David Harte helps SV Kampong to historic Dutch title
Ireland goalkeeper delivers stunning final performance to secure first title in 32 years
Ireland goalkeeper David Harte helped his club side SV Kampong to a first Dutch title in 32 years. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
David Harte’s iconic status in world hockey went up another notch as the towering goalkeeper produced the key moments to lead SV Kampong to the Dutch title for the first time in 32 years.
The Kinsale man made the winning save in the first leg of a their best of three final on Wednesday against Rotterdam before doubling down on Saturday.
In normal time, he saved a penalty stroke with a stunning low glove save from Jeroen Hertzberger to earn a 2-2 draw and a shoot-out chance.
It makes Harte the first Irishman to win the Dutch Hoofdklasse, the world’s premier national competition and the blue half of the sold out stands reserved a personal chant for him.
“It was an explosion of emotion. Amazing,” he said of being mobbed by his team mates.
“I’ve been with Kampong five years, coming close many times. Now it’s finally here, it’s just so emotional.”
As for his final save, his method was rudimentary: “I had at that time no special thoughts. Simply: stop the ball!”
It closed out a rollercoaster end to the season. Kampong were on the brink of elimination before a last minute goal in their last game of the regular season against Oranje-Rood saved their place in the playoffs.
They then came from behind in their semi-final against Bloemendaal and in the first leg against Rotterdam.
“This was a Houdini act. We escaped a few times but I always had confidence.”