By Lucas Ball
Holcombe take on Racing Club de France on Friday afternoon in the Euro Hockey League (EHL) KO16 in Barcelona (3:45pm local time), hoping to set up a KO8 tie against either hosts Real Club de Polo de Barcelona or CA Montrouge.
Barry Middleton’s side currently sit top of the Premier Division after three wins in their opening four matches, beating Reading 4-0, Southgate 5-2 and Surbiton 3-2. Their only defeat came at the hands of reigning champions Old Georgians, who ran out 2-1 victors at Holcombe Park last Thursday night.
The Surrey side are also in EHL action this weekend, taking on Mannheimer on Friday before either a ranking match or KO8 tie.
For Holcombe, it marks their first foray back into Europe following previous campaigns in Ireland and The Netherlands a number of years ago, which included taking on Dutch giants SV Kampong, Atletic Terrassa and Real Club de Polo.
Middleton’s side boasts a wealth of international experience with Great Britain duo Phil Roper and Nick Bandurak having made an impressive start to the domestic campaign, both scoring five goals in just four matches.
Bandurak has also scored five goals in four EHL matches for Holcombe, though these counted as nine goals as all four field goals counted as two goals due to a trialist scoring system employed in 2017/18.
Louis Duprez, who has been capped by France, also previously played for today’s opponents.
Racing Club currently sit second in the Elite League behind only Montrouge, with three wins out of three to kick off their campaign following last season’s second-placed finish. Racing Club drew 2-2 with Montrouge in the play-off final, only losing after a penalty shoot-out (1-0).
They opened up with a 3-1 win over Lyon before beating Lambersart 5-2 and Wattignies 2-1.
You can stream the match here.
If Holcombe are victorious, Sunday’s match will also be streamed at Holcombe Park, and will also be available via the above link. Ranking matches will not be broadcast.
Image: Graeme Wilcockson