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European Indoor Report

2 years ago By Liz Spencer

Results didn't go quite as well as we would liked, but you could not fault the girls for effort

Coach Merijn van Willigen was full of praise for his Reading side despite seeing them finish seventh of eight teams in the women's Eurohockey Indoor Club Champions Cup.

​Blues managed to win only one of their five games in the tournament​ held at Siauliai ​in Lithuania last weekend.
"Results didn't go quite as well as we would liked, but you could not fault the girls for effort," he said.
"They battled so hard that most of them came away with niggling injuries."

The most serious of them was Emma Thomas, who strained a calf muscle when tackled from behind in the second of their three Pool A games.
"We were certainly in the toughest of the two groups," added van Willigen, who also felt that a number of umpire decisions did not go their way."

Blues made a promising start to their opening game on Friday against Den Bosch,​​​ taking a second-minute lead through Wiz Hunt.
Blues stayed ahead until the first minute of the second half, but the Dutch champions added three more goals to win 4-1.
In their second game, the lost 4-2 to ​MSC Sumchanka, who were virtually the Ukrainian national team.

Reading trailed 3-0 at half-time before hitting back in the second half ​through​ Emma Thomas and Emily Maguire.
The third game, however, proved a disaster. They crashed 8-1​ to Hamburg​ after being 4-0 down at half-time with Maguire getting their consolation goal.

Despite being without skipper Thomas, Reading bounced back to hammer ​French side ​Cambrai 6-1.
They led 4-1 at half-time following strikes from Ellie Cockburn, Ashlie Caddick, Hunt and Maguire, with all the goals coming in a 10-minute spell. Scotland international Maguire and Cockburn added to the tally in the second half.

In the next stage, Reading lost 3-2 to ​host club ​Gintra Strekte ​University ​after being one-up at half-time thanks to an early goal from Susie Gilbert.​
The England international scored again to make it 2-1, but the Lithuanians equalised on 30 minutes with a penalty stroke.
Reading withdrew keeper Sarah Ellis to play with five outfield players and went close to snatching victory before conceding a third goal in the last minute.
.and grabbed the winner in the last minute.
Van Willigen described that loss as "gut wrenching"​,​ ​as his girls had produced an "amazing team effort."

Reading's final placing of seventh means that England's next European representatives, Bowdon Hightown, will be relegated to the Trophy​ competition​ in 2016​, along with France's champions. The event will be hosted by Cambrai.

The final placings were: 1 Hamburg, 2 Club De Campo De Madrid, 3 Sumchanka, 4 Slavia Praha (Czechoslovakia), 5 Den Bosch, 6 Gintra Strekte, 7 Reading, 8 Cambrai.
Reading squad: Sarah Ellis, Abi Harper, Emma Thomas, Wiz Hunt, Ashlie Caddick, Ellie Cockburn, Susie Gilbert, Emily Maguire.

Reading return to Investec League action with a vital game against Canterbury at Sonning Lane on Sunday (2.30pm).
Blues are one of four teams chasing the fourth play-off place. Surbiton and Clifton have already qualified, while Canterbury are virtually certain of joining them.

Holcombe currently lie in fourth place on 20 points (12 less than Canterbury), followed by Reading on 19, Leicester and University of Birmingham, both on 18.
"All our four remaining games are very important as we badly want to make the play-offs," added van Willigen.

Where next?

Ladies Win against Bowden Helen in the right place, at the right time!
Ladies 1 v Leicester Match Report 3-1 Sarah Jones scores Readings 3rd goal

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