Euro Hockey League KO16: Waterloo Ducks 4-3 Beeston HC.

A hat-trick from Sam Ward was not enough as Beeston became the second English side to tumble out of the Euro Hockey League at KO16 stage. The Bees took an early lead from their first attack but the loss of captain Adam Dixon in the second quarter proved to be a real turning point in the match as Waterloo Ducks got their noses in front and held off a late rally. Ward scored straight from the start, netting the quickest goal in EHL history as his cross from inside the D was turned in by Thomas Van de Balck. As Ward was in the D he was credited with the goal. The Beeston No15 almost made it 2-0  latching onto Ben Arnold’s pass, only to see his shot charged down. At the other end Maxime Capelle, whose pace was a threat throughout found himself clean through on an angle but he crashed the ball into George Pinner’s pads. Waterloo came out of the blocks fast in the second quarter Alexandre De Pauew carried the ball right through the defence and tried to scoop it over Pinner but the goalkeeper got a strong glove on the ball and batted it to safety. Pinner had to be alert to see off another effort from John-John Dohmen  and then Gauthier Boccard as the Belgian side sensed the equaliser was near. With the game finely balanced Beeston suffered a huge blow as Adam Dixon was felled by a reckless sliding challenge from Quentin van Lierde. The No20 received a ten minute yellow card for his troubles, but the Bees’ captain left the field injured, destined to play no further part. With Beeston still adjusting Dohmen cut back the ball from the baseline for Nicolas Vandiest to get in front of his marker to find the far corner and level the scores. After half time, Beeston enjoyed their best spell of pressure. Chris Proctor found Arnold inside the D but the England man fired his reverse stick shot over the bar. Beeston were getting plenty of joy down the right hand side with Tim Whiteman breaking into the D and calling Vincent Vanasch into action twice in quick succession. With Beeston on top, the blistering pace on the break of the Waterloo Ducks came into play and a sweeping counterattack played in Vandiest on the left. His shot went well off target but found its way to Boccard in the D. Willars half cleared but Vandiest followed up to stab home and make it 2-1. Pinnner made another excellent save coming out well to block from Vandiest who was in search of his hat-trick, but it was not long before the third goal came. With eleven minutes left De Saedeleer slipped a penalty corner to Boccard whose pass was deflected in by De Paeuw. It went from bad to worse for Matt Taylor’s side as Capelle’s cross bobbled its way into the D and was hit home by Gilles Jacob to make it 4-1. With nothing to lose, Beeston went all out for more goals. Ward beat Vanasch with a drag flick to make it 4-2 with four minutes remaining. Ward completed his hat-trick a minute later with an outrageous goal. Ollie Willars’ pass bounced into the D and with Vanasch closing him down and his back to goal, Ward somehow flicked it over his shoulder and into the net. Beeston took off Pinner as they attempted to rescue the game in the dying seconds but Waterloo Ducks held the ball and ran the clock down to clinch the win. Matt Taylor’s side had fought bravely to try and rescue the game, but in the end, the blistering counterattacking game of the Belgian side just got the better of them. That leaves Surbiton, who face hosts Oranje Zwart next as the only remaining English hope in the competition.

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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