News for 03 October 2013

All the news for Thursday 3 October 2013

Tight at the top in Men's AHL

Results on day four mean it's a three way fight for the final

Match reports prepared by Sean Munaweera

Pool D: SA 4 def WA 3

SA Hotshots goals: Tom Wickham 6m FG, Tom Wickham 17m FG, Cameron Joyce 35m PC, Glyn Tamlin 51m PC
WA Thundersticks goals: Craig Boyne 40m FG, Sam Pike 43m FG, Grant Schubert 48m FG

SA Hotshots fire up in a big way to score a 4-3 win against WA Thundersticks in the opening match of day four of competition at the 2013 AHL championships.
There was a lot of feeling in this match as both sides moved the ball quickly in the opening minutes. The Hotshots were awarded with the first penalty corner of the day but were unable to convert. SA was able to simply waltz into their attacking circle with minimal pressure and Tom Wickham made the Thundersticks pay with the first goal of the afternoon.

Altering the momentum of the match WA tightened up their defense and maintained loose numbers to assist in clearing the ball. The Hotshots were able to get more players around the ball which allowed for multiple options in order to attack.

It then became déjà vu for WA as Tom Wickham was given far too much space and scored for his second of the afternoon. With SA leading 2-0 it was not out of the question that WA could regroup and try and surge forward to score.

Unfortunately for the Thundersticks they were not giving themselves quality opportunity to score. The Hotshots on the other hand were solid in defence. A show of true sportsmanship from WA was displayed when a shot that entered the goals was disallowed due to it originating from the wrong side of the stick.

The rain started to pour down but that did not cool down the impressive performance of the Hotshots as they converted a penalty corner to go into the halftime break leading 3-0. With this scoreline it was going to be interesting to see how the Thundersticks would respond.

A completely new team came out in the second half with a sensational comeback on the cards for WA. Three goals in eight minutes to the Thundersticks and it was game on. Craig Boyne, Sam Pike and Grant Schubert got their team back into the game and looked set for an amazing comeback as WA became more adventurous with their passing and gave themselves the opportunity to score in quick succession.

However, completely against the run of play the Hotshots won a penalty corner which they converted. SA captain Glyn Tamlin stepped up to convert the penalty corner with a smart deflection from the post. Although it had stopped raining water it was well and truly raining goals with scores now 4-3 to SA.

The match was now delicately poised as both sides had plenty of the ball. It was end to end for ten minutes and trailing by one goal the Thundersticks played the final five minutes without a keeper. It did not make a difference in the end with SA holding on for a memorable win against WA 4-3.  

The result means that WA will certainly contest the seventh/eighth playoff on Saturday, irrespective of their result on Friday.

Pool D: NT 2 draw with TAS 2

NT Stingers goals: Jamie Hullick 12m FG, Jamie Hullick 57m FG
TAS Tigers goals: Eddie Ockenden 44m FG, Eddie Ockenden 55m FG

NT Stingers and the TAS Tigers settle for a 2 – 2 draw in a quality match at the State Hockey Centre.

The TAS Tigers started very well with clean and crisp passing that may have caught the NT Stingers off guard. With a great run and drive from the midfield the Tigers were able to transition the ball effectively which resulted in the first penalty corner of the match.

TAS were happy not to pass into the midfield and instead opted to use the wings and switch consistently. There was a strong notion of unpredictability about the Tigers game plan which put NT on the back foot. The Stingers defenders were had plenty of the ball as the Tigers continued to press up and attack.

But the counter attack proved to be savior for the Stingers as they used the open space to position themselves and score thanks to a diving deflection from Jamie Hullick. TAS were trying to play on at every opportunity to see if they could manufacture space. This was unfortunately landing them into the brick wall that was the NT defence.

The rest of the first half was fairly even with both sides winning penalty corners and an opportunity to score. TAS squandered an opportunity to level the scores before half time and were again denied. The first five minutes of the second half was mostly played in the attacking half of the Tigers. With not many chances to level the Tigers continued to press and lock the ball in.

This game was signifying the importance of taking your opportunities and the Stingers clearly had done just that with still the only goal for the game. Eddie Ockenden then took it upon himself to break the trend and score to make the remainder of the match very intriguing.

TAS had a golden opportunity to edge ahead, at one point completely outnumbering the Stingers, but they blew the chance to score.  Both teams started to use the counter attack to catch the other off guard but were unable to take advantage.

An amazing solo effort by Eddie Ockenden put TAS ahead but the celebrations for a fantastic effort was short lived as NT in the blink of an eye scored thanks to a second goal from Jamie Hullick.  The emotions were running high as a heated exchange from both teams saw Tiger Nick Budgeon yellow carded.

With a final roll of the dice both sides were trying to find a goal and it was NT trying hard in the congestion but in the end they had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Pool C: ACT 2 def NSW 1

ACT Lakers goals: Matthew Hotchkis 45m PC, Troy Sutherland 65m FG
NSW Waratahs goals: Mark Paterson 52m PC

ACT Lakers get back on the winners list with a gutsy win against the NSW Waratahs 2-1.

After an impressive display in the opening two games it seemed as if ACT's Kookaburra Glenn Turner was again poised for a big match. NSW were watching him closely but on a number of occasions he was able to break free and look dangerous. 

11 minutes into the game and NSW had been awarded with three consecutive penalty corners in addition to having numerous opportunities in the attacking circle but the match remained goalless. The Lakers were let off the hook and slowly tightened their defense. NSW though were struggling with their penalty corner trapping and could not properly take advantage of such an important reward.

Long runs down the wing for ACT were followed by great clearance work from the Waratahs. When NSW were able to run forward they would drift to the wing to try and create space in the middle. This tactic was great in theory but hard to put into practice and score.

It was a game of penalty corners as both teams had a host of chances to utilise them. But poor execution coupled with perceived pressure saw the Lakers and the Waratahs enter the halftime break 0-0. A big second half was required as the winner would draw a lot of confidence leading into the next day of competition.

ACT finally converted their first penalty corner of the second half thanks to Matthew Hotchkis. NSW would surely have been seething at this point as they had eight penalty corners with no luck of their own. There was still plenty of time for the Waratahs to get on the scoreboard but judging from recent form it would have to come from a field goal.

However, persistence pays off. NSW with their ninth penalty corner of the match were able to take advantage of one of the oldest tricks in the book. Pusher Mark Paterson sidestepped casually to the post and was rewarded with an easy put away and more importantly a leveler.

A herculean effort from the Lakers goalkeeper ensured that the scores remained tied at 1-1 with ten minutes to play. Play began to move from end to end until a miracle strike from an impossible angle by Troy Sutherland put the Lakers back in front.

In a last ditch effort a desperate penalty corner gave NSW one final chance to score but it was not their night as ACT held on for well-deserved victory.

The result rules NSW out of a top two spot and a place in the men's AHL final while the hopes of ACT are alive going into Friday's final Pool C matches.

Pool C: QLD 2 draw with VIC 2

QLD Blades goals: Dylan Wotherspoon 5m FG, Robert Hammond 35m PC
VIC Vikings goals: Adam Seccull 17m PC, Russell Ford 68m FG

The final match of the night lived up to all expectation with a close contest as the VIC Vikings and QLD Blades drew 2 -2.

This match did not disappoint. The Vikings and the Blades had both topped their pools and were facing each other in the feature match of the night. In what many expected to be the prelude to the final the Blades exploded from the first whistle and dominated possession early.

With the Vikings attempting to launch a counter attack they were unable to get out of defence effectively.  This happened on a few occasions and with poor execution coming out of the Vikings' defence Dylan Wotherspoon from the Blades made them pay for their untidy passing.

Needing a lift VIC maintained possession and were awarded a penalty corner thanks largely to James Webster.  Chris Ciriello prepared to drag flick the Vikings’ first penalty corner and did indeed power it into the keeper with Adam Seccull easily mopping up and leveling the match.

The ball was spending limited time in the midfield with both teams quickly transitioning to their attacking zones. The Vikings would hold up play in an attempt to break the QLD momentum but the quality of the Blades was relishing the opportunity to get into position.

In the dying stages of the half two consecutive penalty corners saw two completely different tactics and Queenslander Robert Hammond made one of them count.  QLD went into the halftime break leading 2-1.

The rain began to fall and sounds became deafening from the sidelines. QLD began to switch consistently to get the Vikings players out of position. It was an even beginning to the second half and the players would come off the pitch exhausted.

“Possession” was being yelled from the sidelines by the Vikings as it was a general consensus that they were rushing once in control of the ball.  As such, attack would turn too quickly into defense. QLD were rock solid defensively in the second half and were constantly nullifying the Victorians' lob passing.

The pressure of the situation was being felt both the Vikings and the Blades. Late in the game, Russell Ford found space in the attacking circle and dramatically scored in the dying minutes to salvage a draw from a match that was almost certain to be won by the Blades.

The result means that both Victoria and Queensland can still finish in the top two of Pool C and earn a place in Saturday's final. ACT is the other team still in contention for a place in the final.

Men’s cross-overs – Friday 4th October 2013 (Melbourne)
11:30am – SA (4th Pool A) v TAS (3rd Pool B)
13:30pm – NT (3rd Pool A) v WA (4th Pool B)
15:30pm – QLD (1st Pool A) v ACT (2nd Pool B)
17:30pm – NSW (2nd Pool A) v VIC (1st Pool B)

For all ladder standings please refer to the IMG SportsDesq portal.

Watch every Men's AHL match live online here.

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Hockey Australia media release

WA, QLD & NSW in three way contest for Final spot

One round of pool matches remain and all at stake

Match summaries prepared by Sonia Taylor.

Pool D: NT 3 def TAS 2

NT goals: Brooke Peris 18m FG; Danielle Sutherland 67m FG; Ashleigh Morrison 70m FG
TAS goals: Emily Divin 45m PC, FG 68th min

A last minute goal by Ashleigh Morrison gave the NT Pearls a 3-2 win over the Tasmanian Van Demons in an frenetic end to the game.

In cold and damp conditions both teams started the game cautiously, with both teams having goals ruled out for fouls being the early highlights.

The Pearls made the breakthrough in the 18th minute after Brooke Peris followed up Jodie Cliffe’s saved shot to easily score.

Peris should have doubled her tally and the Pearls lead when she found herself in on goal but she shot wide.

The Van Demons had the opportunity to equalise when they were presented with two penalty corners in quick succession, but they weren’t able to convert their opportunities and went into the half time break a goal down.

The Van Demons began to pressure the Peals defence upon the resumption of the game and were rewarded for their efforts after Emily Divin got on the end of Sofie Mcleod’s drag flick off their third penalty corner of the game.

In the 53rd minute the Pearls should have regained their lead when Candice Olivieri broke free of the Tasmanian defence but her shot was well saved by Amelia Gibson.

Tasmania began to push more and were presented with opportunities to score through two penalty corners, but despite their best efforts they couldn’t take the lead.

Hockeyroo Peris made them pay for not taking their chances when she scored her second of the game after finding herself with space in the circle and her high shot gave Gibson no chance of stopping it.

The Van Demons weren’t out of the game though, and equalised moments later after Brigit Ikin’s shot was touched in by Emily Divin to give the host team hope of salvaging something from the game.

But with time running down, the Pearls broke Tasmanian hearts after Olivieri found Ashleigh Morrison all by herself in the circle and she tapped the ball into the goal to cap off a thrilling end to the game.

Pool D: VIC 2 def SA 1

VIC goals: Laura Desmet 3m FG; Stacia Joseph 50m PS
SA goals: Jane Claxton 37m FG

The Victorian Vipers came out strongly to dominate the South Australian Southern Suns for the majority of the first half and eventually won the game 2-1.

The Victorian Vipers' first goal came very early, in the third minute, after putting considerable pressure on SA; a defensive error resulted in the ball being knocked into the goal by Laura Desmet.

Victoria continued through the remainder of the first half to put SA under pressure. SA struggled to put together an attack and despite a few good passages of play were unable to get past the strong Victorian defence.

SA came out strongly at the beginning of the second half which enabled captain Jane Claxton to put a screamer of a shot past the Vipers goalkeeper to equalise the game in the 37th minute. The game continued end to end with both teams defending well. 

A penalty stroke was awarded to Victorian Vipers in the 50th minute after the ball hit a defender's foot and Stacia Joseph slotted her shot low left to give Victoria a 2-1 lead.  SA retaliated quickly to earn a corner but Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachel Lynch made excellent save on a great corner deflection shot.

SA camped in the Victorians' half for a good ten minutes but were once again unable to convert any shots at goal.  The Vipers were certainly the winners of the game, looking a lot sharper throughout the game. Their place in Saturday's fifth place playoff is almost secure as they require just a draw from their final pool match against Northern Territory. Depending on the SA v TAS result, even a defeat may not be enough to prevent the Victorian women fighting for fifth.

Pool C: NSW 3 def ACT 1

NSW goals: Kellie White 21m FG, 28m PC; Emily Hurtz 46m FG
ACT goals: Jenna Cartwright 4m FG

What started out as an enthralling tight encounter ended up being a comfortable win to the NSW Arrows.

The ACT Strikers lived up to their name in the opening minutes with Jenna Cartwright weaving her way through the NSW defence to put the first score on the board. This galvanised the Arrows into action but a tight first half with very few shots on goal ensued.  

The Strikers were looking more creative including Anna Flanagan throwing her trademark overheads to her fast moving strikers, while the Arrows appeared to be following their game plan. 

The fast flowing midfield battle for the remainder of the half was eventually won by the Arrows when Kellie White scored a sensational but textbook tomahawk goal from the left, high out of the keeper's reach to the top right of the net. This locked the score at one apiece at the break.

Stern words must have been said as the Arrows came out firing and within minutes earned a corner and took the lead with Kellie White scoring her second goal of the match.

The Arrows' third goal came after pressure on the ACT defence allowed to ball to spill to Mathlida Carmichael on top of the circle who cleverly passed forward to Emily Hurtz who gave NSW a 3-1 lead.

NSW grew in confidence while the ACT appeared to flag a little. The Strikers' defenders Kate Gilmore and Edwina Bone worked tirelessly to repel the NSW attack and drive the ball back into their attacking half but Kyah Gray was equally effective in the same job for the Arrows.

A disallowed penalty corner goal to the Arrows was in the end a moot point in the end.

The defeat means that ACT cannot reach the top two and a place in the final no matter their result in Friday's final pool match while NSW are one of three teams still in with a chance, alongside QLD and WA.

Pool C: QLD 1 def WA 0

QLD goals: Steph Kershaw 56m FG

The wind that had been blowing all day with intermittent rain had died down and the temperature was 10 degrees as the game started and both teams started hard and fast.

The QLD Scorchers pressured the WA Diamonds’ defence in the circle but were unable to get a clear opportunity to shoot at goal. A penalty corner was awarded in the eighth minute to QLD for a trip on Jordyn Holzberger outside the circle. Jodie Schulz’s drag flick was saved by WA goalkeeper Ashlee Wells, a rebound shot by Madonna Blyth was saved again by Wells and a third shot by QLD flew over the back line to take the pressure of WA.

Both teams battled and the ball went end to end being moved in some beautiful passages of play. WA had a number of opportunities with the ball being put across the face of the QLD goal to no avail.
As the pace picked up, QLD looked a little disorganised and struggled to keep possession of the ball. Steph Kershaw earned QLD a penalty corner in the 34th minute and again a low drag flick by Jodie Schulz was saved with force by Ashlee Wells.

The game continued after half time much the same way with QLD applying constant pressure to WA in the circle. Dogged defence by WA kept the Scorchers from scoring.

A mistrap by Jodie Schulz outside the WA attaching circle gave Jess Esselmont a chance for a backstick shot at goal but it was saved by Audrey Smith. Another shot by WA seconds later on the QLD goal hit the crossbar and WA should have capitalised on their assault at this time.

QLD was again awarded another penalty corner but  saved yet again by Ashlee Wells. As the rain started to fall and the temperature dropped both teams battled without any clear opportunities to score. 

However, a shot by Jordyn Holzberger and a rebound shot by Steph Kershaw clinched Queensland a goal in the 56th minute to win the game.  A hard fast skillful game which was exciting to watch.

The result means that Queensland and Western Australia can both still finish in the top two of Pool C and with it, qualify for a place in Saturday's final.

Women’s cross-overs – Friday 4th October 2013 (Hobart)
11:00am – TAS (4th Pool A) v SA (3rd Pool B)
13:00pm – VIC (3rd Pool A) v NT (4th Pool B)
15:00pm – WA (1st Pool A) v NSW (2nd Pool B)
17:00pm – ACT (2nd Pool A) v QLD (1st Pool B)

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For all ladder standings please refer to the IMG SportsDesq portal.

Hockey Australia media release

Surbiton face leaders Beeston

Beeston v EG Sept 2013

THE only two unbeaten teams remaining in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, second-placed Surbiton take on leaders Beeston on Sunday.

Last season’s champions Beeston proved too strong for East Grinstead last weekend, and they will want to preserve their 100 per cent record when they entertain the London side at Highfields.

For their part, Surbiton dropped their first points last weekend when they fought from two goals down at half time to salvage a point from a 2-2 draw against Wimbledon.

And with both Beeston and Surbiton playing in the Euro Hockey League in a week, this Sunday’s clash will give both teams one final chance to hone their skills prior to travelling to Barcelona.

“We may use one or two players who need to get up to speed in preparation for Europe,” said Beeston manager Graham Griffiths. “We’ve got a squad of 18 going to Barcelona, so it’s important to give game time to as many as possible.

“But we also recognise that the game against Surbiton is important. We don’t want to risk our 100 per cent record. We’ve had such a tough start with Reading, East Grinstead and Surbiton, but it’s been great preparation for Europe for us.”

Meanwhile, Surbiton Manager James Lloyd said: “We’ve played Beeston many times and we know each other inside out. There’s not a lot of analysis to be done. We are approaching this game just like any other.”

Elsewhere, East Grinstead will be aiming to get back to winning ways after their defeat by Beeston with a trip to Hampstead and Westminster, while Reading go to Wimbledon on the back of two good wins last weekend – over Cannock in the league and Oxford Hawks in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup.

Loughborough Students play host to a Sheffield Hallam side who are still looking for their first points, but who have battled well in their first three matches. And Cannock host Canterbury as they look for their first win.

In the NOW: Pensions Conference East, leaders Southgate will be aiming for a fourth consecutive win when they entertain Richmond. And in-form Holcombe will also be looking to preserve a 100 per cent record as they head to Teddington.

Table-topping University of Durham host Leek in the NOW: Pensions Conference North, while the other unbeaten team, Bowdon, entertain Khalsa (Warks).

Cardiff & Met will be looking for preserve their 100 per cent record in the NOW: Pensions Conference West when they play University of Birmingham at Sophie Gardens.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, October 6 2013)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division

Beeston v Surbiton 14:00
Cannock v Canterbury 14:00
Hampstead & Westminster v East Grinstead 14:00
Loughborough Students v Sheffield Hallam 14:00
Wimbledon v Reading 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Brighton and Hove v St Albans 13:00
Cambridge City v Oxted 12:30
Old Loughtonians v Bromley & Beckenham 14:30
Southgate v Richmond 13:30
Teddington v Holcombe 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Belper v Brooklands MU 14:00
Bowdon v Khalsa (Warks) 14:30
Deeside Ramblers v West Bridgford 13:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Wakefield 13:30
Univ of Durham v Leek 13:30

NOW: Pensions Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Univ of Birmingham 13:00
Cheltenham v Fareham 12:30
Guildford v Isca 12:00
Havant v Indian Gymkhana 14:00
Univ of Exeter v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:30

England Hockey Board Media release

Surbiton target Leicester in Investec Premier Division

Surbiton 2012-13

Second-placed Surbiton have leaders Canterbury in their sights in the Investec Women’s Premier Division – but they face a tough clash with Leicester on Saturday.

Leicester beat Surbiton on penalties in the Championship semi finals at the end of last season. But having scored 16 goals in their first three games this season, the London outfit could prove a handful for their Midlands rivals.

In other Investec Premier Division matches, Canterbury will be aiming to preserve their 100 per cent record when they entertain Sutton Coldfield, who have played well despite losing to Leicester (1-2) and Surbiton (1-3) in their last two matches.

Clifton travel to play an Olton and West Warwickshire side which has leaked 29 goals in their first three games.

Last season’s champions Reading are at home against University of Birmingham who are still to secure a point this season.

And Bowdon Hightown play host to Beeston at South Downs Road, and will be keen to get back to winning ways after last weekend’s narrow 1-0 loss to Canterbury.

Oxford Hawks could go top of the Investec Conference West if they beat leaders Buckingham at Banbury Road on Saturday – and the two are due to play each other again the following day in the Investec Women’s Cup.

In the Investec Conference North, leaders Wakefield are at home against third-placed Brooklands Poynton, while unbeaten University of Durham go to Doncaster.

And Holcombe - the only unbeaten team in the Investec Conference East – head to Chelmsford with the aim of continuing their great start to the season which has seen them score 17 goals and concede just one in the first three matches.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, October 5 2013)

Investec Premier Division

Bowdon Hightown v Beeston 13:45
Canterbury v Sutton Coldfield 11:45
Olton & West Warwicks v Clifton 12:00
Leicester v Surbiton 14:00
Reading v Univ of Birmingham 13:30

Investec Conference East
Chelmsford v Holcombe 14:00
East Grinstead v Old Loughtonians 14:30
Horsham v Harleston Magpies 12:00
Ipswich v St Albans 16:00
Sevenoaks v Wimbledon 17:00

Investec Conference North
Ben Rhydding v Loughborough Students 13:30
Boots v Whitley Bay & Tynemouth 12:30
Doncaster v Univ of Durham 12:00
Kendal v Stourport 12:30
Wakefield v Brooklands Poynton 13:30

Investec Conference West
Barnes v Gloucester City 12:00
Bristol Firebrands v Exe 12:00
Isca v Slough 12:30
Oxford Hawks v Buckingham 17:00
Trojans v Swansea City 12:00

England Hockey Board Media release

EHL promo event to take place in Barcelona

(Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)

In less than two weeks’ time, the seventh edition of the Euro Hockey League gets underway in beautiful Barcelona, one of the most iconic cities in the world.

To mark the occasion, the EHL is pleased to announce that a special promotional event will be taking place this weekend in the very heart of the city. The showpiece takes place in the stunning Passeig Lluis Companys, next to the city’s famous Arc de Triomf, this Saturday.

Between 11am and 6pm, people in the city will have the opportunity to witness junior demonstration games on specially laid mini pitches, with local hockey clubs RC Polo, FC Barcelona and Catalonia HC supplying teams containing players aged between nine and twelve.  The event, which is being run by the Catalan Hockey Federation, will also give spectators the chance to pick up a stick and try the sport for themselves.

The EHL will also be giving away special vouchers to a lucky few which will allow standard Round 1.1 day ticket holders the chance to bring a child aged between 6 and 16 to the tournament completely free of charge.  It should be a fantastic day, so if you are in the area, be sure to check it out. 

Euro Hockey League’s Round 1.1 Barcelona tournament will be playedat the Complex Esportiu Municipal Pau Negre-Parc del Migdia between Friday 11 and Sunday 13 October.

The competition features some of the EHL’s stand-out teams including Dutch giants Oranje Zwart, English champions Beeston, current German league leaders Harvestehuder and KHC Dragons, the Belgian outfit that claimed the EHL silver medal in 2012-13 season.

A total of 12 teams will compete in four pools, all hoping to secure one of eight available places at Easter’s thrilling KO16 event. A further 12 teams will be in action at Round 1.2 Lille, which takes place between Friday 25 and Sunday 27 October.

Tickets for both events are available for purchase right now. To purchase your tickets, click here!

Euro Hockey League media release

Oltmans sees a lot of changes coming

- FILE PHOTO Roelant Oltmans.

He was keen to but could not accompany the junior team for the Sultan of Johor Cup but Hockey India’s High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans is not upset. India’s dominant performance in the competition that ended with a crushing win in the final has given him confidence ahead of the junior World Cup in December.

“Of course I am happy with the team, but we all know that this is a strong age-group team for a competition like this. In fact, some of the players in this age were not there in Malaysia so the team will become even stronger before the junior World Cup,” he said on the day the team returned.

Oltmans, however, was quick to refute any assumption that there was much to improve if India hoped to do better than its disappointing ninth-place finish in the previous edition and repeat 2001 — when India won its maiden junior World Cup title.

“There are areas to improve. Penalty corners, that is very clear. Purely going by numbers, the conversion rate may have been disappointing. But how much of it was genuine (missing of chances) and how much was deliberate (hiding by the team and the staff) is difficult to say!

“What we have to remember is that everything is on video now, everyone is following you closely. Sometimes you have to keep some secrets for the main moment, and the main moment is only the World Cup,” he said.

The Dutchman was also impressed with captain Manpreet Singh, saying he was definitely going to lead the team at the World Cup in December — to be held in India. “He is smart, intelligent, hard working and leads through performance. He is definitely a future leader in the making,” Oltmans said.

The HPD will sit with the other coaches to plan the team’s training and schedule for the next two months, knowing well that chief coach Gregg Clark’s contract ends after the junior World Cup. “Yes, yes. There will be a completely new set up,” he said.

The Hindu

HI congratulates Rani for winning Young Achiever's award

NEW DELHI: Hockey India on Wednesday congratulated women's team striker Rani Rampal for winning the TiE Aspire Young Achiever's award.

Rani, who was the vice-captain of the Junior National team in the recent seventh FIH Junior Women's World Cup, played a crucial role in India's bronze medal-winning feat in Germany and was also declared the best player of the tournament.

The individual award in the Junior World Cup was the fourth time Rani had received any such recognition in an international tournament and is the only Indian female player to be nominated as FIH Best Young Player of the Tournament at the women's hockey World Cup in 2010.

Rani was nominated to the Asian All Stars Team and FIH All Stars Team, both in 2010. She was also the top goal scorer in the FIH World League Round 2 held here earlier this year.

"Her dedication and tireless effort to play hockey and achieve glorious success at this young age is a motivation for budding hockey players of our nation," HI secretary general Narinder Batra said in a statement congratulting Rani.

Rani added: "I am very happy for winning this award and this is the best phase of my life. I would like to thank my parents, coaches and Hockey India for their contribution in my game. Playing for my country is a complete honour and I will continue to work hard to win more games for my team in the coming years."

The 19-year-old Rani, who made her international debut in 2008, had completed 100 international caps against hosts Malaysia in the recently-concluded eighth Women's Asia Cup at Kuala Lumpur.

The Times of India

Haryana’s award-winning goalie awaits job

Sushil Manav

Sirsa - Indian women hockey team’s award-winning goalkeeper Savita Punia (23) is without a job. Punia was adjudged the best goalkeeper in the 8th Asia Cup Hockey that concluded in Kuala Lumpur on September 27.

She was instrumental in India’s victory over China in the playoff as she stopped a crucial penalty stroke in the sudden death to clinch a bronze medal for the country.

Punia, daughter of pharmacist Mahender Punia and resident of Jodhka village in Sirsa, was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the tournament owing to her overall performance.

Back from Kuala Lumpur, Savita is now preparing for the fixtures ahead and dreams of seeing India qualify for the Olympics. Punia has so far made 57 international and 27 test appearances.

She was also part of the squad that won a silver medal in the 7th Women’s Asia Cup at Bangkok in 2009. The same year, her team won a gold medal in the 1st Women’s Champion Challenge II at Kazan, Russia.

“I am fortunate to be from Haryana, which has been providing good facilities to sportspersons. Players from our state have been doing the country proud,” she says.

Sirsa’s pride


  • Savita Punia (23) was part of the Indian women hockey squad that won a bronze in the 8th Asia Cup Hockey in Kuala Lumpur recently
  • She was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the tournament
  • Punia made a crucial save in the playoff against China, clinching a bronze for India
  • Panchayats of Jodhka and neighbouring villages in Sirsa have written to the government seeking a job for Punia

The Tribune

Bhubaneswar could become an international hockey venue soon

Anirudha Mishra

BHUBANESWAR: Bhubaneswar is all set to become the newest venue for global tournaments after the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Wednesday said that the city has the required facilities to host mega events.

After inspecting the new artificial hockey turf at the Kalinga Stadium, FIH chief executive officer Kelly Fairweather however suggested that the stadium must develop a practice ground and install floodlights at the earliest to host 2014 Hockey India League (HIL) matches and international tournaments.

"It's a beautiful new stadium with nearly 10,000 spectator capacity. Though other facilities are fine, it needs a practice ground and the floodlights need to be set up soon to make it ready for international matches," said Fairweather, the leader of the five-member delegation.

"This is my first visit and I am impressed with the willingness and enthusiasm among the stadium staff and senior government officials here. I am glad to learn that the state has not only produced several world-class players, but people here also have a passion for hockey."

The other members of the delegation included Hockey India (HI) CEO Elena Norman, HI competition director Todd Flauds, FIH marketing adviser Mathew Osmin and Lokesh Sharma, MD TCM.

Norman, who had visited the stadium earlier on September 18, said, "The stadium, connectivity, swimming pool, galleries, press box and conference room facilities are really nice. I am satisfied with the progress and would be visiting the stadium after two weeks again."

State development commissioner Injeti Srinivas assured FIH and HI officials that the requisite land for the practice ground and auction for setting up the floodlights would be completed soon.

The Times of India

A labourer's 17-year-old son lives his hockey dream, promises more

Nitin Sharma

Rampal Singh, the father of Harjeet Singh Puli (right)

Chandigarh: Hours after reaching India from Malaysia on Monday, 17-year-old hockey player Harjeet Singh Puli was at the Kurali bus stand in Mohali, waiting for transport to go to his village Niholika. While he waited, Harjeet looked eagerly around, hoping to spot his father, Rampal Singh.

Rampal is a daily-wage labourer who does odd jobs in the small town near Chandigarh. He is sometimes found at the bus stand, carrying passengers' luggage. Harjeet wanted to show his father his biggest achievement yet: the trophy for the most promising player at the Sultan of Johor Cup under-21 hockey tournament held last week in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

India thrash Korea 6-1 in Johor Cup

India won the tournament final on Sunday, and the lanky centre half came away leaving a powerful impression with his stickwork.

"It is never easy to find my father in Kurali. He goes wherever he finds work, sometimes to construction sites. My elder brother Rajwinder Singh also works as a labourer when he's not playing hockey. My sister plays the game too, representing Chandigarh. My family borrowed money to buy me a kit, and one of our relatives pitched in. This trophy will bring joy to all of them," Harjeet said.

Harjeet started playing hockey in 2004 at Kurali's Gopal Hockey Academy before joining Surjeet Hockey Academy in Jalandhar in 2008. He was soon part of the Punjab junior team which won the junior national title in 2012 and 2013. Harjeet made his junior national debut in last year's Sultan of Johor Cup.

"I started as a forward but my coach at the Kurali academy advised me to play as a full back. At Surjit Academy, I often dreamt of becoming a full back like (the former India captain and Olympian) Surjit Singhji. But during the junior nationals last year, coaches Avtar Singh and Gurdev Singh advised me to play in the midfield. Manpreet, the junior skipper, also plays there, and has motivated me constantly," Harjeet said.

The move to the midfield paid off spectacularly. "He is one of the better centre halves in India currently," Baljit Singh Saini, coach of the national junior side, said.

"With his vision and quick thinking, he has the ability to control the game. This is a very important aspect for a centre half. He is a complete package: his passing, trapping, off-the-ball running is really good, better than most players his age. It is not surprising that he was chosen the best player of this tournament," Saini said.

Hockey India has announced an additional cash prize of Rs 1,00,000 for Harjeet, apart from the cash award of the same amount announced for all members of the victorious squad.

Harjeet plans to give some of the money to his father, and spend the rest on hockey sticks and shoes. "Most of our sticks break after a few days. The ones I use now were given by seniors. Now I hope to buy my own sticks," he said.

"My father does not know about the cash award yet, and he will be delighted. But then, tomorrow he will again be out, searching for work."

Indian Express

Spooky Nook Sports to hold public event to celebrate Womens National Team

MANHEIM, PA - Spooky Nook Sports will hold a public press conference on Tuesday, October 8 welcoming the USA Field Hockey Team to its new Home of Hockey. To further welcome the team, Spooky Nook is opening the press conference to the public. The event will take place inside the new phase two section of Spooky Nook named ‘The Field House at Spooky Nook’.

During the event, Spooky Nook will be offering tours of The Field House at Spooky Nook. Tours will include the 120’ x 205’ Sport Court and 120’ x 205‘ turf fields on level 1, the mezzanine level featuring the two 4,000 square feet group exercise rooms, USA Field Hockey’s office space and the outdoor turf field.

Immediately following this press conference, the team will start their first official practice on Spooky Nook’s new outdoor turf field. The Astroturf water-based field is a competitive field hockey pitch that will have stadium style seating. In addition to Spooky Nook programs, this field will serve as the primary field for the USA Field Hockey team.

The USA Field Hockey Team returned from the Pan American Cup in Mendoza, Argentina on September 30.  They are settling into their new office and training space which features a performance training center, home and away locker rooms, a hospitality suite overlooking the outside fields and a video analysis room. The team's new residence will bring new possibilities for their future success. Their relocation from Chula Vista, California brings many of the athletes back home to a majority of their families and also puts them in the middle of the field hockey community, along the East Coast.

"We are thrilled we have found a Home of Hockey and a place the U.S. Women's National Team will call home in Lancaster County," said Steve Locke, Executive Director of USA Field Hockey. "Nook Sports is one of the most spectacular athletic facilities in the country. The location is ideal as many of our athletes come from the east coast, especially the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia area. There is no doubt that this is a game changing moment for our sport. The Home of Hockey will provide us with a platform to best prepare our National Teams for success on the international stage and serve as a beacon and center of excellence for developing athletes of all ages."

The National Team is sure to bring buzz to the quiet area of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With a new coach and a revolutionary training facility, Team USA has officially commenced their Road to Rio.

USFHA media release

2014 National Indoor Qualifier Host Locations Announced

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey announced today the 21 host locations for the 2014 National Indoor Qualifiers. In order to earn a spot in the National Indoor Tournament, teams must attend an Indoor Qualifier. Throughout January and February there will be 10 Under-16 and 11 Under-19 Indoor Qualifying tournaments giving more than 400 indoor teams a chance to earn a spot in the 2014 National Indoor Tournament.

With the Under-12 and Under-14 National Indoor Tournament being a stand-alone event in 2014, USA Field Hockey is excited to present a new qualifying percentage for the tournaments. This year, both the Under-16 and Under-19 Indoor Qualifiers will enable the top 40 percent of teams to attend the National Indoor Tournament in March of 2014. This is a 10 percent increase from last year for the Under-16 division.

“Inviting additional Under-16 teams is an exciting opportunity for our member athletes, member clubs and college coaches,” said USA Field Hockey Membership and Events Coordinator, Emily Thomas. “This year we expect to see a lot of great recruiting going on at both tournaments.”

An online application process will be sent to coach members in the following week. Coaches will select their top three Indoor Qualifier locations per team, similar to year’s past. Full registration fees will be required upon application submission.

To view the list of Indoor Qualifiers, please see our National Indoor Tournament Qualifiers event page on

USFHA media release

Scottish Hockey launches new partnership with Byte Sports

Scottish Hockey is delighted to announce another new partnership with sports equipment supplier Byte Sports.

Byte Sports have agreed to provide a range of training equipment and accessories to our international programmes over the course of the next four years, including training balls, bibs, hurdles, and various other items used for performance training purposes.

You can also expect to see Byte Sports in our coach education courses taking place over the forthcoming four years.

Callum McLeod, Performance Manager, said, “We’re delighted to secure the backing of another key partner for Scottish Hockey. Byte Sports have been a supporter of the organisation for many years and it’s great to have their support for the forthcoming four years.

“With Byte Sports’ support, we can provide more training and equipment for our performance programmes and coaching courses as these both expand in frequency and volume. Under Billy McPherson, their Managing Director, we are in expert hands and his great depth of knowledge and expertise in hockey will be invaluable.”

Billy McPherson, Bytes Sports Managing Director, added, “It is a great privilege to be selected as a partner with Scottish Hockey. We will be working closely with Callum McLeod and his performance staff to provide a range of equipment to support their needs. We aim to support the coaching courses and develop coaching equipment for all levels too”.

For more information on Byte Sports and their products and services please visit the Byte Sports website.

Scottish Hockey Union media release


Scottish National Goalkeeping Academy Assessment Days for youth goalkeepers

Following the U18 & U16 Inter-District events last month, Scottish Hockey clubs are now being invited to nominate youth goalkeepers to attend the National Goalkeeping Academy Assessment Days at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on 17 and 18 October.

The sessions will run as follows:

Thursday 17 Oct, 9am-12pm - U16 Boys
Thursday 17 Oct, 1pm-4pm - U18 Boys
Friday 17 Oct, 9am-12pm - U16 Girls
Friday 17 Oct, 1pm-4pm - U18 Girls

All goalkeepers are asked to arrive at the venue at least 15 minutes before their start time.

Please ensure you have plenty of water/fluid as well as some small snacks as you will be on the pitch for the full three hours and the sessions will be fairly continuous with only short breaks.

It is also highly recommended that you bring at least one change of clothes as part of the assessment will be physical exercises on the pitch and athletes are likely to get wet on the water based surface.

Each three hour session will be split into three defined areas of assessment.

Fitness and Physical
Basic Goalkeeping Skills
Game Play and Multi-Saves

The intention of these sessions is to select between 5 and 6 goalkeepers at each age level who will be asked to be part of the new Goalkeeping Academy which is supported by Monarch Performance Hockey.

These players will be given monthly sessions working with the best goalkeeper specific coaches in the country giving them the best opportunity to represent their country.

The assessment days will also give the opportunity for the National Goalkeeping Coach to feedback to underage National Team Coaches about which goalkeepers could be included in National Team Programmes.

Goalkeepers who wish to attend should contact Graham Stuart via e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it confirming their attendance and providing the following details before Wednesday 9th October 2013

E-mail and Contact Number
Date of Birth

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Irish Hockey are now advertising for 5 LDOs

The IHA is seeking to hire five additional part-time Licensed Development Officers. The aim of the role is to supplement and support the existing development network with the goal of increasing participation. The LDO will work alongside the Regional Development Officer by providing IHA certified services to the hockey community.

The LDO will be an independent operator, trained and supported by the IHA, but operating as a separate business generating its own income. This is an opportunity for enterprising individuals to develop a part time or full time business to satisfy these demands. Successful individuals will be trained by the IHA and licensed to operate on their behalf. They will develop their business by working in local schools and clubs with the IHA providing ongoing support, further training in hockey and by referring opportunities to them. The intention is that the role will start in November 2013. Please go to this hyperlink for full information Job Details

Irish Hockey Association media release

FIH Appointments Process published for the first time

Appointments Committee reveals method behind the selection of event officials

(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Ever wondered who makes the decision to deploy tournament officials to FIH events all over the world?

This important responsibility is overseen by the FIH Appointments Committee, and they have just lifted the lid on how the process works by publishing a special document on the FIH website. 

In a quick-fire Q&A to mark the occasion, FIH.CH speaks to Willard P Harris, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, about the important role that his seven-strong team plays within the sport.

A link to the Appointments Process document can be found both at the bottom of this page and in the Appointments section of this website. 

FIH.CH: Hi Willard, thanks for talking to us. Firstly, can you give us a quick summary of what the FIH Appointments Committee is for?
Willard P Harris: “The chief objective of the FIH Appointments Committee is to appoint Technical Officials for outdoor and indoor hockey tournaments. This is something which is required by the FIH Chart of Responsibility as well as contracts with the hosts of tournament and our own policies and procedures. Technical Officials include Tournament Directors, Technical Officers, Judges, Medical and Media Officers, Umpires, Umpires Managers and Assistant Umpire Managers, all of which are essential to ensure the smooth running of our events.”

FIH.CH: How do you go about selecting people to fill the positions at each event?
WPH: “Nominations and their rationale are received from the Competitions and Umpiring Committees the Medical Advisory Panel. The appointments are made based upon set criteria which are appropriate to each particular type of tournament. These include things like the required quality of the panels, neutrality issues, the global spread of officials, development, education and many other factors including the cost implications for host organisers.”

FIH.CH: Are there a lot of tournaments to plan for?
WPH: “In short, yes! The Committee appoints to all FIH World Level events, including the Olympic Games, World Cups and all of the qualifying tournaments for those two pinnacle competitions. The Committee also oversees appointments for the new Hockey World League competition, Indoor World Cups, Junior World Cups, Champions Trophies, Champions Challenge l & ll, Youth Olympic Games as well as other multi-sports events such as the Commonwealth Games”

“We also cover FIH Invitational Tournaments and Inter-Continental Nations competitions which generally have between three and eight participating teams. We appoint Tournament Directors, Umpire Managers and Neutral Umpires as appropriate to the number of participating teams. In terms of the Continental Federation competitions which are qualifying tournaments for FIH World Level Events, the Committee will also appoint Tournament Directors, Umpires Managers and Neutral Umpires, as well as approving the nominations of other Technical Officials.”

FIH.CH: Who currently sits on the Committee?
WPH: “As well as myself, the current Committee members are Lyn Farrell from New Zealand, Brian Fernandez of Malaysia, Ghana’s Nii Quaye-Kumah, Horacio Servetto from Argentina, Ana Tuero of Spain and FIH Officials Manager Richard Wilson, who is the secretary of the Committee."

FIH.CH: Finally, what is the reasoning behind making the Appointments Process more transparent?
WPH: “The Committee feels that the transparency of the appointments process and procedures is extremely important to all of the sport’s stakeholders. We believe that publishing the FIH Appointments Process document on the FIH website is a major step forward in achieving this.”

Further information about the FIH Appointments Process can be found in a specially created document by clicking here. The document was approved by the FIH Executive Board on 9 June 2013.

FIH site