News for 30 October 2013

All the news for Wednesday 30 October 2013

TET Black Sticks Men & Women open with wins

Pictured: Sophie Cocks celebrates a goal (Dan Carson)

Both the TET Black Sticks Men and Women saw success on the opening day of the Oceania Cup at the TET MultiSports Centre in Stratford, Taranaki.

The day was headlined by the TET Black Sticks Women who surged to an impressive 3-2 come from behind victory over Australia.

The Black Sticks opened the scoring through Gemma Flynn but Australia scored the next two goals before a late second half surge guided the Kiwis to a win.

With the score locked up at 2-all, debutante Sophie Cocks delivered the game winner with just five minutes remaining on the clock.

Flynn was outstanding in an attacking role for the Black Sticks, while captain Kayla Sharland, Anita Punt and debutante Brooke Neal were also impressive.

Head coach Mark Hager said it was pleasing to open the Oceania Cup campaign with a win but there is still a long way to go.

“It was a little bit scrappy, both teams didn’t handle the turf very well. They applied a lot of pressure and we struggled to get the ball out of the back at times and that’s something to work on for our next game,” he said.

“It was good for all three girls on debut [Brooke Neal, Liz Thompson, Sophie Cocks] to get out on the pitch and all three showed signs that they belong at this level.”

The Black Sticks Women are back in action tomorrow at 5.30pm against Papua New Guinea.

Earlier in the day Blair Hilton celebrated his 100th international cap in style as the Black Sticks Men rolled to an 18-0 win over Papua New Guinea.

The Kiwis were never tested by the visiting side and dominated from start to finish in their opening game of the tournament.

Striker Stephen Jenness ran rampant throughout the game and scored six goals while Hugo Inglis and Jared Panchia both notched up hat-tricks.

Tomorrow will be a much more difficult challenge against world champions Australia at 7.30pm. The game will be streamed live on the Hockey New Zealand website (

For more information on the Oceania Cup, CLICK HERE

Taranaki Electricity Trust (TET) is the naming rights sponsor of the Black Sticks Men and Women for the 2013 Oceania Cup. Visit for more information.



TET Black Sticks 18: (Stephen Jenness 6, Hugo Inglis 3, Jared Panchia 3, Cory Bennett 2, Marcus Child, Blair Hilton, Joseph Bartholomew, Alex Shaw)
Papua New Guinea 0
Halftime: Black Sticks 11-0

Australia: 32
Samoa: 0
Halftime: Australia 16-0


TET Black Sticks 3: (Gemma Flynn, Petrea Webster, Sophie Cocks)
Australia 2: (Anna Flanagan, Brooke Peris)
Halftime: Tied 2-2

Papua New Guinea : 2
Samoa: 1
Halftime: Papua New Guinea 2-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Oceania opener defeat

White & Peris goals not enough as Hockeyroos lose to New Zealand

Photo courtesy of Dan Carson/DC Images

The Hockeyroos narrowly lost their opening Oceania Cup encounter to the tournament hosts New Zealand on Wednesday afternoon, going down 3-2 in a match that could ultimately have gone either way.

First half goals from Kellie White (NSW) and Brooke Peris (NT) overturned an early deficit but Petrea Webster’s equaliser for New Zealand just before half time left the game delicately poised going into the second period.

Both sides created opportunities from penalty corner set pieces but the match was decided with just ten minutes remaining when Sophie Cocks scrambled home from close range after a turnover inside the Australian circle.

Following the match, Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens was disappointed in the manner of the defeat.

“Overall, it’s a very disappointing defeat,” he said. “We dominated in patches but when we have that much possession in the front half we’d expect to produce more opportunities to score. One of our strengths during the World League tournament in June was our ability to hold the ball and we felt we’d made further progress in the recent series against Argentina. But today our basics fell below the standard we expect as a group and we gave New Zealand too many clear chances on goal. We’re capable of much better.”

After going behind in the seventh minute, the Hockeyroos fought back, winning a series of penalty corners and forcing the Black Sticks’ goalkeeper into a superb double save before Kellie White netted a deserved equaliser. From Anna Flanagan’s penalty corner, White’s deflection flew into the net to level the match 1-1 and provide the Crookwell athlete with a goal on her 50th appearance for the Hockeyroos.

Peris’ goal just six minutes later was confidently struck and came just over a week after her first senior international strike. Driving into the circle from the left hand side she executed a low reverse stick shot that went underneath the goalkeeper and inside the far post to put the Hockeyroos 2-1 ahead.

But it wasn’t to last. Webster’s touch at a penalty corner late in the first half brought New Zealand level before, with the second half entering its final ten minutes, Sophie Cocks reacted quickest to a loose ball to consign the Hockeyroos to defeat.

Earlier in the day, Papua New Guinea beat Samoa 2-1 in the women’s competition while in the men’s competition the Kookaburras beat Samoa 32-0 and New Zealand beat Papua New Guinea 18-0.

The Hockeyroos face Samoa on Thursday at 11:30am AEDT with a match against Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Following the conclusion of the group phase matches, the top two sides will progress to Sunday’s final while the bottom two will play off for third and fourth places.

Oceania Cup 2013, Stratford, New Zealand

Match Report

Kellie White 25 (PC)
Brooke Peris 31 (F)

Gemma Flynn 7 (F)
Petrea Webster 34 (PC)
Sophie Cocks 60 (F)

Hockeyroos squad v New Zealand

Madonna Blyth (C) (Brisbane, QLD) 258/61
Casey Eastham (Albion Park, NSW) 177/42
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT) 97/15
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW) 69/1
Kirstin Johnson (Mackay, QLD) 21/2
Claire Messent (Melbourne, VIC) 64/16
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 122/50
Georgie Parker (Adelaide, SA) 39/3
Jodie Schulz (Wamuran, QLD) 80/38
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 61/19
Ashlee Wells (GK) (Moe, VIC) 19/0

Substitutes Used
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 13/0
Mathilda Carmichael (Willoughby, NSW) 3/0
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 14/0
Jordyn Holzberger (Ipswich, QLD) 28/0
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 8/2
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW) 50/7

Unused Substitutes
Rachael Lynch (GK) (Melbourne, VIC) 87/0

Hockey Australia media release

Oceania Cup win

Glenn Turner leads with six in 32-0 victory over Samoa

Photo courtesy of Dan Carson/DC Images

The Kookaburras opened their Oceania Cup campaign with a 32-0 victory over Samoa in New Zealand on Wednesday morning.

Coach Graham Reid, standing in for Ric Charlesworth, explained after the match that given the differences between the two sides the score was irrelevant and that the game represented an opportunity for the Kookaburras to hone a number of elements of their play.

“Our plan for this match was to try to achieve a number of things that were not score related and to be respectful in how we played. Ultimately, I think we achieved those objectives. The pitch is newly laid and today gave us an opportunity to get used to the nuances of a new pitch and to prepare for tomorrow’s match against New Zealand. That game will be a challenge for us and for New Zealand. It will be completely different and much tighter.”

70 places separate the Kookaburras and Samoa in the world rankings with the second-ranked Australian men sitting just behind Germany in the standings. And with 2014 World Cup qualification assured, the Oceania Cup represents an important opportunity to collect vital world ranking points in the quest to return to world number one status.

Glenn Turner (ACT) led the way for the Kookaburras with six goals while Jamie Dwyer (QLD) and Russell Ford (VIC) followed up with five apiece. For Dwyer, his haul takes him to 198 international strikes, just two short of a double century.  There were hat-tricks for Brisbane pair Jake Whetton and Daniel Beale, and for Victorian Glenn Simpson.

Simpson’s fellow Victorian Andrew Philpott scored his first international goal for the Kookaburras from the penalty spot with seven minutes remaining. Jason Wilson (QLD) bagged a brace while Chris Ciriello (VIC), Aran Zalewski (WA), Simon Orchard (NSW) and Matthew Butturini (NSW) also all found the target.

The Kookaburras’ match against New Zealand on Thursday will be live streamed by hosts Hockey New Zealand at 5:30pm AEDT / 2:30pm AWST. The top two in the pool after the three preliminary matches will progress to Sunday’s final, which will also be live streamed.

Oceania Cup 2013, Stratford, New Zealand

Match report

Jake Whetton 4,52,61 (F,F,F)
Glenn Turner 4,12,21,35,45,57 (F,PC,F,PC,F,F)
Daniel Beale 6,17,70 (F,F,F)
Jamie Dwyer 6,19,44,56,61 (F,PS,F,F,61)
Glenn Simpson 9,40,56 (PC,F,PC)
Chris Ciriello 14 (PC)
Aran Zalewski 15 (F)
Russell Ford 15,23,24,43,68 (F,F,F,F,F)
Jason Wilson 30,42 (F,F)
Simon Orchard 53 (F)
Matthew Butturini 59 (F)
Andrew Philpott 63 (PS)

SAMOA 0 (0)

Kookaburras squad v Samoa

Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 11/4
Matthew Butturini (Murwillumbah, NSW) 86/15
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 48/0
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 119/65
Liam De Young (c) (Brisbane, QLD) 287/34
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 305/198
Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA) 170/14
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 128/41
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 93/18
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 34/13
Jason Wilson (Kingscliff, QLD) 87/30

Substitutes Used
Rob Hammond (Townville, QLD) 233/28
Glenn Turner (Goulburn, ACT) 93/71
Russell Ford (Eltham, VIC) 132/59
Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA) 5/0
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 187/48
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 6/1
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 14/2

Hockey Australia media release

Black Sticks canter in Oceania Cup opener

By Daniel Richardson

Stephen Jenness scored a first half hat-trick. Photo / APN

The gulf between the world's fifth best men's hockey team and the 69th is 18 goals.

New Zealand opened their Oceania Cup campaign with a comfortable 18-0 victory over Papua New Guinea in Stratford this afternoon.

Goals were a constant during the contest as New Zealand were rarely challenged in defence and took the opportunity to work on keeping possession.

The Black Sticks opened the scoring in the third minute and the goals continued to flood in throughout the first 35 minutes as Stephen Jenness and Hugo Inglis had hat-tricks by halftime as the Kiwis took an 11-0 lead to the split.

The only time Black Sticks goalkeeper Hamish McGregor touched the ball during the first spell was when it drifted out early on and he simply passed it back to the defence for them to start the game running again.

McGregor was then subbed at halftime as Devon Manchester was given the second stanza in goal.

At the other end of the pitch, PNG's goalkeeper Selwyn Tamur was the busiest man on the turf during the first half - other than the umpires who were regularly confirming the goals - and Tamur wasn't afraid to let his defence know when they had made a mistake.

Wellington's Blair Hilton, who was a late replacement to Colin Batch's squad following a foot injury to James Coughlan, marked his 100th international cap with a goal in the first spell.

Compared to the first half, the second period got underway at a much more pedestrian pace and New Zealand only added three goals in the first 15 minutes.

Eventually, PNG's sustained block of resistance was broken down as New Zealand continued their dominance to complete the rout.

PNG made a rare foray in to New Zealand's territory in the final minute but couldn't find a goal of their own.

Earlier in the day, the Australian men beat Samoa 32-0, while on the women's side of the draw, Papua New Guinea beat Samoa 2-1.

The women's Black Sticks were due to play Australia at 5.30pm this evening.

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks beat Australia

By Daniel Richardson

Gemma Flynn opened the scoring for New Zealand. File photo / Joel Ford

The women's Black Sticks have got their Oceania Cup campaign underway in perfect fashion with a 3-2 win over Australia at the TET MultiSports Centre in Stratford this evening.

The transtasman rivals will likely contest Sunday's final after they breeze through their other pool outings against Samoa and Papua New Guinea so today's game served as an intriguing warm-up.

The Black Sticks were without utility Samantha Charlton, who missed the game with illness but was expected to come right during the next day or so.

New Zealand coach Mark Hager named three debutantes in his squad for the tournament and two started against Australia with Sophie Cocks and Brooke Neal included in the run-on side, while Elizabeth Thompson played from the bench.

The Black Sticks opened the scoring during a busy first spell, when Gemma Flynn finished a nice pass from Petrea Webster.

But New Zealand eventually gave the lead back to Australia after Rhianon Dennison was dispossessed and the Hockeyroos scored their second through Brooke Peris in the 31st minute, which added to Anna Flanagan's earlier effort from a penalty corner.

As the weather took a turn for the worse, the Black Sticks managed to string a few passes together and evened the ledger when skipper Kayla Sharland's shot from the top of the circle was deflected in by Webster.

With the floodlights on and the rain falling, both sides went to halftime with the score at 2-2 and the Black Sticks had goalkeeper Sally Rutherford to thank for such a scoreline after she made a couple of fine saves in the first spell.

Both sides had penalty corner opportunities during the first 20 minutes of the second half before Flynn turned provider as Cocks scored on debut to net the winner with just over 10 minutes left.

Krystal Forgesson had the chance to kill the game off with seven minutes to go but her shot went wide with just the keeper to beat.

Earlier in the day, the men's Black Sticks beat Papua New Guinea 18-0, while the Australian men beat Samoa 32-0. On the women's side of the draw, Papua New Guinea beat Samoa 2-1.

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks women get win over Australia


Australia’s Georgie Parker hits the turf as she tries to tackle New Zealand’s Emily Naylor in their Oceania Cup women’s hockey match in Stratford. CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ

A goal on debut by Sophie Cocks has given the Black Sticks women's team a 3-2 win over Australia in their Oceania Cup hockey match in Stratford.

"That's the most important goal I've ever scored," the 19-year-old Canterbury striker said afterwards. "To score the winning goal against Australia, that's very exciting."

Cocks, one of three players to make their debuts for New Zealand in the match - the other two were Brooke Neal and Liz Thompson - said she it was the "best feeling" seeing the ball go into the net with 10 minutes remaining in the opening match at the tournament for both sides.

"It was very tight. The game was very fast-paced," she said. "It was good to have experienced players around me. They kept giving me lots of support. I can't wait until tomorrow."

The two teams had been locked at two-all at halftime and played seesawed in the second half as both tried to find holes in the defence.

New Zealand opened the scoring after only seven minutes, with a well-worked goal by Gemma Flynn. The Kiwis could have, and probably should have, gone 2-0 up but missed a series of penalty corners midway through the half.

Instead, it was Australia who hit back scoring two quick goals as drizzle turned to rain. The first came with 10 minutes left in the half with Anna Flannagan finding the net and then minutes later Kate Jenner drove one home.

Just when it looked likely Australia would go to the break holding a 2-1 lead, back stormed New Zealand with a Petrea Webster deflection off a strike by captain Kayla Sharland beat the keeper.

It was a psychological boost for the Blacks Sticks with the pair certain to meet in Sunday's final.

The Black Sticks men's team overpowered Papua New Guinea 18-0 to open their campaign.

The New Zealand side led 11-0 at halftime and never looked in danger of conceding a goal. Top scorer for New Zealand was Stephen Jenness with six.

Earlier the Australian men's team ran up a cricket score to thrash Samoa 32-0 after leading 16-0 at halftime.

For the Samoans, it was at least an improvement on the last time the two sides met in an Oceania Cup clash - they lost that one 35-0 in Invercargill in 2009.

In the other match, the PNG women's side pipped Samoa 2-1.

Thursday's feature match is between the New Zealand and Australian men's teams.

Thursday's draw

1.30pm, Australia women v Samoa
3.30pm, PNG men v Samoa
5.30pm, NZ women v PNG
7.30pm, NZ men v Australia


Cup challenge to push the Black Sticks' growth


New Zealand's coaches want their sides to leave an imprint on Australia during the Oceania Cup tournament.

Men's coach Colin Batch and women's coach Mark Hager also want a variety of things achieved during the four-day tournament, which starts today and ends with finals on Sunday.

"It's easy to say we want to win the cup, that's the foundation of any competition you're playing but [the Oceania Cup] is the first stage of a very busy calendar next year," Batch said.

Included in the 2014 tournament schedule will be the World League Four in January, the champions challenge in April, followed by the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

"So we need to develop our group and get our fitness levels to good standards and maintain them in competition," Batch said.

"That's been a strong focus and a theme talked about a lot over the past week or so in our build up to this tournament.

"We haven't been together for a little while so to re-establish some of the off field structures that we started in Holland last June would be very important. I see that as being a big thing."

The New Zealand teams head into the the tournament without any recent international competition, unlike

the world No 2-ranked Australia men's squad who should hit the turf running having played recent matches against Pakistan and Argentina.

Batch saw the Oceania Cup as a chance to further develop a team he took control of just a year ago.

He was happy with how his squad were progressing under his tutelage. "The depth of our squad is becoming stronger and stronger and that's what I want to achieve."

The New Zealand men are ranked fifth in the world, a position they could maintain with points available throughout the tournament. .

"There's not many points between fifth and ninth at the moment so we need to take care of that and make sure we are doing as well as we can. That's in the back of our mind whenever we play," Batch said.

The New Zealand women's team has the added pressure of being defending cup champions.

Despite being ranked third, three places above Australia , Hager surprisingly tagged one of their traditional rivals as favourites to win the tournament..

"They've probably had a better last six months that we've had, so they'll be a tough opposition for us. They always tend to be close games so it's an exciting challenge for both groups."

Hager said there had been little between the two sides over the last four or five years.

He pinpointed speed as one of his side's strengths.

"It has been probably for the past four years. Obviously, with Kayla Sharland as our No 1 leader in the group, she gives us a lot of assistance through the field as well," he said.

The women have used inter-squad matches against their male counterparts to help them get up to speed for the tournament.

Hager said those outings exposed some weaknesses.

"We had two really good, quality games and they showed us we have to tighten up a bit and have a little bit more fire in the attacking third of the field."

With minnows Papua New Guinea and Samoa making up the competition, spectators could expect to see some one-sided games.

However, Hager was not disparaging about their inclusion.

"I think it's great for Samoa and Papua New Guinea being here because they get to benchmark themselves against three of the top teams in the world.

"They're probably not at the level that we're at, but unless they play teams like us they're never going to know.

"Unless we have the Oceania Cup we're not going to help the nations below us improve."

The only hiccups in the lead-up to the start of the tournament for the New Zealand contingent were Pippa Hayward (quad injury) and Aniwaka Roberts (unwell) being ruled out on Monday.

They have been replaced by the relatively inexperienced pair of Olivia Merry and Danielle Jones who have just 28 caps between them.


11.30am - Australia men v Samoa men
1.30pm - PNG women v Samoa women
3.30pm - NZ men v PNG men
5.30pm - NZ women v Australia women


Student eyeing spot in Black Sticks

Sam Jimmieson has had the right coaching to help him achieve the transition from school to bigger stage.

By Terry Maddaford

Sam Jimmieson says he's looking forward to representing NZ next year in the Under-18s. Photo / APN

George Muir led the way, now Sam Jimmieson hopes to follow the same path.

Less than two years out of Rosmini College, Muir was this year selected to play for the Black Sticks. Jimmieson has his sights set on making that step to the sport's biggest stage. And he has the right people to help him fulfil that dream.

A member of the St Kentigern College 1st XI since his Year 7 days, Jimmieson, who is about to leave school and head to the AUT Manukau Campus to study business, pays tribute to the part played by the school's director of hockey, one-time Olympic gold medallist and former Hockey NZ chief executive Ramesh Patel, in furthering his hockey career.

Patel's expertise and the special mentoring he gives Jimmieson and other players has played a big part in the growing status of the sport at the East Auckland school.

In this year's inaugural Super City competition, St Kentigern finished third behind perennial front-runners WBHS and Kings and ahead of AGS.

Involved in hockey at club, school and representative level - like many starting at the Hatch Cup tournament - Jimmieson says his game has benefited from the coaching he has received.

"Along with Ramesh Patel, who oversees the whole hockey programme at school and is the assistant coach of the 1st XI, I have also been fortunate to have been coached by Andy Hayward and Helmut Lala and others," said Jimmieson, who also played for the Howick Pakuranga premiers this season along with the Auckland under-18 (for whom he was the leading goalscorer) and under-21 teams. The under-21s won the national title.

The coaching from Hayward is especially beneficial.

It gives Jimmieson the opportunity to learn from one of the best drag flick exponents in the game here, something Jimmieson, 18, is keen to develop.

"I finished with a .4 success rate this season which is not too bad."

Already selected with St Kentigern teammates Richmond Lum and Daniel Guthrie in the NZ Under-18 Tiger Turf squad, Jimmieson is looking forward to representing New Zealand at that level in Australia next year.

While he played in the midfield for St Kentigern, he has also played fullback and will continue his development next winter when he switches to play his club hockey at Somerville where he will be coached by Charlie Oscroft.

Given the success of the sport at St Kentigern - they were the third-best Auckland school at this year's Rankin Cup, again finishing ahead of AGS - the improvement in a sport which, at this stage, plays second fiddle to rugby and soccer, is putting the pressure on proud principal Steve Cole to come up with the funding to add a water-based turf to the sand surface used by the younger grades at the school.

"That would be great," said Jimmieson. "At present all our training is done at Lloyd Elsmore Park." It would really help to have blue turf.

The New Zealand Herald

The new 'Roo

Mathilda Carmichael tells us how she received the news of her debut

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for the latest member of the Hockeyroos. Today, Mathilda Carmichael - ‘Tilly’ to her mates - is set to face rivals New Zealand in the Hockeyroos’ opening match of the 2013 Oceania Cup, but just over three weeks ago she hadn’t even met half of her teammates.

“I thought I was just going to Perth for a couple of weeks of training and to see the girls play in the International Super Series and the Tests against Argentina and Canada,” explains the 19 year old from Willoughby, New South Wales. “All of a sudden it was ‘you’re playing!’ which came as a massive shock.

“I was staying with Kellie White and was doing some work on my computer when the squad for the games against Canada was announced. Kellie came through and said, ‘have you looked at the team list?’ I hadn’t because I didn’t expect to be on it and she didn’t say anything more until I had looked.”

Carmichael’s reaction was one of shock and excitement, emotions shared by her family. Despite the short time between the squad announcement and the first match against the Canadians, her mum flew from Sydney to Perth and was able to cheer her daughter on her international debut, a 3-0 win for the Hockeyroos.

After the Hockeyroos' Canada matches, Carmichael was due to stay on in Perth to play for WAIS against the Canadians but her performances in her first two games earned her a call-up for the Oceania Cup. Having arrived in Stratford, the Sydney Uni athlete says her first senior international tour has gone well so far. She credits the experience of being part of the Jillaroos squad at the Junior World Cup in August as playing an important role in helping her settle in.

“It’s been good so far”, says Carmichael. “I’m rooming with Casey Eastham who has been so nice and very helpful.  All the girls help each other out though, with loads of feedback in everything we do. At the Junior World Cup with the Jillaroos we tried to emulate what the senior team does in terms of structuring its day so I knew what to expect; a light training session on the morning of a match, lunch together, a squad meeting and then the game in the afternoon.”

But as you’d expect, there are a number of differences too.

“There are quite a few things that are different to being with the Jillaroos. The team’s more senior, obviously, and it’s just a bit of a step up. For example, even in our down time absolutely everything is geared towards our hockey and the upcoming match.”

A defender or midfielder, Carmichael says there are too many people to name individually but she is extremely grateful to all of those who have played a part in helping her get to where she is.

“Throughout my life my family has been incredible supportive. I’ve had many coaches and all of them have contributed something to where I am. They all had something different to expose me to or a different take on things. The NSWIS group this year has been very good in supporting each other; not just the coaches but the players too. At the AHL we had a young group and Casey and Kellie were a great support to me there.”

Hockeyroos fans can log on to see Tilly in action for the Hockeyroos against New Zealand today, Wednesday 30 October, from 3:30pm AEDT / 12:30pm AWST. Live streaming of all Australia v New Zealand matches is being shown on the Hockey New Zealand website.

Hockey Australia media release


Excitement builds for Hero Hockey India League 2014

Big names sign up for November’s player auction ahead of spectacular six-team event

Ranchi Rhinos were the winners of the inaugural Hero Hockey India League. Will they repeat their success in 2014? (Photo: Hero Hockey India League)

Following a sensational debut season, the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) has been enjoying a well-earned rest in recent months. However, the ground-breaking has burst back into life as the organisers begin preparing for the start of the second season early in 2014.

The first edition of the HHIL – which took place in January and February of this year – was a massive success, with five franchise-based teams containing some of the greatest hockey players on the planet battling it out over four weeks in a bid to become the first ever winners of the event.

Superstars including five times FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer, three time winner Teun de Nooijer and current title holder Moritz Fürste were just a few of the many world class individuals on show, with Fürste’s Ranchi Rhinos taking the title ahead of the Delhi Waveriders, a team captained by India superstar and talisman Sardar Singh.

HHIL has already confirmed that the number of teams competing in the 2014 Edition of the tournament will increase from five to six, with the event taking place between 23rd January and 23rd February next year. 59 overseas players and 95 Indian players have signed up for the HHIL player auction, which is scheduled for 18th November in New Delhi.

Some truly outstanding international players have made themselves available, including legendary Korea striker Seo Jong Ho Seo, ace England & Great Britain forward Barry Middleton, Germany’s Olympic Gold medallist Oliver Korn and dazzling New Zealand midfielder Ryan Archibald.

The most recent news to emerge from the League is that Sweden’s Bjorn Isberg has been named as the Tournament Director. Isberg is hugely experienced, having overseen various World Level events including the men’s tournament at the London 2012 Olympic Games. 

The inaugural season was watched by 41 million fans in India and broadcast in 146 countries around the world, while more than half a million fans ‘liked’ the official Facebook page.

The second season looks more than capable of surpassing those incredible achievements. We cannot wait for the tournament to get started.

More information about these stories and all of the build-up to the 2014 Edition can be found on the HHIL’s official website by clicking here.

FIH site

ACT, a chance to test new combinations before Jr WC: Clark

NEW DELHI: With focus firmly on the FIH Junior Men's World Cup in December, India is sending a relatively junior team for the Asian Champions Trophy in Japan and chief coach Gregg Clark said the upcoming tournament will give him a chance to assess all the arsenal at his disposal ahead of the quadrennial event.

Hockey India has included as many as 13 players from the Sultan of Johor Cup-winning junior squad in the 18-man touring party announced for the third Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) to be held in Kakamigahara, Japan from November 2-10.

"The Junior World Cup is merely five weeks away so the preparations are mainly aimed at that. We are testing out some new combinations. It's all part of the process to try and make sure that come December 6 we are in the best place as a team," Clark told reporters at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here today before departing for Japan later tonight.

"We will just try to build on what we did previously in Johor Cup in terms of all our structures. We scored some good penalty corners there but we need to better our conversion rate. Gurjinder Singh is in the team, he wasn't in Johor. He is very effective in penalty corners. So the tournament will be a test for him. Our main focus will be to see how complete as a team we are by the time ACT gets over," he added.

The South African said the ACT is an opportunity for some regular members of the senior side like Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh to mix with the junior set up.

"The strength of the team is that we have got 13 players from the Sultan of Johor Cup team. We can build on that. Hopefully, the players who are coming in can add really good values. For guys like Mandeep and Akashdeep who have joined the team, it is an opportunity to learn from Greg Clark and Baljit Saini, may be slightly different from Roelant Oltmans' coaching in the Asia Cup," Clark said.

The Times of India

Junior World Cup the aim for young team

Ritu Sejwal

NEW DELHI: The Indian men's hockey team will bank on a young squad at the third Asian Champions Trophy to be held at Kakamigahara in Japan from November 2 to 10. The team was scheduled depart for Japan on Tuesday night.Talking about the team's preparation, coach in-charge Gregg Clark said that preparations have been done keeping in mind the Junior World Cup. He added that in Japan the team would be looking to build on the recent Johor Cup success.

"We will try to build on what we did in Johor Cup in terms of all our structures. We had a good three weeks of training here in Delhi. We are in the back of some success in Johor Cup. We have the bulk of the team that was in Johor. So, I am happy with the preparation," Clark told TOI at the National Stadium.

"The Junior World Cup is merely five weeks away so the preparations are mainly aimed at that. We are testing out some new combinations to make sure that come December 6 we are in the best place as a team," the coach added.

Of the 18 players, 13 are from the Johor Cup winning squad. Clark said the tournament will be a big test, adding the inclusion of Gurjinder Singh will strengthen the team in penalty-corner conversion. "We scored some good penalty corners there but we need to better our conversion rate. Gurjinder is in the team, he wasn't in Johor. He is very effective in penalty corners. So the tournament will be a test for him too. Our main focus will be to see how complete as a team we are by the time ACT gets over," he said.

Young Manpreet Singh will lead the squad in the absence of Sardar Singh. "It's a big responsibility. We had performed well in the Johor Cup and we are hoping to perform better. Pakistan and Malaysia will be the teams to beat. We have worked on penalty corners," Manpreet said.

The Indian women, led by Ritu Rani, will be looking for a more consistence performance having returned on a positive note from Scotland. Chief coach Niel Hawgood said: "We played China, who are a top team, four weeks ago in Scotland. This tournament is an opportunity. I would like to see the girls go there and beat them again.

"We need that regularity and consistency in our performance. We are getting fitter, stronger and smarter. We have changed from dribbling to a more structured game and that is our strength now."

The Times of India

The England Hockey Domestic Season story so far

Beeston's Adam Dixon

Now that the season is in full swing, we take a step back to see how the Investec Women's and NOW: Pensions Men's Hockey Leagues have shaped up.

After an exciting summer of international hockey in which England’s Women won a silver medal at the European Championships and the men finished fourth, the focus has now switched to domestic hockey.

The new season is already in full swing with some new-look teams and a new rule (players can play the ball above shoulder height when bringing down aerial passes) it looks like the season will be a very open one. Beeston are setting the early pace in the NOW: Pensions men’s league, with East Grinstead, Reading and Surbiton in hot pursuit. In the Investec Women’s Premier League Canterbury and Reading are neck and neck for points at the top of the table.

Most recently in the Investec Women's Hockey League Canterbury continued to cling on to their unbeaten record to now draw level with Reading after beating Surbiton in a double header with their men's team counterparts. Sam Ward remains the man to watch with another hat-trick against Hampstead and Westminster, along with Adam Dixon with a brace, for Beeston - who also remain unbeaten this far into the season.

However, if the opening weeks are anything to go by, this season will likely go down to the wire. There is still plenty of hockey to be played but a number of teams will have an eye on the end of season playoffs at Reading Hockey Club in April. Last year the event didn't disappoint with drama in the men’s semi-final as Beeston edged out Reading on a shootout before going on to defeat Surbiton in the final. The women’s event too, had its share of tension as Leicester and Reading, the two heavyweights of the women’s league couldn’t be separated without the use of a shootout. Sarah Ellis, the Reading goalkeeper saved all four of the Leicester efforts and Reading won the second of three trophies in a very successful season for Steve Bayer’s side.

As well as the end of season championship playoffs, the promotion/relegation tournament always provides its share of entertainment. After a long, hard season just to get into the playoffs, teams will throw everything they have at each other in an attempt to gain their place in the top tier of domestic hockey. Naturally this gives rise to some entertaining and end-to-end contests right up until the last minute of the final game.

Last season Wimbledon, who qualified for the playoffs having won the East Conference on goal difference from Holcombe, secured their place in the Premier League with wins over Cardiff and Sheffield Hallam. Hallam secured the second slot by virtue of a superior goal difference to Cardiff. The Women’s playoffs were even closer with three teams, Beeston, Olton and West Warwicks and Buckingham all finishing on six points, but Buckingham missed out on goal difference. There is no doubt this season will offer more of the same excitement.

Other hockey events for your diary during this season...

Of course the domestic calendar would not be complete without the bright lights, glitz, and glamour of the Indoor finals at Wembley this coming February – what you knew as the Super Sixes is now known as the ‘Maxi Hockey 5s’. England Hockey’s big night in has proved to be a great success with the Sky Sports cameras capturing the action and with the crowd filling the famous arena to the brim to witness some exciting, fast-paced hockey and plenty of goals.

This year, the International Hockey Federation has changed the rules making it five-a-side rather than the traditional six-a-side. More space should mean more goals, and that’s exactly what the fans want. With Reading scooping the ladies title, the first of their three trophies last season, they will undoubtedly be the team to beat. In the men’s it's hard to look beyond East Grinstead, champions last year for the fifth successive time. One thing’s for sure, the indoor finals are a spectacular show and not to be missed!

International hockey will return to centre stage later on in the year with the Women’s World League in Argentina taking place over November and December. England will pit their wits against the world’s best including the hosts Argentina, Germany, Holland and New Zealand. After the excellent showing in the World League Semi Final, where they beat Argentina, and the European Championships, where they beat the Netherlands, England will fear no one going into the competition. Having the likes of Alex Danson, Kate Walsh, Maddie Hinch and Sam Quek all in sparkling form, England have plenty of quality in the side and will be full of confidence.

As well as those players already mentioned there are two up-and-coming stars who it's worth keeping an eye out for. The first is 18-year-old Lily Owsley. The former Bristol Firebrands player, now plying her trade at University of Birmingham burst onto the international scene in the summer, making her debut in the World League in London. Owsley earned praise for her excellent close control, exciting technical skills and her ability to create something out of nothing. Now playing regularly in the Premier League and training in the central programme, Owsley will surely go from strength to strength over the coming months.

As well as Owsley, Sophie Bray has shown a lot of potential in her fledgling international career. The 23-year-old has improved immeasurably having spent time playing for MOP in Holland. Bray has scored four times in her 13 international appearances and looks like an instinctive predator in and around the D who could ease the goalscoring burden from Alex Danson’s shoulders.

In January, England’s men travel to India for their own World League Final where they face stiff competition including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. Like the women’s squad, the men are undergoing something of a transitional phase and have new players who have taken to international hockey very well. One of these is Reading’s Tom Carson. The 23-year-old former Exeter University forward has settled into the England set up seamlessly. With his excellent first touch, fantastic technical skills, eye for goal and a useful drag flick on penalty corners, Carson has netted nine times in 22 appearances for his country and looks set for a long and successful international career.

With increased financial backing from Investec and NOW: Pensions, the improvement in coverage across the media, the exposure for the game at the London Olympics and the continued development and success of the national teams, these are exciting times for hockey in England.

Read more about the most important upcoming events in hockey here. Or, you can go to our competitions pages to see all the results and fixtures for this season for each of the Leagues.

England Hockey Board Media release

Futures Cup takes place this week at Cannock

Futures Cup players

The Futures Cup is the flagship event in the Single System calendar and congratulations must go to all 300 of England’s most promising young hockey players and officials in their achievement in being at the pinnacle of their sport in their age groups.

The event will provide a marvellous opportunity to launch their hockey career and experience what it is like to take part in a top international hockey tournament.

All the young players at The Futures Cup are aged between 15 and 18, and have been training hard at their Junior Regional Performance Centres (JRPC). They have received guidance on fitness, nutrition and lifestyle management as part of their developmental pathway.

Sara Walker, the new England Hockey Single System National Manager, said ‘The structure of this tournament follows that of an International junior event and is a fantastic opportunity for all the athletes and officials to experience the demands of a high level performance environment whilst representing the Wessex Leopards, the Mercia Lynx, the Pennine Pumas or the Saxon Tigers.

‘The athletes will encounter the highs and lows of match play on a national stage with the focus on implementing the skills developed with the help of coaches at all levels, from across the whole country.'

More than 12,000 young people have been a part of the pathway this year, developing at all levels to achieve their potential. The foundation of the Single System pyramid, the Junior Development Centres (JDC), are widely spread throughout England with Junior Academy Centres (JAC) in all counties. Players can progress along the route to the top, learning and sharing their hockey with friends and family.

In addition to providing our young athletes with a vital competitive experience, the Futures Cup offers them an opportunity to showcase their skills and abilities to the National Age Group (NAG) U16 and U18 coaches, who will be in attendance and looking for the best and brightest to represent England.

We’d like to thank everyone who has helped deliver and support the Single System in the past six years. We have a highly rated performance pathway for our young people that we are all proud of. While much of the focus is on the young people on the pitch, the Single System and the Futures Cup offers an ideal training ground for the next generation of those in the vital roles of coaches and team managers from the grass roots to the national arena.

Now entering its sixth year, the Futures Cup will once again be held at Cannock Hockey Club in Staffordshire from Thursday 31st October – Sunday 3rd November. There is no entry fee to watch the tournament but spectators should be aware that there is a parking charge of £3 per day or £5 for the tournament.

Click HERE to view the players who will be on show at the Futures Cup.

Follow online at On Twitter, use the hashtag #FuturesCup

England Hockey Board Media release

National Women’s Hockey Championship

Staff Report

KARACHI: Karachi will host the 28th edition of the National Women’s Hockey Championship in January next year. This decision was taken at a meeting of Pakistan Hockey Federations women’ wing held here on Tuesday with Khush Bakht Shujat, chairperson women’s wing in chair. “All the affiliated units of the women’s wing will take part in the premier women hockey activity,” a spokesperson said.

The meeting was also attended by Tanzeela Aamir Cheema, Parveen Sikandar Gill, Prof Abida Tanveer, Tasneem Siddiqui, Shagufta Liaqat Randhawa and Najma Bhatti.

The meeting also congratulated Benish Hayat, first ever woman international hockey umpire in Pakistan, on her promotion as FIH international umpire.

The Daily Times

World Cup hockey player Uthamarajah dies

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia lost another World Cup hockey player Tuesday. R. Uthamarajah died after suffering a heart attack. He was 61.

The Kuala Lipis-born player, who was ninth among seven brothers and three sisters, featured in the 1978 World Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He was only the second player after his elder brother Patmarajah from the east coast to represent Malaysia in the World Cup.

Patmarajah, who featured in two World Cups – Holland (1973) and Kuala Lumpur (1975) – said that he was about to board a plane to Hong Kong from the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on Tuesday when he received the sad news at about 10.45am.

“After my brother quit playing hockey, he became a full-time tennis coach. He went to the Lakeview Club in Subang Jaya in the morning to train a doctor’s son when he suddenly collapsed.

“His body has been sent for a post-mortem and I believe he died of a heart attack,” said Patmarajah, who was supposed to represent Malaysia in the Grand Masters (above 60 years) competition in the Asian Cup hockey tournament which begins in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Patmarajah said that the cremation would be done on Thursday.

The Star of Malaysia