Easter week sees Scottish Clubs head to Europe
Easter sees the annual trek of Scotland`s leading clubs into European competition, Grove Menzieshill men head for Eindhoven for the last 16 knock-out of the EHL, Edinburgh University are in Rochester for the women`s European Club Trophy, while Clydesdale Western head for Lille for the Challenge 1 tournament.
Grove Menzieshill could not have a tougher baptism to their first sojourn on the European circuit, they face crack Dutch side AH & BC Amsterdam in a one-off tussle. Should they fail in this enterprise it does not get any easier, in their second ranking match the Taysiders will face the loser of the Kampong (NED) – Rott Weiss Koln (GER) encounter.
Although the present Grove Menzieshill side has a fair sprinkling of current and past Scotland players along with under-21 and youth internationalists, the gargantuan nature of the task is not lost on coach Neil Allan.
Allan said: “It will be an incredibly tough game, we will have to work very hard in defence and be diligent in our marking and distribution to limit the opportunities for Amsterdam.
“They possess one of the most potent attacks in world hockey, and have some truly world class players in Billy Bakke (Dutch Captain), Valentin Verga, Mirco Pruyser and Justin Reid Ross to name but a few.
“We will need to play at the very top of our game to compete with such world class opposition.”
Allan was also keen to put a positive slant on to the occasion. “We have some fantastic players in our squad, and we will be going to the EHL to showcase our own brand of attacking hockey, and to attempt to go toe to toe with some of the hockey world`s most famous teams.”
Although Scotland`s women head for lower level events, nowadays there are no easy games or events as many countries have greatly improved their standards in recent years.
Edinburgh University, league champions for the fifth year in a row, are competing at the Trophy level (Europe`s 2nd tier) and their pool opponents are Dinamo-COP Moscomsport (Russia), UCD (Ireland) and Holcombe (England).
The students were promoted to this level after coming first equal in last season`s European Challenge 1 competition in Edinburgh – ironically they had to beat Clydesdale Western 1-0 in their last game to make that jump.
Western consequently remain in Europe`s third tier and travel to Lille in France to try again for promotion. In the pool part of the competition they will face Rotweiss Wettingen (Switzerland), SK Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) and Gintra Strekte Uni (Lithuania), and must finish in the top two to enter the promotion stakes.
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