News for 06 February 2013

All the news for Wednesday 6 February 2013


Investec SA and Australia in ill-tempered draw

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town



Investec SA physio Lou Morgan takes Nicolene Terblanche off for stitches. Photo: PLATE PICTURES

The most unpopular people during the late match at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Tuesday night were the umpires, as Australia’s Hockeyroos and the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team drew 1-1 after the scores were level 0-0 at half-time of an ill-tempered clash.

Australia’s Anna Flanagan netted a penalty corner in the 51th minute when she went for the top shelf on brilliant SA goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa’s stick-side but the blow was cancelled out eight minutes by Jade Mayne’s tip-top deflection goal off Shelley Russell’s powerful cross from the right.

After 25 seconds Bernie Coston intercepted 40 metres out, burnt her markers and fed Sulette Damons, whose cross was nearly connected by the lurking Pietie Coetzee.

SA continued to dominate and after 11 minutes Quanita Bobbs struck wide of the far post. Australia finally broke away and Fiona Boyce could have scored had it not been for the fabulous form of Mangisa in goal.

SA hit back and on-song Hockeyroos goalkeeper Ashlee Wells made a couple of quality interventions before the Aussies again broke away and won a PC at the other end, Jodie Schulz’s bullet just going wide.

Soon after, Australia were awarded another PC that SA did not agree with. First-wave Damons blocked it before yet another PC was super-saved by Mangisa.

The game became extremely tense as the South Africans and their supporters, plus the Australians to some extent, found fault with umpires Alwiene Sterk of The Netherlands and Emma Shelbourn of England. Another hotly contested PC went Australia’s way and Flanagan ripped a hard, low flick on the wrong side of the post.

The crowd went wild when Russell was repeatedly stick-checked on a remarkable 35-metre run and the cheer was immense when SA were awarded a PC, which the Aussie defence blocked.

The second half promised to be a humdinger - and did it deliver. Coston broke away on a 40-metre run through the middle and was awarded an ultimately fruitless PC that drew protests from the bench as the South African was still in control and about to take on the keeper.

There was another howl of anger at a PC awarded to Australia at the other end, and this time Flanagan went high to Mangisa’s stick-side (1-0).

With 16 left Lisa Deetlefs cracked a cross into the strike zone and Coetzee’s delicate touch almost evaded Wells in goal. Then Australia lost a player to the sin-bin and the roof almost blew off the stadium roof as Coetzee forced a PC - but Wells was on-song once again.

The crowd erupted in the 59th minute when SA equalised after Shelley Russell cracked a cross from the right and Jade Mayne flashed her shot past a helpless keeper into the back of the net (1-1).

Coetzee (twice) and Chamberlain came close in the last five minutes but it was not to be.

In the early match, The Netherlands beat England 4-1 after leading 2-1 at half-time. England's Sophie Bray opened the scoring before The Netherlands hit back with goals by Kitty van Male, Maartje Paumen (2) and Roos Drost.

Wednesday (Rest day)

Thursday: SA take on the might of The Netherlands at 8 pm, a mouth-watering clash that is preceded by England facing old enemy the Aussies at 6 pm.

SA Hockey Association media release



Hockeyroos & South Africa Draw a Heated Match

Flanagan delivers for the Hockeyroos


The Hockeyroos drew 1-all with world number 11 and hosts, South Africa in the second round match in the 2013 Investec Challenge at Harteyvale Stadium in Cape Town.

Scores were level nil-all at half time of the ill-tempered match. Umpires became the focus of attention after some questionable decisions and a controversial yellow card to Hockeyroo second gamer, Kirsten Johnson.

Drag flick specialist Anna Flanagan netted the Hockeyroos only goal for the match in the 51st minute through a high and direct bullet, past South Africa’s goal keeper Sanani Mangisa (1-0).

Scores were levelled (1-1) 8 minutes later when South African striker Jade Mayne deflected a powerful cross from Shelley Russell into the net.

Both teams peppered the goals in the last 15 minutes of the match to no avail. Excellent work in goals by Mangasi and Hockeyroo Ash Wells ensured the match would end 1-all.

Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens was satisfied with the hard fought draw. “We enjoyed some very good passages of play and put SA under immense pressure but were unable to convert this pressure into clean goal opportunities.”

“We are lacking some composure in the attacking circle and need to improve our rebounding to ensure our second shots go in,” Commens said.

Reliable defenders and drag flick specialists’ Anna Flanagan and Jodie Schulz have continued their exciting form in 2012, being named in the best players in the first two matches of the Investec Challenge.

Commens was pleased with outcome of the hard fought match, where many of his players were battling a stomach bug and missing Kellie White who sat out the match.

“Kellie will be back on pitch against England on Thursday after sitting tonight’s match out after some swelling to her recovered knee,” Commens said.

The Hockeyroos will play their final round match against world number 4, England on Thursday night.

“England has improved a lot since we played them in the practice match and we will need to tighten up our ball handling in the attacking 25 and look to control their counter attack well,” Commens said.

Hockeyroos 1 draw South Africa 1
Goals: Hockeyroos: Anna Flanagan (51m PC)
South Africa (59m FG)

Wednesday: (Rest day)
Thursday: Hockeyroos v England at 6pm followed by South Africa v Netherlands at 8pm. NB: All times are South African standard time (9 hours behind AEST)

INVESTEC CHALLENGE (SAST)
Mon, 4 Feb 6pm: Holland draw Australia (2-2)
Mon, 4 Feb 8pm: South Africa def England (4-1)
Tues, 5 Feb 6pm: Holland def England (4-1)
Tues, 5 Feb 8pm: South Africa draw Australia (1-1)
Thurs, 7 Feb 6pm: England vs. Australia
Thurs, 7 Feb 8pm: South Africa v s Holland
Sat, 9 Feb 3 pm: Semi-Final 1
Sat, 9 Feb 5 pm: Semi-Final 2
Sun, 10 Feb 3 pm: Bronze Medal Match
Sun, 10 Feb 5 pm: Gold Medal Match

Hockey Australia media release



England undone by Dutch

Sophie Bray strikes first but Olympic gold medalists fight back for victory


After a promising start to their second match of the Investec Challenge in Cape Town, England were beaten 4-1 by the Olympic Champions the Netherlands on Tuesday afternoon. Sophie Bray got England off to the best possible start against the Dutch with an excellent early goal but following a controversially disallowed second English strike, the girls in orange showed their class as goals from Kitty Van Male and Roos Drost sandwiched a penalty corner double from Netherlands’ captain Maartje Paumen.

Team leader Karen Brown admitted afterwards that the Dutch outshone England, saying: “They [the Netherlands] were better than us and at times we were hanging on a bit, particularly in the second half. There was a ten or 15 minute spell after half time where the Dutch were definitely on top and we struggled to regain a foothold.”

Bowdon Hightown goalkeeper Kirsty Mackay was handed her first start for England in the match. The 26 year old had previously made four appearances for Great Britain and has spent part of the past two years recovering from a back injury. Reading defender Sam Quek returned to the side having sat out Monday’s defeat to South Africa with a facial injury.

Bray, who plays her club hockey in the Netherlands for MOP, struck the first blow for England as she skilfully fired home on her reverse with just four minutes on the clock following a good interception in the midfield by Surbiton’s Sarah Haycroft. The goal was Bray’s first senior international goal. And it could have been even better for England when Dilly Newton looked to have doubled the lead seven minutes later. But having initially been awarded her penalty corner shot was disallowed following a protest from the Dutch who claimed the ball crossed the line too high from the straight strike.

Olympic gold medallist Kitty Van Male equalised just over ten minutes before half time for the Netherlands and moments later Dutch captain Maartje Paumen showed why she is widely regarded as one of the best penalty corner specialists in the world as she made it 2-1.

England struggled to cope with the pressing Dutch game early in the second half and fell further behind conceding two goals in as many minutes. Paumen’s second drag flick corner put her side in the driving seat before Roos Drost made it 4-1 in the 39th minute.

While England’s fresh-look side steadied the ship they could not find a way back into the match and so it finished 4-1.

Speaking afterwards, England team leader Karen Brown said despite the result, England’s new players had performed well. “Sophie Bray took her goal well today and while it was difficult for some of our more attacking players to get into the game, I thought Hollie Webb and Sarah Haycroft played well, while Steph Elliott put in a determined, gritty performance,” said Brown.

England now have a rest day before facing Australia in their final pool match on Thursday afternoon (16:00 GMT).

NETHERLANDS 4 (2)

Kitty Van Male 24 (F)               
Maartje Paumen 27,38 (PC, PC)           
Roos Drost 39 (F)                   

ENGLAND 1 (1)

Sophie Bray 4 (F)         

Investec Challenge Standings

 

P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Netherlands 2 1 1 0 6 3 3 4
South Africa 2 1 1 0 5 2 3 4
Australia 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
England 2 0 0 2 2 8 -6 0


England Hockey Board Media release



Argentina double up in Santiago

Final defeats for Chilean teams in the South American Championships



Argentina men, winners of the 2013 South American Championships (Photo: PAHF / Talia Vargas)

The men’s and women’s national teams of Argentina achieved an impressive double success at the weekend by winning their respective South American Championships without losing a match. Both teams overcame host nation Chile in the tournament finals, with Argentina’s men winning 4-3 while Las Leonas cruised to a 4-0 victory.

The men were pushed all the way by Chile, but goals from Lucas Vila, Lucas Rossi, Gonzalo Peillat and an own goal were enough for the top-ranked team to win the title. Lucas Vila finished as the tournament top scorer with an incredible tally of 15, ahead of team mates Guillermo Schickendantz (12) and Gonzalo Peillat (10).

Argentina’s women powered to victory in their final, with Giselle Juarez scoring twice in a 4-0 triumph. Las Leonas scored 48 goals and conceded just three in their six tournament matches, although the winner of the tournament top scorer went to Chile’s Paula Infante, who scored a total of 12. 

The South American Championship was played at the Stadium of the Catholic University in San Carlos de Apoquindo, Santiago, a venue that has a magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. Both the men’s and the women’s competitions featured Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The tournament was played in a Round Robin format, with the top two teams in the standings advancing to the Gold medal match while the 3rd and 4th ranked teams played-off for Bronze. With six matches a day over six days of intense competition, the fans were treated to a fantastic showing of top class hockey. 

There were many exciting moments as well as some surprising results, with the lower-ranked teams becoming more competitive as they gained experience as the tournament progressed.

More information about all of the action from ther South American Championships can be found on the below links (External Link: Pan American Hockey Federation).

South American Championships – Men

South American Championships - Women

FIH site



Shepherd selects Scotland squad for Italy warm-up and World League


Scotland's Vikki Bunce in action against USA at FIH Champions Challenge

Scotland Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd has named his squad of players for forthcoming warm-up matches against Italy and the important FIH World League Round 2 competition in Brazil.

The Scots travel to Rome for warm weather training and three non-capped friendly matches against Italy from 15-21 February, before flying to Rio for the FIH World League from 4-11 March.

Discussing the FIH World League Round 2, Scotland Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd said, “There is a bit of a split in the tournament, with three good teams and lower ranked teams. However, we have to treat every team with respect and if we do that, the weaker teams should be taken care of.

“For us, we need to finish in the top two and that means we probably need to beat Chile or America to qualify for World League Round 3. That’s our target.”

Great Britain U21 international Sarah Robertson misses out after picking up a knee injury in Australia. Following surgery on her shoulder after the FIH Champions Challenge in Dublin last year, Becky Merchant will also be unavailable.

“I am confident”, continued Shepherd. “We have an excellent group of players and the eighteen players selected should be good enough to qualify for Round 3.”

Scotland Women: Amy Gibson, Catriona Ralph, Holly Cram, Alison Howie, Susan McGilveray, Morag McLellan, Nicola Skrastin (all Milne Craig Clydesdale Western), Alison Bell, Linda Clement (c), Leigh Fawcett, Ailsa Wylie (all Grove Menzieshill), Nicola Cochrane, Sam Judge, Nikki Kidd (all Edinburgh University), Vikki Bunce (Dundee Wanderers), Kareena Marshall (Giffnock), Aileen Davies (Clifton HC), Nikki Lloyd (Seven Oaks HC).

(c) = captain.

Scotland vs. Italy Match Schedule


16 Feb 2013 11.00 Scotland vs. Italy

18 Feb 2013 11.00 Scotland vs. Italy

19 Feb 2013 10.30 Scotland vs. Italy

FIH World League Round 2, Rio, Brazil Match Schedule

4 Mar 2013 15.30 FIH World League - Scotland vs. Trinidad & Tobago

6 Mar 2013 15.30 FIH World League - Scotland vs. Brazil

7 Mar 2013 11.00 FIH World League - Scotland vs. USA

9 Mar 2013 15.30 FIH World League - Scotland vs. Uruguay

10 Mar 2013 11.00 FIH World League - Scotland vs. Chile

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Ireland miss out as FIH World League 3 hosts

The Irish Hockey Association(IHA) has recently narrowly missed out in a bid to bring both the Men's and Women's FIH World League 3 tournaments to Ireland in 2013.

The IHA engaged in lengthy discussions and submitted formal proposals for the hosting of the two major tournaments which would have seen elite International Hockey on Irish shores. The IHA worked around the clock over the Christmas period and early part of 2013 to try to secure the prestigious event for Ireland.

There was a very tight time frame for the FIH to make a decision on Ireland's bid due to deadlines which had to be met regarding travel arrangements for World League 2 in India & Spain if unsuccessful. Unfortunately the FIH, on this occasion,  chose other nations to host both events and as a result, Ireland will instead continue to compete at World League 2 later this month as originally scheduled.

There were a number of contributing factors to the IHA's desire to bring FIH World League 3 to Ireland including the opportunity for our National Teams to compete at the highest level, the promotion of the sport, the commercial opportunities for the IHA and importantly the financial implications of having both our Men's & Women's team qualify directly for this stage of the tournament, thus avoiding expensive trips to New Delhi, India and Valencia, Spain.

We were confident that the support and extremely proficient level of volunteerism seen during the Olympic Qualifiers from the Irish Hockey community, coupled with the work of our own professional staff would have ensured a hugely successful World League 3 tournament off the field as well as on it.

The IHA will continue to work hard to bring more elite competition to Ireland and ensure our teams have the best opportunities to compete at these levels.

Irish Hockey Association media release



Hockey receives 10K sponsorship

Arin Kumar



Founder and director of Consort Shipping Line Ltd Leo Smith, third left, hands over the cheque to Fiji Hockey Federation as coach Hector Smith, left, Consort Shipping manager finance and corporate officer Adrial Prasad, second left and Fiji Men's Hockey manager look on.


THE Fiji Hockey Federation received a boost as they prepare to send the national men's and women's side to Round 2 of the FIH (International Hockey Federation) World League in India.

Consort Shipping Line Ltd yesterday gave FHF a cheque for $10,000 to the men's team and one key member of the team.

National men's coach Hector Smith is employed as the fleet superintendent at the shipping company and the sponsorship will cover his $3200 that is required to travel to India for the event.

Founder and director of Consort Shipping Leo Smith said he was happy to contribute towards the success of Fiji hockey.

"For a minor sport to get support, they must prove themselves and our national hockey side did just that by qualifying for Round 2 of the World League," he said.

"I hope in the future this sport gets more exposure and the recognition it deserves."

Men's team manager Sainimili Smith thanked Leo for his assistance and said the gesture was highly appreciated. FHF president Dr Robin Mitchell said the sponsorship was a big boost for the side as they prepared to depart on February 14. "It's been a long hard road for team and gestures like these really warm out hearts," he said.

The national side, ranked 71 in the world, is pooled with hosts India (11th), China (18th), Ireland (15th), Bangladesh (40th) and Azerbaijan (38th).

The tournament will be played in New Delhi from February 18 to 24.

Fiji Times



Sardar Singh to lead India in Hockey World League

NEW DELHI: Sardar Singh will lead India's 18-man squad Hockey India in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be played at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from February 18-24.

Hockey India selector Syed Ali, chief coach Michael Nobbs and exercise physiologist Jason Konrath along with government observer Harbinder Singh selected the team and six standbys on the basis of their performance in the ongoing Hockey India League.

VR Raghunath has been named the vice-captain of the team.

The preparatory camp for the event will start from February 11.

Hosts India (FIH World Ranking 11) will play against Ireland (15), China (18), Oman (36), Bangladesh (40) and Fiji (71) in the round-robin tournament.

India will open their campaign against Fiji February 18 followed by matches against Oman (February 20), Ireland (February 21), China (February 23) and Bangladesh (February 24). All India matches will be played under lights.

The tournament is part of the qualification league for the Hockey World Cup 2014 to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.

The squad:

Goal Keepers: PR Sreejesh, PT Rao.

Fullbacks: VR Raghunath, Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh.

Half backs: Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Sardar Singh (Captain), Gurjinder Singh.

Forwards: Danish Mujtaba, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malik Singh, SV Sunil, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi.

Reserves: Sushant Tirkey (Goalkeeper), Sandeep Singh (Fullback), MB Aiyappa (Halfback), Gurmail Singh (Halfback), Akashdeep Singh (Forward), Imran Khan (Forward).

The Times of India



Gurjinder in Indian team


A file photo of Indian striker Sandeep Singh, who has been omitted from the squad for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be held in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

Drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh, who was named the player of the tournament in last year’s World Series Hockey (WSH), was on Tuesday named in the 18-member Indian team for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be held at the National Stadium here from February 18 to 24.

Gurjinder, who gave a string of fabulous performances last year, was drafted into the team in the place of half-back Gurmail Singh.

“Gurjinder performed extraordinarily in the National senior and junior championships. He also did well in top domestic events like Nehru and Shastri tournaments,” said Harbinder Singh, the Government observer in the selection panel. “Since I performed well in every tournament, I was hopeful of making it to the Indian team. For the last one month I have been training with the Indian Oil side (in Chennai) for the inter-departmental tournament. I am fully fit and looking forward to join the squad,” said Gurjinder.

Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh and Chinglensana Singh replaced S.K. Uthappa, Yuvraj Walmiki and Akashdeep Singh respectively in the forwardline.

“This is part of the rotational policy to test all the youngsters and build a strong squad for the Junior World Cup to be held here in December next.

“Some of the players who have been doing well in the Hockey India League (HIL) have been given the chance,” said Harbinder.

The preparatory camp for the World League, the qualifying event for next year’s World Cup at The Hague (The Netherlands), will start at the National Stadium here from Feb. 11.

India, ranked 11th in the world, will be joined by Ireland (15), China (18), Oman (36), Bangladesh (40) and Fiji (71) in the event.

India will open its campaign against Fiji on Feb. 18 before meeting Oman (Feb. 20), Ireland (Feb. 21), China (Feb. 23) and Bangladesh (Feb. 24).

The team: Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, P.T. Rao; Defenders: V.R. Raghunath (vice-captain), Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh; Midfielders: Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Sardar Singh (captain), Gurjinder Singh; Forwards: Danish Mujtaba, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh, S.V. Sunil, Chinglensana Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi. Standbys: Sushant Tirkey (goalkeeper), Sandeep Singh (defender), M.B. Aiyappa, Gurmail Singh (midfielders), Akashdeep Singh, Imran Khan (forwards).

The Hindu



Mandeep and Malak in the home team for the Hockey World League team

NEW DELHI - Junior internationals Mandeep Singh and Malak Singh have been included in the Senior Men's team for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be played at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi from 18-24 February.

The 18 member squad will be captained by Sardar Singh while VR Raghunath will be the Vice - Captain.

Mandeep Singh with 8 goals and Malak Singh, who has been doing excellently for Punjab Warriors, have thus get instant recognition.

The camp for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 will start at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in New Delhi from 11 February 2013 and will continue till the commencement of the tournament.

In the men’s category, the hosts India (FIH World Ranking 11) are joined in the round-robin event by Ireland (15), China (18), Oman (36), Bangladesh (40) and Fiji (71).

Indian men team will open their campaign against Fiji on 18 February followed by match against Oman (20 Feb), Ireland (21 Feb), China (23 Feb) and Bangladesh (24 Feb).

All India matches will be played under flood lights.

This tournament is a part of the qualification league for the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup 2014 to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.

GOAL KEEPERS 1. PR Sreejesh 2. PT Rao

FULLBACKS 3. VR Raghunath (Vice - Captain) 4. Rupinderpal Singh 5. Harbir Singh

HALF BACKS 6. Birendra Lakra 7. Manpreet Singh 8. Kothajit Singh Khadangbam 9. Sardar Singh (Captain) 10. Gurjinder Singh

FORWARDS 11. Danish Mujtaba 12. Nithin Thimmaiah 13. Mandeep Singh 14. Malak Singh 15. SV Sunil 16. Chinglensana Singh Kangujam 17. Dharamvir Singh 18. Gurvinder Singh Chandi

STANDBYS 1. Sushant Tirkey (Goalkeeper) 2. Sandeep Singh (Fullback) 3. MB Aiyappa (Halfback) 4. Gurmail Singh (Halfback) 5. Akashdeep Singh (Forward) 6. Imran Khan (Forward)

Stick2Hockey.com



Sandeep left out of Indian hockey squad for World League round 2

NEW DELHI: Despite his goal-scoring spree in the ongoing Hockey India League, ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh continues to remain on the sidelines as India made four changes in their squad for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be held here from February 18 to 24.

Sandeep, who is the highest goal-scorer in the HIL so far with 11 goals, failed to earn a place in the 18-member Indian team to be captained by inspirational Sardar Singh in the upcoming tournament to be held at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here.

Sandeep, instead, has been picked as one of the six stand-by players by Hockey India selector Syed Ali, chief coach Michael Nobbs and Government observer Harbinder Singh, who selected team on the basis of their recent performance in HIL, according to a HI statement.

Drag-flick specialist V R Raghunath will continue to be Sardar's deputy in the team announced today.

The four players to have been left out of the squad are half-back Gurmail Singh and forwards S K Uthappa, Akashdeep Singh and Yuvraj Walmiki who all were part of India's runners-up campaign in the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha in December last year.

Player-of-the-tournament in last year's Hockey India National Championship in Bangalore, Gurjinder Singh, Malak Singh, Mandeep Singh and Chinglensana Singh Kangujam have been drafted into the squad for the Hockey World League Round 2, which is a part of the qualification process for the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup 2014 to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.

India's preparatory camp for the Hockey World League Round 2 will start at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium here from February 11, a day after the conclusion of HIL.

Apart from hosts India (FIH World Ranking 11), the other teams participating in the men's competition are Ireland (15), China (18), Oman (36), Bangladesh (40) and Fiji (71).

The Indian men's team will open their campaign against Fiji on February 18 followed by matches against Oman (Feb 20), Ireland (Feb 21), China (Feb 23) and Bangladesh (Feb 24).

The Squad: Goal-keepers: PR Sreejesh, PT Rao. Fullbacks: V R Raghunath (vice-captain), Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh.

Halfbacks: Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Sardar Singh (captain), Gurjinder Singh.

Forwards: Danish Mujtaba, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malik Singh, S V Sunil, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi.

Stand-byes: Sushant Tirkey (Goal-keeper), Sandeep Singh (Fullback), MB Aiyappa (Halfback), Gurmail Singh (Halfback), Akashdeep Singh (Forward), Imran Khan (Forward).

The Times of India



Mujtaba named captain for Azlan Shah

Experienced forward Danish Mujtaba was on Wednesday named captain of the Indian hockey team for the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Invitational Tournament even as senior drag-flicker Sandeep Singh was relegated to the standbys list for the March 6 to 17 event in Malaysia.

Hockey India selector Syed Ali, coach Michael Nobbs and exercise physiologist Jason Konrath along with government observer Harbinder Singh selected the list of 18 players with eight standbys on the basis of their recent performance in the ongoing Hockey India League.

Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh will be the vice-captain of the squad, which has eight forwards, five midfielders and three defenders.

The Hindu



Sandeep snubbed for Azlan Shah Cup as well

NEW DELHI: There was no place for Hockey India League (HIL) leading scorer Sandeep Singh in the 18-member India squad for the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Invitational Tournament to be held in Malaysia March 6-17.

Hockey India (HI) picked the squad Wednesday on the basis of the performance of the players in the HIL sending a strong signal to Sandeep to reassess his international career.

Sandeep, who was a marquee player of the league, was also struggling to get a team but Mumbai Magicians bought him for a base price of $27,800.

Sandeep was also overlooked for the 18-member squad for the Hockey World League Round 2 that was picked Tuesday and was put as a stand-by. For the Azlan Shah Cup also Sandeep's name features among the stand-bys. Sandeep has been out of the national squad since India's hockey debacle at the London Olympics.

The team was picked by HI selector Syed Ali, chief coach Michael Nobbs and exercise physiologist Jason Konrath along with government observer Harbinder Singh.

The team will be led by forward Danish Mujtaba while Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh will be the vice-captain.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: P.R.Sreejesh (vice-captain), Sushant Tirkey

Fullbacks: Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh, Gurjinder Singh

Half-backs: Amit Rohidas, Gurmail Singh, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, M.B.Aiyappa

Forwards: Danish Mujtaba (Capt.), Nithin Thimmaiah, Satbir Singh, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi

Standbys: Keshav Dutt (goalkeeper), Sandeep Singh (defender), Pardeep Mor (midfielder), Surender Kumar (midfielder), Malak Singh (forward), Imran Khan (forward), Amon Mirash Tirkey (forward), Siddarth Shanker (forward).

The Times of India



Ritu Rani to lead Indian women in Hockey World League Round 2

NEW DELHI: Mid-fielder Ritu Rani will lead an 18-member Indian women's team in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here from February 18 to 24.

The team was handpicked today following a selection trial at Netaji Subash National Institute of Sports in Patiala on January 19, which was witnessed by Hockey India selectors Balbir Singh, Surinder Kaur, Government observer Harbinder Singh and chief coach Neil Hawgood.

Chanchan Devi has been named as the vice-captain of the team, according to a HI statement.

Keeping in mind the preparations for the tournament, the Indian women have already started their training camp from January 4 and it will continue till the commencement of the event, which is a part of the qualification process for the FIH Women's World Cup 2014 to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.

Apart from India (FIH World Ranking 12), other participating nations in the six-team tournament are Japan (9), Russia (20), Malaysia (22), Kazakhstan (33) and Fiji (59).

The Indian women will open their campaign against Kazakhstan on February 18, followed by matches against Malaysia (Feb 19), Fiji (Feb 21), Japan (Feb 22) and Russia (Feb 24).

Squad: Goal-keepers: Yogita Bali, Savita. Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Jaspreet Kaur, Joydeep Kaur, Kirandeep Kaur.

Midfielders: Ritu Rani (captain), Chanchan Devi (vice-captain), Namita Toppo, Vandana Katariya, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Lily Chanu Mayengbam.

Forwards: Poonam Rani, Soundarya Yendala, Anupa Barla, Rani, Navjot Kaur, Lilima Minz.

The Times of India



It’s time Indian officials worked for sport: Negre

Deepankar Sharda



FIH President, Leandro Negre

“KPS Gill is a hard man to convince!” This may not be a surprise for most of us, but for Leandro Negre, president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), it was a real shock. In his efforts to resolve the tussle between Hockey India and India Hockey Federation, the former European Hockey Federation president found Gill a hard nut to crack.

“Indian hockey is surrounded with dark clouds of ego and politics. The country has the world’s best talent with all modern facilities. But the approach is negative. I have met Gill several times, talking only about hockey, but sorry to say, no solution came out,” said Negre.

“It’s good to govern for several years but how long more? Everyone needs to move on, hand over responsibility to the younger generation. I will also do the same. The mentality should be to not be stuck to one thing. Otherwise the sport will suffer,” he went on.

Over International Olympic committee’s ban on the Indian Olympic Association, he added, “It’s unfortunate that a nation like India is suffering such a setback. Nevertheless, doors are not closed . The nation should come to a consensus to order to promote sports. Officials should work for promoting sport, rather than demoting it.”

“I have been with many officials and I advise them to stop involving politics in sport. Games are among pure institutions of a nation, they provide opportunities to youngsters... They are the best way to earn money, they provide a platform for unity and showing a nation’s strength. It should not be destroyed for personal reasons or egos. If we have got a chance to polish our nation’s future, we should perform it in a wise way. Shortcomings do occur, but one needs to face and overcome them,” said Negre.

On the ongoing Hockey India League, he said: “It’s turning out to be a good event. In the next edition I will request the organisers to add more teams, to open doors to youngsters. I believe the upcoming World Hockey League will be a great boost for Indian hockey,” said Negre.

“We want India to host the Champions Trophy, World Cup matches, international events but all we need is clear hearts,” he said. “Politics, egos and unwanted interferences should be kept aside. I want hockey to be popular like cricket here!”

Delhi beat Punjab

Meanwhile, the Delhi Waveriders inflicted a 3-2 defeat on Punjab Warriors today. Delhi scored early through Rupinder Pal Singh off a penalty-corner, and Dutchman Tim Jenniskens doubled the lead in the 11th minute. Punjab got one back through Malak Singh in the 18th minute, but Lloyd Jones Norris scored for Delhi, who lead 3-1 at half-time.

The home team played erratic hockey, missing several chances, including four penalty-corners. Chirstopher Ciriello finally the team’s sixth penalty-corner in the dying minutes of the game.

The Tribune



Wizards grab the last semifinal slot

s2h team


Struggling Uttar Pradesh Wizards grabbed the last semifinal slot, by narrowly defeating Mumbai Magicians 1-0 in Mumbai. Earlier in the first match, Delhi again stamped its authority on the game against the home team Punjab and took early 3-0 lead before ending the match at 3-2.

Punjab has played its full quota of 12 matches.

Ranchi Rhinos, which is second in the points table make up the semifinal line up.

Only after other two matches, the exact semifinal line up will be known.

Despite Joren Hertzberger missing a stroke -- his push hit the right post -- Wizards hung on to the slender one goal lead struck by Luke Doerner, to frustrate home team Mumbai of any slender chance of bouncing back to the tournament.

Mumbai started well earning a penalty corner in the very first minute, but Sandeep Singh was no match to in-form goalie Bezelley. Mumbai got another PC only in the dying moments, where Harbir Sandhu charged him out.

See the points table for further information

Tomorrow is rest day for HIL. Delhi will play UPW at Delhi on Thursday while RR will take on Mumbai Magicians, the 30th and last match.

Stick2Hockey.com



It’s curtains for Magicians

By Taus Rizvi


It’s all over for the Mumbai Magicians in the inaugural edition of the Hockey India League.

In a do-or-die tie at the MHAL Stadium on Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh Wizards demolished a slender chance of the hosts making the knock-out stage by edging Mumbai out with a narrow 1-0 margin.

UP, with 27 points, became the fourth team along with Delhi Wave Riders, Ranchi Rhinos and Jaypee Punjab Warriors to enter the semifinals. Defender Luke Doerner’s drag flick in the 33rd minute was the solitary goal of the match.

It’s been an embarrassing performance from the Magicians throughout the league, recording just one win in 11 matches.Desperate for a win in this game, Magicians failed to take the initiative. Although they defended well – courtesy goalkeeper P Shreejesh – the brilliant penalty corner strike by Doerner put the Wizards ahead.

UP then dominated the proceedings, giving no room for the Mumbai forwards to sneak in. In fact, they managed to earn six penalty corners but converted only one.
Mumbai, on the other hand, struggled to get penalty corners and let go of the few opportunities they got.

Stopwatch: UP Wizards 1 (L Doerner 33rd) bt Mumbai Magicians 0;
Delhi Wave Riders 3 (R Pal Singh 7th, O Deecke 11th, L Jones 23rd) bt Jaypee Punjab Warriors 2 (D Singh 17th, C Ciriello 70th)

DNA



Wizards knock out Magicians from HIL semifinal race

MUMBAI: Struggling Mumbai Magicians slumped to their 10th defeat in eleven games when they lost 0-1 to Uttar Pradesh Wizards in a must-win game of the Hockey India League at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium on Tuesday.

Magicians, kept alive in the tournament by the rule that a loss by a margin of less than two goals would still earn a point, could not be rescued from elimination despite earning another point.

Wizards, thus, took the fourth remaining semifinal spot in the five-team tournament with their fourth win in 11 games for a tally of 27.

The Wizards have one more game in hand against Delhi Waveriders and a win there will push them to third position in the league standings ahead of Punjab Warriors who have ended their round robin engagements with 29 points to their credit.

The Magicians have another game in hand, against Ranchi Rhinos on February 7, but with only 15 points in their kitty, including one they earned on Tuesday, they are already out of the semifinal running.

In the must-win game, Magicians showed intent only in the opening quarter before fading away against their determined set of rivals.

Wizards even wasted a penalty stroke awarded to them, but emerged on top on the back of a cleverly taken penalty corner goal by veteran Australian Luke Doerner in the second quarter.

In a fast-paced first quarter with lot of midfield play, the Magicians forced a penalty corner in the very first minute but their drag-flick king Sandeep Singh was foiled when a defender deflected his shot for a long corner.

Then came a period when both the teams went on attack and counter-attack with their best chance to score coming late in the first quarter.

A superb Magicians move initiated by the ebullient Satbir and Chinglensana Singh down the left side saw the return pass from the latter hit his teammate on the knee as he was waiting to deflect the ball in.

At the other end the tall Nitin Thimmaiah, who showed a good pair of heels to his rivals, took charge of a stray ball and honed in towards the rival goal but while trying to go round P R Sreejesh under the Magicians bar faltered.

The Wizards earned their first penalty corner very early in the second quarter. Sreejesh saved a good try from rival captain V Raghunath with his foot and then cleared it for a corner with his stick.

The Magicians' Suresh Toppo twice broke into the 'D' with his fast approach from the left before losing possession of the ball.

At the other end, the Wizards forced their second short corner and took the lead through a clever variation when Raghunath sold a dummy and passed the ball to the left for veteran Australian Luke Doerner to sound the board, just before the end of the first half of play.

The sides crossed over with the Wizards up 1-0. Wizards' earned their third penalty corner award early in the second half that led to a penalty stroke when defender Joel Carroll stopped Thimmaiah's goal bound scoop with his body off a penalty corner award.

The woodwork came to the rescue of the Magicians when Wizards' Jeroen Hertzberger's flick from the 'spot' hit the right upright to deny the visitors' their second goal.

Wizards' Harbir Sandhu was also sent off briefly for foul play following a raid by the Magicians, but it made no difference as Magicians continued to flounder deep inside the rival area and the score remained 1-0 in favour of the Wizards at the end of the penultimate quarter.

Magicians tried vainly in the final quarter to get the elusive goal and nearly succeeded, but front-liner Glenn Turner missed the far post narrowly from close off a move from the right.

With less than two minutes remaining, the Magicians earned their second short corner award but again Sandeep Singh could not score for the second time in the game.

The Times of India



Punjab Warriors lose against Delhi Waveriders 2-3 in HIL

JALANDHAR: Jaypee Punjab Warriors ended the league phase on a disappointing note, being beaten 2-3 by Delhi Waveriders at their home ground in the inaugural Hero Hockey India League, on Tuesday.

Warriors, who have already sealed their place in the semifinals, lost their second home game in two days.

For Waveriders, yet to be beaten in the tournament, Rupinder Pal Singh scored with a drag flick, before Oscar Deecke and Lloyd Norris-Jones scored a goal each at the Surjit Singh stadium.

With both teams having already booked their place in the semis, the game was expected to be played at good pace, and that's what happened at the start.

After both teams made one attack each, Delhi Waveriders earned a penalty corner in the seventh minute, as Simon Child launched the move and Danish Mujtaba's push hit a Warriors' defender.

Rupinder completely bamboozled Warriors goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann with his drag flick, as the Dutchman went to his left, while the ball went right in the centre of the goalpost.

Warriors could have equalised a couple of minutes later, as first SV Sunil missed a sitter, and then Ciriello's drag flick was intercepted by the charger.

Waveriders made Warriors pay for that in the 11th minute, by increasing their lead to two goals. Danish was once again involved as he set up Oskar Deecke, and the German smacked a shot that went to the right of Warriors' goalie into the net.

Warriors managed to pull one back in the last minute of the first quarter, as Dharamveer Singh's cross from the right flank was deflected in by Malak Singh.

Five minutes into the second quarter, Lloyd Norris Jones scored to restore Waveriders' two-goal lead. Collecting ball from left, Norris-Jones hammered a reverse hit past the Warriors' goalkeeper.

There was more danger for the hosts in the 34th minute, as Norris-Jones made a brilliant solo move. Collecting ball from half-line, Norris-Jones went alone, beat a couple of defenders, before his final shot was blocked by the Warriors' goalie.

Warriors got back-to-back penalty corners in the third quarter, but were denied by the rock solid goalie of Waveriders, Nicolas Jacobi. Jacobi took the first one on his body, saved second one with his left leg, and then dived to his right to save the rebound that had gone to a Warriors' player.

Five minutes later, it was the turn of Bharat Chetri, who had replaced Stockmann in the Warriors' goal, to face a penalty corner. And Chetri was equal to the task, taking Rupinder's drag flick on his body.

In the final quarter, Dharamveer completely failed to connect on a parallel pass in front of an open goal. Dharamveer threw his stick to the ground in disgust, which told the story.

There was still enough time for the hosts to earn another penalty corner. This time it was the turn of Rob Hammond to take the drag flick, but the end result was no different. Jacobi dived to his right to stop the ball, and then the ball was hit out of the danger area.

The hosts got a consolation goal in the last minute, as they got their act on a penalty corner right finally. Christopher Ciriello's drag flick went low to the right of Jacobi, as Warriors managed to reduce the losing margin.

Result: Delhi Waveriders 3 (Rupinder Pal Singh 7, Oskar Deecke 11, Lloyd Norris-Jones 23) bt Jaypee Punjab Warriors 2 (Dharamveer Singh 17, Christopher Ciriello 70) HERO Goal of the Day: Oskar Deecke Man-of-the-Match: Rupinder Pal Singh.

The Times of India



Coach Olmans feels UP needs to improve conversion rate

By Sudheendra Tripathi


MUMBAI: Uttar Pradesh needed a win, but Mumbai Magicians need the win desperately. But as it turned out, Uttar Pradesh sailed into the last four by the virtue of their solitary-goal win against the hosts at Churchgate's Mahindra Stadium on Tuesday night.

Luke Doerner gave UP the lead after slotting home with a beautiful short corner variation two minutes before half time. But UP could have doubled their lead after the change of ends when they were awarded a stroke. But UP's German recruit, Jerone Hertzberger, who was nominated to do the honours, found the upright instead.

Hertzberger was not the culprit alone for UP on the night. According to coach Roelant Oltmans, the entire forward line let the team down when it came to converting half chances into goals.

"We had many chances but we missed them, and that is where we have to improve. We didn't give away much and our defence was strong, that was the best part. I'm happy to be in the semis and looking forward to play tough with our competitors," Oltmans said at the in a post-match interaction on Tuesday night.

On the other hand, Mumbai Magicians coach Ric Charlesworth expressed his disappointment.

"I am really disappointed. We got a good start and we were pretty much in control but we did not finish well. That's the game of hockey I guess," he said.

The Times of India



Charlesworth, Oltmans sing different tunes about HIL

MUMBAI: They are a part of it but renowned coaches, Ric Charlesworth and Roelant Oltmans, differ about Hockey India League's benefits in the struggling host country which finished 12th at the London Olympic Games.

Four-time Olympian and former Australia skipper Charlesworth, the coach of the fifth-placed Mumbai Magicians, is not sure whether it would help Indian hockey as HIL.

"I don't know. It's hard to say. The young players would get experience, but this is not like international hockey," said Charlesworth who guided the Australian men's team to the titles in the 2010 World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games.

On the other hand, his counterpart with the Uttar Pradesh Wizards, celebrated Dutch coach Oltmans, sung praises about the $two million prize money league saying it would certainly uplift Indian hockey.

"One of the reasons for this league is for the improvement of Indian hockey. I am not saying too much about it, as you know, until after the league when I will face my new job (as technical director of the Indian men's team).

"The players will learn a lot and that's very important for the future of Indian hockey," said the 58-year-old Oltmans, who was the coach when the Netherlands won the men's hockey gold in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

"Everyone in India should be really proud about this fantastic league. These matches are really of international standards and that is really good for everyone.

"(In HIL) Young players are playing with top players - every team has top players...Indians as well as foreigners - and I think it's tough. We have made 22 journeys, 22 flights.

"We (would) have 14 matches in 4 and half weeks, so you can imagine what that means. Still these players are able to put up a performance like this today, I am proud of them," said Oltmans after his side knocked out the Magicians with a 1-0 margin of victory.

On Tuesday, Charlesworth, while saying that HIL cannot be replicated in any other country, suggested a southern hemisphere league involving teams from sub-continental rivals India, Pakistan, besides fellow-Asian country Malaysia along with Australia and New Zealand.

"I don't think it can be like this. Other countries have their own leagues. I would like to see a southern Australian league - India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand - or the Indian Ocean league, if you like to call it, with international teams or a couple of teams from each (of these) countries. That's an interesting prospect," Charlesworth said.

"But I don't think you would get a league like this (HIL) anywhere else. I think India is a unique environment with its capacity to support something like this. In our country there are other games much bigger than this (hockey). We will get drowned out by them," added the Australian, who had coached his country's women's outfit successfully in two World Cups and as many gold medals in the Olympics.

His team member and countryman Mathew Swann agreed. "I do agree (with the concept of the five-nation league), in lifting the standard of hockey in the southern hemisphere," said Swann.

Talking about his team's dismal show which saw it lose 10 out of 11 games played so far to get knocked out of the semifinal reckoning, Charlesworth said his top strikers Glenn Turner and Saari Faisal have not delivered which was hugely disappointing.

"We scored 20 goals and 16 of them have been corners. It's clear we haven't finished well up front. We have two very good strikers (Glenn) Turner and (Saari) Faisal, international goal scorers, who haven't scored any goals yet. That's disappointing and at the other end I don't think we have played as well as we could.

Summing up further he said, "We have had 30 goals scored against us, 20 of them in my opinion were savable. We haven't done well in that area, that's something which is disappointing."

"I am not relieved (that it has ended), but a little disappointed. We have not played well enough, that's pretty clear. We got a good start, made a save on the line. We were pretty much in control for a lot of the game but they got a corner against one of our players and scored. That was sloppy," he added about yesterday's 0-1 loss to the Wizards.

Oltmans was pleased that his team won but felt they should have scored more goals.

"In today's match there was only one team that deserved to win. The only (disappointing) thing is so far we don't close the game early enough. Today, we had enough chances to score may be 2-3-4 goals even but we missed a penalty stroke, missed some corners and a few real good open chances. We have to improve."

"The good thing is we did not give away so much. We conceded only two penalty corners one in the first minute and one in the last. In between, our defense was very well organised. We knew we had to at least draw but we came here to win and get at least 5 points. There are some areas we have to improve," Oltmans said.

Looking ahead he said, "We have a couple of days now. Saturday (semis at Ranchi) is the next important match, we have a match on Thursday (last league game against Delhi Waveriders), I know that, but the real important one is on Saturday. Our results have been up and down. I am happy to be in the semis and we are looking forward to play any team. We know it's a tough competition and teams are very close

Talking about his team's overall display, Oltmans insisted that executing plans was important rather than focusing on end results.

"It's about the process leading to performance. I keep telling players... don't think about the result but only about the plan and its execution and stick to that whatever happens in the game.

"That's a learning process for them because sometimes when you are 1-0 down with five-six minutes left, they lose their heads and we are 2-0 down. You have enough time to change things (when down 1-0) and that's what you have to learn.

"I am also curious to see if we are unable to perform at a consistent level. I would like to see improvement in the goal scoring area as we could have scored four goals though we scored one at the beginning of the game."

Oltmans said the strikers need to be extra sharp in the league as the teams have some excellent goalkeepers.

"The opponents have some really good goalies as well, (Japp) Stockmann in Punjab (Warriors), (Nicholas) Jacobi (Delhi Waveriders), he is a really good goalkeeper, so when you get your chances you really need to be like a knife in the deep.

He praised Indian youngsters Pradeep Mor and Harbir Singh as ones who have shown a lot of improvement.

"From our team, Pradeep Mor has taken huge steps and difficult for him as he doesn't speak English I use Tushar Khandekar as translator. Harbir Singh who has showed in every match he can play at different positions, has really great potential from my point of view."

Defending the strange rule that even a loss could get a team a point if the defeat is not by more than two goals, Oltmans said this helped sustain interest till the last phase of the round robin.

"Till the 11th game all teams had a chance which was important for spectators and TV viewers. Obviously, there would be discussions after the league," he said.

The Times of India



Tickets for HIL semis, final sold out

NEW DELHI: The inaugural Hockey India League (HIL) seems to be a huge hit with citizens of Ranchi as tickets for the semifinals and final, to be held in the Jharkhand capital on February 9 and 10, have already been sold out, the organisers said.

The Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi, the home base for HIL franchise Ranchi Rhinos, has a capacity of approximately 5000 and the organisers said that the consequential last three games are already sold out and there is a huge demand for more tickets among the hockey-crazy locals.

"There is still four days left but tickets for the semifinals and final have been sold out well in advance. We have closed our counters at the ground. Those who have purchased tickets through www.ticketgenie.com, however, can collect their tickets from the ground," Hockey India secretary general and HIL chairman Narinder Batra said.

"It is great for the game of hockey in India. It shows the craze for hockey among Indian masses. I am happy that HIL has been a huge success in its inaugural year. It augurs well for the game in the country," he added.

While the two semifinals of HIL will be held on February 9, the third-fourth place play-off game and the title clash will be held a day later on February 10.

The Times of India



Give astro turf to train winning hockey players

By C P Sajit


COIMBATORE: It has been a long-pending dream for city hockey players to have an astro-turf stadium where they can develop their skills and represent their state or the nation. But despite the promise of funding by the government, the much-awaited stadium still remains a dream due to want of space.

Coimbatore district has produced some of the finest hockey players, who have represented the state and the country in various tournaments. While in the late 70's Balasundaram, K Shanmugham and Shivanadan made a mark at the national and international level, several other were part of the state and university teams. Recently, Adam Sinclair was part of the Olympics team while N Senthil Kumar was part of the junior world cup.

However, as the gravel surface gave way to astro turf, the game has become more competitive. "Lack of such turfs in Coimbatore leave young budding players behind their competition," said P Senthil Raj Kumar, secretary, Coimbatore District Hockey Association. "If our youth are to compete on a level playing field, then they need to practice on astro turf," he added.

Coimbatore corporation had proposed a hockey field with synthetic track at R S Puram Boys' Higher Secondary School at a cost of Rs 6 crore, but no steps have been taken so far towards this end. "While Madurai, Trichy, Tirunelveli and Chennai are able to get an astro turf and the work has begun, Coimbatore is yet to get one because of want of a proper ground," says Senthil Kumar, who was part of the junior world cup team.

Recently, Satchidananda Jothi Nikethan School near Mettupalayam was identified as the center of excellence for hockey in the state by the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu. "The school has so far produced more than 200 players, who represented the state at various levels and won tournaments in various parts of country," says Raj Kumar.

R Ramakrishnan, hockey coach, Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu says, despite the odds, players from the district have come out with flying colours. "About 20 players from the district represent the state in various age categories. Eight girls from CSI Girls Higher Secondary School represent the state teams at various levels," he said. However, all that these girls have is a small piece of land to practice their game.

"If the nation wants hockey to get more prominence as a national game, facilities for the players should also be enhanced," Ramakrishnan said. Lack of practice on astro-turf during the initial years has often been quoted as one of the major problems that Indian players face vis-a-vis European players. S Sivarasu, deputy commissioner, Coimbatore Corporation, said, the proposal has been sent to the government and it would be sanctioned this financial year.

The Times of India



Indoor champs target outdoor success


East Grinstead

AFTER being crowned champions in the Men’s Maxifuel Super Sixes Championship last month, East Grinstead are aiming to transfer their good form into the outdoor league, starting on Sunday.

The Sussex side travel to Brooklands Manchester University in the Premier Division, and will be aiming to kick-start the second half of the season with a victory and climb up the table.

They are currently fifth in the division after suffering from injuries and unavailability, but manager Matt Jones remains optimistic: “We’re still looking to win the Championship, there’s no question about that.

“We’re only two points away from a play-off spot, and once we’re in there anything can happen. As long as we’re in the hunt you should never write us off.”

Their indoor side was boosted by the signing of Czech national team goalkeeper Filip Neusser, and they have boosted their outdoor squad this week with the capture of Surbiton captain Tim Deakin.

But they are still missing GB Olympic ace Ashley Jackson who is playing in India, while injury still rules out his fellow GB Olympian Iain Lewers (knee) as well as Mark Gleghorne (shoulder) and Luke Taylor (knee).

Elsewhere, leaders Beeston entertain Hampstead and Westminster and will be looking to keep their superb pre-Christmas run going, putting behind them last weekend’s cup defeat to the same opponents.

Second-placed Canterbury go to Loughborough Students, while Cannock visit Reading in the hope of closing the gap on the top two. Meanwhile, Surbiton play host to Southgate.

In the Conference East, leaders Holcombe are at home against Cambridge City, while second-placed Wimbledon go to Richmond.

Bowdon are top of the Conference North, and they entertain Wakefield, while Sheffield Hallam will be aiming to overtake them when they go to Khalsa (Warks).

And in the Conference West Cardiff & UWIC will be aiming to maintain top spot with a match at the University of Birmingham, while Guildford could overtake them with victory over Cheltenham.

Tickets for the end of season playoffs on 13-14 April are on sale now. Find out more and book via www.englandhockey.co.uk/leaguefinals

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, February 10 2013)

Premier Division

Beeston v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00
Brooklands MU v East Grinstead 14:00
Loughborough Students v Canterbury 14:00
Reading v Cannock 14:00
Surbiton v Southgate 14:00

Conference East
City of Peterborough v Old Loughtonians 13:00
Richmond v Wimbledon 13:30
Holcombe v Cambridge City 14:00
Indian Gymkhana v Oxted 14:00
Teddington v Bromley & Beckenham 14:00

Conference North
Olton & West Warwicks v Preston 13:30
Bowdon v Wakefield 14:00
Doncaster v Univ of Durham 14:00
Leek v Belper 14:00
Khalsa (Warks) v Sheffield Hallam 14:30

Conference West
Guildford v Cheltenham 12:00
Univ of Birmingham v Cardiff & UWIC 12:30
Univ of Exeter v Fareham 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Havant 13:00
Whitchurch v Bristol Firebrands 13:00

England Hockey Board Media release



Thunderbolt skipper wants to go out with a bang

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt skipper Amir Zulkarnain Ahmad Robangi wants to end his playing days in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in style.

The 19-year-old has been playing for Thunderbolt for the last five years and he is not eligible to play in the Under-19 league next season. Tomorrow, he will do all he can to help Thunderbolt retain the Division One title by beating Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in their final league match. Both second-placed Thunderbolt and third-placed UniKL are on 15 points and both need a win to bag the league crown. Leaders Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) have 18 points but they have completed their fixtures.

“This is my final year with the team. I want to help Thunderbolt win another double,” said Amir, who helped his team win the league and overall titles last season.

Amir strongly believes that Thunderbolt will come out on top again against UniKL.

“Last year we drew 1-1 with them in the last league match to bag the league title on goal difference. Then, we beat them 2-1 in the final to win the overall crown,” said Amir.

The Selangor-born defender has scored four goals so far and plans to increase his tally against UniKL.

“I hope to get it right with the penalty corners. We must put away the chances that come our way,” he said.

Thunderbolt, however, will be without the services of two key players – forward Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman and midfielder Mohd Amirol Aideed Mohd Arshad. Both have yet to recover from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

“There is nothing to worry about. We have enough capable players in the team as we retained 13 from last year’s squad. We have been playing together for a few years and we’ve the experience to rise to the occasion again,” said Amir.

He added that the 3-2 defeat by MBI-Anderson in Ipoh last week was a good wake-up call.

“It was our first loss of the season. It came as a shock but it was a good lesson. It shows that we are not unbeatable and we need to be alert throughout a match,” said Amir.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee have turned down UniKL’s request to change the time of the match against Thunderbolt from 5pm to 7pm to allow more of their supporters to turn up for the clash.

“The match will be played at 5pm as scheduled,” said MHC competitions committee chairman M. Gobinathan.

The Star of Malaysia



MSD Kuala Langat in trouble for failing to turn up

KUALA LUMPUR: Debutants MSD Kuala Langat may land in hot water for failing to turn up for their MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) Division Two Group B match against KL Sports School at the Education Ministry Turf in Lembah Pantai on Monday.

The match was supposed to be played on Jan 25 but it was postponed due to a heavy shower and lightning. The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) then rescheduled the match to Monday but MSD Kuala Langat failed to show up.

Under the competitions rules, MSD Kuala Langat now face the possibility of being thrown out of the league and fined RM500.

MSD Kuala Langat team manager Omar Baki said they had informed the MHC competitions committee last week that they could not play on Monday.

“Most of our players are students and they need to attend school. We informed the competitions committee earlier that we can only play league matches on Fridays or on weekends.

“The MHC agreed to our request. I am not sure why they did not change the fixture and play the match on a weekend,” added Omar.

MSD Kuala Langat have 12 points from seven matches and are in the running for a place in the semi-finals.

They will wrap up their fixture against Politeknik-KPT at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

Omar said he hoped MHC would not throw them out of the league.

“I hope the competitions committee will understand our plight and allow us to play the match against Politeknik-KPT tomorrow.

“I also hope that they will not take any action against us as we are newcomers,” said Omar.

MHC competitions committee chairman M. Gobinathan said a miscommunication resulted in MSD Kuala Langat failing to turn up for the match.

“I am puzzled that they can play on Wednesday but not on Monday because their players have to attend school too.

“However, we will allow Kuala Langat to complete their fixtures tomorrow. We’ll have a meeting on Thursday to discuss the matter,” said Gobinathan.

“We will hear their side of the story before we decide on their fate,” said Gobinathan.

In 2011, Matri of Perlis were slapped with a suspension and RM500 fine for not turning up for the league match against Bandar Penawar Sports School-Women High Performance Centre (BPSS-WHPC).

The Star of Malaysia



VG hockey star visits from USA

Stephen Penney



STAR VISITOR... Former Victoria Girls’ High School pupil and SA Schools Springbok player Thando Zono helps the VG U16s during a coaching clinic last week. Zono studies in America but came home to visit family and attend a national senior women’s hockey camp in January. Photo: Stephen Penney

Back from the USA, Victoria Girls’ High School’s “most successful hockey player” visited home recently and returned to her alma mater to give back to the school.

Thando Zono is currently at the University of Massachusetts on a sports bursary, but last week she found the time to run hockey coaching clinics for the VG U16s (Thursday) and the first team (Friday).

The South African Hockey Association flew Zono back to South Africa for the senior women’s hockey side training camp from 10-20 January. Before heading back to university, Zono made the trip to Grahamstown to visit her family and run the coaching clinics for the VG players.

Zono said running the coaching clinic was her way “to give back to the school” because “I was once them”.

While it was great to be part of the national training camp, Zono said it was hard and “overwhelming” at times. She learnt a lot from the coaches, however.

VG U16 coach Jason Still said the school wanted to make full use of Zono while she was in Grahamstown, adding that she is the “most successful hockey player from VG”.

Zono matriculated from VG in 2007, where she played for the school’s first team for four years, the last two of which she was captain.

She is also a former SA Schools Springbok hockey player.

Currently playing for the University of Massachusetts first team, she was on the 2010 side that won the university hockey championships.

It was after this season that Zono was injured and out of action for the year (2011), which also happens to be the year that Massachusetts didn’t win the championships.

Zono recovered well to be part of the university first team again in 2012 and the side once again won the university champs.

After the university champs Zono was selected for the All American (university) hockey side.

Grocotts Mail Online