World League features wealth of top EHL talent

© Frank Uijlenbroek

Players who contested this year’s EHL abound in the squads of Argentina, England, the Netherlands and Scotland as they ready themselves for the first Hockey World League semi-final in London where five World Cup tickets will be formally confirmed.

Olympic champions head up Pool A with Real Club de Polo trio Pedro Ibarra (pictured), Lucas Vila and Matias Rey joined in the panel by Mannheimer’s drag-flick king Gonzalo Peillat and Oranje-Rood’s magician Agustin Mazzilli.

They will be the fancied side in a group that also features China, Malaysia, Korea and the hosts England. For the English side, four of the Wimbledon squad that reached the FINAL4 are included, namely joint captains Ian Sloan and Phil Roper along with Michael Hoare and Henry Weir while there are a trio of Holcombe players.

In Pool B, the Netherlands are the highest ranked in a group that also features Pakistan, India, Scotland and Canada. The Dutch feature a new look side with several players contesting their first world ranking event.

Oranje-Rood trio Bob de Voogd, Pirmin Blaak and Mink van der Weerden are back in action two weeks after their EHL silver medal. Kampong’s Bjorn Kellerman, Robbert Kemperman and Sander de Wijn and Amsterdam’s Billy Bakker, Valentin Verga and Mirco Pruyser along with Polo’s Sander Baart also feature.

Scotland are the lowest ranked side in the last 20 sides left in the World League process but will hope they can cause a couple of shocks in their group to reach the quarter-finals.

Wimbledon’s Gordon McIntyre will among their leaders along with Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth who helped the London club reach next season’s EHL. He is one of four players from the club in the Scottish side – William Marshall, Chris Grassick and Nick Parkes the others. Lee Morton was in the Kelburne side that played in ROUND1 but has since moved to play in the English league.

For each nation, the first target is to finish in the top four of their group which earns them a quarter-final place. Win that quarter-final and a ticket to the 2018 World Cup is assured.

Lose their quarter and they will go into the fifth to eighth place playoffs. Fifth is assured a World Cup spot too while, depending on how the continental championships go, sixth and seventh also might be enough.

The action gets underway on Thursday, June 15.