News for 28 June 2013

All the news for Friday 28 June 2013


England passes Quarterfinal test against Italy

Narrow 3-2 win gives hosts a spot in semi-finals


Host England can celebrate its place in the semi-final game in London (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

England – Italy 3-2 (3-1 halftime)


Host England completed the Investec Hockey World League tournament semi-final quartet with a 3-2 victory against Italy. It was a David vs. Goliath meeting with the #4 ranked team, England, taking on the 17th-ranked Italians in the quarterfinal match-up.

Goliath drew first blood just three minutes into the game when Kate Walsh fed Alex Danson a perfect pass for the quick strike. But Italy was not to be intimidated. They immediately replied, first with a goal that was disallowed after a video referral and them immediately afterwards when Macarena Ronsisvilla scored on a rebound on a penalty corner to even the game at one.

Danson and Hannah Macleod ended the tense times with a one-two punch that saw England climb ahead 3-1 in under 90 seconds with two quick goals completely changing the tide of the game. The goals came with 10 minutes to go in the first half and left the Italians rattled as their prime position crumbled before their eyes.

Italy eventually recovered and took advantage of a penalty stroke in the 56th minute when Augustina di Bernardo converted the chance to pull the Italians to within one and once again put England on their toes. In the end, England was able to pass the surprising test and hung on for the 3-2 win.

England will take on Argentina in Saturday’s quarterfinal game in a meeting of the two highest-ranked teams at the event. The other quarterfinal game will feature Australia against China. The other four teams will meet to determine who will play for fifth and seventh place. Spain takes on USA and South Africa meets Italy in Saturday’s placement games.

FIH site



China shoots into Semi-Finals with win against Spain

Australia awaits China in Saturday showdown


China overcame Spain, and the London weather, to make it through to the semi-finals (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

China – Spain 3-0 (0-0 halftime)


China became the third higher seeded team from the preliminary round at the Invested Hockey World League tournament to make it through to the semi-final game after a low-scoring 3-0 victory against Spain.

#15 Spain put in a good defensive performance against seventh-ranked China, especially Spanish goaltender Maria Lopez de Eguilaz Zubiria, who was put through the gears by the persistent Chinese attack. But despite their massive time spent in the Spanish circle, China was held scoreless for nearly 45 minutes.

It wasn’t until Meiyu Liang scored on a beautiful hesitation fake when a breakaway left her one-on-one with Lopez de Eguilaz Zubina. The goal loosened up the Chinese, who relaxed visibly after getting the initial goal. Mengyu Wang doubled the lead with 13 minutes left in the game with her penalty corner flick that was nearly saved, but ultaimtely had enough speed to power through to the upper corner.

Hongxia Li put the finishing touches on the win. She scored the 3-0 goal, her fifth of the tournament, on a simple tap in from the baseline to lift China to the quarterfinal win.

China will take on Australia in Saturday’s semi-final game. It is sure to be an entertaining game between the sixth and seventh ranked teams in the FIH World Ranking. Meanwhile, Spain will take on the U,S, in a game to determine who will play for fifth and who will play for seventh place.

FIH site



Hockeyroos hop into World League Semi-Finals

Clear 4-1 win moves Australia to next round


Australia was convincing in their quarterfinal game against the Americans (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

Australia – United States 4-1 (4-1 halftime)


Australia became the second top-seeded preliminary round team to make their way to the Investec World League tournament semi-final game. Thanks to a clear 4-1 win against four-seeded USA, Australia is guaranteed a top-four finish in the event.

Australia did most of its damage in their four-goal first half performance as they completely dominated the Americans. USA netted just one goal, a penalty corner marker from Rachael Dawson, but it would be one of the few times the Americans threatened the Australian net as the Hockeyroos were simply too strong today.

Emily Smith opened the scoring seven minutes into action, which Dawson had the answer to three minutes later. It would be the only time that the Hockeyroos would sweat the outcome during the match as they quickly retaliated with three unanswered goals to pull well ahead. Kellie White scored the go-ahead goal two minutes after the Dawson strike and from there Australia never looked back. A pair of penalty corner flicks three minutes apart from Karri McMahon and Jodie Schulz upped the lead to 4-1.

Despite many chances to do more damage, the Australians were content with the 4-1 lead and score

FIH site

 



Las Leonas say Hola to World League Semi-Final game

3-1 win against South Africa puts Argentina into the World Cup


Argentina edged their way into the World League semi-final game (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)


Quarterfinals:

Argentina – South Africa 3-1 (1-0 halftime)


World #2 Argentina was the first team to earn a berth in Saturday’s semi-final game at the Investec Hockey World League tournament in London after a nip-and-tuck 3-1 win against a very persistent South African side.

The win gives Argentina a guaranteed top-four finish and a place in the 2014 Hockey World Cup. Since Argentina is ranked #2 in the world, even if they finish in fourth place here in London, they would still be better than the fourth-place finisher in Rotterdam, #3 New Zealand. Only the top three teams from each of the two semi-finals are guaranteed a place in the 2014 World Cup in addition to the highest-ranked fourth-place finisher from the two events. The New Zealand team is now sure to be the biggest supporter of Argentina at the London tournament.

The South Africans were clearly on a mission to create an upset in the top-seed vs. last-seed cross over quarterfinal. Their work ethic was clear throughout the 70 minutes. But ultimately, their inability to finish their chances doomed them, especially as time wore on and pressure mounted.

It took nearly 20 minutes for Argentina to net their first goal. Silvina D’Elia struck on a drag flick to provide the only offense of the first half.

South Africa came out in the second half and promptly evened the game at one when scoring sensation Pietie Coetzee scored just two minutes into action on a field goal. But six minutes later the glimmer of hope for the South Africans was dimmed when D’Elia scored her second of the game to put Argentina back in control.

It was a tense finale to the game as Argentina nervously held on to the one-goal lead. It wasn’t until Rosario Luchetti scored in the last two minutes of the game that Las Leonas could breathe a sigh of relief and book their Semi-Final ticket.

FIH site



England set up Semi-Final against Argentina


Laura Unsworth and Sophie Bray congratulate Alex Danson.

Hannah Macleod makes her 50th appearance for England as she and Alex Danson give England three goals to take them through to a Semi-Final showdown against Argentina on Saturday. All of England’s goals came in the first half and after Italy pulled the score back to 3-2 they pushed the home side all the way to the wire as they searched for an equaliser in the closing stages.

Speaking after the game, England’s Head Coach Jason Lee said, “Of course we’re overjoyed that we won the game, and three months ago we would have taken this position, sitting in the top four teams. We’re quite a new group and we expected the competition to be tough. We started to run out of legs a bit, the nerves started to kick in and our inexperience started to show. I think Italy are playing above 17 in the FIH world rankings and no doubt they’ll be pushing hard on the European stage soon. They broke down tackle after tackle, finding their way into our circle which certainly made it nerve wracking. It was quite a tense game for everyone and we’re very pleased with the outcome. Once again tonight the girls fought so hard for the win and I think that’s what has ultimately helped us get here.”

The game was off to a strong start after Alex Danson scored within the first three minutes. After MOP’s (NED) Sophie Bray ran the ball up the line to Reading’s Kate Walsh in the circle, a pass to her teammate Danson was smartly tapped away to put England on the scoreboard. Italy weren’t to be held back, as three minutes later they worked a ball into England’s circle and won a penalty corner. While the first strike was initially saved, a fight for the ball ensued and Macarena Ronsisvalli angled her stick cleverly to chip her shot over Holcombe’s Maddie Hinch and take the score to 1-1.

Not a side to go down without a fight, Italy continued to try pushing England back into their own half. A few long balls saw the Italian side running up the field, but they were unable to make anything of it and the scores remained tied. The stalemate was broken when Danson managed to break through the Italian line in the 24th minute and a sequence of good passes allowed Leicester’s Hannah Macleod to tap the ball in behind the Italian goalkeeper and score on her 50th appearance. Only a minute later Danson followed it up with her second goal of the match as she ran alone to challenge the goalkeeper and send the ball home with a trademark reverse stick shot into the left corner. After some tense moments in the last ten minutes of the half including a penalty corner for Italy, England went into the break 3-1 up.

The second half saw England come straight back into attack, putting the pressure on Italy immediately. But after an unfortunate change of events, England saw themselves on the defending end of a penalty corner and then a series of on target shots from the Italian side. Goalkeeping star Hinch was up to the task, making impressive saves assisted by teammates Sam Quek and Macleod. Both made fearless tackles and turned play over to England’s advantage.

England seemed to be on top of the game up until the 56th minute where Italy scored their second goal of the game. The Italian side called to the video umpire for a second opinion after a foot in the circle behind the goal keeper; a penalty stroke against England was awarded as a result. A one on one showdown saw Hinch against Agustina Di Bernardo, and resulted in Italy’s second goal as Hinch just couldn’t get enough of her body to the ball to make the save. Despite being pushed hard, England held their own against Italy and saw the game out to seal a 3-2 victory and a place in Saturday’s Semi-Final.

Speaking after the game, Kate Walsh gave her thoughts about facing the FIH world number two side, “For Argentina we should go in with no fear. We need to approach the game not thinking of individual players but of our own play, and we need to show that fearlessness of youth which I think we have in our squad - we’re really looking forward to this match.”

England will play Argentina in the Semi-Final on Saturday at 17:30. Tickets are available on the gate.

ENGLAND 3 (3)
Alex Danson 3, 25, FG, FG
Hannah Macleod 24, FG

ITALY 2 (1)
Macarena Ronsisvalli 7, PC
Agustina Di Bernardo 56, PS

England Hockey Board Media release



Alex Danson takes England one game closer to glory

By Mike Haymonds



Danson's two goals gave England a place in the World League semi-final

TWO-GOAL Alex Danson kept her cool to put England into the semi-finals of the Investec World League with a 3-2 win over Italy in Chiswick.

The London Olympics bronze medallist struck in the third minute only to watch Italy level from a penalty corner four minutes later.

England edged ahead again in the 24th minute as striker Hannah Macleod converted a cross from Ashleigh Ball.

Macleod then turned provider a minute later for Danson to go one-on-one with the keeper and finish with a backhand shot.

England conceded a penalty stroke in the 56th minute but held out to qualify for the World League final in Argentina in November.

They now meet London silver medallists Argentina in tomorrow’s semi-final when a win will clinch a World Cup place in Holland next May, for which the top three in Chiswick qualify.

Daily Express



Investec SA hockey women rue missed chances against Argentina

JONATHAN COOK in London



Argentina's Maria Sruoga chases Investec South Africa women's hockey team striker Sulette Damons during the Investec World League quarter-final at the University of Westminster in Chiswick, London Thursday. Photo: STANISLAS BROCHIER

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team head coach Giles Bonnet said two gilt-edged goalscoring opportunities that weren’t buried cost the world’s 11th-ranked team dearly against world number two Argentina in the Investec World League quarter-finals at University of Westminster in London Thursday.

Argentina won 3-1, the London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallists having led 1-0 at half-time. They opened the scoring with a Silvina D’Elia penalty corner in the 19th minute. SA equalised in the 47th minute effort with world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee’s 275th goal in 271 Test matches, which followed a skirmish in the Argentina goalmouth.

At 1-1 the game had opened up in South Africa’s favour and they dominated for considerable periods but were unable to convert chances they created and in the 53rd minute the reigning World Cup champions took the lead again when D’Elia nailed her second penalty corner goal.

With SA pushing hard for the equaliser as time ran out, the ever-dangerous Rosario Luchetti was able to evade outstanding SA goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa in the 68th minute, just two minutes from full-time.

While Argentina dominated in the penalty corner facet of the match, SA head coach Bonnet said his side could have gone 3-1 up had the “two huge opportunities” been taken.

“We knew we would create those opportunities, but we need to take them,” said Bonnet. “What is missing is that at the right moment we need to convert those chances.”

SA did what they needed to do to win the match, Argentina finding it hard in the second half to break out of defence. Australia, the world number six, who edged South Africa 1-0 in the Pool B match, also struggled at times in shaking off the SA pressure.

“If you look at Argentina’s goal shots, apart from the last three minutes, we matched them, and this is the second-ranked team in the world,” said Bonnet, who added, though, that SA did not start well.

Bonnet said that South Africa’s young players have enormous respect for Argentina and that might have contributed to a lukewarm first half.

“We had to start with the same impact as in the second half, and as we did against Australia. It shows what we can do, and working towards the 2014 World Cup we have taken big steps. In our last two matches [for fifth to eighth place] we want to back the pleasing structure of our play with results.”

SA are likely to play world number 17 Italy at 11 am SA time Saturday.

The South Africans are almost certain to qualify for the World Cup in The Netherlands in June next year when they compete in the Africa Cup in early October in Kenya.

INVESTEC SOUTH AFRICA WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM

Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng), Phume Mbande (Northern Blues), Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders), Marcelle Keet (Border), Nicolene Terblanche (NB), Illse Davids (Western Province), Shelley Russell (WP), Tarryn Bright (WP), Pietie Coetzee (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Sulette Damons (North West), Dirkie Chamberlain (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Tanya Britz (Free State), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KCR), Marsha Marescia (SG).

SA Hockey Association media release



Clinical Hockeyroos clinch semi-final spot

Four first half strikes take Hockeyroos to victory over USA


A clinical first half team performance helped the Hockeyroos to a 4-1 win over USA in their Investec World League quarter-final in London and sealed a place in the semi-final against the winner of the subsequent match between China and Spain.

The result guarantees the Hockeyroos a berth at the World League Finals tournament in Argentina later in the year and keeps them in contention for a valuable World Cup qualification spot should they win their semi-final in the early hours of Sunday morning.

First half goals from Emily Smith, Kellie White, Karri McMahon and Jodie Schulz did the damage for the Australian women with White’s spectacular tomahawk strike a serious contender for goal of the tournament.

Head Coach Adam Commens was delighted with his side’s professional approach to the game, saying afterwards, “It was a quality performance in the front third, particularly in the first half, and the result was beyond doubt by half time. We were able to play more relaxed, comfortable hockey in the second half so we didn’t throw everything at them, although I was slightly disappointed with our final 15 minutes and that will need to be better in the semi-final.

“We scored some really high quality goals today. It was a great finish from Kellie White and from Jodie Schulz, too. And with Karri McMahon scoring we can say we have four genuine threats from the top of the D [at penalty corners] in Karri, Emily Hurtz, Jodie and Anna [Flanagan]. It’s been a long time since Australia could say that.”

Commens acknowledged the importance of qualifying for the final round of the World League competition in December, adding, “You can only improve by playing more often in high quality matches such as the World League finals and the Champions Trophy.”

Things began well for the Hockeyroos when Smith swivelled at the top of the circle and fired a shot low into the bottom corner of the goal to give Australia a seventh minute lead but the USA, who failed to win a match in the pool phase, struck back just three minutes later. American Rachael Dawson sent her drilled penalty corner shot into the bottom right of the goal to restore parity.

Back roared the Hockeyroos with White’s wonder-strike to retake a lead they never lost. Firing a powerful tomahawk effort across the goal from the edge of the circle, White’s second goal of the tournament gave American goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer no chance on its way to nestling in the far side of the net.

The Hockeyroos survived a scare at the USA’s second penalty corner before Karri McMahon’s corner strike made it 3-1 just over midway through the half. It took a while for the goal to be awarded after the umpire consulted her video colleague to ensure the ball had travelled outside the circle but Teneal Attard’s excellent readjustment and McMahon’s flat strike were judged to have fairly extended the lead. It was McMahon’s second goal for Australia.

Ten minutes before the break Jodie Schulz struck for the second time in the tournament with her own unstoppable flick from a penalty corner; this one flying high into the goal for 4-1.

A controlled and professional second half by the Hockeyroos stifled any attempts by the USA to find a way back into the match although half chances fell to both sides, including a series of unconverted penalty corners.

The Hockeyroos will be guaranteed a spot at the 2014 World Cup if they win their semi-final against the winner of the China v Spain quarter-final. However, defeat would not close that avenue completely with the third placed team in London also qualifying.

At the time of writing the Hockeyroos’ semi-final will take place at 2:30am AEST on Sunday morning, although this is subject to potential rescheduling depending on the hosts England and TV requirements. Earlier in the day Argentina beat South Africa 3-1 to become the first side through to the semi-finals. They will play the winner of the quarter-final between England and Italy. 

AUSTRALIA (WOMEN) WORLD LEAGUE CAMPAIGN - QUARTER-FINAL

HOCKEYROOS   4 (4)


Emily Smith 7 (F)                             
Kellie White 12 (F)                         
Karri McMahon 22 (PC)               
Jodie Schulz 25 (PC)                      

USA                     1  (1)

Rachael Dawson 19 (PC) 

Forthcoming Fixtures

Saturday, 29 June


7:00pm AEST: 5-8th Playoffs - South Africa v Loser of England v Italy
9:30pm AEST: 5th-8th Playoffs - Loser of China v Spain v USA

Sunday, 30 June

Midnight AEST: Semi-final - Argentina v Winner of England v Italy
2:30am AEST: Semi-final - Winner of China v Spain v Australia

Hockeyroos Squad v USA, 28 June
(Listed alphabetically by surname)

Name (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals (updated)

Started


Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD) 180/10
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 253/61
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 7/0
Casey Eastham (Albion Park, NSW) 170/41
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT) 91/15
Rachael Lynch (Melbourne, VIC) 83/0
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 16/2
Claire Messent (Berwick, VIC) 59/14
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 105/18
Georgie Parker (Adelaide, SA) 33/2
Jodie Schulz (Wamuran, QLD) 74/37

Used Sub

Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 8/0
Emily Hurtz (Camden, NSW) 70/27
Kirstin Johnson (Mackay, QLD) 15/1
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 116/43
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 57/18
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW) 45/5

Unused Sub

Toni Cronk (Sydney, NSW) 133/0

Hockey Australia media release



Semi-final preview: Hockeyroos v China

James Stock takes a look ahead to the Hockeyroos' semi-final on Saturday night


Having comfortably seen off the USA in their quarter-final, the Hockeyroos stand just one victory away from World Cup qualification.

Facing up to their opponents from China, the Hockeyroos can be confident with the form they have carried through the competition. China, ranked seventh in the world, finished second in their group to the all-conquering Argentinians. Aside from a 3-2 defeat to Argentina, they took three points from the Italians as well as the USA in 2-1 victories. They then cruised past Spain, who finished third in Pool B, 3-0 in their quarter-final.

The Hockeyroos have historically had the better of clashes between the two sides. Prior to this tournament they have met 51 times, taking 39 victories and only tasting defeat on five occasions.

The Chinese, though, can turn it one when they need to having taken the silver medal at their home Olympics in 2008. Their impressive run through this tournament has been highlighted by their goal scoring prowess and the Hockeyroos defence will need to keep on their toes to keep out the tournament’s leading scorer, Li Hongxia with five goals. As a part of that runner-up side from 2008, she carries much of the goal scoring hopes of a team who last year scored just six goals in six games at London 2012.

Whilst reaching the final and winning it remains the goal of the team, the Hockeyroos will not necessarily miss out on World Cup qualification with defeat on Saturday night. The top three teams from this Investec Hockey World League tournament will automatically progress, meaning that even in the worst case scenario on Saturday night the Hockeyroos will have another opportunity to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Sunday’s third place playoff.

One of the standout performances from the quarter-final was Kellie White, who scored the second goal of the 4-1 win over USA. It was a brilliantly finished tomahawk on the run to regain the momentum which catapulted the Hockeyroos into the semi-final. She is in a bullish mood ahead of the crunch game against China, stating “I don’t care who we come up against in the semi-final, we’re really confident at the moment. We’ve been working really hard here and back in Perth. I’ve never felt as confident with any team as I do now with this group. Bring on anyone; it doesn’t matter who we come up against. I’m quite confident against anyone and I think the team is as well”.

Given how well the Hockeyroos have been performing in their opening four games, it is difficult to dispute White’s claims as she reflects the optimism and confidence of the whole team.

The Hockeyroos face China at midnight AEST Saturday night into Sunday morning (10pm AWST Saturday night). Watch every minute of the action live online at www.youtube.com/fihockey. The match will be shown on delay on Fox Sports 2 at 8am AEST on Sunday.

Hockey Australia media release



Tough but Revs is optimistic



Paul Revington had undergone a turmoiled period leading up to the World League Round 3 Semis as the Malaysian National Coach. But he has put the past behind as he takes his motley crew into a tournament where a World Cup place is at stake.

Revs was kind enough to spend time answering questions and below are his thoughts on Malaysian chances and their opening match against Pakistan this Saturday.

Question: Matches number 4 and 5 are the vital ones for teams here. And it will be the same for Malaysia. How will you approach the group matches?

Revs:
Group matches are important to build confidence and a degree of momentum for all Teams. I cannot see any teams approaching the group games "casually" as the quarter final stage is hardly the environment to be trying to rectify problems or structural difficulties.

Question: How much has the team been affected with the issues that have plagued you over the past week?

Revs:
I don't think this past week has been the concern - it was the period between January and just prior to last week that definitely affected everyone involved in the National Squad. We managed to keep a lid on things through the SASC and produced some quality hockey as a Team and Squad. Immediately after the SASC the real issues set in. I am confident that we have managed to get control of the situation and there will be a further improvement from the SASC performance.

Question: In your mind, who are the front runners for the three places for the World Cup from Johor Bahru?

Revs:
I think the obvious one is Germany. Outside of Germany - I think anyone can get themselves into the semi finals.

Question: Having some young players in the team provides you with youth exuberance but at the same time they could freeze should Malaysia be on the verge of a World Cup place. Your opinion.

Revs:
We have a lovely mix of youth and experience in this Squad and this Team. I also believe that the younger players are feeling a real part of this Team - which is important to ensure the mix of experience and youth is successful.

Question: How are you handling expectations of a country that has missed two world cups?

Revs:
I have not had too much time to even think of this to be honest! I have been flat out with other matters!

Question: Your thoughts on the opening game?

Revs:
Malaysia versus Pakistan has developed into a good rivalry over recent years. Pakistan are a very good side and we respect their ability. I think everyone in this event also knows that Malaysia have been improving year after year, month by month and have a group of players who can match any team in world hockey. This makes the opening game an exciting one.

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



Fuerste confident Germany will prevail


Moritz Fuerste, FIH player of the Year 2012

He is Euro Hockey League's Most Valuable Player for the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 seasons and recently named as the FIH World Player of the Year for 2012.

Thus Moritz Fuerste is one of the most sought after player.

Falling in love with the game at a tender age of 5, he’s main inspiration was his father. “My dad played hockey and he always takes me to the pitch when I was little” he said

He made his senior team debut for Germany in 2005 in India. But his best memory by far is winning the gold medal at the Olympics.

For him losing a match, even if it is an unpleasant and sad situation, cannot be put cited as a bad momment in life for one learns loads of lessons even in defeat.

Fuerste feels that Germany has what it takes to make the World Cup via the World League Round 3 Semis that commences Saturday in Johor Baru.

However he is well aware that he and his team needs to put in a lot of effort as the other teams are strong as well.

“You can’t just beat opponents in a heartbeat, You really have to fight hard. They have improved a lot” he added.

“In this new system winning the quarter finals is very important and our aim is to put Germany in a good and comfortable position from the group stages itself.”

Time is not what Fuerste has a lot on his hand. Between studying and playing hockey he loves to spend time with his friends and family. He is currently is studying business psychology.    

Fuerste has the number 21, incidentially his jersey number, tattooed nicely on his upper arm. It was his father that chose the number for him and he was very happy and excited to wear that number.

The story behind it was he was once late to a training session when he was six years old.And all the popular numbers were already taken so his dad picked the number 21 for him and is has proven to be very lucky for him ever since.

“The two other teams that may go through are Argentina and Korea as they are really tough teams. Playing the host team would be a challenge for us in front of the home crowd. England also pose a major concern”, he added.

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



Germany unhappy with fixtures


Germany's head coach Markus Weise

World No1 Germany are certainly not pleased with the World League fixtures as all of the first round matches in Pool A are scheduled to be played in the early part of the evening.

Being familiar of the Malaysian climate Germany head coach Markus Weise is unclear on why the schedule has been done in such a way as he reckons that every team should be given an even share of playing the early matches and the later ones.

“We all know about the Malaysia heat and playing two matches at three in the afternoon is going to be a big test for us.

“I am unclear on why the schedule is as such but I think FIH knows what they are doing.

“Every team knows that the fourth match is the key game and we will hope that the team adopts fast with the climate, otherwise we would certainly be in trouble,” said Weise

The Germans come into the tournament ranked as world No 1 and are the favourites to come away as champions; however Weise who has been the German head coach since 2006, reckons that things won’t come easy for the two time world champions as they are in a very tough group.

The Germans occupy Pool A alongside Argentina, Japan and South Korea and are scheduled to open their campaign against Argentina on Saturday.

“The last time we played Argentina was in a test match before the Olympics, we have come a long way now and I don’t really know what to expect.

“Every team has made some changes to their squad over the years and hockey has also evolved and is more challenge nowadays.

“It’s a tough group and every team wants to make the World Cup, our focus will be to win every game,” added Weise.

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



Shakeel confident Pakistan will go through

Having made his debut for Pakistan in the 1994 World Cup, Shakeel Abbasi is no stranger to playing at the highest stage.

But having said that, the mecurial Pakistani midfielder is well aware of the pitfalls that await his team at the World League Round 3 Semis in Johor Baru that commences this Saturday.

“We have a young side here and there are a lot of good teams in this tournament. Of course Germany are the favourites here but we are confident of making it through as well,” said Shakeel who is making his third trip to Malaysia this year having played in the Sultan Azlan Shah cup in March before representing Maybank in the Malaysian Hockey League.

“Of course Malaysia too have shown vast improvement and are contendors for a spot in the top three that gives an automatic spot for the World Cup next year.”

Shakeel is a delight to watch in full flight and has skills that can prise open any defence.

“I guess I was born to play hockey as it was rather easy picking up the game since all my brothers played hockey,” added Shakeel.

“Winning the Asian Games gold medal in 2010 was immensely satisfying for me personally and Pakistan needs another success story.”

Speaking about  Malaysia, Shakeel is quite comfortable with the food and the weather here despite the haze that’s been going around recently.

When asked about the format of having the World League to pick World Cup Qualifiers, he was of the opinion that is not good for Asian Hockey.

“Through the Asia Cup only one team gets to go through to the World Cup but Europe gets three places via their continental tournament,” said Shakeel.

“This is not good as Asia has come up with a lot of really good hockey teams of late and for that reason Asia should be given more spots.

“This World League Semi Final is one of Pakistan’s chance to go through and will definitely put up a fight.”

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



South Africa on right track


Julian Hykes in full flight

The South Africa men’s hockey team won their World League Semi-Final event practice game against Japan 4-1 in Johor, Malaysia Wednesday night after leading 1-0 at half time.

The match consisted of two 30-minute halves and SA scored in the first half through a penalty corner converted by team captain Austin Smith.

“We were a little rusty, having played our last game on June 11, some two weeks ago, and having only arrived in Johor on Tuesday,” said SA head coach Charlie Pereira Thursday.

“It took us 30 minutes to get going and my plea at the break was to control the game and be patient. We needed to execute better in the final third, as turnover ball was hurting us, with Japan counter-attacking and forcing us to chase a long way.”

Pereira said the second half was much better as SA dominated possession and field position and netted two cracking field goals through Clinton Panther and Lloyd Norris-Jones before Smith sealed the game with another penalty corner.

“[Midfielder] Wade Paton suffered a freakish injury and was forced to withdraw from the game,” said Pereira.

“With [striker] Julian Hykes also missing due to a chest infection, we had to reshuffle the starting line-up and share the workload amongst 14 [field] players rather than 16. That makes our performance in the second half even more special and allowed the players to get valuable match practice.”

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



History against Malaysia

WORLD LEAGUE: Revington's men up against Pakistan's awesome record

By Jugjet Singh



National coach Paul Revington (right) will have his hands full as he attempts to take Malaysia to the World Cup in Netherlands next year.

MALAYSIA will open accounts against Pakistan in the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru tomorrow, with tradition favouring the men in green.

Pakistan have never failed to play in a World Cup since its inception in 1971. And from their 12 appearances, they are the most successful side with four titles won in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994.

The Netherlands have won three titles, and Germany and Australia have each won two titles with India lifting the trophy once.

"We have never failed to qualify for the World Cup and aim to keep the proud tradition intact in Johor Baru.

"We are here to qualify, and will not be looking towards the Asia Cup as a back-up," said Pakistan head coach Akhtar Rasool.

The other teams in Group B are England and South Africa. The top three teams in Johor Baru qualify for the World Cup in the Hague, Netherlands, next year.

Malaysian assistant coach Arul Selvaraj, however, said the aim is for the national team to have a winning momentum from the start -- and that means a win against Pakistan.

"Even though all eight teams play in the quarter-finals, we aim to keep a winning momentum in the group stages to give the players a boost ahead of the knock-out fixtures.

"Pakistan have some hard-running and skilful players, but the fact that we held them (2-2) in the Azlan Shah Cup means that they are not unbeatable," said Arul.

The present squad has seen more downs than ups, except for two senior players who have been successful in steering Malaysia past a qualifier, be it for the World Cup or the Olympics since 2000.

Goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin and striker Chua Boon Huat aim to utilise their experience in guiding their teammates negotiate their way past a host of top teams in Johor Baru.

Roslan and Chua played in the Osaka Olympic Qualifier in 2000 where Malaysia made it on merit to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. After that, Malaysia played in the 2002 World Cup as hosts and have never made it past the qualifiers to the two top events.

Roslan was left out of the national team after the 2006 Doha Asian Games and made a return in 2010 when coach Stephen van Huizen recalled him for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

"Playing and getting through a qualifier gives a player a sense of satisfaction. The feeling is totally different and that is what I hope to share with the rest of the team," said Roslan who competes against S. Kumar for the goalkeeping job in matches.

His views were echoed by Chua, who also like Roslan was in the wilderness from 2009 until recalled by coach Paul Revington when the South African took over the reins of the national team.

"I can still remember that day, and it was a fantastic feeling. And I aim to do my best in Johor Baru to relive that feeling," said Chua.

Group A: Germany, South Korea, Argentina, Japan; Group B: England, Pakistan, South Africa, Malaysia.

Tomorrow -- Group A: Germany v Argentina (3pm), Korea v Japan (5pm); Group B: Pakistan v Malaysia (7pm), England v South Africa (9pm).

New Straits Times



Roslan keen to help Malaysia qualify for World Cup again

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia are not good in the qualifiers – be it the World Cup or the Olympics.

Out of the many attempts, Malaysia were only successful on two occasions – in 1996 and 1999.

In 1996, they qualified for the 1998 Utrecht World Cup in sixth place. Then, the team were under the guidance of German Volker Knapp.

Three years later, the Malaysians qualified from Osaka for the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Malaysian Stephen van Huizen in charge.

Since then, it has been a barren run for Malaysia. They failed in the World Cup qualifiers in 2006 and 2010 and the Olympic qualifiers in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, 35, and Chua Boon Huat, 33, are the only two players from the 1999 Osaka qualifiers who are still playing for the national team.

The national team will play in the FIH World League semi-finals, which starts here tomorrow. Only the top three will qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Holland.

And Roslan has no intention of calling it quits even if the campaign ends in pain for Malaysia.

As goalkeepers have a longer “shelf live” than outfield players, Roslan feels he can still contribute immensely to the team.

“Should we fail in Johor Baru, and I am not saying we will, there is the Asia Cup to try secure a place in next year’s World Cup,” said Roslan.

“I intend to play as long as the nation needs my services. The younger keepers will have to fight their way to replace me as I intend to keep my spot in the national squad.”

Roslan has featured in one World Cup – in 2002 – when Malaysia qualified by virture of being the host nation.

“Playing in a qualifier is different. There is a lot of pressure. But when you make the grade especially for the World Cup or Olympics, there is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The feeling is totally different.”

On Malaysia’s chances of making it to the 2014 World Cup, Roslan said: “We have a fairly decent chance here and we hope to make the most of it as we are playing at home.”

Malaysia have Pakistan, South Africa and England for company in Group B. Group A has Germany, Argentina, South Korea and Japan.

For Roslan, he will be battling with S. Kumar to be Malaysia’s No. 1 goalkeeper.

“It will be tough to dislodge Kumar as the number one. But if I get a chance to play then I will make sure that I give my best in all the matches. We (goalkeepers) have been given special training with stints in Holland under a renowned goalkeeping coach. So, expectations will high on us to perform better this time,” said Roslan.

Roslan is also one of the rare breed of Malaysians who have played in all the major events.

And taking Malaysia back into the World Cup and Olympics is a major target for him.

“I hope to take Malaysia back into the two top events in world hockey. It is an obsession for me. We have come close a few times.

“I will do my best on and off the field to guide the younger players and help them focus on the task.

‘We need to break this jinx in Johor Baru,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia



Olympic champs Germany unhappy with World League schedule

By S. RAMAGURU


JOHOR BARU: Olympic champions Germany are up in arms over the fixtures for the FIH World Hockey League semi-finals, which begins at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here tomorrow.

The Germans, who arrived here on Wednesday morning, voiced their displeasure after a training session.

Germany, who defeated Malaysia 2-1 in a friendly on Wednesday night, are in Group A with South Korea, Argentina and Japan. Hosts Malaysia are in Group B with Pakistan, South Africa and England.

Germany head coach Marcus Weise said he was surprised to see all the Group A matches being played in the early part of the evening when the sun is at the hottest.

“All the teams should be given a fair share of the early and late matches. I don’t understand why the schedule is done in such a way as it gives the teams in Group B an added advantage.

“We all know about the heat in Malaysia. Playing two matches at three in the afternoon is going to be a big test for us. The fixtures should not have been made this way in the first place. This is not an invitational meet but a world class event. I think the FIH (International Hockey Federation) know what they are doing,” added Weise.

The Germans come into the tournament ranked as world No. 1 and are everyone’s favourites to walk away with the title. Only the top three teams will qualify for next year’s World Cup in Holland.

But Weise, the German head coach since 2006, is not about to take things easy.

The Germans open their campaign against Argentina tomorrow.

“The last time we played Argentina was in a test match before the Olympics last year. We haven’t played against them since then and I don’t really know what to expect.

“All the teams have made some changes to their squads over the years. Hockey has also evolved and it is more challenging nowadays,” said Weise, not wanting to predict the outcome for the tournament.

The Star of Malaysia



Edwards leads Malvern to top


Peter Edwards scored on either side of the half as Malvern trounced Petrotrin 4-0 for its sixth straight win from as many matches in the T&T Hockey Board’s Veterans Division at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Monday night.

Former national player Anthony Marcano opened the scoring for Malvern in the 17th and four minutes later David Francois, a former national player and coach, made it 2-0 before Edwards extended the lead to 3-0 in the 27th. He added another in the 50th.

The win pushed Malvern to 18 points from six matches, three more than Queen’s Park which has played a match more while Carib stayed third with 13 points after a 2-1 loss to Police on Tuesday night.

Nigel Carthy fired Police ahead in the 33rd and James Beckles made it 2-0 in the 52nd before Nigel Simon pulled a goal back for Carib, but it was not enough to earn a share of the points, in their rescheduled contest.

Last night, Malvern had a chance to extend its lead on the table when it faced Corona Fatima while today, Queen’s Park will also aim to widen its lead at the top of the Trinity Men’s standings when it faces third placed Paragon from 8 pm.

The Parkites currently lead with 24 points from nine matches on the 11-team table two more than Malvern which has played a match more, while Paragon is next with 21 points from nine matches.

Results
Monday
Mixed Veterans: Malvern 4 (Peter Edwards 27th, 50th, Anthony Marcano 17th, David Francois 21st) vs Petrotrin 0

Tuesday
Mixed Veterans: Police 2 (Nigel Carthy 33rd, James Beckles 52nd) vs Carib 1 (Nigel Simon 57th)

Fixtures
Saturday

Under-19 Boys: Malvern vs Carib, 11.30 am
Trinity Women: Ventures vs Petrotrin, 1 pm
Under-19 Boys: Paradise vs Shape, 3.30 pm
Men’s Championship: Malvern vs Paradise, 5 pm
Women’s Championship: Malvern vs Paradise, 6.30 pm
Trinity Men: Paradise vs Shape, 8 pm

Sunday
Under-19 Boys: Paradise vs carib, 10.30 am
Men’s Championship: Paradise vs Paragon, noon
Women’s Championship: Paragon vs Paradise, 1.30 pm
Trinity Men: Paradise vs Carib, 3 pm
Men’s Championship: Fatima vs QPCC, 4.30 pm
Men’s Championship: Notre Dame vs Petrotrin, 6 pm
Mixed Veterans: Defence Force vs Malvern, 7.30 pm

The Trinidad Guardian

 



Malvern draws, but still clinches vets crown

Malvern were crowned new champions of the T&T Hockey Board Mixed Veterans Division despite being held to a 4-4 draw by Corona Fatima in their penultimate match at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Wednesday.

Malvern, coming off a 4-0 thrashing of Petrotrin on Monday night at the same venue for its sixth straight win to start the season, was expected to extend that run against Fatima, winners of three of five for fifth spot and clinch the title with a match to spare.

However, it was Fatima led by former national standout Dean Nieves who took the lead early on before Malvern battled back to take the lead.

In the end David Francois, a former national player and coach scored two goals for Malvern while Cecile Wren and Peter Edwards added one each.

For Fatima, Nieves also scored twice and Neil Pitchery and Colin Young the others.

Despite the draw, Malvern pushed its points tally to an unassailable 19 points from seven matches, four ahead of Queen’s Park while Carib is third with 13 with one left to play for each club. They are followed by Police and Fatima, both with ten from six matches each.

T&THB RESULTS

Wednesday
Mixed Veterans

Malvern 4 (David Francois 2, Cecile Wren, Peter Edwards) vs Fatima 4 (Dean Nieves 2, Neil Pitchery, Colin Young)

Current standings
Mixed Veteran

TEAMS    P    W    D    L    F    A    Pts
Malvern    7    6    1    0    26    8    19
QPCC    7    5    0    2    32    13    15
Carib    7    4    1    2    25    10    13
Police    6    3    1    2    10    12    10
Fatima    6    3    1    2    29    25    10
D/Force    5    2    2    1    29    13    8
Notre Dame    5    1    0    4    13    17    3
Petrotrin    7    1    0    6    8    50    3
Paragon    5    0    0    5    2    23    0

UPCOMING MATCHES

TOMORROW

Under-19 Boys: Malvern vs Carib, 11.30 am
Trinity Women: Ventures vs Petrotrin, 1 pm
Under-19 Boys: Paradise vs Shape, 3.30 pm
Men’s Championship: Malvern vs Paradise, 5 pm
Women’s Championship: Malvern vs Paradise, 6.30 pm
Trinity Men: Paradise vs Shape, 8 pm

SUNDAY
Under-19 Boys: Paradise vs Carib, 10.30 am
Men’s Championship: Paradise vs Paragon, noon
Women’s Championship: Paragon vs Paradise, 1.30 pm
Trinity Men: Paradise vs Carib, 3 pm
Men’s Championship: Fatima vs QPCC, 4.30 pm
Men’s Championship: Notre Dame vs Petrotrin, 6 pm
Mixed Veterans: Defence Force vs Malvern, 7.30 pm

The Trinidad Guardian



BBC to show TriFinance Eurohockey Nations Championship


Sam Quek in action for England at Investec World League

BBC Sport has secured rights to the EuroHockey Nations Championship - from 17 August, the BBC will air all games on iPlayer, the red button or online, bringing the audience more hockey than ever before.

Barbara Slater, Director, BBC Sport: “The BBC has always been a big supporter of Olympic sports and we are building on the success of London 2012 to enhance our coverage of these sports throughout the year.”

At London 2012, Team GB’s women won a bronze medal, the first women’s Olympic hockey medal in 20 years and only the second in their history. A peak audience of 8 million viewers watched Team GB’s men play the Netherlands in their London 2012 semi-final. Following the success of the national teams, the number of people playing hockey has followed suit, with a growth in participation in 2012.

Sally Munday, Chief Executive of England Hockey, notes the importance of the BBC’s coverage in continuing the momentum hockey is gathering: “With the international teams on the up and hockey an ever-increasingly exciting sport to watch, mainstream coverage of top-level hockey is instrumental in helping us increase the visibility of the sport. We hope the British public enjoy the coverage and that people are inspired to get involved in the sport.”

The EuroHockey Nations Championship will be held in Belgium from August 17 – 25 with both the male and female competitions featuring eight teams. England, Ireland and Scotland will compete in the Women’s Championships, while England and Ireland will compete in the Men’s Championships.

The men and women’s teams have a number of international fixtures coming up if you want to follow their progress. As well as on the BBC website, more information on England hockey tournaments and players can be found on englandhockey.co.uk.

If you want to play hockey, whatever your standard or background, the Hockey Nation programme enables you to find a club or a form of hockey that suits you best, with more information available at hockeynation.info.

England Hockey Board Media release



Scotland Women continue European build-up against Canada & Ireland


Kaz Marshall vs. Ireland

Canada and Ireland will provide the opposition for Scotland Women next week as they continue their preparations for the EuroHockey Nations Championship in Belgium later this summer.

The Scots will play four internationals from 1-5 July in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, including one match against the Canadians before three subsequent encounters with their Irish hosts.

Scotland Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd has selected a group of 23 players for this series as he and his coaching team start to put their thoughts towards selecting a final squad of players for the forthcoming European competition.

“While Canada will be well prepared after matches against Wales and Ireland, I expect to beat them in the first game”, said Shepherd. “Ireland will be tough and close as always but the players will be focussing on getting results against them as well as the standard of performance.

“The squad for the European championship in August will come from this group of players. Once we are finished this series, we go into three weeks of training before two matches against Belgium at the end of July so both individual and collective performances next week will be very important as we start to focus the mind on this important competition.”

The national side played Ireland only as recently as two weeks ago, drawing 2-2 and winning 4-3 over two matches at Peffermill in Edinburgh, before stepping up to face South Africa in a four match series a few days later, when they won one, lost two and drew one.

Canada and Ireland themselves have been playing each other during this week in a three match series, with Canada winning the first match 3-2, Ireland winning the second 2-1, and a 4-4 draw to round off the trio of internationals.

Scotland Women: Nicki Cochrane (Edinburgh University), Vikki Bunce (Dundee Wanderers), Ali Bell (Grove Menzieshill), Becky Ward (Dundee Wanderers), Catriona Ralph (Clydesdale Western), Sam Judge (Edinburgh University), Holly Cram (Clydesdale Western), Linda Clement (Grove Menzieshill), Ailsa Wyllie (Grove Menzieshill), Kareena Marshall (Western Wildcats), Leigh Fawcett (Grove Menzieshill), Becky Merchant (Edinburgh University), Nikki Kidd (Edinburgh University), Susan McGilveray (Clydesdale Western), Ali Howie (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Skrastin (Clydesdale Western), Emily Maguire (Reading), Aileen Davis (Clifton HC), Amy Brodie (CALA Edinburgh), Sarah Robertson (Edinburgh University), Amy Gibson (Clydesdale Western), Nikki Lloyd (Seven Oaks).

Match Schedule:
1st July 17.30 Scotland v Canada Mossely HC, Newtownabbey
2nd July 19.00 Scotland v Ireland Mossely HC, Newtownabbey
4th July 12.00 Scotland v Ireland Mossely HC, Newtownabbey
5th July 12.00 Scotland v Ireland Mossely HC, Newtownabbey

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Mossley Hockey Club welcomes Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Canada



A busy period for the Electric Ireland Senior Women's team continues as they build towards the European Championship in August with games against Scotland and Wales in Belfast next week.

The games follow on from the three match Canada series held in Dublin over the weekend, and will give Darren Smith's squad a chance to build on some inconsistent performances of late. Whilst the Green Army have been scoring from both open play and set pieces, they have also been prone to conceding soft goals and penalty corners, a problem they will hope to eradicate next week. They play Scotland on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, with Wales the opposition on Thursday.

The occasion also looks set to be a momentous moment for Ulster girls Alex Speers and Shirley McCay. Speers will play her 150th International game on Monday, with McCay following the same feat on Tuesday. 150 Caps is a tremendous achievement and both will hope to perform well on their milestone occasions in front of a home crowd.

Smith was pleased with the side's progress over the series: "Understandably we were a little mixed in terms of performance and results against Canada over the weekend. Playing 27 players has an effect on the cohesion of the tactics and also players being able to combine effectively. Against a well organised Canadian team I was happy to see so many players on show and striving to perform. Next week will be the final push toward selecting the Europeans squad so again we will see a mixture of players over the 4 test matches. What I do want to see is a gradual improvement in applying our base structures and as a result an improvement in our performance."

"I'm also looking forward to being a part of Alex Speers' 150th test match on Monday and the same milestone for Shirley McCay on Tuesday. These two are a beacon of what it is to be a Green Army player and have served Ireland with distinction for a long time. Alex is an outstanding leader who consistently delivers in the international environment while Shirley who has traditionally been a midfielder is now settling in well to being a controlling influence at the back with this new look squad. Congratulations to both of them."

Smith continued "We also look forward to playing at Mossley. I was lucky enough to visit Trevor for a look at the facilities at Mossley and know that we are going to enjoy our week with the club."

The games are hosted by Mossley Hockey Club, and Club Chairman Trevor Lorimer is looking forward to welcoming International Hockey to the Glade:

"Mossley Hockey Club is delighted to be given the opportunity to host a series of International matches on behalf of the Irish Hockey Association.  This is a result of continued partnership work with the Ulster Hockey Union and Newtownabbey Borough Council, proving that the facilities at The Glade are amongst the best in the country.  This latest announcement is evidence that the club is heading in the right direction and we hope that our members, others from the local area and further afield will come along to watch the matches and enjoy the top class hockey."

"We have gone to great lengths to make it an enjoyable event for players, coaches, umpires and spectators. On site there will be food stalls for the adults and an inflatable hockey pitch for the children. Overall it is hoped to be a real carnival atmosphere and we encourage supporters to arrive early and enjoy the music and build up. Spectators are advised to utilise the overflow car park thanks to Translink and Mossley Mill."

Fixtures:

1st July 2013: Ireland vs Wales 3.30pm
1st July 2013: Scotland vs Canada 5.30pm
2nd July 2013: Canada vs Wales 2pm
2nd July 2013: Ireland vs Scotland 7pm
4th July 2013: Ireland vs Scotland 12pm
5th July 2013: Ireland vs Scotland 12pm

Admission for adults is £5 and under 16's are free.

Irish Hockey Association media release



Interview with Nikki Symmons



After becoming the first hockey player (male or female) to reach 200 International Caps for Ireland, Irish Hockey sat down with Nikki Symmons to recap on a long and distinguished career with the Green Army and her plans for the future:

Irish Hockey: How did your call up for the senior team first come about?

I was picked for the Leinster senior team when I was 17 and played pretty well at the interprovincials and scored a few goals. Riet who was coach at the time came over to me and asked if I would join the senior squad so that was really exciting. I trained for a year before I got my first cap aged 18, in 2001 against Wales in Cardiff. That year I only got two more caps and it was another while before I added to that. Mary Goode told me when she came into the squad in 2003 I was still on 3 caps!

It was a difficult time and I had to work really hard to force my way onto the team and eventually I got my chance in the Olympic Qualifiers in 2004. It really taught  me a valuable lesson in being patient, doing the hard yards behind the scenes and just waiting for your chance when it comes and grabbing it with both hands.

Irish hockey: What have been some of the memorable moments of your career so far?

I have so many unbelievable memories from my career, right from underage up to now. I have been around the world with hockey and have been lucky enough to have done that with some really good friends. My favourite place we have gone to play would probably be South Africa; it's a beautiful country, with sunshine and such friendly people. After one tournament a few years ago we stayed on for 5 days in Camp's Bay in Cape Town, that was really special.

My favourite game is probably our draw with Germany in the Olympic Qualifiers in New Zealand in 2004. The Germans went on to win the qualifier and also won gold at the Olympics that year.

I've scored a couple of nice goals for Loreto but for Ireland probably the one I netted in the Europeans in Germany in 2011, it was a real team goal that started from the back so wasn't just individual skills.

Irish Hockey: How important has your family been throughout your career?

My family are incredibly important to me in helping me throughout my career. I may not always show it, but I appreciate the efforts they have gone to and I wouldn't be where I am today without their help. Washing my gear, driving me everywhere, paying for trips, they are all things you forget about as you get older but they are so important.

One of the things I love most is that they support you and the team regardless of how you play which is always good to have! They come and support my games and I know they go through the same highs and lows as I do.

My granddad was my inspiration growing up, from as young as 3 he had me out playing tennis, cricket and rugby in the garden, I learnt a lot from him. He always told me to keep my eye on the ball and I have never forgotten those words since.

Irish Hockey: What does it take to be a member of the green army?

It's amazing to be part of the green army but it comes as a result of a lot of hard work. Trying to maintain a career whilst balancing training takes a huge amount of effort and commitment. It often means going to the gym at 6am, going to work and getting out on the pitch again that evening before doing it all over again the next day, but if that's what it takes that what you do. Loss of earnings and unpaid leave are common for us, with many of us not actually getting any holidays because off days are spent training or travelling to play.

The commitment and the hours we put in often go unnoticed, but it's a choice you make so it's not like we want anyone to feel sorry for us. Some people would say ‘Oh you don't have a life' but in fact you do and it's a great one, it's the choice you make and travelling the world, representing your country is a unique and rare opportunity so you have to make the most of every moment. 

Irish Hockey: You've had a few injuries in your career, tell us more.

I was great as a youngster but then age caught up on me, and when I was 26 I had two operations on my left hip. I have osteoarthritis in my hip joints, but I have been back in action 7 weeks post operation. Coming back from injury is tough physically and mentally as you have missed out on weeks of training and you have to watch others continue to train hard whilst you recover. But there's a great support group there and the girls are delighted to see someone recuperate and return.

Irish Hockey: How important is funding for the progress of the green army?

Funding is huge for us, as it is for any team, and if we didn't have it we would struggle to compete with the top sides. We don't get paid to play so we have to work to sustain a living, but yet strive to be as professional as we can as athletes. Funding and sponsorship help to allow us to be as professional in our approach as we can. Unfortunately our government funding has been cut, which is an incredible shame as we want to build on the strides we have made rather than go backwards. We have built a great relationship with Electric Ireland since they come on board to support women's hockey and are indebted to them and their funding. Long may it continue.

Irish Hockey: What lessons has your hockey career taught you in life?

I think when you take a step back from hockey and training so much you really realise how much playing for Ireland has taught me. You talk to other people or you go to a job interview or fill in a resume and you realise what skills you have developed over the years. Mentally I have learnt to get over disappointment or adversity much quicker than others. I know what it means to be truly committed to a cause and how I can be part of a team all striving for the same goal. I have been on the senior panel for 12 years and there are few who could rival that.

Irish Hockey: How does it feel to have reached your 200th cap milestone?

It's incredible, sometimes I forget how much I have played and for me I try to approach each game as just another game where I need the same focus and approach as every other. Obviously it was an unbelievable moment but I tried not to get too excited about it!

Irish Hockey: with the under 18 Europeans coming up in Dublin over the summer, will you and the green army be out to support?

Yes definitely, I think we have a normal training week over their tournament so we will be out in force to support. It's amazing to have the tournament in Dublin and a great achievement for those selected to pull on an Irish jersey in front of a home crowd. There are a lot of good players there and they will be banging on the doors of the senior squad soon so it is a really exciting time for them too. When I played we also played Home Nations involving Scotland, England and Wales and we drew with English which was a great feeling!

Irish Hockey: What does the future hold for Nikki Symmons?

Well the future is pretty exciting for me; I am involved with a couple of things at the minute. I am an ambassador for Arthritis Ireland, trying to highlight that those with arthritis can still be fit and active. I'm also involved in an RTE programme to find Ireland's fittest family, I can't say much at the minute but it's going to be great fun and it's good to promote Irish Hockey to the public.

Hockey wise, I want to keep training hard and see what comes. As long as I can commit 100% to the team and my body holds up, I want to be part of the Green Army!

Irish Hockey Association media release



Greater Accra Hockey gain from Beige Capital

Beige Capital, a new financial institution making great strides in the country’s economy is to sponsor the Greater Accra Hockey Knock Out for the next three years at 45,000 Ghana Cedis.

The deal which cost 15,000 Ghana Cedis per season will see Beige Capital also benefiting from branding the National Hockey pitch in Accra and gaining media coverage and publicity during balloting and competition.

Signing the contract at the offices of the National Hockey Stadium, Mr. Frank Awuku, Chairman of the Greater Accra Hockey Association said the region boasts of 23 hockey clubs and they need support to get the game developing.

He stressed that hockey is serious business for those who play and like any other sports; they need financial support to grow. Derick Ewudzie- Odoom, Head of Region said they chosed to support hockey because the sport has been played in Ghana for many decades and they were impressed with facilities at the National Hockey pitch. He noted that Beige is growing from strength to strength and they want to grow with hockey. He expressed that their company does not waste time in taking good decisions so they embraced the proposal form the Greater Accra Hockey Association and want to create cordial relations with clubs, officials, players and patrons of the game.

Ewudzie- Odoom said football has dwarfed other sports in sponsorship seeking and Beige Capital want to support hockey to bring fairness in their social responsibilities.

“We want to contribute to the growth of hockey and let it reach the desired standard level, so we are putting up 15,000 Ghana Cedis for three years totaling 45,000 Ghana Cedis and we want to advice the hockey fraternity to maintain their appreciable facilities” he added.

Present at the signing ceremony were Samuel Ofosu, Vice Chairman of the Greater Accra Hockey Association and officials of Beige Capital and some members of the hockey fraternity.

GhanaWeb



PAHF to Hold Umpiring Course During Men's Pan Am Cup

Course will be held August 14 - 18, 2013 in Brampton




The Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) is pleased to invite for inscriptions to join the PAHF Umpiring Course, during the Men’s Pan American Cup 2013 that will be held from 10 to 17 of August 2013, at Brampton City, Canada.

Course Information:

The Course will be carried out from August 14, 9 AM to August 18, 10 AM with delivery of participation certificates. The course includes theoretical sessions and match observation during tournament. This will be an excellent opportunity to acquire information regarding all aspects of modern umpiring and also to share experiences with other continental colleagues, at a Course sanctioned by PAHF. It will be dictated in English. Participants will be limited to 20. Also there will be place for 5 observers, at the most. The Conductor will be announced shortly.

Course Activities:

• Welcome & Introduction;
• Theoretical sessions, special presentations and contributions of the participants;
• Analysis of the matches;
• Official Closing and delivery of participation certificates.

Notes:
1- Aptitudes of the Participants: Participants are expected to have good knowledge of the Rules of Hockey and preferably, some experience in umpiring. The participants should also to be able to transfer their new know-how to other umpires in their countries so that the PAHF can be sure that the standards of Hockey Umpiring improve.

2- Venue: All Matches and Classes will be held at Cassie Campbell Community Centre and Field Hockey Pitch, 1050 Sandalwood Pkwy W, Brampton, Ontario L7A 0K9.

Cost for Participation:

The cost for participation in the Course will be of Canadian $490, which includes 5 nights of accommodation Holiday Inn Hotel, 30 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton, Ontario L6T 4G3, in shared Double Room, with breakfast included, the right to attend the course and a certificate of official participation issued by the PAHF. Participants are responsible to cover their own meals (lunch and dinner). For those who will be staying at non-official residence, course fee is Canadian $100.  Participants will be responsible for their own arrangements of local transportation.

Fee and Room payment arrangements shall be dealt directly with the Field Hockey Canada (FHC). Please contact Mrs. Raquel Marinho, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  For any other issue, please contact Mr. Julio F Neves at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Inscriptions:

Interested participants must send inscription by completing the Form of Participation (one by participant) at the PAHF website: http://www.panamhockey.org/en/umpiringform and pay the Course Fee to confirm. DEADLINE FOR PAYMENT AND INSCRIPTIONS: July 17, 2013.

Our Best Regards,

Laura Darling
PAHF Hockey Development Council Chair                                      
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AND 

Julio F Neves
PAHF Project Coordinator
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Field Hockey Canada media release



Congratulations Dwyer 300 auction winners

Second lot of three pieces set to close 7pm AEST Sunday


Hockey Australia would like to congratulate the winners of the first three pieces of Dwyer300 artwork, which was auctioned off last weekend.

And the good news is that hockey fans looking for that extra special memento have until Sunday night to put in their bids for the final three signed Jamie Dwyer artworks, produced exclusively to recognise Jamie’s 300th game for the Kookaburras.

The three pieces are part of the Dywer300 celebration auction, which closes at 7:00pm AEST on Sunday. The first lot of three items closed last Sunday evening, going for a fantastic total of $4200, with a percentage of the profits being donated to national charity beyond blue.

Chris Carman, Managing Director of Benchmark Projects Australasia, is a proud supporter of hockey in Australia and has already begun rearranging the board room at Benchmark Projects to display the Dwyer300 work, which he tells us “will take pride of place”.

Mark Regan, president of the Upper Great Southern Hockey Association in WA, is looking forward to displaying his Dwyer300 artwork proudly in his office alongside a number of other items of memorabilia he has collected.

The winner of the third piece tells us he is looking forward to showing it off on his office wall, too.

There is still plenty of time to get your bid in on one of the remaining items with the bidding set to close at 7:00pm AEST on Sunday.

** CLICK HERE TO TAKE A PEAK AT THE BIDDING **


For further information and for terms & conditions visit the Hockey Australia auction site here.

About the auction
All bids and transactions are in Australian Dollars. International delivery is available on winning bids.
Each piece has black matting with a gold frame and the print inside is A1 (841mm high x 594mm wide).

About Beyond Blue
Most Australians have had some experience with anxiety, depression or a related disorder, whether they've experienced it themselves or had family, friends or work colleagues go through it. beyondblue’s work is aimed at achieving an Australian community that understands depression and anxiety, empowering all Australians, at any life-stage, to seek help. Find out more at www.beyondblue.org.au.

Hockey Australia media release