Euro Hockey League KO16: HC Rotterdam 6-1 WKS Grunwald Poznan.

A hat-trick from Rotterdam’s Jeroen Hertzberger- the all-time leading scorer in the EHL was enough to allow Reinoud Wolff’s side to cruise to a 6-1 over WKS Grunwald Poznan. Further goals from Seve van Ass, Jeffrey Thys and Bas Cambell came before Hertzberger completed his hat-trick with a tap in at the very end. Karol Majchrzak notched a consolation for the Poles but it was not enough. 

Rotterdam assumed control of the game from the start and after five minutes Hertzberger seized on a defensive error to find the far corner with an excellent reverse stick strike. Poznan stirred briefly in the first quarter and a lovely spin and pass from Mateusz Poltszwski set up Majchrzak but he fired wide from close range. Artur Mikula was a threat from the right hand side, constantly running at the defence in an attempt to create an opening for his side but Oliver Polkamp showed his class and soon had the No18 on a tight leash.

On ten minutes, Hertzberger doubled his, and Rotterdam’s tally from a penalty corner and it was 3-0 soon after. A slick passing move down the right freed Van Ass and he lifted a splendid finish over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Poznan forced a penalty corner in the second quarter but Pawel Bratkowski was kept out well by Pirmin Blaak who got a foot to the ball to turn it around the post. At the other end Bjorn Kellerman got through two tackles to set up Thys but the Belgian could only fire wide with the goal gaping.

Mariusz Chyla in the Poznan goal did well to see off a Hertzberger drag flick and then a slapped effort from Thys before blocking bravely with his body as Cambell closed in from the left of the D.

Poznan hit back and made the score 3-1 with a well worked goal from the left of the pitch. The ball was worked into Majchrzak who had time and space on the top of the D and beat Blaak with an unerring finish, firing a reverse stick effort into the bottom corner.

Any thoughts of a comeback were dashed in the fourth quarter as Rotterdam went through the gears and showed their superiority. Van Ass and Thys linked up well with the latter jinking around the defender on the top of the D before finishing the chance with an accurate shot into the bottom corner.

Rotterdam’s high press was not allowing Poznan out of their own half and Cambell could have made it 5-1 as the result of a turnover but he was wasteful, firing wide with just the goalkeeper to beat. It was 5-1 in the closing minutes, however. Cambell got his goal with a lovely turn and finish inside the near post and then with almost the last play of the game, Hertzberger grabbed his hat-trick with a simple finish after Thys and Kellerman’s rapid exchange of passes had cut the defence apart.

It had been a brave effort by Poznan but they were simply outclassed by the Dutch side who seemed like they had plenty left in the tank ahead of the KO8 later in the week.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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