News for 21 August 2013

All the news for Wednesday 21 August 2013


Red Panthers secure historic top four finish in Europe

Netherlands, Germany and England complete semi-finalist quartet



Belgium defeated Ireland for a place in the semi-finals (Photo: EHF / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Tuesday was decision day for the women's competition in Boom, determining which teams would be semi-finalists and which teams would have to battle it out in the relegation pool. At the end of the day, Thursday's semi-finals were confirmed as Germany versus Belgium and Netherlands versus England. The relegation pool includes Ireland, Spain, Belarus and Scotland.

England – Scotland 2-1 (1-0)

England had qualification for the semi-finals in their own hands, with the ability to secure their ticket with a win in the first match of the day. Scotland proved a tough opponent however, fighting fiercely but missing the killer instinct in front of the goal. A goal less than two minutes from the break eventually gave England the halftime advantage after Hannah Macleod tipped a loose ball over the line.

Nikki Kidd finally was able to make a penalty corner count for Scotland, midway through the second half, to level the scores, but England reclaimed the lead only minutes later when Sam Quek pushed the ball over the line in a crowded circle. Scotland had a string of late chances but ran out of time. England had thus secured their place in the semi-final independent of the result of the other Pool B match.

Spain – Germany 0-2 (0-0)

The subsequent encounter between Spain and Germany thus became a direct duel for the top four, with a slight edge for Germany for whom a draw was going to be sufficient. In an exciting, balanced battle over most of the 70 minutes, Germany had the better chances but were denied several times by a well-playing Maria Lopez de Eguilaz.

At the end of the day however, Germany prevailed, getting on the scoreboard with four minutes on the clock as Eileen Hoffmann deflected a penalty corner into the net. Little later, Lydia Haase piled on a last minute goal from another penalty corner effort for Germany's 2-0 win. The result put Germany in the semi-final and confined the Spanish girls to a non-top-four finish, their first since European Championships since 1999.

Ireland – Belgium 0-3 (0-1)

In Pool A, with the Netherlands confirmed as semi-finalists ahead of time, the match between Ireland and Belgium became the all-important clash. Belgium were going to come out on top with a win or draw, while Ireland needed to win.

Much to the delight of the sizeable crowds, after a balanced start, the Red Panthers soon took charge. Anouk Raes opened the scoring with a penalty corner goal in the 22nd minute, and the home team dominated the second half, scoring two more from set pieces through Anne-Sophie De Scheemaekere and Erica Coppey. Ireland's best chance came in the form of a penalty stroke, but Lisa Jacob could not make it count, hitting the post.

The Belgian women thus joined the Netherlands as Pool A's semi-finalists, a historic first: never before has a Belgian women's team made the top four in European Championships.

Netherlands - Belarus 7-0 (2-0)

The final game of the day was a one-sided affair as the defending European champions left the Belarussian team without a chance. A hattrick from Maartje Paumen, a double from Kim Lammers and a goal a piece from Sabine Mol and Roos Drost tallied up to a comprehensive 7-0 win. Their impressive pool stage performance of 3 wins without any goals conceded confirmed the Dutch women as top of Pool A and England's opponent in Thursday's semi-finals, leaving Germany to take on Belgium.

To follow the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in more detail, please visit www.trifinanceeurohockey2013.be or www.eurohockey.org.

FIH site



Ireland 0-3 Belgium (European Hockey Women)

Ireland's National Hockey Team (women) lost out on a semi final place at the Europeans when they lost 3-0 to host Belgium this evening in Boom.

Ireland's Electric Ireland team will be disappointed not to have secured a semi -final spot but they still have plenty to play for with a chance to finish one above their ranking in this tournament (ranked 6th).

Ireland started lively creating the first two attacks within the opening minute including a penalty corner but Audrey O'Flynn's drag skimmed wide. Ireland felt their first test on 9minutes when a bobbling ball forced Gray to stretch on the right to keep the effort out but a penalty corner ensued but an on form Nikki Symmons knocked it out the circle to keep the sides at nil all.

Belgium broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute with a penalty corner, when Raes took the ball out past the Irish first runner to clean strike blasting through to the Irish net, Ireland 0-1 Belgium. Despite both sides securing two penalty corners a piece no further conversions saw  Ireland trailing one nil at half time.

Belgium started strong in the second half securing the first of many penalty corners in the 41st minute but Emma Gray in goals showed fine form once again getting a glove to the shot to keep Ireland within a goal. De Vos for Belgium continued to cause problems for the Irish defence but a solid and brave defensive corner team from Ireland did not make it easy for the Belgians to convert.

Ireland looked to have a golden opportunity to level the sides when Anna O'Flanagan laid off to Alex Speers who upon rounding the keeper was taken out of it giving Lisa Jacob the chance to step up and take the stroke. The luck was not with the Irish today and Jacob was denied by the post and the Belgians breathed a sigh of relief to keep their narrow lead intact.

Belgium doubled their lead with a penalty corner dragging down the centre of the goal thanks to De Scheemakere's effort in the 56th minute. Belgium copper fastened their victory and place in the semi- finals in the 65th minute thanks to a goal from Coppey to make it 3-0.

Commenting after the match Coach Darren Smith was disappointed with the result but shifting his focus towards Thursday's game "We started the game playing some quite good hockey in the first half and we did some good things. But in the second half we didn't do as good a job as we would have liked; we rushed our outletting and turnover balls. As a result we had to absorb a lot of pressure and Belgium were able to pick off a few goals. We didn't do as good a job as we would have liked in this match and as a result the Belgians took the game away."

"We play Spain on Thursday in a very important match and we need to make sure we do well and play as effective as we can. It was a tough day today but we are looking forward playing on Thursday."

IRELAND 0 (0)
BELGIUM 3 (1)
Raes PC 23m; De Scheemakere PC 56m; Coppey PC 62m

Starting XI: Emma Gray; Alex Speers; Shirley McCay; Megan Frazer; Lisa Jacob; Nikki Symmons; Audrey O'Flynn; Chloe Watkins; Niamh Atcheler; Anna O'Flanagan; Gillian Pinder;
Reserves: Cliodhna Sargent; Emma Smyth; Niamh Small; Naomi Carroll; Nicola Gray; Grace O'Flanagan. Nicci Daly
Full Results http://www.trifinanceeurohockey2013.be/index.php?websitestructid=297

Irish Hockey Association media release



England Women beat Scotland to reach Semifinal


Maddie Hinch EuroHockey Championships England Scotland

England’s women have booked themselves a place in the EuroHockey Semi-Finals with a 2-1 victory over Scotland in their final Pool B match. It wasn’t the prettiest of performances, but the three points were secured thanks to goals either side of half-time from Hannah Macleod and Sam Quek. In the other Pool B match Germany maintained their 100% record in the tournament by beating Spain 2-0, which means that England have finished second.

Before the game Holcombe’s Laura Unsworth received flowers from England Hockey’s Performance Director, Danny Kerry, for achieving her 100th combined international cap.

The first half was a cagey affair and Scotland certainly created the better of the chances, however it was Hannah Macleod and England who registered on the scoreboard first. With just a minute to go before the break, Macleod got herself into a good position in front of goal and Reading’s Susie Gilbert hit a pin-point pass across the circle for Macleod to slot home past Amy Gibson in Scotland’s goal to take a 1-0 lead into the break.

Scotland came out fighting in the second half, giving their all to try and take something from the match, and they were duly rewarded in the 49th minute when Nikki Kidd scored from a penalty corner. The equaliser seemed to spur England into action and it took them just four minutes to get their lead back. This time it was a first senior international goal for Reading’s Sam Quek as she guided the ball home through Scottish defenders to make it 2-1.

With the victory secured England can look forward to semi-final on Thursday. Their opponents will be confirmed by the end of the day; however it is likely to be Holland if the remaining fixtures go by the form books.

Speaking after the game, England Head Coach, Jason Lee said, "I feel sorry for Scotland, I thought they were unlucky not to get anything out of the game today; they certainly had better chances than us. I think against Germany we had a poor result but played well and then today we were poor, but managed to take the three points and book ourselves a place in the semi-finals. We've got a sickness bug running through the camp with nearly all the girls suffering from it, so energy levels were very low today and we just had to do what we could to get through the game. Although as I say I do think Scotland played very well and I don't want to take anything away from them, I have no doubt they will be strong contenders in their remaining matches."

Looking ahead to the semi-finals on Thursday, Lee added, "We'll start again really, we've had an up and down time in the group stages, but this is the exciting part of the tournament now. I'm optimistic we can bring it together for the final two games and physically I'm sure we'll be in better shape by Thursday. If we do end up playing Holland, which at the moment would seem likely, it's great to have a chance in an environment like this to do something special, so it's exciting for us."

Adding her thoughts on the likely opposition of Belgium or the Netherlands, England forward Alex Danson said, "We never underestimate any of our opponents. Both Holland and Belgium are very skilful and threatening at corners. No matter who we play, we have a lot of faith and confidence in each other, and we just hope this might be the time we can make that final."

Commenting on the support they've been receiving from back home, Danson added, "It's been fantastic. We've noticed such a huge amount of support out here from everyone back in England, both on social media and people watching on the BBC. As a team we just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone, it really does make a difference."

Click here to read the full match report.

England’s semi-final will be on Thursday evening at either 17:00 or 19:30 (UK time). Watch it live on the BBC Red Button and Eurosport.

Meanwhile England’s men are in action tomorrow at 10:30 (UK time) against Ireland. Watch it live on the BBC Red Button and Eurosport.

England Hockey Board Media release



Scotland narrowly defeated despite towering performance against England


Nikki Kidd fires home Scotland's equalising goal against England. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

Despite a valiant and dominant performance, Scotland Senior Women were desperately unlucky to go down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of world number four England in the EuroHockey Nations Championships in Belgium today.

A second half penalty corner drag-flick from Scotland midfielder Nikki Kidd had deservedly cancelled out Hannah McLeod's opener for England on the stroke of half-time, but Samantha Quek netted the winning goal midway through the second period to leave the Scots disappointed at full-time.

The national side will now progress to the relegation pool beginning on Thursday, where two wins may be required to retain their place in the competition for 2015. Their likely opponents will be Ireland and Belarus.

Speaking to the BBC's reporter Ollie Williams, Scotland defender Emily Maguire said, "Maybe we'll look back and think it was a good performance, but we know we could have got something out of that game."

"We're not quite the finished article yet, we've got the finishing touches to put on things," said Maguire. "But now we've got two more really crucial matches to fight for our survival and I know we're going to go out there and give it everything."

"Maybe we'll look back and think it was a good performance, but we know we could have got something out of that game," said Scotland's Emily Maguire.

"We're not quite the finished article yet, we've got the finishing touches to put on things," said Maguire.

"But now we've got two more really crucial matches to fight for our survival and I know we're going to go out there and give it everything."


Scotland's Emily Maguire battles for the ball. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

It was England who started well in the opening stages, forcing a penalty corner that was well cleared by the Scottish defence in the second minute, while Scotland goalkeeper Amy Gibson had to be alert to deny both Alex Danson and Laura Unsworth in the eighth minute. England captain Kate Walsh dispatched a penalty corner attempt only sixty seconds later but it flashed wide of the target.

The Scots began to settle into the match however and Catriona Ralph forced England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch into a smart save from a penalty corner in the 12th minute. Two minutes later, good work from Vikki Bunce enabled Scotland to have another opportunity from the set-piece but again Hinch was alive to Ralph's attempt and the ball was cleared from the danger area.

Gibson was then called into action in the 16th minute to prevent a Scottish own goal as the ball bobbled toward the goal-line, before Kareena Marshall made an excellent defensive block from Walsh's penalty corner two minutes later to keep the score deadlocked at 0-0.

With England down to nine players following two green cards, Scotland started to dominate proceedings and chances fell to Emily Maguire, Nikki Kidd and Nikki Lloyd inside a three minute burst, only for Hinch again to prove England's saviour in goal.


Scotland's Emily Maguire in action against England. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

The England number one made her best save of the half to prevent Bunce and Ali Bell combining to open the scoring with a timely diving intervention to snuff out the Grove Menzieshill attacker.

With Scotland on top as the first half drew to close, England struck a cruel blow right on the stroke of half-time when Hannah McLeod turned in a cross at the back post to put her side 1-0 up at the interval, a goal that came very much against the run of play.

Nevertheless, Gordon Shepherd's side started the second half in determined mode and opportunities were carved out by Linda Clement and Lloyd as both players came close to giving Scotland an equalising goal.

Moreover, it was Hinch again who thwarted the Scots when she made a good block from Maguire's shot on target ten minutes into the second period.

The pressure on the England goal finally paid off in the 48th minute though when Walsh was penalised for use of a foot inside the circle. Up stepped Kidd to rifle home the resulting penalty corner past Hinch to put Scotland deservedly back on level terms at 1-1.


Emily Maguire celebrates with Scotland goalscorer Nikki Kidd. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

Unfortunately, the lead only lasted five minutes as England regained their one goal advantage. An English counter-attack ended up with Gibson saving well from the first attempt on target but Samantha Quek was quick to capitalise on the subsequent rebound and divert the ball into the left hand corner of the goal.

The Scots continued to exert pressure on the English defence, and were awarded four penalty corners in a row shortly afterwards, but a combination of Hinch and good defending denied both Ralph and Bunce from getting a second Scotland goal.

Nine minutes from time, striker Holly Cram thought she had restored parity when she turned in Bunce's cross from the right but the goal was chalked off by the umpires for illegal use of the foot.


Striker Holly Cram is convinced of her argument against her disllowed goal. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

With Scotland still in the ascendency as full-time approached, they had a massive opportunity to grab an equaliser right at the death when Bunce expertly created space for herself on the right flank, only for her dangerous cross to be missed by both Kidd and Lloyd with the goal at their mercy.

The full-time hooter sounded with Scotland's players and coaches knowing they had been desperately unlucky not to take anything from the match.


Defender Becky Merchant disappointed at the full-time hooter. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

For all Scotland's fixtures, results and pool position, please visit the EuroHockey 2013 website.

EuroHockey Nations Championship: Scotland (Kidd 48') 1-2 England (Macleod 35', Quek 53')

Scotland Senior Women: Amy Gibson (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Cochrane (Edinburgh University), Vikki Bunce (Dundee Wanderers), Morag McLellan (Clydesdale Western), Alison Bell (Grove Menzieshill), Catriona Ralph (Clydesdale Western), Samantha Judge (Edinburgh University), Holly Cram (Clydesdale Western), Linda Clement (Captain, Grove Menzieshill), Kareena Marshall (Western Wildcats), Leigh Fawcett (Grove Menzieshill), Rebecca Merchant (Edinburgh University), Nikki Kidd (Edinburgh University), Susan McGilveray (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Lloyd (Sevenoaks), Alison Howie (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Skrastin (Clydesdale Western), Emily Maguire (Reading).

Scottish Hockey Union media release



England make Sam Quek work of stubborn Scots

By Mike Haymonds



Sam Quek of England controls the ball during the Investec Hockey World League quarterfinal match

SAM QUEK was the match winner with her first senior international strike as England’s women struggled to beat a competitive Scotland 2-1 in their final pool game at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championship in Boom, Belgium.

The win clinched a semi-final place for England, who will meet the Netherlands tomorrow after their 7-0 defeat of Belarus.

Scotland, who lost all their games by a single goal, playing above expectations, face the relegation pool.

A large number of the England squad had been hit by a stomach disorder which could have been a factor in their below-par performance. But they still made a strong start, with Lily Owsley and Georgie Twigg coming close.

In a first half which they dominated, England made nothing of their three penalty corners.

But they took the lead two minutes before half-time when Susie Gilbert’s cross to the far post was deflected home by Hannah Macleod.

Alex Danson had an early chance for England, but from then on Scotland called the tune and deservedly equalised in the 49th minute, with a Nikki Kidd corner strike after England lost a video referral.

England’s reply, much against the run of play, came four minutes later when Quek, above, scored from close range. England had to withstand mounting pressure as Scotland won five penalty corners, but they just held on for the win.


England coach Jason Lee said Scotland played to a better standard

England coach Jason Lee said: “Scotland played to a better standard than we did and caused us a lot of trouble

“It’s ironic that we won without playing well while in our last game, against Germany, we lost after playing well.”

England’s men meet Ireland today in their final Pool B game, with both teams vying for a place in Friday’s semi-finals.

A draw will be enough for England, who beat Poland 5-2 and lost 2-1 to the Netherlands in their previous games.

Ireland lost 2-1 against Netherlands but beat Poland 4-2.

Daily Express



Illness strikes but England book Euro semi-final with Scotland win

Head coach Jason Lee is hopeful the effects of a sickness bug within the England camp will be gone by the time of their semi-final at the EuroHockey Championships in Belgium.


England’s women booked themselves a place in the last four with a 2-1 victory over Scotland – Hannah Macleod and Sam Quek scoring either side of half-time in the win.

Nikki Kidd equalised for Scotland from a penalty corner in the 49th minute but it was not enough as England claimed second in Pool B behind Germany, who went three from three.

Second place secured England a place in the semi-finals and, with a full day free before then, head coach Lee is confident they will be back 100 per-cent for Thursday.

“We've got a sickness bug running through the camp with nearly all the girls suffering from it, so energy levels were very low and we just had to do what we could to get through the game,” said Lee.

“Although I do think Scotland played very well and I don't want to take anything away from them, I have no doubt they will be strong contenders in their remaining matches.

"We'll start again really, we've had an up and down time in the group stages, but this is the exciting part of the tournament now.

“I'm optimistic we can bring it together for the final two games and physically I'm sure we'll be in better shape by Thursday.”

Eurosport



Dutch ace Van der Horst reaches caps milestone

200 appearances and counting for star midfielder



Robert van der Horst has represented the Netherlands 200 times, including in the 2010 World Cup (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Netherlands star Robert van der Horst had two reasons to celebrate on Monday. As well as captaining his team to a hard earned 2-1 triumph over England at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Boom (BEL), the brilliant Dutch midfielder also made his 200th senior appearance in the famous orange shirt.

"Every anniversary game that I have played so far has been against England and we have won all of those games, so I’m obviously very happy”, said Van der Horst to Reemt Borcherts of Hockey.nl.

When asked whether or not he was looking forward to facing England again for his 250th cap, Van der Horst replied: "Well, I don’t know if I get that number. We first look ahead to Wednesday, which will be number 201!"

To follow the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in more detail, please visit www.trifinanceeurohockey2013.be or www.eurohockey.org.

Hockey.nl

 



Buoyant starts for Southerns, Northerns, WP and North West in PE

JONATHAN COOK in Port Elizabeth



Nicolene Terblanche, captain of Northern Blues, on attack with fellow national player Kelly Madsen of KZN Raiders closing in during the Pretoria side's 5-2 win in the top-tier A Section on the opening day of the SA Interprovincial Tournament in Port Elizabeth Tuesday. Photo: SPORT ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY

THE opening day of the SA Interprovincial Women’s Hockey Tournament at the KC March Astro in Port Elizabeth Tuesday brought positive results in the top-tier A Section for reigning champs Southern Gauteng, 2013 finalists Western Province, last year’s bronze medallists Northern Blues, and the quality side from North West Province.

The star-studded Southerns line-up had to work hard to beat a spirited Eastern Province 2-0, the home team charged up by the support of their vociferous fans, classy Northern Blues thoroughly outplayed KZN Raiders 5-2, a purposeful WP came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to edge the inexperienced but willing Free State team 3-2, and the fleet-footed North West side out-ran a gutsy Border 7-3 after the score had been 3-2 to the Potchefstroom girls during the second half.

In the much-awaited battle of the Eastern Cape, Border meet EP at 6 pm Wednesday, while Southerns take on North West at 4 pm in an intriguing match-up. The other top-tier A Section matches see KZN Raiders determined to get off the mark against an equally fired-up Free State at 12 pm, and Western Province featuring in what should be a cracking match against a buoyant Northern Blues.

In the lower-tier B Section, the KZN derby between an upbeat Inland and a hurting Mynahs should warm things up in the 8 am “dawn patrol” encounter.

The cross-pool playoffs are on Friday with the finals on Saturday.

The SA Men’s IPT starts at Hartleyvale in Cape Town on Sunday.

TUESDAY RESULTS

A Section: Northern Blues 5 KZN Raiders 2; Western Province 3 Free State 2; North West 7 Border 3; Southern Gauteng 2 Eastern Province 0.

B Section: KZN Inland 8 SA Country Districts B 2; Mpumalanga 2 KZN Mynahs 1; Witwatersrand 7 SA Country Districts A 0; Southern Cape 0 EP Settlers 6.

WEDNESDAY FIXTURES
(KC March Astro unless stated)

A Section: KZN Raiders vs Free State (12 pm); Western Province vs Northern Blues (2 pm); Southern Gauteng vs North West (4 pm); Eastern Province vs Border (6 pm).

B Section: KZN Mynahs vs KZN Inland (8 am); Witwatersrand vs Southern Cape (10 am); SA Country Districts B vs Mpumalanga (Westering High School 2 pm); SA Country Districts A vs EP Settlers (8 pm).

SA Hockey Association media release



India skipper Sardar hospitalised

By AFTAR SINGH



India skipper and playmaker Sardar Singh in action at last year's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. Sardar is recovering from a throat infection and fighting to get fit in time for the Asia Cup.

KUALA LUMPUR: India hockey skipper Sardar Singh has been hospitalised in Ipoh due to a throat infection – and will be fighting against time to be fit for the Asia Cup, which begins in Ipoh on Saturday.

The Punjab-born midfielder, who was named the best player in Asia last year, was down with fever and was admitted to the Ipoh Specialist Centre on Monday.

The 27-year-old Sardar said that he thought it was just a minor problem “when I first felt some pain in my throat”.

“But it then became worse and I was hospitalised Monday with fever,”said Sardar, who has 170 international caps.

With Sardar hospitalised and four key forwards – Danish Mujtaba, SV Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi and Akashdeep Singh – absent, India will have a tough task trying to win the Asia Cup, which is their last chance to qualify for next year’s World Cup in The Hague, Holland.

Eight teams will feature in the Asia Cup and India will open their Group B campaign against Oman on Saturday. Their other matches are against defending champions South Korea (Aug 26) and Bangladesh (Aug 28).

Group A comprises Pakistan, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia.

The semi-finals will be on Aug 30 and final is on Sept 1.

Sardar, who is also the team’s playmaker, hopes to be able to recover in time to lead his team in the Asia Cup.

“Although we do not have the services of four key strikers, we hope to rise to the occasion and win the Asia Cup,” he said.

“But it won’t be easy because teams like Pakistan, South Korea and Malaysia will also be going all out to win the tournament and book a place in the World Cup.”

Eight-time Olympic champions India and neighbours Pakistan know that one of them could miss out on the World Cup for the first time since it began in 1971.

The India Squad

Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, P.T. Rao.

Defenders: V.R. Raghunath, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas, Kothajit Singh, Birendra Lakra, Gurmail Singh.

Midfielders: Sardar Singh (captain), Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Dharamvir Singh, S.K. Uthappa.

Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh, Nikin Thimmaiah.

The Star of Malaysia



Revington mum on last 2 players

By AFTAR SINGH



National hockey coach Paul Revington now says he will name the last two players for his Asia Cup squad on Wednesday.

KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey coach Paul Revington went back on his word to name the last two players to complete his 18-strong cast for the Asia Cup challenge Tuesday night.

Revington had said that he would name two players from these three – defender Mohd Azreen Rizal, midfielder Jivan Mohan and forward Mohd Ramadhan Rosli – after the friendly against India at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

But after the game, which ended 1-1, Revington said he would name the two players Wednesday.

The match is part of Malaysian team’s preparation for the Asia Cup, which begins Saturday.

The match was played in four halves – of 15 minutes each – and India took the lead in the first quarter.

Malaysia, however, equalised through forward Faizal Saari in the third quarter.

National assistant coach S. Arulselvaraj said that the match was played at a high tempo.

“It was a good warm-up match ... we can an expect tougher matches against Pakistan and Japan in the group stage of the Asia Cup,” he said.

“All 19 players, except for midfielder Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil, played in the friendly.”

The national team will play another friendly – against Oman – Thursday before opening their Group A campaign against Taiwan on Saturday.

Malaysia’s other matches are against Pakistan on Sunday and Japan on Aug 27.

The Star of Malaysia



Boon Huat's No 3 jersey to be rested

By S. RAMAGURU



A file photo of Chua Boon Huat who died in a car crash on Aug 1. His number three jersey will be rested for the Asia Cup.

KUALA LUMPUR: The number three jersey in the national hockey team will be “rested” for the Asia Cup which starts on Saturday in Ipoh.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) has agreed to the proposal to rest the jersey for the coming tournament in memory of the late Chua Boon Huat.

The national player was killed in a car crash on Aug 1 while with the team preparing for the Asia Cup.

MHC senior vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad said yesterday that the decision was taken by the president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah after their council meeting on Sunday.

“The president said it will be rested for the Asia Cup. As to the long term proposal to retire the number, he said it will be discussed further before any action is taken.

“We will ensure there is no number three in the team for the tournament in Ipoh as a mark of respect. We will also observe a one minute of silence before the match against Taiwan and wear the black armband,” he said.

The Asia Cup is an important tournament for all the top Asian teams as it is the door to make the cut for the 2014 World Cup.

“It is significant to note that the Asia Cup this year represents an important step for all Asian teams as winning it is a means to get to the World Cup Finals. So we can expect a tough outing in Ipoh and the matches should be exciting enough to bring in the fans.

“Our hopes are on the national team doing well and we call on the fans to come out in full support of our aim to be Asia’s number one,” he added.

The Star of Malaysia



Players prepared to face must-win scenario: Tahir

Mohammad Yaqoob


LAHORE: Pakistan hockey team’s coach Olympian Tahir Zaman said on Monday the boys were mentally prepared to accept the challenge of playing the upcoming Asia Cup under a ‘must-win’ situation, as the premier continental event is the very last chance only for green-shirts to make the 2014 World Cup.

“Maximum efforts were made during the training camp to make the players mentally strong to handle the pressure of a ‘must win’ scenario and we have succeeded in doing that,” Tahir said while talking to Dawn on Monday before the national squad left for Ipoh, Malaysia to feature in the Asia Cup.

Tahir, who replaced Hanif Khan after a dismal show by the national outfit in the FIH World Hockey League (WHL) where Pakistan faltered badly and wasted the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup, said it was now a great challenge for Pakistan to enter the mega event.

“We’ll have to play every match like a final in order to win the Asia Cup.”

“There is neither any room for complacency against any low-profile team nor of taking extra pressure in facing a strong opponent [in the Asia Cup],” the coach remarked.

Asked to pinpoint the departments he had worked on to remove the team’s flaws, Tahir said the penalty-corner ratio had improved.

“Furthermore, a ‘special work’ was also introduced to reduce the missing factor, which in the past deprived Pakistan of many victories.”

He said all the players were fit and eager to give their hundred per cent in the Asia Cup.

“Pakistan last clinched the Asia Cup way back in 1989. But recently we have shown improvement in the Asian region by winning the 2010 Asian Games and the Asia Champions Trophy. Therefore, I hope Pakistan will regain the Asia Cup title,” Tahir stated.

Dawn



Stockey ready to Celebrate Hockey

Rabobank Hockey World Cup mascot lands in The Hague



(Photo: Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014)

Stockey the stork is the official mascot of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014. The bird, with its characteristic beak, was recently welcomed in the Kyocera Stadium by The Hague city council alderman Karsten Klein. The tournament will take place in the stadium, home to football club ADO Den Haag, between May 31 and June15, 2014. Stockey will be touring the Netherlands during the run-up to the big event, to spread the word about this international festival of hockey.

Let’s celebrate hockey

The best 24 men and women’s teams in the world will compete for the World Cup in June 2014. Fifteen teams have already secured a place at the event (for more information on the confirmed qualifiers, please click here). The two-week event consists of 76 top flight matches but is more than just a sport showcase. Local hockey clubs and the city council have developed a wide range of complimentary activities, ranging from street tournaments and clinics to musical performances and culinary events. Fans from all over the world will be united under the motto ‘Let’s celebrate hockey’.

Stockey is welcome

The Hague alderman Karsten Klein, responsible for sport, youth and welfare, was the first to welcome Stockey on his arrival in The Hague. He was joined in the welcome committee by ADO Den Haag’s mascot Storky, as well as Dutch hockey internationals Naomi van As and Bob de Voogd.

‘We are proud such a great event as the Hockey World Cup is coming to The Hague,’ Klein said. ‘The Hague will be the hockey capital of the world for a few weeks and that is something to celebrate, not just inside the stadium, but outside with everyone from the city itself. It’s fantastic that Stockey has come to lend a hand. His cousin Storky has stolen our hearts – he was even given an official commendation last month. And having two storks in the Kyocera Stadium can only bring extra luck for all the participants.’

World Cup tram

Stockey was given a guided tour of the Kyocera Stadium, where preparations are already underway for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. During the summer football hiatus, the pitch has already been made ready for artificial turf. After the stadium tour, Stockey had a ride in the official World Cup tram. It has been painted World Cup colours and from now on will be part of the regular tram service in The Hague.

Dutch tour

World Cup mascot Stockey will be making guest appearances all over the Netherlands during the 2013-14 hockey season. He’ll be attending matches, clinics and other hockey events, drumming up support to ensure the Rabobank World Cup is a fantastic festival of hockey. He’ll also be working together with Dutch internationals to raise money for the youth sport charity Jeugdsportfonds. This is a charity which helps make the sporting dreams of children from less well-off families a reality. From November you will be able to buy a cuddly version of Stockey and part of the proceeds will go to the charity. You can check out Stockey’s plans on the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 website from the beginning of the new season.

The Rabobank Hockey World Cup for men and women takes place in the Kyocera Stadium in The Hague from May 31 to June 15, 2014. The Dutch hockey association KNHB is organising the event on behalf of the International Hockey Federation FIH in cooperation with the city of The Hague, the Dutch ministry of health, welfare and sport, main sponsor Rabobank and partners, sponsors and suppliers of the FIH and KNHB.

For more information about the tournament, ticket sales and the organisation, please go to www.rabobankhockeyworldcup2014.com. You can follow the latest news on Twitter: @RHWC2014.

Rabobank Hockey World Cup media release