L1 Start EHL Campaign on Friday Morning
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies start their Euro Hockey League campaign on Friday morning when they face German club Düsseldorfer HC at 1045 BST (1145 CET) in the FINAL8 at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam.
The tournaments are officially being hosted by Pinoké, who knocked Old Georgians out of the Men's Euro Hockey League in KO8 in Hamburg in October.
Surbiton were disappointed last weekend when East Grinstead ended their run of eight successive league titles with a 3-2 win in the final of the League Finals at Sugden Road, but will be focussed on trying to get past their German opponents to reach the semi-finals for only the second time since they first played in Europe in 2015.
Surbiton's only quarter-final victory came in the 2017 EuroHockey Club Cup in 's-Hertogenbosch where they beat Spanish club, SPV Complutense 2-1 with Naomi Evans and Hollie Pearne-Webb both scoring. Surbiton went on to lose 7-1 to hosts' 's-Hertogenbosch in the semi-final before finishing fourth after a 3-1 defeat to AH&BC Amsterdam in the third-place playoff.
With the Women's Euro Hockey League only being introduced in 2019-20, when the tournament was cancelled due to Covid-19, Surbiton's record against German clubs in all European competition has left them still looking for their first win.
UHC Hamburg beat Surbiton 6-0 in the 2016 EuroHockey Club Champions Cup quarter-final in Bilthoven and they fared little better in 2019 when they lost 4-0 to Der Club an der Alster in Amsterdam at the same stage. A rematch with UHC Hamburg in the fifth-place play-off saw Hamburg win 4-1, Michaela Curtis scoring Surbiton's consolation goal.
The Euro Hockey League was split into two for the 2021 season with Surbiton headed to Hamburg in the Ranking Cup, in which they faced the hosts UHC Hamburg in the final after beating Irish club Pegasus 5-0 in their semi-final. Current Surbiton player, Amy Costello scored both Hamburg goals in a 2-0 victory.
Last season, Surbiton came up against Belgian club Gantoise and lost 2-1, all the goals coming in the first twelve minutes, Stephanie Vanden Borre putting Gantoise ahead from the penalty spot in the second minute; Darcy Bourne equalising from open play in the eleventh and Emilie Sinia scoring what proved to be the winner a minute later.
Düsseldorfer also took part in the 2022 Euro Hockey League with both of their matches going to shootouts. After a goalless draw against Spanish club, Junior in the quarter-finals, they lost the shootout 2-1 before having better fortunes in the Ranking Match against Club Campo De Madrid, when after a 3-3 draw, it was Düsseldorfer's turn to win 2-1 in the shootout.
This year's tournament has already started with Sanse Complutense beating Irish club Pembroke Wanderers 4-0 in the first quarter-final to set up an all Spanish semi-final against Club Campo De Madrid, 3-0 winners over Gantoise on Saturday.
Surbiton will face either 's-Hertogenbosch or SCHC, who meet in an all Dutch quarter-final on Friday night, in the semi-finals if they win, or a Ranking match, if they lose, on Sunday.
The Euro Hockey League is being streamed on EuroHockey TV. An EHL Pass costs €12.99 and more information can be found here
The games can also be followed in real time via the Eurohockey Altius website sand the Women's competition can be found here
The Euro Hockey League previews of the Final 8 matchups can be found here
With Wimbledon having gone out at the KO16 stage and Old Georgians at the KO8 stage, both in Hamburg, there is no English representation in the Men's FINAL8 in Amsterdam.