News for 13 March 2013

All the news for Wednesday 13 March 2013


Malaysia hold Australia



Malaysia held World number two Australia to a 1-1 draw in an exciting match infront of a full stadium at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

The Aussies had nine penalty corners but could not score a single goal from them as Malaysian keeper S. Kumar was in his element, pulling off save after save.

Both teams thus remain unbeaten in the tournament and are in a good position to contest the final on Sunday.

It was only three minutes into the match, when Malaysia sounded their intention of fighting till the end, by winning a penalty corner, but Faizal Saari flicked it inches wide.

The Australians were not intimidated, and relied on counter attacks but they depended on crosses from left to right with no one getting a stick to it.

Goalkeeper S. Kumar put up a brave front to deny the World No 2, and needed treatment in the sixth minute when he took a hefty hit square on his chest. That was just the start of the Tampin born lads heroics.

The Australians were merciless in the semi-circle, and in the 11th minute, Kumar went down again after taking another shot in the chest.

In terms of possession, it was however all Malaysia in the first 15 minutes of the match as Faizal Saari, Chua Boon Huat and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin created havoc in the Aussies semi-circle.

Australia won their first penalty corner in the 18th minute and Kumar pulled off another outstanding save

Kookaburras, the masters of hockey, slowly moved upwards after that and won their second penalty corner in the 20th minute but that too was defended with valor by Malaysia.

Marhan Jalil then had a one-on-one with goalkeeper Andrew Charter in the 25th minute, but the Aussie came out looking like a bunch of roses with a sliding tackle.

However, a 34th minute lapse in defense saw Trent Mitton scoring the easiest of goals to enter the dressing room with a slim lead.

Australia forced two penalty corners, in the 44th and 49th minutes but Kumar denied them on both occasions, pulling off saves that some might deem impossible.

Malaysia came close to drawing level in the 52nd minute as Azlan Misron sent in a teasing cross that evaded the outstretched stick of Chua Boon Huat by a timely interception of Aussie keeper Andrew Charter.

Joshua Miller too could not believe that Kumar managed to turn his reverse stick hit out in the 55th minute.

And in the 69th minute Malaysia struck. Mohd Razie Rahim's penalty corner struck a defenders foot and the umpire played an advantage which Faisal capitalised sending in a hard hit sailing into goal, to the cheers of the 10,000 odd fans.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



India triumph over Pakistan


PIC COURTESY OF SPORTS MEDIA GROUP.COM.AU

India came from a goal down to defeat Pakistan 3-1 to register their first win in the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.

The young Indian side showed plenty of maturity and composure to avenge the Indian defeat at the AHF Champions Trophy in Doha last December.

More importantly it kept the Indian hopes alive for a podium finish at the Azlan Shah Cup.

Pakistan took the lead in the 4th minute as skipper Muhammad Imran decided to relay the penalty corner attempt to the right for a diving Muhammad Waqas to turn into goal.

But India hit back in the very next minute when Rupinder Pal Singh sent in a pile driver of a flick sailing into the Pakistan net. Five minutes into the match and its 1-1.

India took the lead in the 9th minute when Akashdeep Singh pounced on the rebound after an initial attempt by Mandeep Singh came off Pakistan keeper Imran Shah who was playing in the place of regular Imran Butt.

Pakistan could have leveled in the 11th minute but Muhammad Irfan Junior made a hash of things with the goal gaping infront of him.

Pakistan were awarded penalty corners in the 15th, 25th and 35th minutes, but Imran could not find the target as India led 2-1 at halftime.

Pakistan dominated proceedings in the first ten minutes of the second half, thanks to the untiring Shafqat Rasool, but they just could not find the final touch.

In the 52nd minute Pakistan were awarded their fifth penalty corner but Imran pulled it just wide of the lef post and India sighed in relief.

Mandeep Singh and Malak Singh kept the Pakistani defenders busy with their constant pressure and that forced the Pakistani defenders into making long passes instead of building up from the back gradually.

In the 56th minute India went 3-1 up when Mandeep Singh picked up the rebound from his deflection to send the ball into the roof of the net.

Pakistan were then awarded their sixth penalty corner in the 58th minute, but Sreejesh denied Imran yet again with a diving save.

Two more penalty corners to Pakistan in the 64th and 65th minutes were also wasted and as the minutes ticked away, the youngsters of India started slowing the pace.

Pakistan were awarded their ninth penalty corner 40 seconds from time but failed to reduce the deficit.

And the young Indian side sank to their knees savouring a memorable win.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Black Sticks outclass Koreans


PIC COURTESY OF SPORTS MEDIA GROUP.COM.AU

Defending champions New Zealand got back onto the winning trail when they defeated South Korea 3-0 at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

New Zealand, the defending champions, had lost both their opening matches, 4-3 against Pakistan and 3-2 against Malaysia and were looking for a win to secure points.

Korea on the other hand wanted to stay in touch with the table toppers as they only had three points, via a 2-1 win over India on Sunday.

But the Kiwis were deadlier in their finishing and played a tight game to walk away with all three points.

The Kiwis took only four minutes to open account as a lurking Hugo Inglis was at hand at the far post to deflect a shot by Stephen Jenness.

New Zealand doubled their advantage off their first penalty corner in the 12th minute through Cory Bennett whose low drag flicked sailed through a sea of legs past an unsighted Korean keeper Kim Jae Hyeon.

Though Korea tried, they could not get a single shot on target throughout the first half and the Kiwis trooped off with a two goal advantage.

Seven minutes into the second half New Zealand scored their third through Andy Hayward who converted a penalty corner.

Though Korea forced two penalty corners late in the match, they failed to trouble the Kiwis and the result was never in doubt.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Malaysia in attack mode   

Faizal’s last minute strike frustrates Australia

By JUGJET SINGH



Malaysia’s Faiz Helmi Jali (right) tussles with Australia’s Daniel Beale in the Azlan Shah Cup at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday. The teams drew 1-1. Pic by Muhaizan Yahya

MALAYSIA played like champions to hold mighty Australia to a 1-1 draw in a heart-stopping Azlan Shah Cup match in Ipoh yesterday.

The team received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd, as they did not only hold the World No 2, but also played much better than the Australians.

Faizal Saari delivered the equaliser in the 69th minute, but the entire team deserved the accolades for playing their best match under coach Paul Revington.

"It was a pleasing to hold Australia to a draw, but I could see from the faces of my players, that even in celebration, they did not look too happy with the draw. And that is the quality that I want in them," said Malaysian coach Paul Revington.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth was more pale than usual, and said: "My men played a good game but the result did not favour us. It still a long way to go, as the tournament is only at the midway stage and anything can happen by then."

It was only three minutes into the match when Malaysia sounded their intention of fighting till the end by winning a penalty corner, but Faizal Saari flicked it just wide.

The national players looked very comfortable with the ball while Australia struggled to contain our speedy defenders.

However, the Aussies showed why they are World No 2 as they kept soaking all that Malaysia could throw at them.

Goalkeeper S. Kumar put up a brave performance to deny Australia, and needed treatment in the sixth minute as well as the 11th minute after taking hefty shots in the chest.

Faizal Saari, Chua Boon Huat, Marhan Jalil and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin created havoc in the Aussie semi-circle, but were not sharp enough when it mattered.

However, a 34th minute lapse in defence turned costly as Trent Mitton scored the easiest of goals to enter the dressing room with a slim lead.

The Australians never expected Malaysia to play attacking hockey, and the hosts never changed their style after the breather to trouble these players who have tasted World Cup and Olympic glory.

The only factor that lacked in Malaysia was the easy turnovers which they occasionally handed the Aussies on a platter.

Azlan Misron was also in top form, and his cross in the 52nd minute was heading towards Chua Boon Huat, but Aussie goalkeeper Andrew Charter just managed to get a toe to it to change its direction slightly.

Australia won a total of nine penalty corners in the match, but still, good runs and a steady Kumar between the posts kept them from increasing the lead.

And it was just waiting to happen, as Malaysia won only their second penalty corner and Faizal Saari slammed home the equaliser.

New Straits Times



Malaysia hold world champions Australia despite poor display

By S. RAMAGURU



On the ball: Malaysia goalkeeper S. Kumar making a save from Australia’s Jacob Whetton (centre) and Joshua Miller during their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match Tuesday. — SAIFUL BAHRI / The Star

IPOH: Hosts Malaysia turned in a poor display but still managed to hold world champions Australia to a 1-1 draw in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup yesterday.

And for the third time in as many matches, Malaysia finished stronger with their equaliser coming in the 69th minute of the match.

Australia and Malaysia continue to lead the standings and look a safe bet for a final showdown on Sunday.

Malaysia again kept faith with the same starting line-up that started the previous two matches.

The early exchanges were fairly even although the Australians had three penalty corners in the first 20 minutes but were thwarted by the solid Malaysian defence.

Malaysia had a penalty corner in the 24th minute which came to nought while Mohamed Marhan Jalil broke through in the 27th minute but failed to get the better of Australian goalkeeper George Bezeley.

But there was no denying the world champions in the 34th minute. A quick breakthrough left Trent Mitton with just Malaysia goalkeeper S. Kumar to beat and the former slammed the ball high into the net.

Australia dominated the second half winning a total of nine penalty corners but Kumar was equal to the task in goal.

Malaysia’s attack looked jaded at times but they made no mistake with a last-minute penalty corner which saw Faizal Saari netting the equaliser.

Malaysia coach Paul Revington was happy with the result but felt they could have played much better.

“It is always good when you get a result and this was a fantastic one for the team. I don’t think we played that well and there are still many areas where we can improve.

“But the results give us hope and I am sure the players have much to be proud of. We must look forward from here and try to learn as we move along,” said Revington.

Earlier, defending champions New Zealand found their winning touch when they defeated South Korea 3-0.

The Kiwis had lost their opening matches, 4-3 to Pakistan and 3-2 to Malaysia, and were looking for a win to keep alive their hopes of making the final on Sunday.

The Kiwis took only four minutes to open accounts as a lurking Hugo Inglis was at hand at the far post to deflect Stephen Jenness’ shot into goal.

They then doubled their advantage off their first penalty corner in the 12th minute through Cory Bennett whose low drag flick beat South Korean goalkeeper Kim Jae-hyeon.

Though Korea tried, they could not get a single shot on target throughout the first half and the Kiwis trooped off at half time with a two-goal advantage.

Seven minutes into the second half New Zealand scored their third through Andy Hayward who converted a penalty corner.

In another match, India came from a goal down to defeat Pakistan 3-1 for their first win in the tournament.

Pakistan took the lead in the fourth minute through a penalty corner rebound goal by Mohamed Waqas.

But India hit back in the very next minute when Rupinder Pal Singh sent in a pile driver of a flick into the Pakistan net.

Then Akashdeep Singh added the second in the ninth minute and India looked the more settled side after that.

India increased their lead in the 56th minute through Mandeep Singh and with Pakistan missing a number of sitters, the match was India’s for the taking.

The Star of Malaysia



Top of the table clash ends in a draw

When the rain came down and delayed the second match on day three of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia it looked like the Gods were on Australia’s side. The rain saw the humidity drop dramatically and also the overall temperature, which would make their game against the host nation Malaysia a little easier.

Malaysia and Australia were the only two unbeaten teams in the tournament, and with all the other results going their way; the loser was still guaranteed to be three points ahead of the third placed team.

Australia started the game positively and mounted wave after wave of attacks, but coach Paul Revington has instilled more discipline into the Malaysian’s and they defended valiantly.

Craig Boyne should have opened the scoring when an aerial pass put him one-on-one with Kumar the Malaysian goalkeeper, but he pushed his effort wide. Daniel Mirecki shot into the side netting with the goal at his mercy in the opening stanza, and knew he should have done better.

Australia forced three penalty corners in the first half and although well executed they simply could not beat Kumar in the Malaysian goal. He denied Mitton a surefire goal when the ball struck him on the helmet. He was in inspired form.

Andrew Charter too pulled off a few crucial saves for Australia when Malaysia did manage to create space to shoot.

In the last minute Razie took his eye of the ball in the Malaysian defence and Trent Mitton pounced. He drove into the circle drew Kumar as he shaped to square to Josh Miller and then lifted an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

When they came out for the second half Australia carried on where they left, unfortunately for them so too did Kumar. Australia forced a further six penalty corners and no matter which play they tried Kumar was there to deny them. He pulled of outstanding saves to deny Glenn Simpson twice, Chris Bauser and Daniel Mirecki. There was simply no way past him.

Just when it looked like Australia would have to settle for a 1-0 victory Malaysia broke out of defence and forced a penalty corner of their own with less than a minute on the clock. The first runner charged the initial drag flick down, but the ball rolled to Faizal Saari – who played under Ric Charlesworth in the HIL for Mumbai Magicians – who crashed an unstoppable shot high into the net.  Thirty seconds later the siren sounded.

Australia created numerous chances, and as frustrating as it will be that they failed to convert them, they met a goalkeeper in inspired form. The team was disappointed with the draw and the manner in which they had dropped two points, but they remain top of the ladder with Malaysia on seven points with a superior goal difference.

Australia’s next game is on Thursday 14th March at 4.05pm local time against Korea. A win will guarantee them a place in Sunday’s final and the chance to win a 7th title.

Australia 1 drew Malaysia 1
Goals: Australia - Mitton (34 FG)
Goals: Malaysia - F. Saari (70 PC)

Hockey Australia media release



Australia, Malaysia play out 1-1 draw

IPOH: Australia and Malaysia shared two points each after playing out a 1-1 draw in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, on Tuesday.

The result has thrown open the tournament as the draw kept other teams in the fray, more so, with India notching up an important win against Pakistan on Tuesday.

It has also added to the prospect of Malaysia meeting India and Pakistan in their last two matches.

In a humdinger of a contest, Malaysian goalkeeper Subramanian Kumar was the cynosure of all eyes as the custodian came up with an incredible seven spanking saves in the second half to keep a check on the marauding Aussies.

In exchanges, which were even in the first half, Australia scored through Trent Mitton, his second in this editon, in the 34th minute.

Mitton made most of the opportunity provided by the Malaysian defender Razie Muhammad as he snatched the ball away from him and had the freedom to seize up the target with a high scoop.

For all their honest tries, Malaysians were rewarded with an equaliser a minute before the hooter. Faizal Saari banged in the rebound from the team's third penalty corner.

Both teams thus remain unbeaten in the tournament and are in a good position to contest the final on Sunday.

The Times of India



India overwhelm Pakistan 3-1

Malaysia-Australia match ends in 1-1 draw, New Zealand outclass South Korea 3-0


IPOH: World Champions Australia were held to a 1-1 draw by 13th-ranked Malaysia Tuesday with both teams securing a place in Sunday’s final in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Australia tops the standings with Malaysia second, both on seven points each after three matches. The other competitors lag behind on three points after winning only one game. Both went into Tuesday’s match undefeated but it was the Australians who had the better of their exchanges. Australia took the lead from a field attempt taken by Trent Mitton after a quick counter attack. But it squandered chances from nine penalty corners and several other field attempts, while Faizal Saari scored for Malaysia with a drag flick from a penalty corner. Desperate defending and quality goalkeeping from Malaysia brought the match to the final final 1-1 scoreline.

Earlier, India overcame their arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 to chalk up their first win of the tournament. A dominant Pakistan took the lead when Muhammad Waqas scored from a penalty corner rebound. But India, setting up their attacks from the flanks, scored two goals through Rupinder Pal Singh and Akashdeep Singh in a four-minute spell. Pakistan slowly re-took command of the match, but in the second half India increased the lead through Mandeep Singh through a penalty corner rebound. Pakistan chief coach Akhtar Rasool, who changed the goalkeeper to Imran Shah from Imran Butt, said the team wouldn’t win matches if they missed sitters and penalty corners. “I am happy to see the players performing well. But this is all about scoring, and despite dominating the match we ended up losers,” he added.

Meanwhile, New Zealand finally secured a win, defeating South Korea 3-0. The defending champions rank third in the table now, after Australia and Malaysia. They took the lead in the fourth minute with a goal from lurking Hugo Inglis. Cory Bennett then converted their first penalty corner, while Andy Hayward did the same later in the game.

Results

India 3 (Rupinder Pal Singh 5, Akashdeep Singh 9, Mandeep Singh 56) Pakistan 1 (Muhammad Waqas 4)

New Zealand 3 (Hugo Inglis 4, Cory Bennett 12, Andy Hayward 42) South Korea 0

Malaysia 1 (Faizal Saari 69) Australia 1 (Trent Mitton 34).

The Daily Times



India beat Pakistan 3-1 to stay alive in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (Malaysia): A spirited India notched up a come-from-behind 3-1 win over arch-rivals Pakistan in a must-win match to keep alive their hopes in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, on Tuesday.

India were in a spot of bother ahead of the match after losing their opening two encounters, and another loss would have virtually shut the door on Michael Nobbs' wards.

But, it was not to be, as India scored through Rupinder Pal Singh (5th minute), Akashdeep Singh (9th) and Mandeep Singh (56th) to seal the issue in their favour after Mohammad Waqas gave Pakistan the lead in the fourth minute of the game.

By virtue of Tuesday's win, India have moved up in the team standings to the fourth position ahead of Pakistan with three points from as many games.

It was an enthralling encounter between the two Asian giants, who adopted a cautious approach in the initial stages of the match.

Going by the share of ball possession, Pakistan, by far, were the better side on display at least in the opening half.

The Pakistanis put the Indian defence under tremendous pressure in the opening few minutes of the game.

Their efforts produced result immediately when Waqas deflected in skipper Muhammad Imran's flick after Pakistan tried a variation from their first penalty corner.

But the Indians hardly took any time to bounce back as they pumped in two goals in a span of five minutes to stun their neighbours.

Rupinder restored parity for India in the fifth minute converting India's only penalty corner of the match with a fierce drag-flick which beat Pakistan goal-keeper Imran Butt all ends up.

Four minutes later, an opportunist Akashdeep put India ahead, slamming in a rebound after Nithin Thimmiah's initial shot was stopped by Pakistan custodian Shah.

Pakistan had an off day in office which can be gauged from the fact that they only managed to convert one out of the eight penalty corners that came their way.

The Pakistanis also found it difficult to get the better of an agile PR Sreejesh, who was brilliant under the Indian goal.

Sreejesh was in ominous form as he pulled off as many as six to seven brilliant saves, one of which came just at the stroke of the half time, to deny the Pakistanis any scoring chance.

Leading 2-1, the Indians looked more organised after the change of ends even as Pakistan were desperately hunting for the equaliser.

Pakistan's task became even more difficult when Mandeep scored India's third goal in the 56th minute. Mandeep scored from a rebound after his initial touch was gloved away by Shah.

Trailing 1-3, the stunned Pakistanis pressed hard for goals and in the process earned three penalty corners but Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh stood in between them and goal on all the three occasions.

After a rest day on Wednesday, India will play defending champions New Zealand, who beat Korea 0-3 in the first match of the day while Pakistan will be up against hosts Malaysia.

India's chief coach Micheal Nobbs said he has every reason to be delighted with the win, which put India back on the track after consecutive defeats in the opening two matches of the Azlan Shah Cup.

The coach, however, was not satisfied with the overall performance of his team, but singled out P R Sreejesh for special praise for his sterling display under the Indian goal.

"It is still a development side and the inexperience showed in many aspects. Thankfully, the defence held its own and due credit to goalkeeper Sreejesh whose saves were the deciding factor," Nobbs said after the much-needed victory over Pakistan.

Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool rued his team's missed chances and said they were, by far, the better side on the turf on Tuesday.

"Our team dished out a better brand of hockey but inexperience of the boys let us down. The team clearly missed a good striker. Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh seemed to have all the answers today," Rasool said.

The Times of India



India resurrects with a fluent 3-1 victory over Pakistan

s2h team


An outstanding defence, propelled at the rear by inimitable goalie PR Sreejesh, helped India to mark its first victory in three matches today at the Azlan Shah Cup.

When India replied in the same minute that Pakistan took the lead through immaculate penalty corner conversion, a cracker of a match was expected, but it was not to be. However, for India which struck two more goals, each from Akashdeep Singh and Mandeep Singh, its first victory in three matches, and matches against Malaysia and New Zealand to come, its return to the medal prospect looks bright

Only Pakistan has to be blamed for the defeat, as its hard-earned penalty corners, six of them after the first one was made use of, went abegging.

On the other hand, Indian defence led by Rupinder and Harbir stood up to the task, and whenever they failed Sreejesh came up with usual extraordinary against Pakistan to let the ball go in.

With this win, India gets a lustre into its campaign.

Stick2Hockey.com



Wasteful Pakistan go down to India

By Fawad Hussain


KARACHI: Pakistan paid for missed opportunities as they went down against India 3-1 after taking lead in a crucial fixture at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia yesterday.

The loss lessened the greenshirts’ chances of reaching the final as they dropped to fifth position behind India.

It was another tale of missed chances by Mohammad Imran’s side that earned nine penalty corners, managing just a single goal.

“We missed a lot of opportunities,” Pakistan chief coach Akhtar Rasool told The Express Tribune from Ipoh. “Although Pakistan dominated on the field and managed to get into their circle over a dozen times, it was a bad day for us. It was unfortunate not to get more goals and win the tie.”

It was Pakistan who secured the lead when Mohammad Waqas struck a diving goal on a pass from Imran in the fourth-minute penalty corner. However, the lead did not last for long as India bounced back in the next minute through Rupinder Pal Singh. Four minutes later, India were ahead when Akashdeep Singh earned the lead on a rebound after an attempt by Mandeep Singh.

Mohammad Irfan missed the easiest of Pakistan’s plentiful chances in the 11th minute, failing to score with an open goal in front of him.

Pakistan also failed to score in the three penalty corners they received in the final session.

The greenshirts, in search of a leveller, accelerated and took control in the first ten minutes of the final session but failed to find a goal despite several threatening moves.

But India made no mistake in doubling their lead in the 56th minute through Mandeep.

Pakistan got five more penalty corners in the session but failed to score to go down 3-1 in the important clash.

Rasool said the tournament was still open for his team adding it was still eyeing a place in the final.

“We will not lose heart after this loss. It’s a young team that needs motivation. We will learn from the defeat.”

Olympians rue defeat to India

Meanwhile, former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh defined the loss as a huge setback.

“We have been dominating India for the last several months,” Shahnaz told The Express Tribune. The loss is not only detrimental to our chances in the tournament but it will also hurt the team’s confidence. Our performance in defence and attack was poor. The players also lack the required individual skills, and the team management is not devising a combined strategy.”

Meanwhile, former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui also expressed disappointment on the loss.

“The team didn’t play as a unit,” said Siddiqui. “The forwards missed too many chances and the overall performance was disappointing.”

Shahnaz Sheikh



“We have been dominating India for the last several months. This loss is not only detrimental to our chances in the tournament but it will also hurt the team’s confidence. Our performance in defence and attack was poor. ”

Akhtar Rasool



“It was a bad day for us. We were unfortunate not to get more goals and win the match. We will not lose heart after this defeat. It’s a young team that needs motivation. We will learn from this setback.”

The Express Tribune



India hands Pakistan second successive defeat


Pakistan will have only themselves to blame for the defeat which may also end depriving them of a podium finish.

Pakistan suffered their second successive defeat in the Azlan Shah Cup and faced the prospect of finishing at the bottom half of the table after their 3-1 loss to India on Tuesday in Ipoh, Malaysia.

The Greenshirts, who held possession for large parts of the game, were guilty of squandering as many as eight penalty corners. They opened the scoring early in the 4th minute through Muhammad Waqas who deflected the ball into the net off the only successful penalty corner. They could have easily come out on top had it not been for some sloppy work in front of goal on the several opportunities they received thereafter.

Whether it was nerves or just poor technique, the Indian side were clearly unaffected by repeated Pakistani incursions and shot back through goals from Rupinder Pal Singh (5th) and young India forwards Akashdeep Singh (9th) and Mandeep Singh (56th).

In the end Pakistan will have only themselves to blame for the defeat which may also deprive them of a podium finish.

Next, Pakistan take on hosts Malaysia on March 14 while their last game will pit them against Korea on March 16.

Dawn



India beat Pakistan

IPOH -India came from a goal down to defeat Pakistan 3-1 to register their first win in the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Tuesday.

Pakistan took the lead in the 4th minute as skipper M Imran decided to relay the penalty corner attempt to the right for a diving M Waqas to turn into goal. But India hit back in the very next minute when Rupinder Pal Singh sent in a pile driver of a flick sailing into the Pakistan net.

India took the lead in the 9th minute when Akashdeep Singh pounced on the rebound after an initial attempt by Mandeep Singh came off Pakistan keeper Imran Butt who was playing in the place of regular Imran Shah.

Pakistan could have levelled in the 11th minute but M Irfan Junior made a hash of things with the goal gaping infront of him. Pakistan were awarded penalty corners in the 15th, 25th and 35th minutes, but Imran could not find the target as India led 2-1 at halftime.

Pakistan dominated proceedings in the first ten minutes of the second half, thanks to the untiring Shafqat Rasool, but they just could not find the final touch. In the 52nd minute Pakistan were awarded their fifth penalty corner but Imran pulled it just wide of the left post and India sighed in relief. In the 56th minute India went 3-1 up when Mandeep picked up the rebound from his deflection to send the ball into the roof of the net.

Pakistan chief coach Akhtar Rasool said the team wouldn't win matches if they missed sitters and penalty corners. "I am happy to see the players performing well. But this is all about scoring, and despite dominating the match we ended up losers," he added.

Hockey World Champions Australia were held to a 1-1 draw by 13th-ranked Malaysia with both teams now eyeing a place in Sunday's final. Australia tops the standings with Malaysia second, both on seven points after three matches. The other teams lag behind on three points after winning only one game.

Australia and Malaysia went into Tuesday's match undefeated but it was the Australians who had the better of their exchanges. Australia took the lead from a field attempt taken by Trent Mitton after a quick counter attack.

But they squandered chances from nine penalty corners and several other field attempts, while Faizal Saari scored for Malaysia with a drag flick from a penalty corner. Desperate defending and quality goalkeeping from Malaysia brought the match to the final 1-1 scoreline.

Meanwhile, New Zealand finally secured a win, defeating South Korea 3-0. The defending champions rank third in the table. They took the lead in the fourth minute with a goal from lurking Hugo Inglis. Cory Bennett then converted their first penalty corner, while Andy Hayward did the same later in the game.

The Nation



Akhtar Rasool: "We frittered away 10 chances"

B. David


Ipoh: Asian giants and traditional rivals dished out attacking brand of Asian hockey that provided seat-edged excitement to the sizeable crowd but despite dominating and have better chances, Pakistan failed to tame the spirited Indian youngsters as they went down 1-3 in the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament on the blue turf at Azlan Shah stadium here today.

The Indian team, with 10 players under-21 players, came up with stunning hockey but the hero of the day was goalkeeper Sreejesh, who stood like a solid rock in the Indian cage thwarting everything that came his way. ``India had five clear chances and scored thrice while Pakistan frittered away more than 10 chances and missed some sitters,’’ said Pakistan Manager Akthar Rasool, which summed up the play.

The Indian defence was well-manned by Rupinder Pal Singh and Harbir Singh Sandhu and whenever Pakistan managed to beat them they found a Himalayan barrier in Sreejesh, a veteran of Sultan Azlan Shah Tournaments.

On the other side, India exploited the weak left flank where Pakistan failed to tighten its grip both in the midfield and the attack. The numerous crosses from Wagas went abegging and it was India’s show today.

The match began on a aggressive note with Pakistan mounting attacks right from the start and in the very fourth minute they forced a short corner. In an indirect variation, Pakistan skipper Muhammad Imran took a direct hit but sent the sizzling shot a bit wide of the right post where a waiting Wa qas deflected into the boards without much fuss. (1-0)

However, India wasted no time and came back with a bang scoring the equaliser in the very next minute. After Dharamvir Singh’s injection, skipper Danish Mujtaba set it up perfectly and Rupinder Pal Singh made no mistake with a low but powerful flick to the boards. (1-1)

Buoyed by the goal, India raised the tempo of their game and weaved patterns upfront with Kangujam Chinglensana Singh in the thick of action. In the 10th minute, India took the lead when Nithin Thimmaiah received a diagonal pass from the left and took a shot at the goal which was blocked by Pak goalie Imran Shah but the rebound was slammed in by Akashdeep without any fuss. (2-1)

Thereafter, Indian played a tactical game tightening the defence and slowed down the game while Pakistan increased the tempo and started attacking repeatedly. But India exploited their weak midfield and managed to hang on to their slender lead.

Against the run of play, India mounted a superb counter attack in the 56th minute to seal the fate of the match with another goal. A long cross into the circle by Dharamvir Singh turned the tide and an alert Mandeep was caught on the wrong foot facing away from the ball, but the lanky youngster made amends and turned his body to tap in from waist-level. Goalkeeper Shah palmed it out but the ball came back to Mandeep, who whacked it this time hard into the nets.

Despite another reverse, Pakistan fought with renewed vigour but all that they could show for their play were more penalty corners which they failed to convert today. In all they earned nine short corners and could convert only one while India was successful with their only corner to gain 100 per cent success.

Stick2Hockey.com



Holders New Zealand register first win in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (Malaysia): Defending champions New Zealand defeated Korea 3-0 to register their first win in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Tuesday.

By virtue of Tuesday's win after suffering consecutive defeats in the opening two encounters, the Black Sticks have managed to keep alive their title defence hopes in the invitational tournament.

New Zealand took control of the proceedings early in the match and forged ahead in the fifth minute through Hugo Inglis' field goal.

As the Koreans were trying to recover from the early strike, New Zealand doubled their lead in the 11th minute when Cory Bennett scored from their first penalty corner with a fierce dragflick which the Korean goalkeeper Kim Jae Hyeon had no answer.

The Koreans had the first feel of the opposition goal in the later stages of the opening half but Kim Seong Kyu, comfortably placed inside the 'D', wasted the opportunity as New Zealand went into the breather with a 2-0 lead.

The Black Sticks started the second half on the same pace and mounted numerous raids into the Korean citadel from the very beginning.

Their efforts bore soon fruit when Andy Hayward converted a penalty corner in the 41st minute to make the scoreline 3-0 in favour of New Zealand.

Korea, thereafter, tried hard to forge a comeback but it was not to be as New Zealand put up a strong defence to deny any scoring chance to their opponents.

The Times of India



Kiwis finally win

NEW Zealand claimed their first win in Ipoh yesterday when they outplayed South Korea in every department to win 3-0 on a hot and humid day.

The 4pm start did not help matters for both the sides, but the Kiwis were more sharp in the first opportunity that was presented to them.

Hugo Inglis tapped in from close range in the fifth minute, and it was evident  the Koreans had given up even though there was still plenty of time to play catch-up.

And in the 12th minute, Cory Bennett made it 2-0 with a piercing penalty corner conversion.

The  score remained until  half-time.

Andy Hayward sealed the match in the 42nd minute, also off a penalty corner attempt, and the Kiwis collected their first three points of the tournament.

The Koreans also have three points from three matches.

New Straits Times



Convincing win for Black Sticks against Korea


Hugo Inglis in action against Korea.

The Black Sticks Men have had a confidence boost after a clinical 3-0 win against Korea last night at the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia.

After two opening losses, the young Kiwi side are pleased to get a win under their belt ahead of their final two games against India and Australia later this week.

“This is a young, developing side so it is about building game by game, and tonight’s win was a really positive step forward. The whole team stepped it up – we played a really good tight game,” said head coach Colin Batch.

Batch is using this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah tournament as a chance to develop some of the younger players and give those training hard the opportunity for international competition. At the start of the tournament, there were nine players with less than 10 caps, and all except three players aged 23 or younger.

In last night’s game, the Kiwis took only four minutes to score with Hugo Inglis at hand at the far post to deflect a shot by Stephen Jenness. The Black Sticks then doubled their advantage off their first penalty corner in the 12th minute through Cory Bennett whose low drag flicked past by the Korean defenders and Korean keeper Kim Jae Hyeon.

2-nil at halftime, the Black Sticks scored their third seven minutes into the second half when Andy Hayward converted a penalty corner with a powerful drag flick.

There were strong performances across the field but of particular mention was new Black Stick defender Cory Bennett, aged 21 from North Harbour, who played an outstanding game and impressed the coaches.

Though Korea forced two penalty corners late in the match, the Kiwis were convincing and the final result was never in doubt.

“At times we were a little bit sloppy late in the game, so we will look at that, we are always looking for improvements, but overall it is a huge morale booster to beat a quality opposition like Korea,” says Batch.

Next up the Black Sticks will play India tomorrow night at 11pm. The game will be live on Sky Sport 2. India have beaten Pakistan but lost to Australia and Korea, they sit fourth on the points table.

Topping the table is Australia followed by Malaysia on seven points, with New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Korea all with one win and three points.

RESULTS
New Zealand 3 (Hugo Inglis, Cory Bennett, Andy Hayward)
Korea 0
Halftime: 2-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks men outclass South Koreans 3-0

FRED WOODCOCK


Black Sticks coach Colin Batch has described the 3-0 win over South Korea as a ‘‘huge morale booster’’ as their slim title chances were kept alive at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

New Zealand, the defending champions, had lost both their opening matches - 4-3 against Pakistan and 3-2 against Malaysia - and needed a win to get back into the tournament.

First-half goals from Hugo Inglis and Cory Bennett sent them on their way, with Andy Hayward icing the cake in the second stanza.

“This is a young, developing side so it is about building game by game, and the win was a really positive step forward. The whole team stepped it up, we played a really good tight game,” said Batch, who is using the tournament as a chance to develop younger players.

At the start of the tournament, there were nine players with less than 10 caps, and all except three players in the 18-man squad were 23 or younger.

The Kiwis were deadlier in their finishing last night and played a tight game to walk away with all three points.

They took only four minutes to open their account as a lurking Inglis was at hand at the far post to deflect a shot by Stephen Jenness.

New Zealand doubled their advantage off their first penalty corner in the 12th minute through Bennett, whose low drag-flick sailed through a sea of legs and past an unsighted Korean keeper Kim Jae Hyeon.

Though Korea tried, they could not get a single shot on target throughout the first half and the Kiwis trooped off with a two-goal advantage.

Seven minutes into the second half New Zealand scored their third through Hayward, who converted a penalty corner.

Though Korea forced two penalty corners late in the match, they failed to trouble the Kiwis and the result was never in doubt.

“At times we were a little bit sloppy late in the game, so we will look at that, we are always looking for improvements, but overall it is a huge morale booster to beat a quality opposition like Korea,’’ Batch said.

The Black Sticks meet India, who defeated Pakistan 3-1 last night, in their next match tomorrow, before facing Australia in their final group match on Saturday, both starting at 11.05pm NZT.

They will probably need to win both matches to have any chance of featuring in the final and defending their title.

Australia and Malaysia top the table with seven points, after the hosts held the crack Aussies to a 1-1 draw last night, while New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Korea all have three points from one-win, two-loss records.

New Zealand 3 (Hugo Inglis, Cory  Bennett, Andy Hayward) South Korea 0. HT: 2-0.

Stuff



Optimistic yet cautious


Malaysia are optimistic of making the final of the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan shah Cup.

But at the same time coach Paul Revington remains cautious as he warned his players to keep their heads firmly screwed on their shoulders as there is still two tough matches to overcome.

Malaysia are in a good position with seven points, second to Australia in the standings on goal difference.

And they need to win one of their two remaining matches - against Pakistan on Thursday and India on Saturday to make it through to Sunday's final, where their likely opponent will be Australia.

Revington, though glad with his team's unbeaten run, is not ready to rest on his laurels just yet.

And he probably is mindful of the jibe by Australian coach Ric Charlesworth who said this to the media after the match;

"The Malaysians celebrated as if they have won the tournament. And they are talking about the final. There are still two matches to be played and anything is possible,"said Charlesworth.

It was a fair statement by Charlesworth who brought his file to the table to underline the fact that Australia could have buried the Malaysians had his players been sharper in the semi circle.

"We had some 30 odd penetrations and could have scored half a dozen goals had it not been for the keeper. And mind you Malaysia has only five or six players that have played less then 100 internationals," contends the Aussie in trying to justify the draw.

But putting aside the snide remarks, Revington is well aware of the fact that Pakistan and India are no easy foes, and a drop in guard could well be fatal to their aspirations.

"We will take it one match at a time and are under no pressure whatsoever. We just have to remain focused and net let emotions get a hold of things," said Revington.

"There is much work to be done and the success so far is due to hard work put in by the players, coaching staff and the management.

"The players knew that they had the ability and the coaches are only helping them realise their potential.

"Thus the road is long and winding and this is just the beginning of a long journey as we seek to elevate the status of Malaysia hockey."

Revington knows that the Pakistanis are most dangerous when wounded, more so after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of India.

"We will plan the game accordingly and not rush into doing something that could prova fatal to our hopes," added Revington.

"Pakistan too are in with a chance for a place in the final, and I am sure they would want to redeem their pride, what better then a strong display against Malaysia."

And that is exactly what Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool was thinking of when asked on his teams chances against Malaysia.

"The hosts are playing well and are on a roll. Thus they will be difficult opponents. But we need a win as we still have an outside chance of amking the final, or at least it assures us of a decent podium finish," said Akhtar.

"We were unlucky against India as we had the chances but could not put them away. But its results that matter in the end and I am confident of a decent result against Malaysia."

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site




What India need to stay alive in Azlan Shah



India, currently fourth on the table, are yet to play two crucial games against New Zealand and hosts Malaysia respectively.

New Delhi: India outsmarted Pakistan on Tuesday, but they need to repeat that on Thursday and do it again on Saturday to finish on the podium at the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.

A young Indian team lifted itself from back-to-back defeats against Australia and Korea to beat Pakistan 3-1 in a must-win match. But to stay in contention for the 1st-to-3rd-place playoffs, India have to win their next two battles against New Zealand and Malaysia.

The round-robin format of the tournament means that only the top four teams stand a chance to win a medal, with the top two playing the 1st-2nd place playoff and the next two for the 3rd place.

As of Tuesday, all six teams have played three matches each. Unbeaten Australia sit smartly atop the leaderboard with seven points. Malaysia, who are proving to be the giant killers of the tournament, too have seven points, but are behind Australia on goal difference (GD); Australia are +7 and Malaysia +2. New Zealand, India, Korea and Pakistan all have three points, but they too are separated by GD; New Zealand with +1 are third, followed by India (0), Korea (-3) and Pakistan (-7).

That leaves the tournament nicely poised with anything possible before the playoffs line-up for Sunday is decided.

WHAT INDIA NEED

New Zealand vs India: The easiest passage for India, as for every team, will be to win their last two games. But a victory against New Zealand on Thursday is an absolute must considering both the teams are level on three points and separated by just a solitary goal on GD. While a draw will keep India in the hunt, a loss will virtually end their campaign.

Malaysia vs India: India's match against Malaysia is the last pool engagement in Ipoh. That puts both the teams at slight advantage as they will know exactly what's needed to stay in contention for the 1st-to-3rd place playoffs. Malaysia currently have four points more than India and are far better placed than the five-time winners.

IBNLive Sports



U.S. Women’s National Indoor Squad to Compete in Argentina Series

A squad comprised of Senior and Junior U.S. National Women’s Indoor athletes will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina to compete in a series of friendlies against competitors from Argentina, Argentina U19 and Uruguay, March 21_28.

Seniors Wesley Drew (Williamsburg, Va.), Meredith Long (Ocean City, N.J.) and Maria Keesling (Downingtown, Pa.) were on the Senior Squad that won the 2013 ArminenTurnier RohrMax Cup in Perchtolsdorf Austria held in January. Nine of the 12 squad members have competed for the U.S. Indoor program internationally.

“Given the success of our recent Senior and Junior European tours I am excited to see how this combined team performs versus the South American style of play,” said Denise Zelenak, U.S. Women's Indoor Field Hockey Team head coach and Drexel University head field hockey coach.“This series presents a unique opportunity for the team to compete against those athletes and teams we expect to see at the 2014 Indoor Pan American Cup and also the 2013 Junior Indoor Pan American Cup.  It is a critical step for our squad in the journey towards the ultimate goal of the 2015 Indoor World Cup.”

Over the past 20 months, the women’s indoor program has grown to include over 70 athletes at the developmental, junior and senior levels.  Training sessions take place year round and these tours will help the members of the U.S. program to achieve their goal of becoming competitive at the highest levels of indoor field hockey.

The following athletes have been selected to the U.S. Indoor Women’s Argentina Travel Squad: Hannah Balleza (Severna Park, Md.);  Marisa Balleza (Severna Park, Md.); Carolyn Cabrey (North Wales, Pa.); Maeve Doherty (Millersville, Md.); Drew; Audra Hampsch (Hopedale, Mass.); Keesling ; Long; Erin Matson (Landenberg, Pa.); Jessica McCarthy (Havertown, Pa.); Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.); Mallory Weisen (Lock Haven, Pa.)

USFHA media release



Cannock men face crucial double header weekend


Will Hearne, Cannock

WITH a vital Premier Division clash on Saturday and a Men’s Cup semi final match on Sunday, this weekend looks set to prove crucial for Cannock men.

Currently fifth in the table and only outside the play-off places on goal difference, Cannock face another play-off contender, East Grinstead, in a league match on Saturday.

And having lost out to Hampstead and Westminster in the league last weekend, Cannock get their chance of revenge on Sunday when they travel south to play them again in the Men’s Cup semi final.

“Despite last weekend’s disappointing defeat, we still have fate in our own hands,” said Cannock captain Ross Hayward. “If we win both our remaining league games we should finish in the top four.

“But it’s not just about the league for us; we want to be a team that wins trophies. We aren’t prioritising either of the games this weekend. We will be trying to win both of them and give ourselves a good boost ahead of our final game against Canterbury in two weeks’ time.”

Elsewhere, Canterbury lay fourth and will be aiming to hold that position with victory over a Southgate side who desperately need a win to stay clear of bottom of the table Brooklands MU.

Reading travel to Loughborough Students in a bid to preserve their place in the play-offs.

Surbiton, who climbed to second on the back of a win over Reading last weekend, entertain Hampstead and Westminster on Saturday prior to taking on Oxted in the Men’s Cup on Sunday.

Finally, leaders Beeston play host to Brooklands Manchester University, who are desperate for points to avoid relegation.

In the Conference West, leaders Cardiff & UWIC entertain third-placed Guildford with both sides still in the hunt for a place in the promotion play-offs. And University of Exeter, who are still in the hunt for the title, go to Havant.

Wimbledon and Holcombe are still locked in a battle for the Conference East title, with just one goal difference separating the two sides. Wimbledon go to Bromley and Beckenham on Saturday, while Holcombe entertain Richmond.

And in the Conference North the top two face each other in a vital match, leaders Bowdon hosting second-placed Sheffield Hallam. Victory for Bowdon will give them the title.

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/mensfinals

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 16 2013)

Premier Division

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

Conference East
Cambridge City v Oxted 12:00
City of Peterborough v Teddington 13:30
Bromley & Beckenham v Wimbledon 14:00
Indian Gymkhana v Old Loughtonians 14:30
Holcombe v Richmond 18:00

Conference North
Univ of Durham v Belper 12:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Wakefield 13:30
Preston v Khalsa (Warks) 13:30
Bowdon v Sheffield Hallam 14:00
Doncaster v Leek 14:00

Conference West
Team Bath Buccaneers v Whitchurch 12:00
Cheltenham v Fareham 12:30
Cardiff & UWIC v Guildford 13:00
Havant v Univ of Exeter 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Bristol Firebrands 14:30

Men’s Cup (Sunday, March 17 2012)

Semi Finals

Hampstead & Westminster v Cannock 14:00
Surbiton v Oxted 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release



Pressure finish to Surbiton women's season


Vicky Bryant, Surbiton

CURRENTLY fourth in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division, Surbiton will be aiming to preserve that spot and make it to the end of season play-offs – starting with a match at bottom of the league Slough this Saturday.

Surbiton took just one point from two matches last weekend, drawing with Clifton on Saturday and then losing out to Leicester on Sunday. But with other results going in their favour they remain in the top four and on track to challenge for the Championship.

With their final scheduled match being against top of the table Canterbury in two weeks’ time, Surbiton’s clash against Slough this weekend is a must-win game.

“We have two big games ahead of us – we’re treating them both as Cup finals,” said Surbiton manager Mark Atherton. “If we win both games we will be in the play-offs, but if we lose we’re relying on others to lose too.

“Obviously Canterbury will be tough, but Slough will be hard too as they’re fighting relegation.

“We’ve made some good progress in the last couple of weeks even if results haven’t shown that, but now is the time to produce the goods.”

In other action in the Investec Premier Division, fifth placed Bowdon Hightown will be looking to keep the pressure on Surbiton when they travel to Sutton Coldfield,

Leaders Canterbury are at home against lowly Olton and West Warwicks, who may have one eye on their potentially crucial game with fellow strugglers University of Birmingham on the last week of the season. The Students have a tough game too as they entertain second placed Leicester.

Third-placed Reading go to Clifton who retain a faint hope of making the play-offs if they win both their last two games and other results go their way.

In the Investec Conference East leaders Harleston Magpies could wrap up the title and a spot in the promotion play-offs if they if they win at Horsham on Sunday, and second-placed Sevenoaks fail to do the same against Chelmsford.

Beeston travel to Ben Rhydding in the Investec Conference North on Sunday, where their vastly superior goal difference over second placed University of Durham means they will be all but mathematically certain of the title if they win

Already assured of a place in the promotion play-offs is Investec Conference West winners Buckingham, who go to Trojans on Sunday.

Tickets for the end of season play-offs, Investec Women’s Finals Weekend, on 20-21 April are on sale now. Find out more and book via www.englandhockey.co.uk/leaguefinals

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 16 2013)

Investec Premier Division

Clifton v Reading 11:30
Slough v Surbiton 12:30
Univ of Birmingham v Leicester 12:30
Sutton Coldfield v Bowdon Hightown 14:00
Canterbury v Olton & West Warwicks 17:00

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 17 2013)

Investec Conference East

Horsham v Harleston Magpies 13:30
Sevenoaks v Chelmsford 13:30
Wimbledon v Bromley & Beckenham 13:30
St Albans v Ipswich 14:30
Old Loughtonians v Oxford Hawks 15:00

Investec Conference North
Liverpool Sefton v Univ of Durham 12:30
Whitley Bay & Tynemouth v Brooklands Poynton 12:30
Ben Rhydding v Beeston 13:30
Cannock v Loughborough Students 13:30
Doncaster v Wakefield Bradford 14:00

Investec Conference West
Bristol Firebrands v Swansea City 12:00
Stourport v Gloucester City 12:00
Trojans v Buckingham 12:00
Isca v Barnes Hounslow Ealing 12:30
Taunton Vale v Staines 13:30

England Hockey Board Media release



Scottish youngsters to play England, Germany & Netherlands in Four Nations challenge


Kirsten Peters U18

Scotland’s female U16 and U18 squads will experience their first taste of competitive international hockey in 2013 when they travel to Lillieshall in England for a Four Nations invitational tournament from 28 March-1 April.

Both squads will play their counterparts from England, Germany and Netherlands in a round-robin format to determine each team’s position in the pool standings. The teams will then progress to Gold and Bronze Medal matches, where first play second, and third plays fourth.

Scotland U16 Head Coach Bill Robson said, “This Four Nations tournament will be a great experience for the players, both in terms of their development and exposure to the quality of three of the top junior international teams at this age group.

“The games against the Netherlands and Germany will be a tough test for the players but I think we can give England a challenge, as we did last season. We don’t have a specific target in mind, more that this tournament will greatly benefit our preparations for the Four Nations tournament in Cardiff later this year.”

Scotland U18 Women Team Manager Louise McIntyre said, “We’re hopeful of our chances in the tournament, and our target is to reach third place. We are playing against the best in Europe and this will provide a great learning experience for the girls. The Dutch will provide the team with the toughest match and the Germans will be strong too. However, we’re confident that we can compete against England and we have a strong group of players selected for this competition.

“Ultimately, this experience will provide us with an excellent opportunity to test the players against high quality opposition and prepare them for the challenge ahead this summer when we compete at the EuroHockey U18 Championship II in Spain.”

Scotland U18 Girls: Megan Inch (Strathallan School & Grove Menzieshill), Rowan Sinclair (Mary Erskine School & CALA Edinburgh), Emily Newlands (Selkirk HS & Borders Fjordhus Rievers), Susan Graham (Dundee HS & Grove Menzieshill), Katie Hibbert (Robert Gordon’s College & Granite City Wanderers), Waverley Miller (George Watson’s College & Watsonians), Jenny Mathieson (Craigholme & Milne Craig Clydesdale Western), Kerry-Anne Hastings (Mary Erskine School & CALA Edinburgh), Kirsten Peters (George Watson’s College and CALA Edinburgh), Maisie Morris (Kelvinside Academy & GHK), Laura Page (Albany University), Jenny Eadie (Hutchesons’ Grammar School & Milne Craig Clydesdale Western), Zoe Sinclair (Wellington School & Ayr Ladies), Hannah Thomson (St. George’s College & Teddington HC), Millie Brown (Fettes College & CALA Edinburgh), Jessica Ross (Morgan Academy & Dundee Wanderers), Claire Hill (Kelso HS & Watsonians), Fiona Burnett (Lomond School & Milne Craig Clydesdale Western).

Scotland U16 Girls: Susan Al Haddad (Glasgow Academy & Western Wildcats), Alison Westwood (Kelvinside Academy & Hillhead Ladies), McKenzie Bell (George Heriot’s & Grange), Morven Cawthorn (Selkirk HS & Borders Fjordhus Rievers), Amy Costello (George Watson’s College & CALA Edinburgh), Lorna Cruickshank (George Heriot’s & Grange), Morven Duff (Aberdeen Grammar School & Granite City Wanderers), Kirsty Dunbar (George Heriot’s & Grange), Bella Fiskin (St.George’s College & CALA Edinburgh), Ellie Halliday (St.Columba’s & Kelburne), Tess Hannah (Millfield School), Chloe Hardie (St. Columba’s & Greenock), Claire Hilton (George Watson’s College & CALA Edinburgh), Lucy Inglis (Earlston & Borders Fjordhus Rievers), Kirsty Millar (Berwickshire & Borders Fjordhus Rievers), Lara Tomkins (Hutchesons’ Grammar School & Milne Craig Clydesdale Western), Flora Walker (Hutchesons’ Grammar School & Milne Craig Clydesdale Western), Charlotte Watson (St.John’s HS & Dundee Wanderers)

Match Schedule:

29 March 12.00 Scotland v England U16
29 March 14.00 Scotland v England U18
30 March 12.00 Scotland v Germany U16
30 March 16.00 Scotland v Germany U18
31 March 10.00 Scotland v Netherlands U16
31 March 16.00 Scotland v Netherlands U18
01 April 09.30 Gold medal or Bronze medal match
01 April 11.45 Gold medal or Bronze medal match

Venue:

Lillieshall National Sports Centre nr Newport, Shropshire, TF10 9AT

Scottish Hockey Union media release



FIH president Negre pushes for hockey promotion

Mereseini Marau



Leandro Negre during an interview in New Delhi. Picture: PENI TOTOKA

THE national hockey teams returned from the Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi early this month with definitely a lot of new lessons learnt when playing with high ranked teams like Ireland, India, China and Japan.

Fiji the lowest ranked team for both men and women provided stiff competition for their opponents. Though they didn't bag any win from this weeklong tournament, their presence on that turf was surely felt. Two of our players were recognised for their outstanding performance. International Hockey Federation (Federation Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon -FIH) president Leandro Negre shared his thoughts of what he thought Fiji needed in order to be on par with the rest of the world with Journalist MERESEINI MARAU during the tournament in New Delhi.

Marau: We've seen the tournament and see how small countries like Fiji, which is the lowest ranked in this league, played. How is FIH going to help countries like Fiji?

Negre : First I would like to tell you that I've been twice to Fiji. I was the first President of International Sports Olympics Federation visiting your country and I think that also is a good example. Personally I'm very glad to promote hockey in countries like Fiji and all in the bottom of the rankings. I think our best project to develop hockey to countries like Fiji is this world league. The league is a totally new concept for hockey. First of all it is open from beginning to all national association affiliated to International Hockey Federation

Because it's a tournament we are playing with rounds. Normally our hockey is played for ten days or one week and in one spot.

Here, it's played in different parts of the world we have different rounds, round one, round two, round three and round four is the final. With the big sixes - from the beginning 80 national associations for men are likely to attend the tournament and about 70 in women. That shows the demand and the interest in this competition. We are very pleased about this league.

Thanks to the World league, now Fiji for the first time is participating in the top international event. Now you've flown to India, India is a key country in hockey.

Hockey is their national sport and it was a very good opportunity for your team to come and play here. I'm sure if we continue with this league, Fiji will learn a lot and continue to improve.

Marau: We can see from this competition the disparity in the standard of hockey. Do you have anything planned like coach exchange or to get expertise to go and help Fiji?

Negre: That's important. I totally agree with you. From our headquarters in Switzerland, t's not possible to develop hockey all around the world. We need everyone to be involved.

It's like a pyramid, it's a continental federation. I think Oceania Hockey Federation is in good hands, they are doing lot of things. Two times I've been to Suva, I met with the members of the Oceania.

I know personally what they are doing. For the first time a very important member from Australia is helping them in the development, not for Fiji but for Samoa. I think Fiji is in a better level.

Marau: You've seen how the Fiji team struggled to be part of this league. They paid their own fares to come to India. Would you consider subsidising their fares or expenses in the future?

Negre: That's one of the goals. The decision of FIH executive board to work with Indian project, because its a key country and here we can get sponsors. We can look for sponsorship here in India. Our goal which has been approved is to help the continental federation but also to grant directly to national associations to participate in this.

Marau: You've been to Suva twice. You've seen the facilities. You know the capabilities they have in Fiji when it comes to hosting international events. In your capacity as the president of the FIH, would you be able to help convince other overseas teams to come to Fiji?

Negre: To promote a sport in one country, you have to do two things and you have to do it together. First you have to participate, like how Fiji is participating here in India. The second is you have to organise events in Suva where you have a beautiful hockey venue. I think Fiji has experience with the Ocenia Cup so you have people to organise big tournaments. For FIH, we are happy to allocate more rounds and competitions to Fiji. Since this league has four rounds for two years. For the next cycle of two years, we will start again and allocate tournaments in Fiji.

Marau: Do you think Fiji is ready to have more rounds of competition?

Negre: This is the first time we have this world league. After this experience, I think Fiji is now ready to have more league games from Oceania. At least that's my personal wish for more tournaments to be allocated to Fiji with teams not only from the Oceania but from other countries. Perhaps Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh. I hope teams like India can go there, but it will depend on the ranking. India is high ranked so they play in the third and fourth rounds of the league.

Marau: You've seen our players play. Though they didn't win any games, they gave their opponents tough competition. Two of our players were recognised for their outstanding performance on the turf. Susana Mudunatagi was named best goal keeper of the tournament for the women and Adrian Smith was named player of the match in their game against China. What do you think of the Fiji team here?

Negre: I think the team has improved. The experience for them is fantastic. They now know exactly the level of hockey in another country is different. From this tournament, they see that they can't only play in Fiji. It's not enough. I think that's the best lesson they learnt from here.

Marau: It's safe to say that we have sporting imperialism in Fiji. The major sports get all the help and mileage while minor sports like hockey struggle to survive. What do you suggest?

Negre: I had the opportunity to meet with the President of Fiji in December 2011, and we were talking about that. I'm sure that he's aware of the need to support. But we also need to do things.

You have to attract the authorities to invest like rugby sevens, we have to start first by allocating tournaments in Fiji for development wise.

We have to attract spectators to come and watch hockey and the local authorities can do that. We have a lot to do.

The Fiji Times



Sport England backs hockey’s legacy campaign

London 2012 legacy shows no sign of slowing




England Hockey has today announced that its highly successful Give it a Go campaign will run once again this summer, in partnership with Join In UK.  Sites across the country will run hockey taster sessions for young people and adults over a five week period that will replicate the programme of the phenomenal summer of 2012. Last year’s Give it a Go programme has been credited with helping attract 30,000 more people to hockey.

Bigger and better for 2013, Give it a Go will run from 27 July until 9 September. And everyone’s invited!

Give it a Go sessions will provide anyone, regardless of age, ability, previous hockey experience or location, the opportunity to pick up a stick and give hockey a go. It will also provide a great opportunity to recruit and deploy volunteers into grassroots hockey.

The grand finale of the Give it a Go campaign will include the Harvester National Club Weekend, running from 7-8 September 2013. Last year, 30,000 goody bags were distributed at more than 300 hockey clubs that opened their doors to the community and England Hockey will help clubs to build on that success this year.

Over the weekend of 18-19 August 2012 – the weekend between the end of the Olympic Games and the start of the Paralympic Games – 300,000 people took part in Join In Local Sport by going back to where it starts for every great champion; their local sports club.  The aim of Join In was for every sports club and community group in the UK to capture the enthusiasm from our incredible summer of sport by hosting a special community event. In total, there were more than 6,000 events held for Join In 2012, with over 500 hockey clubs taking part.

The 2013 campaign will offer sports clubs an outstanding high profile opportunity to attract more members, supporters and volunteers. Through the partnership, England Hockey and Join In UK hope to attract new audiences to local sports clubs.  Any venues looking to get involved will be provided with support and guidance and will be backed by a national media campaign involving our best-loved Olympians and Paralympians.

Sport England’s Chair Richard Lewis said, “I am delighted to hear that England Hockey’s ‘Give it a Go’ programme will be returning for a second year in partnership with Join In UK. With 30,000 people picking up sticks as part of last year’s programme, it shows there is a huge appetite for hockey in this country which we can build on. As we celebrate a year on from a fantastic summer of sport, it’s great that programmes like ‘Give it a Go’ are ensuring the legacy of London 2012 stays alive and I wish they every success with inspiring the next generation of hockey players.”

Sally Munday, Chief Executive of England Hockey said, “This is a real, tangible opportunity for clubs and sports providers to fulfil the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games. As a sport, we were delighted to welcome 30,000 more people to hockey in 2012 and we want to ensure that we, along with hockey providers, continue to give people the opportunity to play and volunteer.”

“Alongside the Give it a Go campaign, this summer will also feature some outstanding opportunities to follow hockey, building on our success of recent years. In June, London will host the women’s Investec World League, giving sports fans the chance to see more of our Olympic stars in action, while in August our men’s and women’s teams will compete at the European Championships in Belgium.  These events, coupled with the Give it a Go campaign, are a superb demonstration of the hockey legacy of London 2012, namely more opportunities for more people to play, watch and volunteer in hockey.”

Join In's Director of Sport Dave Moorcroft said, “It is fantastic that England Hockey is once again backing Join In.  Last year when we kicked the programme off, England Hockey was hugely supportive and this summer we will work together again to showcase hockey and get more people involved in their local club.  These clubs wouldn't exist without volunteers and it's vital that we build on the excitement of London 2012 to ensure that clubs are in the best shape to benefit from the Games.”

Alex Teasdale, National Clubs and Facilities Manager at England Hockey said, “Clubs really bought into Give it a Go last summer and had some great ideas about how to get their local communities involved in hockey. Our club affiliation figures reflect how well they did with young people in particular and clubs are now reaping the rewards with an additional 6,000 young people playing club hockey [on top of the 30,000 more regular adult participants].”

She added, “2013 is shaping up to be even better and clubs are already coming up with some great initiatives; Old Silhillians in the West Midlands are looking at a “Lads and Dads” camping and hockey weekend, Folkestone Optimists are living up to their name and will continue to run their Back to Hockey campaign, which began with a six week course in summer 2012 and is still running now. And the end doesn’t look in sight just yet. Sheffield Hockey Club has a fantastic opportunity as recipients of the pink and blue ‘smurf turf’ from the Olympic Games – they will be taking part in Harvester Club Weekend to launch their new pitch and will be welcoming their local community.”

Hockey clubs can register for Give it a Go, Join In and Harvester National Club Weekend by visiting www.englandhockey.co.uk/giveitago

England Hockey Board Media release

 

 



A Parents Perspective

Dear USA Field Hockey,


I just wanted to write a letter, that you might consider sharing with other field hockey players and their families.

This is a parent’s perspective of the impact that field hockey has had on my daughter’s life.

The saying, “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child,” definitely applies to the field hockey community. For my daughter field hockey has given her the most important things in life, which no money could buy.

Nina lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. When she was eleven she watched her two older sisters and their friends play field hockey. Her oldest sister Michelle was a defender, the other Lauren an offensive player on their middle and high school teams.

But, she wanted the job nobody seemed to like, goalkeeper. She had been playing in goal for soccer since she was six. Watching the older girls in the field hockey goal, for the high school team, she wanted to do that. She wanted all the “cool” stuff to wear. At eleven she got her first set of gear. She was so proud putting it on. Learning to dive and move to stop each oncoming ball. We went to The University of Maryland in August of 2007. We watched the college and National Team play. She met Amy Tran. She wanted to play like her.  Dreams began.

She began to play indoor field hockey at a small facility near our home, the winter of 2007. She decided to stop playing elite club soccer, basketball and softball. She was good as a soccer goalie, which helped her become better, as a field hockey goalie. She continued to play field hockey and Spring soccer in school.

She began to play club field hockey with High Styx. She went to her first USA Field Hockey Indoor National tournament in 2008. Her team won the gold medal. At twelve she decided that this was what she wanted to do. Dedicating her time to field hockey, year round, at age 12, loving the game. Sure there were times when she did not want to go to practices, did not want to get up early and travel hours to tournaments, but she stuck with it. She looked forward to seeing her friends and playing.

As the years went by she played varsity two years in middle school and four years in high school. Each year her friend group grew. She started Futures in 2008. She met goalies from all over the state. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, she was chosen to participate in the National Futures Tournaments. It was so exciting for her to meet goalies and players from all over the USA.  Her family grew larger.

One day she said, “Am I good enough to play in college?”

My reply was, “If you want to, you can do anything, with belief and commitment.”

Through these years, there were players and coaches who supported her through wins and losses on and off the field. Her High Styx coaches who gave her opportunities to play when times were hard for our family. Friends who gave her hugs and supported her, made her laugh and create memories to last forever.

A thank you, USA Field hockey, players and coaches. You have given her limitless opportunities through field hockey instruction and tournaments. She began to play at a higher level and improve her skills. In 2011, she was selected to the Junior National squad. She traveled to The Training Center in California and eventually to Canada as a member of the Junior National U17 Team in 2012. I remember receiving the photo of her jersey. She was so proud to represent the United States playing field hockey.

Then Nina became, an All State and All American, much to her amazement. Just a girl, from a small town in Pennsylvania. She has never won a county, district or state championship in high school. This was something she never thought possible. Her passion for the game, lead her to being recruited by D1 college coaches.

This past November, was her last field hockey festival with her High Styx team mates. These were some of the same girls, which since 2007,had been practicing and playing together in tournaments all year round. It was her family, our family. Watching them together, I was reminded that these girls, have, as a team, on and off the field, from schools all over Pennsylvania shared a common bond. The love of the game and love for one another.

On a sunny day in Florida, watching these girls, watch the Olympians and college coaches, play a game, to them they were watching their idols. It was so beautiful, this was a priceless moment. They brought home the gold, together.

Field hockey players and their parents know what sacrifice, commitment and the love of the game means. To give everything to the sport you love. The parents, who have been there for every game, getting up early driving to games with their players. The players, who gave up weekends and week nights to practice and play. The injuries, the aches, the tears the laughter these are moments that will last in their minds, forever. The village that raised my child, the village of Field Hockey.

The village has grown for her and continues to grow. As her team recently celebrated their last gold at festival, they are now playing their indoor season. Many are signed to play in college. Yet, those that she played with, for so many years have formed quite a large family. E-mails, Facebook posts. Twitter. They are all part of the special family of field hockey. Some have finished their first college season on play.

Nina’s team will be traveling to Richmond, Virginia in March. Her last Indoor National Tournament. The road has been long. Sacrifices have been many. Commitments have been large. It will be bittersweet. No more weekends together, no more laughs, no more tournaments.

Then the day came, signing day February 6. Many of her High Styx friends and friends from other clubs will be making the commitment to continue to play. Some are playing at D1, D2 or D3 schools. They are continuing their love of the game, another commitment to the game of field hockey.

Nina will be starting to form a new field hockey family.  She will be going off to college in the fall of 2013. She will become part of The University of Connecticut field hockey team.

Yes, she was good enough to play in college! She chose this school, because, they made her feel like family. There was something special there.

She said, “It feels like home.”

Each of her field hockey friends and their families will always be family. These girls all over the United States, some will be now be her competition. But after the game, win or lose there will be hugs and laughs.

Now, think of what field hockey means to your children and family? What it means to the young players who are just starting their journey. 

Nina plans to give back, by encouraging young girls to find their passion for the game.  By showing the younger players that with field hockey your dreams can come true. She wants to promote the sport either through coaching or marketing.

It has given my daughter life lessons, confidence, commitment, decisions, choices, opportunities, integrity, lifelong friendships and most of all love.  The Village, to become who she is today, and will become in the future. Thank you, High Styx players, parents, coaches, and USA Field Hockey. To the fields, the courts, the places that have become memories and the future to come, thank you.

Bernice Klein

USFHA media release



World record for Pakistan hockey players

LAHORE: Hockey players on Tuesday made a world record for the most passes completed in one minute, Express News reported.

The players had gathered in National Hockey Stadium Lahore and completed 43 passes in one minute, sealing a world record.

Officials representing the Guinness Book of World Record were present on the occasion and confirmed that a world record of most passes in one minute had indeed been made.

Field hockey is the national sport of Pakistan. In the past, the Pakistan hockey team had set a world record of four Hockey World Cup titles.

Sohail Abbas holds the current world record – of 338 goals – for most international goals scored by a player in the history of international field hockey.

The Express Tribune