Early Start For L1 On Friday Morning
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies have an early start as they get the Women's Euro Hockey League FINAL8 underway at 8.30 am BST (9.30 CET) when they play Gantoise HC in the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam.
Having missed out on competing in the Euro Hockey League in 2019-20 as the event was cancelled due to Covid-19 and having played hosts UHC Hamburg in the final of the Euro Hockey League Ranking Cup, losing 2-0 in October 2021, Surbiton play in the full EHL for the first time at the third attempt.
Before Covid struck, Surbiton played in the 2019 EuroHockey Club Cup again in the Wagener Stadium, where they finished sixth after losing again to UHC Hamburg, this time 4-1.
If Surbiton win, they will play the winner of 's-Hertogenbosch of the Netherlands or Irish club Pegasus in the semi-final at 1245 BST on Saturday. If they lose, they will meet the loser of the other match at 1030 BST on Saturday.
Surbiton played 's-Hertogenbosch in the 2017 semi-final when they lost 7-1 at the Dutch club's stadium and Surbiton were due to play Pegasus last October in Hamburg but the Irish club withdrew giving Surbiton a 5-0 forfeit win.
But before Surbiton can find out who they will meet, they have to play Belgian club Gantoise, who have several quality players in their initial squad including Alix Gerniers, Barbara Nelen, Stephanie Vanden Borre and Ambre Ballenghien.
Surbiton know that they will be in Europe next season after collecting their eighth domestic title and the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division's leading goalscorer, Darcy Bourne will face a tough test against the Belgian club.
The other two KO8 games have hosts AH&BC Amsterdam taking on Club Campo De Madrid and Düsseldorfer of Germany play Junior HC of Spain.
All the Euro Hockey League games can be viewed with an Event Pass costing €9.99 at EuroHockeyTV
Or the games can be followed in real time at EHF Altius