Three Rock endured a mixed day in Malatya, Turkey but a resounding 13-1 win over Adjaira Batumi in the closing game of day one of the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge II has raised hopes they can claim one of the two promotion spots on offer.
With their gear mislaid by Turkish Airlines baggage handlers, Rovers initial tie was pushed back four hours to allow it to arrive from Istanbul but it was still not in situ for their game with Norway’s Sagene.
Borrowing equipment from Turkish, Finnish, Bulgarian and Georgian opposition, Stephen West was strapped in unaccustomed goalkeeping gear, initially using selotape to hold together the makeshift padding.
The outfielders, meanwhile, only received donations of seven sticks, leading to the warm-up and game proceeding with substitutes handing over sticks on entry to the pitch.
It was an unsettling background but they did start brightly, Colin Huet putting them in front from the edge of the circle.
But the Dubliners were naive in defence, caught on the counter by a deep-lying opponent with the classy Faisal up top helping to swap the lead and make it 3-1. Jody Hosking pulled one back with six minutes to go but Rovers spurned three corner chances – Sagene did not earn one – and were caught again in the closing stages to take a 4-2 win.
They bounced back, though, in emphatic style with the dismissal of Georgian champions Adjaira, Batumi with Hosking snagging four more for his tournament tally with Ross Canning also netting a hat-trick. The tie was delayed by a couple of minutes as their gear arrived a little after the scheduled tip off time, providing a big morale boost.
Hosts Anadolu Atesi look strong odds to take the title following comprehensive dismissals of Sagene and Bulgaria’s Locomotiv Sofia.
EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge II, day one results: Anadolu Atesi SC 9 Sagene 3; ABC Team 1 RHC Locomotiv 1929 2; Three Rock Rovers 2 (Colin Huet, Jody Hosking) Sagene 4; Adjaria, Batumi HT 3 ABC Team 3; Anadolu Atesi SC 11 RHC Locomotiv 1929 2; Three Rock Rovers 13 (Jody Hosking 4, Ross Canning 3, Alan White 2, Garry Ringwood 2, Stephen Findlater, Craig Moore) Adjaria, Batumi HT 1
Standings: 1. Anadolu Atesi 10pts (+15) 2. TRR 6pts (+10) 3. Sagene 5pts (-4) 4. Locomotiv 1929 Sofia 5pts (-8) 5. ABC Team 3pts (-1) 6. Adjaria, Batumi 2pts (-12)