Hockey: Slough soak up pressure to face Germans in final

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SLOUGH reached the final of the European Club Championship at Southgate by beating HGC from Wassenaar, in the Netherlands, 4-2 in their final pool match yesterday and will play the German club Russelsheimer today.

Although Slough led 3-0 at the interval they endured a desperate second half in which Suzan van der Wielen twice failed to score from the penalty spot. Having blazed the first one wide, her second attempt with the score at 3-2 produced a marvellous save by Sue Knight.

Mandy Nicholls swept Slough into the lead in the 15th minute following a deft corner switch by Sarah Kelleher. Jane Smith added a second with a direct corner strike and the third from a devastating cross by Karen Brown.

Not that it was one-way traffic. Brown saved twice on the line from corner shots by Ingeborg Evenblij and Knight was fully stretched to deny Ellis Verbakel.

With Slough soaking up increasing pressure in the second half the breakthrough for HGC came in the ninth minute when Evenblij converted a corner. Fatima de Melo, following up another corner, forced the first stroke and then scored the second goal after both she and Evenblij had hit the post. With five minutes left Julia Robertson popped in a rebound to ensure Slough's safety.

Edinburgh will play HGC for the bronze medal despite losing 2-0 to Russelsheimer.