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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Olympia March on as Champions Falter

OLYMPIA men’s team inflicted a narrow 26-24 extra time defeat on reigning Cup and League champions Great Dane as they reached the semi finals of the EHA Cup on Saturday.

The victory was the highlight of a great weekend for Olympia, whose women’s team also reached the semi finals of the Cup with a win over Manchester University.

The men’s team started on the Saturday with the tough news that their coach was stranded in Paris and influential line player Remek Bobrowski was unavailable. And they endured a nervous wait before their only available goalkeeper arrived for the match.

Great Dane made a strong start and scored several goals without reply before Aillaud settled Olympia’s nerves, and they battled back into the game to 5-3. The teams then followed each other closely until a half-time score of 10-8 in favour of Great Dane.

Following the restart however, Olympia scored a series of quick goals and Great Dane looked lost against a very aggressive 3-2-1 Olympia defence.

They responded by taking out the line player and playing with four back players instead, but could not find many ways through, and Olympia ran to a 13-11 lead. With a final score of 21-21 the game was taken into extra time.

During extra time both teams’ defensive skills were on display, and Great Dane were restricted to scoring only three times during the ten minutes, while Olympia scored five times.

Olympia’s goal keeper led the line with a man of the match appearance, but the crucial moment came just before the end of the game, when Olympia were one goal up and Great Dane broke for a counter attack.

Superb defending from Haddadou (pictured) saw him catch up and stealing the ball away, to enable Olympia to score the final goal of the match and book their place in the semi finals on May 15-16.

In other Men’s EHA Cup results, Manchester were made to battle before securing a 30-25 victory over surprise round one winners Bristol, and book their place in the semi finals against Olympia.
And the second semi final will be between Salford and Ruislip Eagles.

The determined Eagles overcame a young and promising Deva team in London 34-11, with Hugo Mazel top-scoring with nine for Ruislip, while Steven Jameson was Deva’s best with six.

In the Men’s EHA Plate, Liverpool beat City rivals Liverpool Speke Garston 24-20 to book their place in the semi finals against Cambridge.

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