EHL Men’s GRAND FINAL
HC Bloemendaal 5 (T Brinkman 2, Y van der Drift, F Fuchs, T Swaen) Atlètic Terrassa 2 (P Cunill, J Bonastre)
HC Bloemendaal won the famous Alain Danet Trophy for the fourth time as their star-laden side proved too strong for Atlètic Terrassa 5-2 in the Wagener Stadium.
The likes of Arthur van Doren and Thierry Brinkman were in immaculate form throughout as the Dutch side blasted into an early 2-0 lead. Atlèti got one back inside the first 10 minutes but further strikes from Florian Fuchs, Thierry Brinkman and Tim Swaen saw them pull away.
Reflecting on the success, Thierry Brinkman said: “Amazing day. We played a pretty good game. Without a crowd, it’s all a bit weird but it’s still the same title of three years ago so we are very happy! We’ve trained so hard for it this year and it is still possible for us to win two prizes with the Dutch championships.
“Entertaining hockey is what we want to show people in the stadium, normally, and now on tv. We had some nice combinations, nice goals. It was a really nice performance from us.”
While the Catalan club were second best, they can reflect on a famous weekend in which they reached the EHL Men’s GRAND FINAL for the first time.
For de mussen, it makes them the most decorated side in EHL history, overtaking UHC Hamburg, as they became the first club to win four EHL titles.
Indeed, their record is frightening, only losing one match in normal time in their EHL history with all of their eliminations – other than 2012 – coming via shoot-outs.
They duly tore into this finals with a 2-0 lead inside the first five minutes. Yannick van der Drift got the first when he picked up Jasper Brinkman’s right-wing cross and turned sharply to shoot home.
The next came from a simple set move in the left corner, a free worked back to Florian Fuchs who whipped the ball into the middle where a near post touch allowed Thierry Brinkman to steal in at the back post and pop into an empty net.
Any thoughts Atlètic would lay down were quickly repelled as Pau Cunill – the tournament’s Cinderella story, from second team in November to club hero by April – crashed home his third penalty corner of the weekend.
It came amid a brief snowstorm had the ball-boys seeking yellow alternatives to keep the game going.
Bloemendaal, though, brewed up another storm of their own in the early minutes of the second quarter and restored their two-goal gap in the 16th minute, this time from a corner.
It was a wild one, Tim Swaen’s drag-flick being parried high into the air by the busy and impressive Marc Calzada. Jorrit Croon kept his eye on it and batted it back down into the turf to the waiting Fuchs who volleyed in.
While the Dutch club were generally on top in this phase, the next two big chances went Atlèti’s way with Maurits Visser brilliantly denying Quim Malgosa with a mid-circle touch while Jordi Bonastre’s chip and volley went centimetres wide.
Atlètic they started the second half with passion and drive, winning two corners inside the first 30 seconds. Bloemendaal, however, charged both down to hold tight.
As time wore on, things got feisty with Albert Beltran, Joan Tarres and Jorrit Croon all receiving yellow cards. When Bloemendaal had a player extra, they used it perfectly, working the ball around their platform to the left baseline to Thierry Brinkman who was all alone with time to spin the ball around Calzada.
It killed off the Atlèti chances as the Dutch masters closed out the game well. Thierry Brinkman won a stroke with 10 minutes to go from which Tim Swaen added an emphatic fifth goal.
Jordi Bonastre got one back in the last two minutes when his slap went in off a combination of Bloemendaal defenders, the last touch via Daan Dullemeijer’s face.
Atlètic Terrassa: M Calzada, S Enrique, J Malgosa, J Bonastre, M Bolto, A Beltran, M Escude, M Salles, I Torras, P Cunill, J Tarres
Subs: N Escude, S Cortes, M Vizcaino, J Malgosa, J Dalmases, S Ibanez, J Monzo
HC Bloemendaal: M Visser, A van Doren, T Swaen, T Brinkman, Y van der Drift, J Croon, G Schuurman, J Brinkman, W Jolie, T Hiebendaal, F Fuchs
Subs: D Dullemeijer, S Figge, M van Grimbergen, C van Dijk, C van den Veen, S Hemmes, R Schrijvers van Zenden
Umpires: C van Bunge (NED), B Goentgen (GER)
Photograph: HC Bloemendaal (World Sport pics)