News for 09 March 2013

All the news for Saturday 9 March 2013

Scots in optimistic mood ahead of weekend World League matches

Scotland Huddle FIH WHL R2

There is definitely a buzz about the Scotland camp after yesterday’s dramatic penalty shoot-out win over the USA in the FIH World League Round 2 in Rio.

Scotland Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd said, “I was delighted with the performance yesterday.   The lack of recovery time compared to the Americans from the previous day was a worry going into the game, but it was Scotland that were running hard at the end of the game.   The Scottish girls are the fittest here.”

Linda Clement vs. USA FIH WHL R2

The national side now sit second in the pool standings, one point behind Chile but the Chileans still have to play USA tomorrow and Scotland on Sunday, by far their toughest two matches. Crucially, the Scots are a point ahead of the Americans and that could prove vital on the final day.

"We are in a good position to qualify for round three of the World League, but there is still a lot of work to be done”, said Shepherd. “We still need to beat Chile as any two from three can still qualify by simply winning their games, so we have to be well prepared and professional.

"I am confident we can take the six points, but our opposition are both capable teams and we will give them the respect they deserve."

Nikki Kidd/Holly Cram vs. USA FIH WHL R2

Shepherd is too long in the tooth to take victory for granted, even against tomorrow’s opponents Uruguay, a side 50th in the world rankings. Uruguay have already lost to both USA and Chile, but they picked up their first three points in a 6-1 demolition of Trinidad & Tobago.  They certainly belie their lowly ranking and are dangerous going forward, but Shepherd will have measures in place to counter that threat.

The crucial game tomorrow is the head to head between USA and Chile, and any result here is bound to benefit the Scotland cause.   USA, favourites for the tournament, cannot afford defeat, which would almost certainly put them out of the coveted top two qualifying places.   Alternatively, if Chile were to lose, Scotland would probably only need a draw against the South Americans to progress.

But such permutations are not really in the mind of Shepherd, he believes that Scotland`s destiny is very much in their own hands, "The girls are very motivated to win this tournament and will give everything they have to achieve this."

Please visit the FIH World League Round 2 website for more information on the match schedule, results and pool standings.

Scottish Hockey Union media release


Hockey women battle Brazil for first points

T&T’s senior women’s hockey team will be hoping to end a run of three straight defeats in the six-team Second Round qualifiers of the FIH World Hockey League when they battle host Brazil at the Deodoro Field Hockey Centre, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 8 am today.

Currently, both the “Calypso Stickwomen,” ranked 27th in the world, and Brazil are without a point after three matches each, although the host in fifth spot is above T&T due to a superior goal difference of one goal.

In their three matches to date, T&T, captained by Alanna Lewis, has gone under to Scotland (7–0), Chile (6–0) and Uruguay (6–1) while the Brazilians were beaten by USA (6–0), Scotland (7–0) and Chile (5–1) setting the scene for an interesting battle between two teams seeking their first points.

Table leaders Chile, with maximum nine points after it also swept past Uruguay 2–0, faces third-placed USA which is coming off a 2–0 sudden-death penalty shoot-out lost to Scotland after a 1–1 draw meet at 10 am in a key contest, while Uruguay and Scotland meet from 2.30 pm.

Tomorrow, the tournament will conclude with T&T and USA flicking off the day’s action from 8 am followed by Scotland and Chile at 10 am, and Uruguay versus Brazil at 12 noon.

At the end of the six-team round-robin series on Sunday, the two highest finishers will secure places in round three.


Today’s matches:

T&T vs Brazil, 8 am
Chile vs USA, 10 am
Uruguay vs Scotland, 2.30 pm

Current standings:

Teams P W WD LD L F A Pts
Chile 3 3 0 0 0 13 1 9
Scotland 3 2 1 0 0 15 1 8
USA 3 2 0 1 0 10 1 7
Uruguay 3 1 0 0 2 6 6 3
Brazil 3 0 0 0 3 1 18 0
T&T 3 0 0 0 3 1 19 0

The Trinidad Guardian

Azlan is on its 22nd edition: Fabulous, fairy tale razzmatazz

K Arumugam

Not many tournaments in the world of hockey have the reputation of surviving after initial euphoria. Being amateur in spirit, field hockey could not afford to galaxy of tournaments to cater to its fans. Only contests that survived, or survives, are those which carry the world body’s label such as Champions Trophy, which comes outside the regulars such as Olympics, World Cup and Continental events.

An exception is Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, put on board in 1983. It’s a stand alone invitation tournament that survived time, and satiated the the quest of event-starved hockey fans.

That the proud possession of Asia is now on its twenty-second edition, is a great news. Fittingly, this year has wonderful line up, what with return of Australia, and former winners in New Zealand, India and Pakistan. seven top teams with full strength.

A walk down the memory lane fills one with pride and nostalgia.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the biggest tournament in the Asian Hockey Federation calendar, is the Malaysian Hockey Federation’s baby, which it conceived to cater to their domestic needs. Though initially known after the host city or a name denoting the number of teams in the field, it was later named after Sultan Azlan Shah. Field hockey is one of the popular sports in Malaysia and it also elicits patronage from the elite rulers. It was, therefore, in the fitness of things that the tournament was named after one of its kings Raja Sultan Azlan Shah, who headed the Asian Hockey Federation for long and the MHF then. Besides being a great hockey fan, Azlan Shah also lends his personality to the development of hockey, discharging many prestigious national and global assignments.

Though originally contemplated as a bi-annual event, as the enthusiasm grew the Azlan Cup became an annual affair since 1994. Indira Gandhi Gold Cup was the only other international tournament in those times but the Indian event was discontinued after 1995. The inaugural edition, known as Pentangular Tournament as five nations took part, was held at Kuala Lumpur from August 21 to 28, 1983. India and Pakistan played the first match which ended in a 1-1 draw. Rajinder Singh (Jr.), Indian coach for the 2005 edition, was among the proud participants of that match. Ric Charlesworth’s Australia won all four round-robin matches and then defeated the reigning World Cup holders Pakistan 1-0 in the final to lift the Cup, then called as Raja Tun Azlan Trophy. The winning goal came from the stick of Terry Walsh.

Ten years after winning the World Cup in Malaysia, India again became toast of that country when it lifted the second Azlan Cup in Ipoh in the fag end of 1985. India defeated defending champions Australia 4-3 in its pool before firing Pakistan in the semis (1-0). It was the hosts who faced defeat (4-2) in the final on 3rd December. India won the Cup twice since then. A week after India’s win, Azlan Shah, MHF president and FIH Vice-President, was crowned as Sultan of Perak and became the Deputy King of Malaysia.

Germany became the first European nation to engrave its name on the Cup in 1987 at Perak. Next edition due for 1989 was not staged, perhaps the dates clashed with the onset of the annual Indira International Gold Cup in India. When it was revived in 1991, celebrated coach Balkrishen Singh’s India won the six-nation round robin event without giving away a point. India defeated Pakistan, courtesy Mukesh Kumar’s only goal, and USSR on its way to podium. England’s turn it was in 1994 before India was once again on the victor’s podium in 1995. All the teams in the 1995 event were rather experimental ones, a rare thing in the history of the Cup. Goalie Ashish Ballal blocked greenhorn Michael Green’s stroke in the tie-breaker for India’s third and till date, the last title.

Eight editions were staged in the nine-year interregnum between 1996 and 2004, 1997 being the blank occasion. Pakistan won the title successively twice (1999 and 2000, 2002 and 2003), a feat no other country could match.

The 2004 number was won by Australia in January and six months later they were at heavens in Athens. Like in the past, victory in Azlan proved to be the stepping stone for greater glory for the Aussies. They again won the title in 2005.

undefined Australia’s dominance continued in 2007 also. In the 2008 editon at Ipoh, Argentna put it across India in the final through golden goal. Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, all qualified for the Beijing Olympics were in the fray.

In 2009, held a month before the Asia Cup, India won the Cup and it missed another outright title win next year when rains prevented what was expected to be a grand battle between India and Korea.

Azlan Cup is perhaps the only tournament in the world that provided airfare for the invited teams besides free hospitality for long time. Secondly, the organisers strictly ensure participation of national sides; violators have been sternly sidelined for the future editions. This policy helped the tournament grow in stature.

Normally timed before major global events such as the World Cup or the Olympics, it drew worthy teams and the participants too took the tournament with the seriousness it deserved.

Having seen so much action on the field, tremendous support from Sultan Azlan Shah himself, the event carved a niche for itself in the sporting history of Malaysia, if not the Asia.

One immediate task that, if accomplished will help it grow further and make it a commercial success, is to put on plan to telecast the matches to as much countries as possible. Thankfully this time Neo Prime beams it to Indian homes, so also Astro in Malaysia.

However, the annual feature of Malaysia, the Azlan Cup, is a veritable window for future of Asian Hockey is an established fact, and it cannot be denied.

Recently, FIH president was quoted as saying allocating a window for Azan Shah Cup to facilitate strong natioans to participate. That is for the future, as of now past is prisine glory and present is equally same.

Let us savour another edition of this great tournament.

Pakistan take on New Zealand in opener as Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament begins today

KUALA LUMPUR: Australia are banking on their veteran players for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament while Pakistan aim to try new talent when they face defending champions New Zealand on Saturday (today). The Kiwis aim to retain the trophy they won for the first time last year and enter the fray helmed by new Australian coach Colin Batch, a member of the Aussie squad who won the World Cup in 2010.

Australia, meanwhile, will field a team of veterans, mixed with a few new faces of their own, for the tournament in the Malaysian city of Ipoh, which ends on March 17. "We have three players from our 2012 Olympic team and we are looking to achieve the high results that this group has been accustomed to over the last five years," coach Ric Charlesworth was quoted as saying on the International Hockey Federation website.

Pakistan, meanwhile, ranked fifth in the world, have dropped four veterans including Shakeel Abbasi, Mohammed Waseem, Mohammed Rizwan Senior and Rashid Mehmood in order to test new players. Coach Akhtar Rasool said in Ipoh that Pakistan were "in the process of looking at new players for the future". "This is a good opportunity to test the younger ones and we will get quality matches to try out our experiments," he said. New Zealand won last year's crown with a powerful display of attacking hockey. They are led by veteran Dean Couzins and ably supported by Andy Hayward, Stephen Jenness, Arun Panchia and Hugo Inglis. But they too have several youngsters in the squad, who Batch will want to develop for the future.

The opening match on Saturday will see world number two Australia facing a resurgent India, now ranked 11th. Pakistan, the 2012 Champions Trophy bronze medallists and Asian Champions Trophy winners, will play sixth-ranked New Zealand. World number eight South Korea will round out opening day play against Malaysia, ranked 13th.

The Daily Times

New-look India face mighty Australia in Azlan Shah opener

IPOH (Malaysia): It will be a test of character for a young and new-look Indian team when it takes on the world champions Australia in its opening encounter of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Saturday.

The match between six-time champions Australia and five-time winners India is being billed as the clash of the day.

India's chief coach Michael Nobbs came here with a development squad, led by Danish Mujtaba, after resting six of his senior players, including inspirational skipper Sardar Singh for the tournament.

Nobbs saw the Azlan Shah Cup to build a strong reserve pool for Indian hockey as he opted to rest some key players like Sardar Singh, SV Sunil and V R Raghunath and instead blooded in youngsters.

The fact that India's junior team coach Baljit Singh Saini is accompanying the side is an indication that the team management is looking far beyond the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Some of the young names that came to the fore during the inaugural Hockey India League -- Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh, Gurjinder Singh, Gurmail Singh, Amit Rohidas, PT Rao and Sushant Tirkey -- will get a much-needed international exposure from this tournament.

"We had some objectives in mind when we selected the team for the Azlan Shah Cup. Our main aim is to build a strong team for the Junior World Cup, and we can achieve that only by giving as much international exposure as possible to the junior players," Nobbs had said.

"It is also a good opportunity to draft in some junior players as they are the future of Indian hockey. It will also create a healthy competition for places in the team.

"Mandeep's (Singh) performance in the Hockey World League is a prime example of the fact that junior players need development. Mandeep found international hockey lot tougher than Hockey India League. He has got talent but require development," he added.

Nobbs' decision to rest seniors is justified as the Azlan Shah Cup is India's only engagement before the back-to-back series against Pakistan at home and away, which undoubtedly is of much greater interest for the eight-time Olympic champions.

"The other objective behind the decision to send the development team was to give rest to some senior players, who are either exhausted or are carrying injuries, because we have a busy schedule ahead," the coach insisted.

The run-up to the Azlan Shah Cup, however, was far from rosy for the Indians, who threatened to withdraw from the event over government's refusal to fund the travel expenses but reversed their decision following a quick resolution of the issue.

Apart from Australia, India will also play Korea (Mar 10), arch-rivals Pakistan (Mar 12), defending champions New Zealand (Mar 14) and hosts Malaysia (Mar 16) in their round-robin matches.

In their quest for a seventh title, Australia coach Ric Charlesworth, on the other hand, has included a good mix of youth and experience in his side.

Although even they are looking to use the tournament as an ideal platform to spot talents for the Junior World Cup to be held in India later this year.

The mighty Kookaburras are keen to start the tournament on the right note after giving it a miss last year. Boosted by the presence of Ben Bishop as the additional coach, the Aussies on form and past record look to be the best bet for the title.

The 21st edition of the Azlan Shah Cup, however, will open with a clash between title holders New Zealand and Pakistan, followed by match between India and Australia and hosts Malaysia and Korea.

The Times of India

Future trumps title defence for Black Sticks


Take a glimpse at the New Zealand men's hockey squad for this week's Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia and it's easy to see why coach Colin Batch is more concerned about development than defending their title.

Nine of the 18 players have played fewer than 10 internationals, and just three players - captain Dean Couzins, Andy Hayward and Hamish McGregor - are older than 23.

Batch is using the tournament as a development tool ahead of bigger dates later this year and though New Zealand are the defending champions, having last year won the tournament for the first time in its 30-year history, repeating that success appears unlikely.

"It's a very different team to last year," Batch said from Malaysia.

"They'd been together for four years and were building toward the Olympics last year. This squad has only had a handful of games together; there's a lot of young guys and players who we want to give an opportunity at international level."

To that end, expect to see plenty of squad rotation during the tournament, which starts tonight with a match against Pakistan.

"It's difficult to say where we will finish results-wise in the tournament, but my ambition is to keep developing and trial players for benefits in the longer term."

Batch said it was good to have two leaders in Couzins, 31, a veteran of 266 tests, and Hayward, 27, who were "very experienced players and doing a good job off the field with our less experienced players".

New Zealand play five qualifying matches in eight days, culminating in a playoff for final positions.

As well as world No 5 Pakistan, the sixth-ranked Black Sticks face the hosts, South Korea and India (all ranked just below them) and world No 2 Australia.

They split two warmup tests this week against Malaysia, at No 13 the lowest ranked of the six teams at the tournament.

Match schedule (world rankings in brackets, all times NZ):-

New Zealand (6) v Pakistan (5), 9.05pm today

New Zealand v Malaysia (13), 1.05am Monday

New Zealand v Korea (8), 9.05pm Tuesday

New Zealand v India (11), 11.05pm Thursday

New Zealand v Australia (2), 11.05pm next Saturday

Fifth v Sixth, 8.35pm Sunday, March 17

Third v Fourth, 11.05pm Sunday, March 17

First v Second, 1.35am Monday, March 18


NZ minus key players

NEW Zealand were the surprise package last year when they beat Argentina 1-0 to lay their hands on the Azlan Shah Cup for the first time.

However, Australian Colin Batch, chief coach of the Kiwis in Ipoh, chose to bring a youthful outfit this year.

Perhaps he had no choice as some key players are in Europe to fulfil their commitments, leaving experienced Dean Couzins to shoulder the responsibilities.

"We are here with a relatively young and untested side with the matches against Malaysia (NZ won 3-2 and lost 2-3) the first we have played this year," said Batch after the friendly matches in Malacca.

"But do not write us off as I am impressed with the performances of my players. We are in a transition period, something that every team go through post-Olympics.

"There are some exciting youngsters in the squad that are out to prove their abilities.

"And this bodes well for hockey in New Zealand."

Batch has taken the opportunity to give several up and coming players valuable experience ahead of key tournaments later this year.

Cory Bennett and Nick Ross are set to make their Black Sticks debuts while Isaac Staples has been included after an impressive showing at the recent national training camp.

Ross continues a family tradition, with father Dave a former Black Stick and sister Courtney in the Junior Black Sticks wider squad.

New Straits Times

Lissek test for Malaysia

AZLAN SHAH CUP: German's inside knowledge gives Koreans added edge

By Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIA start their 22nd Azlan Shah Cup campaign against South Korea today in Ipoh, with the 6-3 hiding still fresh in coach Paul Revington's mind.

It was at the Champions Challenge I in Argentina last December, where Malaysia beat South Korea 4-2 in the pool stage, only to receive a 6-3 hammering in the semi-finals.

For the record, Argentina then blasted South Korea 5-0 in the final, to move into the elite Champions Trophy bracket.

And with former Malaysian coach Paul Lissek now coaching South Korea, the equation has gotten got more interesting.

The others in the six-team invitational are World No 2 Australia, the raging favourites to lift their seventh title, defending champions New Zealand and crowd favourites India and Pakistan.

"We are as prepared as ever for this tournament, and all my players are primed to start.

"The friendlies against Ireland and New Zealand helped the coaching set-up identify weaknesses, and I am optimistic that Malaysia will play much better than their world ranking of 13," said South African Revington.

However, with German Lissek at the helm of the Koreans, Revington knows Malaysia must tread with caution.

"I have all the respect for Lissek, as he has done much to help Malaysian hockey in the past and I admire him as a coach.

"But professionally speaking, we both have a job to do and mine is to beat his side for a good start in the tournament," said Revington.

Lissek was less optimistic as he does not have the services of a few regulars who are playing in Europe, and when they left Korea, it was freezing.

"Even though I know all the Malaysian players, it will not be an easy match as I do not have many players who took Korea to the Champions Challenge final in Argentina.

"Also, we only played indoors as it was minus 10 degrees in Korea, while Malaysia have had good warm-up games against Ireland and New Zealand.

"But having said that, we will play the Korean way, and make it difficult for every team in Ipoh," said Lissek.

New Straits Times

Blooding field for youngsters

AUSTRALIA will be gunning for their seventh Azlan Shah Cup title, while India will be blooding players for the Junior World Cup when the two clash in Ipoh today.

India coach Michael Nobbs (pic) does not have high expectations from his charges, as he selected them with the Junior World Cup at the end of the year in mind.

And that is why India are fielding their development squad and resting six of their senior players, including skipper Sardar Singh.

"We had some objectives in mind when we selected the team for the Azlan Shah Cup.

"Our main aim is to build a strong team for the Junior World Cup, and we can achieve that only by giving as much international exposure as possible to the junior players," said Nobbs.

"It is also a good opportunity to draft in some junior players as they are the future of Indian hockey.

"It will also create a healthy competition for places in the team."

However, Australia will field a team of veterans, with a smattering of new faces.

"We have three players from our 2012 Olympic team and we are looking to achieve the high results that this group has been accustomed to over the last five years," said coach Ric Charlesworth.

The other match of the day is between Pakistan and defending champions New Zealand.

Ranked fifth in the world, Pakistan left behind regulars Shakeel Abbasi, Mohammed Waseem, Mohammed Rizwan Senior and Rashid Mehmood in order to test new players.

New Zealand will be anchored by Dean Couzins, Andy Hayward, Stephen Jenness, Arun Panchia and Hugo Inglis.

They, too, have many youngsters in the squad.

New Straits Times

Pakistan aim to tame Kiwis in opener

By Fawad Hussain

While the national hockey coach admitted that New Zealand would not be easy to play, he declared his team ready for a competitive encounter. PHOTO: MEHMOOD QURESHI/EXPRESS

KARACHI: The six-nation Azlan Shah Cup will kick off today with Pakistan taking on defending champions New Zealand in the opening match of the tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Pakistan chief coach Akhtar Rasool rated the Kiwi encounter crucial for his team’s campaign in the tournament.

“We will go for a win,” the former Olympian and captain told The Express Tribune from Ipoh after the team’s final practice session before the first game.

“The opening match in any tournament is very important as a good result boosts the team’s confidence for the remaining matches. All the teams in this competition are tough ones. There will be no let-up throughout the event and our performance in the opening game will make an impact in other fixtures.”

Rasool expected a tough battle from the defending champions, terming them an aggressive team.

“New Zealand have historically been tough opponents. They are the defending champions as well and we cannot expect a comfortable battle against them. They play with aggression and we have also plans for playing attacking hockey to overcome them. We worked a lot on our weak areas before this tournament and the team is in good shape.”

The manager added the team also trained for a couple of days.

“The weather is very hot here but the players have acclimatised to an extent.”

Rasool backs young blood

With an aim to increase the pool of international players, Pakistan inducted four new faces in the side by resting seasoned players including Shakeel Abbasi and Mohammad Waseem.

Rasool hoped the youngsters will avail the chance and prove their worth.

“We will be watching their performance closely. It will be a great boost for us if we find some good players from this event and will increase our options for the 2014 World Cup which is our main target.”

NZ, Australia and India to try new players

Meanwhile, the greenshirts are not the only ones to introduce new players in the event as other big contenders – Australia, India and New Zealand – would also be experimenting with young legs.

Australia, the most successful side of the event, will enter the tournament with five uncapped players with an aim to prepare youngsters for the Junior World Cup later this year in India.

The title defenders have also populated their team with upcoming players and have allowed their key players to fulfil their league commitments.

India, the second successful team of the tournament with five titles, have also rested their seasoned campaigners Sardar Singh and VR Raghunath to test new players.

Mohammad Imran

“We are hoping to show a consistent performance in the tournament and will give our best to win the title. In any case, managing to find capable youngsters will be an achievement in itself.”

Akhtar Rasool

“There will be no let-up; New Zealand have historically been tough opponents. They are the defending champions as well and we cannot expect a comfortable battle against them.”

The Express Tribune

Kelburne aim to maintain pole position

The Men's Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1 campaign is now entering the critical phase of the season as the post-split fixtures get underway this weekend.

At the top of the league, Glynhill Hotel Kelburne have a two point lead over rivals Grange and can maintain their lead with a win over PSL Team Sport Clydesdale at Bellahouston tomorrow (13.30). The Paisley side defeated John McKnight’s outfit 4-2 at Titwood earlier in the season.

Meanwhile, Colin Clarke’s Grange travel to Glasgow to take on Western Wildcats at Auchenhowie (13.30). It’s a must win contest for the title challengers since they have played one game more than the defending champions.

In the bottom half of the table, both AAM Gordonians and Watsonians have crucial matches in the fight to avoid relegation.

The Aberdonians can drag Graham Moodie’s Edinburgh University into the relegation dogfight if they can record a home win at Counteswells (15.00), while Watsonians take on Inverleith at Forrester High School (14.30) with three points required to stay in the mix.

In Men’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 2, McWhinney Uddingston can move up to third in the table if they can muster an away win over Glasgow University at Garscube (14.30).

Leaders Dundee Wanderers can bounce back from their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Uddingston last weekend when they play St.Andrews University in a home tie at Mayfield Park (14.30). Second place Falkirk GHG have a tricky away trip to Stepps at Millerston (15.30).

At the foot of the table, there is an important clash between CALA Edinburgh and Highland at Meggetland (15.30). A win for the capital outfit would create a five point gap between the two sides and leave Highland fighting to beat the drop.

Alpha Data Carnegie will be keen to learn the outcome of the fixture following their journey to Aberdeen to play Granite City Wanderers at Aberdeen Sports Village (15.00).

A win for Aberdeen GSFP against Dundee University would put the Dundee students in a tricky position having played more games than those teams in the bottom half of the table. The two sides meet at Rubislaw (12.00).

There are two massive matches in the Men’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 3 on Saturday.

Tayside rivals Harris Academy and FMGM Monarchs go head-to-head at DISC (11.30) in a top of the table dual, while second place Erskine Stewart’s Melville take on fourth place Perthshire at Inverleith (14.00).

All four teams are separated by just five points and the results this weekend could go a long way to deciding the title and promotion issues this season.

Moreover, Ayr still have a chance of climbing the table into the promotion race if results go their way and they can defeat Giffnock at Cambusdoon (14.00).

Chapman Motherwell are desperately looking for their first points of the season and they play second bottom Stirling Wanderers at home.

Elsewhere, Stirling University play 2020 Renewables Greenock (Gannochy Sports Centre) and Waverley Inveresk Trinity host Strathclyde University at Bangholm (12.30)

Scottish Hockey Union media release

GHK looking to maintain lead at top of division

GHK Ladies and Watsonians should maintain their positions in the top two of the Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 2 this weekend with fixtures against sides in the lower realms of the league.

The leaders travel to East Lothian to play Haddington Ladies at the Aubigny Centre (12.00) on Saturday, while second place Watsonians are at home to capital rivals Waverley Inveresk Trinity (Mary Erskine School, 12.30).

Third place Granite City Wanderers need a win against Glasgow University at the Aberdeen Sports Village (13.30) to keep pace with the top two and should pick up maximum points against the students who are sitting second from bottom.

Elsewhere, Erskine Stewart’s Melville could move back up to fourth in the league with a win against Hillhead Ladies at Inverleith (13.00). Borders Fjordhus Rievers face a long journey to play Highland at Bught Park (13.30) where a win could also keep them in with an outside chance of threatening the promotion places.

AAM Merlins Gordonians remain in pole position at the top of Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 3 and will encounter local rivals Aberdeen Ladies this Saturday at Aberdeen Sports Village (12.00).

The leaders have an eight point cushion over second place Dundee University, who can keep the pressure on with a win over Aberdeen University at the same venue (16.30).

Stirling University are still in the hunt though and will stay within touching distance of Dundee University with an away win at St.Andrews University (13.00).

In the bottom half of the table, Bon Accord MBC can pull away from the bottom two with a win over Strathclyde University (Cults Academy, 12.00).

Finally, Stirling Wanderers play Ayr Ladies at Forthbank (13.30).

Scottish Hockey Union media release