Netherlands: Bloemendaal Gives Golden Season Shine With Third Title in a Row

The Bloemendaal trilogy is a fact. The Sparrows became national champions for the third time in a row on Saturday afternoon. Pinoké was also defeated in the second game without any problems: 3-0. On Thursday, Bloemendaal won the first final meeting after taking shoot-outs .

The field belonged to everyone in an orange shirt. From the young fans, from the elderly with beer and fireworks. But especially from Rick Mathijssen’s team. They host an accident. Hugged each other as if they were each other’s best friend. ‘Campione’ blasted over ‘t Kopje, while Pinoké’s tears flowed. Most of the hugs were for Florian Fuchs, the German giant who played his last game. Before the award ceremony they already made half a lap of honour, the brand new champions.

The team that was class apart in the Tulip big league all season. Where other teams regularly spilled, Rick Mathijssen’s team built up a very large margin in the first months. They won ten of their first eleven games. The sour feeling of the failed Tokyo Games disappeared at ‘t Kopje, where everyone who had come out damaged from the summer found themselves again.

Florian Fuchs on the shoulders of his Bloemendaal teammates after winning the national title. Photo: Koen Suyko

If you get such good grades, a dip is inevitable. That came after the restless run-up to the second half of the season. Old, long-retired stars such as Ronald Brouwer and Santi Freixa had to fill in during practice matches to get enough men on their feet. They could chuckle about it there in the North Holland coastal town.

Will be fine.

It also turned out well, despite a rare slip in March against Pinoké, who defeated Bloemendaal as the only one in the competition. The Sparrows quickly flew in the right direction and raced through the EHL, where they defeated Rot-Weiss Köln (4-0) in the final with a great display of power. It was not always easy in the play-offs. HGC turned out to be a lot stiffer than the first game suggested. And with Pinoké, Bloemendaal was 3-2 behind 59 seconds before time.

The 2010 champion sets the tone

On Saturday things quickly went in the right direction for the record champion, who took his 22nd title. After the first real chance for Pinoké had survived – a corner that was dragged wide by Alexander Hendrickx – Roel Bovendeert struck. At least, the striker got the goal to his name. Eighty percent of the goal could be attributed to Floris Wortelboer. The international intercepted a pass from Daan Bonhof, thundered over the back line in a characteristic way and found the stick that turned out to be van Bovendeert with a bump ball.

Floris Wortelboer sprints towards Roel Bovendeert after Bloemendaal’s first goal in the second final match for the national title against Pinoké. Photo: Koen Suyko

The experienced attacker, who was already there when Bloemendaal became champion in 2010, signed for the 2-0 at the start of the second quarter. Up close again, this time on a pass from Jorrit Croon and after a miss by Pinoké defender Niek Merkus.

Heavy assignment from Pinoké

Pinoké had nice chances on the connecting goal within ten minutes. However, two corners offered no solution. That was also because specialist Hendrickx, who still scored two goals on Thursday, was unable to drag on both times. The first time he sat on the bench, number two shot under the stick of his stopper.

When Marlon Landburg also lost a free shot chance, Pinoké knew that they had a very tough assignment in the second half. Jesse Mahieu’s formation made a lot more technical errors than in the first meeting and was simply less effective than two days ago.

Tom Hiebendaal in duel with Alexander Hendrickx during the second final match for the national title between Bloemendaal and Pinoké. Photo: Koen Suyko

As a result, the match was not the thrilling fight that was so much looked forward to after the spectacle on Ascension Day. Pinoké worked himself into an accident and got another run of three corners, all of which were unsuccessful. It was waiting for a whim. A real surprise, such as Niklas Wellen’s stab in the first leg. Such as Miles Bukkens’ surprising corner in the second game against Amsterdam.

Bending, but always flexible

But that special effect, that extra flame, that was missing from Pinoké today. They couldn’t make Bloemendaal difficult enough. The title holder sometimes bowed, but always remained flexible. Didn’t really break for a moment. And so the second half, in which they were really put under pressure, came through unscathed.

Where Bloemendaal still looked anxiously at the clock two days ago, they now quietly peered at their own scoreboard, which crept towards zero. Tim Swaen even lifted the score from a corner rebound to 3-0 one and a half minutes before the end. That 22nd title was a fact. One after a great season and a play-offs, in which they once again peaked at the right time. They seem to be able to do that very well at ‘t Kopje in recent years.

So they were right in the winter. It worked out.


Bloemendaal – Pinoké 3-0

13. Roel Bovendeert 1-0
21. Roel Bovendeert 2-0
68. Tim Swaen 3-0 (sc)

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