News for 28 May 2012

All the news for Monday 28 May 2012


Great Britain pips India in a thriller

FROM S.THYAGARAJAN


Ipoh: In an absorbing contest which reached a heady climax in the final minutes with India pressing hard for the equalizer, Britain hung on to the 3-2 lead to take full points in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Sunday. Britain led 1-0 at half-time.

It was an exhilarating contest with India pushing GB close almost throughout. In fact, India, trailing 0-2, recovered brilliantly in the second half but failed to prevent Britain scoring for the third time.

India should have wrapped up more goals in the first half but inaccuracy cost it dear. Rupinder Singh, who played a forward, almost reached a pass from Dharamvir but failed to get a touch. Later, in a similar situation, Tushar was found wanting.

Britain was at the receiving end for the major part of the first half with India carving out incisive moves. Sardar Singh played a valiant role throughout, spraying superb across. At the right, Gurbaj sent the rival defenders on a spin with cross hits some of which went to waste.

Britain’s attack was solid, systematic and sustained. Admirable positional play gave it the advantage of overcoming the resistance with methodic efficiency. Ashley Jackson, Robert Moore and Matt Daly cut through often making capital of the hard work by Glenn Kirkham and Ben Hawes.

Britain’s lead came somewhat against the run of play from a penalty corner. Richard Smith took the shot to which goal-keeper Sreejesh offered his left palm. When the ball bounced up, in came Ben Kirkham to tap it with a tennis smash.

Shortly after the break, after India had missed a few chances, Britain went ahead from another penalty corner, Ben Hawes making the best use of a flick from Barry Middleton.

India’s case looked lost at this point until the team forced its first penalty corner. Raghunath produced a stunner of a flick in the absence of Sandeep Singh, who was on the bench at that that point. Inspired by this splendid effort, India escalated the pace. Sunil etched on a beautiful goal, deflecting a cross from Gurbaj Singh.

If you had thought a draw was on the cards, came the third from a reverse flick by Nick Catlin. But India fought back again and forced two penalty corners with less than five minutes. The third Indian penalty corner came in three minutes before the hooter. Raghunath was blocked by an on rushing defender. Had he directed it to the roof of the net, he would have perhaps surprised goal keeper James Fair.

“We played very well, but you have to put the ball to win a game,” observed Michael Nobbs, who was utterly disappointed that India could not win the match.

New Zealand cruised to a comfortable win and took a definite stride towards next Sunday’s final.

With nine points and undefeated in three matches, the Kiwis are unlikely to miss the combat for the trophy unless they tumble down the line badly in the remaining three matches.

Ryan Archbald slotted the lead early on off a pass from Arun Panchia, and a penalty corner goal by Andy Hayward was not long in coming. After the break, Nick Wilson tapped in a rebound after goal-keeper Imran Shah padded a penalty corner hit by Andy.

Pakistan strove hard and succeeded to an extent when Haseem Khan deflected a centre from Shafaqt Rasool. Thereafter, it had a spell of dominance but frittered away at least three openings against the tiring Kiwi defenders.

Argentina claimed its first win three matches thanks to a brilliant 70th minute goal by Facundo Collioni to beat Korea 4-3 in a pulsating contest.

It was a see-saw tussle in which neither side gave up and chased each other for the lead. Argentina worked up the move just seven seconds before the hooter through Lucas Vila and Callioni provided the finish touches for a memorable victory.

The results:

New Zealand 3 (Ryan Archbald, Andy Hayward, Nick Wilson) beat Pakistan (Hassem Ahmed Khan) HT 2-0.

Argentina 4 (Lucas Vila, Agustin Muzzilli, Facundo Callioni 2) beat Korea 3 (Nam Hyun Woo, Jang Jong Hyun 2) HT 2-1.

Great Britain 3 (Glenn Kirkham, Ben Hawes, Nick Catlin) beat India 2 ( Raghunath, S.V.Sunil) HT 1-0

Monday’s matches: Korea v Pakistan (1-35 p.m. IST); Great Britain v New Zealand (3-35 p.m.); India v Malaysia (5-35 p.m.)

The Hindu



Brave India goes down to brittle British

K. Arumugam


India lost a match that it would have won, or at least drawn, but had to concede full three points to precise but brittle British here on day three of Alzan Shah Cup.

Nick Catlin's strike in the 62 minutes settled the issue of the winner after India came back from 0-2 arrears to level in the 59th minute.

The British were comfortably sitting with two goals in their kitty till the 44th minute, but India came on with befitting ferocity to make a match of it thereafter. India got a penalty corner in the 56th minute of which VR Raghunath struck a beauty. Sandeep Singh was not there time. undefined

This goal set the motion for the losing side that had created double the number of attacks in the first half but failed to put the ball into the net.

Sandeep returned to field for the next two penalty corners that India got. His first one was got deflected by the goalie, with Sardar Singh unable to pick up the rebound. Sandeep played dummy for the last Indian penalty corner, the third one, leaving Raghunath to strike but it went wide.

In between, set up by Gurbaj Singh, SV Sunil turned the tide in favour of India, deflecting his gem of a feed. Score levelled, the best part of the match was played out. There were attacks, misses and saves galore.

Braving a string of Indian attacks, British broke through in the 62nd minute, leaving Sreejesh to fend for himself. As he fell to his right to save a move, Nick Catlin trapped a short rebound and whacked to the left side netting. This proved to be the match winner for the British. This is British team’s first win in two matches after drawing their first match to Malaysia. India on the other hand had to live with the first win they hand in their second game against Korea.

India today had to play Rupinder Pal Singh at the centre-forward position as Shivender Singh suffered a hamstring.

India had everything going for them in the first half, but messed up their moves. Tushar, Sunil and Rupinder each had a wonderful chance to put the ball into the net, but were either loathe or harried.

Sreejesh manned the bar with aplomb.

V. Raghunath and Sreejesh said their performance against the British was better compared to twice they played them in the London Test event.

For his continued great game, Sardar Singh was again declared Man of the Match

Stick2Hockey.com



GB Men beat India in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

GREAT Britain men battled to a deserved 3-2 victory over India in their second match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia on Sunday.

Despite high temperatures and humidity which clearly suited their rivals, Great Britain dug deep and held them at bay to secure a win which leaves them second in the table ahead of the next set of matches on Monday.

Great Britain had much of the possession in the first half and dominated for long periods, but India looked dangerous on the counter attack.

British pressure paid off when, seven minutes before half time, good team play led to a well worked penalty corner move was finished by East Grinstead’s Glenn Kirkham.

Britain were worth their half time lead, but Cannock goalkeeper James Fair had to be alert on two occasions, saving well from Danish and Gurbaj Singh.

Britain extended their lead with a deserved second goal which came nine minutes after play had resumed with Ben Hawes finishing off another well-worked penalty corner.

In stifling heat with temperatures around 29 degrees and high humidity, Britain worked hard to maintain their lead and had much possession, but were rocked by two goals in three minutes which threatened a repeat of Malaysia’s comeback in the opening match.

Raghunath scored with a blistering 56th minute penalty corner drag flick which gave James Fair in goal no chance. And shortly after Sunil grabbed the crucial equaliser from open play.

With Britain sitting deeper and India gaining more possession the game became very end to end, mainly due to the heat.

But GB hit back to take the points with Reading’s Nick Catlin latching on to a pass from Matt Daly after Britain had turned over Indian possession in their own half. Catlin scored on 62 minutes with a deft reverse stick chip over the advancing keeper to give Britain a lead they would not surrender.

A late flurry of penalty corners were brilliantly defended with a line save by East Grinstead’s Barry Middleton and bravery from Ian McKay, and Britain held out for a hard-earned and morale-boosting victory ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Argentina (11:05 BST).

“It’s great to win and we scored from some great penalty corners,” said Head Coach Jason Lee. “And there was some fantastic defending when it was getting difficult in the conditions.

“It’s a huge advantage for teams like India and Malaysia to be playing in those conditions, they thrive in this weather. But apart from some very good goal defending from the Malaysians we would’ve had two wins.

“Argentina tomorrow will be interesting. It’s a quick turnaround and it will be a war of attrition given the temperatures. Individually we should be too good for them, but they’ve had a good win today so it will be interesting.”

Great Britain Hockey media release



India lose 2-3 to Great Britain in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (Malaysia): Five-time champions India squandered chances galore to slump to a 2-3 defeat against Great Britain in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Sunday.

Playing a brisk game, India failed to capitalise on several opening created by their strikers, faltering in the final execution on numerous occasion.

After bouncing back from a two-goal deficit to draw parity, India gave it away through a defensive lapse in the 62nd minute when three defenders were beaten on top of the circle by a through ball that Nick Catlin picked up to score Great Britain's match-winner.

Great Britain earlier scored two goals through penalty corners from Glen Kirkham (28th minute) and Ben Hawes (43rd).

But India struck back to score twice in the space of four minutes through a penalty corner conversion from VR Raghunath (55th) and a dazzling deflection by SV Sunil (59th) to make a stunning return to the match.

With this win, Great Britain moved into the second position with four points from two matches, behind New Zealand who clinched their third successive victory by defeating Pakistan 3-1 earlier in the day.

Last year's losing finalists Pakistan have three points from two outings, while India have slipped to the fifth spot with three points from as many matches.

India's points came from a 2-1 victory over South Korea, while they lost 1-5 to New Zealand in their tournament opener.

Against Great Britain on Sunday India started on a brisk pace and held the ball early on, but wasted several chances.

In the third minute, Sunil failed to capitalise on Tushar Khandekar's cross from the right.

Great Britain asserted themselves to force two successive penalty corners in the 10th minute before India had another look at the rival goal when SK Uthappa sent a diagonal ball to Rupinder Pal Singh, who failed to connect with a diving attempt.

Great Britain opened the scoring in the 28th minute from their third penalty corner when Ashley Jackson's shot was blocked by goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, but Kirkham swung the rising ball into the goal to give his side the lead.

Hawes then shot on target from a set-piece penalty corner attempt to make it 2-0 for Great Britain in the 43rd minute.

Pushing hard to bounce back in the game, India got their first penalty corner when star striker Sandeep Singh was not on the pitch, but Raghunath stepped up to score with a soaring drag-flick in the 55th minute.

Four minutes later, right-half Gurbaj Singh did the spadework by moving into the circle from right and sent in a cross that was deflected into the goal by Sunil.

But India's joy was shortlived as Catlin capitalised restored Great Britain's lead three minutes later when he beat goalkeeper Sreejesh with a reverse drive from an acute angle after receiving a through ball.

The Indians continued pressing, forcing two penalty corners in the 67th and 68th minutes, but they failed to convert the chances.

While on first occasion Sandeep's low shot was brilliantly stopped by goalkeeper James Fair, Raghunath's flick was easily deflected out by onrushing Great Britain defenders on the next opportunity.

India will next play hosts Malaysia on Monday, while Great Britain will be up against Argentina.

The Times of India



New Zealand stun Pakistan to chalk up their third straight win in a row

By AFTAR SINGH



Sandwiched: Argentina’s Enrique Paredes Matias is caught between Korea’s Hyun Jang-jong (left) and Bok Cha-jong during their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match in Ipoh Sunday. — SAIFUL BAHRI/The Star

IPOH: New Zealand continued their winning ways by packing off Pakistan 3-1 for their third consecutive win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

The Kiwis, who outplayed India 5-1 and Argentina 5-2 in their first two matches, started off aggressively and by the 11th minute were 2-0 up against a lethargic Pakistan side..

Ryan Archibald collected a through pass from Arun Panchia to slam the ball past goalkeeper Muhammad Waqas in the eighth minute.

Three minutes later, New Zealand earned their first penalty corner, and Waqas failed to stop a low flick from Andy Hayward.

Pakistan, stunned by the two early goals pushed forward in search for goals.

They had a chance to narrow the deficit in the 15th minute but Muhammad Umar Bhutta failed to connect the ball into goal off a pass from Haseem Abdul Khan.

Pakistan earned their first penalty corner in the 32nd minute but their legendary penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas flicked the ball wide.

Surprisingly, it was New Zealand who scored again to make it 3-0, in the 40th minute off their third penalty corner.

Hayward’s low flick rebounded of Waqas’ pads and Nick Wilson pushed the loose ball into goal.

Four minutes later Pakistan managed to narrow the deficit. Haseem Abdul deflected the ball into goal off a through pass from Rasool Shafqat.

Pakistan created a number of goal scoring chances in the last 20 minutes but in-form Kiwi goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex denied them.

Pakistan manager Akhtar Rasool said his players played well but it was just not their day.

“We created so many chances but just could not score. New Zealand only had four chances and they scored three. It is not the end of the road for us despite the defeat,” said the former international.

New Zealand skipper Dean Couzins said the win over Pakistan has put them in the good position to reach the final.

“We had a good start but in the second half Pakistan dominated and created a number of the chances but we defended well. Our target in this tournament is to reach the final and we will go all out to achieve it,” said Couzins.

In the second match of the day, Argentina came back from a goal down to edge South Korea 4-3 for their first win in three matches.

Facundo Callioni scored a brace in the 46th and 70th minutes while Martin Lucas (10th) and Agustin Mazzilli (34th) scored the other goals for Argentina.

Korea’s goals came from Jang Jong-hyun (42nd, 48th) and Nam Hyun-woo (4th).

In the last match of the day, Britain chalked up a hard fought 3-2 win over India.

Glenn Kirkham gave Britain the lead off a penalty corner in the 28th minute and Ben Hawes increased the lead off another penalty corner set-piece in the 44th minute.

But India stormed back to score two goals in the space of two minutes through V. R. Raghunath in 57th minute and Sunil Sowmarpet the 59th to put the score at 2-2.

But India’s joy was short lived as three minutes later Nick Catlin scored the winning goal for England.

The Star of Malaysia



New Zealand captures third successive win

s2h team


New Zealand captures third successive victory, coming out clean against fighting Pakistan. As its established habit, it struck early and then did not allow any leeway to their rival to make a comeback.

New Zealand’s 3-1 win is their third in as many days after comprehensively defeating both India and Argentina in the first two days.

Pakistan came back and worked hard in the second half, but could only keep the Kiwis score low compared to India and Argentina, where the Kiwis struck five easy goals. New Zealand Ryan Archibald’s strong forehand in the 8th minutes gave the lead, and then Andy Hayward, the ultimate man of the match, converted team’s first penalty corner in the 11th min to expand the lead, and also to troop out for lemon with things under controls. Nick Wilson struck the third blow in the 32nd minute, which took away the match from Pakistan.

Pakistan really had every thing going in the late second half, but their forwards were bit wasteful and fanciful.

Striker Haseem of course turned gently and send a back pass off parallel feed that came from the right side of the circle to give Pakistan a semblance of fight back. 26th minutes were left for the play time since then, yet the Pakistan palyers could not convert their dominance into goal.

Pakistan missed as many as three chances to make a match of it, though it was not to be.

Andy Hayward was declared the Man of the match

Stick2Hockey.com



Black Sticks Men top of the table in Malaysia

The Black Sticks Men have won their third consecutive match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with a 3-1 win over Pakistan in Ipoh, Malaysia last night.

The victory puts New Zealand well clear at the top of the table as the only team with three victories.

The Black Sticks made a cracking start with a Ryan Archibald field goal and an Andy Hayward penalty corner putting the Kiwis 2-0 up after just 11 minutes.

They held on to the 2-0 lead through to the break and extended it to 3-0 early in the second spell when Nick Wilson put away a penalty corner rebound.

Pakistan responded with a goal in the 44th minute and put the Kiwis under some immense pressure in the last 20 minutes. But some resolute defence, in particular from goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex, kept Pakistan scoreless for the rest of the match

Hayward was named player of the match.

Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod said he was pleased with the team’s work rate and felt that many of the errors late in the match were due to fatigue in the humid conditions.

The Black Sticks now have two days off – a bye and a rest day – before meeting the tournament’s top seeds Great Britain on Wednesday night (NZ time). The break will give Ben Collier time to recover from a hit to the face last night which required stitches.

Hawke’s Bay is the Principal Partner of the Black Sticks Men and Women.

RESULT
Full time: 3-1 (New Zealand win)
Half time: 2-0
New Zealand goalscorers: Ryan Archibald, Andy Hayward, Nick Wilson.

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks hold off Pakistan for third win

The Black Sticks have continued their winning run at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia with a 3-1 victory over Pakistan.

The Kiwi men led 2-0 at halftime in wet conditions last night (NZT) and both sides traded goals in the second half.

Having beaten Argentina 5-2 in their second game on Friday to go with a 5-1 defeat of India first up, the New Zealanders sit atop the points table as the only team with a perfect record in the seven nation tournament.

The Black Sticks made a cracking start through a Ryan Archibald field goal before an Andy Hayward penalty corner put them 2-0 up after just 11 minutes.

They extended the lead to 3-0 early in the second spell when Nick Wilson put away a penalty corner rebound.

Pakistan responded with a goal in the 44th minute and put the Black Sticks under some immense pressure in the last 20 minutes. But some resolute defence, in particular from goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex, kept Pakistan scoreless for the remainder.

Hayward was named player of the match.

Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod said he was pleased with the team's work rate and felt that many of the errors late in the match were due to fatigue in the humid conditions.

The Black Sticks now have two days off - a bye and a rest day - before meeting the tournament's top seeds Great Britain on Wednesday.

The break will give Ben Collier time to recover from a hit to the face last night which required stitches.

RESULT
New Zealand 3 (Ryan Archibald, Andy Hayward, Nick Wilson) Pakistan 1. HT: 2-0.

Stuff



Pakistan beaten 3-1 by New Zealand in Azlan Shah Cup

Top seeds Britain secured their first win of this year’s tournament with a 3-2 victory over India while Argentina beat South Korea 4-3 with just seconds on the clock.

New Zealand took a two-goal lead over last year’s runner-up Pakistan in the first half through Ryan Archibald (8th min) and Andy Hayward (11th ).

Nick Wilson made it 3-0 in the 40th before Pakistan pulled a goal back in the 44th minute through Abdul Haseem Khan.

But the brief comeback was too late to pose a real threat to their dominant rivals.

“We created enough chances to take a point in the match but just did not have the final touch,” said Pakistan team manager Akhtar Rasool.

“We are building the team for the Olympics and there are several youngsters in the side, who should learn from what went wrong in this match.”

Pakistan captain Sohail Abbas said the new-look team did not possess a lot of experience.

“It is a young team and full of energy, but in the end it came down to availing chances,” he said.

The win gives New Zealand maximum points from three outings as they beat India 5-1 and Argentina 5-2 in their opening two matches.

They now top the standings with nine points, while Britain are in second, and Pakistan are third with three points thanks to their 4-2 win over Argentina.

Britain, who drew their opening match 3-3 on Friday to hosts Malaysia, were in good form in the early part of the match, with Glenn Kirkham and Ben Hawes both scoring.

But some poor defending saw India draw level with goals from VR Raghunath and Sunil Sowmarpet, leaving it to Nick Catlin to save the day for Britain, ranked fourth in the world, with a goal in the 62nd minute.

Indian coach Michael Nobbs berated his team, saying they “simply did not follow the instruction given and wasted several good chances… What is the point in fancy stick work in the D if you do not score?”

In the day’s other match, South Korea opened the scoring but then Argentina took a 2-1 lead.

The match went to 3-3 and was tight until the dying moments, but with the clock showing only 12 seconds, Facundo Callioni scored the decisive goal for Argentina to triumph.

In the standings, Argentina rank fourth with three points, while South Korea are last with one point, behind India and hosts Malaysia, who are not going to the London Olympics.The seven-team tournament is an important last chance for teams to tune up and hone line-ups before
the London Games.

Results:
New Zealand 3    Pakistan 1
Argentina 4    South Korea 3
Britain 3    India 2

Dawn



Faizal eyes India scalp

By Jugjet Singh


FAIZAL Saari saved Malaysia twice, and now he aims to claim their first win against India in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh tomorrow.

Malaysia drew 1-1 with South Korea, courtesy of a Fazial goal, and then he helped Malaysia come back from the jaws of death by scoring two goals in the last three minutes for a 3-3 draw against Olympic hosts Britain.

The 21-year-old Terengganu-born player, with 80 caps to his name, was also instrumental in handing Malaysia their first Junior Asia Cup gold as he scored six goals to be the top-scorer in Malacca.

"The feeling is really good going into the India game, as we have had a two-day rest, and also, the comeback against Britain was just the boost we needed in this tournament," said Faizal who also scored in the Dublin Olympic Qualifier.

Malaysia, wooden spoonists in the last edition, must beat India at all cost to make sure they finish in the middle of the pool.

"This tournament is very important for me as we were given a chance to play against six teams which have already qualified for the Olympics.

"We must learn from every match, as we build a side for the (senior) World Cup Qualifier (next year)," said Fazial.

Coach Tai Beng Hai's charges last played India in the Champions Challange II in South Africa and lost 5-4 in the quarter-finals last year. Before that, Malaysia had beaten India 4-3 in the semi-finals of the Asian Games.

"The plan is simple, we must beat India to have a good finish in this tournament and it is not an impossible target. We did beat them in the Asian Games, and then they beat us narrowly in the Champions Challenge," said Beng Hai.

After India, Malaysia play Pakistan and could end up with eight points with the New Zealand and Argentina matches in hand -- if the coach plays his cards right.

TODAY: South Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Britain v Argentina (6pm), India v Malaysia (8pm).

WEDNESDAY: Argentina v India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).

New Straits Times



Spurred on

Players motivate each other to move forward

by Vijhay Vick



GOOD OPENING: Malaysia celebrating their equaliser against Britain on Friday

IPOH: Seasoned campaigner Azlan Misron is delighted that the players are motivating each other to lift the spirit of the national hockey team.

According to him, the players realised they needed to up the ante quickly to ensure a good showing at next year’s Asia Cup in Singapore.

“For us (players), the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is important. It allows us to move on from the disappointment of failing to make it to the Olympics.

“It was a good decision to rope in several junior players. But some of them have already established themselves in the senior side,” said Azlan.

Junior Asia Cup skipper Mohd Nor Faeez Ibrahim, Mohd Ramadhan Rosli and Norhizzat Sumantri have all received first-time call-ups and Azlan believes they have the right attitude to stay in the team.

The Saari brothers Faizal and Fitri, Mohd Firhan Ashaari and Amir Farid have played at senior level.

“The three new players are beginning to adapt to the senior team. It’s a different ball game altogether and at this level players are not given much time with the ball, so the trickery and fancy play need to be reduced.

“But they have shown keen interest to learn and we, the senior players, have been advising them during training sessions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysia are hoping for three points against India today after holding Korea and Britain to draws.

Those results have lifted the gloom over the senior side especially the 3-3 draw against much-fancied Britain where Faisal’s two late goals earned the draw.

India, meanwhile, were thumped 5-1 by New Zealand in their opening match before narrowly defeating South Korea 2-1 on Friday.

“We have seen them in both their matches and will watch them again tonight (last night). A win is not beyond us if we play to our strength.

“I hope to convert more penalty corners,” said Azlan, who is the only other player to have found the back of the net apart from Faisal.

Malay Mail



Media Officer's issue with coach resolved

The issue with the coach who intruded on the media area has been resolved between the two of us.

Let it be clear that it was not because of him that I vacated the position but rather the Organising Committee who did nothing to enhance security after it was highlighted.

The said coach has apologised and I have accepted it. Hence that matter is no longer preventing me nor was the reason why i had vacated the position. Rather it was the indifferent atitude of MHC officials and the Organising Secretaries.

It has now been brought to my attention that certain sections of the Organising Committee were party to the said incident and provoked matters.

And to top it all, office bearers of MHC stand accused of a personal vendetta against me as they felt threatened.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Scotland equalise on full time to deny SA victory

JONATHAN COOK in Glasgow



Shelley Russell on attack Photo: Donald Macleod


The Investec South Africa women's hockey team came within a minute of overturning four matches without beating Scotland but the Scots scored with the last play of the game to draw the first of the five-Test series 2-2 at a very hot Clydesdale Hockey Club in Glasgow Sunday.

Scotland were awarded a penalty corner after SA were adjudged to have deliberately infringed in the 23-metre area and another PC followed, which saw Nikki Lloyd scramble in the equaliser.

In the eighth minute, world number 18 Scotland hit the post through Nikki Kidd from their first penalty corner but world number 12-ranked SA hit back when Dirkie Chamberlain made no mistake from the rebound off goalkeeper Amy Gibson's pads after the strong initial shot from Jen Wilson.

Six minutes from half-time SA felt aggrieved when a great run by Bernie Coston along the left-hand baseline didn’t result in a penalty stroke

Turning around 1-0 up, SA suffered a setback when a neat move three minutes after the changeover between Becky Merchant, Nic Skrastin and inspirational captain Linda Clement saw Ali Bell slip the ball past goalkeeper Mariette Rix, on for first-half keeper Sanani Mangisa (1-1).

Turnovers began multiplying as the players felt the excessive heat and in the 43rd minute SA striker Sulette Damons dropped to the turf in agony and had to be helped off the field with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

SA captain Marsha Marescia, who was outstanding throughout, rallied her troops and SA earned a second and then a third PC but the Scotland defence was equal to the challenge. Then Shelley Russell, who had been a constant threat down the left flank, dropped like a stone after being struck on the shoulder from a full-blooded Scotland cross.

South Africa’s fourth PC was blocked in a match where Scotland keeper Gibson had a very good game before Damons returned to the fray and in an incisive run down the left side of the field she exhibited great control to set up Kath Taylor for a simple tap-in 10 minutes from time (2-1).

But victory was not to be as the spirited Scots drove upfield in search of the equaliser, which came through Lloyd in the dying seconds.

SA were missing world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee and fellow double Olympian Kate Woods, who are scheduled to join the team later in the week, as well as striker Lauren Penny (shoulder injury) while Scotland are missing their four Great Britain Olympic squad members.

QuipuTV are providing “live” free-to-air online streaming of the five Test matches and it is globally available through the Scottish Hockey and QuipuTV websites, as well as facebook.com/quiputv and Twitter at #SASCOhockey which provides SA fans with ample choice to follow the second Test at 3.30 pm SA time Monday and the rest of the series.

TEAMS
Scotland: Amy Gibson, Kat Ralph, Kaz Marshall, Leigh Fawcett, Kat Camerson, Aileen Davies, Susan McGilveray, Becky Merchant, Nikki Kidd, Morag McLennan, Ali Howie, Sam Judge, Holly Cram, Ailsa Wylie, Linda Clement (capt), Nic Skrastin, Nikki Lloyd, Ali Bell.
South Africa: Sanani Mangisa/Mariette Rix, Illse Davids, Marsha Marescia (capt), Shelley Russell, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lisa Deetlefs, Jen Wilson, Lesle-Ann George, Nicolene Terblanche, Lenise Marais, Kathleen Taylor, Bernie Coston, Tarryn Bright, Sulette Damons.
Umpires: Karen Thomson, Kerri Targett (both Scotland).

SA Hockey Association media release



Scots draw at Titwood

1ST TEST MATCH   SCOTLAND V SOUTH AFRICA - TITWOOD (GLASGOW)


In the first of five test matches at Titwood, a fighting performance by Scotland`s women produced a well earned 2-2 draw with the much-fancied South African, six places above the Scots on the international rankings and on their way to the London Olympics in a few weeks time.

Gordon Shepherd, Scotland`s coach, managed this result with a side composed of experience and several youngsters, and without his four GB players Laura Bartlett, Emily Maguire, Abi Walker and Vikki Bunce.

It certainly did not look good for Shepherd`s charges with just seconds left, they trailed 2-1 but were then awarded a belated penalty corner.  At the second attempt Nikki Kidd`s drag flick was deflected goalwards by Catriona Ralph and first cap Nikki Lloyd nipped in to make sure of the equaliser.

The Scots had their chances early on, Kidd hit a post at a penalty corner, Sam Judge`s strike was disallowed for dangerous play at another set piece, then Kidd again sent a reverse stick shot wide of the target.

South Africa took the lead midway through the half, the initial shot was saved by Scotland goalkeeper Amy Gibson but Dirkie Chamberlain followed up to strike the rebound home.   Although South Africa dominated the rest of the half, Linda Clement had a chance in the final minutes at a goalmouth scramble after Kareena Marshall`s cross had struck a post.

In the second half the Scots shocked the pre-match favourites with a goal against the run of play, a move involving Kidd, Judge and Clement finally reached Ali Bell whose miss-hit shot eluded the stranded goalkeeper.

South Africa continued to dominate play with four penalty corner opportunities and took a 2-1 lead with eight minutes left when Kathleen Taylor was left with a simple tap in after a quick attack had opened up the Scottish defence.   But the Scots never gave up and were rewarded with Lloyd`s late counter.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Uhlenhorst claim amazing third EHL title

Amsterdam take Silver, Dragons win Bronze



UHC won their third EHL title (Photo: EHL / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Uhlenhorster HC won their third EHL title in the fifth Euro Hockey League (EHL) season. UHC defeated the hosts Amsterdam H&BC 2-1 in the first EHL Final which was decided in a penalty shoot-out. The 200th match in EHL history was tied 2-2 after 80 minutes of captivating hockey.

Hamburg can thank their goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi who secured the victory with many outstanding saves. He also parried four attempts in the penalty shoot-out. Jan Willem Buissant was the only Amsterdam player who scored in the one-on-one competition. Oliver Korn and Mathias Müller were successful for UHC.

Jacobi received the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the victory ceremony. Triple winners UHC got a 20,000 euro cheque, the runners-up from Amsterdam received 10,000 euros.

Winning the Silver Medal means Amsterdam’s best result in EHL history. The Dutch champions had never faced a German opponent before in this competition. UHC became the second team after HC Rotterdam which was able to defeat Amsterdam.

KHC Dragons defeated HC Rotterdam 4-3 in extra time to win the Bronze Medal. It is the first time in EHL history that a Belgian team wins an EHL medal. It is also the first time in EHL history that Rotterdam finish without a medal. The Hoofdklasse playoffs runners-up had claimed medals in all three of the EHL tournaments that they had participated in, Bronze in 2008 and 2009, Silver in 2010.

Larensche MHC defeated record champion HC’s-Hertogenbosch 1-0 in the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup (EHCCC) Final in Amsterdam. Den Bosch were unbeaten in 54 European club hockey matches in succession. They were the team that won all top European club competitions since 2000. Since 2000, Den Bosch have won 24 of 26 trophies that were available to them. The lone exceptions are the 2008/2009 Hoofdklasse title and this European Cup.

Detailed tournament information such as the schedule, live-streaming, match summaries, previews, tickets, teams and officials and even more is available on www.ehlhockey.tv , the official website of the Euro Hockey League.

Euro Hockey League media release



Hermes in to European Final!


Hermes secured their place in the European final with a composed 3-1 win against Slavia Praha.

Hermes started brightly creating chances in the opening minutes.

Following good work by Sinead Connery they won their first penalty corner. Audrey O'Flynn netted beautifully with a low drag to the keeper's right, her first goal for Hermes since returning from surgery on her broken jaw, sustained in the Olympic qualifiers.

Hermes controlled possession for long spells and had sustained pressure but could not beat the impressive Praha keeper.

The Czech side countered well winning four corners, all of which were comfortably defended with Mary Goode making a few solid saves.

In the second half Hermes again started brightly winning a sequence of 4 short corners in close succession. The Praha keeper saved well from all of them but following a good advantage by the umpire Eimear Horan netted her third goal of the tournament with a far post tap in from a lovely cross.

Praha continued to counter well and won a series of corners. Goode was called into action making excellent saves.

Hermes pushed on looking for a third and were rewarded following excellent build up by Horan on the right who dropped a ball back for Aine Connery to finish from close range.

In the last seconds of the game Praha netted a high rebound from close range for a consolation score.

Hermes play French side Lille in the final.

Irish Hockey Association media release



Grange in line for promotion

EUROPEAN CLUB CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE


Grange suddenly found their form and stormed into today`s promotion play-offs in the European Club Champions Challenge in Zagreb with a convincing 5-1 victory over Gibraltar side Eagles in the final pool match.

It took the Edinburgh side only ten minutes to take the lead, Cammie Fraser`s reverse stick shot was brilliantly tipped past the goalkeeper by 15-year-old Fettes schoolboy Hamish Imrie.   Grange continued to dominate proceedings and in 23 minutes went two up, under 21 internationalist Adam Walker worked his way along the base-line, cut the ball back to Matt Connor who promptly smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Although the Eagles pulled one back early in the second half, Grange remained undaunted and quickly restored their two goal lead, at a penalty corner Fraser Sands` shot was deflected home by the ever-alert Cammie Fraser.   The result was finally sealed at another set piece, Walker won the award and Sands launched his drag flick past the goalkeeper for 4-1.   Grange found the net again with two minutes left, Gary Cameron`s initial shot was saved by the keeper, the ball broke to Duncan Riddell at the top of the circle and his reverse stick shot flew into the bottom of the net.

"We started brightly and put the Eagles under a lot of pressure, we thoroughly deserved our 5-1 win in a contest that we dominated from beginning to end," said Colin Clarke, Grange`s coach.

In the women`s European Club Champions Challenge in Switzerland VWS Dundee Wanderers are now fighting to stave off relegation after losing 3-1 to Italian champions Amiscora in the final pool match.  The Italians were a goal up at the interval through an open play strike.

There was a chink of hope five minutes into the second half, the Taysiders were awarded a penalty corner and Sam Sangster dispatched the ball high into the Italian net for the equaliser.   Amiscora retaliated with a set piece strike to take a 2-1 lead.  Wanderers ran out of luck, Louise Sheriffs had the ball in the net for the Dundonians but the umpire had already blown for a penalty corner which came to nothing.

The tie was finally lost when Amiscora scored a third with five minutes remaining, leaving Wanderers needing to win to avoid relegation.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Kookaburras Drill a Sponsorship Goal


Image by Dan Carson

The world number one men's hockey team has secured their first major sponsor in two decades in what is a massive year in our sport.

Leading iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group has backed the Kookaburras for the next two years, to ensure the team remains the benchmark of international competition.

Hockey Australia Chief Executive Mark Anderson announced today's signing as a tremendous vote of confidence and a significant boost for the athletes and team.

"The Kookaburras are the world number one team and there is no doubt high expectations will follow them when they perform on the sporting world's biggest stage. This announcement is a significant boost for the team in what is a huge year, culminating in the Champions Trophy, held in Melbourne in December 2012," he said.

"The confidence Fortescue has shown in our players is greatly appreciated and we hope we can continue to reward them with on-field success, as we build a partnership over the coming years."

Fortescue CEO Nev Power said he was delighted to welcome the Kookaburras into the "Fortescue Family" because they were two Australian organisations which shared a strong culture of success through teamwork.

"Fortescue's most important value is that we are a family so it's tremendous to bring the world’s best hockey team, the Kookaburras, into our family," said Mr Power, who presented the players and coach Ric Charlesworth with their Fortescue Family caps today.

“This is about bringing together two iconic Australian brands with a shared focus on high performance, teamwork, well-being and resilience.

"Hockey has always been a very important part of the Australian sporting landscape and this partnership gives the Fortescue Family in Perth and the Pilbara the opportunity to cheer on the Kookaburras.”

While sponsors have backed the Kookaburras at individual major tournaments in the past, there has rarely been a sponsorship of the team itself.

Fortescue, the fourth largest iron ore producer in the world, also sponsors Hockey Australia's National Indigenous program and has gone above and beyond in their support, which has greatly benefited indigenous youth, particularly in the Pilbara.

Indigenous athletes and Kookaburra's champions, Des Abbott and Joel Carroll are the program's ambassadors.

The Kookaburras are also excited to be closely involved in the Fortescue learning and development program this year.

Fortescue staff will also be actively involved in all aspects of the program, which ranges from participation in hockey clinics, to employment opportunities for national team members.

Hockey Australia media release



Karnataka is encouraging hockey: Raghunath

Taniya Talukdar


When the Indian hockey squad, which included young Kodava V Raghunath, did not qualify for the 2008 Olympics, he went into something of a depression. "I felt victimized," says Raghunath, adding, "I couldn't digest the criticism coming our way.

We were the only (Indian) team that could have to Beijing, and when we failed to qualify, people were hard on us."

But Raghunath got back to focusing on the game and his goal was the 2012 London Olympics. "Some of the members of the 2008 team have retired, but five of us from that old team have been retained and will go to London," says Raghunath. While the 2008 disqualification kept playing on his mind till recently, Raghunath and his team could barely sleep the night they qualified for the London Olympics.

The team, which has been training hard under the observant eye of Michael Nobbs and David John, has a newfound confidence.

"The team has been performing well mentally and physically. At the end of the day, it's all about mind games and we are training really hard this time," says Raghunath, who has also been training in high-altitude places with lower levels of oxygen. He adds, "Strength training is our primary focus and some of us have gained weight, while others have lost some."

It is also interesting to know that since they have qualified for the Olympics, the members of the Indian hockey team have been receiving quite a few sponsorship offers. "A lot of corporates have come forward to support us, but we need to win a lot of tournaments. That is when they will push the game," says Raghunath.

He feels that promoting hockey in india is important, but adds that it will happen only when the hockey team makes winning a habit. Quiz him about the popularity that cricket commands over the national game and the young lad is quick to say, "I never compare sports. For me, at the end of the day, wearing the country's jersey is important." But it does help when celebrities promote a particular game, to which Raghunath replies, "Actor Suniel Shetty recently got signed up as the ambassador for Indian hockey and I think it will definitely go a long way in popularizing the game."

Raghunath's father, who was also a hockey player himself, encouraged his son to get into the game and today he is a happy man. Raghunath also feels that the training he has received in Bangalore is what has helped him become a better player. "Karnataka is doing well in hockey and the state is encouraging the game. Five members of the hockey team going to London are from here," says Raghunath, who has got a lot more from the game than what he has given. "We are looking for a podium finish this year," he signs off.

The Times of India