News for 17 March 2013

All the news for Sunday 17 March 2013


Australia start favourites, Malaysia keen to make its imprint

IPOH: Hosts Malaysia would look to end their title drought when they clash with six-time champions Australia in the summit clash of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Sunday.

Deservingly, two of the best teams on view have made it to the summit clash. Ever the bridesmaid, a tag sitting not too well on the hosts since the inception, Malaysia will be just that much keen to erase the unwanted baggage.

The finalists in 1985, 2007 and 2009, Malaysia have possibly the best chance to win their first Azlan Shah Trophy. A perfect gift it would be from the veteran Chua Boon Huat, who would like to sign off with the accomplishment after figuring in 11 editions without tasting the win.

The optimistic Malaysia coach Paul Revington said Australia were far superior but hoped that his boys will dish out a different ball game on the morrow.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth said it was a great learning curve for the players playing the ultra defensive Korea and barely managing a face-saving draw.

Charlesworth said he has every reason to hope that they will win seventh title.

"Only the heroic efforts of Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar came in our way of a victory. We have to be more consistent in the penalty corners and just cannot afford to fritter away the handfuls in the summit clash," he said.

Charlesworth said he is not perturbed by the injuries to strikers Timothy Bates and Daniel Beale, who could not take the field against Korea.

"We have the adequate bench strength and there is hope of the injured players taking the field and used sparingly.

On experience, Malaysia though hold a slender advantage with only six players having played less than 100 internationals. That on paper advantage, did not have any effects on Charlesworth, who said that his team is in full flight and it boils down in keeping up that level for one final shot.

On form and showing, the Aussies are known to be the most dangerous having smelled the win much like the Germans known for their ways in wriggling out of hopeless situations.

Statistics too are heavily loaded in favour of Australia, the hosts having a dismal record of winning just six in 78 encounters and eight drawn encounters.

Buoyed by the all-round sterling display against Pakistan, Malaysian coach Revington said that it had been the best display of his team since he took over last year.

All the same, the team's inability to hold on to the lead is an area of concern for the coach. For him, the lessons learnt are in knowing that the team need not attack at all times.

"There are moments when the pace has to be softened a bit and the defence tightened. Getting nine penalty corners against Pakistan was a feat but in making capital use of those is not palatable," he said.

For the hosts, the going had been pretty smooth save for the odd moments of anguish. But then, the current World Champions are made of sterner stuff with sentiments having no place in their cup of armoury.

The Times of India



Korea plays the waiting game


PIC COURTESY OF SPORTS MEDIA GROUP.COM.AU

Pakistan and Korea played to a 2-2 draw and the Koreans will now play the waiting game to see if they get to play the bronze medal playoff tomorrow.

Pakistan and Korea were tied on 4 points each before the match started and a win for either side would have assured them of a place in the 3/4th placing playoff.

The point thus puts Korea in fourth position and should India fail to defeat Malaysia, then Korea will take on either Malaysia, New Zealand or Australia for the bronze.

Both the teams were rather cautious in the opening stages though Pakistan had the lion share of possession.

Pakistan forced a penalty corner in the 10th minute but Muhammad Imran's attempt hit a defenders foot. From the ensuing penalty corner, Muhammad Irfan sent his attempt wide.

Korea won a penalty corner in the 16th minute but Nam Hyun Woo failed to get his shot on target. And from the counter attack Pakistan struck to take the lead in the 17th minute.

Abdul Hassem Khan broke through the left and sent in a teasng reverse stick cross that eluded the entire defence and fell nicely for Salman Hussain to tap into goal with Korean keeper Lee Myung Ho beaten.

Korea started the second half strongly and forced two penalty corners, in the 37th and 39th minutes.

Off the second penalty corner, Hyun Hye Sung sent in a drag flick into the roof of the net, giving Pakistani keeper Imran Butt no chance at all and Korea were on level terms.

However Pakistan were undeterred and went ahead in the 47th minute when Abdul Haseem Khan deflected in a cross from the left.

But an own goal by Muhammad Irfan in the 53rd minute made it all square once again.

Korea the forced three successive penalty corners in the 57,58th and 59th minutes but failed to score.

Pakistan came close in the 59th minute when Shafqat Rasool had the goal at his mercy but failed to find the back of the net.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Aussie win assures Malaysia of Final spot


PIC COURTESY OF SPORTS MEDIA GROUP.COM.AU

Australia qualified for the final of the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup when they edged New Zealand 3-2 this evening.

With the Aussie win, Malaysia is also through to the final, rendering their match against India of academic interest.

New Zealand will play either Korea or India, for the bronze medal. India needs to win against Malaysia to secure a 3/4 placing playoff.

Australia needed a draw to make the final and take Malaysia along with them while a Kiwi win would mean either Australia or Malaysia will be out of the equation.

Australia nearly went ahead from their third penalty corner in the 15th minute, but the Kiwi keeper Hamish Mcgregor was in his element as he stood his ground and cleared the ball quickly.

Two more penalty corners were squandered by Australia before New Zealand struck the opening goal.

Isaac Staples weaved through the left flank and his cross found Jacob Smith who tapped it to give the Black Sticks the lead in the 27th minute.

And New Zealand came close twice in increasing their lead but Australia held on and at halftime New Zealand led 1-0.

Australia hit a purple patch upon resumption of the second half.

Jacob Whetton put Australia on level terms in the 37th minute and a minute later was on target to score his team's second.

Matt Ghodes touched on an attempt by Daniel Mirecki in the 42nd minute to increase the advantage for Australia just before the rain started.

The match officials were forced to suspend play in the 50th minute due to the adverse weather conditions.

New Zealand reduced the deficit via Cory Bennett in the 56th minute but could not fight back for a place in the final

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Malaysia make Final unbeaten


PIC COURTESY OF SPORTS MEDIA GROUP.COM.AU

Malaysia were held to a 2-2 by India and made the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup much earlier, thanks to Australia defeating New Zealand earlier.

Malaysia have played in the final on three occasions, in 1985, 2007 and 2009. They lost to India in 85 and 09 and lost to Australia in 07. In the 21 past editions the hosts have yet to lift the trophy.

And they will fancy their chances against the Australians who they drew 1-1 in the league match.

There was hardly any standing room at the Azlan Shah Stadium when Malaysia entered the pitch to play against India.

More than 15,000 supporters, with many more unable to enter the pitch, came to watch Malaysia play against India even though the hosts were already in the final courtsey of an Australian 3-2 win over New Zealand in the earlier match.

However, Malaysia did not disappoint their fans, as they went for the jugular from the first whistle.

And Faizal Saari scored his third goal of the tournament in the sixth minute off Malaysia's first penalty corner to send the crowd into wild celebrations.

However, there was a tinge of sadness in the celebrations, as the patron of the tournament Sultan Azlan Shah did not get a chance to watch any of Malaysia's matches as he is not feeling well.

The patron will also not be there to watch Malaysia play Australia in the final today, and Raja Nazrin Shah will hand out the Cup to the champions.

India played in patches with Mandeep Singh coming close to the equaliser in the 11th minute, but missed the sitter.

India won their first penalty corner in the 16th minute but S. Kumar took the shot right in the chest and saved his goal.

But Mandeep finally got it right in the 20th minute when he connected a cross which went sailing just over Kumar's helmet into the back of the net.

In the second half India took the lead as Rupinder Pal Singh sent a low drag flick past reserve keeper Roslan Jamaluddin.

Though Malaysia created chances, they failed to find the equaliser.

Until the final minute when Malaysia were awarded a controversial stroke Faisal converted for a face saving draw.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Australia, Malaysia in Azlan Shah Cup final

IPOH - Malaysia were held to a 2-2 by India, but made the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup much earlier, thanks to Australia defeating New Zealand 3-2 earlier. Malaysia have played in the final on three occasions, in 1985, 2007 and 2009. They lost to India in 85 and 2009 and lost to Australia in 2007. In the 21 past editions the hosts have yet to lift the trophy. And they will fancy their chances against the Australians who they drew 1-1 in the league match.

Pakistan also drew their match against South Korea 2-2 that ended their hopes to play for the podium finish in the event. Now Korea will play against New Zealand for bronze medal match by the virtue of a better goal difference over Pakistan as the Malaysia-India draw ensured their berth in 3rd-place play-off. Pakistan finished on the 5th spot while India remained at the bottom, that ensured another cracking tie between two arch-rivals to avoid wooden spoon.

Pakistan forced a penalty corner in the 10th minute but M Imran's attempt hit a defenders foot. From the ensuing penalty corner, M Irfan sent his attempt wide. Korea won a penalty corner in the 16th minute but Nam Hyun Woo failed to get his shot on target. And from the counter attack Pakistan struck to take the lead in the 17th minute.

Abdul Hassem Khan broke through the left and sent in a teasing reverse stick cross that eluded the entire defence and fell nicely for Salman Hussain to tap into goal with Korean keeper Lee Myung Ho beaten. Korea started the second half strongly and forced two penalty corners, in the 37th and 39th minutes.

Off the second penalty corner, Hyun Hye Sung sent in a drag flick into the roof of the net, giving Pakistani keeper Imran Butt no chance at all and Korea were on level terms. However Pakistan were undeterred and went ahead in the 47th minute when Abdul Haseem Khan deflected in a cross from the left. But an own goal by Irfan in the 53rd minute made it all square once again. Korea the forced three successive penalty corners in the 57,58th and 59th minutes but failed to score. Pakistan came close in the 59th minute when Shafqat Rasool had the goal at his mercy but failed to find the back of the net.

There was hardly any standing room at the Azlan Shah Stadium when Malaysia entered the pitch to play against India.  More than 15,000 supporters, with many more unable to enter the pitch, came to watch Malaysia play against India even though the hosts were already in the final courtsey of an Australian 3-2 win over New Zealand in the earlier match.

However, Malaysia did not disappoint their fans, as they went for the jugular from the first whistle. And Faizal Saari scored his third goal of the tournament in the sixth minute off Malaysia's first penalty corner to send the crowd into wild celebrations. India played in patches with Mandeep Singh coming close to the equaliser in the 11th minute, but missed the sitter. Mandeep finally got it right in the 20th minute when he connected a cross which went sailing just over Kumar's helmet into the back of the net.

In the second half India took the lead as Rupinder Pal Singh sent a low drag flick past reserve keeper Roslan Jamaluddin. Though Malaysia created chances, they failed to find the equaliser until the final minute when Malaysia were awarded a controversial stroke Faisal converted for a face saving draw.

Australia qualified for the final when they edged out New Zealand 3-2. Australia nearly went ahead from their third penalty corner in the 15th minute, but the Kiwi keeper Hamish Mcgregor was in his element as he stood his ground and cleared the ball quickly. Two more penalty corners were squandered by Australia before New Zealand struck the opening goal.

Isaac Staples weaved through the left flank and his cross found Jacob Smith who tapped it to give the Black Sticks the lead in the 27th minute. Australia hit a purple patch upon resumption of the second half. Jacob Whetton put Australia on level terms in the 37th minute and a minute later was on target to score his team's second.

Matt Ghodes touched on an attempt by Daniel Mirecki in the 42nd minute to increase the advantage for Australia just before the rain started. The match officials were forced to suspend play in the 50th minute due to the adverse weather conditions. New Zealand reduced the deficit via Cory Bennett in the 56th minute but could not fight back for a place in the final.

The Nation



Pakistan held by South Korea


After losing the chance to book a place in the third-position playoff due to a own goal against South Korea, Pakistan will now battle India for fifth place in the six-nation Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Former player Wasim Feroze dubbed the Pakistan hockey team as a ‘group of average players’ after the Greenshirts drew their last pool match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against South Korea 2-2 in Ipoh, Malaysia yesterday.

The Koreans will now contest the third-place playoff against New Zealand with the Greenshirts now due to face India for fifth place today.

“This is a team that is full of average players,” Feroze told The Express Tribune.

“They are not match-winners. Pakistan were fortunate to win against New Zealand but after that it has been a disappointing run as they have been either thrashed or held to a draw.”

He added that things were unlikely to change under the current Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) setup.

“The current management needs to be changed otherwise Pakistan’s freefall in hockey will continue. Fresh faces will bring some hope.”

The Greenshirts were also on the receiving end against Australia in their second match where they conceded six goals before going down to India 3-1 in the following match.

In the next match, Pakistan were held by Malaysia before recording another draw against South Korea.

Pakistan started off steady with Salman Hussain opening their account in the 17th minute.

However, Hyun Hye Sung equalised in the second-half. The sea-saw match continued with Abdul Haseem Khan swinging it back in Pakistan’s favour with a 47-minute strike. An own goal through Muhammad Irfan in the 53rd minute levelled the score again and the Greenshirts had to remain satisfied with a draw.

Feroze hoped the team would salvage some pride against India. “It won’t be easy as they’ve already beaten us in the pool stage. The management needs to ensure that players learn from their mistakes, otherwise it would be another heavy loss for Pakistan.”

Australia to meet Malaysia in final

Meanwhile, world champions Australia will contest hosts Malaysia in the final after edging out the tournament’s defending champions New Zealand.

Australia booked their place with a 3-2 win over the Kiwis, while the Malaysians finished their preliminary round with a 2-2 draw with India.

It will be the eighth final appearance for the Australians, who have made good on all but two of those chances, while the Malaysians, who have never won, will play in their fourth cup final.

Australian assistant coach Graham Reid predicted a tough final considering the atmosphere, which favours the home team.

“But we are looking forward to it,” said Reid. “There is no question that it will be a high quality match … the Malaysians have a well-balanced side.”

Wasim Feroze

“They are not match-winners. Pakistan were fortunate to win against New Zealand but after that it has been a disappointing run as they have been either thrashed or held to a draw.”

The Express Tribune



Pakistan draw 2-2 against Korea in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (MALAYSIA): Pakistan ended their campaign at this year's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament with a 2-2 draw against Korea on Saturday.

The draw meant both Pakistan and Korea finish their league engagements with five points each.

Saturday's game was all about pride than anything else for Pakistan and Korea as both the teams were already out of the contention coming into the match.

The Koreans showcased great fighting spirit as twice they came from a goal down to hold the mighty Pakistanis.

Pakistan had the better of exchanges in the initial stages of the match. They earned two penalty corners early but on both occasion skipper Muhammad Imran came a cropper.

Salman Hussain then gave Pakistan the lead in the 17th minute, who slotted home from Haseem Khan's cross from the left flank.

Korea, however, restored the parity just four minutes into the second half through a penalty corner conversion by Hyun Hye Sung.

Pakistan surged ahead again, when Haseem Khan scored a field goal in the 47th minute before an own goal gave Korea the equaliser in the 53rd minute.

Yoon Sung Hoon sent in a reverse hit inside the 'D', more in hope, but found an obliging Pakistan defender Muhammad Irfan, who unerringly deflected the ball in while trying to push it out.

The Times of India



Pakistan to face India for fifth spot after Korea draw



Pakistan’s young forward Abdul Haseem Khan (c) had a great game against Korea, providing one assist and scoring a crucial goal in the 47th minute. -Photo by AP

Three-time Azlan Shah Cup winners Pakistan ended their campaign in Malaysia with a 2-2 draw against Korea, a result which meant that they missed out on the bronze medal playoff on goal difference.

Pakistan and Korea were tied on 4 points each before the match started and a win for either side would have assured them of a place in the 3/4th placing playoff. The point thus puts Korea in fourth position.

The Greenshirts, who put on much-improved performances in their last two games after being hammered by Australia and India, were once again in control of the match for a big part of the game but sloppy defending and poor finishing once again allowed their opposition to comeback.

Both teams started cautiously but as the match progressed Pakistan held majority of the possession and controlled the ball, threatening the Korean goal repeatedly.

Pakistan forced a penalty corner in the 10th minute but Mohammad Imran’s attempt hit a defenders foot. From the ensuing penalty corner, Mohammad Irfan sent his attempt wide.

Korea won a penalty corner in the 16th minute but Nam Hyun Woo also failed to get his shot on target. From the counter attack Pakistan finally struck to take the lead in the 17th minute through Salman Hussain who was set up by Abdul Haseem Khan who broke through the left and sent in a teasing reverse stick cross that eluded the entire Korean defence.

In response, Korea started the second half strongly and forced two penalty corners, in the 37th and 39th minutes.

Off the second penalty corner, Hyun Hye Sung sent in a drag flick into the roof of the net, giving Pakistani keeper Imran Butt no chance at all and Korea were on level terms.

Pakistan remained undeterred and hit back through Haseem Khan, who deflected in a cross from the left in the 47th minute.

An own goal by Mohammad Irfan in the 53rd minute levelled the game but Pakistan had the opportunity to finish on top. Shafqat Rasool, however, made a mess of an easy chance in the 59th minute.

“It has been a humiliating campaign for Pakistan,” former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh told PPI.

“Pakistan were been defeated by lowly-ranked India and the Greenshirts will now have to fight for a fifth place in spite of the fact that it went into the tournament seeded number two. Pakistan should have qualified for the final.”

Shahnaz added that the team’s performance in the tournament brought into limelight all the wrong policies the federation had been following.

“Pakistan were Asian champions and it was at least one of the best regional teams if not one of the best in the world. But they even failed to beat India, Malaysia or Korea, which should alarm the hockey chiefs of the country,” he said.

“The game-plan was flawed. We didn’t see any aggressive game from our players. The players were playing haphazardly in the tournament.”

In the other matches of the day, Australia qualified for the final when they edged New Zealand 3-2.

With the Aussie win, Malaysia was also through to the final, rendering the 2-2 draw against India of academic interest for the hosts. For India, though, the draw meant that they were out of contention for the bronze medal playoff, which will now be played between New Zealand and Korea.

Dawn

 



Kookaburras Win Their Way Through To Azlan Shah Cup Final

Kookaburras defeat New Zealand in final pool match


The Kookaburras booked their place in the final of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia following a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over defending Champions New Zealand. Their victory also ensured that host Nation Malaysia would contest their first final since 2009.

Last minute hero from their match with South Korea, Tim Deavin wore the captain’s armband again and Australia was soon on the attack and forced an early penalty corner. Black Sticks’ keeper Hamish MacGregor saved Glenn Simpson’s goal-bound effort.

Minutes later Andrew Charter had to be at his best in goal for Australia to deny Jacob Smith when he was given time and space to shoot.

Australia forced another three penalty corners, but again failed to convert them into goals. They paid the price when in the 27th minute Isaac Staples broke along the left hand byline, beat two defenders, drew Charter and slipped the ball under the advancing goalkeeper leaving Jacob Smith to slide the ball into the backboard and give New Zealand the lead.

Australia went in at half time 1-0 down having had 61% of the possession. Whatever was said behind closed doors at half time paid dividends almost immediately after the re-start.

In the 38th minute Matt Gohdes robbed Blair Tarrant on the right and drove the ball into the circle where Jacob Whetton fired home past the advancing MacGregor to pull Australia level.

Within a minute Australia had taken the lead. Whetton burst along the byline and looked to play a sharp one-two with Josh Miller, the ball ricocheted off a Black Sticks foot and back to Whetton who beat Macgregor at his near post with a reverse stick shot.

Three minutes later Australia had a third. Daniel Mirecki drove from midfield into the circle and struck a shot towards the right hand post, where Gohdes was on hand to divert past MacGregor.

It was raining goals, and within five minutes it was actually raining heavily, so heavily play was delayed for ten minutes. This gave New Zealand’s coach, Australian Colin Batch a chance to try and restructure and refocus his team.

Australia continued to control the game but in the 56th minute New Zealand forced a penalty corner, their first of the game. Cory Bennett drag flicked to Bazeley’s  – who replaced Charter at Half time – right to pull a goal back for New Zealand.

Australia went in search of a fourth with Craig Boyne tirelessly trying to set up his teammates and find a way in behind the Black Sticks defence. A goal did not come and Australia held out to win 3-2.

Matt Gohdes and Jacob Whetton now sit on second on the tournament’s goal scoring charts behind Faizal Saari of Malaysia with 5 goals and level with Pakistan’s Mohammed Imran and India’s Rupinder Pal Singh on 4 goals each.

Australia’s win meant that no team could overhaul Malaysia’s points tally and the two will meet in Sunday’s final. Australia is looking to win its seventh Azlan Shah Cup while Malaysia will hope to win its first, having lost all of its three previous finals to India (85 and 09) and Australia in 2007.

Earlier in the competition these two teams drew 1-1 with Malaysia equalizing in the final minute.

Australia 3 defeated New Zealand 2
Australia Goals: Jacob Whetton 38FG, 39FG Matt Gohdes 42 FG
New Zealand Goals: Jacob Smith 27FG, Cory Bennett 56 PC  

Hockey Australia media release



Australia beat New Zealand 3-2 to reach finals of Azlan Shah

IPOH: Six-time champions Australia notched up a thrilling 3-2 victory over New Zealand on Saturday to set up a summit clash with three-time finalists Malaysia at the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Sunday.

In the final round robin match on Saturday, New Zealand needed a win to edge out Australia but it was the Kookaburras who had the upper hand on Saturday as they took their tally to 11 points. New Zealand finished their engagements with six points.

Malaysia made it to the final with a tally of eight points, irrespective of the result against India in the last league match later in the day.

Australia began in a stormy fashion and the two penalty corners inside the first five minutes indicated the mood of the team.

Jacob Whetton's twin strikes in the space of two minutes, in the 38th and 39th minutes, put Australia on the driver's seat, while Matt Gohdes took it further away from New Zealand in the 42nd minute with a field goal, his effort the culmination of a neat combo with Daniel Mirecki.

However, it was New Zealand who scored the first goal of the match, much against the run of play. Javed Panchia was excellent in the midfielder and he complemented well the speedy runs of Jacob Smith and Issac Staples in the flanks, giving a harrowing time to Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter.

From one of their break-away moves, New Zealand forged ahead in style when Issac Staples dribbled his way to prise out the Australian defence and all Jacob Smith had to do was to push into an untenanted goal in the 27th minute.

Down 1-3, New Zealand pulled one back in the 55th minute through a neat penalty corner conversion by Cory Bennet.

Such was the Australian domination that it was virtual siege in the rival D. New Zealand got some respite when the heavens opened up and play was suspended for seven minutes.

New Zealand defender Blair Hilton was served yellow card because of a bit of rough play in the first half.

The Times of India



Malaysia in final after Australia thump their neighbours

By S. RAMAGURU


IPOH: Malaysia will play Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final today.

Australia defeated defending champions New Zealand 3-2 in the second match yesterday, thus sending Malaysia into the final even before their last preliminary round game against India.

Malaysia eventually played to a 2-2 draw with India after scoring a last-gasp equaliser. Faizal Saari scored both the goals while Mandeep Singh and Rupinder Paul Singh were on target for India. It will be Malaysia’s fourth final appearance. They were runners-up on all three occasions – losing in 1985 and 2009 to India and Australia in 2007.

For the Australians, today’s final will be their eighth in the series. And they have emerged champions six times.

Earlier in their meeting in the preliminary round, Australia and Malaysia played to a 1-1 draw.

The Australians, however, are not taking Malaysia for granted.

“It will be a tough but an exciting encounter. The Malaysians have tremendous support here and the packed stadium for all their matches is a clear indication they will be well supported in the final,” said Australia’s stand-in coach Graham Reid.

“We had a mixed performance against New Zealand. There is a need to improve on several areas for the final. But it is always a good point that the players get to learn from this kind of matches and improve with each game,” he added.

Malaysia coach Paul Revington acknowledged that Australia will start as favourites.

“It will be an interesting match. As usual our aim is to win. The players have done well thus far and I believe they can perform well in the final too. We have to be positive and learn from our previous match against them.

“Australia have been at the top of their game for a long time. We will plan accordingly and hope that some of our previous mistakes can be rectified,” he added.

Against New Zealand, forward Jacob Whetton scored a brace for Australia in the 38th and 39th minutes. Matt Gohdes scored the other goal in the 42nd minute.

Jacob Smith (27th) and Cory Bennett (56th) contributed New Zealand’s goals.

Earlier, South Korea held Pakistan to a 2-2 draw and it gave the Koreans a berth in the third placing playoff against New Zealand.

Pakistan will meet arch-rivals India in the fifth placing playoff.

The Star of Malaysia



Black Sticks Men to play Korea for bronze



The Black Sticks Men fell short 3-2 against Australia last night at the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Last night’s winner-takes-all match means that Australia progress to the final to face hosts Malaysia and the Black Sticks will play Korea for bronze. Australia needed a draw to make the final and take Malaysia along with them while a Kiwi win would have meant either Australia or Malaysia would be out of the equation.

“It was disappointing not to come away with a win tonight. We hung in there in the second half, but conceding three goals put us on the back foot and although we rallied together it was always going to be difficult to come back,” said head coach Colin Batch.

“I think our set piece play has been very good, we just need more penalty corners, tonight we scored one from one.  We successfully defended seven Australian penalty corners – we had done our homework well and that paid off."

Australia nearly went ahead from their third penalty corner in the 15th minute, but Black Stick goalkeeper Hamish McGregor, who had a great first half, cleared the ball quickly.  Having defended well, New Zealand’s first goal came from a nice break away against the run of play in the 27th minute, when Isaac Staples weaved through defenders on the left flank and found Jacob Smith who tapped it in.

New Zealand twice came close to increasing their lead, but Australia held on and at halftime New Zealand led 1-0.

In the 38th minute Australia hit their straps bagging three within four minutes when Jacob Whetton scored two field goals and Matt Gohdes tapped in a third.

With the rain pouring down, match officials suspended play in the 50th minute and when it resumed it was Black Sticks Cory Bennett in the 56th minute who scored from a penalty corner. The Black Sticks rallied to try and equalise, but it was not to be.

If you missed last night’s game, it will be replayed at 12.30pm today on Sky Sport 2. The game against Korea is at 11pm tonight live on Sky Sport 1.

Australia 3 (Jacob Whetton x2, Daniel Mirecki)
New Zealand 2 (Jacob Smith, Cory Bennett).
Halftime: 0-1

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks men fall one win short of final

The New Zealand men's hockey team have fallen two goals and a win short of the final at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

Needing to defeat Australia in their final round-robin match, the Black Sticks fell 3-2, leaving Australia to play hosts Malaysia tomorrow for the title at the 22nd edition of the tournament.

New Zealand will now play Korea for third place.

"It was disappointing not to come away with a win. We hung in there in the second half, but conceding three goals put us on the back foot and although we rallied together it was always going to be difficult to come back," said head coach Colin Batch.

"I think our set piece play has been very good, we just need more penalty corners, tonight we scored one from one.  We successfully defended seven Australian penalty corners - we had done our homework well and that paid off."

Australia nearly went ahead from their third penalty corner in the 15th minute, but the Kiwi keeper Hamish McGregor was in his element as he stood his ground and cleared the ball quickly.

Two more penalty corners were squandered by Australia before New Zealand struck the opening goal.

Isaac Staples weaved down the left flank and his cross found Jacob Smith, who tapped it to give the Black Sticks the lead in the 27th minute.

New Zealand came close twice to increasing their lead but Australia held on until halftime.

Jacob Whetton put Australia on level terms in the 37th minute and a minute later was on target to score his second.

Matt Ghodes touched on an attempt by Daniel Mirecki in the 42nd minute to increase Australia's advantage to 3-1 just before heavy rain started.

The match officials were forced to suspend play in the 50th minute due to the adverse weather conditions.

New Zealand reduced the deficit via Cory Bennett in the 56th minute but could not fight back for a place in the final.

The Black Sticks will play either Korea or India for the bronze medal. India needs to beat Malaysia to secure fourth.

Australia 3 (Jacob Whetton 2, Matt Ghodes) New Zealand 2 (Jacob Smith, Cory Bennett). HT: 0-1.

Stuff



Aussies on their toes

AUSTRALIA edged New Zealand 3-2 yesterday to drag Malaysia into the Azlan Shah Cup final in Ipoh today.

With the expected win from the World No 2, Malaysia qualified for only their fourth  final  but its not going to be a Sunday walk against the Aussies for Paul Revington and his men.

The  finals that Malaysia played in 1985, 2007 and 2009 only produced silver medals.

For the record, Malaysia held Australia 1-1 in the group stages.

Australian coach Ric Charlsworth, three of his support staff, and player Timothy Bates did not turn up at the stadium yesterday as they were down with food poisoning.

Graham Reid stood in as coach: "We only had a skeleton support staff today (yesterday) and it looks like Tim (Timothy) might even miss the final."

On Malaysia, Reid was wary of their counter-attacks.

"This is a really fast team, and we have to be on our toes for 70 minutes. With the backing of the capacity crowd (more than 13,000) in every match, it is not going to be an easy encounter."

Against New Zealand, it was the slowest of starts for Australia in the tournament, as they toyed around with the ball, and even failed to convert the three penalty corners that came their way 15 minutes into the match.

And by the 27th minute, Australia only had five wasted penalty corners to show, but the Kiwis mounted another one of their rare counter-attacks, and Jacob Smith tapped home a square from close range to grab the lead.

And just as the second half started, the rain also came pouring down, and the Australians started singing to their  champions tune.

Jacob Whetton's 38th and 39th minute field goals suddenly turned the tide on the Kiwis, and even before the cheers died down, Australia scored their third.

This time, it was Matt Gohdes' turn to score a field goal in the 42nd minute.

The match was stopped for 10 minutes in the 50th, as torrential rain flooded the pitch, but upon resumption, New Zealand narrowed the deficit in the 56th minute with a penalty corner attempt from Cory Bennett.

New Straits Times



Fighting spirit

Faizal’s brace forces a draw against India



Malaysia’s Razie Abd Rahim (left) keeps the ball away from India’s Dharamvir Singh at the Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday. Pic by Supian Ahmad

THERE was hardly any standing room at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday when Malaysia entered the pitch to play against India.

More than 15,000 supporters, with many more unable to enter, came to watch Malaysia play against India even though the hosts were already in the final courtesy of an Australian 3-2 win over New Zealand in the earlier match.

However, Malaysia did not disappoint their fans, as they went for the jugular from the first whistle, and then played all out for 70 minutes to hold India 2-2  to end the tournament without a defeat.

Faizal Saari scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the sixth minute off Malaysia's first penalty corner to send the crowd into wild celebrations.

"We really played very well in the last five minutes of all five matches, and that shows that Malaysia are a fighting side," said Malaysia coach Paul Revington.

"The positive thing is that we are going into the final and we came back from behind to draw the match to remain unbeaten in this tournament. That is very important to my plans.

"Razie (who received a nasty knock) is fine, and against Australia, the World No 2, we will definitely  give it our best shot."

Faizal, who topscored for Malaysia with five goals in the tournament, is looking forward to continuous support from the fans.

"I urge the crowd to throw their full support behind the team like they have done in the past five matches as it is a defining moment for the country.

"Malaysia have never won the title in 22 editions (30 years) and we hope to correct that score tomorrow (today), with the undying help from the crowd," said Faizal.

"We could have scored three or four more goals, and in future when we play Malaysia we will do just that," warned India coach Michael Nobbs, as India will also play in the Asia Cup in Ipoh for the ticket to the World Cup.

New Straits Times



Malaysia hold India 2-2

B.David


Ipoh - Egged on by a 12000-strong packed stadium, hosts Malaysia came back from the brink to steal a 2-2 draw from India, who played brilliant hockey to silence the crowd for the better part of 70 minutes in the last round-robin league match of Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here on Saturday.

Malaysia, who qualified for the final before this match, will take on Australia in the title on Sunday. India will meet Pakistan for the fifth-sixth placing while New Zealand will play Korea for the third place.

Stung by a reverse in the very fifth minute by a short corner goal from Saari Faizal, India came back with vengeance. They displayed quality hockey with hot pace and handy tactics thereafter, dominating the game for better part. But they were hard hit by an umpiring decision in the last minute of the game. After trailing 1-2, Malaysia stepped up their game in the last five minute in search of the equalizer. With the noise reaching a climactic crescendo, India conceded a penalty corner in the 68th minute.

It appeared like a brilliant goalline save by Manpreet Singh but the umpire whistled for another short corner and within minutes the other umpire changed it to a penalty stroke. Indians protested and walked out of the field but the Indian coach Michael Nobbs brought them back and Saari Faizal converted the stroke without any fuss as the crowd erupted into screams of joy.

Earlir, India played well after the reverse and went into the break 1-1. But after the half time, the Indian midfield raised the tempo and came up with repeated moves feeding to the strikers. In the 20th minute, India scored the equalizer through a gem of goal when Amit Rohidas sent a quicksilver pass from the left flank into the circle to Mandeep Singh. With only goalkeer Kumar to beat, Mandeep flicked the ball into the net, on the run, for a superb goal. Kumar who had a good day under the bar had no chance whatever.

After the crossover, India earned their second short corner and Rupinder Pal Singh flicked in to get India the lead. From then on, India held on the lead with attacking hockey and looked set for a victory but the hosts, with veteran Chua Boon Huat, in the forefront turned the tide in the last five minutes.

Stick2Hockey.com



India misses chances, umpires add to the woes

s2h team


India was within two minutes away from playing for the bronze at the Azlan Shah Cup, but sustained pressure from relaxed Malaysians -- as they have already qualified for the Sunday final before start of the match -- led to the cancel of solitary goal deficit and force 2-2 draw.

This draw pushed India to the bottom of the table, and now will engage Pakistan again to avoid wooden spoon tomorrow.

Had India held on to its 68th minute 2-1 lead, it would have played for the bronze against New Zealand tomorrow, but then when Faizal Saari, with cool mind, sent the controversial stroke to the corner of the cage a minute before the hooter, Indian hopes dashed.

Indians were the dominating side after conceding the first goal in the fifth minute that came off immaculate flick of Faizal Saari off Malaysia's first penalty corner, but were not good enough to encash those moments.

And then, despite missing many sitters before and after, Mandeep Singh with one hand jabbed the ball into the net fed by Amit Rohidass on the left. Otherwise confidence personified goalie Kumar was beaten lock, stock and barrel this time.

India went into the lead through Rupinder's penalty corner conversion in the 48th minute.

Danish Mujtaba, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dharamvir Singh and the likes missed chances like millionaires, and this lax, or inexperience whatever, inside the D, caused Indian woes to now finish at the bottom of the table.

Even as the story of missed chances continued, Indian defence came under attack in the late minutes of second half. A cross from the right flag area entered the D, and Rupinder let the ball travel on his foot. The second Penalty Corner that the Korean umpire awarded will now be the focus of discussion in the days to come.

The attempted strike was received by hitherto error less, and precise Manpreet Singh on the goal line, and bounced away. Korean umpire whistled for another PC, but however, perhaps on the demand of the host side, consulted other umpire and awarded a stroke.

Indians protested and even walked out of the field for about a minute or two, and when they came back with the decision of the umpire standing, Sreejesh could not judge the push of Faizal Saari and thus Indians were done in.

Earlier, Gurjinder Singh, who just entered the field, was greeted with a yellow for his tackle on a Malaysian player and when he came back, his captain Danish was sent back for two minutes for a green.

India was virtually a man less on the field in the last 10 minutes.

The whole thing again bring the discussion to the core issue of third umpiring.

However, in the end if India is not in the bronze bracket match, they have to blame for themselves for the poor finish inside the D, and not getting enough penalty corners for Rupinder to do the talking he knows.

Stick2Hockey.com



Malaysia hold India to a 2-2 draw in Azlan Shah

IPOH (Malaysia): A controversial penalty stroke enabled Malaysia to hold India to a 2-2 draw in the final round-robin match of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Saturday.

Malaysia will meet Australia in the final on Sunday while India, who finished last with four points will play Pakistan for the fifth place play-off. New Zealand will take on South Korea for the third place play-off.

Mandeep Singh scored a field goal in the 20th minute and Rupinder Pal Singh's drag-flick in the 48th minute were the two strikes for India while Saari Faizal scored both the goals for the hosts in the fifth and 70th minute.

Malaysia, with a final tally of 9 points had already made it to the final before taking on India. Malaysia meant business from the word go with the rhythm and cohesion falling in place quickly but the Indians came back strongly to hold them on a tight leash and emerged a deserving winner.

Malaysia forged ahead in the fifth minute when a daper Saari Faizal banged in the first penalty corner of the match.

The hard and high scoop of Faizal brooked no answer from Indian goalkeeper Srejeesh, on a day when he had much less work to do than his counterpart Kumar.

India did well to orchestrate concerted attacks from the flanks. Midway through Manpreet Singh set up Mandeep Singh nicely only for the latter to make a hash of it with a soaring hit into the stands. Not long after came India's first penalty corner only for Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar to continue his good work from where he left off in the earlier matches.

Rupinder Pal Singh's drag flick has been ammunition for Kumar with his confidence in the right place coolly palmed it away. A combined move between Manpreet and Akashdeep had the menacing look till Kumar got into the act with his pads as the first line of defence.

India was not to be denied long for the equalizer through a peach of a goal from Mandeep Singh with an acrobatic flick when the speed Amit Rohidas powered his way past the Malaysian defence to essay a perfect cross from the left.

Honours even, the Indian attack found the moorings from the flanks to sustain the momentum. The cutting edge to the attack was pronounced whenever midfielder Gurmail Singh doubled up as an attacker.

Kumar ensured that the Malaysians crossed over on level terms with a cracker of a save to thwart Indian skipper Danish Mujtaba close to half time.

On resumption, the desperation on the Malaysian attack was palpable with a couple of mis-passes mirroring the team's discomfiture. They clearly looked short of ideas in a phase admirably dominated by the resurgent Indians.

The Malaysian midfield had the onerous task of pegging back to assist the defence as India did well to keep up the cascading flow of attacks.

On the odd occasion, when Rupinder moved up to lend a helping hand in the attack, Harbir Singh rose to the challenge to keep at bay the Malaysians.

For the hosts, veteran Chua Boon Huat's artistry was to the core setting up Tajuddi Ahmed but Sreejesh anticipated well to stifle that. The noise reached a crescendo as time ticked away even as the crowd egged the Malaysians for the elusive winner.

The Malaysians tried to ease the pace in the last quarter which allowed the Indian defence to regroup and put a spoke on their defence.

The Times of India



Nobbs: Sometimes we end up on wrong side of decisions

B. David


Ipoh - The Indian players protested after the fag-end penalty corner was changed to a penalty stroke by Korean umpire Jung Woo Lim. Indians defended a short corner and Manpreet Singh made a goal line save with his stick but the ball touched his body before it fell down.

Australian umpire Ben de Young, who was on the other side, consulted and advised Lim, who changed the decision to a stroke. However, the Indians walked off the field before coach Nobbs urged them to resume play.

After the match, the Indian coach Michael Nobbs refused to comment on the umpiring decision and said it’s all part of the game. "Sometimes we end up on the wrong side of the decisions but we have to move on and play our game,’’ he quipped. He said that the Indians played good hockey and gave the solid Malaysian team jitters for the better part.

South African Paul Revington, the coach of Malaysia, said that he was not in an ideal position to watch the ball. ``But video footage has confirmed that it had hit the body of the defender,’’ he said. ``As a coach I have been part of such negative decisions many a time. This time it was in our favour,’’ he added.

Talking about the golden chance for Malaysia to take their maiden cup, he said he is pleased and excited that Malaysia is playing good hockey. ``Australia is No.2 ranked in the world and we are No.13. That is how I look at it and I want the boys to make efforts to play good hockey and results come over a period of time,’’ he said.

Revington also praised the young Indian team. “India did play well. Their performance today was fantastic. They raised the game when necessary and did not give us any chance. Only in the last five minutes, we were able to exert any real pressure,” he concluded.

Stick2Hockey.com



All in the game, Nobbs says on controversial penalty stroke

IPOH (Malaysia): India coach Michael Nobbs said "it was all in the game" when asked to comment on the last-minute controversial penalty stroke which helped Malaysia eke out a 2-2 draw against Danish Mujtaba and Co.

Nobbs feels that "There is room for improvement in the overall umpiring." Underlying the fine performance of the team, Nobbs said "With a bit of luck, the day could have been the Indians."

South African coach Paul Revington said he was not ideally placed to comment on the controversy surrounding the penalty stroke.

"The Indians dished out their best brand of hockey today and really pressed the Malaysians. Ahead of the final, it was a good lesson on the field which should help the Malaysians in the final," said Revington.

Ranked 13th compared to the second ranked Australians, Revington said that the underdog tag suited his team.

The Times of India



Coaches in favour of third umpire in hockey

Ipoh: The controversial penalty stroke that enabled Malaysia hold India to a 2-2 draw in their final round-robin match of Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament, has once again initiated the debate about introducing third umpire in hockey, a move which FIH has been contemplating for a while now.

The idea has been well received by coaches - Michael Nobbs, Paul Revingon, Paul Lissek and Akhtar Rasool - and the general consensus was that the ruling should be restricted, say one in each half for a team.

"Too much of hold-up will rob the charm of modern hockey. It makes sense to introduce it but only with restrictions in the number of times in a match," said Pakistan chief coach Akhtar Rasool.

India were leading 2-1 until the last minute yesterday when the umpires, after awarding a penalty corner to Malaysia, consulted and changed their decision into a penalty stroke, which Faisal Saari converted into a goal to deny India a win.

For Malaysia, there was not much at stake, having already made it to the final of the tournament even before taking on India.

However, India had to pay a huge price, for a win would have meant playing for the third-fourth place and a possible podium finish.

Ironically, the only World Cup title won by India under Ajit Pal Singh in `75 at Kuala Lumpur had a controversial element of doubt to it.

The ruling of Malaysian umpire Vijayanathan, popularly known as Viji, awarding India`s match winning goal by Ashok Kumar was a hotly disputed one by Pakistan. The arch-rivals had contended that the shot struck by Ashok hit the inside post and did not roll in.

But Vijayanathan had stuck to his guns, ruling it in India`s favour.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since that epic India triumph. Only that the wheel has turned the full circle, and India were at the receiving end of the umpire`s ruling yesterday.

ZEE News



Loughborough hold Reading to a draw in Men's Premier Division


Loughborough Students' Henry Weir

TRAILING 4-1 at half time, Loughborough Students battled back in style to salvage a point from a 6-6 draw with Reading in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday.

Reading dropped to fourth in the table on the back of the result, and their place in the end of season play-offs will only be decided with their last match of the normal season.

The visitors had powered to a 4-1 advantage at half time after goals from Darren Cheesman, Simon Mantell, Tom Carson and Chris Cargo.

But Loughborough came back at them in the second half, hitting five goals in 17 minutes. Still, it looked as though Reading had done enough after Harry Shearer tucked the ball away to make it 6-5 after 64 minutes.

But in the final seconds of the match, Ian Sloan popped up to smash a shot home from a penalty corner and salvage a draw.

Loughborough’s earlier scorers were Simon Faulkner, Dom Bowdon, Owain Dolan Gray, Chris Griffiths and Henry Weir (pictured).

Brooklands Manchester University visited Beeston and caused the league leaders a few problems, although they eventually went down 5-3.

David Flanagan cancelled out Simon Egerton’s opener for Brooklands before an own goal on 31 minutes gave them the lead.

But Beeston ultimately had too much firepower for their opponents as they shot their way to yet another victory.

Ben Allberry grabbed a late winner for Canterbury as they faced Southgate. Goals from Liam Foster and Kwan Browne put them 2-1 up at half time but a dogged Southgate stayed with them until Allberry scored two minutes from the end.

East Grinstead and Cannock were both in contention for a play-off place before they played each other and it was East Grinstead who emerged victorious after Mark Pearn’s late goal gave the hosts a 3-2 win.

They are now level on points with fourth-placed Reading going into the final game, but Cannock could still force their way in to the top four.

A James Tindall brace eased Surbiton to a 3-1 win over Hampstead and Westminster and all but secured their place in the play-offs.

In the Conference North Sheffield Hallam kept their hopes of promotion alive by beating league leaders Bowdon 1-2.

Bowdon were a goal up after 22 minutes but Phil Roper pegged them back. Then, on 61 minutes, the turning point of the game came as Sheffield keeper Mike Cachia saved Russell Hornby’s penalty stroke. Adam Harriman went on to score the winner for Hallam shortly after.

Wimbledon beat Bromley and Beckenham 7-2 win courtesy of a Ben Hawes hat-trick. They will continue to fight it out with Holcombe for top spot.

And in the Conference West University of Birmingham won 8-0 over Bristol Firebrands. Matt Pacey and Richard Mantell hit a brace each.

Men’s Hockey League (March 16 2013):

Premier Division:
Canterbury 3, Southgate 2; Loughborough Students 6, Reading 6; Surbiton 3, Hampstead and Westminster 1; Beeston 5, Brooklands MU 3; East Grinstead 3, Cannock 2.

Conference East: Cambridge City 2, Oxted 2; City of Peterborough 2, Teddington 3; Bromley and Beckenham 2, Wimbledon 7; Indian Gymkhana 3, Old Loughtonians 3; Holcombe 8, Richmond 2.

Conference North: University of Durham 3, Belper 1; Preston 3, Khalsa 3; Olton and West Warwickshire 4, Wakefield 0; Bowdon 1, Sheffield Hallam 2; Doncaster 4, Leek 0.

Conference West:
Team Bath Buccaneers 5, Whitchurch 0; Cheltenham 2, Fareham 0; Cardiff and UWIC 2, Guildford 0; Havant 1, University of Exeter 4; University of Birmingham 8, Bristol Firebrands 0.

England Hockey Board Media release



Page hat-trick helps Surbiton win in Investec Premier Division


Surbiton's Sarah Page

A hat-trick from Sarah Page helped Surbiton maintain their battle for a place in the end of season play-offs with a 6-1 win at Slough in the Investec Women’s Hockey League on Saturday.

It didn’t take Page long to make her mark as she slotted home inside the first six minutes of play before adding a second two minutes later.

Both of Page’s goals came from penalty corners and Surbiton soon used the short corner to their advantage once again as Sarah Haycroft made it 3-0. Page went on complete her hat-trick as Georgie Twigg and Hannah Coulson rounded off the scoring.

Canterbury remain top of the table after knocking six past Olton and West Warwickshire. Lucy Hyams opened the scoring for the home side in the first minute and Olton missed a penalty stroke on the way to a 6-2 score line.

Leicester have already bagged their play-off place and are battling it out with Canterbury for top spot. They eased to a 4-0 victory over University of Birmingham and never looked in trouble after Jo Hunter gave them the lead early on.

Reading took the spoils in a nine-goal thriller against Clifton with a penalty stroke in the final minute from Emma Thomas handing them the win.

Bowdon Hightown are still in the hunt for a play-off place thanks to a hat-trick from Sally Walton as they saw off Sutton Coldfield in a 5-3 contest. Tina Cullen scored the other two for Bowdon.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (March 16 2013):

Investec Premier Division: Clifton 4, Reading 5; Slough 1, Surbiton 6; University of Birmingham 0, Leicester 4; Sutton Coldfield 3, Bowdon Hightown 5; Canterbury 6, Olton and West Warwickshire 2.

England Hockey Board Media release



Gordonians move out bottom two with vital win

AAM Gordonians moved out of the bottom two in Men’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1 with a crucial 2-0 home win over AMN Hillhead today.

The Aberdonians are three points clear of today’s opponents and appear to have hit form at a significant point in the season.

Mathematically, Watsonians can still avoid relegation to Division 2 but their survival hopes took a severe blow when they lost 3-2 to Edinburgh University. Only significant wins against relegation rivals AAM Gordonians and AMN Hillhead next weekend could save them.

Grange moved to the top of the league with a 3-0 win away to PSL Team Sport Clydesdale.

The Edinburgh side now sit a point ahead of Glynhill Hotel Kelburne, having played two games more, and will be hoping the other sides in the top half of the table can do them a favour by taking points off the defending champions before the top two meet at Peffermill next Sunday.

Grove Menzieshill are also in the hunt as they moved within three points of second place with a 4-3 win against Western Wildcats at Auchenhowie.

A 4-3 win for Dundee University over Highland and a vital 3-2 away success for Alpha Data Carnegie against Glasgow University meant both sides moved clear of the relegation zone in Men’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 2 this afternoon.

Leaders Dundee Wanderers moved eight points clear of second place Falkirk GHG with a comprehensive 8-2 victory over Granite City Wanderers.

Grove Menzieshill made it nine wins from nine matches in Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1 after defeating Western Wildcats 5-1 at Auchenhowie, while Milne Craig Clydesdale Western moved level with Edinburgh University in second place with a 3-1 success against Grange EL.

In the only match to survive in Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 2, Borders Fjordhus Rievers moved up to third with a 2-1 away win against Glasgow University.

AAM Merlins Gordonians are within touching distance of the Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 3 title after a 2-0 win over Stirling Wanderers. Dundee University stay in second after a 2-0 victory against Aberdeen Ladies

Aberdeen University racked up an impressive 12-1 scoreline against local rivals Bon Accord MBC, while Ayr Ladies look destined to prop up the National Leagues after a 6-2 defeat away to Strathclyde University.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



India scrap Pakistan series after tensions spike


NEW DELHI: India’s national hockey team announced on Friday that they were calling off a series against arch-rivals Pakistan planned for next month amid growing tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Narinder Batra, the secretary general of Hockey India, said that the decision had been made at the instigation of the government less than three weeks before the start of the five-match home series.

“The foreign ministry did not give permission (for the series),” he told AFP.

Pakistan, who had been due to host a return series straight afterwards, deplored India’s decision, saying sports events were in the wider interest of both countries.

“Pakistan believes that in the larger interest of maintaining peace between Pakistan and India, sustained and uninterrupted implementation of confidence building process including sports events is required,” its foreign ministry said.

Asif Bajwa, secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, threatened that Pakistan could pull out of the Junior World Cup to be staged across the border in December this year.

The Cup is being held under the auspices of the International Hockey Federation, who could take action against Pakistan for not participating.

“We condemn India’s policy of mixing politics with sport and if they continue to do so it will be a big loss for hockey fans and for hockey in Asia,” Bajwa told reporters.

“We will not play the hockey series on a neutral venue and now, if they agree to play a hockey series in the future, then India will have to tour us first,” the former Olympian added.

India and Pakistan had been due to play five matches from April 5-15 but the sport has now become the latest victim of tensions between the two countries, particularly over the disputed region of Kashmir.

Five Indian paramilitary police were killed in an ambush on Wednesday in Srinagar, the main city in the Indian-administered part of the territory.

Indian officials have said the attackers – who were themselves shot dead – appeared to have co­­me from Pakistan, despite denials from Islamabad.

The Indian government has also been angered by a resolution passed by the Pakistani Parliament on Thursday, denouncing the recent hanging in Delhi of a Kashmiri separatist convicted of plotting an attack on the national Parliament.

Last week, Pakistan was forced to put off a snooker series after India raised security concerns after a bomb attack killed 50 people in Karachi on March 3.

Several Pakistani hockey stars were also forced to pull out of the inaugural Indian Hockey League in January following a spate of killings across the de facto border in Kashmir.

The two sides last played a bilateral hockey series in 2006 although they recently faced off in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at Ipoh in Malaysia.

The countries have won 11 Olympic hockey titles between them and dominated the Games arena for decades, with India winning eight and Pakistan three.

The Star of Malaysia

 



MHC up prize money to make MHL ‘more interesting’

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: The total prize money for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which begins on March 22, has been raised to RM487,000 – an increase of RM77,000 from last year.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee chairman M. Gobinathan, who chaired the team managers’ meeting yesterday, said “the increased prize money will make the seven-week league more competitive and interesting”.

Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), powered by six foreign players, will be gunning for their third consecutive double – league and overall titles. The other teams in the Premier Division are Tenaga Nasional, Sapura, Maybank, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Nur Insafi and debutants Terengganu.

Seven teams will feature in Division One. They are Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI), Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Uniten-KPT, UiTM, Thunderbolt, Sunday 2030 club and Ipoh City Hall.

Both the Premier Division and Division One matches will be played on a home-and-away basis.

“After the completion of the league matches, the top four teams in each division will compete for their own overall titles,” said Gobinathan, who is also the MHC vice-president.

While the top four teams from the Premier Division compete for the TNB Cup, the top four from Division One will vie for the President’s Cup.

The prize money for winning the Premier Division is RM70,000. The runners-up and third-placed teams will get RM50,000 and RM40,000 respectively.

The winners of the TNB Cup will receive RM70,000. The runners-up will pocket RM50,000 while the third and fourth-placed teams will get RM40,000 and RM30,000 respectively.

The Division One champions will receive RM30,000, the runners-up RM20,000 and third-placed team RM10,000.

The winners of the President’s Cup will take home RM30,000. The runners-up will get RM20,000 while the third and fourth-placed teams will receive RM10,000 and RM5,000.

The team that win the fairplay award will earn RM4,000. There are also four individual prize money for the best player of the league, top scorer, best goalkeeper and man of the match in the final. They are worth RM2,000 each.

Gobinathan said that demerit points collected by players in the league matches would not be carried into the knockout stage this season.

“Each team will play 12 league matches and they need the services of all the players to give their best in the knockout stage,” added Gobinathan.

Meanwhile, the competitions committee have decided to stage the Charity Shield match between defending champions KLHC and league runners-up Tenaga Nasional at the National Hockey Stadium pitch 2 in Bukit Jalil at 8pm on March 24.

The Star of Malaysia



McClean gets outdoor umpire’s promotion

T&T’s Ayanna McClean was recently promoted to the Outdoor Promising List Grade I of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The list comprises umpires who, at their recent tournaments, have shown the potential to officiate at FIH Grade 1 level.

The former national hockey player received news of her promotion following the Pan American Hockey Federation’s South American Championships last month and she was recently part of the umpires list at the FIH World League Round II competition which was held in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

McClean, who holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, is a past pupil of South East Port-of-Spain Secondary School. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Economics from Hofstra University in the USA.

She now resides in Long Island, New York, and has been a member of Ventures Hockey Club, the oldest women’s club in Trinidad and Tobago, for the past 16 years. Ventures celebrated its 85th anniversary last year.

McClean also captained South-East Port-of-Spain Secondary School, Ventures Under-21 and Hofstra University teams to championship titles. The six-foot defender was on the Dean’s List for academics for four years whilst attending Hofstra on a hockey scholarship.

A Market Development Manager with Coca Cola International, she is the daughter of retired FIH Grade I umpire Cherill McClean. As a national player she represented T&T at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo in 2004 and attained her FIH Umpire’s Badge following the Junior Pan American Games in Puerto Rico in 2005.

She was appointed as a neutral umpire at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. T&T Hockey Board (TTHB) congratulated McClean on her new listing and wishes her continued success in her umpiring career.

Appointments

McClean’s FIH and Pan Am appointments to date:
Caribbean Club Championships
—T&T 2000 Junior Pan American Games
—Puerto Rico 2005 (FIH Badge) CAC Games—Santo Domingo 2006 Pan American Games
—Brazil 2007 Pan American Cup
—Bermuda 2009 Pan American Youth Championships
—Uruguay 2010 Youth Olympics (inaugural)
—Singapore 2010 Pan American Games—Mexico 2011 Junior Pan American Games
—Mexico 2012 World League Round 1
—T&T 2012 South American Championships—Chile 2013 (FIH Umpire Promising List) World League Round—Brazil 2013
Pan American Cup—Argentina 2013.

The Trinidad Guardian