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Dundee Wanderers' promotion comes at Leicester's expense
VWS Dundee Wanderers won the battle of the British in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Trophy for women, and with it promotion to the top-level European competition for next season.
The silver medal was decided in a dramatic fashion with a 1-1 draw with England's Leicester in the penultimate match of the weekend in Abbeville, France.
With Iain Strachan's Wanderers and Leicester on the same points, the Scots' two-goal advantage meant a draw was all that was required to bring the Dundonians European success at the first time of asking.
It did not look at all promising when Chloe Rogers gave the English the lead in 13 minutes, and then captain Vikki Bunce uncharacteristically hit the post at a penalty stroke to leave Leicester a goal ahead at the interval. The mission was accomplished when Amy Rowan scored the equaliser midway through the second half, although keeper Carmin Dow had to look lively to keep the scores on level terms to the end.
“This was a great learning experience, Leicester had nine GB players, but we were not phased. A draw was enough, but I felt we should have won, but promotion and a silver medal is perfect as we have qualified again for Europe next year, so it`s a big day for the club,” said a delighted Strachan.
Earlier Wanderers carried forward three points from the win over Abbeville in the original pool match, but the Taysiders then put themselves under pressure by losing 3-2 to SV Arminen in the second encounter.
The Austrians took the lead in the first minute, but Amy Rowan quickly brought the score back to 1-1. Arminen made it 2-1 by the interval and midway through the second half went two goals up. With five minutes left Vikki Bunce reduced the deficit to 3-2 with a penalty corner strike that flew into the roof of the net. Bunce had a further chance to gain a share of the points from another penalty corner but her shot this time flew over the bar.
Leicester's tournament started well with an 8-3 victory over Belgian side ARA La Gantoise, who were ultimately relegated at the end of Sunday. The girls in orange were never behind in the match with four goals from Rogers complemented by finishes from her international colleagues Beckie Herbert (2), Kerry Williams and Gemma Darrington. On Friday afternoon, against eventual winners SV Arminen from Austria, goals were exchanged in a tit-for-tat fashion as Rogers twice equalised 60 seconds after Leicester fell 1-0 and 2-1 down. But there was no reply following Arminen captain Kristine Vukovich’s 24th minute penalty corner goal and Leicester went down 3-2.
Up first on Saturday morning, a 4-2 win over TJ Slavia Hrdec Kralove of the Czech Republic sealed Leicester’s passage to the promotion pool, Pool C, where they would face Wanderers and their French hosts Abbeville; their defeat to Arminen was also carried forward. After falling behind, Captain Vanessa Hawkins restored parity but Leicester again fell behind before the break. In the second half, two goals inside a minute turned the match on its head with young Lauren Turner adding a third after Kerry Williams’ had scored to make it 2-2. And with two minutes remaining Chloe Rogers sealed the victory from the penalty spot.
And it was Rogers to the fore again against Abbeville. The 25-year-old from Essex scored all three of Leicester's goals against the hosts to set up the promotion showdown with Dundee Wanderers.
The draw with Wanderers meant the two sides finished locked together on six points, four behind winners Arminen, but having conceded five goals to the Dundee side’s three and with both teams having scored five each, Leicester were placed third.
Bowdon Hightown will represent England in Europe next year after winning the 2011 super sixes National Indoor Finals at Wembley Arena. VWS Dundee Wanderers will represent Scotland.