Telford Tigers’ Head Coach Tom Watkins branded the EPL Cup semi-final format as “ridiculous” after his side crashed out against Peterborough Phantoms – despite beating them 9-6 overall.
A breathless encounter on Sunday night saw Telford beat the visitors 7-2, giving them an aggregate victory in terms of goals.
A new ruling – introduced by league bosses this season – gives the winner of each tie two points, meaning Peterborough progress to the final after a penalty shoot-out.
Watkins said: “It is ridiculous that the best team over two legs has gone out of the competition. Again the league are coming out with these rules.
“I don’t know in what other country they would play to this system. I really don’t know what to say, or tell the players.
“We played excellent hockey and were outstanding. Peterborough couldn’t get close to us. We were excellent in every department and to decide a game like that, I just don’t get it.
“I would love someone to explain to me why that is. It is very frustrating, being here in this situation, when the best team has definitely gone out of the cup.
“Surely you want the best teams playing in the final? It sounds like we’re moaning, but we played a great game of hockey.
“We won the game convincingly, we won across the aggregate convincingly, so we’re gutted for the players.
“They have worked tirelessly, through difficult circumstances this week, and everything that has been thrown at them previously.
“These guys have got huge character and they don’t deserve to be out of the cup. But rules are rules.”
(Image permission: Steve Brodie)