17th February 2018: The afternoon started with the all important relegation Pool C games.  The hosts surprised with a spirited performance to beat Armenin who are now in real trouble to stay in the division. A draw between Surbiton and Complutense did neither team any favours as neither are secure in the division for 2019. 

The semi-finals did not disappoint as Racing, just recently promoted into this division now face Rot Weiss Koln in the EuroHockey Club Cup Final. They found their form against a quality Russian side who pushed them from 4-2 down to a sudden death penalty shoot out. The second semi-final was a meeting of giants of indoor hockey and proved to be such a difficult one to split as  immaculate defending and precision passing meant it was a low scoring semi-final. Rot Weiss Koln finally broke the seal and in a fantastic 10 minutes beat the mighty Dutch to earn their place in tomorrow’s final. 

Game 13: HC Rotweiss Wettingen v SV Arminen (Pool C) 2-1 (1-0) 

An impressive performance from the hosts, who lay bottom of the relegation pool C heading into the game with only 3 points, was needed to save them from being out of the Championship division. They led the from the first minute and held last years runners up to 1-0 until a pc that became a ps in the 36th minute, Schmidt slotted home to bring the game to a draw with 4 minutes on the clock. In the 37th minute Wettingen’s captain Keller threw himself at a cross and flicked the ball in to put the hosts ahead again. 2-1.

Game 14: Surbiton HC v C.H. SPV Complutense (Pool C) 1-1 (0-0) 

Complutense pressed hard to get ahead in the early stages of the this Pool C game forcing a decent save from the Surbiton keeper in the 8th minute. A chance for Surbiton in the 16th minute as the won their first pc went a begging as the strike was deemed a foul. Score remained 0-0 at half time. In the 25th minute Forsyth made his presence felt with a flick over the committed Complutense keeper’s head. 1-0. in the 30th minute Prol went on a solo run breaking through the Surbiton defence, passing to Arqués who slotted home to bring the game to a draw 1-1, and so it remained and each team takes 2 points from the game and into the Pool C.

Game 15: Dinamo Elektrostal v Racing Club de Bruxelles (Semi-final) 4 – 4 (2 – 4) (2 – 3 SO)

 A  brace of Boon pc blasts looked like it would lift his team into the semi-finals as along with goals from Charlier and Cornillie, Racing were 4-2 ahead at the half. A very well planned and delivered power-play saw Elektrostal get back on level terms 4-4 going into the final 10 minutes of the game. A lively final few minutes couldn’t separate the teams and we went to shoot-out, which Racing won in the sudden death series.

We caught up with Tom Boon after the game, who was very proud of his team, who had had only one proper training together before the Tournament:

Game 16: AH&BC Amsterdam v Rot-Weiss Koln (Semi-final) 2-3 (0-0) 

Both teams started this game knowing that small errors would be punished, turnovers could lead to goals. The first half proved to be a game of ‘wits’ as man to man marking tested the tactics and fitness of both sides, both passed with flying colours as precision passes and superb defending kept the scoresheet 0-0 at the half.

The second half started much as the first had ended! A pc for Amsterdam in the 30th minute led to a 2nd pc, some brave defending and a 3rd pc was awarded, a fantastic save from RWK keeper Schlich drew a huge applause from the bench and the score remained 0-0.

Finally a reverse flick from Miltkau in the 33rd minute put Koln ahead 0-1. A second from Koln in the 34th minute opened up the game as Tigges flicked home Amsterdam’s first of the game 1-2 in the 35th minute. A 3rd goal from Ruhr was the much needed cushion 1-3 . A ps converted by Tigges brought the score back to 2-3, but it was simply too late as the final hooter went.

We spoke to a smiling and relieved Chris Ruhr after the game:

Tomorrow’s games:

10:00 COMPLUTENSE – WETTINGEN Pool C
11:15 SURBITON – ARMINEN Pool C
13:00 ELEKTROSTAL – AMSTERDAM 3rd/4th Place
14:30 RACINGBRUX – ROTWKOLN Final

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All photographs are courtesy of World Sport pics (c)