Harte breaks yet more new ground with Kampong

David Harte added yet another major trophy to his incredible collection, becoming the first Irish person to win the Dutch Hoofdklasse, regarded as the best national club competition in the world.

Indeed, he made the big saves for SV Kampong in both playoff finals against Rotterdam to claim the title for the club for the first time in 32 years.

David Harte and his Kampong side celebrate their Hoofdklasse success.

The Kinsale man made the winning save in the first leg of their best of three final on Wednesday against Rotterdam before doubling down on Saturday.

In normal time, he saved a penalty stroke with a stunning low glove save from Jeroen Hertzberger to earn a 2-2 draw and a shoot-out chance.

There, the 2015 and 2016 world goalkeeper of the year denied Jochen Bakker and, in sudden death, England’s Harry Martin to secure the title.

It makes Harte the first Irishman to win the Dutch Hoofdklasse, the world’s premier national competition and the blue half of the sold out stands paid a direct homage to the goalkeeper for his efforts.

“It was an explosion of emotion. Amazing,” he told hockey.nl of being mobbed by his team mates.
“I’ve been with Kampong five years, coming close many times. Now it’s finally here, it’s just so emotional.”

As for his final save, his method was rudimentary: “I had at that time no special thoughts. Simply: stop the ball!”

It closed out a rollercoaster end to the season. Kampong were on the brink of elimination before a last minute goal in their last game of the regular season against Oranje-Rood saved their place in the playoffs.

They then came from behind in their semi-final against Bloemendaal and in the first leg against Rotterdam.

“This was a Houdini act. We escaped a few times but I always had confidence.”

Indeed, it was a great weekend for the Harte family with Conor helping Racing Club de Bruxelles to third place in Belgium ahead of Waterloo Ducks with a 6-3 win on Saturday and a 4-1 success on Sunday morning, earning an EHL ticket in the process.

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