English clubs aim for European glory

Reading in the EHL

This week three men’s and one women’s team will be battling it out against the best of Europe in their respective European tournaments in the Netherlands.

The men’s teams - Surbiton, Reading and Beeston - are taking part in the EuroHockey League in Eindhoven on Wednesday 16 April, while Reading’s women’s team is in the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, taking place in Den Bosch on Friday.

Up first for the men is Reading at 10.30 (UK time), and they’re up against Real Club de Polo from Barcelona. The Spanish team won both of their previous pool games with three goals each time, so they’ll be expected to give Reading a run for their money. Reading are more than up to the challenge though – they’ve been in enough European matches to know what they need to beat the best of Europe.

Next in the schedule is Beeston at 15.30, facing the Waterloo Ducks from Belgium. Three of the Belgian team’s top players retired earlier this month, so it’ll be interesting to see whether Beeston can capitalise on their change in line-up to make their way through to the next stage of the tournament. They’ll be flying high after their victory at the NOW: Pension Men’s Hockey League finals weekend, and they’ll surely be hoping to continue their good fortunes on Wednesday, but it'll be an interesting match as the Waterloo Ducks also just won their own domestic finals.

The last match of the day features Surbiton at 18.00 facing home favourites MHC Oranje Zwart. The Dutch team are hosting the tournament so they’ll be the team with the biggest crowd behind them, but after Surbiton made it to third place at the finals weekend the English side know they’ve got what it takes to see them through to the next round - over the next few days the men’s teams will be whittled down further through the KO8 and FINAL 4 tournaments, all held in Eindhoven and culminating on Sunday 20 April.

The women’s tournament begins on Friday 18 April with England’s sole representatives Reading hoping for European glory on the pitch at 11.00. They’re facing Uhlenhorster, one of the oldest hockey clubs in Germany, and with 2012 Olympic goalkeeper Yvonne Frank between the posts and several other Olympians in their roster they’ll certainly keep Reading on their toes. However, Reading have proved that domestically they’re one of the best high-scorers, and they’ll be planning to carry that over to Europe.

To find out more, keep track and watch the games, head over to the EuroHockey League website for the men and the EuroHockey Champions Cup 2014 competition website for the women.