All good things come to those who wait....they also come to teams that work bloody hard....and the hardest working team in Europe finally got their reward when Holland Ladies won the recent Ladies Championship tournament in Vienna!
Holland Ladies captured the Vienna tournament cup with a victory against old foes Belgium Ladies, and with both teams tied on top of the Ladies Championship with 45 points each...all roads lead to the final tournament in Maastricht where both teams will battle it out to become 2012 European Ladies Champions!!
Well done to all the girls and coaches James Flavin, Pete Jansen and Ivan Stynes. Special thanks to Rose for the match report below:
The 13-strong Holland Ladies took on the home-team Vienna in the first group game and had a comprehensive victory over the local side. Vienna fielded 9 players so it gave the Holland girls the opportunity to settle before the tougher challenges ahead.
The second group game was against a much stronger Stockholm side which Holland had only beaten by 1 goal in Copenhagen. At half time Holland were only a few points up however the second half saw the girls step it up a gear and get into goal scoring mode to close out the game half way through the 2nd half.
Having topped the group, this resulted in automatic qualification for the semis along with a 4-hour wait! The 2 other groups were topped by Belgium A (surprise!) and Paris. Following a play-off Munich secured the 4th semi-final spot. The draw for the semi saw Holland up against their old rivals Paris.
Paris started the better and were 2 points up at half time...or was it half time! An admin error had seen the semis listed for only 7.5mins a side as opposed to the 15mins which had been played in the group stages. This was discovered after 12mins so the referee decided to play another 3mins and then have a second break before playing the third 'half'! This allowed the Holland Ladies to settle more and score 2 goals to take them into a strong lead in the closing 5 minutes. Paris, being Paris, had one more fight in them and came back to bag 2 goals which brought it back to a 5 point deficit however it wasn't enough as Holland were strong enough to cross the line to win by 3-9 to 3-4.
And so to the final against Belgium A for a change! Holland went up by 2 points at half time and vowed that they would not let this lead slip. Fine scores by Claire Kavanagh (Player of the Tournament), Marie Murtagh and Kate Maher put Holland 5 points up in the 2nd half. Belgium replied back strongly with a goal and a point however the fullback line of Dee White and Donna Sharkey held strong and kept the Belgians out and ensuring a 1 point victory for Holland, and making the Maastricht tournament even more exciting with the prospect of a European title in store for Holland if they win the tournament!
Cue the third half and celebrations........pretty sure Holland Ladies are never allowed on the Vienna metro again.............. ;)