European Club Hockey Indoor Review – 18-20 February 2022
Buckingham finished fifth in the Women’s EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy in Alanya, Turkey after having their European indoor debut delayed by a year due to Covid-19. Buckingham had won the Jaffa Super 6s title with a 4-3 win over Bowdon Hightown at the Copper Box Arena in 2020 and with Covid preventing them from defending their title until 2022, they made their way to Turkey for their European adventure.
Six teams played in a round-robin format with Buckingham starting against Railway Union of Ireland on Friday. The Irish club battled throughout the tournament with just six players in their squad, but held out until the 27th minute before Rebecca van Arrowsmith gave Buckingham the lead from a penalty corner. Lottie Porter doubled the lead from open play two minutes later, with Alex Naughalty following suit in the 34th minute. Van Arrowsmith converted a second penalty corner in the 37th minute with Olivia Strickland completing a 5-0 victory with two minutes remaining to give Buckingham the perfect start to their campaign.
Although they lost the next four games, Buckingham were competitive, losing two games by a two goal margin and the other two matches by a single goal.
Scottish club Clydesdale Western were next up for Buckingham, who were looking good, holding a 2-1 lead, Maddie Newlyn scoring in the tenth minute and van Arrowsmith netting in the 27th minute, both goals from open play, Millie Steiger having levelled for Clydesdale from a 26th minute penalty corner.
Clydesdale then stunned Buckingham with three goals in six minutes to run out 4-2 winners, Fiona Semple finding a second equaliser from a 33rd minute penalty corner before Margery Justice converted a 36th minute penalty stroke and a 39th minute penalty corner.
On Saturday, Buckingham faced Slavia Prague of the Czech Republic and SV Arminen of Austria on a frustrating day when both games were lost by a single goal.
The game against Slavia Prague ended up as a 6-5 thriller and Buckingham will be wondering how they lost after leading 3-1 in the 16th minute. Newlyn opened the scoring in the eighth minute from open play and after Natálie Hájková equalised in the tenth minute from a penalty corner, Natasha James restored Buckingham’s lead in the 15th minute from open play and Porter slotted home a penalty stroke a minute later.
Slavia Prague then found their form, scoring five goals without reply to lead 6-3 by the 32nd minute. Adéla Lehovcová pulled a goal back in the 17th minute from a penalty corner before Hájková completed a hat-trick of penalty corners in the 22nd, 27th and 30th minutes to leave Buckingham reeling. Lehovcová scored Slavia Prague’s sixth goal from open play in the 32nd minute, but although van Arrowsmith struck twice in the 33rd and 40th minutes from penalty corners, Buckingham couldn’t find the all-important equaliser.
In contrast the second game of the day against SV Arminen was settled by a single goal, Marie Hahnenkamp breaking Buckingham hearts with a 38th minute penalty corner winner.
On Sunday, Buckingham lost 4-2 to Gaziantep Polisgücü, the hosts who were ultimately promoted with Slavia Prague. The score was 1-1 after seven minutes, Balzhan Beisanbay putting Gaziantep ahead after four minutes and Newlyn equalising three minutes later, both goals coming from open play. Beisanbay then put Gaziantep back in front in the 16th minute, again from open play before Fatima Songul Gültekin converted penalty corners in the 25th and 35th minutes to establish a 4-1 lead, Kirsty Freshwater scoring Buckingham’s final goal of the tournament from open play in the 38th minute.
Meanwhile, Swansea finished third behind hosts, Hockey Klub Zelina of Croatia and Iris Hockey Lambersart of France in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I in Sveti Ivan Zelina.
This tournament was played as a seven team round-robin, Swansea winning three, drawing two and losing one of their six games.
Swansea began with a 3-3 draw against Lisbon Casuals on Friday in a topsy turvy game which saw Swansea lead 2-0, Lisbon Casuals turn the game round to lead 3-3 and Swansea salvage a draw in the penultimate minute.
Swansea got off to the perfect start, Beth Wood opening the scoring in the second minute from a field goal and Bethan Collier doubling the lead in the tenth minute in the same manner. Casuals fought back courtesy of a Claudia Fidalgo penalty corner hat-trick with goals in the 18th, 27th and 37th minutes, Georgina Pitts depriving Casuals of the win with a 39th minute penalty corner.
In the second game of the day, Swansea recorded their first win (4-2) against KPH Rača of Slovakia. Barbora Pucherova had to wait until the 14th minute to put Rača ahead, but the lead lasted just a minute, Jessica Lea equalising from open play. Rača restored their lead in the 18th minute through Lenka Horáčková’s penalty corner but from then on it was all Swansea. Pitts converted a 26th minute penalty corner to restore parity for a second time before Wood put Swansea ahead for the first time from open play in the 29th minute and Katherine Hunter sealing the win with a 31st minute open play goal.
The first game on Saturday was a thirteen goal thriller against Copenhagen of Denmark in which Swansea led 5-1 before Copenhagen fought back to level at 6-6 and Swansea snatched the win with a goal in the penultimate minute.
Swansea seemed to be in control after 15 minutes as they stormed into a 5-1 lead, Matilde Christensen equalising in the fourth minute after Lauren Dunn gave Swansea a second minute lead, also from a penalty corner. Swansea then scored four goals in six minutes with Collier scoring from open play in the ninth minute, Lea slotting a penalty stroke a minute later, Pitts and Betsan Thomas adding open play goals in the 12th and 15th minutes.
Tamara Bos scored from open play in the 18th minute to make the half time score 5-2 but after Wood extended Swansea’s lead in the 25th minute, Copenhagen found their goalscoring form, Christensen scoring another three goals with a 26th minute penalty corner and a 27th minute open play effort, plus a 37th minute open play goals which brought the scores level at 6-6, Caroline Mourier having scored Copenhagen’s fifth goal in the 31st minute.
For the second time, Pitts converted a 39th minute penalty corner but this time, earned Swansea the win after earning a draw against Lisbon Casuals.
In their second game on Saturday, Swansea drew 3-3 with hosts, Zelina and once again scored late to earn the draw. Hunter gave Swansea a second minute lead from open play, only for Zelina to convert two penalty corners in succession, Petra Hrupec in the eighth minute and Una Litvić in the 16th. Pitts brought Swansea back level immediately after half time from a penalty corner only for Ena Litvić to put Zelina 3-2 in front with yet another penalty corner with just three minutes to play. Hunter’s open play goal in the last minute kept up Swansea’s record of scoring late in three of their first four games.
On the final day, Swansea suffered their only defeat, 5-2 to Iris Hockey Lambersart. In a card plagued game. A total of seven yellow cards: four for Lambersart and three for Swansea including a yellow for Wood in the 36th minute which saw her on the naughty step for the rest of the game, and a green card.
Lambersart led 2-0 after nine minutes, Julie Martinot converting a penalty corner in the seventh minute and Marie-Alice Pelletier-Rimbert scoring from open play two minutes later.
Swansea battled to draw level at 2-2, Pitts converting a 15th minute penalty corner, and Wood doing the same just after the break. Penalty corners were the order of the day with Camille Druart scoring in the 24th minute and Justine Duby on target in the 33rd, Pelletier-Rimbert clinching the win from open play in the 37th minute.
In their last game, Swansea were on fire as they beat Ukimerioni Kutaisi of Georgia, 11-3. Swansea led 2-0 after just two minutes, Hunter scoring from open play in the first minute and Abigail Romig converting a penalty corner a minute later.
Tamari Supatashvili reduced the deficit in the sixth minute from open play before Thomas restored Swansea’s two goal advantage two minutes later. Kutaisi responded through Teona Kupradze courtesy of a tenth minute penalty corner to trail 3-2, Romig scoring from open play in the 19th minute as Swansea led 4-2 at half time.
Thomas added Swansea’s fifth goal immediately after half time and after Kupradze converted her second penalty corner of the match in the 22nd minute, Swansea scored six goals in the final 17 minutes to pull away in style.
Wood continued the goal flurry with a 23rd minute open play goal, and after Lea converted a 26th minute penalty corner, Wood added further open play goals in the 32nd and 37th minutes to open up a 9-3 lead.
Hunter scored from open play in the 39th and 40th minutes as Swansea yet again scored late in the match.