News for 25 October 2013

All then news for Friday 25 October 2013


Ciriello hat-trick seals Kookaburras win

Melburnian treble, plus one from Dwyer, leads to 4-2 win over Pakistan


The Kookaburras concluded their preparations for next week’s Oceania Cup with a 4-2 win over Pakistan in Perth on Thursday evening.

Victorian Chris Ciriello was the star for the Kookaburras netting a hat-trick of penalty corners in a strong second half showing after Jamie Dwyer had given Australia an early lead.

Coach Graham Reid, standing in for Ric Charlesworth, felt it was something of a mixed performance from his side. “We started ok, we got the early goal and the first ten minutes went well. We were patient and moved the ball well but then we started to make it difficult for ourselves.

“The second half performance was much better. Again, we scored early and although there was a patch in the middle where we lost our way a bit and they pressed us we played really well after that and closed the game out.”

Speaking about the week’s Tests against Pakistan and Argentina, Reid added, “We’ve had two tough games against world class teams. Argentina have a lot of similarities to Pakistan, and a number of key differences, and Pakistan are always difficult to score against. Overall, we’re happy with the progress although we’re a little disappointed with tonight, but we’re looking forward to getting to New Zealand for the Oceania Cup.”

Five times world player of the year Jamie Dwyer got the Kookaburras off to the best possible start with a goal after just two minutes but it took until late in the second half for them to ensure victory through Ciriello’s goals.

Dwyer’s goal was the difference at the break and shortly after half time Ciriello doubled the Australian lead from a penalty corner set piece.

Muhammad Tousiq halved the deficit from the penalty spot midway through the first half before, minutes later, the Kookaburras looked to have been awarded a penalty stroke of their own much to the dismay of their opponents. The decision, however, was overturned for a penalty corner. It didn’t matter to Ciriello though; the powerful defender fired home for 3-1.

The Melburnian’s hat-trick came with two minutes remaining although there was still time for Pakistan to net a late consolation, Ammad Shakeel Butt pulling it back to 4-2 in the final minute.

There was more bad news for Pakistan, whose captain Muhammad Imran was taken to hospital for treatment to a facial injury after the ball struck him in the face.

The Kookaburras leave for Stratford on New Zealand’s north island on Saturday ahead of the Oceania Cup, which begins on Wednesday when Australia’s men take on Samoa. The Kookaburras’ match against New Zealand on Thursday 31 October will be streamed online.

KOOKABURRAS 4 (1)
Jamie Dwyer 2 (F)
Chris Ciriello 39,57,68 (PC,PC,PC)

PAKISTAN 2 (0)
Muhammad Tousiq 53 (PS)
Ammad Shakeel Butt 70 (PC)

Kookaburras Squad v Pakistan
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals
Started

Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 10/1
Matthew Butturini (Murwillumbah, NSW) 85/14
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 47/0
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 118/64
Liam De Young (c) (Brisbane, QLD) 286/34
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 304/193
Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA) 169/14
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 127/40
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 92/15
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 33/10
Jason Wilson (Kingscliff, QLD) 86/28

Substitutes Used
Russell Ford (Eltham, VIC) 131/54
Rob Hammond (Townville, QLD) 232/28
Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA) 4/0
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 186/48
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 5/0
Glenn Turner (Goulburn, ACT) 92/65
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 13/1

Oceania Cup Fixtures
Wednesday 30 October

09:30am (AEDT) / 11:30am (local) – Women – Papua New Guinea v Samoa
11:30am (AEDT) / 1:30pm (local) – Men – Kookaburras v Samoa
1:30pm (AEDT) / 3:30pm (local) – Men – New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
3:30pm (AEDT) / 5:30pm (local) – Women – New Zealand v Hockeyroos

Thursday 31 October
11:30am (AEDT) / 1:30pm (local) – Women – Hockeyroos v Samoa
1:30pm (AEDT) / 3:30pm (local) – Men – Papua New Guinea v Samoa
3:30pm (AEDT) / 5:30pm (local) – Women – New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
5:30pm (AEDT) / 7:30pm (local) – Men – New Zealand v Kookaburras

Saturday 2 November
6:00am (AEDT) / 8:00am (local) – Women – Hockeyroos v Papua New Guinea
8:00am (AEDT) / 10:00am (local) – Men – Kookaburras v Papua New Guinea
10:00am (AEDT) / 12:00pm (local) – Women – Samoa v New Zealand
12:00pm (AEDT) / 2:00pm (local) – Men – Samoa v New Zealand

Sunday 3 November
7:15am (AEDT) / 9:15am (local) – Women – 3rd v 4th playoff
9:30am (AEDT) / 11:30am (local) – Men – 3rd v 4th playoff
12:00pm (AEDT) / 2:00pm (local) – Women – Final
2:30pm (AEDT) / 4:30pm (local) – Men – Final

Hockey Australia media release



Hockeyroos Oceania Cup Squad

Peris and Carmichael earn call-ups for first senior international tour



Mathilda Carmichael earns a call up

The Hockeyroos squad for next week’s Oceania Cup in New Zealand has been announced.

Following strong performances in the recent test series in Perth, National Junior Squad athletes Brooke Peris (NT) and Mathilda Carmichael (NSW) (pictured above) have been called up to take part in their first overseas tour with the Hockeyroos. Both were members of the Jillaroos side that competed at the Junior World Cup in Germany in August.

23-year-old Kate Jenner (NSW) returns following recovery from a broken foot sustained during the Korean test series earlier in the year.  Jordyn Holzberger (QLD) is named on the back of her performances at the Junior World Cup and against Canada this week.

The continental championships should also mark significant milestones for World Young Player of the Year Anna Flanagan (ACT) and teammate Kellie White (NSW). Flanagan will arrive in Stratford with the possibility of reaching a century of appearances for the Hockeyroos should she play in every match while White should play her 50th game for Australia in the Hockeyroos’ opening match against New Zealand.

For the Hockeyroos, the tournament marks another important step in their journey up the international rankings and will play a significant part in the team’s preparation for the World League Finals in Argentina in four weeks. The Hockeyroos sit sixth in the world, just behind Germany and England who finished first and second in Europe’s continental championships in August. And while 2014 World Cup qualification is already assured, Head Coach Adam Commens is particularly keen to pitch his side against the tournament hosts and favourites, New Zealand, who have risen to third in the rankings on the back of a strong Olympic Games campaign in 2012.

“The Oceania Cup is a really important tournament for us,” said Commens. “We desperately want to regain the title having lost out in 2011, ‘09 and ‘07 and there are important ranking points at stake.

“New Zealand are number three in the world right now and are always really strong at home. But I think we’ve proved with our performances over the past month - against Argentina, at the International Super Series and against Canada - that we’re emerging.”

“We’ve named a strong line-up; one that will allow us to continue building depth within our squad.  And while we’re missing a number of athletes we’ll look forward to welcoming back the likes of Teneal Attard [hamstring injury], Georgia Nanscawen [knee injury] and Kobie McGurk [personal commitments] soon.”

Speaking about the inclusion of Mathilda Carmichael, who made her senior international debut against Canada on Tuesday, Commens added, “Mathilda Carmichael played particularly well in the Australian Hockey League this year and has spent the last two and a half weeks with the squad in Perth. She played well against Canada and deserves this opportunity.”

The Hockeyroos’ campaign begins with a mouth-watering trans-Tasman clash with the Black Sticks before matches against Samoa and Papua New Guinea. The tournament gets underway in Stratford, Taranki on New Zealand’s north island on Wednesday 30 October with the medal matches taking place on Sunday 3 November.

Australia’s men’s team, the Kookaburras, are also in action at the Oceania Cup against the same opponents. They open against Samoa before playing New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Australia’s matches against New Zealand plus the medal matches will be live streamed online by Hockey New Zealand.

Hockeyroos squad for Oceania Cup
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD)
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT)
Mathilda Carmichael (Willoughby, NSW)
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)
Casey Eastham (Albion Park, NSW)
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT)
Jordyn Holzberger (Ipswich, QLD)
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW)
Kirstin Johnson (Mackay, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Melbourne, VIC)
Claire Messent (Melbourne, VIC)
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA)
Georgie Parker (Adelaide, SA)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Jodie Schulz (Wamuran, QLD)
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW)
Ashlee Wells (GK) (Moe, VIC)
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW)

Oceania Cup Fixtures
Wednesday 30 October

09:30am (AEDT) / 11:30am (local) – Women – Papua New Guinea v Samoa
11:30am (AEDT) / 1:30pm (local) – Men – Kookaburras v Samoa
1:30pm (AEDT) / 3:30pm (local) – Men – New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
3:30pm (AEDT) / 5:30pm (local) – Women – New Zealand v Hockeyroos

Thursday 31 October
11:30am (AEDT) / 1:30pm (local) – Women – Hockeyroos v Samoa
1:30pm (AEDT) / 3:30pm (local) – Men – Papua New Guinea v Samoa
3:30pm (AEDT) / 5:30pm (local) – Women – New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
5:30pm (AEDT) / 7:30pm (local) – Men – New Zealand v Kookaburras

Saturday 2 November
6:00am (AEDT) / 8:00am (local) – Women – Hockeyroos v Papua New Guinea
8:00am (AEDT) / 10:00am (local) – Men – Kookaburras v Papua New Guinea
10:00am (AEDT) / 12:00pm (local) – Women – Samoa v New Zealand
12:00pm (AEDT) / 2:00pm (local) – Men – Samoa v New Zealand

Sunday 3 November
7:15am (AEDT) / 9:15am (local) – Women – 3rd v 4th playoff
9:30am (AEDT) / 11:30am (local) – Men – 3rd v 4th playoff
12:00pm (AEDT) / 2:00pm (local) – Women – Final
2:30pm (AEDT) / 4:30pm (local) – Men – Final

Hockey Australia media release



TET Black Sticks go pink at Oceania Cup



The TET Black Sticks Men and Women will be wearing pink shoe laces throughout the Oceania Cup in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Collectors will be on the ground at the TET MultiSports Centre in Stratford, while anyone can donate to the cause online at www.nzbcf.org.nz

The concept was sparked by Black Sticks defender Cory Bennett, who has seen the devastating effects of Breast Cancer first hand.

Both teams have embraced the pink laces and will stand together in support of the cause.

“Raising awareness of Breast Cancer is huge. Personally I’ve had people in my family who have been affected. I think everyone knows someone who has been affected,” Bennett said.

“It’s great the Black Sticks are able to come together and use their profile to raise awareness and hopefully get some donations in to help stop Breast Cancer and find a cure. It’s a great cause and hopefully something people get behind and we help out however we can.”

On average, Breast Cancer takes the lives of 650 New Zealand women each year while 2,800 women and 20 men are diagnosed every year.

For more information visit the New Zealand Breast Cancer Federation website www.nzbcf.org.nz

Hockey New Zealand Media release



EHL Round 1.2 Lille ready for action


Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek

This morning, Round 1.2 of the Euro Hockey League gets underway in Lille, with 12 teams fighting it out over three days for a place in the second phase of the world’s most celebrated club competition. As usual, a global audience of millions will be able to follow all of the tournament action thank to free live streaming of every match courtesy of the EHL website.

Round 1.2 of this season’s EHL will witness the teams in Pools A, B, C and H battling to reach Easter’s magnificent KO16 event, which will take place at an as yet unconfirmed venue in The Netherlands.  Eight KO16 places are up for grabs in Lille, with the two highest-ranked teams in each Pool ensuring qualification for the next phase. The teams that finish bottom in each Pool will be eliminated from the competition.

Eight teams have already sealed their place at KO16 thanks to strong performances at Round 1.1 Barcelona, which took place two weeks ago at the Pau Negre Stadium. Harvestehuder THC (GER), Beeston HC (ENG), Real Club de Polo de Barcelona (ESP), Surbiton HC (ENG), Club de Campo Madrid (ESP), KHC Dragons (BEL), Oranje Zwart (NED) and WKS Grunwald Poznan (POL) will all be making an appearance at the Easter spectacular. 

Friday’s action begins at 0930 (Central European Standard Time) with Belgium’s Waterloo Ducks facing Pool C rivals AZS Politechnika Poznanska of Poland before German champions Rot-Weiss Köln play Belarusians Stroitel Brest at 1200. French champions St Germain HC play Dinamo Electrostal of Russia at 1430 ahead of H.C. Rotterdam’s meeting with tournament hosts Lille MHC at 1700. 

The complete match schedule for the weekend can be found elsewhere on www.ehlhockey.tv, the official website of the Euro Hockey League. A further 12 sides will hope to claim the remaining eight KO16 berths when EHL Round 1.2 takes place at Lille MHC (FRA) in just over two weeks’ time.

As always, the EHL will be providing full coverage of the event, with live streaming and complete tournament information being available on www.ehlhockey.tv and through our Smartphone App.  The EHL social media coverage will also be extensive, allowing fans to interact through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We hope you enjoy the coverage.

Euro Hockey League media release



Round 1.2 Lille Preview – Pool A

In the first of our previews for Euro Hockey League’s Round 1.2 event in Lille, we take a look at Pool A which features Dutch champions H.C. Rotterdam, England’s 2011 EHL Bronze medallists Reading HC and tournament hosts Lille MHC of France.

With only two teams being able to qualify for Easter’s KO16 event, the stakes are high. More information about the competing clubs can be found below.

H.C. Rotterdam (NED)
H.C. Rotterdam are one of the giants of the Euro Hockey League, having won one Silver and three Bronze medals since the introduction of the competition in the 2007-2008 season. They have come close on so many occasions, although defeat against Pool A rivals Reading HC forced them out at the KO16 stage of last year’s competition. Rotterdam’s squad contains some of the biggest names in the sport, and was strengthened further by the signing of Belgian international attacker Jeffrey Thys from KHC Dragons. Their talisman is Jeroen Hertzberger, the lightening quick Dutch international forward and all time EHL top scorer.

Reading HC (ENG)
2003 European champions Reading HC have taken part in every edition of the Euro Hockey League and have enjoyed some memorable moments during that time. The team has never failed to reach the second phase, and in 2011 became the first English club to win an EHL medal when they defeated Oranje Zwart (NED) to take Bronze. They claimed another big Dutch scalp last season when they eliminated H.C. Rotterdam in the KO16 phase, something that they will be hoping to repeat here in Lille. With a squad containing Great Britain internationals Jonty Clarke, Nick Catlin, Richard Springham, Darren Cheesman and the Mantell brothers, it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

Lille MHC (FRA)
Lille MHC compete in the Euro Hockey League for a second successive season, and have targeted a place in the EHL knock-out stages. Last season, the team narrowly missed KO16 qualification due to a marginally inferior goal-difference, being edged out of the running by Ireland’s Lisnagarvey and eventual tournament winners HC Bloemendaal. With H.C. Rotterdam and Reading as their opponents in Pool A, it is clear that the tournament hosts have a big challenge ahead of them. However, they will be determined to make the home advantage count, and delight their loyal supporters by achieving qualification for the second phase. 

Euro Hockey League media release



Round 1.2 Lille Preview – Pool B

The second of our previews for Euro Hockey League’s Round 1.2 event in Lille focusses on Pool B, which features German giants Rot-Weiss Köln, Dutch newcomers SV Kampong and SV Stroitel Brest, the champions of Belarus. 

With only two teams being able to qualify for Easter’s KO16 event, the stakes are high. More information about the competing clubs can be found below.

KTHC Rot-Weiss Köln (GER)
Rot-Weiss Köln are taking part in their fifth successive Euro Hockey League season, and will be looking to build upon the career high fourth place finish that they achieved in the 2012-13 Edition. As always, Rot-Weiss has one of the strongest squads in the competition, with numerous stars of German hockey amongst their ranks. Benni Wess, Philipp Zeller and Christopher Zeller were part of the Germany teams that won Gold medals at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. Ace striker Christopher Zeller is undoubtedly the star of the show, being widely regarded as one of the finest goal-scorers on the planet.

SV Kampong (NED)
SV Kampong will make their Euro Hockey League debut here in Lille this weekend, and will certainly be looking to make a big impression. The Utrecht-based club is the second oldest club in the Netherlands, being founded way back in 1902. Kampong come into the EHL as the third-ranked Dutch team having sealed their place thanks to a stunning play-off success over HC Bloemendaal, a result which denied the 2012-13 EHL champions the chance to defend their title. Qualification for the second phase will be seen as an absolute minimum requirement by every member of an immensely talented squad. Current Dutch internationals Robbert Kemperman, Sander de Wijn, Quirijn Caspers and Constantijn Jonker are joined by former stars Lawrence Docherty and brilliant striker Roderick Weusthof, a player who has scored more goals in the Dutch Hoofdklasse division than any other in history.

SC Stroitel Brest (BLR)
Stroitel Brest is the most successful hockey club in Belarus,  having won numerous national championships and cups. They are competing in the Euro Hockey League for a third time, having also featured in the 2010-11 and 2012-13 Editions of the tournament. Last season, the team failed to get out of the pool phase, falling to defeats against Waterloo Ducks (BEL) and East Grinstead (ENG).  They have been drawn into tough pool this time around, but they have certainly not travelled to Lille just to make up the numbers and will be keen to show their quality.

Euro Hockey League media release



Round 1.2 Lille Preview – Pool C

In the third of our previews for Euro Hockey League’s Round 1.2 event in Lille, we look at Pool C which features Belgian champions Waterloo Ducks, Germany’s impressive HTC Uhlenhorst Mülheim and EHL newcomers AZS Politechnika Poznanska of Poland. 

With only two teams being able to qualify for Easter’s KO16 event, the stakes are high. More information about the competing clubs can be found below.

Waterloo Ducks (BEL)
Belgian champions Waterloo Ducks competed in the first three editions of the Euro Hockey League but failed to qualify for both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 tournaments. Last season they were welcomed back to the competition with open arms, but were eliminated in the KO16 phase when they fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Berliner HC. The WatDucks squad is made up entirely of Belgians, many of which were central figures in the national team that claimed the silver medal at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in the summer. John-John Dohmen, Alexandre de Saedeleer and outstanding goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch are just three of many players worth watching in this attack-focussed team.

HTC Uhlenhorst Mülheim (GER)
Nine times European Champions (1988-1996) Uhlenhorst Mülheim are competing in their third successive Euro Hockey League competition. In 2011-12, the team were eliminated by Dutch giants H.C. Rotterdam in Round 2, and went one round further last time around before being edged out by compatriots Rot-Weiss Köln. They have many talented players amongst their ranks, including Germany international strikers Christopher Rühr and Thilo Stralkowski. Stralkowski is a player to be feared and has a reputation for scoring outrageous goals. Will Mülheim collect a tenth European title this season?

AZS Politechnika Poznanska (POL)
AZS Politechnika Poznanska is the new name of former EHL competitors KS Pocztowiec Poznan following the club’s merger with the city’s University of Technology. They come into the Euro Hockey League as Poland’s second ranked team, having been pipped to the national title by ever-impressive city rivals Grunwald Poznan. AZS have a group of players who will be keen to show their talents at this level, although the team has been slightly weakened by the loss of outstanding Polish international attacker Darius Rachwalski, who departed in the summer.

Euro Hockey League media release



Round 1.2 Lille Preview – Pool H

The fourth and final of our previews for Euro Hockey League’s Round 1.2 event in Lille focusses on Pool H, which features St Germain HC of France, Belgium's Racing Club de Bruxelles and Dinamo Elektrostal of Russia.

With only two teams being able to qualify for Easter’s KO16 event, the stakes are high. More information about the competing clubs can be found below.

St Germain HC (FRA)
St Germain HC are the champions of France and will be aiming land a place in the second phase of the competition with a strong showing here in Lille. They have reached the EHL knock-out stages on two previous occasions, and will be hoping to do so a third time by securing positive results against Belgium’s Racing Club de Bruxelles and Dinamo Elektrostal of Russia. The Parisians have often produced outstanding displays in the Euro Hockey League, and are more than capable of booking their place in the last 16.

Racing Club de Bruxelles (BEL)
Racing Club de Bruxelles return to the Euro Hockey League after a one season absence following appearances in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 editions of the competition. Despite strong showings, both of their previous efforts ended in failure to get out of the pool phase, something that they will be determined to rectify here in Lille. Two years ago they showed a glimmer of what they are capable of, fighting back from 5-2 to draw 5-5 with Germany’s Der Club an der Alster.  Belgian hockey is in arguably its best ever shape, so it would come as no surprise to anyone if the “Racing Rats” stormed into Round 2 at the third time of asking.

Dinamo Elektrostal (RUS)
Dinamo Elektrostal are the second ranked team from Russia having finished just behind Dinamo Kazan in the national championship. The club were last involved in the Euro Hockey League during the 2011-12 season and performed admirably, finishing second in their pool to claim a place at Easter’s spectacular KO16 event. The side were eventually eliminated by Belgian aces KHC Dragons, but another strong showing provided further evidence that they should not be underestimated. Two good performances here in Lille could be enough to secure a second KO16 appearance. 

Euro Hockey League media release



Reading in Euro Hockey League action


Simon Mantell in action for Reading

With Beeston and Surbiton safely through to the final 16 (KO16) of the Euro Hockey League, it's Reading's turn to prove their stature in Europe as they face two tough Pool A fixtures this weekend in Round 1.2 of the 2013/14 championships.

The round starts on Friday in Lille, France, but Reading will have to wait until Saturday and Sunday to face Dutch champions HC Rotterdam and tournament hosts Lille MHC.

With only two places available for Easter’s KO16 event Reading will need to be in top form if they are to try and repeat the scenes of 2011 when they took home a bronze medal. Their 11-1 victory against Hampstead & Westminster last weekend in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Premier Division will without doubt have given the side a great confidence boost going into the weekend.

Watch the whole of Round 1.2 via the EHL website, click here.

Saturday 26 October
Reading v HC Rotterdam - 13:30 (UK time)

Sunday 27 October
Lille MHC v Reading - 16:00 (UK time)

England Hockey Board Media release



In-form Surbiton face Canterbury


Cannock v Canterbury (pic by Andy Smith)

IN-form Surbiton will be aiming to close the gap to the top three teams in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division when they travel to Canterbury on Saturday.

Last season’s Championship runners-up, Surbiton have lost just once this season (to current leaders Beeston) and boast the meanest defence in the league with just seven goals conceded in their first six matches.

“We’re building up for a big weekend, with Canterbury on Saturday then Cannock on Sunday in the Cup,” said Surbiton Manager James Lloyd.

“It will be tough against Canterbury, but we’re confident. The travel doesn’t affect us much, we deal with away games quite well and it’s only an hour or so down the road.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into all aspects of our game, defence being one of them, but we have done a lot of training in defence and have the same set-up as last season, apart from a new centre half in front of them.”

Elsewhere, Beeston will be aiming to preserve their 100 per cent record when they go to Hampstead and Westminster, while East Grinstead could go top if they beat visitors Cannock and Beeston slip up.

In the day’s other Premier Division match, Loughborough Students host Wimbledon.

Victory over Fareham last weekend brought Team Bath Buccaneers within sight of the top of the NOW: Pensions Conference West, and they could go top if they beat Indian Gymkhana this Saturday. But leaders Cardiff will be aiming to retain their unbeaten record when they go to Fareham.

Bowdon travel to Olton and West Warwickshire in the NOW: Pensions Conference North, knowing that victory could see them go top. Leaders University of Durham dropped their first points in a 3-3 draw with Khalsa last weekend, and w2ill want to get back to winning ways when they play host to Belper.

Second-placed Holcombe play host to third-placed Bromley and Beckenham in the NOW: Pensions Conference East on Saturday, with top spot potentially up for grabs if leaders Southgate lose at Oxted. Meanwhile, in-form Teddington are at home against Cambridge City.

* photo courtesy of Andy Smith.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League  (Saturday, October 26 2013)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division

Canterbury v Surbiton 14:00
East Grinstead v Cannock 14:00
Hampstead and Westminster v Beeston 14:00
Loughborough Students v Wimbledon 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Brighton and Hove v Richmond 15:30
Holcombe v Bromley and Beckenham 14:30
Oxted v Southgate 13:00
St Albans v Old Loughtonians 13:00
Teddington v Cambridge City 13:45

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Brooklands MU v Leek 13:30
Khalsa (Warks) v Deeside Ramblers 14:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Bowdon 13:30
Univ of Durham v Belper 14:00
Wakefield v West Bridgford 15:30

NOW: Pensions Conference West
Fareham v Cardiff & Met 13:30
Guildford v Havant 12:00
Indian Gymkhana v Team Bath Buccaneers 14:00
Isca v Univ of Exeter 18:00
Univ of Birmingham v Cheltenham 14:30

England Hockey Board Media release



Crucial clash in Investec Women's Premier Division


Surbiton's Georgie Twigg

Surbiton climbed to third in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division last weekend – and they will make it to second spot if they beat rivals Canterbury on Saturday.

A draw last weekend meant Canterbury lost ground on leaders Reading, and they will face a Surbiton side who notched up league and cup victories last weekend.

“We know it’s a big game for both teams because we’re third and they’re second, and we know their squad because we played each other three times last season, so it’s going to be a competitive game,” said Surbiton coach Mark Atherton.

“We’ve recruited several new players for this season and it always takes time to gel, but we’re happy with how things are going and we’re improving all the time and there’s a good spirit in the team.”

The women’s clash between Canterbury and Surbiton starts at 4.30pm – but get down to Polo Farm early as their male counterparts also play each other at 2pm.

Surbiton moved up to third at the expense of Clifton, the Bristol outfit who have a tough game against Reading this weekend.

Bowdon Hightown also dropped points last weekend, and they face a Sutton Coldfield side who will be eager to get back to winning ways after last weekend’s loss to Reading.

Beeston climbed above Leicester last weekend when they beat bottom of the table Olton and West Warwickshire. But Leicester have a great chance for revenge when they go to Beeston on Saturday.

Finally, University of Birmingham host Olton and West Warwickshire.

Unbeaten Holcombe face an East Grinstead side with just one defeat so far in the Investec Conference East. But with a six point buffer at the top, Holcombe will still be leading whatever the result. Meanwhile, second-placed Old Loughtonians go to Harleston Magpies.

Third and fourth respectively, Brooklands Poynton and Whitley Bay and Tynemouth face each other in an important match for both their title ambitions in the Investec Conference North. Meanwhile, leaders University of Durham entertain Kendal.

In the Investec Conference West, leaders Buckingham go to Swansea, while Slough – second only on goal difference – entertain Oxford Hawks.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, October 26 2013)

Investec Premier Division

Beeston v Leicester 12:00
Canterbury v Surbiton 16:30
Clifton v Reading 13:00
Sutton Coldfield v Bowdon Hightown 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Olton and West Warwicks 12:30

Investec Conference East
Harleston Magpies v Old Loughtonians 12:30
Holcombe v East Grinstead 16:30
Ipswich v Sevenoaks 14:00
St Albans v Chelmsford 15:00
Wimbledon v Horsham 14:00

Investec Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Whitley Bay & Tynemouth 11:45
Doncaster v Loughborough Students 12:00
Stourport v Ben Rhydding 12:00
Univ of Durham v Kendal 12:00
Wakefield v Boots 13:30

Investec Conference West
Barnes v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Gloucester City v Trojans 12:00
Isca v Exe 12:30
Slough v Oxford Hawks 13:00
Swansea City v Buckingham 12:00

England Hockey Board Media release



Top of the table clashes for men & women

Men’s National League One – Preview


We are almost at the half way point of the Scottish season with only a couple of matches away, already this season is proving to be one of the most unpredictable in many a year, with all the teams seemingly capably of an upset on their day.

The first match of this weekend’s fixtures sees league leaders Hillhead up against second placed PSL Team Sport Clydesdale in the league’s Glasgow derby at Titwood in another ‘Friday Night Lights’ event.  A fascinating encounter this promises to be with Hillhead only having dropped three points this season whilst Clydesdale are yet to taste defeat, and are on a high after a thrilling victory against Western on Sunday.  A win for Clydesdale would see them leapfrog Hillhead into pole position with eight matches played.

At the other end of the table, bottom side Edinburgh University welcome AAM Gordonians, who are only one point better off than their opponents to Peffermill.  Both teams had equally frustrating weekends going into this fixture with Gordonians so close to sharing a point with Kelburne in a 5-4 thriller and Edinburgh University losing by the odd goal in seven to a resurgent Grange side.  With both teams finding form, if not the results, this should be a closely contested match.

Western Wildcats having surrendered their undefeated start to the season to PSL Team Sport Clydesdale on Sunday in an agonising loss, they face a tricky match away to a solid Dundee Wanderers side.  Dundee have proven themselves to be capable of causing the odd upset having taken points against Grange and more recently Clydesdale.  Western, however, in McCartney and the Simpson brothers have arguably the most potent strikeforce in the league, so silencing them will be the key to success for Paul Dailly’s men.

Grange are on the back of two victories last weekend against AAM Gordonians and Edinburgh University, they face fifth placed Grove Menzieshill who had mixed results losing to Hillhead but then drawing with Kelburne on the Sunday.  This is a massive match for both sides as they look to remedy their indifferent starts to the season so far.  A match too close to call, which could go either way and may be decided on the slightest of margins.

The final match of the weekend, matches up last season’s Champions Glynhill Kelburne and second from bottom Inverleith at Glasgow Green.   Despite being separated by six league places, Inverleith have some experienced internationals in their squad alongside some emerging young talents, so are capable of holding their own against any team in their league. Glynhill Kelburne, are less predictable this year, with inconsistent performances from a team which seems to blow hot and cold.  Inverleith will be hoping for a lacklustre performance from Glynhill Kelburne if they are to have any chance of causing an upset.

Women’s National League – Preview

The match of the day is in Tayside, where Scotland’s two undefeated teams Grove Menzieshill and Edinburgh University lock horns for the first time this season.  Both teams go into this top of the table clash having only conceded three goals and boasting a healthy goals for column.  A win for Grove would see them complete the first half of the season with an ominous 100% record, meanwhile a win for Edinburgh University would apply real pressure on Menzieshill in the race for league supremacy, albeit the students are yet to play Western ladies.

There is a mid table clash at Glasgow Green where fifth placed Glynhill Kelburne face Western Wildcats.  Both teams had mixed fortunes at the weekend, with Glynhill Kelburne beating GHK only to lose heavily to Milne Craig Clydesdale Western ladies on the Sunday.  Western Wildcats also recorded a victory again at the expense of GHK, but were disappointed to lose to then bottom of the league Watsonians.  A win for Western Wildcats would see them move clear of GHK, with a win for Glynhill Kelburne will just about keep them in touch with the top four.

Grange Edinburgh’s season shows no sign of letting up as the winless east coasters travel west to Titwood to face second placed Milne Craig Clydesdale Western ladies.  Rooted to the bottom of the league three points from their nearest rival, Grange are in desperate need of a win to kick start their season.  Given Western’s prolific goal scoring prowess and home advantage, this is game is unlikely to provide the catalyst to kick start Grange’s season.

In what is a congested lower half of the table, seventh place GHK host eighth placed CALA Edinburgh.  GHK hold a one point advantage over their opponents going into this match.  Kris Kane’s players will be keen to forget last weekend’s matches having lost on both occasions against teams that they would otherwise have targeted to take points off.  CALA had a frustrating weekend on the one hand coming close to causing an upset against high flying Edinburgh University, whilst they were disappointed not to take maximum points at home to Watsonians.

The final match of the weekend sees Dundee Wanderers at home to Watsonians who picked up their first win of the season at home to Western Wildcats on Saturday.  Despite the confidence that this first win will have given the Edinburgh ladies, it is unlikely that they will cause an upset in this fixture, unless their defensive record improves against a lively and eager Wanderers attacking line.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Dames dump champs Petrotrin in semis

Nigel Simon


National senior team duo, Aidan De Gannes and Shaquille Daniel combined for four goals as Notre Dame created the biggest upset so far in the T&T Hockey Board Indoor Championship with a 5-2 Men’s Open Division semifinal win over reigning champions Petrotrin.

Prior to the start of Wednesday’s semifinal at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo, the Oilmen, also the national Outdoor champions were fancied to advance, having won their round-robin encounter 4-3 on their way to topping the seven team series with 14 points and unbeaten.

However, the Dames, who only secured qualification on Tuesday final night of preliminary matches via a 5-3 defeat of former champions Defence Force had other ideas and took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute through Chad Pedro.

But, four minutes later, national forward Wayne Legerton replied for the Oilmen to leave both clubs level at the interval at 1-1.

Six minutes after the restart De Gannes got his first to reclaim his team’s slender lead, but once again, Legerton, who had a low-key tournament up to that point, drew his team level in the 31st.

The Dames then took control of the match against a lacklustre Petrotrin with Daniel (33rd and 38th) and De Gannes (37th) scoring three goals within five minutes to secure a shock win, and set up a final tonight against a rampant Paragon line-up which outgunned Queen’s Park 9-6.

The start of the night for Paragon was national forward Akim Toussaint, who followed up his ten-goal outing against Corona Fatima with a beaver-trick.

Toussaint got his goals in the 18th, 27th, 32nd and 35th minutes for Paragon which led 4-2 at the half, while Syl Sinnette added a hat-trick, in the 16th, 33rd and 39th.

Richard Roach and Sheldon Mc Kellar chipped in with one each for Paragon which will be after revenge in the final, following a 5-3 loss in the round-robin stage to the Dames.

...Ventures, Dames set up shock women’s decider

Yesenia Luces hammered in a handful as Ventures proved its 3-2 round-robin win over defending champions Shandy Carib Magnolias on Monday was no fluke with an entertaining 8-7 triumph in their Women’s Open Division semifinal.

Magnolias had started brightly with former national ace, Stacey Siu Butt scoring in the fourth and seventh minutes for a 2-0 advantage, but Luces then hit-back with a first-half hat-trick (fifth, 10th, 19th) and Cristina Abreu, one in the 13th for Ventures to take a 4-2 cushion into the break.

Two minutes into the second-half, Luces added another to extend her team’s lead to 5-2 before teenaged national forward Brianna Govia, got another for Magnolias to trail, 3-5.

However, another teenager, Kristin Abreu, then scored a quick double for Ventures, in the 31st and 32nd minute to widen the lead at 7-3.

With eight minutes left in the enthralling encounter, Magnolias mounted a late rally with national players Elise Olton (35th and 38th) and Govia (36th) scoring to reduce the deficit to 7-6.

However, Luces responded within seconds for her team to go up 8-6 and with the seconds running down on the clock, Siu Butt converted a penalty for an 8-7 final score.

In the final tonight from 9.30pm, Ventures faces Notre Dame which also created an upset with a 5-4 win over Paragon, which topped the five-team round-robin, including a 6-2 win over the same opponents.

The Dames fell behind as early as the sixth minute when national captain Alanna Lewis netted, but they responded in style with fellow national player Dana-Lee De Gannes, scoring a double, in the 12th and 17th to lead 2-1.

Keima Gardiner got Paragon on the half-four, only for national forward Blair Wynne to regain her team’s lead at 3-2 followed a Tonya-Marie James item in the 32nd, for a 4-2 lead.

Zene Henry kept Paragon in the contest by scoring in the 34th, but Wynne then added another for the Dames in the 37th before Lewis scored a late penalty, but it was not enough.

Wednesday’s T&THB Indoor Championship results:

Open Division semifinals:
Men:

Notre Dame 5 (Aidan De Gannes 27th, 37th, Shaquille Daniel 33rd, 38th, Chad Pedro 12th) vs Petrotrin 2 (Wayne Legerton 16th, 31st)
Paragon 9 (Akim Toussaint 18th, 27th, 32nd, 35th, Syl Sinnette 16th, 33rd, 39th, Richard Roach 3rd, Sheldon Mc Kellar 13th) vs QPCC 6 (Jordan Reynos 4th, 24th, Shawn Lee Quay 12th, 22nd, Dominic Young 23rd, Stephan Mouttet 37th)

Women:
Ventures 8 (Yesenia Luces 5th, 10th, 19th, 22nd, 38th, Kristin Abreu 31st, 32nd, Cristina Abreu 13th) vs Magnolias 7 (Stacey Siu Butt 4th, 7th, 40th pen, Brianna Govia 27th, 36th, Elise Olton 35th, 38th).
Notre Dame 5 (Dana-Lee De Gannes 12th, 17th, Blair Wynne 30th, 37th, Tonya-Marie James 32nd) vs Paragon 4 (Alanna Lewis 6th, 39th pen, Keima Gardiner 30th, Zene Henry 34th)

Today’s matches:
Final playoffs:

Under-19 Girls: Paragon vs Magnolias, 6.30pm
Under-19 Boys: Fatima vs Malvern, 7.30pm
Mixed Veterans: Defence Force vs Malvern, 8.30pm
Women’s Open: Ventures vs Notre Dame, 9.30pm
Men’s Open: Paragon vs Notre Dame, 10.30pm

The Trinidad Guardian



No. 10 Old Domion hosts No. 2 UNC, No. 4 UConn


Nicole Goff and the rest of the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs will face two top-five teams this weekend. Old Dominion Athletics

No. 1 Maryland

Maryland (15-1, 4-0) will host No. 5 Virginia (15-3, 3-2) on Friday in the Terps’ final ACC home game. The Terrapins will then welcome Georgetown (2-13) to College Park on Sunday. Friday’s match will mark Maryland’s final ACC home game. After 31 seasons in the ACC, the Terps will depart for the Big Ten next year. They are 86-41-5 (.670) all-time in ACC games and have won nine ACC title.

Entering this week, Maryland is second in the nation in goals per game at 4.31, trailing only North Carolina (5.07). Jill Witmer leads the team in both goals (14) and points (33). Maxine Fluharty is one goal away from joining Witmer in the double-digit goals club. Fluharty is tied for second in the team’s point standings with Anna Dessoye with 23. Dessoye leads the squad with nine assists.

No. 2 North Carolina

North Carolina finishes its season with three road games, two of which come this weekend. The Tar Heels go to Old Dominion this weekend for a pair of games. On Saturday, the Tar Heels play No. 4 Connecticut and play host No. 10 ODU on Sunday. North Carolina beat Old Dominion twice last season, including in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The last time North Carolina met the Huskies it was a classic game with the Tar Heels tied the game with second left before winning in double overtime to advance to the 2011 NCAA title game.

Sporting the nation’s highest-scoring offense, the Tar Heels are prone to starting off a game strong. They are outscoring their opponents 46-5 in the first half and have yet to trail a game at the half. Leading the offense for the Tar Heels is Casey Di Nardo with 12 goals and Nina Notman only trails her by one in that category. Emily Wold started this week leading the nation in assists per game and now has 18 on the year.

No. 3 Syracuse

Syracuse doesn’t have to leave J.S. Coyne Stadium for any of its three final regular-season games. That’s a good thing for the Orange who have won their past 42 games there. The Orange have the opportunity to add two more to that total as they host Wake Forest on Saturday and Cornell on Sunday. Syracuse beat the Demon Deacons the last time they met – which was early in the 2011 season – and none of the current Syracuse players have ever played Cornell.

Leonie Geyer leads Syracuse in both goals (10) and assists (11) and could be joined in the double-figures category by Emma Russell who has nine goals and eight assists. Lauren Brooks has nine goals this year on 17 shots on goal.

No. 4 Connecticut

Connecticut has two critical showdowns this weekend as the team travels to Norfolk, Va. to play at No. 10 Old Dominion on Friday and then against No. 2 North Carolina the next. The Huskies are 10-23 all-time against the Monarchs but UConn won the most recent contest between the two squads, a 3-2 victory against then-No. 9 Old Dominion, on Sept. 8, 2007.

Junior forward Chloe Hunnable leads the pack for the Huskies with 16 goals and 36 points while sophomore back Roisin Upton and junior forward Anne Jeute have each tallied double-digit assists. The Huskies have outscored the opposition 56-19 this year and senior goaltender Sarah Mansfield has notched six shutouts.

No. 5 Virginia

Virginia finishes the regular season on Friday when it plays at Maryland. The Maryland game will be the Cavaliers’ tenth game this season against an opponent ranked in the top-20 and the seventh time facing a top-10 team. It will also be the second time this season Virginia has faced a team No. 1 team with Virginia falling 2-1 to then-top-ranked North Carolina on Sept. 20. Virginia’s only victory over a team ranked No. 1 was Sept. 30, 2001, when the No. 11 Cavaliers defeated Maryland, 3-2, on strokes.

Senior Elly Buckley earned her second ACC Player of the Week honors after scoring a hat trick in last Friday’s game against Duke. With the three goals, Buckley is now alone in third place in the Cavalier record book with 179 career points, passing Cindy Carzo (1976-79, 173 points). In the Duke game, Buckley also added her ACC-leading fifth defensive save of the season. Buckley currently leads the conference in seven different statistical categories including goals (20) and points (46). Junior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone is ranked 12th in the nation with a 1.23 goals-against average. Johnstone’s .833 win-loss percentage this season is fourth-best among all goalies.

No. 6 Penn State

Penn State travels to Iowa City for a Big Ten matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday and then plays UC Davis for the first time in program history in a neutral-site matchup on Saturday. Penn State can clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tourney with a win against the Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes are the only Big Ten team to lead the Nittany Lions in the all-time series, holding a record of 26-19-1 against Penn State. But the Blue and White has won each of the last four matchups dating back to the 2010 season.

After a comeback win against Michigan State last weekend, the Nittany Lions claimed the Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week awards. Taylor Herold received the offensive honor for the first time this season and second time in  her career after scoring two goals and then scoring the winning shootout goal to seal the victory. On the defensive side, Brittany Grzywacz was awarded the accolade for the fourth time this season and sixth time in her career. Grzywacz is also the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

No. 7 Boston College

The Eagles have one game this weekend, hosting No. 8 Duke in its final home regular-season game of the season. Boston College needs to win that game and next Saturday at Wake Forest to finish with a .500 record in the ACC. Last season, the Eagles went to North Carolina and beat Duke 2-1.

Emma Plasteras has provided balanced scoring this season, scoring 11 goals and picking up 11 assists. Her 33 points are 11 more than second-place Emily McCoy (nine goals, four assists). Goalkeeper Leah Settipane has a .772 saves percentage and a 1.79 goals-against average and she entered the week ranked 12th in the nation in saves percentage.

No. 8 Duke

The Blue Devils play a pair of Boston-based schools this weekend when it squares off against Boston College on Saturday and Boston University on Sunday. Duke made a similar weekend trip back in 2011 when it defeated both schools, though it took the Terriers to overtime.

Goaltender Lauren Blazing has stopped 90 of the 110 shots she’s faced so far this year which is good for a .818 saves percentage and a 1.24 goals-against average. No Blue Devil is in double figures yet in either goals or assists though Emmie Le Marchand is closest with eight in each category.

No. 9 Princeton

Unlike most other teams in the top 10, Princeton isn’t wrapping up its season or in its penultimate week. This weekend the Tigers go on the road to face Ivy League opponent Harvard on Saturday and then go to Albany on Sunday. In the past two meetings against Harvard, the Tigers have a 11-1 edge in goals scored.

Despite having a 234-98 edge on their opponents in shots, the Tigers have only outscored their opponents 35-21. Teresa Benvenuti and Allison Evans each have a team-high seven goals though Benvenuti has the edge in points thanks to her 6-3 lead in assists.

No. 10 Old Dominion

Old Dominion (9-6, 4-1) plays No. 4 Connecticut (13-2, 5-0) on Friday and will face No. 2 North Carolina on Sunday. ODU’s game against Connecticut will be a key game to decide the Big East regular-season champion, which has three teams separated by one game. The Lady Monarchs are on an eight-game win streak, which is the longest in the Big East. The Lady Monarchs haven’t faced the Huskies since 2007 while this will be the second meeting with North Carolina this season.

Rosario Villagra leads Old Dominion with 13 goals and 10 assists. Sarah Breen has added 10 goals this year and the two have combined for more than half of ODU’s 41 goals this season. Goaltender Megan Hept has a 1.95 goals-against average and a .716 saves percentage.

NCAA



Posthumous award for Boon Huat


Alif Nur Najmi Chua shows the Bintang Cemerlang Melaka award which he collected on his late brother’s behalf yesterday. Pic by Rasul Azli Samad

THE late Chua Boon Huat was posthumously awarded the Bintang Cemerlang Melaka (BCM) during the state awards ceremony in conjunction with the 75th birthday of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Malacca Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob.

The  elder brother of the former national hockey player, Alif Nur Najmi Chua, 42, collected the  award on his late brother's behalf during the third investiture held at Dewan Seri Negeri, Malacca, yesterday.

Boon Huat, who  was one of Malaysia's  longest serving players, was killed  in a road accident along the Damansara-Puchong highway (LDP), near the Kelana Jaya LRT station on Aug 1.

Alif expressed gratitude to the state government for recognising his late brother's contribution to hockey even though he was no longer alive.

"My brother had contributed tremendously to the country in the sports arena and it is hoped that the award could be a motivation for young rising hockey players to emulate his spirit and discipline in training and tournaments," he said.

Also receiving the similar award was Malacca Berita Harian bureau chief, Amirullah Andi Nur.

The two were among 487 recipients who were conferred with various awards and titles

New Straits Times



Hockey match turns into sticky business

Anil Dias



Players of Air India and Punjab and Sind Bank get into a fight at MHAL on Thursday. - Salman Ansari/DNA

For a moment one could have been excused for believing that they were witnessing some kind clash between two mobs with men carrying sticks. But hold on. Those men where wielding hockey sticks and were players of Air India (AI) and Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB), taking part in the Gold Cup hockey at MHAL, Churchgate, on Thursday.

Riding on a Shivendra Singh hat-trick, Air India were in a comfortable 3-1 lead when in the 67th minute, Sarvanjit Singh of PSB hit one of the Air India player in the follow through of his shot. After being shown a yellow card for that, Singh started arguing with the referee and got in an argument with AI players. Trying to separate the fight, AI goalie, Gurpreet Singh intervened, but was pushed by Karamjit Singh of PSB.

The fight took an ugly turn when Gurpreet charged at the PSB players with his hockey stick. And then the battle started, with players from both sides swinging their sticks at their rivals. Before the situation could get totally out of hand, Dhanraj Pillay, coach of the AI, entered the ground and calmed his players down.

After the situation was brought under control, Karamjit Singh and Saravanjit Singh of PSB and Gurpreet Singh of AI were shown a red card. The incident had no impact on the outcome of the game, as the match ended 3-1. Dhanraj Pillay said after the game, “Incidents like these spoil the image of the game. Players shouldn’t get so aggressive and that’s what I tried telling them.”

Seniors felicitated at MHAL

Players Arjun Halappa, Prabhjot Singh, Viren Rasquinha, Vikram Pillay, Devesh Chauhan and Deepak Thakur who were part of the Indian team which won the Junior Hockey World Cup in Hobart, Tasmania, in 2001 were felicitated at the MHAL stadium on Thursday.

DNA



2001 Junior Hockey World Cup heroes honoured

Sudheendra Tripathi


MUMBAI: Bombay Gold Cup is a popular tournament and some of India's top teams participate in it. Some of India's biggest stars have enthralled crowds at the Mahindra Stadium in Churchgate.

What makes the 48th edition of this tournament unique though, is that seven players from the 2001 Junior World Cup winning team are in the city.

On Thursday, the Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd. (MHAL), which is conducting the Bombay Gold Cup, felicitated the heroes of that spectacular triumph 12 years ago.

Mumbai boy Viren Rasquinha, Indian Oil's Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh and Devesh Chouhan, Air India boys Prabodh Tirkey, Arjun Halappa and Vikram Pillay were all handed mementoes in between matches at the MHA on Thursday.

All the players have fond memories of their triumph, which briefly marked the revival of Indian hockey.

Recalling his experience, Halappa who has now become a national selector, says: "It was a turning point for Indian hockey, a revival of sorts. Players started getting attention and with it came decent money from the government. We also found a sponsor in Sahara who gave us all the support we needed.

"The future of hockey was looking up."

That entire batch was arguably the best India has seen in a long, long time. Many of the World Cup heroes graduated to become formidable India stars. Rasquinha, in fact, went on to lead the team.

Explaining the reason behind the team's success, striker Deepak Thakur, who top-scored with ten goals including two hat-tricks in the tournament, says: "Our approach was positive. Even before we could leave for Hobart, we had created a positive atmosphere. We had decided that come what may, we have to win this World Cup. We stayed like a family and every player knew another very well, as a result of which we combined well on the field."

Rasquinha, who probably was in the best form of his career, couldn't agree with his teammate more: "The best thing about that team was that coach Rajinder Singh created a super atmosphere. We knew each other very well, because we were playing as a unit since 1998. I guess sharing a good rapport with teammates makes a big difference," he insists.

The Times of India



2001 champions wish current team wins Junior World Cup

MUMBAI: Members of the Indian team which won the Junior Hockey World Cup in Hobart, Tasmania, 12 years ago are hoping the current squad, gearing up for the upcoming edition in Delhi in December, emulates their feat.

"The biggest plus point of our team was our excellent team work and team spirit, which is very important in a long tournament like the World Cup. We never gave up even in the face of adversity, just hung on," said ex-India skipper Viren Rasquinha, who was a member of the 2001 Cup-winning team.

"The current team is very good and is training and preparing well. Gregg Clark (junior national coach) knows modern day hockey very well and he has got very good support in the form of Baljit Saini," the former half back said.

Rasquinha, who was honoured on Thursday along with six other members of the 2001 squad by the Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd, remembered how the team came back, after being down in the dumps in two games, against top opponents - The Netherlands and Germany.

India came back from 2-3 down in the last five minutes to edge past Holland in what was a virtual quarterfinal and then defeated a very strong German outfit, which later went on to win the senior World Cup, 3-2 in the semifinals.

In the final, India outclassed Argentina 6-1 to create history. Rasquinha pointed out that 13 members of that squad went on to play for the senior India team.

Rasquinha recalled the cold, damp and windy conditions in Tasmania that the team had to battle against.

His former teammate Arjun Halappa, who is a selector for the senior outfit and is still an active player for Air India, sounded sad that while Indian sports fans still remember the cricket team's 1983 World Cup triumph, their achievement is largely forgotten.

"We never expected to win. In the quarterfinals we were down 2-3 and scored two goals in the last five minutes and won. Then we defeated Germany 3-2 in the semis. Our victory raised the profile of hockey in the country. We started getting money from the government and Sahara came on board as the team sponsor," he recalled.

Another member of the 2001 squad, ebullient frontliner Prabhjot Singh, who still plays for Indian Oil Corporation, said the current team should not look too far ahead and take it step by step, while pointing out the home advantage.

"The home conditions should be a big help," he said. The international said one advantage the 2001 team possessed was that most players were from Punjab and they were playing together from 1998.

Former India goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan also pointed out the advantage of playing at home. Saying the current team was certainly good, Chauhan maintained the performance would depend on how strong the opposition was.

"When we played in 2001, Germany was a very strong team and was expected to win the title. It was a very tough semifinal match that we won," he said.

The Times of India



State will fund hockey stadium if Centre fails to, says Chavan

PUNE: Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said the state will step in if the Union government fails to provide funds for the development of the AstroTurf hockey stadium in Khadki.

Chavan was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the sports complex, developed by Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB), near Lal Bahadur Shastri School in Khadki bazaar. He also laid the foundation stone for the proposed AstroTurf hockey stadium at the complex.

Chavan said, "The state government has sent a proposal to the Union government seeking funds for the AstroTurf hockey stadium in Khadki. It will be good if we get the funds but if there is any problem, then we will take care of the expenditure on the development work at the stadium."

He said the government will build more sports complexes at district or taluka levels. Emphasizing on the importance of the AstroTurf hockey stadium, Chavan said, "Such a stadium is required today for better training, if one wants to play at the international level. We have not been able to win a medal in hockey at the Olympics for sometime now due to lack of international-level infrastructure and training."

Brig. Balraj Singh, president, KCB, appealed to the Chief Minister to include Khadki cantonment in the state welfare schemes and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme. "We would also request the Chief Minister to include the vice-president of the KCB in the district planning and development council meetings," he said.

Earlier, KCB vice-president Manish Anand presented a silver hockey stick to Chavan at the inauguration ceremony. A short film on Khadki's glorious tradition of playing hockey was also screened at the event followed by a laser show. Chavan distributed bicycles to as many as 16 girl students of the cantonment school. State forest minister Patangrao Kadam, State cooperation minister Harshvardhan Patil, State sports minister Padmakar Valvi among others were present at the ceremony.

The Times of India



Sports bodies: LHC asked to stay cricket board, hockey federation polls

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday issued notices to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and Sports Board on a petition seeking a stay on elections at the federation.

Former Olympian Naveed Alam filed the petition, stating that the PHF elections had been rigged as some candidates and some members of the election commission also occupied senior posts in the federation.

The petitioner asked the court to stay the PHF election until November 25 and directed the respondents to follow the rules and regulations. Justice Shujaat Ali Khan sought replies from the respondents by November 11.

Cricket board

Also on Thursday, a petition was filed at the LHC seeking a stay on the election of the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman until the completion of the electoral college.

Petitioner Izzat Syed, the ad-hoc president of the Lahore Region Cricket Association, submitted that the electoral college, consisting of the presidents of a total of 111 district and regional cricket associations, was only 70 per cent full.

About 30 per cent of the associations were operating without presidents, or their elections had been challenged in the courts.

He said that the PCB chairman election, scheduled for November 2, should be delayed until the electoral college is complete.

The Express Tribune