Cardiff & Met Hockey – Third in EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I.
This weekend saw Cardiff & Met compete in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I in Bulgaria. The Cardiff team played a series of pool games against some very experienced indoor competition from across Europe. The eight qualifying teams were placed in two pools of four, with the top two from each going through to a final pool to decide the placings. The opening day saw Cardiff & Met obtain a loss and draw in the first of their pool games against Slagelse of Denmark and Soroksari of Hungary respectively. The team settled quickly into day 2 with a 5-3 win over the Wildcats of Scotland with three goals in quick succession in the 2nd quarter, and two more in the 37’ and 38’, to see them secure second place in their pool and move to the next stage of the tournament in the top half of the competition. The first of their two matches in the top pool saw them take on the Italian side HC Bra. An early goal from Jack Valentine in the 2’ minute saw the Cardiff side take the lead, but the opposition struck back with a goal in the 11’ to equalise. The teams remained in a 1-1 headlock until the first minute of the third quarter when Jack Rhodes found the back of the net taking the final score to 2-1. The final game of the pool and tournament saw Cardiff & Met face tough competition from original pool winners HC OKS-SHVSM Vinnitsa of the Ukraine. The Welsh team saw two goals from their opponents in the third quarter, but a goal by Ieuan Davies from penalty corner in the opening minute of the final quarter kept them in contention. The score remained at 2-1 in this final game and the tournament standings decided, with the top three teams being HC OKS-SHVSM Vinnitsa, Slagelse and Cardiff & Met respectively.
Cardiff & Met Head Coach, Walid Abdo spoke about the way in which his team had competed over the weekend,
“I’m incredibly proud of the teams achievement. To compete at this level is hard enough, but to do it without being able to practice in a suitable facility has been a real challenge. “Hopefully this achievement will give us a springboard for the rest of the league campaign and our outdoor Euros in June.”