EuroHockey League, Round 1.2
Cookstown 1 (Gareth Cuddy) Amsterdam H&BC 10 (Mirco Pruyser 5, Floris Evers 3, Valentin Verga, Stefan Ebbers)
Cookstown bowed out from their European adventure with a chastening victory at the hands of an all-star Amsterdam side in Antwerp on Saturday afternoon, seeing the Dutch side and Reading go through to the KO16 round of competition.
Tired from Friday’s exertions, the Coolnafranky side fell three behind inside 11 minutes as Floris Evers fortuitously opened the scoring, deflecting onto the post only for the ball to rebound back on to Ian Hughes and into the goal.
Man of the match Mirco Pruyser got his first of the tie after a lengthy Taeke Taekema ball cut open the Irish representatives defence but was denied a second when Evers stopped his ball en route to goal before tipping in himself.
Godfrey Irwin took a Taekema flick to the head and Evers converted the stroke for 4-0 in the 32nd minute. But the biggest cheer of the afternoon came when the Red Army were given a high point to celebrate when Gareth Cuddy won possession in the circle and beat Dutch keeper Klaas Veering.
After that, it was a tough closing phase as the Dutch champions notched six more goals in the closing 23 minutes with Pruyser netting four more while Steven Ebbers and Valentin Verga also weighed in.
Speaking about the game, co-coach Stephen Cuddy said it was one of the toughest days at the office he has endured:
“Today was the biggest wake up call as a coach I think I will experience. during the first second and fourth quarter it really was like they were playing a different game from us. Evers and Verga were simply amazing in their front line. When Floris Evers scores a hat trick in the first fifteen minutes you know your going to be up against things.
“Returning to home we have already spoken about all the areas we need to improve in, they really did outclass us in every facet of the game. From the tournament we will take positives from the first quarter against Reading and the third quarter against Amsterdam. In these periods we showed where we can go as a team.
“We really enjoyed the whole experience and we would love to get back and play here again. I want to thank all the Irish teams who tweeted us so much support. We now turn our thoughts to the IHL game vs Monkstown on Saturday which will be a very stern test.”
Banbridge, meanwhile, need to snag a victory over UHC Hamburg if they are to make it into the last 16 phase of the competition after the German side – two-time champions – beat CA Montrouge 2-0. A one-goal victory would eliminate Montrouge but any bigger win would see the German side knocked out.
Elsewhere, Ronan Gormley will showdown with Jason Lynch for the remaining Pool D qualifying place after Club an der Alster claimed a 2-1 win over Club de Campo. Lynch’s Racing Brussels need just a draw to progress.
Cookstown: I Hughes, G Irwin, G Cuddy, E Butler, I Sloan, A Barbour, S Sloan, D Best, G Allen, T Smyth, K Black
Subs: M Rollins, R Millar, T Hutchinson, M Crooks, J Ames, A Thom
Amsterdam H&BC: K Veering, K Vermeulen, B Bakker, J-W Buissant, T Taekema, R Tigges, V Verga, F Evers, M Pruyser, T Rohof, H Kruize
Subs: S ’t Hart, K Timman, M Schwarz, D Prins, S Ebbers, T van Dinten
Pool A Standings: 1. Amsterdam 5pts (+9) 2. Reading 5pts (+5) 3. Cookstown 0pts (-14)
Pool F fixture (Irish time): Banbridge vs UHC Hamburg, 8.30am Sunday