The distance between Adel War Memorial and Lee Valley is 178 miles. For Leeds Adel’s mixed team, that was a long journey on Friday evening, however it gave their manager, Sam Jackson, time to work out the starting XI for their England Hockey Mixed Tier 2 semi-final versus Horsham.
Saturday morning saw the team warming up on the pitch, making use of the extra space they had and getting used to how an Olympic hockey pitch felt. Their game against Horsham pitted them against the team that won third place last year, but were determined to go one better, whereas Adel, being new to the tournament were looking to show why they belonged there.
The whistle went and from the start it seemed that the occasion was getting the better of Adel, they struggled to settle into their game. Horsham took advantage of this to grab an early lead, as a short corner was pushed back towards the goal and sneaked round the Adel keeper, Jack Stevenson, and in at the post.
This wake-up call was exactly what the Yorkshire side needed, and Adel began to dominate. Unfortunately, Horsham made use of a missed call by the umpires, and broke away from the Adel defence to extend their lead.
Jackson needed to spur his team on with his half-time team talk, and straight from the restart it looked like he had managed that. The game was almost permanently at Horsham’s end of the field and the supporters could feel a goal coming. Sure enough, a short corner was won by Adel, and it was captain Will Powley who stepped up to slam the strike home.
Adel could have equalised with four minutes to go as a goal-mouth scramble resulted in a shot just going over the bar by inches.
The final whistle blew, and Adel had to be content with pushing the eventual winners of the trophy right up to the final moments.
The third/fourth place play-off awaited Adel the next day against the UK Fire Service which the West Yorkshire side eventually lost 4-2.
After going 2-0 down, James Moorhouse pulled one back, before Powley equalised with a penalty flick, but that was as good as it got for Adel who had to settle for a fourth-placed finish – still an impressive effort against some of the best teams in the country.