Success aplenty as Home Nations prosper at 2019 Junior EuroHockey Championships

Success aplenty as Home Nations prosper at 2019 Junior EuroHockey Championships
England’s U21 men secured an impressive silver medal in the top tier - also booking their place at the 2021 Junior FIH World Cup - while both Scotland and Wales celebrated double promotion for their men’s and women’s teams.

Led by Jon Bleby, England reached their first men’s Junior EuroHockey final since 1998 as they beat Poland 6-2 and drew with Belgium (1-1) and Spain (1-1) to finish second in their pool and reach the semi-finals and guarantee themselves a place at the 2021 Junior World Cup.

They then produced a sensational performance to beat nine-time champions The Netherlands 4-3 in a pulsating semi-final and cement their best finish in 21 years.

However Germany were on a different level in the final and prevailed 5-3 winners after another exciting game.

There was more good news to come though as Tim Nurse was named as Player of the Tournament, while Eddie Way finished as England’s top goalscorer with four to his name.

U21s Euros men

Junior World Cup qualification hangs in the balance for England’s U21 women though as they finished sixth in the women’s Junior EuroHockey Championships.

With only six teams to qualify from Europe, England could still make the event but it will depend on who is selected to host the tournament.

Having finished third in their group, Paul Revington’s side looked in a strong position to win the 5/6 play-off against Russia as they led 2-1 with six minutes to play courtesy of goals from Lily Walker and Jen Park.

But Dayana Yushkova equalised shortly before the final whistle to take it to a shootout and, despite the best efforts of Miriam Pritchard, it was Russia who prevailed 3-2 winners.

Both of those teams will be joined in the top tier at the next event by Scotland’s men and women as they secured double gold in their respective Junior EuroHockey Championship II events.

U21s Euros women

The U21 Blue Sticks started the tournament in blistering form, beating Portugal and Russia 6-1 and 5-2 respectively before falling 3-2 to Italy in another exciting game to finish second in Pool B.

A single goal from Hamish Roberts was enough to then overcome Ireland in a tight semi-final before they blew Russia away once again in the final, securing the gold with a 9-0 victory with Jamie Golden bagging a hat-trick.

U21s Scotland men

There was plenty to celebrate for Scotland’s U21 women too as they also secured a gold and promotion to the top flight.

Having gone through their group stage unbeaten - recording victories over Czech Republic (2-0) and Austria (1-0) as well as drawing 0-0 with Wales - they then thrashed Ukraine 4-1 in the semi-final, with Katie MacCallum scoring twice.

Lunjika Nyirenda then bagged two for herself as they matched that score to beat Italy in the final and ensure it was a perfect week for Scotland.

U21s Scotland

Wales’ U21 women also achieved promotion to the top tier after securing an impressive bronze in the same tournament.

They actually finished ahead of Scotland in Pool B on goal difference before being cruelly denied a place in the final by Italy, who beat them 2-1 in a shootout after a cracking game ended 4-4.

But they quickly put any heartache to bed in the bronze medal play-off as Megan Bowen, Jess Roe and Cari Davies all scored in a 3-1 win, while Lauren Roberts was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

U21s Wales women

There was plenty of individual and team success for Wales U21 men too as they stormed to gold in the EuroHockey Junior Championship III, subsequently earning themselves promotion too.

They stormed past Lithuania in their opening game, with six different players finding the net in a 6-1 victory, before thumping Ukraine 5-2 in their next game.

The gold medal match then saw them overcome the same opponents 4-3, with Ioan Wall scoring twice in a minute to finish as the tournament’s top goalscorer while Jacob Draper was named as Player of the Tournament.

U21s Wales men