Inverleith men back in indoor European action this weekend

Inverleith men are back in indoor European action this weekend as they compete in the European Club Challenge 1 tournament in Norway this weekend.

“We have a strong squad of players going to the tournament, with the players very excited at the prospect of being given the opportunity to finish indoor hockey season on a high,” said Neave.

The Edinburgh side will face SK Senkvice (Slovakia), AD Lousada (Portugal) on Friday, and then host side Kringsja Sports Klubb (Norway) early on Saturday in the initial pool competition before moving on to the later classification games.

It is difficult to ascertain the quality of the pool opposition, but as usual Neave is cautious about the prospects.

“There are some very strong competent teams in the tournament (some of whom we have played in previous competitions), and so I think it would be foolhardy to be making predictions at this stage.

“However, it is fair to say that our primary objective is to try and finish in the top two of our pool and then reassess from there.”

A top two finish would propel Inverleith into the promotion pool against the leading sides from the other group.

The Oslo tournament is at the Challenge 1 level, Europe`s third tier, while in the recent past Inverleith have played in the higher Trophy level. Two years ago in Croatia the Edinburgh side finished fifth, but last year in Belarus Grove Menzieshill were relegated to the third division.

Inverleith`s domestic campaign started off in fine style with a perfect record after five games – Patrick Christie, Stephen Dick and Stuart Hatton were thick among the goals – but thereafter it all didn’t go according to plan and the Edinburgh side were left with the consolation of third spot.

So it will be interesting to see how well Stuart Neave is able to get his side to pick up the cudgels and take on Europe. An interested bystander will be new champions Western Wildcats, where Inverleith finish in Oslo is where the Auchenhowie side start off a year from now.

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