Monday, July 22, 2024

Euro Hockey League: Old Georgians claim maiden medal

British men’s hockey was given a shot in the arm in this Olympic year on Easter Monday as Jacob Draper stood out in Pinoke’s maiden Euro Hockey League title and Old Georgians won a breakthrough first medal.

Draper, who has played the EHL with Cardiff & Met and Hampstead & Westminster, was left “overwhelmed” following a player of the match performance as Pinoke saw a Dutch club to a seventh title in 10 years. 

It came after Ashley Jackson’s Old Georgians defeated Rot-Weiss Köln 3-2 at Wagener Stadium. Little matter that the German club may have felt the effects of coming off second best in an EHL classic (losing a shoot-out to Kampong after clawing their way back to 5-5), this was an inspired OGs performance. One which also propelled Lee Morton’s stock further ahead of the Paris Olympics.

“Being in the Scottish team I thought I may have to join a German or Dutch club, so to do it with an English club is really special,” Morton said of his dream to win an EHL medal.

“We are probably a few years ahead of schedule and our next goal is to reach the final.”

In Amstelveen, Chris Proctor proved the hero as his winning goal in the closing quarter won the day, rifling home with just under seven minutes to go in a ding-dong affair

Morton was the architect for OGs’ opener, dodging tackles before passing to Sam Hiha, whose first time pass found Alan Forsyth to dive onto and score with another first touch. Proctor then dug out a superb backhand shot from a classy move along the right baseline to make it 2-0 in the 39th minute.

Tom Grambusch dragged his side back into contention with two drag-flicks in quick succession from penalty corners to tie it up at 2-2 at the end of the third quarter.

And Rot-Weiss pressed forward looking to take the lead with Thies Prinz stinging the pads of George Pinner.

Old Georgians sat deep and looked to counter-attack and it was via this avenue they robbed possession on the 23-metre line. It was again worked to Proctor who got the ball onto his backhand and powered it past Jean Danneberg.

Rot-Weiss’s challenge was further dented when Grambusch was shown a red card for dissent as the London club celebrated in style to follow Surbiton’s bronze medal two years ago.

Captain Dan Shingles said: “We were gutted not to reach the final and some may have written us off and our next challenge is to get better.”

Later, Alexander Hendrickx’s 10th minute penalty stroke saw Pinoké become the ninth different winner of the Euro Hockey League as they defeated SV Kampong 1-0 at a sold out Wagener Stadium.

“I played in this a number of years ago for Cardiff and Hampstead and to dream that I am a gold medallist is a dream come true really,” said Draper.

Earlier, two strikes in the first 10 minutes ultimately powered AH&BC Amsterdam to their second EHL women’s title as they held off a huge Mannheimer HC battle to win the final 2-1.

Total Hockey

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