News for 29 May 2012

All the news for Tuesday 29 May 2012


Will anyone catch New Zealand at Azlan Shah Cup?

Argentina and India closing in, but gap remains



New Zealand is a step ahead of the rest of the field in Malaysia (Photo: Vino John, Azlan Shah website)

For the seven participating teams the annual invitational Azlan Shah Cup is perhaps the last final major tune-up before the London Games. All teams, with the exception of host Malaysia, are qualified for the Games. Organizers have even gone so far as to use a blue pitch, similar to the one that will be used at the Olympics, in the event.

To view complete stories of all the games, please go to the official site for the tournament. Below are small recaps from the daily action.

Day 4:
New Zealand was idle but still sit atop the standings with nine points in three games. Thanks to Day 4 wins, India and Argentina closed the gap and sit at six points each, but have one more game than New Zealand. India earned a 3-2 win against Malaysia, while Argentina topped Great Britain by the same score. In the third game of the day, Korea blanked Pakistan, 4-0.

Day 3:
New Zealand continued to plow through the competition, claiming a 3-1 win against Pakistan. New Zealand stis atop the standings with the full nine points in three games. Great Britain is the closest competitor with four points in two outings. Great Britain picked up the bulk of its points in its seoncd game of the event, a 3-2 win against India. In the third game of the day, Argentina topped South Korea, 4-3. Korea sits at the bottom of the standings with just one point in three games.

Day 2:
New Zealand remained the team to beat at the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. They put on another show of offense in a decisive 5-2 win over Argentina. India picked up its first points of the event with a 2-1 win against Korea. Rounding out the day’s action was the debut of Great Britain, which had to settle for a 3-3 tie against host Malaysia. It was Malaysia’s second tie in as many games.

Day 1:
In opening day action of the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia, New Zealand stole the spotlight with a 5-1 victory against India. In the other two games, Pakistan topped Argentina, 4-2 and in the late game Korea and Malaysia battled to a 1-1 draw.

FIH site



India gets the better of Malaysia

S. Thyagarajan


With a display that as impressive as it was incisive, India put it across to Malaysia before a packed gathering to win 3-2 in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Monday. India led 1-0 at half time.

This was India's second win in four matches. The team has six points with matches remaining against Argentina and Pakistan.

On this day, India looked every inch a winning combination. True, there were anxious moments whenever the host exerted pressure.

But the defenders, headed well by goal-keeper Bharat Chetri managed to face seven penalty corners. Malaysia slotted only a solitary one in the second half.

Fluency and finesse

There was a noticeable element of fluency and finesse in the attack where Shivendra Singh, Danish Mujtaba and Sunil stood out. As always, Sardara Singh commanded the mid-field with the adeptness and authority of a master. Never once did he put his foot or the stick wrong.

Almost every move emanated from this indomitable warrior.

Sardara paved the way for the first goal working in tandem with Danish who eventually finished.

A bad stop from a penalty corner proved rewarding in the end when Shivendra slammed in the second with only little more than 10 minutes had rolled in to the match.

An attempt by Uthappa off Sunil and by Walmiki almost exposed the limitations of the Malaysian defensive phalanx.

India walked out for the break with a 2-0 lead.

But shortly after resumption, Rahim shot in a penalty corner, raising huge expectations among the audience.

Then it was India that forged ahead. Again the prompter was Sardara, whose cross to Shivendra was baulked by goal-keeper Kumar.

From the rebound, Tushar drove the ball into the cage with palpable relish.

For a brief period, India slackened and a yellow card for Raghunath heightened tension. It was at this juncture that Firti Saari flicked in a goal to reduce the margin. An yellow card for Sandeep added to the confusion in the defence.

Actually when India forced its third penalty corner neither Raghunath nor Sandeep was on the field. An improvised back-hander by Sardara almost curved in but landed on the crossbar and spun away.

Argentina revels

Unpredictable as always, Argentina stunned everyone when it inflicted 3-2 defeat on Great Britain to take a second win in four matches.

The margin mirrors as to which was the dominating side.

Each goal by Argentina was bordered on brilliance, but nothing captivated more than that effort by Mathais Paredes when he sent the ball crashing into the boards.

Pepped up, Argentina wove intricate patterns around the hard-working British defenders headed by Ben Hawes who functioned like a beaver.

An Ashley Jackson penalty corner, executed with perfection, levelled the score.

But Paredes shot in again a cross from Mazzili and Lucas Commareri hoisted the third.

All that Britain could do in the remaining time was narrow down the margin for which Jackson again took the credit.

Korea courted its first win in three matches.

The margin was convincing largely due to the inept performance of Pakistan, which suffered both in attack and finish.

The frontline frittered away no less than half a dozen chances. All the guiles and wiles of the once feared and admired Sohail Abbas failed to subdue the Korean custodian.

The pace and precision ingrained in the Korean sallies were enough to overpower the rival.

In the end, the skill to finish proved the decisive factor.

The results: Korea 4 (Ham Hyun Woo 2, You Hyo Sik, Hyun Hye Sung) bt Pakistan 0; Argentina 3(Mathias Paredes 2, Lucas Commareri) bt Great Britain 2 (Ashley Jasckon 2); India 3 (Danish Mujtaba, Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandekar) bt Malaysia 2 ( Amin Rahim, Fitri Saari).

Tuesday is a rest day.

The Hindu



Indian team is settling down to a rhythm

S. Thyagarajan


India has hit the up curve. That is beyond dispute now in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament.

After a disastrous start against New Zealand, India has recovered to record a sensational win over Korea, pushed Great Britain to the edge and overcame the host on Monday.

A podium finish is a possibility. But that rests on the outcome of matches against Argentina tomorrow and Pakistan the day after.

The improvement, understandably, pleases Michael Nobbs. But he believes that India should have won against Britain.

The team is settling down to a rhythm. Yet, there are grey areas.

One is the needless desperation to defend the lead. It multiplies errors. We saw two — Sandeep and Raghunath — taking yellow card suspensions at crucial moments on Monday.

Top class performances in the mid-field, notably from the indefatigable Sardar Singh, have been the backbone. Almost everything that happens in the field has the stamp of Sardar.

Next in line is Gurbaj. Returning from an injury, his presence at the right half is inspiring. Sunil who plays at the wing and Sarvanjit are yet to take full advantage of Gurbaj's proficiency in providing perfect centres. Manpreet and Kothajit have played their roles with a touch of efficiency.

Sandeep is yet to flourish owing to inadequate drag flick opportunities. Even the few that surfaced saw Sandeep on the bench. There is no denying that he is a match-winner. Raghunath has not taken the chances well nor did he perform outstandingly in the 25-yard line. The saving grace in this area has been Birendra Lakra.

Inconsistency has dimmed the incandescence of the front line. Fleeting moments from Sunil, Shivendra and Tushar failed to mask the lack of harmony. Uthappa and Danish along with Walmiki are yet to integrate completely.

Goalkeepers — Sreejesh and Chetri — have performed with merit. The latter in particular was conspicuous against Malaysia and Korea.

The coaching crew of Nobbs, Riaz and Lobo, along with trainer, David John, is striving manfully to get the frailties out of harm's way. Nobbs is confident of weeding out the inadequacies in the weeks remaining before the ultimate test — the Olympics in London.

For those statistically minded, India, which takes on Argentina on Wednesday, has a record of 25 victories in the 43 matches played, losing 15 and drawing three. The goal tally of 109 for and 76 against tells its own tale.

Unpredictable

Argentina has proved its unpredictability after the way it side stepped Great Britain and then Korea. This, after two successive reverses, against Pakistan and New Zealand, proclaimed the fortitude of the players whose brilliance is symbolised in the scoring style of Mathias Parades, Mathias Vila and Lucas Cammareri. The Indians should fear these men lurking near the goal area.

The Kiwis have shunted out Great Britain as the favourite. They top the pool and play top class hockey without needless frills. Each performs his part to perfection. Coach Shane McLeod, must count himself lucky to lead players in the class of Andy Hayward, Ryan Archbald, Simon Child and Phil Burrows.

Of the rest, Pakistan is sinking into a defeat syndrome after a bright start aware that its youngsters do not have the potential to replace the likes of Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Bhatt, Zeeshan Ashraf and the rest who figured in the WSH league.

GB is not yet into full stretch. So are the Koreans whose displays are devoid of the usual fizz. Penalty corners by Nam Hyun Woo and Jang Jong have saved the blushes thus far.

The Malaysian euphoria after two drawn games against Korea and GB was tampered by the defeat against India on Monday.

Yet the enthusiasm and energy levels of the colts led by Faisal Saari generate a lot of hope of the team getting into full steam before the Asian Champions trophy this year.

A lot of excitement lies in store when the competition resumes tomorrow.

Points table: New Zealand: Played 3, won 3, drawn nil, lost nil, goals for 13, goals against 4, points 9; Argentina 4-2-0-2-11-14-6; India 4-2-0-2-8-11-6; Britain 3-1-1-1-8-8-4; Korea 4-1-1-2-9-7-4; Pakistan 3-1-0-2-5-9-3; Malaysia 3-0-2-1-6-7-2.

Wednesday's matches: India v Argentina (1-35 p.m. IST); Great Britain v New Zealand (3-35 p.m.); Pakistan v Malaysia (5-35 p.m).

The Hindu



India lions roar at last, beat Malaysia 3-2

K. Arumugam


Malaysia's hope of forcing another draw came near true, but a dodgy Indian defence, despite playing with a man less on account of two successive yellow cards in the last phase of the game, carved out a tight victory here on the fourth day of the Azlan Shah Cup.

India defeated Malaysia 3-2 amidst vociferous home support

This second win after the one against Korea put India owards good finish in the 7-nation tournament.

India has now six points in four matches, and two more matches yet to be played, against Argentina and Pakistan.

The game which drew full house,and was delayed by half an hour due to the delay in other matches, was played on high pitch, each team matching each move.

India put two goals up within first 12 minutes, and then dictated the terms on the turf till lemon time.

Danish Mujafa struck in the ninth minute before Shivender added another one three minutes later.

Five minutes into the second half, Malaysian came back with a bang, converting a penalty corner, and then stepping up the gear.

As the match swung each side with each move, Tushar tapped a waist high ball to whack into the net, and then kissed skywards before accepting the greeting of his relieved mates.

Stick2Hockey.com



Malaysia go down fighting

Team suffer first defeat in three matches

By JUGJET SINGH



Malaysia’s Mohd Shahrun Nabil Abdullah (left) and India’s Danish Mujtaba fight for the ball at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday. Pic by L. Manimaran

MALAYSIA won the hearts of the capacity crowd but lost the battle, 3-2, to India in a highly entertaining Azlan Shah Cup contest in Ipoh yesterday.    

The win rekindled India's hopes of playing in the final, while Malaysia were left staring at another bottom finish.

It was all Malaysia for the first five minutes as they hit the post, and then Faizal Saari failed to tap in from close range twice.

But India went ahead with two quick goals, as Danish Mujtaba stole the first in the 10th minute, while Shivendra Singh turned a botched penalty corner into goal in the 13th minute.

Shivendra failed to stop the push-out but cooly collected the ball and shot from the top of the semi-circle past goalkeeper S. Kumar's open pads.

The goal was hotly disputed by the Malaysians, who felt that the hit was taken from outside the semi-circle, but the umpire stood his ground.

The score stood into the break, but after the restart, it was all Faizal again as he kept the Indian defenders busy.

Faizal's 40th minute attempt won Malaysia their second penalty corner, and Amin Rahim made sure with a powerful flick.

But even before the fans could celebrate the goal, Tushar Khandker's volley cracked open the Malaysian goalmouth for the third time in the 44th minute.

However, where his brother Faizal failed, Fitri took it upon himself to reduce the deficit with a super cracker in the 58th minute but India held onto the slim lead for the remaining minutes.

In another match, Argentina displayed some fancy hockey in an entertaining 3-2 win over Olympic hosts Britain.

The Pan-American champions, who have six points from two wins and two defeats, kept their hopes alive for a place in the final with that win.

Argentina scored off a counter attack in the eighth minute when Enrique Paredes slammed in a rebound.

Britain equalised in the 39th minute off their third penalty corner when Ashley Jackson's low flick sailed past goalkeeper Daniel Bermejillo.

But Argentina regained the lead two minutes later when Agustin Mazzilli's long cross from the centre off the field was well deflected into goal by Paredes.

Lucas Cammareri scored from close range to make it 3-1 in the 60th minute and all Britain could do was narrow the deficit off another  penalty corner by Jackson five minutes from time.

In the first match of the day, South Korea outplayed Pakistan 4-0 to register their first win in four matches.

New Straits Times

 



India score slim win to end Malaysia’s unbeaten run

By AFTAR SINGH



Foiled: India’s goalkeeper Chetri Bharat Kumar stops this goal attempt from Malaysia’s Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin during their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match Monday. — SAIFUL BAHRI / The Star

IPOH: India scored their second win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament when they edged a fighting Malaysia 3-2 yesterday.

It was Malaysia’s first defeat in three matches. They drew 1-1 and 3-3 with South Korea and Britain respectively.

Malaysia created a number of chances in the first half but just could not score. They earned five penalty corners in the match and only managed to score from one.

Malaysia, cheered by 10,000 fans, attacked from the start and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin came close in the second minute but his reverse stick attempt was stopped by India’s goalkeeper Chetri Bharat Kumar.

Three minutes later Malaysia earned their first penalty corner but Faizal Saari, who scored three goals in the first two matches, failed to connect the ball off a rebound from goalkeeper Chetri’s pads.

And then, in a two-minute spell, India scored twice.

In the ninth minute, Danish Mujtaba easily flicked the ball from the semi-circle into goal off a pass from Sarvanjit Singh.

Two minutes later India made it 2-0 off their first penalty corner. Shivendra Singh’s powerful hit from the top of the D could not be stopped by Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar.

The Malaysian players protested that the ball was hit from outside the D. Umpire Dan Barstow consulted South Korean umpire Kim Yong-soo but still blew the whistle for a goal.

Yuvraj Walmiki came close to increasing India’s lead in the 26th minute but his shot from the right went inches wide.

Four minutes later, Tengku Ahmad was put through by Faizal but his attempt was well saved by Chetri.

After the breather, Malaysia started off promisingly and managed to score their first penalty corner goal in three matches in the 39th minute.

Defender Mohd Amin Rahim’s low flick sailed past keeper Chetri.

However, India, increased their lead a minute later with a fast counter attack that led to Tushar Khandker scoring to make it 3-1.

Shivendra’s hit bounced off Kumar’s pads and fell for Tushar to smash the ball into goal.

Malaysia earned two penalty corners in a row in the 53rd minute but Amin failed to get it right.

Two minutes later, they received another penalty corner after Faizal was brought down just outside the semi-circle but Tengku Ahmad muffed the chance.

A fighting Malaysia reduced the deficit in the 59th minute when Mohd Fitri Saari, the younger brother of Faizal, scooped the ball into the top of the goal.

Malaysia kept up the pressure and earned their fifth penalty corner in the 62nd minute but they failed to convert.

Three minutes from time, India were awarded a penalty corner but Sardar Singh’s reverse stick attempt hit the cross bar.

The Star of Malaysia



India beat Malaysia 3-2 to revive chances in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (Malaysia): Five-time champions India defeated hosts Malaysia 3-2 to put their campaign back on track in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Monday.

Bouncing back from Sunday's loss to Great Britain, India played a brisk game in a fast-paced encounter and led from the start, but had to ward off Malaysia's determined fightback.

But the highlight of the day was title favourites Great Britain's 2-3 shocking defeat at the hands of Argentina which completely opened up the tournament.

New Zealand still leads the standings with nine points from three successive wins, while both Argentina and India lie second with six points from four matches each.

Against Malaysia on Monday, India's defence faced some anxious moments early on as goalkeeper Bharat Chetri first came out to block a shot from Tengku Ahmad in the second minute and then blocked a penalty corner shot by Shahrun Nabil in the sixth minute.

Two minutes later, young Malaysian striker Faisal Saari missed a sitter by flicking wide of an open goal after his initial push rebounded off the Indian custodian's pads.

After the initial burst, Malaysia were at the receiving end as India produced two goals in the space of two minutes to take charge of the game.

Danish Mujtaba deflected in Sarvanjit Singh's shot into the boards in the 10th minute and then Shivendra Singh sent a scorching grounder into the boards from top of the circle in the next minute.

Shivendra's quick reflexes helped keep up the pressure after he had failed to stop the penalty corner push, but dribbled the ball back into the scoring area to take the shot.

India also wasted a number of scoring chances as SK Uthappa shot straight into goalkeeper Subramiam Kumar in the 16th minute and then Yuvraj Walmiki shot wide after the ball was switched around in a brisk counter-attack in the 26th minute.

Malaysia came close to reducing the lead in the 30th minute, but India captain Chetri brought off fine saves, first charging out to block Tengku's solo attempt. The shot rounded off Chetri's pads to Faisal Saari, who then unleashed a firm drive, only to see the goalkeeper block the shot again.

Malaysia pulled a goal back four minutes after half-time when Muhammad Amin converted their second penalty corner, but India scored at the other end within a minute to make it 3-1 as Tushar Khandekar capitalised on a rebound from the goalkeeper, who had blocked Shivendra's shot from the right.

Malaysia displayed a spirited game and were rewarded with a fine goal by Muhammad Fitri Saari, who dribbled into the circle and unleashed a diagonal shot, which goalkeeper Chetri tried to stop, but only managed to deflect it into the net.

Looking for equaliser, the Malaysians forced three penalty corners in the space of six minutes, but the Indian defenders held their ground.

This was Malaysia's first loss in three outings, having drawn their previous two matches.

Among other teams, South Korea's 4-0 win over Pakistan earlier in the day boosted their points tally to four from as many matches. Great Britain have four points from three games, while Pakistan have three points from one victory and two losses.

India will play Argentina in their next game on Wednesday.

The Times of India



Victory against Malaysia has put us back on track: Nobbs

IPOH (Malaysia): India's chief coach Michael Nobbs said the his team is showing signs of improvement and this victory against Malaysia in the Azlan Shah Championship will put their campaign back on track.

Pleased with the victory, Nobbs said Shivendra Singh's return after missing a match due to stiffness lent sharpness to the attack.

"As always, Sardar Singh played an outstanding game, and he could even have scored from a penalty corner hit towards the end," said Nobbs.

Sardar stepped up to take the penalty corner shot when the specialist drag-flickers were not on the pitch. Sardar's reverse drive struck the horizontal.

India played without a penalty corner shooter when Sandeep Singh was sent off in the 64th minute. But they were prepared to defend without one and Sandeep stepped back on the turn with only a minute remaining.

Nobbs felt that two yellow cards to the Indian players - first Kothajit Singh and then Sandeep were extremely hard which put additional pressure on the Indian defence late in the second session.

"The yellow cards were very harsh, but we managed to survive," he said.

Nobbs complimented the young Malaysian team for putting up a very good contest. Malaysia, who have included seven members of the recent Junior Asia Cup champion team, kept up the pressure on the Indians and twice reduced the lead.

"Malaysia played very well. Their juniors did an exceptional job and fought hard," he said.

The Times of India



Jackson double not enough as GB lose


Despite two goals from East Grinstead’s Ashley Jackson, Great Britain’s men went down 3-2 to Argentina at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in a match that began 20 minutes late following a rain delay.

Against a well organised side, Great Britain struggled to break down the Argentina defence and paid the price for conceding two poor goals in the second half having hauled themselves back into the match through Ashley Jackson’s 39th minute equaliser.  Not even the replacement of goalkeeper James Fair for an 11th outfield player with four minutes remaining could salvage a point for GB, who will be without Surbiton forward James Tindall for the remainder of the tournament after he turned his ankle in Sunday’s victory over India.  Jonty Clarke, who began on the bench, made his 50th appearance for Great Britain in the match.

A disappointed Head Coach Jason Lee said afterwards, “Quite simply it was an appalling performance.  If we play like that in the Olympic Games we will finish in the minor placings.”

Great Britain fell behind to a well struck strike from Enrique Paredes after just eight minutes.  Defending a cross from the right, the ball came loose off a British stick and fell perfectly to Paredes, who fired his shot beyond the dive of James Fair in goal.

Great Britain responded by winning a brace of penalty corners but failed to convert them.  As the first half wore on, Argentina sat deeper and although Great Britain dominated possession they could not find a way through.

Jackson’s equaliser at the start of the second half could not have come at a better time for GB but no sooner had they levelled than Argentina retook the lead through Paredes’ near post deflection.  And eight minutes later it was 3-1 as Lucas Heman Cammareri swept home from the middle of the circle after the ball was cut back to him from the baseline.

With five minutes remaining Jackson netted his and Great Britain’s second goal, this time a low penalty corner, and a minute later Cannock goalkeeper Fair was substituted for an 11th outfield player as GB went in search of a late equaliser.  But despite exerting intense pressure on the Argentinean circle in the closing stages Great Britain could not find a third goal and went down to their first defeat of the tournament following a draw with Malaysia and victory over India.

Adding to Jason Lee’s comments, Team Manager Andy Halliday said, “We must not feel sorry for ourselves after this.  We need to pick ourselves up and regroup for the game against New Zealand.”

Great Britain’s match against New Zealand, who lead the standings with three victories in three games, is at 11:05am BST on Wednesday.

British sports fans have another opportunity to cheer on the GB next week as Great Britain’s women’s team hosts the Investec London Cup in Chiswick from 5-10 June.  Tickets are still available by visiting www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/investeclondoncup.

GREAT BRITAIN 2 (0)

Ashley Jackson 39, 65 (PC, PC)           

ARGENTINA 3 (1)

Enrique Paredes 8, 41 (F, F)                
Lucas Hernan Cammareri 49 (F)  

GREAT BRITAIN MEN’S SQUAD v ARGENTINA (caps and goals on the attached)

Name (Club) Position Started


James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender/Midfielder
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender
Barry Middleton (East Grinstead) Midfielder/Forward
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) Defender
Iain Mackay (Reading) Midfielder
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder

Substitutes

Ali Wilson (Beeston) Defender
Richard Alexander (Surbiton) Defender/Midfielder
Adam Dixon (Beeston) Defender/Midfielder
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward

Did Not Play

Matt Daly (Surbiton) Forward
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward

Great Britain Hockey media release

 



Lee furious

By Graham Wilson


COACH Jason Lee slammed the “appalling” performance of his Great Britain side in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, as they lost 3-2 against Argentina - the side they face in their first encounter of the Games at the Olympic Park.

Great Britain paid the price for conceding two poor goals in the second half, having hauled themselves back into the match through Ashley Jackson, who scored twice.

Lee said: “It was an appalling performance. If we play like that in the Olympic Games we will finish in the minor placings.”

Striker James Tindall is out of this tournament after turning his ankle.

Daily Express



Great Britain men's hockey coach Jason Lee criticises players after 3-2 loss to Argentina


Not happy: following the defeat to Argentina head coach Jason Lee said: "If we play like that in the Olympic Games we will finish in the minor placings." Photo: PAUL GROVER

Great Britain coach Jason Lee criticised an "appalling performance" as his side lost 3-2 to Argentina in their third match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

Lee suggested such form at this summer's Olympics would leave the team well short of the medal places. Ironically Team GB will face Argentina in their opening match of the Games.

"Quite simply it was an appalling performance," he said on Monday, three days after his team had let slip a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 with lowly Malaysia. "If we play like that in the Olympic Games we will finish in the minor placings."

Enrique Paredes put Argentina – whose world ranking of nine is five positions below fourth-placed GB's – ahead after just eight minutes and although East Grinstead midfielder Ashley Jackson equalised just after half-time Paredes restored the South Americans' lead within two minutes.

Lucas Cammareri swept home Argentina's third from the middle of the circle and although Jackson's late penalty corner gave GB hope, even replacing goalkeeper James Fair with an outfield player for the remaining four minutes could not force an equaliser.

Great Britain face New Zealand, who have won all three matches, on Wednesday without the services of James Tindall as the Surbiton forward was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after turning an ankle in Sunday's win over India.

The Telegraph



Tindall ruled out of Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh


James Tindall applauds the crowd

Great Britain forward James Tindall has been ruled out of the remainder of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, having sustained an ankle injury during Great Britain’s 3-2 victory over India.

Tindall, 29, sat out Great Britain’s defeat to Argentina on Monday and will play no further part in the tournament.

It is not anticipated that the injury will impact on Tindall’s availability for selection for the Great Britain men’s squad for the Olympic Games, which takes place in late June.

Follow Great Britain in action at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup via the GB Hockey International Fixtures & Results page.

Great Britain Hockey media release



Argentina keep final hopes alive with win over Brits

IPOH: Argentina stunned Britain 3-2 to register their second win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh yesterday.

The Pan American champions now have six points from two wins and two defeats and yesterday’s win kept alive their hopes for a place in the final.

For Britain, it was their first defeat in three matches. They drew 3-3 with Malaysia and edged India 3-2.

Argentina scored off a counter attack in the eighth minute when Manuel Brunet’s cross from the right bounced off goalkeeper James Fair and Enrique Paredes slammed the loose ball into goal.

Britain earned a penalty corner in the 11th minute but Ashley Jackson flicked the ball wide.

Rob Moore also had a chance to equalise in the 20th minute but his hit from the top D went wide.

Britain, however, drew level in the 39th minute off their third penalty corner attempt when Jackson’s low flick sailed past goalkeeper Daniel Bermejillo.

But their joy was shortlived as Argentina regained the lead two minutes later.

Agustin Mazzilli’s long cross from the centre of the pitch was deflected into goal. Herman Lucas Cammareri increased Argentina’s lead with a close range goal to make it 3-1.

However, England, managed to narrow the deficit from another penalty corner goal by Jackson five minutes from time.

England coach Jason Lee was disappointed with his team’s performance.

“We did not play well and only created few chances in the first half. My players are having problems adapting to the humid weather here,” said Lee.

In the first match of the day, South Korea outplayed Pakistan 4-0 for their first win in four matches.

The Koreans have four points from one win, a draw and two defeats while Pakistan have three points from one win and two defeats.

Pakistan wasted four penalty corners in the match while the Koreans scored two from the three they earned.

Korea went ahead on their second penalty corner attempt in the 18th minute through Nam Hyun-woo’s low flick.

Pakistan had a golden opportunity to equalise in the 28th minute. Muhammad Zubair beat two defenders in the semi-circle before making a square pass to unmarked Haseem Abdul Khan who could not connect the ball into goal.

Pakistan earned a penalty corner in the 33rd minute and skipper Sohail Abbas’ low flick bounced off goalkeeper Lee Myung-ho pads before hitting the post.

The second-half was delayed by hour-an-half because of a heavy downpour. After resumption, it was the Koreans who dominated the game to score three goals.

Hyun-woo was on target again from another penalty corner attempt in the 44th minute.

And five minutes later they made it 3-0. You Hyo-sik collected a through ball from Lee Nam-yong to slam it past a hapless Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah.

Hyun Hye-sung completed the rout for the Koreans from close range in the 61st minute.

The Star of Malaysia



Pak, Britain beaten in Azlan Shah Cup

South Korea demolished Asian champions Pakistan 4-0, while top seeds Britain lost 2-3 to Argentina, in a day of upsets at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup yesterday.

The results catapult Argentina to second place in the rankings, with six points from four games, behind New Zealand in the seven-team tournament which is an important last warm-up for the London Olympics.

In a match that saw South Korea repeatedly overwhelm the Pakistani defence who could not match their rivals’ pace or tactics, Nam Hyun-Woo opened the scoring for South Korea before converting a penalty corner to make it 2-0.

The third goal came in the 49th minute from You Hyo-Sik, who dived full stretch to flick the ball into the goal. Hyun Hye-Sung scored the final goal to seal the match for South Korea.

It was their 14th win over the Pakistanis in 56 meetings. Eleven of the matches had ended in a draw.

“Pakistan did not look hungry at all as they seemed to lack motivation,” South Korean team manager Kim Yoon-Dong said.

“I am happy with this win but we still have Britain and New Zealand to overcome if we harbour hopes of” a place in the tournament’s finals, he added.

Pakistan coach Khawaja Muhammad Junaid said the blue turf, which was “bouncy and slippery,” had made it difficult for his team, but conceded the surface was “no excuse for the heavy defeat.” In another upset at the competition in Ipoh, Malaysia, Argentina beat tournament favourite Britain, who are ranked fourth in the world.

Argentina’s Matias Paredes opened the scoring before Ashley Jackson converted a penalty corner to equalise for Britain.

But the Argentinians quickly regained control, with Paredes scoring again and Lucas Cammareri giving the South American team a 3-1 lead.

Britain pulled one back when Jackson converted another penalty corner in the 65th minute, but by this time the game already appeared over.

Britain, who narrowly beat India Sunday and have also drawn with hosts Malaysia, now have four points.

In the last match yesterday, India kept alive their chance of a place in the finals on Sunday with a 3-2 win over Malaysia, the only team in the tournament who have not qualified for the Olympics.

The Indians dominated play in the early stages with goals from Danish Mujtaba and Shivendra Singh until Malaysia’s Muhamad Amin Rahim scored.

But Tushar Khandker restored India’s two-goal lead in the 43rd minute so that even another goal from Malaysia’s Muhamad Fitri Saari couldn’t change the outcome.

India have six points from four matches after two wins and two defeats and currently rank third in the table.

Gulf Times



Md. Junaid: We reserve our best for the team in our Olympic pool

K. Arumugam


Md.Junaid: We reserve our best for the team in our Olympic pool Moments after Pakistan failed against Korea in the first match of Day Four in Ipoh, unfazed Pakistan manager Md. Junaid said that the tournament is still on, we are stillcnot out of medal race, we are here still counting, and will do far better against teams in our Olympic pool than others’.

“Today we lost badly, and it should not have been. Considering the number of penetrations we had made, we should have given enough on the scoreboard. However, we should be judged on the basis of how we perform against teams that is in our pool, Great Britain”.

Incidentally, Pakistan outplayed Argentina, which is in its pool in the opening day.

“Today’s match changed when we failed to convert two penalty corners in the second half, and the score was 0-1 against us. Then, no sport one will be winning if they at this level miss the chances the way we did”, he said.

Depending the team’s defensive mode in the first half, he said,” This is energy management, we cannot be seen attacking all the 70s minutes”.

“Today we did well in patches. We conceded goals due to individual mistakes, otherwise the team is playing well but for the finish”, he added.

On conceding goals in the second half he felt it was due to the urgency the team showed in going for the goals and in such situations the other team goes for counter and gets dividends.

To a pointed question that the absence of senior players like Shakeel Abbasi is telling on the team’s performance, he asserted negatively. “If we don’t make entries in to the circle, we can concede that. On the contrary, our organization in the match is good, we made good number of entries, about 20, and that is very good sign’.

Am realistic, we miss like this we cannot survive in any game’. In this context, he said that we will play good hockey against the teams in our Olympic pool. On his failure to strike goals, Sohail Abbas said that as in life there is always ups and downs and today we had the down.

It is not that you always win every game, it is not possible, he added.

Stick2Hockey.com



Kh Junaid makes lame excuses for Pak loss

By Mohsin Ali


ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team coach Khawja Junaid was in no mood to accept the responsibility of green shirts dismal thrashing at the hands of South Korea in Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Cup being played at Stadium Azlan Shah, Ipoh on Monday, as their young and inexperienced opponents gave them a hockey lesson.

So much so was Junaid upset, when a journalist asked him about the reason of team’s poor showing against Korea, he roughly answered: “Correct your words, I am not making excuses regarding missed chances. It is the game some times you perform and some times not. Yes, it is true that we missed a lot of chances against New Zealand in the earlier match, and now missed a few clear cut chances against Korea, but this is the part of the game.”

“We are here for the preparations of London Olympics, but it does not mean that we are here for loosing the matches. This is the new team and needs some time to improve their skills and technique at this level,” he said.

To another question, Pakistan coach categorically denied that green shirts are badly missing the likes of Shakeel Abbasi and other senior players. “We are in the phase of making a new team (the same statement Khawaja Junaid made about two months back) and we have enough players in junior team who could easily replace these giants,” Junaid replied.

“If you have more questions then talk to Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool. I am no more availablem,” inside sources informed this scribe on condition of anonymity. When another reporter pointed that Sohail Abbas was not firing the goods, so why not another player was given opportunity, Kh Junaid said that we rely on Sohail because of his experience, while on the other hand newly appointed Pakistan Hockey team captain Sohail Abbas also present lame excuses for the team’s two successive defeats and said, it was not his day, it is to worth mention here that ace short corner specialist Sohail Abbas missed two penalty corners in the match against New Zealand and now missed four against South Korea.

Korea outclassed Pakistan in the important match, the game was stopped for a while after the first half due to heavy rain, it provided a chance to Pakistani players to take rest and bounce back but the Koreans were not in a mood to sit back and allow their opponents any out side chance of staging highly unlikely recovery.

Pakistani players failed to make good moves and even failed to defend their goal post properly, the source further adds: Pakistani defenders blocked the view of goalkeeper on numerous occasions and he was left with no other option but to concede goals. The match also exposed the brilliance of Pakistan team as well as management which according to them are in Malaysia for the preparations of London Olympics, not to win the matches or tournament.

The Nation



South Korea outplay Pakistan 4-0 in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (Malaysia): South Korea thrashed much-fancied Pakistan 4-0 to register their first win in four matches at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Monday.

Setting a brisk pace, the South Koreans benefited from Pakistan's erratic strikers, who missed chances galore in the first half.

Nam Hyun-Woo converted two penalty corners for the Koreans, who opened the scoring in the 18th minute on their second penalty corner award.

Pakistan came back strongly with nice field work, but Muhammad Waqas pushed a shot wide after getting a cross in front of an open goal.

Pakistan skipper Sohail Abbas then came close to equalising from their first penalty corner when his shot hit the edge of goalkeeper Lee Myung-Ho's pads and deflected on to the post before rebounding into play.

Abbas had an off day in office on Monday as he failed to penetrate the Korean defence on all four penalty corners Pakistan earned in the game.

Striker Shafqat Rasool then failed to establish control of a diagonal ball inside the circle with an open goal in front.

Nam again shot on target in the 44th minute to make it 2-0 for South Korea.

As Pakistan's game wilted under pressure, You Hyo-Sik increased the lead in the 55th minute after getting a through pass inside the circle.

Hyun Hye-Sung then rounded off South Korea's scoring in the 62nd minute from a diagonal pass.

Down 0-4, Pakistan pressed hard and managed to earn two late penalty corners late in the game but on both the occasion Abbas failed to produce the desired the result.

Inspite of the embarrassing defeat, Pakistan coach Khwaja Junaid defended his team.

"It's disappointing, but we managed to match the energy levels of the Koreans and generated several chances. However, we failed to score goals. This is a grey area we need to work on," Junaid said.

"Like in the game against New Zealand, we conceded goals by individual mistakes," he said.

"We were unlucky to miss sitters. We cannot survive if we keep doing that in international hockey."

South Korea now have four points from four games, while Pakistan have three from as many matches.

New Zealand lead the table with nine points from three games.

Meanwhile in the second match of the day, Mathias Paredes scored two goals as Argentina pulled off an upset 3-2 victory over fancied Great Britain.

The defeat of Great Britain, the highest ranked team in the tournament at world number 4, has opened up the event and the fight for the top two spots that will secure a place in the final.

Paredes opened the scoring in the eighth minute when he picked up a rebound from goalkeeper James Fair to shoot home.

Ashley Jackson, who converted two penalty corners for Great Britain, shot wide on the first penalty corner forced by his team in the 11th minute and then Rob Moore shot wide after collecting a pass on top of the circle.

Jackson was on target with his penalty corner flick that went in off the goalkeeper's stick four minutes into the second half, but Paredes again put Argentina ahead in the 42nd minute after receiving a long pass from Agustin Mazzilli.

Argentine striker Lucas Cammareri made it 3-1 by shooting on target in a crowded circle.

Great Britain's efforts to bounce back were frustrated by Argentina's sound defence.

Jackson managed to reduce the lead with another penalty corner goal in the 65th minute, but Argentina held fort to secure their second win in four matches.

This victory lifted Argentina to six points, having defeated South Korea on Sunday, while Great Britain have four points from three matches.

The Times of India



India look to beat Argentina to remain in contention for final

IPOH (MALAYSIA): Five-time champions India can ill-afford any slip up in their crucial match against Pan American champions Argentina on Wednesday if they want to keep themselves in contention for a berth in the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament.

India carved out a 3-2 victory over hosts Malaysia on Monday to take their points tally to six from four matches, the same as that of Argentina, who will go into Wednesday's match with two impressive performances in the last outings, including a shock 3-2 win over favourites Great Britain.

A victory over Argentina on Wednesday and against arch-rivals Pakistan in the last league fixture on Thursday could take India to the final but it won't be an easy road ahead for Michael Nobbs' players.

Nobbs said he has told his players that they were again in control of their destiny and must make the best out of the two remaining league outings.

"The tournament is wide open. Big victories in our two remaining games could even get us a place in the final," said Nobbs.

"Our focus has not shifted from preparing the squad for the Olympic Games, and we have improved with every outing here," he said.

India's victories over Malaysia and South Korea, who are Asia's top-ranked side in world rankings, have brought Nobbs' side back in contention for a medal after a disastrous start with a 1-5 defeat against New Zealand.

New Zealand are on top of the standings with nine points after three straight victories.

India were lucky to score a match-winner in the last minute against South Korea while the defeat at the hands of Great Britain came after India squandered several scoring chances.

The Times of India



Stuck on unlucky 13th...


MALAYSIA'S world ranking does not reflect their true strength, as the unlucky 13th came about after a string of misfortunes and near-misses at the world stage.

Defeats in the Invercargill World Cup Qualifier to New Zealand (2-1) and against Pakistan (2-0) in the Asian Games sealed the seniors fate.

And it was further compounded when they failed at the Dublin Olympic Qualifier as they handed the final ticket to South Korea on a 3-2 defeat.

New Zealand advanced to the World Cup, Pakistan to the Olympics and South Korea also to the Olympics -- courtesy of Malaysia's well known hospitality on the artificial pitch.

As a result, Malaysia will be stuck at the unlucky 13th, as only teams who play in the World Cup, Olympics and Champions Trophy can break into the top-10 ranking.

At the ongoing Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia against showed that they have the stomach to challenge the best, but it is of no use, as the tournament does not offer International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings as it is an Invitational which has survived 21 Editions.

Britain, fourth, are followed by sixth-ranked South Korea, New Zealand (7th), Pakistan (8th), Argentina, (9th) and India (10th) as all of them have qualified for the Olympics and are assured of no lower than 12th after the July 27th tournament ends.

That is why, the 1-1 draw against South Korea, and the 3-3 comeback against Britain should not be taken lightly, but as a positive sign that Malaysia are on the rise.

The 3-2 defeat to India was also riddled with a tale of near-misses, as Faizal Saari was on his off day.

The 20-year-old, who helped Malaysia win the Junior Asia Cup by scoring six goals, has placed more established strikers like Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Marhan jalil and Hafifi Hafiz in the shadows.

And his brother Fitri is also showing signs in Ipoh that he will be the next Malaysian player to watch.

Malaysia still have matches against Pakistan, New Zealand and Argentina where nine points can be harvested if they continue playing like they did against India.

The unlucky 13th might just turn out to be their lucky charm in the Azlan Shah Cup, if the three remaining foes believe too much in rankings.

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

MAY 31: Britain v South Korea (4pm), Pakistan v India (6pm), New Zealand  v  Malaysia (8pm).

JUNE 2: South Korea v New Zealand (4pm), Britain v Pakistan (6pm), Argentina v Malaysia (8pm).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

 



A White lie

Having heard all kind of versions regarding my departure as Media Officer of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, I feel that the time has come for me to clarify matters for the benefit of readers and those who follow my twitter.

When the incident of the coach barging into the media centre first occurred, I highlighted the matter to the Organising Chairman Dato Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff, Malaysian Hockey Confederation Senior Vice President Dato Nur Azmi Ahmad, Hon. Secretary Mohd Johari Abdul Aziz as well as Organising Secretaries Selva and Hashim.

While Hashim showed some concern by trying to contact the coach concerned, the others merely brushed it off as a small incident ( wonder how they would have felt if I walked up to them in the VIP box and showered them with verbal abuse infront of foreign dignitaries).

Having said that I made it clear that I expected them to provide assurance towards my personal safety as I was carrying out my responsibilities as an appointed official. Never did I ask then to get the coach to apologize to me as a pre-condition for me to continue with my responsibilities.

However nothing happened with regards to the request for additional security, mind you the media centre has valuable equipment lying around.

All that was communicated to me by Rahim was that HRH Sultan Azlan wanted me to continue with my role.

I then requested Dato Rahim for an audience with HRH but was flatly refused and told that it was already briefed to HRH and that I should continue.

Upon insisting that HRH be told the truth by me personally, I was then replaced by Dato Rahim who provided me with a few names as possible replacements with one name confirmed late Friday night.

In the meantime the MHC Hon Secretary went on yo approve a media pass for an applicant from a equipment supplier, which again contravenes all regulations in force.

And on Saturday morning Dato Rahim went on to inform the Organising Committee the name of the new media officer. I this vacated my room at the official hotel, having to pay the staff at the Media Centre our of my own pocket as they refused to pay the allowances due to the staff.

Unknown to me at that time, the Organising Secretary Selva had already initiated a celebration to celebrate my departure. It was then that I found out that Dato Rahim had not wanted me in the first place as he had told the Organising Committee sometime in March that I will be involved in a temple function in Malacca, which is a blatant lie as that was never the case.

I had declined the appointment initially as I was to go to Wuhan for the Thomas/ Über Cup Finals but relented when approached by Tan Sri P. Alagendra.

Even during the preparation stage of the program book all kind of obstacles were thrown in my path.

I was also asked by the Tournament Director on the circumstances leading to my departure.

During the first match on Sunday the said coach had a chat to clarify matters and it was amicably settled as he was acting in impulse and I considered that issue with him closed.

The Tournament Director then spoke to me asking if I could resume my duties to which I replied in the affirmative but informed him that it should come from the Organising Committee.

Hashim then approached me and said that he would get the letter for me to continue with my work on Monday. However late that night he informed me that Dato Rahim and Johari did not want to sign a letter and it was the end of the matter.

So was it a directive from HRH that I supposedly ignored when I even checked with Col Dato Rahim the Private Secretary to HRH? There was no such thing for I would have carried out my duties had the aspect of increased security be handled.

Now these personalities are having a field day bad mouthing me in the VVIP stands as their Media Centre is in chaos, with payment to me for work done yet to be honored as they open bottles to celebrate my departure.

Such is their conduct that I seat in the open terraces and tweet matches under the threat of rain and hot sun, not even allowed to use the toilet facilities at the grandstand.

And the website is normally provided the match sheets after every game but the staff at MHC are behaving akin to Little Napoleons as they have refused to email statistics and match sheets with the Secretary hapless to do anything, perhaps party to this sordid affair as he keeps claiming this is a small matter.

Well you can take a government staff out of a building but not the mentality I guess.

So there goes it, the truth of the matter as some wanted me out for the simple reason they were purely jealous of my ability and felt threatened as I had the ear of HRH.

I am proud that HRH had listed me as one who is to receive a state award this year but these officials could not bear that thought, with them asking why was I given such award.

Perhaps they should have asked HRH when they went around using his name.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Australia expect better draw after protest


Charlesworth said he was optimistic of a positive outcome and expected a decision to be made this week. -Photo by AFP

SYDNEY: Coach Ric Charlesworth said on Monday that he was hopeful the Australian men’s field hockey team would receive a fairer draw at the London Olympics after lodging an official protest.

Charlesworth was furious last week when his world number one “Kookaburras” were handed three early morning starts in their group matches, while main rivals Germany avoided the early timeslot altogether in the opposite group.

Hockey Australia fired in an official protest, along with recommendations, to the organising committee of the London Games and the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

Charlesworth said he was optimistic of a positive outcome and expected a decision to be made this week.

“There are 10 early starts, there are 12 teams in the tournament and we got three of them. That doesn’t make any sense and I suspect there will be an adjustment,” Charlesworth told reporters in Perth.

“I wouldn’t have been so keen to be vociferous if I didn’t think we could change it.

“We expect to play early games. We expect to play one or two, but we don’t expect to play three spaced over the tournament like they are.

“That doesn’t make any sense and it’s unfair.”

Charlesworth said the 8.30am timeslot would require players to wake up at 5am in a major disruption to their daily tournament routine.

Australia have dominated international men’s field hockey since Charlesworth took charge of the national team in 2009 and are strongly fancied for the gold medal in London.

Dawn



SA Women's Hockey team take 1-0 lead in Scotland series

JONATHAN COOK in Glasgow



SA captain Marsha Marescia tussles for possession with Scotland's Ali Howie as team-mates (from left) Sulette Damons, Tarryn Bright and Lisa Deetlefs look on during South Africa's 2-1 win in the second Test in Glasgow Monday. SA lead the five-Test series 1-0 with three to play. Photo: DONALD MACLEOD

The Investec South Africa women's hockey team broke a five-match drought against Scotland to win the second Test 2-1 at Clydesdale Hockey Club in Glasgow Monday after leading 1-0 at half-time.

SA now lead the five-Test series 1-0 after the first Test was drawn 2-2 onSunday, and the second Test was a much more convincing performance, asoutstanding captain Marsha Marescia had predicted before the match.

SA went into the break 1-0 up after striker Sulette Damons buried a penalty corner rebound off in-form goalkeeper Amy Gibson's pads in the 23rdminute, this after Shelley Russell had initially opened up some space for Damons to win the team’s sixth PC.

The Scots’ best chance to score was on the counter-attack, and three minutes after half-time they equalised through Sam Judge with their first shot of the match, but the winner came from Jen Wilson in the 55th minute when a Damons pass gave the SA forward the time and space to pick her spot.

The South Africans are also undergoing gruelling two-hour training sessions on match day and have two such sessions scheduled on Tuesday’s “rest” day, so they are playing through the fatigue in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

SA were all over the Scots in the first half and earned six penalty corners tonone as well as a series of goalscoring opportunities from field play as theypeppered the opposition goal mouth with a series of creative attacks but the Scots defended with determination and Gibson pulled off a number of great saves.

The South Africans were adept at stringing a sequence of passes together and it was the way to go; letting the ball do the work on a blistering hot day in Glasgow. The second half saw Scotland get a bit more of the ball but the determined girls in green and gold played through the fatigue to break two defeats and three draws against the Scots in their previous five meetings.

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/quiputvand Twitter at #SASCOhockey which provides SA fans with ample choice to follow the rest of the series; at 8.30 pm Wednesday, the same time Friday and at 3.30pm Saturday.

TEAMS
Scotland: Amy Gibson, Cat Ralph, Leigh Fawcett, Aileen Davies, SusanMcGilveray, Becky Merchant, Nikki Kidd, Morag McLennan, Amy Brodie, Ali Howie,Sam Judge, Holly Cram, Ailsa Wyllie, Linda Clement (capt), Nic Skrastin, Nikki Lloyd.
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, BernieCoston, Tarryn Bright, Sulette Damons.
Umpires: Ellen Murray, Kerri Targett (both Scotland).

SA Hockey Association media release



Narrow defeat for Scots

2nd TEST MATCH   SCOTLAND V SOUTH AFRICA - TITWOOD (GLASGOW)



Sam Judge vs SA

For the first time in six outings South Africa, six places ahead of Scotland in the world rankings, managed to beat Gordon Shepherd`s charges 2-1 in the second test match at Titwood in Glasgow yesterday.

Prior to the hostilities there was a presentation to defender Catriona Ralph on the occasion of her hundredth Scotland cap.

As in the first game, the South Africans were the dominant force, but a combination of poor shooting and some brilliant saves by Milne Craig Western goalkeeper Amy Gibson kept the scoreline close for the entire contest.   With South Africa in control of the midfield, it took the Scots 22 minutes to mount an attack with a good run up the right by Ali Howie, but it came to nothing.   At their sixth penalty corner South Africa almost inevitably took the lead with a rebound strike by Sulette Damons.

The South African were given a shock three minutes into the second half when Scotland equalised; Howie weaved her way along the base-line, her cross found Sam Judge whose reverse stick shot was only half stopped by the goalkeeper.   Within a minute the Scots might have gone ahead, Linda Clement move along the same base-line caused panic in the South African defence, but the danger was finally cleared.

But in 56 minutes the South Africans took the lead again, the Scots defence was beaten for pace and Jennifer Wilson gave Gibson no chance with a fierce low shot.  The Scots retaliated with a couple penalty corners, Ailsa Wyllie`s shot went over the bar while Becky Merchant`s effort was easily blocked by the keeper.   The visitors were content to play out the final minutes for a deserved 2-1 victory.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Black Sticks Women start with gutsy win


The Black Sticks Women have started their series against China with a 2-1 victory in Beijing tonight.

All square at 1-1 at halftime, striker Katie Glynn deflected in the winning goal with less than three minutes on the clock.

Black Sticks coach Mark Hager said it was a gutsy victory against the Chinese, who are ranked one place higher than the sixth ranked Kiwis.

“It was a hard fought game but we were inconsistent and pretty patchy. We need a complete 70 minute effort in the next match,” said Hager.

The home side opened the scoring in the10th minute from a penalty corner before the Kiwis responded a minute later.

Speedster Anita Punt broke through the midfield and in a superb solo effort smashed a reverse shot into the goal.

Glynn’s goal came from a great shot from captain Kayla Sharland which Glynn deflected in to give the Kiwis the late victory.

Hager was particularly impressed with the efforts of Sharland and Punt tonight.

The Black Sticks face China again tomorrow night (NZ time) in the second test of the three test series.

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

RESULT
New Zealand 2 (Anita Punt, Katie Glynn) China 1 HT: 1-1

Hockey New Zealand Media release

 



Black Sticks playing for Olympic places

By Kris Shannon



The Black Sticks start their seven-match Asian tour against China tonight. Photo / Natalie Slade

The Black Sticks women begin their seven-match Asian tour against China tonight, with competition in the squad just as fierce as what the opposition could provide.

The series against China and Korea are the last chance for the players to press their claim for Olympic selection before the squad to compete in the Games is announced next month.

With 20 players taken to the Far East but only 16 spots available on the plane to London, several players' Olympic dreams will be dependent on how they perform in the next two weeks.

Coach Mark Hager left little doubt as to what was the most important aspect of the trip.

"Selection is a huge thing on this tour," he said. "I still think we've probably got four or five spots open, and that's why we're taking 20 away.

"We've got a lot of players that are very similar and they need to step up and show that they can go to the Olympic Games."

While previous performances would obviously have some influence, Olympic spots could be won and lost over the next fortnight, Hager said. And, with the race for selection going to the wire, it was not only the games which would have a bearing - proficiency at practice would also come under the microscope.

"I think every week and every training session you can put yourself up for selection or put yourself out of contention. If people don't play well, they're going to play themselves out - and if people play well then they'll give themselves an opportunity to get a birth.

"It's not by doing anything special - it's just by playing more consistently and playing well for longer periods during games."

Hager thought the opponents on this tour would provide an ideal gauge against which to measure his players' prospects. The Black Sticks (ranked sixth in the world) drew their only game against China (fifth) this year, while managing a draw and a loss in two games with Korea (eighth) in January.

"We're playing fast, quick opponents, and if you're going to get found out or shine these are the two sort of teams you want to play to challenge yourself."

Aside from finalising his squad for the Games, Hager had a couple of other aims for the tour - chief among them, getting the side back on track after an underwhelming effort in their last international action.

New Zealand hosted two Four Nations tournaments last month and, after winning the first, the team went slightly off the boil in the second while still managing to finish runner-up to Australia.

"I think we were disappointed with the way we played in that second Four Nations," Hager said. "We probably took it for granted and we thought it was going to just keep rolling on, rather than doing the hard one per centers.

"Hopefully, we learned a lot of lessons from that."

Seven matches in 10 days are a perfect way to assess whether his players have indeed learned their lesson, while also providing another taste of what life will be like at the Olympics.

Hager said he would probably have to wait until after the tour to tell whether the Black Sticks are at the desired stage of their Olympic build-up, but he was hopeful that proved to be the case.

"This will tell us where we're at. I'd like to think we'll come away from this series about 85 or 90 per cent, with only 10 per cent to really build on."

Black Sticks team for Asia tour:

Kayla Sharland, Emily Naylor, Krystal Forgesson, Katie Glynn, Petrea Webster, Sally Rutherford, Ella Gunson, Samantha Charlton, Julia King, Clarissa Eshuis, Bridget Blackwood, Rhiannon Dennison, Samantha Harrison, Cathryn Finlayson, Gemma Flynn, Charlotte Harrison, Melody Cooper, Bianca Russell, Stacey Michelsen, Anita Punt.

The New Zealand Herald



Grange win European promotion

It was mission accomplished for Grange as the Edinburgh side achieved promotion at the European Club Champions Challenge in Zagreb with a fighting 2-1 win over Czech side SV Slavia in today`s play-off match.

The game was effectively won in the first half when Fraser Sands scored twice from penalty corners, his trademark drag flick flew low past the Czech goalkeeper.   Grange had other chances to extend their lead with chances falling to Matt Connor, Phil Sully and Cammie Fraser, but no further goals.

With the Grange squad limited by injuries and illness, they tired in the second half as Slavia pulled one back with six minutes left, but Grange goalkeeper David Woodcock to their other attempts at goal.

In a desperate effort to secure an equaliser, the Czechs took off their keeper and played with eleven outfield players, They won a last minute penalty corner but their strike was bravely blocked by Gary Cameron, who was subsequently taken to hospital with a smashed hand and elbow for his troubles.

After the game Stuart McMorrow, Grange`s manager, said:

"This was a good fighting performance, the work rate of the players was unbelievable, and we thoroughly deserved to win.  To achieve promotion was our target, and we`ve done just that."

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Wanderers relegated

EUROPEAN CLUB CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE (WOMEN)  -  WETTINGEN (SWITZERLAND)


In the women`s tournament in Switzerland VWS Dundee Wanderers finally paid the price of a heavily reduced squad when they were relegated after losing out to host side Rotweiss Wettingen 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out.  

In normal time the Taysiders were always chasing the game against the Swiss and simply run out of legs towards the end as most players did not have the luxury of a substitute break.    Wettingen went one up but Jenny Gerrard equalised with a reverse stick sweep.   The Swiss restored their lead with a penalty corner rebound.  Before the interval Wanderers were back on level terms again with a narrow angle shot from Jude McMullan to tie the scores at 2-2.

Wettingen took a 3-2 lead in the second half, but the Scots refused to surrender and Sam Sangster equalised with a direct strike at a penalty corner.  The game finished at 3-3 and the tie moved into a penalty shoot-out. 

Wanderers never got to grips with the drama of the occasion, Julie Bryce was the only scorer, Fiona Plain and Rachael Osborne failed to beat the goalkeeper, and the Swiss saved themselves from the drop with a 4-1 win.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Hermes European Champions

Congratulations to Hermes as they beat Lille 3-1 to win the Euro Club Champs Challenge I in Wettingen. The Goalscorers were Audrey O'Flynn(2) and Sinead Connery. Emma Gray won goalkeeper of the tournament.

Congratulations also to Carol Metchette and Colin Hutchinson who umpired the men's & women's EHL finals last weekend

Well done all.

Irish Hockey Association media release



Wits, Wanderers record huge weekend wins

The Randburg Hockey Stadium caught fire again this weekend.

KOKETSO RAMOREI


JOHANNESBURG - It was the men’s Premier League action that kicked off an afternoon full of drama, with Wits A securing a 7-0 win over MCC A thanks to an early strike from Devon Campbell.

It took three minutes for   Campbell to put Wits in the lead and from there on the goals came pouring in.

Barry Morisse then registered his name on the score sheet when he netted a field goal in the 15th minute to extend Wits’ lead.

MCC A showed that they could not cope with the pressure exerted on them. By the close of the first stanza Wits led 2-0.

The second half had barely started before Wits continued with the scoring.

Morisse and Gareth Cox took the honour  of adding points for their team   before allowing Matthew Povall to  put his name down on the score sheet with a penalty corner.

It was Mike Daniel and another goal from Campbell which sealed the win for Wits.

Jeppe A managed to score a crucial goal thanks to Ryan Roberts that secured them a 1-0 win over University of Johannesburg (UJ) A.

Wanderers A were the biggest winners on the afternoon when they claimed a 9-2 victory over UJ B, although their B side were punished 4-1 by Crusaders A.

In the women’s section, Jeppe St Andrews (JSA) A went home happy after a 2-1 win over VUT thanks to Jules Cass and Nicole Kingsley.

The only retaliation that was successfully executed was from Jaci Person who scored the goal from a penalty goal in the 55th minute.

Pirates A secured their 2-0 win against Wanderers A thanks to goals by Sarah Harley and     Louise Coertzen.

UJ B were also rewarded with a 1-0 victory against MCC A with Tasneem Scharmiu’s strike in the 34th minute  the difference between the two sides.

Wits A and JSA A played to a 1-1 draw with a goal from Cassidy Morland who managed to put JSA A  in the lead in the 39th  minute before Jaime Maseti netted the equaliser in the 45th minute from a penalty corner.

The Citizen



Cougars and Dirty Birds in men’s Cal Cup final and Monarcas and Jolie Pitts to play for women’s title

By Jawwad Qamar


Moorpark, CA: Pat Harris netted 5 goals in leading the Camarillo Cougars over Hockey Factory for a 10-2 thumping in men’s second semifinal at Cal Cup 2012. Jon Ginolifi was the other multiple goal scorer for the Cougars with two.  The Cougars will face Dirty Birds from Canada on Memorial Day [Monday] for the men’s championship final and the $5,000 winner’s prize. The Dirty Birds in the first semifinal narrowly defeated the six-time Cal Cup Super-Men champions Vancouver Millionaires 1-0 on a first half brilliant diving goal by Lachlan Glen. The Millionaires were unlucky to not level the score in the last minute penalty corner attempt as Scott Tupper’s shot hit the right goal post and Paul Wettlaufer’s deflection of the rebound went wide right sending the Dirty Birds into jubilation.

Jolie Pitts hammered in 7 goals past a hapless Hollywood team in the ladies last pool match knowing very well that a better goal difference against defending champions Rush’d will enable them to make the women’s final. Rush’d in their last game earlier blanked Chacras Vintage of Argentina 4-0 to gain 7 points from 4 matches scoring 13 goals and allowing 5.  Jolie Pitts also finished with 7 points but scored 16 goals for and allowed only 3 against and will face Monarcas on Monday for the $5,000 winner’s prize.  Monarcas opened Cal Cup day 3 competition with a 0-0 tie against Chacras Vintage, from Mendoza, Argentina to close out their pool play with 10 points from 3 wins and a draw in 4 matches.

Rush’d marking the always classy Marina Di Giacomo, Argentina’s 2004 Olympic Bronze Medalist in the last pool match at Cal Cup 2012 - photo by Jag Reyatt

Monday’s finals in both divisions should be very entertaining for the fans to watch and a large crowd is expected at the wonderful hockey venue here at Moorpark College. Jolie Pitts have a slight edge in the women’s final being a younger side against a veteran but older Monarcas team. The defending champion Cougars, with a world class player like Pat Harris who is in rare form, are expected to repeat in front of a home crowd.

Monday’s championship matches

Women Final 12:10 PM:


Monarcas vs Jolie Pitts

Men Final 1:50 PM:

Cougars vs Dirty Birds

For all result, schedule and directions to the hockey venues, please visit www.calcup.net.

Fieldhockey.com Exclusive



Ginolfi leads Cougars to Cal Cup repeat while Jolie Pitts earn first women’s title

By Jawwad Qamar


Moorpark, CA: After four days of non-stop field hockey in the beautiful setting of Moorpark College, Camarillo Cougars and Jolie Pitts were the big winners of the 2012 California Cup on Memorial Day. Both champions received the $5,000 prize money that went along with the Super Division titles at the 41st edition of this premier international field hockey tournament. The Cougars defeated Dirty Birds of Canada 4-1 for their second straight Cal Cup title while Jolie Pitts needed a 3-2 shoot-out competition victory over Monarcas for their first Cal Cup championship.

Jon Ginolfi scored two goals while Andrew Zayac stood his ground in goal time after time to lead the Camarillo Cougars over the Dirty Birds for a 4-1 championship victory. Dutch import Roderik Huber added one goal and after David Jameson got one goal back for the Birds in the 63 minute, the Cougar captain Binh Hoang made it 4-1 on an impossible angle from the left at the 67th minute mark leaving no doubt of the Cougars Cal Cup repeat much to the delight of a large holiday crowd.

Vancouver Millionaires needed a 4-2 shoot-out win to take third place over Hockey Factory after a 4-4 tie in regulation in an entertaining encounter. Scott Tupper scored 3 goals including the last one for the Millionaires to send the game into the shoot-out competition.

Camarillo Cougars: Hoang, Binh; Thornton, Andy; Hoang, Tommy; Harris, Patrick; VAN SOMEREN GREVE Alexander; WIESE Rutger; BARBER Kevin Scally, Ian; Cota, Patrick; Holt, Will; Nakamura, Shawn; Huber, Roderik; SCALLY Colin; HARRIS Sean Zayac, Andrew(GK); Ginolfi, Jon

Dirty Birds: SCHOUTEN Andrew; SMYTHE John; MARTIN Benjamin; HOBKIRK Mike; MCINERINY David; GUEST Aaron; MEAKIN Connor; JAMESON David; MAHAL Harsimranjit; HILDRETH Richard; GLEN Lachlan; SMYTHE Iain; GUEST Matthew; HIGNELL Nich; CARTER David (GK); PAREDES Jesse

Umpires: Saleem Aaron (USA), Neil Smith (UK)

Jolie Pitts took their first Women’s Super Division title with a 3-2 shoot-out win over the Monarcas after a goalless regulation. It was sweet revenge for 1-0 pool play loss to Monarcas on Day 1 of the tournament for Jolie Pitts. However, Monarcas have no one but themselves to blame as they squandered seven penalty corners due to poor execution and it cost them the tournament and the $5,000 cash!

In the third place match Rush’d easily defeated Chacras Vintage from Argentina 4-0 as Vianney Campos netted a pair.

Jolie Pitts: STOCKSTILL Amber; MOELJADI Brenna; PERKINS Sarah; TRAVOS Xanthe; SCALLY Jackie; LENNINGTON Ashley; SNODGRASS Stephanie Kisic; LANDEROS Yvett; RICHARDSON Bailey; MOORE Hilary; MCGRATH Kaily; MCCURDY Caitlin; SKEELS Liz; DANIELSON Tara; SAEZ Lauren (GK)

Monarcas: CICCHI Megan; PAREDES Margaria; VALDEZ Annabel; CORREA Cindy; BELL Elisa; PUCCIO Tanya; AVILA Jennifer; FIGUEROA Adriana; HARUTYUYAN Gohar; BRYAN Miranda; GUZMAN Alma; SABER Amanda; TER PELLE Evelien; CABREY Carolyn; SERMA Mayra; CASTILLO Jesus Ahidee

Umpires: Emma Simmons (Bermuda), Suzi Sutton (USA)

While the Men’s Super division included ten teams competing in two pools, the Women’s Super division this year only consisted of five teams competing in round robin play.

Congratulations to Cal Cup 2012 Tournament Committee and everyone involved for once again doing a GREAT job hosting this excellent international field hockey tournament despite all the challenges. This also includes providing an excellent team of international umpires under the leadership of Sumesh Putra of Canada for the Super Divisions. Veteran umpires Saleem Aaron (USA), Emma Simmons (Bermuda), Adrian Robledo (Argentina), Neil Smith, Pritpal Sihota (UK) and Rene Zelkin (USA) were well supported by Suzi Sutton (USA), Meghan McLennan (Canada), Rodney Thornton (Australia) and Devin Hooper (Guyana).

“California Cup is organized by a team of dedicated volunteers and is sustained by their undying passion to grow field hockey in America,” said Billie Ahluwalia, Tournament Chair. “We are grateful to all players, officials, and volunteers for making Cal Cup 2012 a memorable one.”

130 teams from five nations competed in 13 divisions ranging from Mixed Under-8 to Men/Women Super Divisions at the Moorpark College and Arroyo Vista Park venues from May 25-28. The 41st edition of the tournament more popularly known as the Cal Cup featured over 2,500 players from all over the globe.

For a complete list of all Cal Cup 2012 winners and final standings, please visit www.calcup.net.

Fieldhockey.com Exclusive



Ladies team win playoff

By Kelvin Briggs




Alderley Edge Hockey Club Ladies Ist team beat Sale Ladies HC 2-1 last Saturday in an exciting play off match to decide which of the teams will take a coveted place in the restructured North Hockey League next season.

The match took place at a neutral Pheonix Sports Club venue in Styal watched by a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters basking in glorious sunshine.

Alderley dominated the early play with their speedy forwards too quick for a rather static Sale defence. It was no surprise when an attack down the right with some slick inter passing resulted in Gemma Garton scoring from close range.

For twenty minutes Alderley kept up the pressure in the sweltering heat. Despite a great number of circle penetrations they could just not add to the score.

Sale gradually gained in confidence and had a period of pressure and a couple of penalty corners just before half time.

Sally Gale and Katie Marriot were outstanding in the Alderley defence and Captain Lyndsay Lomax in goal dealt calmly with some close range shots.

The second half was more even with both teams creating chances before Sale equalised after some slack Alderley marking. Things were not looking good for Alderley when the ever tenacious Judith Offer had to leave the pitch with a suspected broken collar bone.

This concerning setback seemed to galvanise ‘Edge. They played well on the break and forced a series of penalty corners. Keeping the ball wide on the flanks and getting players high up the pitch they unlocked the Sale defence and Sioned Davies was on hand to score the winning goal just two minutes from time.

The team enjoyed a post match champagne celebration back at the Club's Moss Lane clubhouse and now look forward to a place in the North Hockey League next season.

This is a member post by Kelvin Briggs.

AlderleyEdge.com



Teams ready for hockey sevens

By Tom Hanratty


FIVE locally-based teams will carry Bahraini hopes into this weekend's 2012 Bahrain Open Hockey Sevens Tournament.

Organised by the Bahrain Hockey Association (BHA) and sponsored by Gulf Agency Company (GAC), the tournament will be held at St Christopher's Junior School in Saar from 8am on Friday.

Bahraini clubs Public Security, Aramex, Dadabhai Travel, Designhub and the Royal Challengers will battle it out with rivals from the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Pakistan, while a junior competition, featuring Bahraini private school teams, will run alongside.

The official draw for the tournament, which took place at the Indian Club in Gudaibiya this week, threw up some interesting contests, with four of the five Bahraini teams remarkably pitted together in Pool B.

Sharjah Youth Hockey Centre will be the only non-Bahraini challengers in a group that includes Designhub, Royal Challengers, Aramex and Dadabhai Travel.

The Public Security team meanwhile will be the lone home representatives in a Pool A made up of Kuwait Independent Hockey Club and their compatriots from the Don Bosco club, Qatar's Wanderers and Waseem Hockey Club from Pakistan.

The Waseem side is expected to be one of the main attractions on the day and one of the heavy favourites on the field as their line-up includes ex-Pakistan national team captain and their record caps holder Waseem Ahmad, fellow internationals Kashif Ali and Farooq Ahmed and Olympian Nasir Ahmed.

Speaking to the GDN ahead of the event, Bahrain Hockey Association general secretary Jude D'Souza said the association was committed to hosting one of the best tournaments in the region.

"The tournament will be conducted in a professional way as per the international guidelines," he said. "We are also bringing two official referees from India to maintain a high level of refereeing in the tournament."

The tournament will be held under the patronage of Bahrain Olympic Committee general secretary Shaikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has been invited to appear as chief guest on the day.

Among the other Bahrain-based businesses supporting the event are Redbull, Virgin Megastore, Mathias Tourism, Magnum Travel Service, Shoemart, Gulf Weekly, KIA, BFC, Al Osra, SIXT, Udrive Car Rental, Royal Bahrain Hospital, Coca Cola, Inventhouse and Sign Inn Promotions.

The grand final will take place from 7.15pm on Friday.

Gulf Daily News



Tracing the history of Indian hockey: From ‘Sansarpur to London Olympics’

M.S.Unnikrishnan



Army Chief Gen V K Singh at the launch of autobiography of Col Balbir Singh Kular (right) in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi: "Sansarpur to London Olympics", a book tracing the history of Indian hockey for the past 60 years, written by Olympian Col Balbir Singh, was launched here today by Chief of the Army Staff Gen VK Singh. The book traces the gold era of Indian hockey, its rise and fall and providing many interesting vignettes, which includes the author's long association with General Singh.

The launch was attended by a galaxy of sportspersons and other dignitaries. When Balbir Singh first met VK Singh, he was not a general. They both were gentleman cadets at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehra Dun, and the one common thread that bound them together, was their passion for hockey.

While the General concentrated more on his soldiering skills to scale greater heights in the Army with hockey remaining as a passion still, Balbir Singh went on to play the highest level of hockey, to represent the country, and to feature in Indian squad that won first-ever Asian Games gold at Bangkok in 1966, and then an Olympic bronze at Mexico in 1968.

Though Balbir Singh too made a mark as a soldier, retiring as a Colonel, he was, nevertheless, fully committed to the game of hockey, and after his playing days were cut short due to a knee injury, he kept his active association with the game as a coach and then as a selector. (Presently, he is the senior most selector of the men's team).

Balbir Singh was perhaps the only sportsman to receive the Arjuna Award in his IMA uniform, and he was also the only gentleman cadet to receive the coveted sports award. General Singh was so proud of his fellow cadet's achievement that after the award ceremony, whenever a film was screened in the cantonment area of Dehra Dun, Balbir Singh receiving the Arjuna Award from President VV Giri was shown before the screening of the Films Division news reel.

No surprise, when Balbir Singh penned his memoirs, he was determined to ensure that the launch was done by none other than the General.

Though the paper back edition will take some more time to come out, General Singh launched the E-book of Col Balbir Singh's "Sansarpur to London Olympics" today, three days before his retirement as the Chief of the Army Staff. This will be the first Indian sports book on e-book platform, to help it reach out to a vast readership.

The book dwells on the glorious past of the Indian hockey, the present uncertainty, and the future course of action, in a bid to capture the lost glory. There are many interesting vignettes on hockey and Balbir Singh seems to have given a frank account of his life-long affair with the game, which he has had the privilege of playing and observing from the ring side for the past 60 years. He gives a touching account of Sansarpur, the matrix of Indian hockey, in the halcyon days of the game.

As a player, Balbir Singh was perhaps the only half back, who used to score goals from the half line, covering the goalkeeper at the same time.

Col Balbir Singh comes up with constructive criticism by clearly outlining a strategy to revive Indian hockey, and to regain our Olympic glory. He feels that the only sure shot way to uplift Indian hockey would be to induct quality foreign coaches like Rick Charlesworth (Australia), Paul Lisek (Germany) or Roelant Oltman (Holland), because these coaches know how to manage the defence, India's weak link.

Balbir says the advantage of having a coach like Paul Lisek is that Germany play controlled hockey, unlike the fast variety played by countries like Australia and New Zealand, and the blue turfs for the London Olympics, slippery and bouncy, will suit the Indian team like a T "as they play a slow game".

Germany erect a solid defence, which lets in very few goals while Australia play speedy hockey, which often puts their own defence in peril and "our own defence is very slow". Col Balbir Singh feels that a good team should adapt to any surface, and if the blue turf in England is slippery and bouncy, that's what India had experienced while having coaching camps at the SAI Centre in Bangalore for almost a year before it was shifted to Pune.

Balbir was of the opinion that the Indian team who won the first Asian Games gold for India in 1966 at Bangkok, beating Pakistan 1-0 in the final, on December 19, was one of the best-ever. In fact, December 19 has a lot of significance in Balbir's life, as many turning points happened on this date! And the golden goal against Pakistan at Bangkok was fashioned by three Balbir Singhs-Col Balbir Singh set up the first pass, which was relayed back to him by Balbir Singh of Punjab Police, before he essayed it towards Balbir Singh of Railways to make the final kill.

The Tribune



We need to restore Indian hockey's lost glory: VK Singh


NEW DELHI: Army chief general VK Singh showed his passion for hockey and urged the nation to restore the lost pride of the Indian hockey team who had clinched the Olympic titles eight times in the past.

"We need efforts to restore the glory of the Indian hockey. We need to respect a hockey player, look to become the best hockey team once again. It will take a lot of effort from all of us," said Gen Singh on the sidelines of the launch of an autobiography titled 'Sansarpur to London Olympics' by 1968 Mexico Olympic medallist Col. (retd.) Balbir Singh.

"I have been a hockey lover and I would like to see the game regain its past glory," the Army chief added.

Talking about the book, Gen Singh said: "This book is about Hockey, a game that was once called a national game. We can relive the glory of hockey through this book."

'Sansarpur to London Olympics', co-authored by sports film maker Sunil Yash Kalra, is a unique book of personal memoir, with interesting compilation of stories, funny anecdotes, sensational revelations and heart-warming vignettes of Balbir's life in the Army and as a hockey player and coach.

"My autobiography is a sincere attempt to chronicle my life, on and off the field. Aided by newspaper clips, official letters and formal exchanges for over half a century, this humble effort is aimed at hockey aficionados on various landmarks of Indian hockey, in past six decades," Balbir said.

"I have seen many ups and down in my life and I have been fortunate to continuously be a part of various historic events in the past six decades of Indian hockey and now the time is right to share it in exact entirety. I wanted to bring the brutal truths in the open," added Balbir, who hails from Sansarpur, a village that has produced 14 Olympic medallists.

The book has been launched in a digital format and the e-version has been priced at Rs 95 and will be available exclusively on handygo technologies RockASAP.com.

It will be the first ever sports book in the country to be launched as an E-Book which will not only be available on all smartphones and Tablets but also on all GPRS enabled mobile handsets.

The Times of India