Pegasus soar into European final

EuroHockey Club Champion’s Trophy
Pegasus 2 (Suzanne Beaney, Claire McMahon) Gintra Strekte Universitas 0

Pegasus earned their place in the final of the EuroHockey Club Champion’s Trophy as they weathered early storms in each half of their tie before ultimately overcoming the robust Lithuanian champions at Queen’s.

In addition to Saturday’s draw with Metrostroy St Petersburg, it meant they Ukraine’s MSC Sumchanka as they bid to win a fourth European title at the various levels.

Gintra proved to be very tough and physical opponents and it took Pegasus some time to get used to their pace and at times, over-zealous tackling.

But, over the course of the 70 minutes, Pegasus deserved their victory as Pamela Magill was outstanding while, at the other end of the age-scale, schoolgirl Amy Cooke caught the eye. Vanessa Surgeoner was denied a goal in the 14th minute by a superb save from the Lithuanian keeper Viktorija Vileikyte who was in fine form.

Pegasus took the lead in the 26th minute with a brilliantly worked penalty corner, Stephanie Quinn transferring the ball to Claire McMahon, who knocked it in at the far post. After surviving some more Gintra pressure at the start of the second half, Pegasus made the points safe in the 53rd minute.

Cooke set off on a fabulous run, riding four tackles before slipping the ball to Surgeoner, whose pass found Suzanne Beaney, who reversed her shot into the net from the ground.

Sharon Moffett in the Pegasus goal had to be at her best to deny Rausana Taunyte five minutes later. And the Ulster champions needed to be careful not to concede and, in the last minute, Kate McConnell made a superb goal line clearance from a penalty corner.

It left Pegasus in the box seat going into the final group game as St Petersburg were left needing to beat ARA La Gantoise by three goals. But the Belgian side – now up to 12 players following the arrival of two more players on Saturday – proved a tough proposition and won out 2-1.

On Saturday, Pegasus threw away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with St Petersburg which piled on the pressure. Beaney put Pegasus in front in the 16th minute after good work by McMahon on the wing. Arlene Boyles made it 2-0 with a penalty corner conversion in the 54th minute.

However, the Russians responded with two late goals, including a 66th minute penalty corner equaliser. Pegasus had a chance to pick up all five points in the last minute but Boyles’ set-piece missed the target.

Pool A: San Saba (Italy) 1 Grove (Scotland) 5; Sumchanka (Ukraine) 4 Victorya Smolevchi (Belarus) 4.
Standings: 1. MSC Sumchanka 12pts (+8) 2. Victorya Smolevchi 9pts (+2) 3. Grove Menzieshill 7pts (0) 4. Libertas San Saba 1pt (-10)

Pool B: Gintra (Lithuania) 0 Pegasus 2, St Petersburg (Russia) 1 La Gantoise (Belgium) 2.
Standings: 1. Pegasus 12pts (+5) 2. Metrostroy St Petersburg 8pts (+1) 3. ARA La Gantoise 7pts (-2) 4. Gintra Strekte Universitas 4pts (-4)

Monday’s programme: 7th-8th place play-off: San Saba v Gintra (8:30am); 5th-6th: La Gantoise v Victorya (10:45am); 3rd-4th: St Petersburg v Grove (1pm); final: Pegasus v Sumchanka (3:15pm).

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