Old Georgians and Holcombe are one game away from the EHL Easter Final8 after stirring performances on Friday.
Old Georgians beat German outfit Mannheimer 5-1 while Holcombe overcame Racing Club de France 4-2.
Sam Ward had joked to room-mate James Carson that it would finish the same scoreline. And his predication came true as OGs dismantled Mannheimer after going a goal down within five minutes in sun-drenched Barcelona.
Thereafter, we saw goalkeeper George Pinner doing starjumps and punching the air in delight with every padded save as OGs scored in every quarter and shut out Mannheimer with a dominating second-half performance against an increasingly frustrated German side.
First, Alan Forsyth came for a first quarter penalty stroke and slotted home with ease.
Scottish team-mate Lee Morton then, as is his wont, ran from the left and beat a succession of pink shirts before lifting on the dive for a brilliant second.
James, with a low PC after sustained pressure, and Ed Carson gave OGs a three-goal cushion before Ward made it five. All this with the Weybridge side suffering two yellow cards through Kyle Marshall and, late on, Forsyth.
“We showed what we were about today,” said Ward. “We’ve probably struggled in the first few weeks of the league and finding our identity again.
“We are a nitty gritty side and it showed today. We had loads of cards and we played without players for long enough and we just ground it out.”
Waterloo Ducks overcame a tussle with Banbridge to reach the KO8, coming back from a deficit twice and surviving a penalty stroke to win 5-3. The Belgian side will play Old Georgians on Sunday.
A Nick Bandurak double and goals from Phil Roper and Tom Russell put Racing to the sword as Holcombe advanced to the last eight teams in Barcelona.
Barry Middleton received a 10-minute yellow but the Kent side held on to set up a Sunday clash with Cam 92 or hosts Racing Club de Polo.
The winners of each of the Men KO16 games will move on to the KO8 where a ticket to next Easter’s FINAL8 will be up for grabs.
Pinoké, Rot-Weiss Köln, Gantoise and Club de Campo de Madrid have already qualified for the 2024 finals.