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Surpassing Expectations in Alanya

Surpassing Expectations in Alanya

Sam Mallace2 Jun 2023 - 18:55
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Watsonians Ladies 1s have secured their European promotion for 2024

Last weekend, our Ladies 1s headed out to compete in their debut tournament at the EuroHockey Club Challenge I held in Alanya, Turkey after winning the Scottish Hockey Premiership League in 2022 for the first time in history.

The tournament was structured with 2 pools of 4 teams. In each pool, and over the first 3 days of the tournament, a round robin was played. This produced a ranking of each pool. On the final day, the 1st and 2nd teams of each pool played a crossover match for promotion, and the 3rd and 4th teams also played cross-pools, but this time relegation was on the table for those unlucky enough.

Our ladies however, turned the tournament on its head with an epic 4 out of 4 (very convincing) wins. As there was no livestream, we (back home in Scotland) were relying on text message updates of the girls progress as each match was played. As many of us were not there to watch, it’s only fair that the ladies themselves give a run-down of each of their matches. The debrief of each game was taken from Instagram, and you can find the girls on the handle @whcladies1xi.

Pool Game 1: Catholic Institute (IRE) [5-1]

The Sonz certainly made their mark in their Euros debut with an incredible 5-1 win!

The game started very close against the strong Irish side, with some great shots and saves from both teams. The first quarter finished at 0-0, however after a fire reverse net roofer from our trusty goal badger, SJ, in the second quarter the goals came rolling in. Super Mom Suz was next with a stunning top D strike, then came Darko the Destroyer with two drag flick bullets. Finally, SJ executed a perfect back space shot (Knipey would be proud) to bring the game home!

MOM: Darko the Destroyer

Pool Game 2: AHTC Wein (AUT) [3-0]

Today's game brought some challenges for the girls, facing a man-to-man marking team and a half court press. The game was 0-0 at half time but just as the temperature started to rise, as did the Sonz... some lovely quick play allowed SJ to break into the circle, play a cross pass, and it was KMac who slotted the first one in!

This was exactly the pick up the girls needed and the chances came rolling in. The Austrian keeper made some great saves, only allowing another goal from Killer KMac and Darko "The Hammer" through, resulting in a final score line of 3-0!

MOM: KMac for her relentless goal scoring

Pool Game 3: SK Slavia Prague (CRO) [5-0]

The weather was forecast for thunder and lighting yesterday, but turns out it was just the Sonz..! They've gone 3 for 3 after a convincing 5-0 win, meaning they've topped their pool and ready for the promotion playoffs!

The Czech side were the strongest the girls have faced this week, meaning they had to bring their game...and that they did. At half time it was only 1-0, thanks to the return of the Darko hammer securing the first goal. Silky SJ did some quick maths with a mad acute angle baseline shot next, then reliable Katreen got a top bins penalty stroke AND a stunning reverse stick shot. Then Milly Bernese Sauce finished it off doing what she does best with a first time shot at goal after a lovely cross trom SJ

MOM: Katreen for sweeping up everything and also her two sexy goals

Game 4 (1st Place Playoff): Clydesdale Western (SCO) [5-1]

Unbeaten in 4 games, promoted in Euros debut AND completing the quintuple!!

The playoff game against Western was certainly an interesting one, especially being down to 9 men at one point. Couldn't get 5 goals without matching the same number of cards though right…

Killer KMac kicked off the first of the goals with some silky 3D skills and a falling reverse shot. Then came the hammer from Darko, followed by another top D corner strike from Katreen. KMac provided again, this time with a cheeky deflection and finally, SJ made up for yellow card with a classic SJ reverse flick

MOM: Stottie for just being all round class

I’ve added a glossary of terms and nicknames here in case anyone is lost…
SJ - Sarah Jamieson
Super Mom Suz - Susan Hamilton
Darko the Destroyer - Emily Dark
Killer KMac - Katie MacCallum
Katreen - Katherine Holdgate
Milly Bernese Sauce - Milly Berndes-Cade
Stottie - Katie Stott

Sonz - The Watsonian Hockey Club
The Quintuple - The Watsonian Hockey Club Ladies 1 2022/23 season

Our very own Emily Dark won the ‘Top Scorer’ award of the tournament with a whopping 5 goals. Katie MacCallum and Sarah Jamieson weren’t far behind on 4 each.

As you can probably tell, the girls had an incredible time out in Turkey. Not only did they do themselves proud, but also everyone else affiliated with The Watsonian Hockey Club. They’ve also shown what Scotland can achieve on the European stage, and I know the girls are already hungry to push even further next year.

So why were the L1s in Alanya (and not in Amsterdam, Wettingen, Vienna or Porto)?

Perhaps we should have explained earlier.

The EuroHockey League comprises five tiers (or “divisions”) of 8 teams - known as EuroHockey League, EuroHockey Club Trophy, EuroHockey Club Challenge I, II & III.

Each Country is allocated two places, and this year both Scottish places were in Club Challenge I.

Each division has its own 4 day competition (other divisions played at the venues listed above). After 3 pool matches per team, cross over matches determine which two teams win promotion for their Country, and which two relegation. Last year Edinburgh University and Clydesdale Western won promotion for both Scottish places from Club Challenge II up to CC I.

Next year, thanks to the L1s winning their cross over (promotion) match, Scotland will have one team in the Club Trophy with the other remaining in Club Challenge I (in fact promotion was assured as the match was between two Scottish teams!).

In Scotland the Premiership league winners are guaranteed the lower EuroHockey place, with the higher place going to the winners of the Grand Final. If, as the L1s did again this year, a team wins both, the lower place is given to the runner up in the Grand Final. As we already know, the L1s' success in the Grand Final gives them the higher place in 2024 (Club Trophy) with EU being the second Scottish team (CC I).

To close off our ladies incredible debut European campaign, we have a few special thanks to give for their generosity. Thank you to our club sponsors Ondine Edinburgh for their continued support throughout the season. If you’re ever in need of some seafood or grill, then you can catch them just off the Royal Mile.

And finally an enormous thank you to our tour sponsors Alltec Construction, Palmer + Watt Joinery Contractors, Move Pre-Workout, HPC Scotland, and Starkevents for your help in making the trip to Europe possible.

A full list of the team out in Turkey can be seen below, including players, coaches and additional support staff:

Sophie Anderson
Milly Berndes-Cade
Lucy Camlin
Katie Crawford
Ruby Crawford
Emily Dark
Beth Dodds
Mairi Drummond
Susan Hamilton
Katherine Holdgate
Sarah Jamieson
Bex Jones
Katie MacCallum
Bethan Mann (C)
Molly Murphy
Alisa Small
Katie Stott
Heather Tait

Ellie Wilson (Team Manager)
Keith Smith (Head Coach)
Bill Robson (Assistant Coach
Mairi Shaw (Physiotherapist)

Further reading