EHL: Excitement in Barcelona, Day 1 Action

For the first time the Waterloo Ducks and Banbridge had the morning game on this opening day for the EHL. And they made sure to get the juices flowing. An opening goal in the 3rd minute saw the Irish take the lead. However French international Charlet – back on the field much to the joy of his team mates – made sure the Belgian team was back in the game in the same quarter. Banbridge took the lead again in Q2 with a nice goal from McKee. No quick equaliser this time. It got worse for the irritated Belgian players when early in Q3 it looked like we were heading for a sure 3-1. The penalty stroke was stopped by Simon Vandenbroucke, one of Belgians up and coming goalies. This changed the momentum. Goals from Wilbers, Depelsenaire and Charlet for Waterloo Ducks in just 3 minutes changed the score from 1-2 to 4-2. Instead of leading by 2 goals all of a sudden Banbridge were down 2. The team of coach McCandles fought themselves back in the game with a second goal by Louis Rowe to make it 4-3. But Waterloo Ducks had their own Louis to score his second for the day. Depelsenaire made it 5-3 and  the Belgians kept their hopes alive to reach KO8.

Game 2 saw Old Georgians face the mighty Germans of Mannheim. But even mighty Germans have an off day sometimes. Mannheim took the lead via Holste on his first touch of the ball this game. Old Georgians was never shaken and went into the second half with a 2-1 lead via Forsyth and Morton. The second half was all English with a very disappointing German side who could never convince the audience they wanted to win it. OG on the other hand showed true fighting spirit and created many opportunities and scored two more well deserved goals. Mannheim took off their goalie to force the typical German comeback. But today was not that day. Mannheim could never really convince and conceded a final 5th goal to see Old Georgians stay in contention for KO8.

In game 3 another English team faced Racing Club de France. Holcombe, coached by GB captain David Ames, had a real game on their hands but in the end were the better team beating the French 4-2. Bandurak netted the first and last goal and celebrated in between with goals by Roper and Russell. Coach Ames was happy to see his team perform well in the hot conditions in Barcelona. When asked if he had a preference for his next opponent when we spoke with him during game 4 between RC Polo and CAM92, he said either one. But he thought his team were rooting for the opportunity to match up against home team RC Polo. In front of their home crowd a Sunday game against the Spanish hosts.

Ames and Holcombe got what they asked for. In the final game of the opening day the team from Carlos Cuenca Garcia struggled with the French team formerly known as Montrouge in the first half but made sure they did not let the home crowd down, securing a 4-1 win in a strong second half. Goals scored by Recasens (2), Borras and Alex Reyne.

Ernst Baart

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