Amsterdam go the distance in classic Dutch final

AH&BC Amsterdam won their 21st Dutch women’s Hoofdklasse championship, denying SCHC a first title via a shoot-out following high drama in Bilthoven.

It went the full distance with both of the two legs going to 2-2, meaning a shoot-out was required to define the champion.

The second leg opened in amazing fashion, Xan de Waard and Laurien Leurink playing wonderful passes for the latter to break into the circle and unleash a rocket of a shot to the top corner; 1-0 after 48 seconds.

Amsterdam equalised in similarly pin-point fashion when Floor de Haan’s perfect pass found Fay van der Elst who struck on the turn to make it 1-1.

Van der Elst missed out on the chance to take the lead when her stroke in the third quarter hit the post but they did move in front when Stella van Gils’ bouncing shot made it in via a deflection.

SCHC bounced back with under five minutes to go via Pien Dicke’s near post sweep, sending the game to a shoot-out at 2-2.

There, Anne Veenendaal made a vital save from Mette Winter in the third round, allowing Maria Verschoor to step forward and win the title for her side.

Reflecting on the win to, Verschoor said: “This was a really beautiful final. It was exciting in both games. The level was very close and it didn’t surprise me that shoot-outs had to make the decision. We did great. Not just today, but the entire playoffs.”

It follows a rollercoaster season but she says the side came good at the right time: “We played a good second half of the competition. That gave us a lot of confidence. It was also a sign that we were on the right track after that rough start.

“I think it’s bizarre how well we played in these play-offs. With so much peace, with so much confidence. Today we fell behind, but we didn’t panic. We knew what to do. We may not have been the best team in the league, but we performed the best when we had to.”