News for 04 June 2012

All the news for Monday 4 June 2012


Kiwis overcome Argentina to win Sultan Azlan Shah Cup


The Haka: New Zealand players doing the Maori war dance after winning the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday. — RONNIE CHIN / The Star

IPOH: New Zealand finally won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after a hard fought victory over Argentina yesterday.

Defender Andy Hayward scored the solitary goal off a penalty corner in the 18th minute. It was his fifth goal of the tournament.

The Kiwis also defeated the Pan American champions 5-2 in the preliminary round.

Argentina looked more dangerous in attack and came close to taking the lead in the ninth minute but Enrique Parede’s push from close range was saved by goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.

The Kiwis took the lead off their first penalty corner in the 18th minute. Hayward’s low flick sailed past goalkeeper Manuel Vivaldi.

Argentina earned a penalty corner in the 33rd minute but Gonzalo Peillat’s flick was saved by Pontifex.

Argentina went all out in the second half in search of the equaliser but all their attempts were thwarted by Pontifex, who was named the best keeper of the tournament.

He was also named the man of the match.

India, meanwhile, came back from a goal down to stun Britain 3-1 and finish third in the tournament.

It was sweet revenge for India, who lost 3-2 to world No. 4 Britain in the preliminary round.

Britain took the lead off a penalty corner by Ashley Jackson in the 35th minute. It was Jackson’s sixth goal and he finished as the top scorer of the tournament.

India stormed back with three goals after the breather from Shivendra Singh (43rd), Sandeep Singh (52nd) and Tushar Khandker (69th).

India’s Sardar Singh was named the player of the tournament.

The Star of Malaysia



Kiwis are Champs



New Zealand defeated Argentina to lift the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time in its 21 years of competition.

It was heartbreak for Argentina who dominated the proceedings but just could not find their scoring touch.

Both teams were rather apprehensive in the opening minutes as Argentina opted to let New Zealand attack and relied on fast counter attacks to break them down.

New Zealand were awarded a penalty corner in the 18th minute and Andy Hayward stepped up to send a low flick past a despairing dive by Argentina keeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi.

Argentina were awarded two penalty corners, one in the 31st minute and the second in the 39th, and New Zealand keeper Kyle Pontifex denied them on both occassions.

Try as they did, stout defending by Dean Couzins and Hayward, combined with smart play by Simon Child as well as Ryan Archibald denied Argentina.

Meanwhile in the match to decide the bronze medal, India came from a goal down to defeat Great Britain 3-1.

Ashley Jackson opened scoring in the 35th minute as his penalty corner flick sailed into goal giving Indian custodian Bharat Chetri no chance whatsover.

India were undeterred as they created several chances. And they were duly rewarded as Shivendra Singh fired home in the 43rd minute to level the scores.

Sandeep Singh showed he still had it in him despite an indifferent performance in earlier matches by converting a penalty corner in the 52nd minute.

Tushar Khandker sealed the third spot with a goal in the 69th minute for India.

In the match to decide the 5th and 6th placing, South Korea edged Malaysia 3-2.

Korea scored in the opening minute through Hyun Hye Sung. But Malaysia drew level in the 17th minute via Hafifihafiz Hanafi.

Korea then scored twice, via Jang Jong Hyun ( 42nd minute) and You Hyo Sik (50th minute) to take a 3-1 lead. Although malaysia reduced the deficit via Faisal Saari in the 63rd minute, there was not enough time for an equaliser.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Black Sticks Men win Azlan Shah Cup


The Black Sticks Men have won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Tournament in Malaysia for the first time in the competition’s 21-year history.

The New Zealanders met Argentina in the final and it was an Andy Hayward drag flick in the 18th minute from the Kiwis only penalty corner of the game, which secured the 1-0 win.

“It was a grind rather than a true showcase of hockey tonight – it was very hot conditions and seven games of hockey over 10 days was taking its toll on players. The ball was turned over more than we would have liked,” says McLeod.

Argentina created more opportunities than New Zealand, with their counter attack being extremely difficult to defend especially in the later parts of the game.

“Our defence has been outstanding throughout this tournament and despite Argentina’s continual pressure, we held strong and were fortunate to have scored from our only penalty corner,” says McLeod.

The win was made sweeter by Kyle Pontifex being named Player of the Match as well as Goalkeeper of the Tournament. Furthermore, Pontifex, captain Dean Couzins and Ryan Archibald were all named in the tournament team. It was also Stephen Jenness 50th international test match.

In the bronze medal match, India came from a goal down to defeat Great Britain 3-1. While in the fifth/sixth play-off,  South Korea beat Malaysia 3-2.

The team now return to New Zealand, with the men’s team for the London Olympics being announced on Tuesday 12 June.

Hawke’s Bay is the Principal Partner of the Black Sticks Men and Women.

RESULT
New Zealand 1 (Andy Hayward). Argentina 0. HT: 1-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks' win an ideal Olympic warm-up

The New Zealand men's hockey side celebrated their historic win at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in low-key style, choosing instead to focus on some Olympic-sized aspirations.

The Black Sticks beat Argentina in this morning's final in Malaysia, with a drag flick from Andy Hayward enough to separate the sides and secure a maiden title for New Zealand at the annual tournament.

But captain Dean Couzins said, rather than revel in their success, his side were reserved in their celebrations - with their eyes immediately switching to the year's main prize.

"It was a pretty quiet night," he said. "We've had quite a long tournament - seven games in 10 days - so everyone was feeling pretty tired. But it was nice to be able to sit back and relax with the boys and have a few laughs.

"We've got loftier things to play for this year but it's nice to get this one."

No prizes for guessing the heights Couzins and his team were targeting.

The spectre of the London Olympics looms large over many New Zealand athletes and, with their first game in eight weeks' time, it is no different for the Black Sticks.

Couzins felt this tournament both the ideal preparation for London and a handy confidence boost as New Zealand seek their first hockey medal at an Olympics since the famed 1976 gold medal-winning men's side.

"I think we're where we want to be heading into the Olympics, in terms of our preparation and how we're playing," he said. "This tournament has lifted [our confidence] even more - we beat some sides we could play in the Olympics and we put in some good performances."

Between the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and December's Champions Trophy - in which New Zealand, as hosts, finished fourth - the Black Sticks have now tested themselves against nine of the other 11 teams at the Olympic tournament, something Couzins saw as imperative.

"We had a good tournament at the Champions Trophy, where we finished fourth and got some results against some top-ranked sides, and that gave us a lot of confidence. Now we know what we're going to be up against in London, we'll take some positives from that."

Another positive was the way New Zealand grafted out the result this morning despite a less than stellar performance. New Zealand were made to work for their trophy by a side they had thumped 5-2 in pool play, converting their only penalty corner and defending doggedly to claim the spoils.

"It's good to win games without putting out your best performance," Couzins said. "We've played pretty well over the course of the tournament, and at this stage it's about getting the result more than anything.

"A lot of us have been coming to this tournament for a while now so it's great to finally win it. We've watched a few too many finals over the years, so it was awesome to finally play in one and get the win.

"It's great to be sitting on the bus with the trophy beside you."

The team will return with the trophy to New Zealand, where some players face a nervous week ahead of the June 12 announcement of the Olympic squad.

"It's going to be a tough next 10 days for the guys," Couzins said. "When the team gets named there's going to be a few disappointed guys and that's going to be tough - but there's no way around it, really."

The New Zealand Herald



Black Sticks men win Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

The New Zealand men's hockey team have won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia for the first time in the competition's 21-year history.

An Andy Hayward drag flick in the 18th minute, from the Black Sticks'only penalty corner of the game, has secured the Kiwis a 1-0 win over Argentina in the final.

''It was a grind rather than a true showcase of hockey tonight - it was very hot conditions and seven games of hockey over 10 days was taking its toll on players. The ball was turned over more than we would have liked,'' coach Shane McLeod said.

Argentina created more opportunities than New Zealand, their counter attack proving difficult for the New Zealanders to defend especially in the later parts of the game.

''Our defence has been outstanding throughout this tournament and despite Argentina's continual pressure, we held strong and were fortunate to have scored from our only penalty corner," said McLeod.

The win was made sweeter by Kyle Pontifex being named player of the match as well as goalkeeper of the tournament, while captain Dean Couzins and Ryan Archibald joined Pontifex in the tournament team.

In the bronze medal match, India came from a goal down to defeat Great Britain 3-1. South Korea beat Malaysia 3-2 in the playoff for fifth.

New Zealand now return home, with the squad for the London Olympics set to be named on June 12.

Stuff



New Zealand beat Argentina to win Azlan Shah Cup


IPOH ( Malaysia): New Zealand on Sunday clinched the title of 21st Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in their maiden final appearance, defeating Argentina 1-0 in the summit clash.

New Zealand's match-winner came from Andy Hayward, who converted their first penalty corner by beating Argentine goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi with a low shot.

This was the fifth penalty corner conversion for Hayward, who played a key role in New Zealand's campaign that saw them top the round-robin league after posting victories in their initial four matches.

New Zealand have in past editions of the Azlan Shah Cup claimed the bronze medal four times, including consecutive podium finishes in 2008 and 2009.

World number seven New Zealand were the third highest ranked team in the tournament, behind Great Britain and South Korea.

Argentina did well to make it to the final after losing their first two matches, but were not able to breach the New Zealand defence led by goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.

The Times of India



NZ clinch title, bronze for India


New Zealand celebrate with the trophy. -Photo by AFP

New Zealand beat Argentina 1-0 in a tough and thrilling final clash in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men’s hockey tournament yesterday that bodes well for the Black Sticks in the London Olympics.

It is their maiden win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the team will surely head to London with bigger expectations.

A clinical penalty corner execution in the 18th minute by veteran Andy Hayward was enough to stop 2008 champions Argentina from regaining the cup.

New Zealand maintained their dominance with a solid defence and impressive attack in the tournament, losing only once to South Korea one-nil.

But modest Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod played down the importance of the win as far as the Olympics were concerned.

“Sure, it is great to have won our first Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. It is no mean feat considering the opposition we have had to face. But we still have a fair bit of work to do before the Games start in July,” he said.

“This has been a good tournament for us and playing five other Olympic-bound teams is a bonus as we now know a lot more about these teams.”

The tournament in the Malaysian northern city of Ipoh is an important pre-Olympic warm-up for London qualifiers Argentina, Britain, India, South Korea and Pakistan.

New Zealand are ranked seventh in the world and the Black Sticks last won an Olympic gold in Montreal in 1976 and had only ever made it to the third place in the annual Sultan Azlan Shah Cup despite participation in the tournament that goes back two decades. Argentina failed to capitalise despite numerous chances. It was heartbreak for the South Americans who dominated the proceedings but just could not find their scoring touch.

Both teams were rather apprehensive in the opening minutes as Argentina opted to let New Zealand attack and relied on fast counter attacks.

New Zealand were awarded a penalty corner in the first-half and the 26 year-old Hayward stepped up to send a low flick past a despairing dive by Argentine keeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi.

Argentina were later awarded two penalty corners but they failed to convert.

Meanwhile, Five-time champions India bounced back from a goal down to beat tournament favourites Great Britain 3-1 and clinch the bronze medal.

For India, eight-time Olympic champions, the win over World No.4 Britain would give them the much needed boost ahead of the 2012 London Games. India also took sweet revenge of their 2-3 loss against Britain in the league games.

India pumped in three second half goals from Shivendra Singh (42nd minute), Sandeep Singh (52nd) and Tushar Khandekar (69th) after Ashley Jackson (35th) gave Britain the lead converting a penalty corner just at the stroke of half time.

As the scoreline suggests, India completely dominated the second half after a evenly poised first.

It took seven minutes for India to restore parity after Shivendra scored from a square-pass from Uthappa.

India doubled the lead in the next 10 minutes after drag-flicker Sandeep converted a penalty corner.

In their bid to break India’s domination, Great Britain made a desperate yet poor move by pulling out their goalkeeper and in the 68th minute and adding a player up in search of the equaliser. But it backfired as it created the opening for the Indians, who sealed the matter with Khandekar pushing in the ball into an open goal.

The game look intensely poised uptil then. But things were soon going to look up for the Indian side coached by Michael Nobbs.

First it was Sandeep Singh, who hasn’t looked in great shape, who scored from the penalty corner. Great Britain then tried hard but in vain to grab an equaliser.

Gulf Times



India bounces back to take third place

S.THYAGARAJAN



Sardar Singh, receiving his award after being declared the man of the match against Great Britain in the Azlan Shah hockey tournamentn on Sunday. India won the bronze medal winning 3-1.

India anchored a bronze, New Zealand its maiden trophy triumph and Argentina picked up a silver as Edition 21 of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament sailed into history on Sunday.

The Kiwis prevailed over the Argentines by a solitary goal, while, in a fight back that was quite remarkable, India beat Britain by three goals to one.

Andy Hayward was New Zealand’s hero of the hour. One thundering penalty corner midway through the first half sealed the final for the Kiwis. The team was unlucky to enlarge the lead when a splendid attempt by Simon Child hit the upright and spun into play. He worked delectably to outrun the Argentine defenders for this effort.

Aggressive, athletic, and adept, the Argentines left nothing to chance to pepper the Kiwi defenders. But goal-keeper Kyle Pontifex rose to the occasion with stout hearted show.

India defeat Britain


Britain's Matt Daly as he battles for control of the ball with India's Singh Sarvanjit (right) and Raghunath Vokkaliga Ramachandra during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men's field hockey tournament in Ipoh on Sunday.

In a contest that swung from brilliance to the bizarre, India accomplished a podium finish. This was India’s first win against Britain in four recent matches.

India lost 2-4 and 1-2 in the four-nation test event in London last month, and 2-3 in this competition. Today’s outcome signals a turning point.

Save for the irrepressible Sardar Singh in mid-field — fittingly declared the Man of the match and later as the Player of the Tournament — and Kothajit Singh to a level, India was not at the best. The score line is very misleading.

A plethora of openings went to waste. The forwards were inept, inaccurate and incredibly innocuous. That contributed to India trailing 0-1 at half-time.

Inadequate trapping and passing proved disastrous. Twice Shivendra was found wanting at the finish. Danish Mujtaba failed to stop the ball from a penalty push by Sardar Singh early on as Sandeep Singh waited in vain.

On the stroke of half-time, Britain hoisted the lead with an impeccable flick by Ashley Johnson, who scored his sixth goal.

If there was palpable gloom as the Indians walked out for the break, it was transparent.

It was India’s own making. Almost every forward, be it Sunil, Uthappa or Sarvanjit, floundered inside the circle.

There was a marginal improvement in the second. India achieved parity following a lovely move conceived by Sardar Singh and carried forward by Uthappa. The final touches were provided by Shivendra to atone for his earlier solecisms.

Buoyed by this, the Indians began engineering a few threatening forays. Sandeep Singh served the lead with his inimitable flick from the second penalty corner, the award of which by the Kiwi umpire, David Tomilinson, was disputed by the Britons. An attempt then from a combined move involving Kothajit, Shivendra and Sunil, spelt danger. But Sunil’s shot hit the post and spun back.

In a desperate effort to enhance the pressure, Britain’s coach, Jason Lee, pulled out the goal-keeper James Fair and put in a substitute when less than three minutes remained.

All the 11 players were on attack. But Sandeep demolished the designs of the British team. He provided that astute aerial pass. Tushar moving well inside the circle placed it to the empty goal. That effort surfaced with 1:45 seconds remaining from the hooter.

It is difficult to mask the feeling that India could have produced a far more commanding performance. Sixth in the last edition, India’ previous bronze came in 2007.

Of course, a podium finish gives some consolation. Coach Nobbs said the team is showing a definite improvement.

The results:

(5-6): Korea 3 (Hyun Hye Sung, Jang Jong Hyun, You Hyo Sik) beat Malaysia 2 (Hanafit Hafiz, Faisal Saari) HT 1-1.

(3-4) India 3 (Shivendra Singh, Sandeep Singh, Tushakr Khandker) beat Great Britain 1 (Ashley Jackson) HT 0-1.

Final: New Zealand 1 (Andy Hayward) vs Argentina. HT 1-0

Player of the tournament: Sardar Singh (India)

Man of the final: Andy Hayward (New Zealand)

Top scorer: Ashley Jackson (six goals)

Best goal-keeper: Kyle Pontifex (New Zealand)

Fair Play Award: Great Britain.

Final placings: 1.New Zealand, 2. Argentina, 3. India, 4, Great Britain, 5. Korea, 6. Malaysia, 7. Pakistan.

Azlan Shah XI: Kyle Pontifex (NZ), Dean Couzins (NZ), Rashid Mehmood (Pakistan), Hyun Woon Nam (Korea), Pedro Ibarra (Argentina), Sardar Singh (India), Ryan Archibald (NZ), Ashley Jackson (GB), Faisal Saari (Malaysia), S.V.Sunil (India) and Lucas Vila (Argentina).

The Hindu



Great Britain give up early lead as India secure bronze medal

LEADING one-nil at half time, Great Britain Men conceded three second half goals as rivals India pipped them to the bronze medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Sunday.

Ashley Jackson scored late in the second half to break the deadlock and give Great Britain hope of taking the win. But India proved a tough nut to crack and GB couldn’t stop them scoring three unanswered goals after the break.

Afterwards, Head Coach Jason Lee said: “There are plenty of positives to take out of this week. We need to be sharper and more creative around the opposition circle and that cost us today, but overall I’m happy with what we have learned during the competition.”

The match was a classic game of two halves with India, who had a rest day on Saturday to prepare for the match, getting stronger as the match went on.

It was a tight first half, and Great Britain played well enough, retaining the ball without ever looking really threatening. The majority of the half was spent in the Indian half of the pitch as GB went in search of a way through, while India always looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

Eventually the pressure told, and GB forced their first penalty corner in the last minute of the half, and Ashley Jackson fired high into the net giving Chetri in the Indian goal no chance.

The second half started with India remaining strong, but GB also created chances which went begging as their final touch let them down.

With GB doing a lot of attacking the game had become stretched by that point, and Shivandra Singh scored from open play on 43 minutes.

India forced their second penalty corner on 52 minutes and Sandeep Singh flicked high to James Fair’s left to give India the lead, and from them on GB were chasing the game.

In an attempt to get back level Fair was replaced to bring on an extra field player with two and a half minutes remaining, but a missed aerial was capitalised on by Tushar Khandker who scored into an empty net as GB had committed forward.

“It’s always disappointing to finish just outside the medal places,” said Team Manager Andy Halliday. “We now need to work very hard as a group ahead of the Olympic Games.”

British sports fans have another opportunity to cheer on Great Britain next week as the GB women’s team host the Investec London Cup in Chiswick from 5-10 June. Tickets are still available by visiting www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/investeclondoncup

GREAT BRITAIN 1 (1)

Ashley Jackson 35 (PC)

INDIA 3 (0)

Shivandra Singh 43 (F)
Sandeep Singh 52 (PC)
Tushar Khandker 69 (F)

GREAT BRITAIN MEN’S SQUAD v ARGENTINA (caps and goals on the attached)

Name (Club) Position Started


James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) Defender
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender/Midfielder
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender
Iain Mackay (Reading) Midfielder
Barry Middleton (East Grinstead) Midfielder/Forward
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender
Ali Wilson (Beeston) Defender

Substitutes

Richard Alexander (Surbiton) Defender/Midfielder
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward
Matt Daly (Surbiton) Forward
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward
Adam Dixon (Beeston) Defender/Midfielder

Did Not Play

Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward

Great Britain Hockey media release



Bronze and a smile for India in Azlan Shah Cup

BANGALORE: India staged a superb second-half rally to floor Great Britain 3-1 and bag the bronze medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh on Sunday.

New Zealand won the title with a 1-0 verdict over Argentina in the final, Andy Hayward fetching the match-winner in the 18th minute.

Trailing by a penalty corner goal by Ashley Jackson, five-time champions India pieced together telling moves in the second half to slot home three goals.

Shivendra Singh (43rd min) scored off a SK Uthappa cross, Sandeep Singh (52nd min) converted a penalty corner and Tushar Khandker (69th min) nudged the ball into an open goal as India avenged their 2-3 defeat at Britain's hands in the league stage.

Tushar's goal was gift that Britain could well have avoided. But with three minutes to go for the hooter, desperation was written large on Britain's faces as they strived for the equaliser. Deciding to go with 11 field players, Britain substituted their goalkeeper James Fair despite facing the risk of playing the last few minutes with an open goal. Tushar made the most of it, trapping an aerial ball from Sandeep.

Chief coach Michael Nobbs was delighted with the victory. "It's a good win and a medal here was what we were aiming at. We played some good hockey for long periods. The defence was sound and compact and provided a great back-up to the forwards," Nobbs told TOI.

"But we still need to work on our presence in front of the goal. At half-time, I had told my players to be more thorough with their execution. They were losing the ball after getting into the circle. It's fine against teams that are ranked lower but the top teams are more aggressive in defence," Nobbs said, referring to a few misses by Shivendra and SK Uthappa.

Nobbs was all praise for midfielder Sardar Singh, whose control over the match was exemplary.

"Sardar was outstanding and he and Sunil were named as Azlan Shah XI. Sardar was also named the best player of the tournament. But I felt Birendra Lakra and Manpreet were also worthy contenders."

The Australian agreed the podium finish on Sunday had come as a big boost to the team but said India had a lot of work to do in certain areas to make an impact at the Olympics. South Korea finished fifth with a narrow 3-2 win over hosts Malaysia.

Results:

New Zealand 1 (Andy Hayward 18th) bt Argentina 0. 3-4 places: India 3 (Shivendra Singh 43rd, Sandeep Singh 52nd, Tushar Khandker 69th) bt Great Britain 1 (Ashley Jackson 35th). 5-6 places: South Korea 3 (Hyun Hye Sung 1st, Jang Jong Hyun 42nd, You Hyo Sik 50th) bt Malaysia 2 (Hafifihaziz Hanafi 17th, Faisal Saari 63rd). Pakistan finished seventh.

Special awards:

Fairplay: Great Britain. Best Player of Tournament: Sardar Singh (India). Best Goalkeeper: Kyle Pontifex (New Zealand). Top-scorer: Ashley Jackson (Great Britain). Man of the Match (Final): Kyle Pontifex (New Zealand).

The Times of India



India beat Britain 3-1 to bag bronze in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (MALAYSIA): Five-time champions India came from behind to stun Great Britain 3-1 and clinch the bronze medal in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Sunday.

India dominated the match, but squandered several scoring opportunities to concede the lead to pre-tournament favourites Great Britian before staging a spirited comeback in the second session.

Shivendra Singh (42nd minute), Sandeep Singh (52nd) and Tushar Khandekar (69th) scored for India after Ashley Jackson (35th) put Great Britain ahead at the stroke of half time.

India had earlier lost 2-3 to Great Britain, world's fourth ranked side, in their round robin league encounter, but Michael Nobbs' boys played a composed game.

India's domination began in the first minute when they made the first foray into the rival circle from the left flank through Sarvanjit Singh who sent a through pass for Shivendra, but the Indian striker failed to utilise the chance as he ran into a crowd of British defenders.

In the seventh minute, Shivendra was slow in having a crack at the goal from close range after SV Sunil pushed in from the right.

India were soon awarded their first penalty corner when Rupinder Pal Singh was obstructed on top of the circle by Dan Fox, but the opportunity was wasted as Danish Mujtaba could not stop the push.

Shivendra again had a good look at the goal in the 15th minute when he had only the goalkeeper to beat, but his shot lacked power and was easily palmed away.

Four minutes later S K Uthappa was unable to deflect in a diagonal ball from Shivendra.

After a series of misses, the Indians were guilty of conceding the lead to Great Britain in the final minute of the opening half when Jackson converted the European team's first penalty corner with a rising flick into the net.

Soon after the change of ends, Great Britain forced another penalty corner, but this time Jackson's shot was deflected out by the Indian defenders.

India finally managed to draw parity in the 42nd minute when Shivendra pushed in a square-pass from Uthappa, who set up the goal with an impressive run from the right.

Continuing to dominate, India forced their second penalty corner 10 minutes later, and this time Sandeep scored with a fierce drag flick high into the goal for a 2-1 lead.

The Indian strikers created two more scoring opportunities, but failed to shoot past British goalkeeper James Fair.

Trailing 1-2, Great Britain made a desperate move and pulled its custodian Fair out of the field in the 68th minute to add another player in search of the equaliser.

The move backfired as it created the opening for India's third goal in the penultimate minute.

Sandeep sent an ariel ball to an unmarked Khandekar inside the rival circle, which the latter just had to get control of the ball and push into an open goal, and he duly accomplished the task to seal India's victory.

Earlier, South Korea secured the fifth position when they defeated hosts Malaysia 3-2 in the fifth-sixth position playoff match.

Hyun Hye-Sung (1st minute), Jang Jong-Hyun (42nd) and You Hyo-Sik (50th) scored for South Korea, while Hafifi Hafiz (17th) and Faisal Saari (63rd) shot on target for the home team.

For the first time in the history of the tournament, Pakistan finished at the bottom of the table in the seventh position.

The Times of India



Nobbs: We did enough to get on the podium


Sardara Singh was adjudged the Best Player of the Tournament

Ipoh: India might have failed to win the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament for a record sixth time, but coach Michael Nobbs is delighted with the bronze medal showing and said his wards did enough to finish on the podium.

Five-time champions India Sunday stunned pre-tournament favourites Great Britain 3-1 to clinch the bronze.

“I’m obviously very pleased. It’s a good win and a medal here is what we were aiming at. We would’ve loved to win the title, but we have done well to get on the podium,” Nobbs said at the post-match press conference here.

“We played this match well to get the bronze.”

India’s 2-3 loss to Great Britain in their round-robin league match, notwithstanding, Nobbs said he was confident of putting it across their rivals.

“I was expecting such a victory. I was actually thinking of 3-0 margin before the game,” he said.

The Australian said that after a not-so-impressive opening half, the Indian attackers showed more intent in the second period.

“At half-time, after conceding the lead in the 35th minute, I told my players to be more thorough with their execution, as they were losing the ball after getting into the (rival) circle,” Nobbs pointed out.

“Once they began doing that in the second half, our attacks had more penetration. I think our forwards can do better,” he added.

Nobbs was of the view that India need to play tough opponents more often in the run up to the London Olympics in order to improve their game.

“We need more tough matches to improve, and that’s what were seeking when we decided to come here,” he said. Trailing 1-2, Great Britain made a desperate move and pulled its custodian James Fair out of the field in the 68th minute to add another player in search of the equaliser. The move backfired as it created the opening for India’s third goal in the penultimate minute.

Sandeep Singh scooped one to an unmarked Tushar Khandekar inside the rival circle, which the latter just had to control and push into an open goal, and he duly accomplished the task to seal India’s victory.

And Nobbs lauded star drag-flicker Sandeep for scoring a goal and setting up the last goal for his side.

“When Great Britain pulled out their goalkeeper two minutes from the end, we decided to knock everything into the circle and Sandeep did a fine job in delivering the ball for Tushar to score the last goal,” he said.

The Telegraph, India



Hockey coach Jason Lee calls for creativity

GB hockey coach Jason Lee believes his side need to be more clinical in attack after they missed out on a medal at the Sultan Azlan Shan Cup in Malaysia.

Lee's team - who open their Olympic campaign against Argentina next month - lost 3-1 to India in the bronze-medal match in Ipoh.

Lee said: "We need to be sharper and more creative around the opposition circle. That cost us.

"But overall I'm happy with what we learned during the competition."

Ashley Jackson opened the scoring as GB led at half time but India took the bronze thanks to goals from Shivandra Singh, Sandeep Singh and Tushar Khandker.

New Zealand took the gold medal, beating Argentina 1-0 in the final.

GB are ranked number four in the world, and will also play South Africa, Pakistan, Australia and Spain at the Olympics.

The GB women's squad, which has already been selected, open their campaign against Japan a day earlier - at 1900 BST on 29 July - with further matches against South Korea, Belgium and China, before taking on world champions the Netherlands in their final group match.

Great Britain's women are also ranked fourth in the world, but won the Olympic test event, defeating Argentina in the final.

Team manager Andy Halliday said: "It's always disappointing to finish just outside the medal places.

"We now need to work very hard as a group ahead of the Olympic Games."

BBC Sport



Hosts go down again

SIXTH: Late rally fails to save Malaysia as Koreans score narrow win

By Jugjet Singh



Faizal Saari scores against South Korea in the fifth-sixth placing match in Ipoh yesterday. Korea won 3-2. Pic by Muhaizan Yahya

NOT much has changed in two months as Malaysia again fell 3-2 to South Korea but this time around, in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday. 

In the final, New Zealand beat Argentina 1-0 to claim their first gold medal in the 21st edition.

For Malaysia, finishing sixth of seven teams is not the issue here as seven juniors were fielded, and naturally some of them froze on the big stage.

Malaysia, for the record, also lost 3-2 to South Korea in the Dublin Olympic Qualifier in March and the first Korean goal was scored in the fourth minute then.

In Ipoh yesterday, the Koreans scored their first goal in the first minute courtesy of Hyun Hue Sang.

Hafifi Hafiz equalised in the 17th minute but the Koreans raced ahead with goals two goals in a span of eight minutes when Jong Hyun scored off a penalty corner flick in 42nd minute while You Hyo Sik scored from close range in the 50th to give the Koreans a 3-1 lead.

Faizal Saari, 21, slotted in his fifth goal of the tournament in the 64th minute but the Koreans held on for victory.

The most amazing part of this drama came at the press conference where outgoing Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai blamed the weather, and his forwards.

"It was also difficult for my players to play in the humid weather (3.30pm start). They also tend to lose the ball easily in the match," said Beng Hai yesterday.

In Dublin, it was too cold when the Koreans won, and now in Malaysia, it is too hot but still the Koreans won.

Meanwhile, in the match for bronze, India beat Olympic hosts Britain 3-1 courtesy of Sandeep Singh's brilliance.

Ashley Jackson gave Britain the lead in the 35th minute with his sixth goal of the tournament,

However, the second half was all India as Shivendra Singh levelled in the 43rd minute before Sandeep gave them the lead off a 52nd minute penalty corner.

Britain gambled by removing their goalkeeper and substituting him with a kicking-back in the last five minutes of the match,

And Sandeep punished them further when he flicked from his own semi-circle into Britain's semi-circle where a waiting Tushar Khandker scored the easiest goal of the tournament in the 68th minute.

New Straits Times



Malaysia take sixth spot after going down to Koreans

By AFTAR SINGH


IPOH: Malaysia ended their campaign in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in sixth place after going down 3-2 to South Korea at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

In the preliminary round, Malaysia came back from a goal down to hold the Koreans to a 1-1 draw but there was no rousing return this time.

Seasoned campaigner Azlan Misron did not play as he had to attend a relative’s wedding giving a start to defender Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim, the skipper of victorious Junior Asia Cup team.

The match was played in blistering heat but it was the Koreans who caught the Malaysian defenders having yet another siesta to take the lead in the very first minute.

It was the fourth consecutive time that the national team had conceded a goal in the early part of the game.

Kim Young-jin’s flick from close range bounced off goalkeeper S. Kumar pads and Hyun Hye-sung dashed in to push the ball into goal.

The Koreans earned their first penalty corner in the 10th minute but Jang Jong-hyun flicked the ball over the crossbar.

Malaysia equalised in the 17th minute when Hafifihafiz Hanafi deflected Faizal Saari’s cross into goal.

The Koreans had a penalty corner in the 20th minute but Nam Hyun-woo’s attempt was saved by Kumar.

The Koreans struck twice in the space of eight minutes after the breather.

Jong-hyun scored off a penalty corner flick in 42nd minute and You Hyo-sik made it 3-1 with a goal from close range in the 50th.

The Koreans received another penalty corner in the 55th minute and Lee Nam-yong scored off a set-piece.

Umpire Dan Barstow of Britain first blew for another penalty corner but then awarded the goal to the Koreans.

The Malaysian players protested that an infringement had occurred in the semi-circle and the umpire, after consulting the technical official, changed his decision and awarded another penalty corner.

This time, Kumar did well to save the flick from Hyun-woo.

Malaysia managed to narrow the deficit though Faizal Saari in the 67th minute. It was his fifth goal in seven matches.

The Malaysians surged forward in search of the equaliser but Korean keeper Lee Myung-ho did well to deny them.

National coach Tai Beng Hai again blamed his forwards for missing a number of chances.

“It was difficult to play in the heat and the players tended to lose the ball easily,” he said.

“They need to be more creative and make full use of chances if they hope to do well in tournaments.”

The Star of Malaysia



Sardar Singh, SV Sunil in Sultan Azlan Shah's XI

IPOH (MALAYSIA): India's star mid-fielder Sardar Singh and striker S V Sunil has featured in Sultan Azlan Shah's XI, the best 11 players of this year's Azlan Shah Cup.

New Zealand have three players in the lineup in goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex, Dean Couzins and Ryan Archibald while Argentina contribute two players in Pedro Ibarra and Lucas Vila.

Great Britian's Ashley Jackson, South Korean Hyun Woo-Nam, Rashid Mehmood of Pakistan and Malaysia's young player Faizal Saari complete the team.

The Times of India



Beng Hai satisfied with performance


BENG HAI: Have to step up training


COACH Tai Beng Hai is satisfied with the performance his team in the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament although Malaysia finished only in sixth place.

He said the players have improved technically and were more composed and not hasty when launching attacks.

“However, they failed to convert the chances and gave away soft goals. To create a strong team, we have to step up training and increase matches to allow players to gain exposure,” he said.

Beng Hai said the national players were accustomed to the playing style of Asian teams like Korea, Pakistan and India, having met them regularly in competitions.

However, this was not the case with teams from Europe as the cost of playing against them or training with them was high because of the distance.

“As you saw, Malaysian players were uncomfortable playing European teams,” he added.

Malay Mail



Time for a few changes, says PHF official

By Fawad Hussain



“We never expected such a finish,” the official told The Express Tribune. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: As Pakistan hit rock bottom at the Azlan Shah Cup, whispers about impending changes in the team, including the captain’s arm-band, ahead of the Olympics have started to gain momentum.

The three-time champions lost five successive matches including defeats to lower-ranked teams to finish last in the seven-nation event. Penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas, leading the Greenshirts for the first time, is likely to pay the most for the team’s poor show.

According to a Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) official, the results have forced the federation to mull over changes including captaincy.

“We never expected such a finish,” the official told The Express Tribune. “All the players are responsible especially the captain. He [Abbas] was unimpressive on his first assignment and we don’t have much time to test him any further.

“The PHF will ask the team management for a report after which a decision on the changes will be made.”

However, the official said that the PHF was likely to retain Abbas as captain for the upcoming Europe tour, adding that the body will also probe reports of grouping in the team during the Azlan Shah Cup.

He added that the chances of seniors making a comeback in the team increased after the pathetic show. Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt, who were handed a fine for participation in the unsanctioned World Series Hockey, look certain to make a comeback.

Many reasons behind debacle: Coach

Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Khwaja Junaid dismissed reports of groupings, saying that mistakes contributed towards the team’s poor show. “All the players are united and played as a team,” said Junaid. “We played with an inexperienced team. Playing on the blue turf for the first time also made it difficult and we need to work hard now.”

The Express Tribune



Hockeyroos secure victory over Great Britain

The Hockeyroos dampened Great Britain’s jubilee festivities by notching up a morale-boosting victory over their hosts at Bisham Abbey yesterday. In a frenetic contest they ran out 3-1 winners, finding some welcome finishing touches after Thursday’s 0-0 draw.

Their hosts were without key players – Alex Danson, Crista Cullen and Kate Walsh were all on the sidelines injured – but Australia were worthy victors, pressing with aggression and defending with composure. Mostly.

“There were some elements of fatigue from the first game and both teams were trying to play at a high tempo which created a lot of unnecessary turnovers,” said Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens. “But it was an improved performance and we created some good opportunities. We have been focusing on building pressure and getting the early goal gave us a buffer and meant GB had to come at us.

“That was the main difference from the first game – this time we got some reward for our early efforts.”

In fact, the Hockeyroos made the perfect start, Jodie Schultz scoring from Australia’s first penalty corner, looping her flick past Britain’s world class goalkeeper Beth Storry.

They might have had two more before 15 minutes had been played but Fiona Boyce shot at the goalkeeper while Storry also comfortably parried away the Hockeyroos’ second corner.

Britain’s only meaningful chance of the first half came from a weaving run from Chloe Rogers, who probably deserved better than to see her shot hit the post.

Both sides traded chances at the start of the second half, Britain’s Ashleigh Ball somehow managing to miss completely with the goal at her mercy and Australia’s Jordyn Holzberger firing wide with just GB’s second-string goalkeeper Abi Walker to beat.

The Hockeyroos went further ahead when Boyce converted a long-range deflection from a cross by Anna Flanagan but moments later a comedy of errors in defence somehow allowed Laura Bartlett to dribble along the back line and then push home a shot which trickled over the line.

If there was an element of farce to the British goal, Australia’s third also came from nothing as Hope Munro’s loopy lob deflected past Walker, who went on to make two excellent saves from Ashleigh Nelson.

The fiery friendly saw several Hockeyroos sin-binned, a bizarre bonus for coach Commens. “We played with 10 players for 14 minutes and I was happy with our ability to hold them. GB have been one of the form teams over the last couple of years but you could see that without their key players they are certainly beatable.”

Australia’s next outing is on Tuesday against Holland, their opening match in the Investec London Cup. This is a six nation tournament featuring GB, South Africa, Ireland, Germany, Australia and the Dutch.

Australia 3 def Great Britain 1

Hockey Australia media release



Black Sticks Women lose 3-2 to Korea

The Black Sticks Women have lost 3-2 to Korea tonight in their first of three test matches being played in Taeneung, Korea.

Playing in 30 degree heat, Korea made the most of their opportunities early on and despite goals from Katie Glynn and Krystal Forgesson in the second half, it was not enough to give the Kiwis the result they were after.

“Defensive errors cost us tonight. We need to be more clinical in the attacking third and really work hard to finish off the chances that we create,” said Black Sticks Women’s coach Mark Hager.

Despite the Kiwis holding possession and dominating play in the opening spell, Korea scored from a penalty corner in the 11th minute. Throughout the game both Korea and New Zealand were each awarded another four penalty corners, but nothing came of them.

The Black Sticks continued to attack, with Sam Harrison coming close to leveling up the scoreboard when she took two shots at goal but both deflected off the cross bar.

Defensive gaps opened and the game swung in Korea’s favour, when the home side scored two field goals before half time stretching their lead to 3-0.

In the second half, the Black Sticks fought hard to get back in the game and it was field goals from Glynn and Forgesson in the 36th and 38th minute respectively that helped give the Kiwis a chance of victory but it was not enough to secure a first game win.

Coaches said that Forgesson had an extremely high work rate and was the standout performer of today’s game.

The Black Sticks Women play their next game against Korea at 6.30pm (NZ time) this Wednesday.

Hawke’s Bay is the Principal Partner of the Black Sticks Men and Women.

RESULTS
Black Sticks Women 2 (Katie Glynn, Krystal Forgesson). Korea 3. HT: 0-3

Hockey New Zealand Media release



GB squad named ahead of the Investec London Cup

The Great Britain women’s squad has been named ahead of hockey’s Investec London Cup in Chiswick.  As a result of injuries and tournament regulations, the 18 athlete squad features several changes to that which was recently selected for the London Olympic Games.

Leicester defender Crista Cullen and Reading forward Alex Danson will play no part in the Investec London Cup as they continue their rehabilitation for an ankle and shoulder injury respectively.  Both athletes sustained the injuries during Great Britain’s 2-0 victory over Argentina at the Olympic Test Event in early May.  Welshwoman Sarah Thomas will also miss the Investec London Cup after injuring her ankle in training.  The 31 year old from Merthyr Tydfil will miss this week’s tournament but is expected to recover in time for the Olympic Games.

With tournament regulations allowing teams to select a squad of 18, rather than 16 as is the case at an Olympic Games, Britain’s reserve athletes for London 2012, the Canterbury duo of Abi Walker and Natalie Seymour, are named.

Leicester forwards Rebecca Herbert and Kerry Williams, and University of Birmingham midfielder Susie Gilbert join the group in place of the injured trio Cullen, Danson and Thomas.

Commenting on his squad for the tournament, Head Coach Danny Kerry explained, “Beckie, Kerry and Susie will replace Alex, Sarah and Crista who are making good progress in their rehab in time for the Olympic Games.  The three replacements understand our play well and bring good energy and pace to the team.

“We will use the Investec London Cup to get good quality match practice in a home environment. Our pool opponents, South Africa and Germany will be tough opponents and their players will be looking to nail down a place in their respective Olympic squads. We will continue to refine our play whilst holding back set-pieces and specific tactics that we will use during the 2012 Games.

“We’re thoroughly looking forward to playing in Chiswick in front of a passionate home crowd. If they can bring the support they gave the team at last month’s Test Event to the Investec London Cup it will be fantastic.”

Great Britain begin their campaign on Jubilee Bank Holiday Tuesday afternoon against Investec South Africa, who opted to re-qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games through the Olympic Qualification Tournament, which they won in Delhi after finishing fifth at the Champions Challenge.  World number one, the Netherlands, meet Australia in the opening match at the Investec London Cup on Tuesday.  Germany and Ireland get their campaigns up and running on Wednesday 6 June.

Tickets to the main grandstand on Tuesday and Sunday have sold out although limited standing tickets are still available.  Highlights of each day’s action will be broadcast on Sky Sports 4 with Sunday’s Finals Day live from Chiswick on Sky Sports 3.

The Investec London Cup also features a series of special events, for which tickets are still available.  On Thursday 7 June, Sean Kerly, star of the 1988 Olympic gold medal winning men’s team, will share his medal winning memories including “that final”, his optimism for the upcoming Olympic Games and talk about his role as a BBC summariser at London 2012.

And on Saturday, the EHB will host its Annual Awards lunch at the Investec London Cup.  Celebrating the best of hockey from across the country, the Awards recognise volunteers, players, coaches, officials, teams and clubs from grassroots to the pinnacle of the sport. Tickets to the event are still on sale, offering guests the opportunity to meet some of the athletes representing Great Britain at this summer’s Olympic Games.

GREAT BRITAIN WOMEN’S SQUAD FOR INVESTEC LONDON CUP

Name (Club) [Position] Home Nation Great Britain Caps/Great Britain Goals - Home Nation Caps/Home Nation Goals - Age


Ashleigh Ball (Slough) [Midfielder] England 20/5 - 48/1 - 26
Laura Bartlett (Reading) [Forward] Scotland 40/4 - 57/# - 23
Susie Gilbert (University of Birmingham) [Midfielder] England 32/3 - 40/5 - 23
Rebecca Herbert (Leicester) [Forward] England 28/4 - 67/8 - 25
Hannah Macleod (Leicester) [Forward] England 18/2 - 46/5 - 27
Emily Maguire (Reading) [Defender] Scotland 25/0 - 71/# - 24
Anne Panter (Leicester) [Defender] England 47/1 - 51/3 - 28
Helen Richardson (Reading) [Midfielder] England 80/6 - 146/22 - 30
Chloe Rogers (Leicester) [Midfielder] England 53/4 - 99/11 - 27
Natalie Seymour (Canterbury) [Defender] England 20/0 - 51/0 - 25
Beth Storry (Reading) [Goalkeeper] England 34/0 - 71/0 - 34
Georgie Twigg (Clifton) [Midfielder] England 15/1 - 28/2 - 21
Laura Unsworth (Loughborough Students) [Defender] England 27/1 - 47/0 - 24
Kate Walsh (Reading) [Defender] England 103/9 - 184/31 - 32
Abi Walker (Canterbury) [Goalkeeper] Scotland 18/0 - 65/0 - 30
Sally Walton (Bowdon Hightown) [Defender] England 21/1 - 86/7 - 30
Kerry Williams (Leicester) [Forward] England 23/2 - 61/0 - 26
Nicola White (Slough) [Forward] England 27/0 - 44/4 - 24

INVESTEC LONDON CUP FIXTURES

Tuesday 5th June 2012


14:00 Pool A Netherlands v Australia
16:30 Pool B Great Britain v South Africa

Wednesday 6th June 2012

17:30 Pool A Australia v Ireland
20:00 Pool B South Africa v Germany 

Thursday 7th June 2012

17:30 Pool A Ireland v Netherlands
20:00 Pool B Germany v Great Britain

Saturday 9th June 2012

14:30 Semi Final 1 v Semi Final 1
17:00 Semi Final 2 v Semi Final 2

Sunday 10th June 2012

10:30 5th v 6th
13:30 Bronze Medal
16:00 Final

INVESTEC LONDON CUP TV SCHEDULE


Wednesday 6 June - Day 1 highlights - 19:00-21:00 - Sky Sports 4
Thursday 7 June - Day 1 highlights - 06:30-08:30 - Sky Sports 4
Thursday 7 June - Day 2 highlights - 19:00-21:00 - Sky Sports 4
Friday 8 June - Day 2 highlights - 04:00-06:00 - Sky Sports 4
Friday 8 June - Day 2 highlights - 14:00-16:00 - Sky Sports 4
Friday 8 June - Day 3 highlights - 22:00-00:00 - Sky Sports 4
Saturday 9 June - Day 3 highlights - 11:00-13:00 - Sky Sports 4
Sunday 10 June - Finals Day Live - 12:30-18:00 - Sky Sports 3
Monday 11 June - Finals Day highlights             09:00-14:30       Sky Sports 4

Great Britain Hockey media release



SA hockey women’s matches to be broadcast live

JONATHAN COOK


The world number 12 Investec South Africa women’s hockey team’s Investec London Cup matches against world number four Great Britain and world number three Germany on Tuesday and Wednesday are to be televised “live” on SuperSport 6 at5.30 pm and 9 pm (SA time) respectively.

The broadcaster revealed the news Sunday. There are several repeats of the two matches, while SuperSport also indicated that should SA reach the semi-finals,room would be made to accommodate the match, albeit, a few hours after the actual match would take place. The final, whether SA get there or not, will be live on SuperSport 6 next Sunday, June 12 at 5 pm.

Great Britain are regarded by SA head coach Giles Bonnet as a serious contenderfor the London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal.

SA played friendlies against GB at the splendid 16 000-seater Riverbank Arena in Olympic Park as well as at the hosts’ state-of-the art Bisham Abbey training centre in London last week and Bonnet was generally impressed. “GB are in very good physical condition and if they put it together sufficiently well I think they could play in the final,” said Bonnet.

Germany, a similarly well-organised team, are not ranked third in the world for nothing and will present an interesting challenge for SA, as the Germans are in South Africa’s pool at the Olympics.

SA were without superstars and double Olympians, the world record goal scorer Pietie Coetzee (238 goals in 241 Test matches), and Kate Woods, while GB were resting stellar players in forward Alex Danson and penalty corner star Crista Cullen.GB won the matches 5-1 and 3-0 after SA had had an uncomfortable journey to London. Even so, the scores were not a fair reflection of the matches as SA had as many goalscoring opportunities as the British.

SA then travelled to Glasgow and a five-Test series against world number 18 Scotland that was incorporated into a punishing week of training ahead of London 2012, which starts in less than two months’ time. Coetzee and Woods missed the first three matches, where SA drew 2-2 with the competitive Scots before beating them 2-1 and 4-2. Coetzee (four goals in the fourth Test) andWoods made a big impression in the last two matches, which SA won and 5-2 and 4-1.Scotland head coach Gordon Shepherd was impressed with the overall speed of the SA players. Scotland were missing their four GB squad members.

Bonnet was similarly enthused by the overall play of the South Africans. “The style of play we are working on is starting to bear fruit and it is heartening to see the number of goal shots we are creating, as well as the limited number of chances the opposition are getting.”

The Investec London Cup, a six-nation event that also includes world number one Holland, Australia and Ireland, takes place at the Old Memorial Ground in Chiswick,London.

SA Hockey Association media release



Toussaint puts Paragon on title brink

Nigel Simon


National forward, Akim Toussaint scored two second half goals as Paragon held off Queen’s Park 4-3 to move to within a point of claiming the T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship Division “Big- Four” crown at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua on Saturday night. Following an emphatic 6-1 blow-out of last year’s winner Defence Force on Thursday night, Paragon was confident against a Parkites squad, which crushed defending league champion, Petrotrin 8-4.  Paragon grabbed early control with a sixth minute opener from Kiel Murray, his fourth in two matches before Joel Bodkin made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute. Paragon extended its lead to 3-0 via Toussaint, with his first in the 48th minute.

However, the Parkites then mounted a stunning fight-back with goals from Raphael Govia (49th), Shawn Lee Quay (51st) and Guyana’s Jerry Bell (57th) to tie the match at 3-3. But just when it seemed the Parkites had earned a point, Toussaint netted a 60th minute winner to push his team to maximum six points ahead of its meeting with winless Petrotrin last night. Meanwhile, Defence Force rebounded from its loss to Paragon with a similar 4-3 triumph over Petrotrin to keep its slim hopes of repeating as champions alive.

Mickel Pierre (ninth) and Brian Burrowes (12th) fired Defence Force into a 2-0 lead but Atiba Whittington hit back for the Oilmen with a brace in the 21st and 27th minutes to leave it level at the interval. Burrowes regained the lead for Defence Force in the 46th minute but eight minutes later Whittington completed his hat-trick to get his team even once more. But in the end, the experience of Nicholas Wren proved crucial for Defence Force as his penalty-corner converion with three minutes left grabbed all three points.

RESULTS
Big-Four
Saturday

Paragon 4 (Akim Toussaint 48th, 60th, Kiel Murray 6th, Joel Bodkin 23rd) vs QPCC 3 (Raphael Govia 49th, Shawn Lee Quay 51st, Jerry Bell 57th).
Defence Force 4 (Brian Burrowes 12th, 46th, Mickel Pierre 9th, Nicholas Wren 67th) vs Petrotrin 3 (Atiba Whittington 21st, 27th, 54th)

Little-Four
Friday

Notre Dame 2 (Nigel Providence, Shaquille Daniel) vs Malvern 1 (Tariq Marcano)
Fatima 4 (Andrew Vieira 2, Jordan Vieira, Quinn Clarke) vs Paradise 0.

Saturday
Malvern 3 (Jason Clarke 1st, Kyle Cowie 57th, Darryl Duncan-Hume 60th) vs Paradise 1 (Theron Stoute 13th).
Fatima 1 (Jordan Vieira 13th) vs Notre Dame 0

The Trinidad Guardian



Perak players rewarded for Junior Asia Cup win

IPOH: It was double delight for national hockey forward Amir Farid Fuzi Ahmad at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

The 21-year-old from Perak not only scored a goal against Pakistan in Malaysia’s 3-2 win on Thursday but he also received RM3,000 from Sultan Azlan Shah for being a member of the team that won the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca last month.

Three other Perak players, Nazli twins Shahrul Imran and ShazrilIrwan and Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, and Perak-born assistant coach K. Gobinathan, who featured in the Junior Asia Cup also received RM3,000 each.

All five had earlier got RM12,500 each from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) for their efforts in the Junior Asia Cup where Malaysia defeated Pakistan 2-0 in the final and qualified for next year’s Junior World Cup in New Delhi.

Amir, who made his national team debut in the four-nation tournament in Russia last June, said the past few weeks had been the best of his hockey career.

“Last month we won the Junior World Cup and, three weeks later, I scored a goal in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against Pakistan,” he said.

Amir said his mission now is to feature regularly in the national team.

The Star of Malaysia



Expose youngsters

Malaysia too dependent on established players, says India’s Nobbs

by Vijhay Vick



NOBBS: Malaysia are great underperformers

INDIA coach Michael Nobbs has a message for Malaysian hockey — emulate Australia and India by roping in youngsters into the national team.

“I’ve played against them and observed them for many years. Malaysia tend to hang on to their players a tad too long. The team then becomes very predictable.

“With younger players, you will have an unpredictable team but the downside is they will lack experience,” Nobbs told www.malaysianhockey. blogspot.com.

It’s not that Nobbs was suggesting that Malaysia should to do away with the players who failed to qualify for the London Olympics and replace them with the Junior Asia Cup winning squad but rather a unique blend of both set of players could do the trick.

According to the 58-yearold, Malaysia have always built on a young team that do well but they grow up as a group and then it begins all over again.

“Malaysia have always been great underperformers. But they have talent.

They need to have just two teams — a main team and development team.

“Australia have been successful because they keep mixing up the players for every tournament until they fi nd a best combination of 16-18 players,” he added. Malaysia do have some younger players in the senior team. The likes of Faizal Saari, Firhan Ashaari and Fitri Saari have all been mainstays in the senior team and also play for the juniors.

At the just-concluded Sultan of Azlan Shah Cup, national coach Tai Beng Hai decided to give three junior players — Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Izzat Sumantri and Mohd Ramadhan Rosli — their fi rst call-up.

The trio have performed well and it is only a matter of time before more juniors make their way into the senior team.

Meanwhile, Malaysia were unable to stop South Korea from sealing fi fth place in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as Malaysia’s late comeback did not materialise.

Korea stunned the hosts just moments after the match began with Hyun Hye-sung silencing the home crowd. Hafifihafiz Hanafi leveled the score in the 17th minute but Korea took the second half by storm.

They regained their lead as Jang Jong-hyun converted a penalty corner in the 42nd minute before You Hyo-sik made in 3-1 in the 50th minute.

The Koreans threatened to score again and had a goal ruled out but Faizal Saari scored in the 63rd minute to spur a late fi ghtback.

However, it did not materialise as Malaysia concluded the tournament with a sixth place finish.

Malay Mail



HI mulls Indo-Pak series between domestic teams

New Delhi: The growing thaw in Indo-Pak bilateral ties is spilling over to the sporting field with Hockey India proposing an annual eight-team tournament featuring the top four domestic sides of both the countries, starting this year.

HI is all set to invite its Pakistani counterparts for a meeting later this month to fix the modalities of the event, to be called the Indo-Pak Champions Cup.

According to HI Secretary-General Narinder Batra, the resumption of bilateral Test series between the two countries will also be a topic of discussion during the meeting.

"We will send an invitation to PHF President Qasim Zia and Secretary General Asif Bajwa next week to visit India for a detailed discussion on the bilateral calender for the next three years," Batra told PTI.

"The bilateral hockey series between India and Pakistan may resume this year but everything will depend on how the talks progress.

"We also plan to organise a bilateral tournament between the top four domestic teams of India and Pakistan. The tournament will be an annual affair and the proposed name is Indo-Pak Champions Cup," he said.

The Tribune



Five Vs Five hockey to be made popular in India


FIH President Leondra Negre says that India will soon popularize Five Vs Five tournaments to promote grass root hockey on large scale.

“There is a need to popularize different versions of hockey. We have eleven a side, then indoor hockey, and recently we also sanctioned a Nine-a-side tournament in Australia. There is a possibility of taking of five vs five tournament on large scale in India, as sponsors are interested”, the FIH President, who is here in Ipoh, said.

“Coca-Cola India is interested in this project. Similar projects were successfully done in football. I am hopeful soon India will have a big new version of hockey, 5 Vs 5, to create and sustain interest in hockey at grassroot level”, he added.

He however refused to give deadline for the project to take off. Giving rationale for the concept, he explained that International Olympic Committee aims to make Youth Olympics a popular event to create more and more awareness of sports, and it is in the fitness of things this concept of 5 vs 5 suits insofar as hockey is concerned.

FIH has in the past announced many schemes including Club Championships, but is yet to take shape on the ground. Therefore this announcement also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

DNA



FIH considering 5-a-side format to promote hockey among youth

IPOH (MALAYSIA): A five-a-side format to promote hockey among young players is under the International Hockey Federation's consideration, FIH president Leandro Negre said on Sunday.

Addressing the media at the Azlan Shah Cup, Negre said the FIH was mainly concentrating on its two main properties - the traditional outdoor game with 11 players on each side and the indoor version that is very popular in Europe.

"Out sports is about these two versions. But with an eye on promoting hockey among youth, we are thinking about the 5-a-side concept," Negre said.

"This also involves the question of linking hockey to the Youth Games," said the FIH president.

Negre said no big changes in hockey rules would take place for some time.

"Hockey has had so many changes inside a few years, that we need to stop somewhere," he said.

The Times of India



Bahrain Hockey Federation Open Tournament Gets Royal Patronage



Bahrain, 04 June 2012: First and foremost the Don Bosco Oratory (DBO) – Kuwait team would like to thank the organizers Bahrain Hockey Federation for inviting the team to participate in their open tournament held on June 1, 2012 at St. Christopher Juniors School – Saar, Bahrain. The event was held under the patronage of Shaikh Ahmed Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, General Secretary , Bahrain Olympic Committee who was also the Chief Guest for the event. It was mentioned by one of the organizers, that the Bahrain Hockey Associations is taking positive steps towards the professional management of hockey in Bahrain. The other surprise was the UAE team (Sharjah Youth Hockey Center) a team of young UAE nationals, and it was amazing to see them perform and play good game of Hockey.

In total 10 teams including teams from Qatar/United Arab Emirates/Pakistan and Kuwait participated in this tournament seeding in two pools. The competition open for all nationals and played in a 7 A side format.  Sharjah Youth Hockey Centre was the only non-Bahraini challengers in this group B includes Design hub, Royal Challengers, Aramex, and Dadabhai Travels all From Bahrain.  Public Security Bahrain, was the only Bahraini team to compete in group A with Don Bosco (red), Don Bosco (Blue) from Kuwait , Waseem Ahmad from Pakistan , Wanderers from Qatar.

The Waseem side was the main attraction of the day and were the heavy favorites, as their line up includes ex Pakistan nationals team captain and fellow international stars Kashif Ali and Farooq Ahmed and Olympian Nasir Ahmed.   In an interesting development, the Hockey Committee in Kuwait will meet to form a Kuwait Hockey Committee where the team could participate in such tournaments with experience players here in Kuwait who play for the various clubs.

Dadabhai Travel Bahrain beat Don Bosco Oratory (Blue) 2 -1 to book their berth in the semi finals to play the hot favorites Waseem Ahmad Pakistan. While Don Bosco Oratory saw their dreams of reaching the Semi Finals crumble. It was in the 7th minute that Dadabhai scored from the left flank, and it was in just 4 second DBO – Blue equalized. It was in the dying minutes of the game that Dadabhai capitalized on a chance and converted the second goal that stayed 2 – 1 until the final hooter.

The teams (DBO - Blue) were: Jayan Lewis (Goal), Lixon John Maria, Bruno Trinidad, Alexandro Gomes, Zahir, Saqib Ahmed, Mario Fernandes, Peter Fernandes, Shervin D’Souza,  Mahmoud and team Manager Christopher Fernandes.  The DBO – Red comprised of: Gracian D’souza, Leo Rodrigues, Ronny Fernandes, George Fernandes, Sunil Almeida, Munawar Almeida, Liston Raju, Lloyd Fernandes, Sean Quiney, Stevin Correia and Adrian Glovis.

The finals was played between Wanderers (Qatar) and Waseem Ahmad (Pakistan) the young side of Waseem Ahmad with star backed team was no match for the Regional champions (Wanderers) having two national stars Savio and Junaid both Mumbai lads working and playing for Qatar National side. Waseem Ahmed ( Pakistan ) beat the Qatar team 3 – 1 who were more on the defensive giving the Pakistan team to make moves and hold ball possession for most part of the game.

Bellevision