PENARTH SHARE THEIR EUROHOCKEY DEBUT!
The games have officially commenced…
Follow all the updates. Penarth Hockey Club are less than 12 hours away from the start of their maiden European campaign, having arrived in the Ukraine for the EuroHockey Club Challenge.
The 18-man squad and team officials flew to Kiev overnight and, having endured a five-hour coach trip to the competition’s host city, Vinnitsa, the players wasted little time in getting their first taste of the pitch at HC OKS-SHVSM.
The hour-long session gave Penarth an idea of the conditions they will be facing through their four-game stay in the Ukraine, with temperatures in the mid-70s and high humidity levels testing the squad as they went through their final preparations. The Vale club, who have claimed back-to-back league titles and consecutive Welsh Trophy final appearances in the past two seasons, will be back in action as they open the tournament against Belarus-based SC Stroitel Brest, with pushback scheduled for 10am local time (8am UK).
The remainder the Pool A schedule pits the Bears against Croatia’s Hockey Klub Zelina (10am Saturday) and TJ Plzen Litice (12.15pm Sunday), before a play-off game based on finishing position within the group on Monday. Teams from Portugal, Denmark, Bulgaria and host nation Ukraine make up Pool B.
Various fund-raising efforts, plus donations from former players and new benefactors, have been more than matched by generous sponsorship from fresh backers The Windsor and the team’s regular sponsor, David Baker & Co.
“Now that we’re in the Ukraine, everything becomes real,” Penarth player-coach Ben Croxall admitted, “All the preparation – the training sessions, warm-up games and even the fundraising – has been building up to this moment, and we’re ready to seize it with both hands.
“The conditions we faced during our hour on the pitch today were pretty brutal so, hopefully, it will be a little easier playing in the middle of the morning, but we’re not taking anything for granted. The teams we’ll be facing are something of an unknown quantity, but we know that they will all be of the highest quality, so we’ll have to be on the top of our game. Despite that, I’m confident that we can uphold our status as one of the best teams in Welsh hockey and do the town and country proud.”
Regular reports from Vinnitsa will be posted on both the club’s official website (www.penarthhc.com} and Facebook pages, with live game updates appearing on its Twitter feed (@PenarthHockey).
Penarth Hockey Club always welcomes new, old and returning players, umpires, supporters, friends and helpers regardless of age and ability. When the regular season resumes, training will take place on Wednesdays at Stanwell School, with the juniors on the pitch between 6.15pm and 7.15pm and the seniors between 7.00pm and 8.15pm.
Anyone interested in joining the club at senior or youth level can contact club secretary Dave Stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.