A Lithuanian Adventure- EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy 2014By Reading Hockey Club • Mar 5th, 2014 • Category: Home Page, L1, Match Reports, News
Reading’s EuroHockey Indoor campaign kicked off against the Turkish team Kecioren Baglum SC. Reading started slowly and struggled to break down the extremely deep defence of Kecioren. However, Reading were the first to break the deadlock, through Helen Richardson-Walsh who calmly placed the ball past the onrushing keeper. Kecioren posed a threat in attack and within the space of three minutes had taken the lead 2-1, after clinically finishing a quick counter attack and slotting home a penalty stroke. Reading went in trailing at half time but quickly reduced the deficit early in the second half. Good pressure from Reading saw a string of corners awarded, and Thomas duly dispatched a well-executed routine. Thomas doubled her tally and within a minute of scoring her first corner she was slotting home another, and Reading went in front for the first time. Thomas completed her hatrick, after good patient build up play from Reading; space opened up at the top of the circle for her to drive and fire home Reading’s fourth. Danson added to the score line with a well-taken penalty corner, making the final score 5-2, and Reading took the full 5 points from their first game.
After the mornings victory Reading were ready to take on HC Rotweiss Wettingen. The early stages of the match were positive for Reading and Maguire’s brace gave them a 2-0 lead at half time. The second half saw four goals come in quick succession. Wettingen were first to score from a penalty corner but Reading replied quickly through Danson to maintain their two-goal lead over the opposition. However, Wettingen quickly scored two levelling the score to 3-3, after Reading turned the ball over and conceded two goals; one on the counter and the second via a corner. Helen Richardson-Walsh displayed some great individual skills as she passed two opposition players and rounded the keeper to score and with it take Reading back into the lead. Unfortunately Reading were unable to hold onto this lead, and Wettingen were successful in their search for an equaliser leaving the final score 4-4. The Reading girls had learnt a lot during the first day of competition and were looking forward to taking on the challenges of the next few days in their quest for promotion to the A division.
This morning’s game saw Reading take on Royal Antwerp HC. Reading knew a victory would see them top their pool and take three points through to the promotion pool. Royal Antwerp had other ideas, and took the lead in the first five minutes. Reading stayed calm and were quickly awarded a corner; Danson stepped up to fire home an equaliser. Reading defended well and created good opportunities going forward, however in the latter stages of the first half, Reading had to defend a barrage of corners. Ellis produced some great saves to keep the score level. Reading started the second half well and a good piece of individual skill and quick shot from Cockburn, deep within the opposition’s circle, saw Reading go 2-1 up. Shortly after, Reading extended their lead through Danson, who then completed her hatrick, after Halle was awarded a corner through good skills in the circle. Danson stepped up and zipped the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. This 4-1 win over Royal Antwerp meant Reading topped their pool and would take on the home side Gintre Strekte Uni in the last game of the day.
Reading came from behind twice during this match to secure a draw and a share of the points. The Lithuanian side had an extremely clinical corner routine, which they proved within the first three minutes. Reading quickly replied with a goal from Danson and both sides went close to taking the lead on numerous occasions, but went in level at half time. In the second half, Readings defence put in some great tackles to stop the Gintre Strekte Uni attacks in their tracks, but once again the opposition took the lead through another slickly executed penalty corner. Reading kept to their processes and within a few minutes were back on level terms with a second from Danson. The draw between the two sides meant there was everything to play for in the following mornings match vs. the Dundee Wanderers.
The pressure was on, with the format of the tournament, a draw or win was needed to see the Reading girls promoted to the A division. The battle commenced, with both sides giving it everything. Dundee struck first in the early stages of the first half with a well-taken penalty stroke. The next thirty minutes were a tense affair, with both teams defending resolutely and creating chances. Danson tested the Dundee defence on many occasions, however Reading were unable to convert any corners awarded. The final few minutes saw Reading up the ante by taking Ellis off the pitch and playing with an extra player outfield to score that all important goal. Reading’s perseverance paid off, Gilbert’s drop ball found Maguire at the edge of the circle who clinically and calmly dispatched the ball into the net.
Overall it was an extremely professional and gutsy performance from the Reading girls, with the result securing promotion to EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup in 2015. The medal ceremony that followed was a sight to behold. The podium was covered from above by colourful paper, as there was ticker tape galore! Who could pass up this chance to have a little fun with the photos…
Thank you again to all who have supported us on our European Indoor journey.