In a weekend of high tempo hockey action, which saw much criticism of a new scoring system, four teams have confirmed their places in the blue riband event
of club hockey, the EHL Final4. The teams who will be competing in Rotterdam on 26 May are: Dutch clubs HC Bloemendaal and HC Rotterdam, along with
SV Kampong, also from Holland, and Belgium’s Herakles.
The tournament was not without its controversy however, as organisers introduced the concept of double points for field goals, meaning that any
goal scored from open play was worth two points, while penalty corners and penalty strokes were worth one point.
Some of the resulting scorelines raised eyebrows and led to a storm of criticism on social media. After Belgium team KHC Dragons beat Three
Rock Rovers of Ireland 20-10, South African Olympian Justin Reid-Ross wrote on Twitter: “Would have backed the Irish in the @EHLHockeyTV
rugby event… Can we put this failed experiment behind us now please? #keepitsimple”.
Despite the controversy surrounding the scoring systems, there was some simply brilliant hockey being played in Rotterdam as the finest
club sides in Europe came together for an extended weekend of hockey. The opening day of action saw the 16 teams who made it through
to the KO16 stage of competition take to the pitch. In the opening match, Spain’s Real Club de Polo beat England challenger Holcombe
4-7. Two outstanding goals were scored by Holcombe’s Nicholas Bandurak, but a great team performance by the Belgium side saw them safely
through to the last eight.
Herakles then dashed Atletic Terrassa’s dreams of making it to the Final4, where then beat the Spanish challenger 4-2. This was
a case of the scoring system making a difference as both teams scored two goals, the difference was that Herakles scored through
open play with Jacob Smith and Louis Hottlet finding the net, while Roc Oliva scored two penalty corners. Royal Racing Club
de Bruxelles made short work of Dinamo Kazan as they won 9-0, but SV Kampong were made to graft a 1-0 victory against an obdurate
Rot Weiss Koln of Germany. Three Rock Rovers of Ireland were unlucky as they lost 3-2 to Saint Germain of France, while Racing
Club de France lost 3-0 to Uhlenhorst Mulheim. The match between host club HC Rotterdam and Germany’s Mannheimer HC went to
the wire as the German club were leading 2-1 until Nick Catlin scored in the final seconds of the 60 minute match to send the
match to shoot out. Rotterdam held their nerve to win through 5-4.
The final match of the KO16 round saw HC Bloemendaal continue the strong Dutch tradition as they trounced KHC Dragons
of Belgium 8-0. The losing sides from KO16 then faced each other for ranking places, with the pick of these matches
a 20 -10 win by KHC Dragons over Three Rock Rovers. Dinamo Kazan scored a notable 10-8 win against Rot Weiss Koln
and Mannheimer made sure they finished their campaign on a high as they beat Racing Club de France 7-0, with goals
from Danny and Tino Nguyen, Timm Haase and Pat Harris. The eight teams who made it through to KO8 entertained the
spectators with some stunningly skilful hockey, although the 13-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of HC Rotterdam
will make this year’s event something the players from Uhlenhorst Mulheim will want to forget. A hat trick of goals
from Seve van Ass was the pick of a comprehensive victory for the Dutch team.
HC Bloemendaal and SV Kampong made it three Dutch teams in the Final4 as they beat Saint Germain and Royal
Racing Club de Bruxelles respectively. Herakles were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Club de Polo but lost on
The final weekend of EHL action takes place on 26 May when HC Bloemendaal and HC Rotterdam fight out a
Dutch derby and SV Kampong take on Herakles.