Brussels, Belgium, 15th February: Cambrai host the women’s EuroHockey Indoor Trophy event at the Vanpoulle Hall fresh from retaining their French national indoor title as they look to make their mark in a competitive tournament.
They are no strangers to hosting having welcomed the 2000 and 2003 Women’s Club Cup while they were bronze medalists in Sant Cugat in 2006; it will be their 16th European indoor campaign but their first since 2015.
As such, it is new territory for a very young panel with two 26-year-olds – Agustina Arista and goalkeeper Manon Bruneau – the two oldest in the wider panel. Palome Martina Alessi is a key forward, scoring twice in their French final against Iris Lambersart.
They are in Pool B with England’s East Grinstead, Welsh side Swansea and Austria’s WAC. WAC will hope there is not too much weariness in the legs of World Cup stars Stella van Rahden and forward Daria Buchta who won silver medals in Pretoria last Saturday.
Isabella Klausbruckner was a star for their Under-21 indoor side and was a travelling reserve with the senior side while Carla Kemper also played in the Under-21 European gold medal-winning run.
Their national success in 2022 was their first indoors since 2009 and they are hungry to perform.
Captain Luisa Mayer said: “We are really looking forward to our first indoor EuroHockey club Trophy with this young team. We want to present ourselves in a good shape and our goal is to make it to the first division.”
They finished fourth in their only other women’s Euro club campaign in 2010 in Lousada.
Sussex-based East Grinstead is a club on the rise on the women’s scene in England and is regularly in the mix for indoor honours.
Captain Harriet Mitchell leads on and off the pitch with stalwarts like Chloe Brown (an Irish international and central to Ards run to several national titles in succession) and Ruth Evans who brings experience & stability to a young squad.
They topped their domestic Indoor league but fell short in the Finals recently to Repton.
“This is our third European campaign, we relish every opportunity to play against European opposition and are looking forward to playing in Cambrai,” said captain Mitchell.
“We have a young squad including two England Under-18s Liv Breed and Issy Field, Carlota Gomez (Spain U21), as well as our own home grown players Courtney Hansford, Amy Thompson, Pippa Lock and some newer members to the club.”
They finished seventh in the Hague in the Cup in 2020 and third in the Trophy in Šiauliai in 2017.
Swansea HC is looking forward to this event and has a great squad with a mix of youth AND experience. They have attended numerous European tournaments both indoor & outdoor over the years and always very exciting to visit different countries and play hockey.
We have a number of internationals selected across both seniors women’s and juniors with Ella Jackson recently playing at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
They recently finished as Welsh runners-up and they have six players who played in the Club Challenge I in Croatia in 2022, finishing in third place.
In Pool A, Railway Union is sending an experienced squad that contains four current Irish international indoor players, two Irish indoor development squad players, and a previous Irish indoor international.
Captain Orla Fox has 30 caps while Patton sisters Orla and Sarah have 29 and 24 respectively. The tricky Lily Lloyd is also a key player up front alongside Becky McMullen.
Holly Jenkinson has five Irish indoor caps and is a treble international, also playing for Ireland in netball and tag rugby. On the coaching front, Gareth Myburgh, is the Irish indoor manager and Irish indoor development squad coach. The Railway assistant coach, Michael Fulham, is also an Irish indoor development squad coach.
This is Railway’s fourth participation in the Eurohockey indoor club competition – winning gold at the Challenge event in Bratislava, Slovakia in 2011, silver in Porto, Portugal in 2020, and playing in the Trophy event in Alanya, Turkey in 2022. In Alanya, the team played the entire tournament with only six players. Orla Fox has played in all four of these competitions. Railway retained the Irish title for a third year running in January.
Captain Fox said: “We are really looking forward to playing in Cambrai. We have prepared well and feel we have developed as a squad since last year’s venture in Turkey. We are introducing young up-and-coming players, such as Kate Woods, to the squad and we hope to represent Ireland well at the tournament.”