News for 25 June 2010

All the news for Friday 25 June 2010

National Futures Championships Reach Halfway Point

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The National Futures Championships is halfway complete and the 646 athletes competing have traveled from all over the country for a chance to showcase their talents.

Although many families have to trek great distances to make it to Virginia Beach, for nearly all, the experience is worth it!

Elizabeth Egan and her daughter Katharine, who plays on the San Jose U16 team, perhaps made one of the longest trips. Their journey started off with a five hour flight to Charlotte, N.C., followed by a one-hour layover and another short flight into Virginia. Elizabeth estimated that they were in the air for about six hours, but that doesn't include all of the waiting time in the airport.

The chance to get her daughter the experience and exposure she needs though is why they do it.

"The opportunity to play in the National Futures Championship is great for the kids," said Elizabeth. "There's a lot of hassle to get here, but we're thinking long-term. The chance to play a lot of hockey in just a few days in front of a lot of coaches makes it appealing."

Elizabeth also stressed the importance of allowing Katharine to compete against some of the best players from around the country. Katharine plays in tournaments throughout the state of California, sometimes even relying on her mom to drive her 10 hours in one day to play in just a single game, but the chance to see the best youth players from every state is what makes the National Futures Championships so special to the family.

"Field Hockey is still growing in California so getting her to this event allows her to see a variety of opponents from all over the country," said Elizabeth. "If you can compete here, you can compete anywhere."

Although the Egan's treat their cross country jaunt as a business trip, they still were able to make a quick pit stop at the beach.

"Katharine was able to jump into the ocean and now we can say she's been in both the Atlantic and Pacific," said Elizabeth with a smile. "But what we were most excited about was seeing the lightning. We don't get it at all in California so I'd say it was the highlight of the trip."

When speaking with Katharine though, neither the beach nor the lightning came up. She just wanted to be out on the pitch with her teammates.

"I'm here for the experience out on the field," said Katharine. "I love playing 24/7!"

Bill Rinehart and daughter Andrea, a U16 goalkeeper from Yorktown, Va., didn't make nearly as far a trip, but they are still just as ecstatic to be here.

"I was expecting there to be a high level of play out here this week and that is certainly what we got," said Bill. "This is a great event, with a great atmosphere."

While sitting with his daughter and watching one of the evenings Women's National Championship games, Bill had to wonder if one day it could be his daughter out there.

"Being out there fighting for one of these coveted spots is part of the dream that both she and I have," said Bill.

"I just hope that she and her teammates are looking at these women and learning a lot about how to play the game right. There is so much that they can duplicate and then put into their practices."

USFHA media release

Friday's much-anticipated South Africa U18 Boys' IPT Hockey final: who will win?

JONATHAN COOK at Pape's Astro, Maritzburg College

AFTER two nail-biting semi-finals on a very hot winter Thursday, the South Africa U18 Boys' Inter provincial Hockey Tournament 2010 title match at 1.15 pm Friday on Maritzburg College's Pape's Astro will feature Southern Gauteng and KZN Coastal.

But for defending champs and host province Kwa Zulu Natal Inland there was further doom to add to the week's gloom as the U18 A team lost their fifth-to-eighth place playoff 3-2 to Boland and will now feature in the classification match against Western Province B for seventh position.

And to rub further salt into the wound, under the current rules KZN Inland B will be relegated from IPT through no fault of their own.

Coastal, as the top-finishing province without a second-string team at IPT, now qualify to bring their B side into next year's tournament. This after the Pietermaritzburg based Inland B had beaten North Cape and North Free State 5-0 each.

While it is good for hockey's growth to have the minnow provinces at IPT, Inland B's demise is plainly unjust. A move is afoot to lobby SA Schools' Hockey (Sashoc) for an increase in the number of IPT teams to 24 so as to undo the unfairness that is Inland B's relegation.

Thursday's second semi-final was the best, as the quick pace brought regular goalmouth action in what was truly an end-to-end thriller.

KZN Coastals dominated midfield and had more chances, two of which were buried by the in-form Richard Pentecost and David Bayne, while a penalty corner from quality midfielder Taylor Dart was all the Cape Town lads could offer.

As for Friday's final and what to expect? Southerns have two …

Western Province's Lloyd de Kock, captain Keenan Horn, Louis Mbuyu and Lungelo Mafuya all gave the boys in blue and white some hope with passages of outstanding play, but it was not to be for the team from Cape Town or their loyal, vociferous band of supporters.

It was 1-1 at the changeover before Coastals came out 2-1 winners.

In the first semi-final, although Nicholas Koning had his moments up front, Border were left to rue the leg injury suffered by star striker Ignatius Malgraaff midway through the first half - this after he had scored a cracking goal following uncertainty in Southerns' defence.

Southerns' Johannesburg boys capitalised on this stroke of good fortune (for them, that is) and the outstanding defensive midfielder Matt Brown rocketed in a PC before slotting the penalty stroke winner for 2-1 at half-time and it remained that way until the end.

As for Friday's final and what to expect from sides boasting several SA age-group players and many more just underneath the radar?

Southerns have two potent forwards in Brynn Cleak and Broderick Burds, but in Mohamed Mea and Zamokuhle Ngubo, the Durban boys have two determined, tough-tackling defenders.

While Southerns have a fine player and skipper in Brown, Coastals have a gem of their own in silky midfielder and captain Sumanth Sunkari, while in Jarryd Jones, Pentecost, Bayne, Nicholas Williams, Marco Lopes and Josh Perry, the Durban side have half a dozen players capable of turning a match on its head in an instant – and for that reason alone coach Wade Paton's squad must start as favourites against Southerns mentor Alex Gitlin's line-up.

Forget the FIFA World Cup soccer, PMB is the place to be!

Meanwhile, the last day of the SA Rugby U18 Academy Week in Vryheid was bittersweet for the host province as their top side at the tournament, KZN, were shaded 18-17 by Free State while the KwaZulu-Natal XV beat Leopards Country Districts 15-9 and KZN Country Districts pipped Eastern Province 15-13.
KZN led Free State 11-5 at half-time, but weren't able to notch another try after the changeover while the Bloemfontein boys got their second for the 18-17 victory.



U18 Boys' IPT - A Section playoffs (9-12) South Free State 6 Mpumalanga 0; EP 5 East Gauteng 0;
(5-8) Boland 3 KZN Inland 2; North Gauteng 4 Western Province B 4 (NG won penalty stroke shootout 7-6);
(1-4) South Gauteng 2 Border 1; KZN Coastal 2 WP 1.

B Section: SG B 1 North Cape 0; Inland B 2 Border B 1; North Free State 1 North West 0; SWD 6 Limpopo 0; SG B 3 Inland B 1; NC 2 NW 0.

U18 Girls' IPT in brief: EG 7 Lim 6; SG B 3 SWD 0; Bdr 1 WP 0; NW 4 Coastal B 0; Coastal A 4 Mpum 0; WP B 2 NFS 1; SFS 5 Inland 2; NG B 0 NC 0; SG A 1 EP 0; SG B 1 Coastal B 1; NG 3 Bol 2; NFS 2 SWD 2; Inland 2 Mpum 0; Bdr 2 Lim 1.


SA U18 Academy Week: Silver Falcons 53 Griquas 13; Griquas CD 24 Griffons CD 13; Pumas CD 27 Border CD 15; Namibia 19 Lsen XV 17; Leopards 26 EP CD 19; KZN XV 15 Leopards CD 9; Blue Valke 7 Limpopo 7; KZN CD 15 EP 13; Free State 18 KZN 17; SWD 14 Pumas 5; Border 35 Griffons 7; Blue Bulls 23 Lions 10; WP 25 Boland 25.

SA Hockey World

After DAY 4 - the SA U18 Girls' IPT Hockey finalists in Potchefstroom are?

THE finalists Friday in the South Africa U18 Girls' Inter Provincial Hockey Tournament for 2010 will be Southern Gauteng and Northerns Blues.

On Thursday at IPT in Potchefstroom, Southerns had a  Stephanie Baxter goal to thank for their 1-0 semi-final win over Eastern Province.

And in the second semi-final, arch goal scorer and hockey sharp shooter Welma Luus, the outstanding SA tennis player, notched up a brace to add to a Carli Gericke goal for Northerns Blues from Pretoria to beat Boland 3-2.

The Bolanders netted via the sticks of Izelle Lategan and Alexandra Vorster.      


SA Hockey World

Ajax Sporting thrash Azad

Sports Reporter

Ajax Sporting Club came from behind twice to thrash Azad Sporting Club 5-2 in the Green Delta Insurance Banglandesh Premier Division Hockey League at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Deen Islam gave Azad a sixth-minute lead only to be canceled out by Shahidullah Khokon one minute later. Deen again provided an advantage for Azad before Imtiaz leveled the margin two minutes from the break.

After resumption, Ajax did not give any room to Azad as Rahat Sarkar, Afsar Uddin and Imtiaz added one goal apiece to make it 5-2.

The Daily Star

Mark Knowles feature

by Declan Peacock

For Mark Knowles, the decision to get involved in hockey wasn’t a hard one, with both of his parents playing hockey in the Queensland city of Rockhampton and in State representative sides for Queensland and Tasmania.

This exposed him to the game at a very young age. His hockey pedigree was made clear, making his debut for Australia in the Azlan Shah Cup against South Korea in 2004, at just 19 years of age.

He made an immediate impact in the Kookaburras team, as he was selected in the 2004 Australian Olympic team, travelling to Athens. At the games, the team beat the Netherlands in the Final, claiming the Gold Medal,whilst only 20 years old, Mark had already reached the pinnacle of his sport.

Due to his young age, it took several years after to truly realise what the victory meant. “When you are young, I think you take things for granted and it wasn’t until I had the heartbreak of losing a World Cup final (2006) and an Olympic Semi-final (2008) that I understood what a massive achievement (winning gold) was.”

Mark’s growth continued, playing with a maturity and class that stamped him as a future star. He got reward for his effort, being named World Hockey Young Player of the year award in 2007.

His talent and maturity was also recognised within the Australian team, as he was made a co-captain of the Kookaburra’s, at only 24 years of age. Knowles took the opportunity to lead with both hands, “I think it has always been something I have enjoyed doing, being a leader of my teammates.”

Although having to lead a team at a young age, with more senior members in the squad could potentially cause difficulties, Mark says, “I try to lead by example in my training ethic and (with) team oriented play, not just the talk of a leader.”

Although the life of Australia’s professional hockey players is crammed full of tournaments and overseas trips, Knowles, along with fellow Kookaburra Jamie Dwyer have set up a coaching business, 1&9 Coaching, offering coaching clinics to young people in Australia.

Knowles says he hopes this will help to achieve greater participation in hockey at a grassroots level. “As role models we really need to spread what a fantastic game hockey is, and continue to promote the sport to future players,” says Knowles.

Despite having risen to the top of the hockey world at such a young age, with a World Cup gold medal, Olympic gold medal and a captains armband, Knowles’ desire for success is stronger than ever, he wants the current crop of players to have the same success that he has already experienced.

Hockey Australia media release

Hockey stars out to win in Singapore

Sixteen young athletes will take to the pitch in Singapore this August, with the hopes of continuing Australia’s place at the top of international men’s hockey.

The boys will contest a six team tournament of the best young teams from around the world, with the aim of progressing to the medal matches and Youth Olympic glory.

For a number of the athletes in the team, elite hockey was a rite of passage with family members competing in the sport at the national and international level.

For 17-year-old Andrew Butturini, following in his brother Matthew’s footsteps was a natural progression. “He’s a role model for me,” Butturini said of Matthew who plays for the Australian men’s team – the Kookaburras.

“He was the first one I rang when I got selected and I know he’s excited for me.” Butturini who hails from Murwillumbah in Queensland is one of three athletes on the team representing Tweed Border Hockey alongside Jake Farrell and Dylan Wotherspoon.

“It’s a great area to live and everyone is really encouraging of our sport,” Butturini explained. We’ve got good coaches, we work well together and it’s great that a few of us have made the team.”

Australia will face some tough competition in Beligium and Pakistan at the Games but are not discounting the power of the more unknown teams - Chile, Ghana and Singapore.

“We’re going there to win,” coach Paul Gaudoin said. “We’ve got a really high standard of players in the team and it’s an exciting and promising group. That said we’ll have our work cut out for us.”

The international playing experience for the young group will be invaluable in developing them for senior competition, with the Olympics and Champions Trophy the ultimate goals.

“Teams in Europe can travel an hour or two and play internationally but for our junior teams in Australia, financially it’s not possible,” Gaudoin said.

“The Youth Olympics are such a great opportunity and I’m sure we’ll see the impact in years to come as these teenagers progress into the senior ranks.”

Hockey at the Youth Olympic Games will take place at Sengkang Hockey Stadium in the north-eastern part of Singapore. There is a competition for boys and girls aged between 15 and 17.

Australia will only send a boys’ team as participation at the Youth Olympics is limited to one boys and one girls’ team per nation. Australia has qualified and chosen to contest the men’s hockey, with a team of 16.

Women’s handball will be Australia’s female team sport at the Games. Australia will send the maximum team size of 100 athletes comprising 70 from individual and 30 from team sports.

The Australian hockey team for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games:

Daniel Beale QLD,Andrew Butturini QLD, Robert Bell QLD, Ryan Edge QLD, Jake Farrell QLD, Casey Hammond VIC, Jeremy Hayward NT, Daniel Mathiesen QLD, Rory Middleton TAS, Luke Noblett NSW, Flynn Ogilvie NSW, Jayshaan Randhawa VIC, Byron Walton VIC, Jordan Willott NSW, Oscar Wookey VIC, Dylan Wotherspoon QLD

Hockey Australia media release