Thrilling opening day in Euro Hockey League

Mark Pearn celebrates scoring a goal for East Grinstead in the Euro Hockey League (EHL) Round 1.2

It was a thrilling opening day at East Grinstead HC on Friday as the Euro Hockey League rolled into town for the first time ever. The stands were up, the barbeque was on and everyone was set for the biggest and best continental club competition in hockey. And it did not disappoint with 26 goals netted in the four matches.

Hosts East Grinstead enjoyed the perfect start as they beat SC Stroitel Brest of Belarus in emphatic style, winning 5-0.  And the even better news? There are still two more days of top competition to come and tickets available on the gate at East Grinstead (RH19 4JU) for both Saturday and Sunday.

Andy Piper was one of the stars for East Grinstead as the 23 year old scored twice. His opener sparked a flurry of goals and was followed by a thundering strike from double Olympian Mark Pearn (pictured above celebrating), who lashed home a shot on the run from the edge of the circle.  GB London 2012 star Glenn Kirkham forced the Stroitel Brest goalkeeper into an own goal and Piper bagged his second before half time. Following a period of good East Grinstead pressure Piper set up youngster Adam Jordan to make it 5-0 from close range, the only goal of the third quarter and the last goal of the game.

Earlier, at the start of the day Scotland’s Glynhill Hotel Kelburne faced a mountainous task against Rot Weiss Koln. They battled hard but ultimately were undone by the sheer quality presented by German outfit, who named Olympic gold medallists Christopher Zeller and Benjamin Wess in their side. 3-1 down at the break with Ben Peterson reducing the deficit just before half time, Kelburne found Koln too hot to handle as the Germans went on to score five more in the third and fourth quarters to finish 8-1 victors. Kelburne will be looking for a result against AHTC Wien of Austria on Saturday morning to keep alive their hopes of progression to KO16.

In a much tighter affair in Reading’s pool, Pool B, KHC Dragons ran out 2-1 winners over St Germain of France. In a highly physical affair the Dragons came from a goal down to equalise just before the end of the first quarter. A goal 12 minutes from time from the stick of Belgian international Jeffrey Thys sealed a 2-1 win. Next up for the Dragons, Reading. The Blues will make their EHL bow at midday on Saturday, having finished third overall two seasons ago.

In the day’s other match, Dutch wizards Bloemendaal blew French champions Lille away in a 7-2 win. Among the scorers was recently retired Dutch international Teun de Nooijer, who found the net twice. Bloemendaal will have Saturday off as Lille take on Irish club Lisnagarvey at 14:30.

East Grinstead's Joe Naughtaly challenges with SC Stroitel Brest's Andrei Luashyk during their Euro Hockey League (EHL) Round 1.2 game

Get your tickets on the gate on Saturday!

Saturday’s action gets underway at 9:30 when Kelburne play AHTC Wien with Reading in action at midday. A ticket offers excellent value, providing entry to the entire day’s play – all four matches.

Saturday's fixtures
09:30 - Glynhill Hotel Kelburne v AHTC Wien
12:00 - Reading v KHC Dragons
14:30 - Lille MHC v Lisnagarvey
17:00 - Waterloo Ducks v SC Stroitel Brest

Sunday's fixtures
09:30 - Rot-Weiss Koln v AHTC Wien
12:00 - Reading v St Germain
14:30 - Bloemendaal v Lisnagarvey
17:00 - Waterloo Ducks v East Grinstead

Getting to East Grinstead
Click here for directions to East Grinstead Hockey Club, host club for EHL Round 1.2