L1 Face UHC Hamburg In EHL Ranking Cup Final
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies will face hosts, UHC Hamburg in the final of the EHL Ranking Cup at 1115 BST on Sunday.
Hamburg beat HC Minsk 2-1 in the only semi-final after Surbiton had been given a bye following the Irish club, Pegasus, withdrawing from the tournament.
Hamburg took the lead in the 13th minute, Lilli Kreusler scoring from open play and were 2-0 ahead at half time, Sofie Stomps converting a 26th minute penalty corner.
Natallia Shtsin pulled a goal back for Minsk in the 44th minute, but it was Hamburg who reached the final and will face Surbiton on Sunday.
Minsk will be deemed to have finished seventh as they can't play Pegasus in the third place playoff.
Normally, the Women's top tier European club tournament consists of eight teams, but due to Covid-19 and various problems, the eight teams were split into two sets of four. The top four teams competed in the Final4 in Amsterdam in April, when 's-Hertogenbosch beat Club Campo De Madrid 5-0 in the final and AH&BC Amsterdam finished third with a 4-2 win over Der Club an der Alster.
The Euro Hockey League Ranking Cup is designed to rank the fifth to eighth teams and finalise the ranking tables to determine how many places each country gets in the 2021-22 competitions.
Therefore, Minsk have finished third and earned Belarus the seventh ranking overall in the competition. The winners of the final will finish fifth and the runners-up sixth.
Surbiton were naturally disappointed not to be able to take part in the first whole Women's EHL after the former EuroHockey Clubs Cup was brought under the Euro Hockey League banner.
The original edition in 2020 was finally cancelled in October 2020 after plans to delay the staging had to be abandoned due the continuing Covid-19 crisis.
But Surbiton, although missing out on the opportunity for a crack against top Dutch clubs, will want to make a good impression against Hamburg on German soil.
The match can be watched live on eurohockeytv.org.