The refreshed, revitalised and unbelievably focused Dutch women’s team are on target to lift the final FIH Champions Trophy in Changzhou. With FIH Pro League ready to kick off in early 2019 this will be the final edition of this famous Trophy and one that the Dutch women want to win.

Self-professed ‘granny’ (that’s anyone in the team born before 1992) and Dutch captain Eva de Goede spoke to the FIH about playing in China  “I was in China for Beijing, but for most of the team, this is a first. We have new young players in our squad so it is a little bit of a new start for us. For the Pro League, it will be very interesting to play in all the different countries and experience the different cultures. Here, for example, is so very different from playing in Europe, so it is good we get to experience this now.”

The Dutch are racking up the wins with 4 from 4. A 3-1 start over Japan, their second game was 3-0 over Argentina and a similar result over Australia and yesterday a 4-0 result over Great Britain. Their final pool game is v China tomorrow, but their staggering 12 points has already earned them a place in Sunday’s Final. China could upset the rankings and should they beat the mighty Dutch, could find themselves facing them in that Final! But on form, you would have to predict a Dutch v Australia final.

Staying on the field, but away from the players, the umpiring team is being supported by the EHF’s UDP and now Video Umpire coach expert, Carol Metchette.

The FIH spoke to up and coming Belgian umpire Celine Martin-Schmets about having the experienced Metchette with them in China “Carol gives us a wealth of experience,” says Martin–Schmets. “When you start out she really opens your eyes to what you should look for. For example, in my second referral, a danger/no danger situation. We looked at all the angles but she said, ‘before you look at any of that, look at the reaction of the player, that will tell you a lot’. I was looking for the ball but the reaction of the player in that instance was the telling point.

“She talks about taking all the pieces together to solve the puzzle. That is a very good way of looking at it.”

The message that comes out loud and clear from the interview is the teamwork and trust that has to exist between the umpires on the pitch and their guardian ‘eyes in the sky’.

“When you go into changing room, you talk it through and agree how you will approach the match,” says Shelbourn. “When you part ways to be the ‘eyes in the sky’, your fellow umpires have to know you have their back and any decision is evidence-based and nothing is subjective.”

Umpires and teams are back in action on Saturday 24 November.

For a full playing schedule and information about the Wanglibao Hockey Champions Trophy Changzhou Wujin, click here.

#HCT2018

Source material: FIH.ch

Pictured: The Dutch women bellow out their Anthem (World Sport Pics (c))