Harvestehuder lift trophy after EHL debut

Surbiton v Oranje Zwart 2014

Last week saw the best Europe had to offer go up against each other in the EuroHockey League (EHL) knock-out tournament for the men and the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup (EHCC) for the women.

Harvestehuder HC lifted the EHL trophy after defeating host team Oranje Zwart in Eindhoven after several days of knockout competition in their debut season in the EHL. Amsterdam H&BC took home the EuroHockey Champions Cup when they won their all-Dutch final, defeating the home side in a shoot-out.

Beeston, Reading and Surbiton were all knocked out in the EHL KO16, ending their European hopes on Wednesday 16 April, while Reading women were able to make it to fifth place with one loss and two victories in the EuroHockey Champions Cup between 18-21 April.

Reading’s hopes were crushed as they threw their all at RC Polo de Barcelona – at 3-0 before the break Reading were in a tough position, and after bringing it back to 3-2 they chose to field an additional field player and brought off the keeper James Bailey. Sadly this decision backfired as RC Polo moved through the defence and brought the final score to 4-2, sending Reading home.

While Beeston were able to create an even match against the Waterloo Ducks one goal was enough to make the difference and disappoint another English side. Once again Sam Ward was Beeston’s star of the show with a hat-trick to his name, but after Captain Adam Dixon was taken off the field due to an injury the Ducks were more than capable of pressing home their advantage – despite having a player yellow-carded for the tackle that removed Dixon. Like Reading, Beeston also removed their keeper in the dying minutes of the game, but it wasn’t enough to gain that final goal. The game ended 4-3 and Beeston therefore also fell out of the competition, leaving Surbiton as the last English side.

With the final match of the day all of the English sides’ hopes rested on Surbiton and were lost as they were unable to overcome the home favourites and hosts of the competition, Oranje Zwart. The Dutch team got an early start, but Surbiton were able to equalise shortly afterwards and it looked like they might be able to disappoint the home crowd, but the second half proved decisive and Surbiton couldn’t keep up their defence as Oranje Zwart fired home a penalty corner after a field goal and gained an unassailable lead, ending the game 1-3.

The English sides will now have to wait and see if enough ranking points have been gained in this tournament to maintain England’s three men’s European places next season.

Reading women had a slightly easier time of it as they took part in the EuroHockey Champions Cup. After drawing with Uhlenhorst HC and losing the subsequent shoot-out, two convincing victories following over the next three days meant Reading walked away with fifth place after defeating Berliner HC 4-0.

Credit: photos by Frank Uijlenbroek, and stories written courtesy of the TopoftheD, EHLhockey.tv and EuroHockey.org