News for 31 October 2013

All the news for Thursday 31 October 2013

Kookaburras' Oceania Cup clash postponed

Due to torrential rain, which has caused the pitch to flood, the Kookaburras’ Oceania Cup match against New Zealand, originally scheduled for 5:30pm AEDT tonight has been rescheduled.

It will now be played tomorrow morning, Friday 1 November, at 9:00am AEDT (11:00am local time in New Zealand).

The other match in the men’s competition did go ahead earlier. Papua New Guinea beat Samoa 4-1.

In the women’s competition, the Hockeyroos defeated Samoa 23-0 while New Zealand beat Papua New Guinea 25-0. The results leave New Zealand top of the pool and qualified for Sunday’s final with six points. The Hockeyroos and Papua New Guinea are level on three points while Samoa are fourth.

Hockey Australia media release

Weather forces postponement of hockey clash


Atrocious weather in Stratford put the hockey turf under water and forced the postponement of the feature Oceania Cup clash between the New Zealand and Australia men's teams tonight.

That game will now be played at 11am tomorrow.

But the miserable weather earlier in the evening didn't slow down the Black Sticks women, who thrashed Papua New Guinea 25-0.

The Kiwi team led 14-0 at halftime and had it not been for a slow start to the second half the score would have been much higher.

Conditions were terrible with driving rain and a bitterly cold wind making things unpleasant for both players and those brave enough to watch.

To their credit, PNG hung in there in conditions totally foreign to them, restricting the second-half scoring to 11 goals.

In the early game, the Australian women bounced back from their 3-2 loss to New Zealand by thumping Samoa 23-0.

The Australians wasted no time getting the scoreboard ticking over and led 12-0 at the break.

Kellie White led the scoring with five goals, one more than Emiley Smith. Anna Flannagan knocked in three with the other goals shared around.

The PNG men's side scored their first win of the tournament with a 4-1 win over Samoa. The only blemish for PNG was conceding a late goal.


'Roos 23, Samoa 0

Kellie White & Emily Smith lead the way with nine goals

Photo courtesy of Dan Carson/DC Images

Five goals from Kellie White (NSW) and four from her Crookwell compatriot Emily Smith (NSW) led the way for the Hockeyroos as they defeated Samoa 23-0 on day two of the Oceania Cup. The result marks the largest ever win by a Hockeyroos side and gives the Australian women their first points following an opening day defeat to hosts New Zealand on Wednesday.

With Samoa ranked 60th in the world rankings, 54 places behind the Hockeyroos, the result was unlikely to have gone any other way and Head Coach Adam Commens acknowledged afterwards that “both teams played in good spirit.”

The Hockeyroos coach was also pleased with what his side had taken from the match in challenging conditions.

“We’ve been working on a couple of things in training that we wanted to put into a match situation,” said Commens. “We’ve been working on high quality ball handling and our basics and at times today we did those very well. Other times we were a bit sloppy but the weather conditions were atrocious for most of the match. The girls stuck to it though and their endeavour to executive what we were after was good under the circumstances.” 

In all, 12 Hockeyroos found the target with World Young Player of the Year Anna Flanagan (ACT) netting a hat-trick of penalty corners while captain Madonna Blyth (QLD) bagged as brace, as did in-form Ashleigh Nelson (WA).

There were strikes too from Edwina Bone (ACT), South Australian duo Jane Claxton and Georgie Parker, Queensland pair Jodie Schulz and Jordyn Holzberger, Casey Eastham (NSW) and Claire Messent (VIC). For Bone, Claxton and Holzberger, the goals marked their first at senior international level.

Friday is a tournament rest day before Saturday’s final round of group matches. The Hockeyroos take on Papa New Guinea at 6:00am AEDT on Saturday with a place in Sunday’s final at stake.

Follow the tournament via our dedicated Oceania Cup page here.

Oceania Cup, Match Report

Edwina Bone 3 (PC)
Ashleigh Nelson 6,62 (F,F)
Jane Claxton 7 (F)
Kellie White 13,21,37,48,50 (F,F,F,F,F)
Anna Flanagan 17,26,46 (PC,PC,PC)
Madonna Blyth 19,30 (PC,F)
Jodie Schulz 23 (F)
Casey Eastham 30 (F)
Emily Smith 34,60,66,68 (F,F,F,F)
Jordyn Holzberger 30 (PC)
Georgie Parker 54 (F)
Claire Messent 60 (PC)

SAMOA 0 (0)

Hockeyroos squad v Samoa

Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 14/1
Madonna Blyth (C) (Brisbane, QLD) 259/63
Mathilda Carmichael (Willoughby, NSW) 4/0
Casey Eastham (Albion Park, NSW) 178/43
Jordyn Holzberger (Ipswich, QLD) 29/1
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW) 70/1
Kirstin Johnson (Mackay, QLD) 22/2
Georgie Parker (Adelaide, SA) 40/4
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 9/2
Ashlee Wells (GK) (Moe, VIC) 20/0
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW) 51/12

Substitutes Used
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 15/1
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT) 98/18
Claire Messent (Melbourne, VIC) 65/17
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 123/52
Jodie Schulz (Wamuran, QLD) 81/39
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 62/23

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

Hockey Australia media release

Dream debut as Cocks seals win over Aussies

Sophie Cocks in action. Photo / Christine Cornege

As far as international hockey debuts go, Black Sticks striker Sophie Cocks couldn't have asked for much more.

The 19-year-old made good on coach Mark Hager's decision to pick her as she nailed the winner for the Black Sticks as they opened the Oceania Cup with a 3-2 victory over Australia in Stratford yesterday.

With the score at 2-2, Cocks was on-hand to knock the ball in from close range with 10 minutes left.

"It was amazing," she said after the game. "I think playing Australia in the debut, I think that made it 10 times more exciting and especially playing in New Zealand having the home crowd."

Cocks, a business and commerce student at Lincoln University in Canterbury, had her mum and stepfather in attendance but she was still nervous before the game and was thankful to play in front of experienced heads Kayla Sharland and Emily Naylor.

"They just said go out and do what you usually do. I mean we've got great leaders in behind us with Kayla and Emily as a screen. So as a striker it's good, you just listen to them and know you've got experience to tell you what to do up front."

New Zealand took the early lead through Gemma Flynn before Australia answered with goals to Brooke Peris and Anna Flanagan. A Petrea Webster deflection from a Sharland blast levelled the score at halftime.

As the rain set in during the second spell, both sides failed to take any of their chances before Cocks completed her dream debut.

Cocks was one of three players who made their maiden appearance for the Black Sticks with defender Brooke Neal and Elizabeth Thompson also taking the turf at the TET MultiSports Centre.

The Black Sticks were due to meet Papua New Guinea today before tomorrow's rest day and they will round out pool play against Samoa on Saturday. The finals are set for Sunday.

On the men's side draw of the draw, New Zealand opened their campaign with a comprehensive 18-0 over world No 69 Papua New Guinea yesterday afternoon.

The goals were spread around, although Stephen Jenness did manage six and Hugo Inglis and Jared Panchia also scored hat-tricks.

NZ (women) 3 Australia 2
NZ (Men) 18 PNG 0

The New Zealand Herald

Whitney Point's Widdall cherishes chance to spark U.S field hockey team in Rio Olympics

Goalie likes team's chances after rebuilding

by Megan Brockett

After graduating from Whitney Point, Alesha Widdall helped turn around the UMass field hockey team and is trying to secure a spot on the U.S. national team in the 2016 Olympics.

Whitney Point’s Alesha Widdall followed closely the disappointing run of the U.S. women’s field hockey team at the 2012 London Olympics.

Widdall, a 23-year-old goalkeeper, had trained with the national team leading up to the Games. Aware that her chances of making the Olympic roster were slim, Widdall said her focus was on making the other players stronger.

A year later with her spot more clearly defined, Widdall said her mindset has shifted to changing how she eats, doing extra runs and “working 110 percent all the time” toward her goal of making the roster for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

When the U.S. team was at the London Olympics, it finished last in its pool, going 1-4 with a minus-9 goal differential. The program has since changed its training home to Manheim Pa., and named former Great Britain Olympian Craig Parnham as head coach.

“We’ve revamped our entire program,” Widdall said, “and ... it gives me goosebumps sometimes thinking about where we’re going.”

Parnham quickly changed the team’s schedule, implementing two-a-day practices five days per week. He also changed the team’s strategy to playing at a faster pace and pushing players who have the physical ability to take their games to the next level, Widdall said.

Despite everything new around her, the storyline is one Widdall is familiar with.

When she was in high school, Widdall caught the attention of Justine Sowry, then a goalkeeping coach with the U.S. Field Hockey Association, at an open invitational camp. Sowry invited Widdall to a USA features elite camp the following year, where Widdall turned heads among college recruiters and people charged with forming the junior national team.

Shortly after that, Sowry accepted a position at the University of Massachusetts as head coach of a struggling field hockey team in need of rebuilding at the same time that Widdall was deciding where she wanted to play after graduating from Whitney Point High School.

“I swooped in very last minute and pleaded with her to please take a look at UMass,” Sowry said. “She could definitely go to a top-five program in the country and maybe not get as much action, or (I said) ‘you can come and be the underdog and help develop a program.’

And I think she was really attracted to that underdog status, because she’s a fighter.”

Just as Sowry had taken a chance on Widdall, Widdall took a chance on Sowry and an underdog UMass squad. By Widdall’s junior season, the Minuteman had made multiple NCAA Tournament appearances and ranked as high as No. 9 nationally.

“For a team that didn’t score a lot of goals and to be as successful as what we were, it was because we didn’t concede many goals, and a big reason was Alesha,” Sowry said.

Even after leaving Massachusetts before Widdall’s senior season for a job at Louisville, Sowry said she believes Widdall can make it onto the 2016 Olympic roster if she physically and mentally commits herself, and having been overlooked in the past could give her the tools to again prove herself.

“There’s no doubt that that will fuel her to be the best that she can be, but it can’t define her,” Sowry said.

As she did at UMass, Widdall finds herself on a team trying to claw its way toward the top. While she strives to secure a spot on the 2016 roster, she also is fighting to ensure her team gets there.

“My goal is (also) ... being a part of making this team stronger and helping USA field hockey just go to a different level of field hockey than they have been in the past,” Widdall said. “I expect that we’re going to break the ceiling of field hockey internationally.”

About Alesha Widdall

HOMETOWN: Whitney Point
POSITION: Goalkeeper
THIS YEAR: Has been part of Team USA at World League, Four Nationals and Pan American Games.
FAMILY: Parents, Paul and Christine; siblings John, Valerie, Adrain, John and Paul
COLLEGE: At Massachusetts, was named an All-American twice and Atlantic-10 Conference defensive player of the year in 2011.

Press Connects

Irish Senior Cup Round 1 This Saturday

Irish Senior Cup Draw

Round 1 of the Men’s & Electric Ireland Irish Senior Cup takes place this Saturday November 2nd. Round two of the Irish Senior Cup (Men’s & Electric Ireland) will take place on 30th November, the draw for which will be made in Loreto Hockey Club, Dublin after their league game at approximately 17.30. The results and round 2 draw will be press released and available on and twitter.

ISC Round 1 - November 2nd

13.00 Glenanne v Railway Union  (Glenanne Park)
13.15 YMCA  v Lisnagarvey (Alex College)
13.30 Cork HQ v Banbridge  (Harlequins Park)
14.00 Monkstown v UCC  (Rathdown)
14.15 Rathgar  v Cookstown  (High School)
14.30 Annadale v Kilkeel   (Lough Moss)
14.30 Raphoe  v Fingal  (Randalstown)
15.00 UCD  v Instonians  (UCD)

Byes for: Belfast HQ; Cork C of I; Corinthian; TRR; Portadown; Pembroke Wanderers; NICS and Mossley

Electric Ireland (Women’s)
ISC Round 1 – Friday November 1st
20.00  Randalstown v Ballymoney  (Randalstown)
ISC Round 1 – Saturday November 2nd
13.00 Queens Uni v UCC  (Belfast Queens)
13.00 UCD  v Corinthian (Belfield)
14.30 Armagh  v Trinity College (Ardmore)
14.30 Pegasus v Glenanne (Queens Playing Fields, Malone Road)
14.30 Belfast HQ v Cork HQ (Deramore Park)
14.45 Ards  v Catholic Institute (Ards Leisure Centre)
TBC  North Kildare v Railway Union  (North Kildare)

Byes for: Greenfields; Hermes; Loreto; Lurgan; Old Alex; Pembroke; Ulster Elks & Lisnagarvey

Irish Hockey Association media release

Winning Students funding boosts hockey scholars

A number of hockey athletes in Scotland have been boosted in their bid to combine sport and study with the announcement that they will recieve funding support from Winning Students.

These students, from across no fewer than 30 colleges and universities, will receive funding support and academic flexibility through national sports scholarships.

Winning Students was established in 2008, funded by the Scottish Funding Council and run by the University of Stirling. In the past five years, it has invested more than £2 million in scholarships to some 340 athletes, making it the third largest sporting support programme in Scotland.

Athletes are primarily identified by their sport’s governing body across 11 core sports with further scholarships awarded to exceptional athletes in other sports.

An aim of the programme is to provide Scottish athletes with the opportunity to remain in Scotland to undertake their studies and recent research found 34% of Winning Students indicated the programme had influenced their decision on choice of college or university.

Hockey athletes supported by Winning Students in 2013-14 are:


Gordon Amour

University of Edinburgh

Peter Baldwin

University of Strathclyde

Karin Belch

University of Dundee

Michael Bremner

Glasgow School of Art

Louise Campbell

University of Edinburgh

Nicki Cochrane

University of Edinburgh

Siobhan Cowie

Robert Gordon University

Mairi Drummond

University of Edinburgh

Jenny Eadie

University of Glasgow

Heather Elder

University of St Andrews

Ed Greaves

Glasgow Clyde College (Anniesland)

Sean Hadfield

Edinburgh Napier University

Kirsty Hill

Queen Margaret University

Fraser Hirst

University of the West of Scotland

Nikki Kidd

University of Edinburgh

Lucy Lanigan

University of Edinburgh

Kirsten Mcintosh

University of Edinburgh

Ross McIntyre

University of Strathclyde

Morag McLellan

University of Edinburgh

Amber McNeil

Queen Margaret University

Maisie Morris

University of Edinburgh

Lee Morton

University of the West of Scotland

Kirsten Peters

University of Edinburgh

Sarah Robertson

University of Edinburgh

Nicola Skrastin

University of Glasgow

Alex Wilson

University of Strathclyde

Jamie Wong

University of Edinburgh

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Women’s hockey club set to be awarded freedom of the city

Leicester Ladies

Leicester Ladies Hockey Club is one of the oldest and most successful women’s hockey clubs in England, and has been nominated for the freedom of the city by deputy city mayor Cllr Rory Palmer.

The conferment of the honorary freedom of the city has been established since 1885 as the highest honour the local authority can bestow. To grant freedom of the city, a resolution to confer the honour is passed at a council meeting, by no less than two thirds of the councillors present.

Previous recipients of the freedom of the city include Gary Lineker, the Leicester Tigers, author Sue Townsend and the 9th/12th Royal Lancers regiment.

Leicester Ladies Hockey Club was formed in 1894 and is the longest-standing women’s sporting club in the city. The club has a strong history of success, turning out international players including Lesley Hurley, Jo Mould and Dianne Batterham. Four Leicester Ladies team players represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where team GB won bronze medals.

Club secretary Gaynor Nash said: “We’re delighted to be receiving the freedom of the city - it’s a real honour. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve produced many local role models for Leicester and worked hard to develop the junior game.

“We like to champion the cause of women in sport and promote health and wellbeing for all and have always been proud to carry our city’s name in competitions around Europe. I hope that being granted the freedom of the city will help us to inspire even more local people to achieve their goals.”

Cllr Palmer said: “I have nominated Leicester Ladies Hockey Club not just because of their excellent sporting achievements, but also because their commitment to our city is exceptional.

“Over the years the club has been an important international ambassador for the city, with team members taking part in Olympic Games including London 2012.

“I am sure that the citizens of Leicester will agree that the contribution Leicester Ladies Hockey Club has made to sporting life in the city is outstanding. The club also takes part in unstinting charity work and has inspired generations of young people.”

The honorary freedom of the city will be conferred on Leicester Ladies Hockey Club at a special meeting of the city council on 21st November.

England Hockey Board Media release