Hatfield's national champs off to Europe after triumph
PUBLISHED: 10:30 28 November 2018
Hatfield Crusaders are off on a European tour after being crowned national champions.
The club’s U12 side took the title at the Inline Skater Hockey National Championships, held at Bordon in Hampshire.
And as a result they will now represent the UK at the European Championships in Germany next year.
A club spokeswoman said: “This is an amazing achievement for this small team, most of who could hardly skate when they first came to Crusaders.
“Niko Miksiewicz, James Noble, Preston Tombs and Luke Anscombe all won well-deserved Dream Team awards following consistently strong performances while the Crusaders themselves won the Fair Play award.”
The Hatfield side had started the tournament well, with Anscombe firing them into a second-minute lead against Medway Assassins and Tombs then scoring from a slapshot to make it 2-0.
But the Kent side fought back hard and drew level again after putting Crusaders under plenty of pressure.
But Hatfield never gave up and with Kyle Chapman passing superbly, they popped up with a goal in the final 30 seconds to clinch a 3-2 win.
Their second match against a much bigger Chelmsford outfit followed a similar pattern.
Again they took an early two-goal lead before Chelmsford pulled one back.
However, this time they got the all-important next goal, following a personal battle between Nathan Oppelt and the Chelmsford goalkeeper.
The gap was reduced to one again but with Noble standing firm in defence, Hatfield picked up another 3-2 win.
The conclusion of the play-offs saw Crusaders and Medway meet once again, this time though in the final.
Crusaders came out fighting with Dawid Dabrowski scoring a lovely quick goal and Tombs and Noble held a strong defence throughout.
When they were beaten goalkeeper Miksiewicz kept his cool with some amazing saves.
A wrist shot into the top corner from Anscombe doubled Hatfield’s lead and although Medway pulled one back with two minutes to go, it was too late and Crusaders won 2-1.
Crusaders have teams in all age groups and train at Hatfield Leisure Centre. New players and beginners are always welcome.
For more information go to www.crusaders.hitssports.com or Crusaders Skater Hockey Club on Facebook.