14th – 17th December 2017
This European Cup was created by the CERH to develop Ladies Rink Hockey in Europe and it is therefore a club based competition with many good Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian clubs competing. Also among the teams competing are England, German and Swiss National Teams.
The four day competition consisted of nine teams split in to three groups; England played four games over two days, with the girls coping well with the intensive schedule, as all the games were played within 36 hours. We were the only team to follow this schedule.
England were drawn in a first phase group including two of the best teams in the competition, from Italy and Spain, finishing the tournament in 7th place after winning the second phase against both the teams from Switzerland and France. This is an improvement on the 8th place from last year.
This overall finish is particularly pleasing given the competitive nature of the opposing teams, who are able to prepare in their respective club environments with intensive and frequent training sessions every week. This enables coaches to perfect routines with players in readiness for the tournament. This is in sharp contrast to the National teams who have limited opportunity and only periodic training sessions.
England 0 – 3 Breganze (It)
(Half Time 0-1)
A great start to the tournament against the Italian club which included three players who had previously represented Italy in the Ladies team at the World Roller Games, who finished 4th. Amongst these three players was the goalkeeper, who in my opinion is currently one of the best keepers in the world.
The Italian team were very surprised when England took full control of the game for the majority of the first half, with significantly more possession and many more shots on goal. The Italians, however, took the advantage with a Direct Free Hit seconds before half time.
The England team still maintained possession in the second half but were kept out by fantastic goalkeeping. England then conceded twice more when applying pressure throughout the half.
England 3 – 5 Cerdanyola (Sp)
(Half Time 3 – 4)
Overall, this proved to be one of the best games of the tournament. This was a game against a very strong Spanish club, with England still proving to be very competitive. England were in the game throughout and were never more than two goals behind. The difference proved to be two penalty misses by England, whilst Cerdanyola scored one penalty and one Direct Free Hit. England were level twice, at 2 – 2 and 3 – 3 with details deciding the final outcome of the game.
England 5 – 4 Switzerland
(Half Time 1-2)
This game showed just how much progress has been made with England, playing against the team that finished in 3rd place last year.
Switzerland played a zonal game with a well prepared diamond formation throughout. England positioned themselves well in attack but it was difficult to create goal scoring opportunities. The first two Swiss goals came from counter attacks with England perhaps showing tiredness from the busy schedule and were unable to break and counter attack to any effect themselves.
The most effective tactic against teams defending zonally is the counter attack. I called a timeout with 5 Mins 25 Secs to go and the score standing at 1 – 2, to change the tactical play of our team. Players were instructed to go with two players in front of goal before the Swiss were able to switch to box defence. This was executed well by the players resulting in England scoring two goals within ninety seconds.
With only eight seconds remaining, England were leading 3 – 2 but following accidental contact the Swiss were awarded a Direct Free hit, from which they scored. As the game could not finish as a draw, the game proceeded to Direct Free Hits. England triumphed 2 – 1 in the Direct Free Hit shootout.
This game showed just how much progress has been made by the team with players executing three tactical changes as instructed following two England timeouts and one from the Swiss.
England 3 – 1 Wasquehal (Fr)
(Half Time 0 – 0)
What should have been the easiest game it was a difficult game for us, with the French side defending deep and tiredness more evident for England following the busy schedule. The resulting lack of movement off the ball resulted in little counter attacking.
At half time, we had a strong team-talk and a change of tactics produced two early goals in the second half. Instructions were given to a player to stand directly in front of the goal which broke the deadlock and the same player assisted for the second. This then gave England the opportunity to control the rest of the game.
- Ella Atkinson (GK) – Soham
- Tilly King (GK) – Maidstone
- Alice Kneeshaw – Middlesbrough
- Amelia Courtenay-Barrow – ECU
- Beth McCarthy – Peterborough
- Caitlin Johns – Plymouth
- Harriet Finch – Colchester
- Jordan Middleton – Middlesbrough
- Megan Todd – Middlesbrough
- Mia Bealing-Rodrigues – Maidstone
- Head Coach – Carlos Amaral
- Manager – Lucy Rawlinson
- Assistant Manager – Roger Courtenay-Barrow
- Assistant Coaches – Joe Wheatley & Hattie Ford