Kampong show the wow factor to qualify for the ABN AMRO EHL U14 Boys Easter tournament

SV Kampong qualified for as the Netherlands’ ABN AMRO EHL U14 Boys representative after they won the Dutch playoffs in style last weekend at HGC.

They started off with a 6-0 win over HC Bloemendaal with Samuel Wawoe netting a hat trick. He started the ball rolling with the final touch to an excellent team move which went through seven sticks, before Tom Ekelmans made the final delivery to Wawoe to net.

He got the next three minutes later when Hein de Meester bounced the ball from the outside the circle with plenty of love, finding Wawoe’s stick perfectly. Ekelmans made it 3-0 just before half-time, benefiting from an assiste from Mats Spijkers.

De Meester stole possession from a press to intercept and score himself. Wawo completed his triple with some great skill and courage, sliding onto Hugo van Beusekom’s fast cross.

Thomas Ruter completed the win with a tip in from Hessel de Leeuw’s backhand pass.

Kampong coach Kaj van den Ent was very pleased with the team performance, saying: “We did a great job as group, defended like brothers and were very keen to score every chance we got. We knew goal difference could be crucial in winning this EHL play-off, so I was very happy with the eagerness and concentration from the boys to score more and more goals.”

SV Kampong’s Under-14 Boys tem

Indeed, those goals would come to prove vital as Kampong’s second game saw them draw 2-2 with Wassenaar hosts HGC.

The Utrecht side led twice with Wawoe doing the preparation work, finding the smart positioning of van Beusekom for 1-0 in the first minute. HGC levelled via a counter-attack but Wawoe soon had Kampong back in front 2-1, picking up a free from Ekelmans before beating three players and picking out his goal with a backhand shot.

HGC, however, responded with the only goal of the second half to make it 2-2 and they had more chances to win it but were unable to find a route through the brave Kampong defence.

That result left Kampong facing a nervous wait to see if they would qualify for the Easter party with HGC needing to beat Bloemendaal by at least six goals. They did win but their 2-0 total was not enough to deny Kampong on goal difference in this three-team round-robin.

Van den Ent reflected: “Especially in a play-off like this, I want to start with my players in mind. Only by looking at the players’ experience through their own eyes can I really begin to understand how to meaningfully coach them individually and as a team.

“Today they had so much fun on the pitch and played with courage. On exciting moments like finals and play-offs, it’s a challenge that they stay resilient and independent on the pitch.

“We, as staff, are eager to support them as best as we can. The boys are so excited to compete in the Junior EHL next year and I’m very proud of them to reach their own goal.”

Their qualification will mean a fourth appearance at Easter in the ABN AMRO EHL U14 Boys event. They won the title in 2016 and 2017 before qualifying and finishing fourth in 2019.

Van den Ent provides a link between those two successes when he was also coach of the Kampong U14 side.

I experienced the EHL weekend twice and I’m very proud that my team won both championships. This championships are an amazing experience for the guys and parents. For a weekend, the boys are part of the EHL festival, sleep in the same hotel as their hockey heroes and are treated as true professional athletes.”

** The ABN AMRO EHL U14 Boys will feature a representative from each of the top six nations from the EHL ranking list. Each nation can select their representative in a manner of their choosing. Easter 2020 will see the introduction of ABN AMRO EHL U14 Girls for the first time.