Clydesdale Western seal Euro promotion to Club Challenge I – Game 4 Review

Reports from Alanya provided by Patrick McAllister:

Clydesdale Western secured promotion to EuroHockey Club Challenge I for next year after completing their Club Challenge II campaign with a fantastic hard fought Promotion Play-Off win over Turkish side Gaziantep Polisgücü on Monday afternoon.

Two goals from captain Frances Lonergan gave ‘Dale Western a 2-0 lead before the host club side grabbed a goal back moments later. But Derek Forsyth’s side held out for a gutsy win to secure a place in Club Challenge I for 2023. With Edinburgh University also winning their respective Promotion Play-Off, the L1s will definitely feature in Club Challenge I for next year alongside Women’s Scottish Premiership champions Watsonians.

Edinburgh University also won their Play-Off match to promote Scotland’s seeding to Club Challenge I for 2023.

In what has admittedly been a season of shortfalls domestically, the Titwood girls can look back to their European conquest that simply could not have gone any better following up three Pool game wins with Promotion Play-Off victory that has capped their long 2021-22 campaign on a positive note.

In the Play-Off contest, Lonergan gave ‘Dale Western an early lead with a penalty corner strike. Gaziantep tried their best to reply through short corners of their own but it was the Scottish side who won more set piece opportunities. Frustratingly for both sides, no more corners – or open play goals – were scored by half time.

But in the third quarter, Lonergan struck again in the same fashion to her first. Polisgücü pulled a goal back instantly to keep Forsyth’s side true to the task and whilst the Turkish side tried their best to force an equaliser, the L1s held their own all the way to the final whistle to secure a superb win.

Post EuroHockey Club Challenge II reaction:

Clydesdale Western captain Frances Lonergan: “In the whole tournament, we played fantastic hockey & scored some great team goals. Against Gaziantep, it was an absolute fight & every single member of the team gave everything they could to get us over the line and give us that win. An outstanding team effort throughout the tournament.”

Clydesdale Western vice captain Laura Paul: “The girls felt confident going into the tournament after securing a Euros spot for next year, so we were already looking forward to the challenge. We scored some really nice team goals & fought hard to win every game. There were a couple of games that were particularly physical & I thought we dealt with them really well. Our last game was a battle against the host team, but we stayed composed, defended very well & soaked up the pressure. This tournament was the perfect end to a very extensive & successful season.”