The Men’s 1st Indoor squad travelled to Prague
looking to build on their Welsh Cup win in Merthyr Tydfil in late January. With
a young group led by captain Sam Daymond, they arrived in good spirits with
many players looking to get their first taste of European Indoor hockey.
After landing in the early afternoon, it was straight to the
hotel to get acquainted followed by a short and sharp training session just
over the road at HC Slavia Praha, the Czech tournament hosts.
A tough opening fixture saw Cardiff & Met play AD
Lousada, the Portuguese team who had been relegated into the division the
previous year and were looking to climb straight back into the Euro Trophy for
2019. Cardiff started slowly and were made to pay heavily, as a combination
of some clinical Portuguese finishing and some sloppy Cardiff errors meant that
Lousada earned a 12-2 win, with Cardiff’s goals scored by Ieuan Davies &
The squad immediately looked to bounce back in the afternoon
match, which saw them up against HC Lipovci of Slovenia. Cardiff showed huge
improvement from their morning performance, displaying far more nous in defence
whilst managing to create plenty of chances in attack. After falling behind
twice, goals from Ieuan Davies and 17-year-old Rhys Bradshaw meant the game
finished in a 2-2 draw.
The final group game saw Cardiff & Met play HC Vinnitsa,
the Ukrainian team who had secured two wins from their two matches and were
looking to top the group. Cardiff once again showed great improvement from
their previous matches and fought hard against an experienced indoor team, however
3 late goals meant that the game ended in a 5-2 defeat, with goals from Jack
Pritchard & Ieuan Davies. The result meant that Cardiff finished 4th
in their pool and moved into the relegation crossovers alongside their
Slovenian counterparts HC Lipovci.
The evening match saw Cardiff pitted against Soroksari HC in
a must-win relegation crossover match. The two sides had faced off indoor
several times over the years with fairly even results, however it was Cardiff
who took the spoils this time with a 6-5 victory in a thrilling see-saw of a
match, with a hat-trick for Jack Pritchard and further goals from Ieuan Davies,
Jack Valentine & Callum Stanley.
Cardiff went into their final match of the tournament
knowing that they needed a minimum of a losing bonus point to ensure survival
in the division. A mature and professional display followed to secure a 2-2
draw against Slovakian side HC Senkvice, with goals from Ieuan Davies &
Jack Pritchard. The result meant Cardiff finished the tournament in 6th
place, securing their place in Challenge 1 for 2019, a solid achievement for a
young squad containing 9 Euro Indoor debutants.
A big thank you to coach Walid Abdo and Debbie Mason, who
juggled the physio/manager roles expertly!
Squad: Sam Daymond
(C) Jack Pritchard, Charlie Hunte, Mark Philpot (GK), Ieuan Davies, Eddy Evans,
Will Raymond, Callum Stanley, Jack Valentine, Ronan Taggart, Will Riley &
Cardiff & Met’s
Player of the Tournament – Ieuan Davies