Holcombe and Junior FC made it three wins from three to set up a potentially thrilling final between the two outstanding teams in Dublin at the women’s EuroHockey Club Trophy.
England’s Holcombe made light work of Slavia Prague with four goals in the first 12 minutes leading to a 7-0 overall victory. Leisa Randall scored a hat trick – the first coming a minute after she was introduced into the action – while South African star Dirkie Chamberlain added a double.
Steph Elliott said afterwards: “Three wins out of three, we are absolutely over the moon. We are going out like we have been, scout the teams and then just play our game. It’s gone pretty well for us so far and let’s see if we can get four from four.”
It means the race was on for second place in the group with Ukraine’s MSC Sumchanka battling it out with Belarus’s GHC Ritm Grodno, the latter needing a draw to stay in pole position for a shot at bronze.
And they led three times but each time saw their lead pegged back, eventually just about getting the result they needed with a 3-3 draw. Lizaveta Skurat gave them the lead six minutes in with the only goal of the first quarter. Viktoriya Stetsenko replied with the first of her three goals for Sumchanka but Sviatlana Bahushevich had Grodno 2-1 up at the break.
Stetsenko’s second equaliser was quickly countered by a Yuliya Kurhanskaya strike from a corner. Stetsenko levelled for Sumchanka with five minutes to go but they could not force a winner and so must settle for a third place finish and a playoff for fifth place.
Anna Gil’s two penalty corner rebounds settled Pool B in the favour of Junior FC, marking their third successive win, but they were made to work all the way by hosts Monkstown.
Gil struck in the 10th minute from their second corner after an initial save by the excellent Liz Murphy saw the ball bounced off her pads and scrambled over the line.
Junior captain Carlota Petchame was showing some lovely touches but the Town defence, marshalled by Christine Quinlan and Natalie Esteves, again showed great composure in possession.
Sophie Moore almost stole in for an equaliser three minutes into the second half with Meritxell Grau called on to make a near post stop.
But Junior were always the more dangerous with Murphy brilliantly smothering a shot and Esteves volleying clear another sharp chance, keeping a minimum in the difference.
Paz Codina was next to be blocked by Murphy with a cracking close range shot met with a big palm. The pressure eventually told in the final few minutes when Gil scored an identical goal from a rebound.
The losing bonus point, though, meant Monkstown were guaranteed safety and there was an outside chance – if Lille won by three goals – that they could sneak into second place.
Those hopes were boosted when the French side led three times, first via Juliette Hannebicque-Leman in the sixth minute and then again via Marine Delannoy in the 12th, making it 2-1 in answer to a Krylatskoye goal from Iuliia Kazakova.
Alexandra Leonova levelled for a second time but Hye Lyoung Han’s second goal of the tournament put Lille in front yet again in the second half.
But they could not hold on and Ekaterina Shaburova scored for 3-3 and then Alena Digalieva netted the winner from a corner on 45 minutes.
The results mean Holcombe face Junior FC in the final, MSC Sumchanka will battle CSP Krylatskoye for bronze while Monkstown meet Ritm Grodno for fifth. The seventh place playoff pits Slavia Prague against Lille.
Picture: Holcombe’s Emma Trunks shoots – Gerry/gpfoto.ie
|10:00||HOLCOMBE – SLAVIAPRAGUE||Pool A||7 – 0|
|12:15||SUMCHANKA – GRODNO||Pool A||3 – 3|
|14:30||MONKSTOWN – JUNIOR||Pool B||0 – 2|
|16:45||KRYLATSKOYE – LILLE||Pool B||4 – 3|
|08:30||SLAVIAPRAGUE – LILLE||7th/8th Place|
|10:45||SUMCHANKA – MONKSTOWN||5th/6th Place|
|13:00||GRODNO – KRYLATSKOYE||3rd/4th Place|
|15:15||HOLCOMBE – JUNIOR||Final|
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