18 May 2018
EuroHockey Club Cup Classification Match
Victorya Smolevichi 2 Surbiton 2 (Victorya win 3-2 on shootout)
Hosts Surbiton were stunned by Belarus newcomers, Victorya Smolevichi, after they won a shootout after a 2-2 draw in normal time on the tournament debut.
Victorya will now play Mannheimer HC, also making their first appearance in the EHCC for fifth place whilst Surbiton, who had high hopes of making a big impact on the tournament after reaching the semi-finals last season at the third attempt, will have to settle for a seventh place playoff against UCD.
Surbiton took the lead in the fourth minute, Victorya’s goalkeeper, Tatsiana Charei making an initial save from Surbiton’s first penalty corner only for the ball to rebound to Georgie Twigg to bundle over the line from very close range.
Maryna Nikitsina looked to test the Surbiton defence with her combined possession skills and runs, Surbiton’s Robyn Collins needed on one occasion to snuff out the threat. Surbiton were caught out in the 19th minute when an attack starting with a restart from the 23 metre line found its way to the right post where Nadzeya Litasava was waiting to deflect the ball home after sneaking behind Surbiton’s defenders.
Victorya could even had led at half time, Surbiton goalkeeper, Abi Walker having to make a superb save to prevent the Belarus club from taking the lead with another deflection.
Having scored from their first penalty corner, Surbiton failed to score from the next six, Viktorya generally successfully blocking or clearing the ball.
In the 43rd minute, Surbiton retook the lead, Holly Payne smashing the ball against the backboard with a reverse stick shot to seemingly relieve the pressure. However, Victorya shocked Surbiton with a looping shot into the top right corner beyond Walker’s reach, thanks to a deflection from Dziana Khmylova to earn a 2-2 draw and force as shootout.
Captain, Sarah Haycroft gave Surbiton the lead, but Victorya quickly levelled thanks to Ryta Batura. Rio heroine, Hollie Pearne-Webb’s magic failed to materialise this time, with her shot going wide of the left post. Dziyana Batsiukova found the backboard to put Victorya 2-1 ahead. The tension grew as Hannah Martin, Nikitsina, Anabel Herzsprung and Yulia Mikheichyk all failed to score. This left Georgie Twigg needing to convert to keep Surbiton in the match, but although she finished in style, Khmylova, the scorer of the late equaliser, sent the ball high into the net to give the Belarus team an unlikely triumph.
Speaking after the game Surbiton captain Sarah Haycroft said “It was a disappointing result and not what we wanted or came for. We stuck together and fought to the end.” Sarah gave special thanks to the event staff at Surbiton “What the team have put together here at Surbiton has been unreal, the whole event, the spectators and the organisation is truely special. Thank you to all that have been a part of the planning to host such a great event”.
Surbiton will face UCD in the first match on Sunday, having previously beaten them 4-1 on their first appearance in the competition, to finish fifth in Bilthoven in 2015.
Scorers: Nadzeya Litasava 19-F, Dziana Khmylova 58-F
Squad: Hanna Zabrotskaya, Khrystina Mitskevich, Maryna Nikitsina, Katsiaryna Mikhalik, Ryta Batura (Capt.), Yulia Mikheichyk, Dziyana Batsiukova, Karyna Syddykava, Tatsiana Charei (GK), Dziana Khmylova, Xenia Efimencova.
Subs: Hanna Zhylevich (14 mins), Nadzeya Litasava (16), Aliaksandra Mikulich (18).
Subs not used: Krystsina Miastouskaya (GK); Palina Papelskaya, Dziana Hanets, Viktoryia Burakova.
Scorers: Georgie Twigg 4-PC, Holly Payne 43-F
Squad: Giselle Ansley, Sarah Haycroft (Capt.), Georgie Twigg, Hannah Martin, Olivia Chilton, Beckie Middleton, Sarah Page, Hollie Pearne-Webb, Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins, Abi Walker (GK).
Subs: Holly Payne (3 mins), Jo Hunter (5), Emily Atkinson (5), Anabel Herzsprung (6), Stephanie Addison (9).
Subs not used: Grace Lawes (GK), Ella Burnley.
Umpires: Fanneke Alkemade (Netherlands) and Gabriele Schmitz (Germany).
Colin Pike | Images: Perspective Photos