Manic Monday at home and in Europe

It was a frustrating day for the English clubs in European action on Sunday as Beeston were knocked out of the Euro Hockey League at the quarter finals stage and both Slough and Leicester lost in the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, although both had already qualified for Monday’s third round.

In Bloemendaal, Beeston had twice battled back from a goal behind to twice pull level against HGC before the Dutch club put themselves 3-2 and then 4-2 ahead, only for Beeston to set up a thrilling grandstand finish.  Trailing 4-2 despite Andrew Monte’s penalty corner double, England and Great Britain international Ali Wilson put the finishing touch on a penalty corner from close range to make it 3-2 with six minutes remaining.  With fewer than ten seconds left on the clock, Beeston were awarded a penalty corner by the video umpire Andy Mair following confusion inside the HGC circle but the corner was miss-trapped at the top of the circle and the newly crowned domestic champions saw their 2011 European campaign end. 
For a full match report click here.

Reading’s men are now England’s sole representatives in the Euro Hockey League and will battle for their place in the semi finals when they take on the KHC Dragons of Belgium at 11:00 BST on Monday.  Watch the match live at www.ehlhockey.tv.

Elsewhere in the Netherlands, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Slough and Leicester played their second pool matches at the women’s EuroHockey Club Champions Cup.  Having beaten Atasport on Friday, Slough’s progress to Monday’s third round was already sealed before they took on Dutch club Laren, who struck three times to seal a 3-0 win over the 2010 English champions.  Laren enjoyed much of the better of the possession throughout and the result means that Slough will now face Spanish club Club de Campo de Madrid at 14:00 BST for a place in June’s semi finals.  See live text commentary of the match here.

Following Slough’s defeat, Leicester took to the field against the host club Den Bosch.  After falling behind early on, Leicester went 2-0 down to Dutch international penalty corner specialist Maartje Paumen just over midway through the half.  A third goal after the break sealed Leicester’s fate although 25-year-old Beijing Olympian Crista Cullen pulled one back with a little over 15 minutes remaining.  Both sides created further chances to score but the fine form of Leicester’s young goalkeeper Maddie Hinch was largely responsible for the match finishing 3-1 as she pulled off a series of saves to deny the Dutch.  Leicester will play Berliner HC of Germany for a place in June’s semi finals.  The match gets underway at 12:15 BST on Monday.  See live text commentary of the match here.

Four of England’s National Age Group Squads will also be in action on Monday, the final day of their respective Easter Four Nations international tournaments.  At Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire, England’s U16 and U18 boys will be playing for medals with the U18s going for gold against the Netherlands at 11:45 BST.  England’s youngsters will be hoping for better success than they had against the Dutch on Sunday when they went down 4-0.  And the U16 boys will also face Dutch opposition when they play for bronze at 09:30 BST. The U16s also lost to the Netherlands on Sunday, going down 2-0 and will be looking to recapture the form that saw them beat Spain 3-0 on the opening day on Friday.  Spectators are welcome at Lilleshall for the matches, which will be played at the same time as their corresponding Germany v Spain medal matches.  Read match reports and see results for the U16 boys here and U18 boys here.

In Valencia, England’s U16 and U18 girls go into their fourth and final day hoping to come away with bronze medals.  At 08:00 BST, the U16 girls face Germany, to whom they lost 3-2 on Sunday. The goals from Emma Broad and Megan Crowson were the first that England have scored over the weekend and they will be hoping to take their goal scoring touches into the game with Germany.  At 10:00 BST, the U18s face Spain, who ran out 1-0 winners when the sides met on Saturday.  On that occasion England had done well to dictate much of the play and they will be looking to turn that possession into goals on Monday.  Read match reports and see results for the U16 girls here and the U18 girls here. Follow the progress of the girls in Valencia at www.fhcv.es