the mens 5th team with the early start against local rivals in maroon from the foothills of Ilkley moor who opened up proceedings.  The 5s were missing several key players with the Holdens preferring the bright Christmas lights of Blackpool, the internationals Phillips and Margersion no doubt saving themselves for some key Masters fixture overseas in warmer climes and a few juniors off on half term trips.  As a result, skipper Richard Poll had to drag out of retirement the likes of Powley senior and Richard Beal although Poll’s inability to count meant he nearly started the game with 12 players as he thought he only had a 13 man squad.  The first half was light on quality, minimal on goal mouth action and only memorable from a personal perspective in that my first 5 touches were either with my feet or mishits.  I think I kicked the ball more than keeper Mikey did all game.  Fortunately the 2 Toms, Poll and Aldred showed plenty of energy, strong ball carrying skills and with Sholto making an inpressive outfield debut on the right wing a couple of chances were created but spurned by older members of the side who were still harking back to the 80s and playing on grass (where at least you could blame a bobble like Erik Lamela at Wembley…).  The second half saw a slight improvement (especially when Poll snr, Powley snr and Beal sat on the bench watching proceedings) but it was probably against the run of play when Rhydding took the lead midway through the second half.  An entry into the D saw the ball loop over Mikey’s head and the Rhydding player stood on the goal line simply had to make contact with the ball to get it over the line.

Defeat to Rhydding is not something the men of Adel like to contemplate and several of the veterans in the side have come off second best many a time in this fixture.  Adel bounced back, forcing a couple of penalty corners that the young impressive Rhydding did well to keep out but from one of them the rebound fell to Hedge who gratefully smashed the ball past the keeper into the roof of the net.  The next goal would be key to the outcome of the game and Adel continued to press hard with the advantage of a 14 man squad and fresh legs from the bench (once Richard had completed his warm up that lasted longer than his cameo appearance on the pitch…).  The oppo keeper made an excellent couple of saves from another Adel onslaught and as the game entered the last 10 minutes a draw looked to be inevitable.  But Poll jnr and Aldred along with the tireless Max Holley continued to make strong drives forward against a tiring defence and from one run down the left the ball came to the Chairman in the D who rolled back the years by beating the defender and striking a shot through the keepers legs to secure the victory and the points for the 5s.  A thoroughly enjoyable game against a friendly side played in great spirit.

The other mens teams saw wins for the 2s and 3s but defeats for the 1s and 4s.  the 1s travelled up to Durham Uni with a bare 11 for the second time they have had to venture out of the Yorkshire boundaries.  Coach Henley assures me its nothing to do with passport problems at the border but in a close fought game goals from James Moorhouse, Matt Alred and Sam Harris were not quite enough as the students scored 4 times to take the spoils.  The 4s lost in the late game at Wakefield going down by 3 goals and will be looking to get back to winning ways as they come to terms with hockey in the higher league after promotion last season.

The 2s took on Leeds Uni 2s at the Adel astro.  if we thought our 1s had a player crisis then the students went one better turning up with 11 players and no keeper.  The Dad of the skipper was persuaded to play in goal for the first time in 20 years and half the Uni team played in shirts with no numbers.  However, in amongst the disorganisation there was some talented Uni players but a lack of cohesion and teamwork were evident as the 2s ran into a 3-1 lead at the interval.  It could have been more as the Adel attackers hit the crossbar from a Carter drag flick at a corner, Buller hit the post when it was easier to score and the veteran keeper pulled of a string of saves that might persuade him to sign up for another degree course so he can play full time again.  In the end it was Adel midfield maestro Rich Partner who showed the younger players how to beat a stand in keeper as he scored his first ever Adel hat trick in the eventual 6-1 win.  Other goals from skipper Holford, Boag (yes Boag) and eventually Buller whose watching Dad was not required to put on the playing kit, gave some credibility to the scoreline.

The 3s followed with a good 3-1 win after a recent run of defeats.  Chapeltown could send their 2s to Leeds for the game but goals from one of the Ratcliffe twins, Tom Beale and Tom Scott along with a man of the match performance from Charlie Sutton saw the 3s have something to celebrate ahead of Oktoberfest later in the evening.

The ladies 1s have had a tricky start to the season playing teams who are at the top of the table, still getting to grips with the loss of key players and integrating new players stepping up from last seasons successful 2s.  Despite this, spirit is high and effort is plentiful and an away trip to Thirsk was the chance to secure the first win of the season in some style.  Goal machine Woody led the way with 4 goals and Jenny (Gwynney) Wright scored the other 2 as Adel finally got some rewards for their efforts.  The beaming smile on skipper Aprils face as she returned to the club said it all and hopefully this will see the 1s now start to play with more freedom and success in the coming weeks.

The 2s also played Leeds Uni but the ladies side were more organised than their mens section, with a full complement of players, a coach and a matching kit with numbers.  Perhaps they should have left the shirts behind for the men after along with their keeper…. Goals from skipper Jane Holmes and club skipper Gabby Nusenbaum ensured a narrow 2-1 win and the 2s are in the top 4 of the league looking to challenge for the title again and give another dose of headaches to North and Yorkshire HA.

The 3s had a great away win at Slazengers winning by 3-2 and the 4s finished the day at Adel with a 3-0 home win.  Sadly the 5s could not quite complete the clean sweep for the ladies section going down 2-0 away at Chapeltown but a great day for the ladies section to celebrate.

Sunday saw a couple of ladies cup games with the 2s going down to the only goal away at Halifax and the 1s having a difficult game away at Harrogate, who are a division above Adel.  A Harrogate squad of 16 players was always going to be an advantage against the 11 from Adel but in an evenly contested first half there was only one goal for Harrogate as Adel defended brilliantly, worked tirelessly and competed across the whole pitch.  Sadly, the inevitable tiredness crept in during the second half and despite some great saves from Stella, the goals eventually arrived to give Harrogate some breathing space and allow their more experienced players a rest and fresh legs from some of their juniors in their 2nd team had a run out.  Adel fought hard to the end and the consolation goal from Rosie Baker was some reward for the teams effort and commitment.

Hopefully this weekend we will get 11 games out and see more success for the oranges!