Europe

Dawson-Smith becomes first English player to win Euro Hockey League title

Harvestehuder defender Richie Dawson-Smith has become the first Englishman to win European club hockey’s top prize – the Euro Hockey League title. The German side won the EHL competition on Sunday with a shootout victory over host club Orange Zwart of Eindhoven. 

Dawson-Smith, who played for England in the 2009 junior World Cup, joined the Hamburg club at the start of the 2013-14 after previous seasons with Loughborough Students and Bowdon.

The final had ended 2-2 as Harvestehuder twice came back from a goal down. They then held their nerve in the shoot-out, winning 3-1 with Tobias Walter making the saves and Michael Korper duly spinning to push home the winning goal.

Harvestehuder lifted the trophy for the first time, becoming the first side to win it in their debut in the competition since their neighbours UHC Hamburg did so in the inaugural 2007-8 season.

The first half was a tight affair with very little between the teams with Tobias Hauke and Benjamin Stanzl leading a compact Harvestehuder defence. But the Dutch side went in front when Mink van der Weerden powered home the corner for a 1-0 half-time lead.

The lead lasted until five minutes into the second half when Nicolas Spooner latched onto a mistake at the centre of the host side’s defence to push past Mark Jenniskens.

An unmarked Rob Reckers latched onto Rashid Mehmood’s left wing ball into the circle, making it 2-1 to Orange Zwart with 20 minutes remaining.

Again, the lead did not last long as Michael Korper – following a run of four penalty corners – flicked the ball into the top right corner over the postman. 

That sent the tie to a shoot-out in which Paul Pongs, Stanzl and Korper finished their chances while Walter stood tall in goals en route to a famous victory.

English club Reading won the EHL’s predecessor, the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, in 2003. They also finished third in the EHL in 2011.

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