By Lucas Ball
Holcombe progressed to the KO8 of the Euro Hockey League (EHL) with a 4-2 win over Racing Club de France on Friday afternoon.
Goals from Nick Bandurak (2), Phil Roper and Tom Russell set up a tie on Sunday afternoon against hosts Real Club de Polo de Barcelona.
Barry Middleton’s side took the lead just seven minutes in when a good move down the right led to a ball across goal that the falling Bandurak turned home past the opposition goalkeeper.
Before the first break, however, the French side were level Christophe Peters-Deutz’s drag-flick found the net.
Holcombe deservedly re-took the lead in the second period through more excellent work down the right. Brad Read passed down the line for Rhodri Furlong to deflect a cross into the circle for Roper to finish calmly into the bottom left corner.
Middleton’s side extended their lead midway through the third quarter when a high ball in the circle came the way of Russell, who volleyed home from close range for his second goal of the season.
Peters-Deutz got his second from a rebound at another penalty corner with just over ten minutes to play but any hopes of a late comeback were extinguished just two minutes later as Bandurak netted his seventh goal in five matches this season and seventh EHL goal for Holcombe in five appearances.
Sam Taylor, once again excellent at the back, stepped forward from defence and found the captain in space, who calmly took a touch and finished past the goalkeeper to make sure of Holcombe’s spot in Sunday’s last eight.
A win on Sunday against Real Club de Polo at 12pm would seal Holcombe’s spot in the FINAL8 on Easter weekend.
You can purchase a stream via this link, or the match will be streamed at the clubhouse.