Beeston beaten as EHL semi final line-up confirmed

Ollie Willars in action for Beeston in the Men's EHL

Two sparkling matches brought the curtain down on a sensational four days of hockey at the Wagener Stadium, with HC Bloemendaal and host club Amsterdam H&BC sealing their place in the Euro Hockey League Semi Finals. The Dutch sides will join Germany’s Rot-Weiss Köln and KHC Dragons of Belgium in the EHL Final Four tournament, which takes place 18-19 May at a venue which will be confirmed in the coming days.

EHL Review:

HC Bloemendaal became the third team to qualify for Euro Hockey League’s Final Four tournament thanks to a 4-1 Quarter Final triumph over Beeston. The Midlands team proved to be worthy opponents for the Dutch hockey giants, but goals from Pelle Vos, Chris Ciriello (2) and a brilliant strike from Wouter Jolie gave Bloemendaal victory.

It was the perfect result for Teun de Nooijer, the legendary Bloemendaal star who will be aiming to end his playing career in style by adding a second EHL title to his collection.    

Beeston – who have dominated proceedings in the English National League this season – made life extremely difficult for their illustrious opponents in the first quarter of the match and could easily have taken the lead with a couple of early penalty corners.  However, there was no way past ace Bloemendaal goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann, who produced fine saves from Simon Egerton and Oliver Willars. 

Bloemendaal certainly had chances of their own in the first period, with Roel Bovendeert and the ageless De Nooijer looking lively before they scored the game’s opening goal in the 17th minute. Australian international defender Chris Ciriello was the architect, firing a searching pass into the Beeston penalty area that was brilliantly touched into the net by Pelle Vos. 

Bloemendaal had arguably the better of the second quarter, although Stockmann was called into action once again when he produced a magnificent stick save from Adam Dixon’s low penalty corner flick. At the other end, Roel Bovendeert was guilty of missing two clear scoring opportunities in the period, with Bloemendaal going into half time with a slender 1-0 advantage.

The Dutch team stepped up their game considerably in the third quarter but could not find a way past inspired Beeston goalkeeper George Pinner, who made numerous high quality saves to keep his team very much in the game.  However, a brilliant final quarter performance from Bloemendaal ensured that the Semi Final berth would be going the way of the Dutch club.

Bloemendaal scored their second and third goals of the match in the 57th and 58th minutes. Chris Ciriello slammed home a penalty corner drag-flick before Wouter Jolie scored the best goal of the game, starting a move in his own half before joining the attack and unleashing a sensational reverse stick shot to make it 3-0.   Beeston gave themselves a lifeline when Oliver Willars produced a smart finish from a penalty corner re-bound with ten minutes remaining, but a second penalty corner from Ciriello two minutes from the end sealed Bloemendaal’s place at EHL Final Four.

EHL Man of the Match: Matthew Swann (HC Bloemendaal).