Four big tussles to begin EHL KO16 weekend

The Euro Hockey League begins with a bang this morning with four KO8 tickets up for grabs in Barcelona.

Waterloo Ducks face Banbridge (11.15am CET) with the Irish side looking to knock-out Belgian opposition for the second time in their history. They eliminated Royal Léopold in 2016 and the likes of Johnny McKee, Peter and Philip Brown, Bruce McCandless, Sam Farson, Jake Rowe, Hugh McShane and Owen Magee linking the generations.

Waterloo are the 2019 champions but have a new look since those days. That gold-run was a breakthrough occasion for William Ghislain and Maxime van Oost and they are augmented by the availability of Victor Charlet after injury.

Game two is a potential cracker of a fixture with Old Georgians taking on Mannheimer HC (1.30pm CET). Back-to-back English champions, OGs have a star-studded line-up with Ashley Jackson taking on the player-coach role. Scottish goal machine Alan Forsyth and England striker Sam Ward make for a formidable line-up with James Albery pulling the strings. 

Mannheim, meanwhile, return to the competition and are always a threat with Gonzalo Peillat on corners. Teo Hinrichs was player of the tournament at EuroHockey Championship and Justus Weigand is another star option.

Racing Club de France face Holcombe in the day’s third game (3.45pm CET). Racing are hoping they can emulate their run to the last eight in 2017 with a side drawing more and more on their emerging youth section, topped up by some Simon Martin-Brisac magic.

They meet Holcombe who are well-stocked with another supreme striker in the form of Nick Bandurak and the legendary Barry Middleton – usually player-coach – mainly taking on a player’s duty with David Ames donning the coaching clipboard this weekend

The final game of the day sees CAM92 – the new moniker for CA Montrouge – hoping to take down home favourites Real Club de Polo (6pm CET).

For Montrouge, they will look to the likes of Corentin Sellier and Antonin Igau to inspire their performance. Polo, meanwhile, have their talisman Xavi Lleonart back following a long-term injury to hopefully dovetail with former EHL winner Yannick van der Drift (with Bloemendaal), Marc Reyné and new signing Marc Recasens.

The victorious sides will then advance to Sunday’s KO8 fixtures while the sides to miss out will contest ranking matches on Saturday.

EHL Men KO16 fixture schedule (all times CET – pitch 1 unless stated)

Friday, October 6

M1: Waterloo Ducks HC v Banbridge HC, 11.15

M2: Old Georgians HC v Mannheimer HC, 13.30

M3: Racing Club de France v Holcombe HC, 15.45

M4: CAM 92 v Real Club de Polo, 18.00