At this point next week, Cardiff & Met HC would have travelled to Vienna, Austria, to compete in the Eurohockey Club Trophy I. The opposition of this year’s competition would have included Dinamo Elektrostal (Russia), hosts Post SV and a re-match of last years final with SC Stroitel Brest (Belarus) in Pool A.
While we do not know what might have been, we will instead look back 12 months, when Cardiff & Met took Gold in Switzerland and eagerly anticipate our next European competition.
On the 7th June 2019, the Men’s 1s began their EuroHockey Club Trophy campaign in Wettingen, Switzerland.
The opening game of the four game tournament, consisting of three pool games and a cross-over, proved a catalyst for the remainder of the tournament. Cardiff took the lead through an Alf Dinnie deflection following some fine work from Captain, Luke Hawker. Despite being pegged back by a fine reverse-stick strike, bringing WAC of Austria level with Cardiff, Jack Pritchard converted a penalty stroke late in the first half, a goal which went on to be the eventual winner despite chances for each side throughout the second half.
Cardiff took on Ukrainian team Vinnitsa on Day 2, a match which proved to be their toughest pool game. This was no surprise to the Cardiff outfit who are familiar with the Ukrainian outfit competing against them many times in prior indoor and outdoor European competitions. A brace from Dinnie and a goal from Hawker, coupled with some fine short corner defensive work, ensured Cardiff moved to the top of the pool, with 2 wins from 2.
The final pool game proved an easier contest, culminating in a 3-0 win against Bohemians of Prague. Goals from Pritchard, Charlie Hunte & Jack Rhodes meant Cardiff secured their place in the final for the following day vs SC Striotel Brest of Belarus.
The final, initially cagey due to a waterlogged pitch resultant from torrential rain, came to life with Cardiff opening the scoring courtesy of a superb Rhodes’ strike which held firm until late in the game. The final quarter saw 6 goals scored in 12 minutes, 2 goals from Pritchard and a last minute winner from Ieuan Davies securing a third Eurohockey Club Trophy Gold for Cardiff & Met HC. Final Score 4-3.
At the award ceremony, Jack Pritchard scooped a joint prize for top goal-scorer with 4 goals (3 pc, 1 fg).
Head Coach Walid Abdo reflects on the campaign – “This, for me, is one of our greatest achievements in Europe. We came into the tournament with a young and, in comparison to prior campaigns, in-experienced squad supplemented by some seasoned pros who are comfortable in tournaments of this nature. I really felt that if we got off to a good start, confidence would grow and we would see some special contributions from the talented youngsters. I was not disappointed and I am proud of the squad’s efforts in challenging circumstances. Four games in four days is not easy. I have no doubt we will benefit from this experience in the future, increasing the depth and strength of the performance squad at Cardiff & Met HC.”