Seahorses pick up European bronze

Sally Walton scores for Bowdon Hightown in Europe

Bowdon Hightown, winners of the domestic indoor title in 2015 travelled to Dundee to compete for England in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Trophy this past weekend.

First up they faced Royal Pingouin of Belgium, Ards HC of Ireland and hosts Dundee Wanderers in their pool with the top two competing in the promotion matches. The other pool contains sides from France, Croatia, Switzerland and Turkey.

Bowdon faced Royal Pingouin in their first match. The game started at a very fast pace with the scores level at 1-1 thanks to goals from Kayleigh Humphries of Bowdon and Linda Haussener for Pingouin.

Two quick-fire goals from Haussner and Anouk Raes put Bowdon 3-1 down. However, that was not the end of the first half action and three goals before half time from Bowden’s Sally Walton took them into a 4-3 lead at the break.

The second half was very tight with Pingouin grabbing an early goal to bring the scores level. The game seemed to be heading for a draw until Pingouin number 15, Marie Vassart, scored her 3rd goal of the match with a minute to condemn Hightown to a narrow defeat.

The Seahorses’ next match was against hosts Dundee Wanderers. Wanderers started well and went ahead early on when Vikki Bunce converted a penalty corner after 3 minutes. After eight minutes Bowdon’s pressure paid off when Sally Walton slotted home a penalty stroke to equalise. Bowdon continued to press and again caught Wanderers on the break and Lisa Garbutt gave them the lead just before half-time.

The second half followed exactly the same pattern with Bowdon defending brilliantly and attacking quickly on the break. They gained a penalty stroke from one of these swift counter attacks and Walton put it away giving Carmin Dow in the Wanderers goal no chance. The game continued end to end until the dramatic final minute. Firstly another break down field led to a field goal from Lisa Garbutt. Then Wanderers had the chance to salvage a vital point with penalty corner of the stroke of full time. The opportunity was not taken and Hightown ran out winners.

Bowdon’s final game of the pool stages was against Ards who had lost both their previous games by 8-1. Another heavy defeat looked on the cards when Sally Walton, the penalty corner flicker supreme, scored in the first minute. But this seemed an entirely different Ards team which took the court and they fought back right away to equalise through Naomi Grundie. The game was proving to a tight affair and much closer than many predicted. Naomi McKnight pulled off a series of excellent saves throughout the game to keep Ards level. The second half began and Ards went straight up the court inside the first minute to take the lead with a Kerry Harvey field goal. The lead was short lived as once again Walton scored with a low flick into to bottom corner from a penalty corner. Both Amy Tennant and Naomi McKnight in the respective goals showed their class with a sequence of vital saves from open play and corners. With only four minutes left it was still all square but Walton again was the Bowdon star and her flick hit the back of the net. Ards won a penalty corner late on but once again Tennant saved. Ards mounted one last charge up the court in the final seconds but Liptrot snuffed it out to ensure the win.

Bowdon’s two wins from three put them in the promotion pool for the remainder of the tournament. First up they played Iris Hockey Lambersart. It was a tense encounter from the first minute. The deadlock was broken when Sally Walton fired in a field goal for Bowdon in the 9th minute. Iris immediately launched a counter attack which led to penalty corner. This was cleared off the line, but illegally. The resultant penalty flick was saved by Tennant with her feet at the right hand post. In the 29th minute Bowdon finally doubled their lead when after a fine run by Holly Hunt, Sally Walton slotted home a penalty corner. Bowdon were comfortable over the next few minutes and the Iris coach took a time out with just over six minutes to go. He withdrew his keeper and they immediately launched a series of attacks. All Bowdon players were defending the edge of their D but Iris won a corner. The ball was transferred and the flick hit a Bowdon foot resulting in another penalty flick to Iris. This time the shot was pushed wide of the target. This was to be their final opportunity as Bowdon scored right on the final whistle as Walton made it the score three nil with a well taken field goal.

That victory put Hightown in contention for the top two with their last game against Rotweiss Wettingen who were sitting proudly at the top of the pool. A fast start from the Swiss side put them in the driving seat, leading 2-0 at the break through Tamara Trosch and Stephanie Walti. Bowdon had their share of chances but found Flurina Walti in the Wettingen goal in inspired form. Two goals in four minutes, one from Stephaine Walti and another from Jessica Aebi stretched the lead to 4-0 before Sally Walton snatched a late consolation for the Seahorses. The defeat pushed Wettingen to the top of the pool and dropped Bowdon into third, leapfrogged by Royal Pingouin. Despite the disappointment of missing out on promotion there was consolation for Hightown in the form of a top scorer prize for Sally Walton and the goalkeeper of the tournament for Amy Tennant.

For all the details of results, scorers and standings click here.