The statistic that Bloemendaal had lost only two of its last 37 home games in the regular competition and play-offs until Saturday afternoon, makes HGC’s 1-3 victory even more impressive than it already was. The team of coach Paul van Ass faced a 1-0 deficit in the second semi-final with De Mussen, but then surprisingly turned the tables with two hits in quick succession. ‘Surprising? I don’t agree with you,” said HGC captain Seve van Ass.
The figures of the match at ‘t Kopje betrayed a kind of one-way traffic towards the goal of HGC goalkeeper Sam van der Ven. Bloemendaal coach Rick Mathijssen himself already pointed out the enormous difference in circle penetrations and penalty corners. The public, too, saw the men in orange and white repeatedly rushing quickly and precariously toward the enemy circle, far more often than HGC did.
“It is true that they were pumping a bit more ,” says Seve van Ass a few minutes after the 1-3 victory. “A lot of balls came into the circle that fell in front of Sam, but we defend them well. So whether those are necessarily opportunities for Bloemendaal… They did come into our circle more often and were more busy, but I think we remained very calm about it.’
Chances well done
‘Our first goal may have been a bit strange ‘, Van Ass continues with a sense of understatement. “That was a strange moment in the game. I think Pelle [Vos]’s ball was still in front of the goal line when the buzzer sounded, but Coen [van Bunge] did not whistle until after the ball had rolled over the line. I think it was a valid goal. Then the game turned with our second goal, just after the start of the fourth quarter. Well, we just finished our chances well. So I don’t think it’s surprising that we win that match.’
For HGC it was more than six years ago that an away game against Bloemendaal yielded the full win. That was last achieved on October 18, 2015, when goals from Jorrit Croon (now playing for Bloemendaal), Dick Möhlmann and Gonzalo Peillat ultimately also resulted in a 1-3 victory. After that triumph, the team from Wassenaar suffered a defeat at ‘t Kopje six times in a row. The victory at Bloemendaal was therefore a unique experience for many players.
Van Ass: ‘We have removed a lot of danger with our pressure on the ball. There have been a few moments where Bloemendaal has been really dangerous. Those were moments when we got in sloppy and gave their players too much space. If we can extract those moments on Sunday afternoon, we will be even stronger. It will be even more loaded, produce even more tension and cost power. It will be another game where a few moments will determine the difference.’
Finally, we would like to know from Van Ass what HGC had now changed in the battle plan compared to the first semi-final with Bloemendaal, which lost 0-3 last Sunday so pitifully and with little chance. The HGC captain pauses and then laughs. ‘I’m not going to say anything about that. Just ask that question after the third game.’