East Grinstead in Euro Hockey League Round 1 action.

Ashley Jackson and Mark Gleghorne poised to shoot from a penalty corner for East Grinstead, 21092014 Credit Ann Needle - 450

The Euro Hockey League’s 2014/15 season tips off today in the stunning Pau Negre stadium in Barcelona, Spain with 12 teams battling for four places to the KO16 [final 16].

What: EuroHockey League 2014/15 - Round 1
Where: Pau Negre Stadium, Barcelona
When: 10th-12th October 2014

Hockey's version of football's Champions League has a new format this year; just one side will advance from each group in Round One, meaning every game counts.

All the matches will be streamed live via www.ehlhockey.tv

EHL English club representatives
Beeston secured England's top spot in the tournament after they lifted the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League trophy back in April, so they get gain automatic qualification to the KO16 final in April.

East Grinstead hold the other place, but as the second placed English club they must get through Round 1 and win their pool out in Barcelona this weekend in order to qualify for the final 16.

We caught up with England and East Grinstead goalkeeper Paddy Smith earlier this week to find out what he thinks about his side’s chances against two quality opponents.

East Grinstead v Dinamo Stroitel – Friday 10 October 16:30 [BST]

Qualifying for the KO16 will be no easy feat for the Sussex side. First up they face Russia’s sole representative in the competition, Dinamo Stroitel. They are making their debut in the competition, but are no stranger to East Grinstead after taking a silver medal at the EuroHockey Indoor Championships earlier this year, a tournament which the English club hosted.

Paddy Smith on the Russians: "We shouldn’t underestimate Dinamo Stroitel. They’ll be a good side who we know play a lot of indoor hockey so we expect them to be tough. It’s nice to be challenged with games against the best players and different opposition."

SV Kampong v East Grinstead– Saturday 11 October 16:30 [BST]

The challenge arguably gets harder for East Grinstead as on Saturday they come up against Dutch giants SV Kampong, who boast a number of internationals in their line-up. Constantijn Jonker [Netherlands], David Harte [Ireland] and Loick Luypaert [Belgium] are just a few names to look out for.

Paddy Smith on playing Kampong: "It’s going to be a tough game against Kampong but that’s a good thing as far as i’m concerned. They’re full of world class players and it’s an exciting chance to test myself against a side who’re in great form. If we can continue with the progress we’ve made defensively in the last few games and put away our chances, especially corners then we have a really good chance." 

Paddy Smith on playing in the EHL: "Teams play differently in England but it’s still a totally different test playing against Dutch or Russian sides and it’s not one you face every day. Kampong are one of the best teams in Europe. These are the games you look forward to and this is why i joined East Grinstead, for these challenges. Anything other than two wins means we don’t go through but i’m enjoying that pressure. It should be great."