News for 10 February 2013

All the news for Sunday 10 February 2013


Investec SA hockey girls into Investec Challenge final against Olympic champs

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town



Pietie Coetzee scores goal number one in the Investec South African women's hockey team's 2-1 win over Australia in the semi-finals of the Investec Challenge at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town late Saturday afternoon.

Two magnificent goals by Investec South African women’s hockey team legend Pietie Coetzee took the girls in green and gold to a 2-1 win over Australia’s world number six Hockeyroos after the score was 2-0 at half-time in the second semi-final of the Investec Challenge at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town late Saturday afternoon.

World number 11 SA will play world number one and 2012 London Olympic Games gold medallists The Netherlands in Sunday’s 2 pm final, while the third/fourth place clash will be between Australia and England at 11.30 am.

The Netherlands beat a determined England 3-0 after the score was 0-0 at half-time, the goals going to Maartje Paumen penalty corners in the 56th and 69th minutes with the outstanding Ellen Hoog netting a PC rebound in the 65th.

Coetzee took her world record tally to 262 goals in 262 Test matches with strikes in the 12th and 35th minutes while Casey Eastham pulled one back in the70th and last minute of a match that saw end-to-end action packed with superb saves and near-misses.

SA forward Jade Mayne scored in the second half but the goal was disallowed.

In the 12th minute, on-song SA co-captain Marsha Marescia slipped a perfect through-ball to Coetzee, who layed off to Lilian du Plessis. The return pass saw Coetzee’s slap-shot nearly burst the net (1-0).

With seconds to half-time the 34-year-old Coetzee nailed her 262nd goal in her 262nd Test match with a well-disguised penalty corner drag-flick that eluded excellent Aussie keeper Ashlee Wells and her defence team.

SA keeper Sanani Mangisa continued her astonishing form with another commanding performance, but this was essentially a team effort to remember, in which every single player fulfilled a role.

World number 11 South Africa and world number six Australia were evenly matched but the difference was superb saves by the SA defence, with co-captain Lenise Marais – in her 200th Test match – Marcelle Keet and Nicolene Terblanche prominent. And, of course, South Africa’s brilliantly-taken goals at the other end.

Coetzee played a very deep role and her positioning behind the frontrunners – Du Plessis, Bernie Coston, Dirkie Chamberlain, Mayne and Sulette Damons – paid handsome dividends.

However, the girls in green and gold were without double Olympian Shelley Russell, who was unable to play.

SA Hockey Association media release



Olympic champs book a berth in Sunday’s hockey final

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town


World number one and London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists The Netherlands booked the first place in the Investec Challenge final that takes place 2 pm Sunday at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town with a hard-fought 3-0 win Saturday afternoon against a determined England line-up that hardly gave an inch.

The Oranje enjoyed the lion’s share of territory and possession but Maddie Hinch in goal for England played an heroic game while captain Susie Gilbert led a determined defence that tackled like demons against the world’s highest-rated team.

The scoreline was 0-0 at half-time and it took the Dutch until the 56th minute to breach the England defensive screen when captain Maartje Paumen unleashed a superb penalty corner drag-flick into the net.

Nine minutes later, in the 65th minute, The Netherlands lengthened the goal margin with a well-taken PC variation that was converted by Ellen Hoog.

And a minute from full-time (69th) another Paumen PC made it 3-0.

The Investec South African women’s hockey team take on Australia in the second semi-final, which kicks off at 5 pm.

SA co-captain Lenise Marais of Durban celebrates her 200th Test cap, but the girls in green and gold will play without double Olympian Shelley Russell.

SA Hockey Association media release



Hockeyroos take on Poms for bronze medal

Missed opportunities cost Australia a finals berth


Two magnificent goals by South African legend Pietie Coetzee has squashed the Hockeroos plans of playing in the final of the 2013 Investec Challenge in Cape Town.

Current goals world record holder, Coetzee's 262 international goal from as many matches had the Hockeyroos on the back foot early, down 2-0 at half time.

Strikes in the 12th and 35th minute from Coetzee set up a clash between the hosts South Africa and world number one, Netherlands.

In a match where the Hockeyroos created plenty of goal scoring opportunities and held possession for the majority of the match, coach Adam Commens was obviously disappointed with the result but showed a positive outlook for the bronze medal match against England.

"It was an improved performance from our first match against them and it was unfortunate not to get the result today."

"We look forward to the opportunity to play against England again. We've won 3-1 on our last two outings so we'll be hoping to replicate our recent form against them."

The Hockeroos scored a consolation in the 70th minute through 2009 World Young Player of the Year, Casey Eastham.

Experienced campaigners Teneal Attard and Jodie Schulz provided the best defense for the Hockeyroos, alongside young gun Jordyn Holzberger who was flown over to South Africa after the first game to replace injured Victorian Claire Messent.

The Hockeyroos face England for 3rd-4th Place at 11:30am South African Standard Time (SAST) Sunday 10 February (8:30pm AEST).

The Hockeyroos defeated England 3-1 in both encounters on their South African Tour.

South Africa play Netherlands in the final at 2pm SAST.

Follow @SA_Hockey on twitter for live score updates.

Hockey Australia media release



Double Dutch defeat for England at Investec Challenge

Paumen strikes twice as Netherlands gain second victory of the week over England


It was the second time that Olympic champions the Netherlands had faced England this week at the Investec Challenge in South Africa and, following a classy display by the Dutch, the outcome remained the same. All three of the Netherlands goals came from penalty corners in the second half with captain Maartje Paumen leading the way as she scored twice to help her side seal a 3-0 victory over England.

The result means that the Netherlands remain unbeaten in the competition and have booked their place in the gold medal match tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile England will look for their first win of the tournament as they battle it out for bronze. Both sides will have to wait until South Africa have played Australia this afternoon to see who they will face in their respective matches.

Speaking after the game team leader Karen Brown said, “The Netherlands were the stronger side today and showed why they are Olympic champions, however we still managed to create opportunities and I thought we battled well to keep them at bay for a significant part of the game. We lost the final two goals because we were pushing hard to find the equaliser after going the goal down.”

Following a heavy downpour which left the main tournament pitch water-logged the decision was taken to play the game on the second pitch.

Despite the relative inexperience of the England squad out in South Africa the young side held their own for a good period of the first 35 minutes, matching the Netherlands, with some strong defensive play and attacking chances. Neither side however, was able to find a way through the others defence.

The 0-0 score line at half time was in no small part down to the efforts of Leicester’s Maddie Hinch in England’s goal who made some fantastic saves to keep her side on level terms. One of Hinch’s efforts was against the notorious Maartje Paumen whose penalty corner looked sure to get the Netherlands off the mark, but the Leicester keeper made a diving save and managed to get a pad to the ball to deflect it away from the top corner.

The Netherlands created the majority of chances in the opening period and pushed hard to find a way through, but Loughborough Students’ Laura Unsworth and Reading’s Sam Quek played a key role in England’s defence to keep the Dutch at bay.

The second half was played in very similar style to the first, however this time the Netherlands did manage to break through England’s defence. The three goals came within 11 minutes of each other and all in the same fashion, from penalty corners. On the 56th minute Paumen stepped up for another bite of the cherry and this time got what she was looking for as her shot found its way past Hinch in England’s goal to make it 1-0.

England were not willing to sit-back and take the 1-0 defeat and pushed forward looking for the equaliser, but as Brown highlighted after the game, “We knew that if we took the game to the Dutch we would leave ourselves open on the attack and on this occasion the tactics unfortunately didn’t go our way.” The Netherlands exploited England’s attacking play and forced two penalty corners in just three minutes. The outcome was two more goals for the Dutch, first from Ellen Hoog and then another for Paumen, to put the game beyond England’s reach at 3-0.

The result means that England will play in the bronze medal match tomorrow at 10:00 (GMT). They will have to wait for the result off the second semi-final between South Africa and Australia to see who they will play.

Team leader Karen Brown knows that tomorrow will be a tough challenge for the young side, “We know that physically we are not as strong as the other teams at this tournament and that has shown in the previous games where we have had two matches in two days. Whoever we face tomorrow will be tough, both mentally and physically, but I look forward to seeing how the girls respond in the 24 hours. They are hungry for that first victory and it would be justly deserved after their efforts this week.”

NETHERLANDS 3 (0)

Maartje Paumen 56 (PC)                                                                      
Ellen Hoog 65 (PC)                                                                  
Maartje Paumen 67 (PC)                                                                      

ENGLAND 0 (0)

ENGLAND TEAM v NETHERLANDS

Name (Club)

Started


Maddie Hinch (GK) (Leicester)
Susie Gilbert (co-capt) (Reading)
Sarah Haycroft (Surbiton)
Laura Unsworth (co-capt) (Loughborough Students)
Hollie Webb (Beeston)
Jo Hunter (Leicester)
Sam Quek (Reading)
Susannah Townsend (Canterbury)
Beckie Herbert (Pinoke (NED))
Dilly Newton (Canterbury)
Lauren Turner (HDM (NED))

Substitute Used

Ellie Watton (Beeston)
Sophie Bray (MOP (NED))
Steph Elliott (University of Durham)
Giselle Ansley (Loughborough Students)
Nic White (Leicester)
Jo Leigh (Clifton)

Did Not Play


Kirsty Mackay (GK) (Bowdon)

INVESTEC CHALLENGE FIXTURES & RESULTS

Monday 4 February

18:00 local time - 16:00 GMT - Australia v Netherlands – 2-2
20:00 local time - 18:00 GMT - South Africa v England – 4-1

Tuesday 5 February

18:00 local time - 16:00 GMT - Netherlands v England – 4-1
20:00 local time - 18:00 GMT - South Africa v Australia – 1-1

Wednesday 6 February - Rest Day

Thursday 7 February

18:00 local time - 16:00 GMT - Australia v England - 3-1
20:00 local time - 18:00 GMT - South Africa v Netherlands - 1-3

Friday 8 February - Rest Day

Saturday 9 February


15:00 local time - 13:00 GMT - Semi Final 1: Netherlands v England - 3-0
17:00 local time - 15:00 GMT - Semi Final 2: Australia v South Africa - 2-1

Sunday 10 February

12:00 local time - 10:00 GMT - Bronze medal match
14:00 local time - 12:00 GMT - Gold medal match

INVESTEC CHALLENGE FINAL POOL STANDINGS

1. Netherlands (7 pts, 3 matches)
2. Australia (5 pt, 3 matches)
3. South Africa (4 pts, 3 matches)
4. England (0 pts, 3 matches)

England Hockey Board Media release



Improved Ireland narrowly beaten by Spain

Spain 2-1 Ireland (Valencia, Spain)


The Electric Ireland Irish Senior Women's Squad were beaten 2-1 by Spain today as Ireland continued their preparations for the upcoming FIH World League 2 with a second game vs. their hosts in 24 hours following yesterday's 2-0 defeat.

Irish Coach, Darren Smith, made 9 changes to his starting XI today as he continued to get a good look at the full squad at his disposal. This included today the return of inspirational captain Alex Speers, Goalkeeper Emma Gray & Hermes' Audrey O'Flynn.

Ireland despite the loss played some excellent hockey again as Smith's side battled hard against another experienced Spanish side playing on home territory. As was the case yesterday, Spain took a 1-0 lead into half time having scored on a quick counter attacking play. Ireland had some excellent spells of possession and created chances of their own in the first period with Speers, McCarthy & Connery all going close.

Spain extended their lead early in the 2nd half with a powerful drag flick which was almost kept out by Emma Gray in the Ireland goal. The goal didn't deter the Green Army though and Ireland continued to search for the goal their play had deserved over the course of two games. The goal finally arrived late in the game following great play by UCD's Chloe Watkins down the right hand side who slipped the ball to Aine Connery of Corinthian to finish stylishly. Ireland almost grabbed an equaliser in the closing stages through Nikki Evans but Spain managed to hold on to claim the 2-1 victory.

Speaking after the game, new Ireland Coach Darren Smith said ‘This was an improved performance, with strong physicality and good pressing throughout. While it was disappointing to concede two soft goals, we created numerous goal opportunities ourselves but were wasteful with them. I am pleased with the progress we are making'

The two sides round off the 3 game series on Monday lunchtime before facing each other again on 2nd March 2013 at World League 2

Ireland Starting XI: E. Gray, Flannery, Atcheler, N. Gray, O'Flynn, Jacob, McCay, Daly, O'Flanagan, Speers, Connery

Irish Hockey Association media release



Delhi invincible, dream final with Rhinos tomorrow

Shashank Gupta


Delhi Waveriders dished out a stellar performance to set aside Punjab Warriors's challenge, beating them 3-1 in the second semi-finals of Hero Hockey India League. They will now meet the winner of other semi-finals, Ranchi Rhinos, tomorrow at 2000 hrs at Ranchi.

Andres Mir Bel (15th minute), Rupinderpal (33rd) and Lloyd Norris Jones (68th) struck for Delhi, whereas Jamie Dwyer (34th min) scored the lone goal for the Punjab Warriors.

The Waveriders made their intentions clear right from the word go. In the 3rd minute, Delhi came close to going up as Chandi gave a close range pass to Akashdeep who failed to take a swing of the stick. This followed a miss by Chandi when his attempted was thwarted by Punjab Warriors goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann, and Llyod Norris Jones who missed deflecting an accurate cross from Yuvraj Walmiki.

Delhi Waveriders got their first penalty corner in the 14th min when Ignace Tirkey, while stopping an incoming hit, fouled by taking the ball on his body. A U-turn dummy was executed by Rupinderpal passing the ball to Andres Mir Bel. He struck and this deceptive move took Delhi up by 1-0.

Punjab Warriors missed their chances in the first half. In the 10th minute, they were in a good position to score but erred by taking a free hit within five meters of the circle. Delhi contested this action and foiled the attack by their smart observation. Similarly, in the 16th min, Malak Singh, in the right flank, got a precise accurate pass from the left flank. His position was perfect to create an penalty corner opportunity for the Warriors but he back-passed the ball towards the top of the circle instead; there he found only Delhi defenders.

The Warriors woes continued as in the 29th minute Orchard came close to scoring from close range; he reverse flicked but his hit flew high above the goal post.

In the 32nd min, Yuvraj took a reverse flick from the left, the ball was blocked but it rose and so did umpire Javed Sheikh’s hands awarding a penalty corner to Delhi Waveriders. Rupinderpal’s flick was deflected by the charger Gurmail’s stick and the score line took Delhi 2-0, in the 33rd minute.

Punjab showed some promise when immediately after, Jamie Dwyer stuck a field goal in 34th minute. Picking a rebound from the cross bars of the goalpost, the Australian beat Rupinderpal to strike the net from an acute angle on the right.

Apart from this lone, stunner goal, Delhi Waveriders stamped their authority throughout the first half. They had 12 circle penetrations compared to a petty 2 of Punjab. They remained aggressive in their shots at the goal also with 9 shots against a minuscule 3 by the Warriors and dominated by the ball possession as well. As the half-time hooter blew, the score read 2-1 in favor of Delhi Waveriders.

The game in the later two quarters was a contest of penalty corners. Delhi failed to convert theirs and Punjab bettered them on this front.

Delhi got a penalty corner in 46th minute and Rupinderpal took a dummy but the same drill that earned them their first goal didn’t work for them this time around.

The Warriors got 7 penalty corner opportunities in the last 18 minutes of the game. However, the Warriors’ search for the crucial equalizer remained futile.

To seal the fate of Punjab, in the 68th minute, Lloyd Norris Jones picked up a counter and in a solo run down the centre flank had only the Punjab’s goalie to beat. He didn’t do any mistake and slotted the ball home with his reverse flick from close range making it 3-1 as the Delhi benches rejoiced.

Stick2Hockey.com



Delhi and Ranchi to fight for HIL crown

By Arnab Lall Seal


RANCHI: Delhi Waveriders lived up to their billing as the best team in the Hockey India League and expectedly reached the final, where they will take on Ranchi Rhinos at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

Against Jamie Dwyer's Punjab Warriors, the Waveriders were easily the better side on Saturday, easily winning the match 3-1. Andres Mir Bell, Rupinder Pal Singh and Lloyd Norris Jones scored for the Delhi franchisee while Dwyer scored the lone goal for Warriors.

Earlier, with the home crowd cheering them on, Rhinos won their semifinal against UP Wizards with a 4-2 verdict where Mandeep Singh and Nick Wilson scored twice. For Wizards, the goals came from Nitin Thimmaiah, but they were not enough to stop the rampaging Rhinos.

In the Delhi-Punjab face-off, Andres Mir Bell put Waveriders in the front 12 minutes into the game after a great team work with Rupinder Pal Singh. It was their first penalty corner and Rupinder fooled the opposition by the faking the shot.

He gave it to Bell, who was standing beside him, and he smashed it into the net past Bharat Chhetri, who came in place of regular keeper Jaap Stockmann.

Waveriders doubled their lead in the second quarter with Rupinder converting it with ease. Chhetri, who got the chance to prove himself, failed to keep out the ball after it had taken a deflection off a Warriors player.

But with one minute to go in the second quarter, Warriors skipper Jamie Dwyer reduced the lead with a brilliant flick past the keeper.

Mandeep leads Rhino stampede

Many have termed Mandeep Singh as the find of the tournament and he did not disappoint in the first semifinal here. Not only did the teenaged Rhino open the scoring for the hosts, he also scored a blinder in the dying minutes of the match against Wizards to take Ranchi into the final.

With just five minutes remaining, he received a long ball and ran through the rival defence and into their D. Even though he could have played it to Jackson, who was waiting at the goalmouth, he lobbed the ball over the diving keeper and then chipped it into the net. The crowd went wild.

Earlier, the home team couldn't have asked for a better start. It was a misunderstanding between the Wizards custodian George Bazeley and the defender as the ball dropped in front of them and went towards goal.

With Ashley Jackson cutting them off, it was left to Mandeep Singh to sound the board and he made no mistake in smashing it in four minutes into the game.

The Times of India



Delhi Waveriders, Ranchi Rhinos set up Hockey India League summit clash

RANCHI: Delhi Waveriders on Saturday scored a clinical 3-1 win over Jaypee Punjab Warriors to set up the title clash against Ranchi Rhinos in the inaugural Hockey India League.

The Delhi outfit rode on goals from Andres Mir Bel (14th minute), Rupinder Pal Singh (32nd) and Lloyd Norris Jones (67th) to outclass the Warriors in the second semifinal at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium.

For the Punjab outfit Jamie Dwyer scored the consolation goal in the 33rd minute.

The Warriors will now face Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the third-fourth place play-off match on Sunday.

Earlier in the first semifinal, Mandeep Singh and Nick Wilson scored a brace each to help the Rhinos beat Wizards 4-2.

The Rhinos scored through field goals from Mandeep (5th minute, 66th) and Wilson (32nd, 64th), while Nithin Thimmaiah (16th, 54th) was the goal-getter for the Wizards.

The second semifinal between the Waveriders and the Warriors witnessed a slow start as both the teams took time to get off their blocks.

The Delhi outfit was the aggressive between the two sides in the initial stages but with time the Warriors started to catch their rivals.

The Warriors, on the other hand, looked unimaginative upfront as Delhi was structured and solid in defence.

It was the Warriors who got the first penalty corner of the match 12th minute but it was turned down after Delhi made successful referral appeal.

The Warriors, however, conceded a penalty corner in the subsequent counter-attack and the Waveriders took full advantage of it to go 1-0 up.

Andres scored an improvised goal from the set piece after he was beautifully set up by Rupinder U-turn.

Had it not been for an alert Jacob Stockmann under the Warriors goal, the Waveriders could have scored two more goals in the first quarter.

The Punjab side came out with more purpose in the second quarter and made a few inroads into the Delhi citadel but their forwards lacked in finishing.

But it was the Waveriders who doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when Rupinder scored from their third penalty corner with a fierce flick that crashed into top of the Warriors goal after getting a deflection.

The Warriors responded in the very next minute when Dwyer scored with a fierce shot from close range after getting a rebound to trail 1-2 at the halfway stage.

Even though both the teams displayed free-flowing, fast hockey in the third quarter, what eluded them was goals.

It was again the Waveriders who came close to scoring in the 52nd minute, but Punjab's reserve goalkeeper Bharat Chetri made an acrobatic save to deny Danish Mujataba.

Punjab cannot afford to give any excuses for the loss as they wasted three penalty corners in succession in the fourth quarter to make life difficult for themselves.

Down 1-2, Punjab went all out attacking and in the process left huge gaps in their backline. Delhi were quick to cash in on the lapse as an unmarked Norris Jones took the game beyond the Warriors grasp with a fine goal just three minutes from the hooter.

Punjab earned another short corner in the last minute of the game but misfired once again to sum up their sorry day.

The Times of India



Brilliant Ranchi first to enter Hockey India League final

RANCHI: Mandeep Singh and Nick Wilson scored twice each to help hosts Ranchi Rhinos beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-2 in a thrilling encounter and enter the summit clash of the inaugural Hockey India League in front of a packed Astroturf Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

The Rhinos scored through field goals from Mandeep (5th minute, 66th) and Wilson (32nd, 64th), while Nithin Thimmaiah (16th, 54th) was the goal-getter for the Wizards.

Encouraged by a capacity home crowd it was the Rhinos who started the proceedings on a bright note and was soon rewarded for their efforts when Mandeep scored in the fifth minute after latching on to a loose ball inside the Wizards 'D'.

Stunned by the early goal, the UP side pressed hard with numerous raids into the rival citdel but with no purpose till the 16th minute when Thimmaiah equalised for the visitors.

The lanky Thimmaiah brought Wizards back into the game, finding the back of the Rhinos net with a reverse hit after she was beautifully set up by Dutch legend Tuen de Nooijer.

The Rhinos, however, were the better side on display at least in the opening half. The hosts earned as many as four penalty corners in the first two quarters only to be denied by a brilliant George Bazeley under the UP bar.

The Rhinos managed to restore their parity three minutes from the opening half through Nick Wilson who managed to find the back of the UP net from a goal-mouth melee. The Wizards, however, protested the goal and went for the referral which was rejected.

The Wizards got an opportunity to equalise soon when they were awarded their first penalty corner at the stroke of half time, but the visitors wasted the chance to trail 1-2 at the first 35 minutes.

Ranchi started on the same breath after the change of ends and earned their fifth penalty corner in the opening minute of the second half but failed to capitalize on it.

The Rhinos' game got better and better as the match progressed. The Wizards, on the other hand, threatened with occasional forays.

Both the teams created opportunities in the third quarter but without any result.

The Wizards, however, made a great start to the fourth quarter as Thimmaiah got the visitors on level terms scoring from a rebound after De Nooijer's intial touch hit the body of Ranchi custodian Francisco Cortes.

It took two brilliant field goals from the Rhinos in a span of three minutes to seal the game and a place in tomorrow's title clash in their favour.

Wilson scored his second goal of the day in the 64th minute from the top of the 'D' after a solo run from the mid-field.

Two minutes later, a young Mandeep celebrated his maiden selection in the Indian team in style when he hit his 10th goal in the tournament by virtue of sheer individual brilliance.

Mandeep, who was selected in the Indian team for the Hockey World League 2 in New Delhi later this month, lobbed the ball above the head of UP goal-keeper after receiving long scoop to send the crowd into frenzy.

Victorious Ranchi coach Gregg Clarke and skipper Moritz Furste was full of praise for Mandeep, terming the young forward as the future star of Indian hockey.

"Mandeep was simply brilliant. When we first saw him he was a little boy just jumping around the field. But he has evolved as a player as the tournament progressed," Clark said.

"I hope you will enjoy Mandeep in the next 10 years to come," Furste added.

The Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans obviously was a disappointed man but admitted that the Rhinos were by far the better side today.

"We are obviously disappointed. I feel we didn't start well. Ranchi were the better team, they made remarkable forays," he said.

Oltmans, however, was critical of Ranchi's second goal which was upheld after the Wizards went for the referral.

"Ranchi's second goal was important because everyone saw it was not a goal. I feel you either don't use the referral system or use it properly," he said.

The Times of India



When you smelled hockey in Ranchi's air

By Alok Sinha


RANCHI: Long and winding queues greeted you when you walked towards the Astro Turf Stadium on Saturday evening. You could smell hockey as you entered the stadium.

The breeze was pleasant and the sun comforting as you made your way through happy, smiling faces. As the first game between Ranchi Rhinos and UP Wizards started, the stands were full, the music loud and you understood why this bustling town in the heart of Chota Nagpur was picked as the venue for the finale of the inaugural Hockey India League. This is the crucible of hockey.

MS Dhoni is in town, relaxing at his Kadru bungalow -- the one-day circus having left here over a fortnight ago -- and all the town is talking about is the HIL.

"Can you arrange tickets, please? I'll pay." You heard this plea several times through the day. Inside, the roar was deafening when the local Rhinos played. The fans who had come in with bugles and even vuvuzelas, they cheered every move and danced wildly.

When their Mandeep Singh scored a brilliant goal -- the 17-year-old flicking the ball over the Warriors with a reverse flick, there was a moment of disbelief followed by a deafening roar.

Team India coach Michael Nobbs had a smile on his face. "What do you think of him coach?" you asked. "Even he would wonder where that goal came from," chuckled Nobbs, "He is talented, raw and exciting... so young. He has to be tough."

What's striking about this league is the pace of the game - fast and furious, at times desperate. Of course, it was the semifinals, the knockout stage, but the relentless attacking and counter-attacking took your breath away.

If the Rhinos-Wizards semifinal set the tone, the fans were all for Punjab Warriors when they took on the favourites Delhi Waveriders. The Waveriders, coached by the seasoned AK Bansal and led by star playmaker Sardar Singh, are without doubt the most compact team in the league.

However, Rhinos showed they are willing to give it all. Led by the tall German Moritz Fuertsae, this team would be itching to get its first win over Delhi and what better time than Sunday when all roads in the city will lead to Morabadi. Be ready for some scintillating action.

The Times of India



Negre optimistic of Pak participation in future

RANCHI: Pakistan's players will hopefully be able to participate in Indian tournaments in the future despite not being able to take part in the inaugural Hockey India League. This was the wish expressed by International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre on Saturday.

"It is a one-off circumstance and I am hopeful that Pakistan players will be able to take part in future tournaments that are held in India. Mumbai is a sensitive city and Hockey India took into consideration the security of the players and sent them back," said Negre on the sidelines of the HIL semifinals.

The Pakistani players were sent home following security concerns after certain political parties objected to their participation following political tension at the India-Pakistan border.

"The HIL has been a huge success so far and in the coming years it will help a lot in making the game better all around the world. The participation of the youth will also increase."

The Times of India



Hero to sponsor FIH events in India for next four years

RANCHI: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Saturday signed a major sponsorship deal with two-wheeler giant Hero MotoCorp for all events of the world body to be held in India in the next four years.

As part of the partnership, Hero MotoCorp will be the title sponsors of all FIH tournaments to be held in the country over the next four years, including the upcoming Hockey World League 2, the 2013 men's Junior World Cup, the 2014 men's Hockey World League final, the 2014 Champions Trophy and the 2015 Hockey World League final.

Announcing the deal, FIH president Leandro Negre said the world body considers India as a major hub for the game.

"FIH recognises India as a key country. FIH can't work alone, it needs a good support and partner," he said during a press conference ahead of the semifinal clashes of the inaugural Hockey India League on Saturday.

Negre reiterated the world body's stand on who is its working partner in India.

"The FIH is very clear about our commitment with Hockey India. I ask all of you to believe in HI because Hockey India is the future of Indian hockey and not IHF," Negre insisted.

Negre termed the exclusion of Pakistani players from the inaugural HIL as "unfortunate" and said the decision to send back the Pakistani players has been taken in the best interest of all.

"I really feel pity for the Pakistani players. The decision was taken under special circumstances. Mumbai is sensitive to these issues and HI decided to exclude them for this edition to prevent any untoward incident from taking place," he said.

All the nine Pakistani players -- Mahmood Rashid, Fareed Ahmed, Muhammad Tousiq, Imran Butt (Mumbai Magicians), Mohammed Rizwan Jr, Mohammed Rizwan Sr (Delhi Waveriders), Kashif Shah (Punjab Warriors), Muhammed Irfan and Shafqat Rasool (Ranchi Rhinos) -- were forced to return home without playing a single game in the wake of the tension between the two countries at the Line of Control.

Commenting on the partnership, managing director and chief operating officer of Hero MotoCorp, Pawan Munjal said, "We have been committed to the promotion of hockey in India since the past several years. With this new partnership with FIH, our association with hockey now enters a new and exciting phase."

FIH Chief Executive Officer Kelly Fairweather termed the ongoing HIL as another milestone in the effort to bring India back on top of world hockey.

"The interest HIL has generated is amazing. It has captured the imaginations of hockey around the world," he said.

The Times of India



FIH and Hero MotoCorp Announce New Four-Year Partnership

Hero to be the title sponsor of all FIH events in India for the next four years


RANCHI, INDIA -- In a move that will certainly give a big boost to the game of hockey in India, the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) and two-wheeler major Hero MotoCorp Ltd, today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership which will be spread over the next four years.

Hero MotoCorp – the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer - has for long had a steadfast commitment towards promoting India’s national sport, hockey, and today’s announcement takes that commitment to a still higher benchmark. The company has also been one of the largest corporate promoters of sports in India with strong associations with cricket, golf and football.

As part of the partnership, Hero MotoCorp will be the title sponsor of all FIH events held in India in the next four years. It is an impressive line-up that awaits the country with the events, including the upcoming Hockey World League Round 2 events in February, the 2013 Men’s Junior World Cup, the 2014 Men’s Hockey World League Final, the 2014 Champions Trophy and the 2015 Hockey World League Final.

Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp said “We have been committed to the promotion of hockey in India since the past several years. With this new partnership with FIH, our association with hockey now enters a new and highly-exciting phase, which will bring top-class hockey closer to the fans in India. I am hopeful that this partnership will not only play the role of a catalyst in reviving the popularity of the game in the country, but also inspire talented youngsters to pursue hockey as a serious career option.”

“I am very pleased to continue our very successful partnership with Hero Motor Corp.,” said FIH President Leandro Negre. “India is one of hockey’s most high-profile countries and we need strong support from partners such as Hero to ensure that our sport continues to thrive there. I am sure great things lie ahead for both the FIH and Hero in what promises to be an exciting four years.”

First on the agenda for the partnership will be the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 tournaments in New Delhi from February 18-24. This will feature six men’s teams and six women’s teams vying for a place in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals and a potential berth to the 2014 World Cup. 2013 will close with a second Hero-sponsored event, when the top 16 men’s junior teams converge on India for the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup.

In 2010, Hero started its partnership with FIH, by bringing the coveted men’s Hockey World Cup event to India”. The company executed an inspiring multi media campaign, “Phir Dil Do Hockey Ko” featuring young achievers such as Hero brand ambassadors – cricketer Virender Sehwag, Olympic silver medalist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and popular Hindi movie actor Priyanka Chopra. Further aligning with the company’s objective of long-term promotion of the game at the grassroots level, Hero also organized pan-India inter-school Hockey tournaments.

FIH Media release



No exposure for hockey in Tamil Nadu

By Ashish Ittyerah Joseph


Hockey is the national game of India but how many youngsters actually know that? If you look at any street or park in our city, you will find youngsters playing cricket or football. Why has hockey as a sport not found any takers, especially among the youth here?

Lack of matches is one of the main reasons for this negative impact on the game say players, and it looks as if the sport has almost fallen into a slumber in Tamil Nadu. "The hockey scene here is getting worse day-by-day. The main reason is the fight between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation. And the Tamil Nadu team, especially, is affected by this. A few years back, when IHF was in power, there used to be tournaments in Chennai. Now, as there are no tournaments happening, it has affected the stature of the sport in the state," laments Adam Sinclair, a former member of the Indian hockey team.

The Indian national hockey team's recent bad performances, including the debacle at the London Olympics last year, has affected the spirit of the game among many youngsters. "The national team's performance is very important for people to take note of the sport. And parents look up to the performance of the national team before they allow their children to enroll in school sports teams," says Adam.

But players and those in the sport, say that's it's the need of the hour to take immediate steps to bring back the game to the fore. One of the main concerns is lack of facilities for players in Chennai.

"Players should get to play more on artificial turf surface, which improves their confidence levels and also be provided with the best hockey equipment," says Vasudevan Baskaran, former Indian hockey team captain. Baskaran is also of the opinion that many coaches in the state fail to get enough opportunities to fine-tune the skills of youngsters.

Some people say that a love for the sport should be inculcated at a young age itself. And that can happen only if there are plenty of hockey tournaments and opportunities for youngsters to play.

"There should be more number of hockey tourneys happening at the school level. Hockey clubs in schools must conduct training sessions frequently. Children should also be made aware of the laurels India had in the past in hockey and encourage them to build a better future for the national sport in the years to come," says R Senthil, a hockey enthusiast in the city.

The Times of India



Grove Menzieshill defeat rivals Inverleith to book European spot


Grove Menzieshill champions

Grove Menzieshill added European qualification to their National Indoor League Division 1 title by narrowly beating rivals 3-2 in the final of the Men's National Indoor League Play-offs today.

The Dundonians went a goal behind early on when Thomas Cousins' strike found the back of the net in the third minute of the match. However, Gavin Tomlinson pulled the sides level in the ninth minute from a well-worked move.

Three minutes later, Grove Menzieshill took the lead at 2-1 when Ross McPherson slotted the ball paast David Forrester. The lead only last two minutes; Graham Moodie's deflected penalty corner looped into the bottom corner to get Inverleith back on level terms in the 14th minute.

A tense battle ensued, with neither side willing to budge but the winning goal eventually came for Grove Menzieshill eight minutes from time when an illegal goal-line block gave Gavin Tomlinson the chance to step up and drill a penalty stroke past Forrester to claim his second goal of the game and send his side into Europe.


GM vs Inv

Earlier in the day, the first men's semi-final was an all-Dundee affair with Grove Menzieshill taking on Dundee Wanderers.

Scotland international Ross Stott opened the scoring for Grove Menzieshill in the 7th minute before Ross McPherson doubled the lead just before half time to give the league champions a 2-0 advantage at the break.

Chris Wilson looked to have put the game out of sight for Wanderers when he made it 3-0 from a penalty corner in the 23rd minute.

However, Wanderers didn't give up the fight and Paul Dailly pulled one back from penalty corner in the 31st minute to make it 3-1. A minute later, Wanderers were right back in the contest at 3-2 when Ross Blackie neatly finished off a quick-fire counter attack.

With the clock ticking down and the pressure on, Grove Menzieshill steadied themselves to record an all important fourth goal when Ben Cromar slammed the ball home three minutes from time to make it 4-2 and send the favourites through to the final.


DW-GM Men Gala Day

Two goals from Graham Moodie and an Adam MacKenzie strike gave Inverleith a 3-2 win over local rivals Grange in the second men's semi-final.

Moodie opened the scoring in the third minute but Grange were soon back on level terms two minutes later through Fraser Sands.

Then in the ninth minute, Grange took the lead when Gary Cameron scored for the Stags to make the scoreline 2-1.

However, the Purple Robes were soon back on parity when Adam MacKenzie struck for Inverleith, sending the teams in level at half time at 2-2.

In the second half, Inverleith stepped up the pace and four minutes after half time, Moodie, with what turned out to be the winning goal, notched his second goal of the game when he struck the ball high into the net from a penalty corner.


Moodie Inverleith Gala Day

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Four goals for Bunce sends Wanderers into Europe


DW Women Champs

Four goals from Dundee Wanderers' star Vikki Bunce ensured the league champions qualified for Europe with a 4-1 win over rivals Grove Menzieshill in the Women's National Indoor League play-offs today.


Vikki Bunce DW Indoor Gala


The Great Britain and Scotland international opened the scoring in the 12th minute after slaloming through the Grove defence to slot the ball past Nicki Cochrane in goal.

Nine minutes later, Bunce doubled the lead for Wanderers with a quick fire finish to give them a two goal cushion at half time.

And the 29 year-old claimed her hat-trick following a second attempt on goal after her initial penalty corner had been saved.

Player of the match Bunce notched her fourth of the game in the 37th minute.

Grove Menzieshill pulled one back through Louise Carroll two minutes from time.


DW-GM W Indoor Gala Day

The first women's semi final between Dundee Wanderers and Milne Craig Clydesdale Western went to a sudden death penalty shoot-out, with Wanderers narrowly advancing to the final courtesy of 5-4 win on penalty strokes.

Sam Sangster opened the scoring for Wanderers in the third minute via a penalty corner before Morag McLellan equalised for the Titwood outfit from open play in the 18th minute.

With the scores level at half time at 1-1, Becky Ward's neat deflection from a Vikki Bunce drive gave the Dundonians the lead in the 24th minute, but it was short lived when Anna Mae Morton pulled another one back for the Glaswegians only two minutes later.

In a frantic closing five minutes, Wanderers took the lead at 3-2 following a strike from Amy Snelle but a second goal for Morton only a minute later made it 3-3 and took the match to a tense penalty stroke shoot-out.


DW-MCCW Gala Day

In the second semi-final, Linda Clement's first half goal in the 14th minute gave Grove Menzieshill a narrow 1-0 win over CALA Edinburgh.

During a tense match, chances were few and far between at both ends, although the Edinburgh side nearly forced the contest to a penalty shoot-out following three penalty corner chances right at the death.

However the Dundonians held out to progress to the final against their city rivals.


GM-Cala Gala Day

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Grange and George Watson's win U18 Indoor Cup Finals


Watsons U18G Indoor Cup

Four goals from Kirsten Peters and strikes from Catriona McLellan, Ailie Clapperton and Ailsa Small ensured that George Watson's College were comfortable 7-2 winners over Strathallan School in the U18 Girls Indoor Cup Final.

The Edinburgh schoolgirls opened the scoring early in the second minute when McClellan found the back of the net. Peters got her first goal of the game four minutes later to double Watson's advantage at 2-0.

However, Strathallan got themselves back into the match only 30 seconds later when Ella Colemen pulled one back to make the scoreline 2-1.

That said, George Watson's were always in control especially with player of the match Waverley Miller dictating play with style and grace.

Clapperton extended the lead once again to two goals in the 12th minute before Ailsa Small slotted home a penalty stroke to make it 4-1 at half time.

Immediately after half-time, Peters went on a scoring spree in a six minute spell, netting three times to make the score 6-1 to George Watson's by the 26th minute.

Anni Arthur got a consolation back for Strathallan to make the final score 7-2.

In the U18 Boys Indoor Cup Final, Grange overcame Clydesdale 5-3 to take the trophy back to Edinburgh.

The Stags took the lead in the seventh minute through man of the match Murdo Elwis before Murray Collins equalised for Clydesdale via a penalty corner in the 12th minute.


Grange U18 Indoor Cup

Two minutes later, Hamish Imrie put Grange back in front when his penalty corner strike found the bottom right hand corner of the goal in the 14th minute.

However, Clydedale ensured the sides went in level at half time when Patrick Lonergan's fierce drive from the left hand side of the circle nestled in the far corner of the net.

Four minutes after half time, Collins recorded his second goal of the game to put the Titwood outfit in front for the first time at 3-2.

Losing the lead seemed to spark Grange into life; Imrie equalised in the 27th minute before Elwis grabbed his second goal with a deflected penalty corner hit.

The Edinburgh side made the outcome safe when Alex Gough scored the fifth goal in the 37th minute to make the final score 5-3.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Bowdon falter as Canterbury march on


Eliza Brett, Canterbury

Bowdon Hightown’s hopes of making the play-offs took a knock on Saturday as they failed to move out of fifth in the Investec Women’s Premier Division after losing 2-1 to table-topping Canterbury.

Cara Jones gave Canterbury the lead, smashing the ball home in the 17th minute. Eliza Brett added a second on 41 minutes and although the prolific Tina Cullen found the net for Bowdon, they couldn’t add to it.

The defeat follows their exit from the Maxifuel Super Sixes Championship at the semi final stage a fortnight ago and they will need to turn things around if they are to force their way into play-off contention.

Team GB Olympian Hannah Macleod powered home the only goal of Leicester’s game against struggling Olton and West Warwickshire to keep her team in second and on course for a place in the play-offs.

Reading and Surbiton currently occupy the other places in the top four and they faced each other on Saturday, battling to a 1-1 draw. Vicky Bryant had given visitors Surbiton the lead just after the quarter hour, and they looked to be heading for a win.

But with two minutes remaining, London Olympic ace Alex Danson snatched a crucial equaliser.

Vicky Woolford starred in the biggest win of the day as Sutton Coldfield smashed six past the University of Birmingham.

In the other game in the Investec Premier Division, a Zoe Leach brace helped Clifton to a 4-1 drubbing of rock bottom Slough.

Harleston Magpies muscled their way to the top of the Investec Women’s Conference East with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Bromley and Beckenham.

In the Investec Women’s Conference West, Buckingham’s majestic season continues with their 12th win in 12 games. The latest victims were Staines who went down 3-0.

There was a big game in the Investec Women’s Conference North as leaders Beeston faced second placed University of Durham. Beeston ran out 2-0 winners although both teams are looking very comfortable for the play-offs.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (February 9 2013):

Women's Premier Division: Canterbury 2, Bowdon 1; Clifton 4, Slough 1; Leicester 1, Olton & West Warwicks 0; Reading 1, Surbiton 1; Sutton Coldfield 6, University of Birmingham 1.

Women's Conference East: Chelmsford 1, Wimbledon 0; Harleston Magpies 3, Bromley and Beckenham 0; Horsham 0, St. Albans 2; Old Loughtonians 0, Ipswich 2; Sevenoaks 2, Oxford Hawks 4.

Women's Conference North: Beeston 2, University of Durham 0; Ben Rhydding 2, Wakefield 4; Doncaster 1, Brooklands Poynton 3; Liverpool Sefton 1, Cannock 2; Loughborough Students LHC 4, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1.

Women’s Conference West: Barnes 1, Gloucester City 3; Bristol Firebrands 1, Stourport 1; Staines 0, Buckingham 3; Swansea City 1, Trojans 2; Taunton Vale 0, Isca 6.

England Hockey Board Media release



Tough route in New Delhi

By Jugjet Singh


THE Malaysian women's hockey team will find the going uphill when they play in the second round of the World League on Feb 18-24 in New Delhi, India.

Even though Malaysia emerged champions in the first round in Kuantan last August, it was against lesser known teams Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

Malaysia, ranked no 22 and Kazakhstan (33) booked their tickets in Kuantan, and will now be pitted against higher ranked Japan (9), India (12), Russia (20), as well as Fiji (59).

The top-two will make the grade to the third round in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in June.

Coach Nasihin Nubli, a former international goalkeeper, believes in his women: "We have a good chance of qualifying for the third round as my players are well prepared, and if all goes as planned, we can even finish top in India."

Nasihin said India and Japan are their main hurdles, while Russia, Kazakhstan and Fiji are matches Malaysia must win to achieve their target.

History does not favour Malaysia against Japan, as they were drubbed 8-0 in their last meeting during the 2012 Olympic qualifiers.

"That was a painful encounter, but my players have come a long way since, and the advantage is that we play them last."

The women will head for India on Wednesday and will play a friendly against Russia on Friday. Nasihin is also trying to get a friendly with India before the tournament starts.

MALAYSIA'S FIXTURES -- Feb 18: Versus Russia; Feb 19: India; Feb 21: Kazakhstan; Feb 22: Fiji; Feb 24: Japan.

New Straits Times

 



Terengganu await MHC’s decision on eligibility to play in Premier Division

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: Debutants Terengganu Hockey Team will have to wait until Feb 18 to know if they can compete in the MHL Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

The team, who are supposed to play in Division One, have recruited several international players and applied to the competitions committee to feature in the elite group.

The competitions committee, who met on Wednesday, have decided to see their team list first before making a final decision.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) secretary Johari Abdul Aziz said yesterday that the committee felt that there was a need to check on the players’ status to ensure that they are up to mark to play in the higher division.

“Yes, there have been occasions when we had ‘promoted’ new teams. But I must stress that those decisions were based on the teams’ strength and the players listed in their squads. For now, none of the 14 teams who have entered for the new season have submitted their team lists.

“So, we’ll check out the Terengganu list first before making a decision,” he said.

A total of 14 teams will be in action in the new season, which starts on March 22.

Six teams are confirmed for the Premier Division. They are KL Hockey Club, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Maybank, Tenaga Nasional, Sapura and Nur Insafi.

The teams down to play in Division One are Uniten-KPT, UiTM, BJSS, Thunderbolt, SSTMI Juniors, Sunday 2030 and Ipoh City Council.

Meanwhile, the first Test match between Ireland and Malaysia will be played at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil at 7pm today.

The second Test (tomorrow) and the third Test (Wednesday) will be held at the same time and venue.

Malaysia are using the Test to fine-tune their selection for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which will be held in Ipoh next month.

The Star of Malaysia