Opportunity knocks for Surbiton at EHL KO16 next Easter

Surbiton coach Mark Pearn says last Sunday’s Euro Hockey League draw does offer plenty of opportunity for the English champions as they look forward to a date with the Waterloo Ducks next Easter.

An Alan Forsyth hat trick on Saturday evening saw Surbiton beat Beeston 5-3, coming from 3-2 behind to land the win with two goals in the last five minutes making the difference.

It keeps them flying high in the division, level on 16 points with Hampstead & Westminster after six rounds of matches with Holcombe and Beeston occupying the other top four places.

Looking forward to the EHL KO16 date with the WatDucks, meanwhile, Pearn told The Hockey Paper he is content enough with their potential path through the competition.

“The Dutch clubs traditionally have the strongest squads in the EHL and, alongside Rot Weiss Koln; these were the three teams we felt could have given us the toughest test.

“Although we are pleased to have avoided these sides in the KO16 round, we won’t be taking Waterloo Ducks lightly. The Belgium league has become increasingly stronger over the past few seasons and we will need to be right at our best to progress to the quarter-finals.”

Last season, Surbiton withdrew from the EHL following a clash with the Commonwealth Games which would have left the club shy several international players.

This year, though, Pearn says the timing of the competition is far more amenable to the club’s schedule.

“The way the KO16 and FINAL4 follows immediately after our domestic playoffs this season gives us the best chance possible to be successful in the competition,” he said.

“Also having our GB players available for the playoffs and EHL is obviously a major boost to our chances.”