FANTASTIC FEAT: Ado's 800 matches
HOCKEY: Having achieved the remarkable record of 800 club games, Adrian "Ado'' Harding wants to play on "as long as they let me''.
However, they - meaning Norths Hockey Club officials and teammates - are sure to continue embracing Harding if his latest milestone is any indication.
In a tremendous gesture, the club organised a guard of honour, 800 game banner and special tribute before Ado's A2 match against Wests last Saturday afternoon at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
The Flinders View hockey player was delighted and appreciative, especially being such a loyal clubman.
"It was a bit of a surprise,'' he said.
Aged 55, Ado concedes the body feels the full effects of a game these days.
"I'm not real fit,'' the popular clubman said.
"By now my knees are sore, my arms are sore, everything is sore but if you stop, you probably won't start again.''
Norths club president Leanne Haley said as far as their 30 year records show, Harding was the most capped player with the Devils.
"To our knowledge, he's the only one (to reach 800),'' Haley said.
Ado started playing D Grade in 1975, before a stint in B Grade, where he scored two goals in his first year.
He's averaged more than 20 games a season since.
"I'm not an exceptional player or doing anything exceptional,'' the regular left half said.
"It's just turn up every year.''
Happy in A2 these days, Harding was joined in that 1975 team by players including Darryl Bell, Lester Boyle, Lindsey Boyle, Kenny Brennan and Ron Murray.
Bell, Wayne Collins, David Robke and Harding's brother Craig are among long-serving clubmen still donning the famous Devils colours.
Other players he's enjoyed a long association with include Brian Warner, Frank Giansiracusa, Glen Stallard, Kenny Brennan and Robert Slattery.
During his 45 hockey journey, Harding has enjoyed seeing players remain at hockey and continue their family association with the sport.
"It's good to see people actually grow up and then their kids grow up and play too,'' he said.
Other older members around Ado's era include Robyn Crowhurst, Steven Staats (still coaching the Norths U9's), Kel Iszlaub, Athol Murray, Terry Sparks, Barry Smith, Garry and Kerri Jeffrey, Dennis Jeffrey, Viv Rew, Ken Suthers (Norths C boys manager), Russell Toombs, Fred Young (club patron), Gaylene Kathage, Colin Anderson, George and Brad Robinson, Shane Rasmussen, Sue Collins and Adair Warner.
As for whether Ado would do anything differently having his time again, he had few regrets.
"If I could, I'd probably try and do more coaching,'' he said. "But I've still got the time to do that anyway.''
Club people deserve praise
ADRIAN Harding's milestone match ended in a 2-2 draw.
But for the proud clubman, it was the joy of seeing familiar faces that he enjoyed most.
He said he remained loyal to Norths because of the dedicated people around the club.
Harding praised everyone behind the scenes at Norths for their ongoing commitment.
"I'm quite happy. There's enough people in the club to keep it going,'' he said. "I can still play. There's room for me to play.''