Banbridge coach Mark Tumilty says it will be a “tough ask” to repeat their superb performances in ROUND1 of the EHL when they managed to win a group featuring Royal Leopold and Saint Germain.
The Irish club hosted the event in front of large local crowds but this time are on the road to Barcelona from October 6-8 in Pool C where they will meet Polish ever-present EHL side WKS Grunwald Poznan and a mighty Racing Club de Bruxelles.
Reacting to the draw, Tumilty told the EHL website: “It is a tough draw with Racing an excellent side with plenty of EHL experience. The Polish team will also provide a good test as they also have plenty of EHL experience. I look forward to seeing how our team has progressed from last year.
“It will be a very tough ask to repeat what we achieved last year on our own turf. However, I feel if we can play to our full potential we have an opportunity to progress.”
Indeed, it will be hard to match their run to the KO16, especially with the need for a new central defensive partnership. Matthew Bell – the star last year – is moving to Crefelder in Germany while Kyle Marshall is on the way to Beeston in England.
In addition, they are waiting on the fitness of Johnny McKee who picked up a nasty shoulder injury during the Hockey World League in Johannesburg against Spain this week.
“In addition, Jake Rowe is not available as he is going to America on a golf scholarship. We have added [Irish underage internationals] Alex Tinney and Zach McClelland to the squad over the summer.
“I am delighted that these guys wanted to join our club and I feel that both can develop their games playing with the current squad. I would still like to add another defender to the squad but have been unable to do so to date.”