Medal win­ners

The Hockey Paper - - NEWS - By Rod Gil­mour

East Grin­stead women scoop bronze at the Euro In­doors Cup

DUNDEE Wan­der­ers flew the flag for Scot­tish hockey in fine style at the week­end while a gal­lant East Grin­stead side fell ag­o­nis­ingly short of pro­mo­tion at the EuroHockey In­door Club Tro­phy.

Sil­ver proved good enough to see Dundee move into Europe’s in­door elite com­pe­ti­tion next sea­son af­ter an in­tense three days of in­door hockey ac­tion in Si­au­liai, Lithua­nia.

Dundee’s bid for gold came un­stuck in their fi­nal match when they were beaten by even­tual cham­pi­ons MSC Sum­chanka, of Ukraine, 5-1.

But that proved to be only a mi­nor blip in the over­all pic­ture as they not only se­cured top flight in­door hockey for 2018, but also played to­gether as a full team for the first time this sea­son.

“We went with a squad that we knew could fin­ish in the top three,” said Dundee’s Vikki Bunce.

“We’ve played our do­mes­tic sea­son with­out two of our in­ter­na­tion­als, Becky Ward and Char­lotte Wat­son, who were com­pet­ing for Scot­land in the World League in Va­len­cia.

“They flew home on Mon­day and we left on Wed­nes­day for Lithua­nia. It’s been a good tour­na­ment, lots of close and com­pet­i­tive matches. We were for­tu­nate that some other re­sults had gone our way but we feel we per­formed pretty con­sis­tently so we are happy with that.

“A few more goals in a few more games would have been nice, but we de­fended well as a team and had a 100 per cent de­fen­sive record go­ing into our last match.”

Bunce high­lighted two emerg­ing young­sters in 16-year-old Emily Dark, who played her first game for the club in Lithua­nia, and Ruth Blaikie, 15, with the pair scor­ing seven goals be­tween them.

“They have both been fan­tas­tic and are such good prospects for the fu­ture,” she said.

A mix of youth – Dundee travelled with three Un­der-14 play­ers – and ex­pe­ri­enced heads, in­clud­ing the re­turn­ing duo from in­ter­na­tional du­ties, clearly proved ben­e­fi­cial for the Scots in the end.

Bunce added: “The girls were re­ally tired but dug deep and put in a mas­sive shift. Becky ‘The Wall’ Ward was fan­tas­tic as al­ways and Char­lotte can beat any­one with her sheer pace. Both did a fan­tas­tic job.”

As did Carmin Dow, who was awarded goal­keeper of the tourn­ment. “She plays a mas­sive role in how we de­fend as a team,” Bunce said.

East Grin­stead coach Mary Booth also praised the ef­forts of her goal­keeper, Kirsty Mackay, for keep­ing the Sussex side within a whisker of pro­mo­tion.

De­feats to the top two sides – 4-3 to Sum­chanka and 4-2 to Dundee in their open­ing game – left East Grin­stead with an up­hill strug­gle. And in the end they fell three goals short of se­cur­ing top-flight sta­tus and were forced to set­tle for a third place fin­ish.

“Kirsty was out­ra­geous against the Ukra­ni­ans,” ad­mit­ted Booth. “I know Mad­die (Hinch) is good, but Kirsty was su­perb.

“She read ev­ery sin­gle short cor­ner and got them rat­tled. When they got to cor­ner num­ber six they just didn’t know what to do.”

Booth claimed that their even­tual de­feat to Sum­chanka was the high­est stan­dard of hockey played over the week­end. And de­spite miss­ing out on pro­mo­tion – English in­door cham­pi­ons Slough will now take East Grin­stead’s place in Europe next sea­son – she re­mained up­beat.

She said: “This was great for the girls and for the club. It was just a pity that we messed up the do­mes­tic in­door sea­son.”

Booth said that one of the dif­fer­ences over the week­end was a dif­fer­ence in in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the in­door rules by English and Euro­pean um­pires, es­pe­cially when it came to the slap hit.

For ex­am­ple, the Euro­pean play­ers would tend to take a higher stick, giv­ing them more ball pace where it would be deemed a foul in Eng­land. It was a “learn­ing curve” as far as Booth was con­cerned and she said that she would hand­ing over video footage to Eng­land’s do­mes­tic of­fi­cials.

Mean­while, Mannheimer be­came Euro­pean cham­pi­ons af­ter beat­ing HC Minsk in a thrilling fi­nal 5-3 in the elite Cham­pi­onship di­vi­sion.

Club de Campo de Madrid just lost out on a medal to hosts, Rotweiss Wet­tin­gen, in an equally en­ter­tain­ing bronze medal match. It was won by Wet­tin­gen 3-2 and played out in front of a par­ti­san crowd of 600.

Wet­tin­gen’s Stephanie Walti was awarded player of the tour­na­ment by of­fi­cials.

Sil­ver lin­ing: Dundee with their runners-up tro­phy. Right, top: Dundee on the at­tack, be­low, East Grin­stead shoot PIC­TURES: Mark Hol­lis

Un­der at­tack: East Grin­stead on the de­fence

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