Den Bosch and SCHC bring rivalry to EHL scene

When Den Bosch and SCHC meet in the EHL Women’s FINAL8 on April 7 (20.15 CET), it will be another major showdown in their interlocking recent history.

Ahead of the EHL date at the Wagener Stadium, they will meet next week in the Hoofdklasse in what could be a defining moment of the regular season. We take a look at their recent tussles and their European history.

Growing rivalry

All told, those games will be their sixth and seventh meetings in just over 12 months, all of which have had plenty of spice and bucket-loads of drama. Den Bosch have the edge in those head to heads, crucially winning in both the Gold Cup final and the national championships decider.

The latter of those went right down to the wire with each side winning away from home in the best-of-three series. That sent the tussle to an all-or-nothing final encounter which was level until 25 seconds from the end when Frédérique Matla scored the golden goal for a 2-1 success.

SCHC have won the two league meetings during that period and were hugely impressive on the opening day of this season when they won 3-1 at Oosterplas. 

The key players

Yibbi Jansen – who played with Den Bosch in the Euro Club Cup when she was 16 – netted a hat trick in that tie: one corner, one from play and one stroke. 

She is her side’s top scorer this season with 12 goals with Pien Dicke and Ginella Zerbo both scoring nine each.

Dutch captain Xan de Waard, Laurien Leurink and Renee van Laarhoven are all World Cup winners from last summer with Lisa Post part of the travelling panel. Post arrived last summer from Oranje-Rood along with Trijntje Beljaars with Cis van der Salm (Bloemendaal) and Suze Leemans (youth section) adding to their panel.

Rising talents Mette Winter and Elzemiek Zandee add to the mix; Alexandra Heerbaart and Anna de Geus, meanwhile, are key figures with the Dutch indoor side.

For Den Bosch, their slow start to the campaign has since been followed by a run of seven successive league wins. 

Since last season, three of their famous faces departed with Lidewij Welten moving to Kampong, Margot van Geffen to HGC and Marloes Keetels has retired. Coming in, Brooke Peris arrived from Australia.

A long-term injury to Frédérique Matla made for a further changeover in key players, giving a platform for young stars to make their name. 

Joosje Burg, Rosa Fernig, Emmeliene Oonk, Noor Omrani and Teuntje de Wit are all coming to the fore in a team led by superstars like Josine Koning, Sanne Koolen, Laura Nunnink and Pien Sanders.

European history

It will be their third meeting in European competition; they met each other in both the 2015 and 2016 editions of the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, the forerunner to EHL women.

Round one went to SCHC after a dramatic rollercoaster. Two drag-flicks from Caia van Maasakker saw the Bilthoven club flying high after nine minutes before the Den Bosch machine rolled back into contention.

Maartje Krekelaar pulled one back before the legendary Maartje Paumen equalised with just seconds to go from a corner to make it 2-2.

It sent it to a shoot-out where SCHC led initially but were pegged back to 2-2 in the regulation series of five efforts; the winner duly arrived when Maike Stöckel was able to net and Vera Vorstenbosch could not get by Floortje Engels.

That gave SCHC their first ever European title but Den Bosch were back for revenge a year later. Again, it went the full distance with Paumen putting her side in front with a scrambled corner in the first half.

Van Maasakker replied from a stroke in the third quarter, enough for a 1-1 draw and another shoot-out. This time, Vorstenbosch, Lieke Hulsen and Frédérique Matla all hit the target while SCHC missed out in rounds three, four and five to see the cup head back to Brabant.

It sets the scene for what is one not to be missed as the battle to be the 2023 EHL Women’s champion comes into focus.