Round 1b of the Euro Hockey League began on Friday, with Europe’s elite club competition being witness to some thrilling hockey. Waterloo Ducks, Reading HC and RC Polo Club de Barcelona all secured excellent victories, but the biggest surprise was Irish minnows securing a superb draw against Spanish league leaders Atletic Terrassa.
Pool F’s Waterloo Ducks produced a stunning second half performance to fightback from a goal down to win 4-1 in the opening fixture of Round 1b at Lille MHC. Teenage sensation Kenny Bain had given Kelburne an early lead with a powerful penalty corner, but goals from Xavier Brooke, Thibault de Saedeleer (2) and Jeremy Muylaert claimed all five points for the Belgians.
The second match saw Three Rock Rovers of Ireland produced a brilliant performance to secure a 0-0 draw with Spanish giants Atletic Terrassa in Pool H. The match may have been short on goals, but it was arguably the most dramatic of the 2008-09 Euro Hockey League season. Spanish legend Xavi Ribas missed a handful of glaring chances, including a second half penalty stroke, but the Dubliners were more than deserving of a draw with one of the best club sides in Europe.
In the third match of the day, England`s Reading HC defeated Western Wildcats of Scotland 2-0, taking a full five points ahead of their match against Pool E favourites H.C. Rotterdam. Goals from South African Austin Smith and a typically powerful penalty corner from Great Britain’s Richard Mantell gave Reading a comfortable victory.
Large numbers of supporters turned out to watch the day’s highlight, as host club Lille MHC took on the might of RC Polo Club de Barcelona in Pool G. The Spanish team took the lead thanks to a powerful penalty corner effort from 21-year-old Jonathan Froschle, but the home crowd went burst into life when Jose Borrell grabbed an equaliser on the stroke of half time. Sadly for the host team, Polo Club scored second half goals through Gabriel Dabanche, Alex Casasayas and Roger Padros to break Lille hearts.
Saturday is likely to see more outstanding action, as Waterloo Ducks aim to get their second win in two days against East Grinstead, knowing that a draw will be good enough to ensure their safe passage through Pool F. After their stunning draw with Terrassa, a victory for Three Rock Rovers would see them as the first team through to round 2 from Pool H, while a win for H.C. Rotterdam over Western Wildcat would result in the Scottish side’s elimination from the tournament. The big match of the day is certainly UHC Hamburg versus RC Polo de Barcelona, as today’s winners take on last year’s EHL champions.
Round 1a took place at Amsterdam H&BC in The Netherlands last weekend. You can find results from that event at the bottom of this news release. For extended match reports, match videos and tournament information please visit the Euro Hockey League website: www.ehlhockey.tv.
Schedule & Results – EHL Round 1b – Lille MHC, France
Friday 31 October 2008
– Waterloo Ducks HC v Kelburne HC: 4-1 (0-1)
– Atletic Terrassa HC v Three Rock Rovers HC: 0-0 (0-0)
– Western Wildcats HC v Reading HC: 0-2 (0-2)
– RC Polo de Barcelona v Lille MHC 4-1 (1-1)
Saturday 1 November 2008
– East Grinstead HC v Waterloo Ducks HC
– Three Rock Rovers HC v KHC Leuven
– H.C. Rotterdam v Western Wildcats HC
– UHC Hamburg v RC Polo de Barcelona
Sunday 2 November 2008
– Kelburne HC v East Grinstead HC
– KHC Leuven v Atletic Terrassa HC
– Reading HC v H.C. Rotterdam
– Lille MHC v UHC Hamburg