News for 08 July 2010

All the news for Thursday 8 July 2010


Nottingham prepares for FIH Samsung Champions Trophy

The historic English city of Nottingham is preparing to host one of the most important events of the international hockey calendar, with the 2010 Samsung FIH Champions Trophy for women beginning this Saturday. The tournament will feature six of the world’s finest teams, and promises to be hugely exciting for spectators in the venue and television viewers around the world.

The nations positioned from one to four in the ABN AMRO World Rankings will all be present, with The Netherlands, Argentina, China and Germany being joined in the line-up by New Zealand and host nation England. Nottingham Highfields Sports Centre – the home of Euro Hockey League competitors Beeston HC – is certain to provide a superb venue for the tournament thanks to their world class playing surface and a spectator capacity of over 3000 people. It is the first time that England has ever hosted a women’s Champions Trophy event, with the tournament being the first major international hockey competition to be played on English soil since the 2007 EuroHockey Nations Championships.

All six of the teams that will be competing in the tournament will also feature in the BDO FIH World Cup, which takes place in the Argentinean city of Rosario at the end of August. A strong performance at the Samsung Champions Trophy from any of the teams will give them great confidence ahead of that particular event.

The Netherlands are currently the world’s number one side, and will surely be considered as favourites to win the title. The Olympic Gold medallists from Beijing 2008 have a wonderful team full of attacking flair and defensive strength, with star players including strikers Ellen Hoog and Naomi van As, who was named 2009 WorldHockey Player of the Year alongside Luciana Aymar of Argentina. They also have arguably the world’s finest female penalty corner expert in Maartje Paumen, a player who tore up the record books with a stunning 11 goal haul at the Beijing Olympics. They are lead by experienced captain Janneke Schopman who is fast closing in on 200 international appearances, whilst Minke Smeets should pass the 300 mark during this tournament. 

If The Netherlands are favourites, then Argentina are surely not far behind. The world number two ranked nation has retained a large number of the squad that claimed bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and is aiming to peak over the next two months both in Nottingham and Rosario. The brilliant Luciana Aymar is still the heartbeat of “Las Leonas”, with the six times WorldHockey Player of the Year looking to inspire her team to a double glory. Argentina has won the last two women’s Champions Trophy events, and certainly possesses a team capable of making it three in a row, a fact proven by their recent defeat of The Netherlands in the Rabo Trophy.

Like Argentina, Olympic Silver Medallists China has a team packed with experienced top class internationals. Team captain Fu Baorong is a striker with pace and power and a true goal scorers instinct, while Ma Yibo is a tough tackling defender who provides a massive threat from penalty corners. 23-year-old Song Qingling is another outstanding talent in a squad that contains 13 players under the age of 25. 

The fourth best team in the world rankings is Germany, who will be looking to win their first Champions Trophy since Amsterdam in 2006. The team enters the tournament without the talents of Fanny Rinne and Anke Kühn, but is still a side with exceptional ability. The evergreen Natascha Keller – one of the true greats of the modern game – will lead the front line, bringing over 350 caps worth of international experience to the forward line. Keller, Katharina Otte and team captain Tina Bachman are the only players over the age of 30, as Germany coach Michael Behrmann continues to develop a team for the future.

Host nation England is ranked seventh in the world, but certainly should not be under-estimated. The team has two world class defenders in the shape of Crista Cullen and team captain Kate Walsh, while a glittering array of exciting young players are beginning to make themselves known on the world stage. Teenage midfielder Georgie Twigg and goalkeeper Gemma Ible are the latest recruits to Danny Kerry’s squad as the team builds towards a strong showing at the London 2012 Olympics. The expectant home supporters will be hoping that England can upset the form book by claiming a home triumph next Sunday.

New Zealand – playing in their first Champions Trophy event since Amsterdam 2006 – is another team blessed with youthful exuberance. The side has ten players under the age of 25, while their squad contains just two players who have reached the 100 cap mark – defender Emily Naylor and midfielder Stacey Carr. Despite their relative lack of experience, the Black Sticks have a competitive edge that ensures that they are not a team that should be taken lightly. New Zealand is coached by former Australian international Mark Hager, who guided his team to a third place finish at the recent Rabo Trophy event. That was achieved by a 3-2 victory over China, a side positioned six places above them in the world rankings.

The Samsung Champions Trophy gets underway at 11.05 (local time - GMT) on Saturday, with Olympic Silver medallists China taking on the mighty Germany. That match is followed by the opening ceremony of the tournament before host nation England face the in-form Argentina at 14.05.  The final match of the day is a meeting between the highest and lowest ranked teams in the tournament, as Olympic champions The Netherlands do battle with New Zealand at 16.35.

As well as the Samsung Champions Trophy for Women, Nottingham Highfields will also be playing host to a men’s Four Nations tournament featuring 2008 Olympic champions Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand and Japan. 

The FIH has launched a special tournament microsite which will be bringing you extensive coverage of all the action from the women’s tournament Nottingham. The site will provide all official information and news from the tournament, keeping you fully up-to-date with the latest scores and league tables. The site will also include full written match previews and reports, flash quotes for media, stunning action photos, video interviews and much more. For more information, please visit http://www.samsungchampionstrophy2010.sportcentric.com/

For information regarding ticket sales for the event, please visit www.wct2010.com .

WorldHockey



Black Sticks chase tougher defence, more patience

By PETER MARTINEZ


Julian Dean rues Tour de France win that got away Rachael Grinham back for Aussie Open Mahe Drysdale still short of full fitness Usain Bolt may switch to other events after 2012 Games Black Sticks chase tougher defence, more patience Batchelor star performer in trans-Tasman meet AFL star Ben Cousins hopes to play Fan falls from Rangers Ballpark stands Top NZ sculler Emma Twigg hit by illness 'Flying Tomato' Shaun White mulls a haircut

The defence needs to toughen up and the forwards need to show more patience if the Black Sticks are to give their women's Champions Trophy hockey opponents a run for their money, coach Mark Hager says.

New Zealand, ranked ninth in the world, make their return after a four-year absence to the prestigious tournament which begins on Sunday (NZ time) at Nottingham, England.

It will be a pressure-cooker experience for the New Zealand side as they take on the Netherlands, China, defending champions Argentina, Germany and England, who are respectively ranked one, three, two, four and seven at the tournament.

Hager agreed his young side faced being thrown in at the deep end. The classy Dutch and Argentinians were "miles in front of us, if you match up the number of games each per team and their ages".

However, a third placing at last week's Rabo Trophy in the company of the Dutch (lost 0-4), Argentina (lost 1-2) and China (drew 4-4, won 3-2 in the playoff for third) had given the side more experience and grounds for confidence at the Champions Trophy.

"This tournament is a real learning curve but as long as we are competitive, and we believe we can be that, then it is going to be pretty good for us not only at this tournament but also the World Cup (in Argentina starting late August).

The team would be focusing on two key areas - maintaining possession for long periods and being tougher in defence.

"We have got a forward line that loves to attack but they tend to do it a little bit too quick.

"They sometimes forget they have other players around them and they tend to turn the ball over. So probably, it's that balance of picking the right times when to go and being patient.

"We are also conceding too many goals... against top teams, we do have bad lapses and they are going to punish us."

New Zealand were to play two warm-up matches which Hager hoped would help iron out these deficiencies.

Hager said the team had arrived at Nottingham in good shape after a 13-hour trip by bus and ferry from the Netherlands.

Midfielder Anna Thorpe (ankle) was the only player with an injury but Hager expected her be fit for the tournament.

"We are pretty excited about playing at this tournament, it's one we didn't expect to be playing in so it will be a good learning curve for the whole team.

"Each game will be tough. We know that all the teams are ranked above us and from that point of view this is a real bonus heading towards the World Cup."

One feature of the tournament will be the use of video referrals restricted to decisions within the 23m areas relating to the award (or non-award) of goals, penalty strokes and penalty corners.

Stuff



Young Champions Trophy squad all part of Olympic plan for the Kookaburras

Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth firmly has the 2012 London Olympics in his sights, today announcing an extremely young squad to compete at the 2010 Champions Trophy.

With a team which is significantly different to that which won the 2009 Champions Trophy and the 2010 World Cup earlier this year, Charlesworth has gone with a much younger line up to build further depth in the Kookaburras squad ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.

Five key players from the 2010 World Cup squad with over 800 games experience and four Olympic gold medals between them will not participate in the 2010 Champions Trophy in Monchengladbach, Germany from July 31 – August 8.

Kiel Brown, Liam De Young, Rob Hammond, Mark Knowles and Grant Schubert all helped the Kookaburras win their first World Cup in over 24 years earlier this year, however they have not been selected in the 2010 Champions Trophy squad.

The average games per player from the 2009 Champions Trophy squad was 93.4, while the average games per player of the 2010 Champions Trophy squad is 59.7.

Charlesworth said his decision to leave such valuable players out of the squad was to both give these players some time off after a recent heavy work load and also to give experience to others and help build depth in the squad.

“All of those players are quality, experienced players. However the squad chosen was done so with a view to build depth and continue experimenting with structures and players. Likewise, many of these players have had a heavy load recently and not long ago returned from playing a season with their European clubs,” said Charlesworth.

Although the likes of three time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer is still in the squad, notable inclusions in the 2010 Champions Trophy team competing in their first major tournament include Chris Ciriello, Tim Deavin, Trent Mitton, Jason Wilson and Joel Carroll.

Deavin and Mitton only made their international debuts in May, while Ciriello, Wilson and Carroll have been in the national squad for some time and will be looking to cement their spot in the team.

Given that the World Cup was played earlier this year and several key players have only recently returned to Australia after completing their seasons with their European clubs, Charlesworth says it has been difficult to prepare for the 2010 Champions trophy, however it formed an important stepping stone towards the Kookaburras assault at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and it was with this in mind that he picked such a young squad.

“Our sights are firmly set on the London Olympics, everything we have done and everything we will continue to do will have this is mind. We will only have 10 days together as a team before we leave for Europe which makes it difficult to prepare,” said Charlesworth.

Prior to competing at the Champions Trophy the Kookaburras will play two test matches against Belgium before their first match of the Champions Trophy against New Zealand on Saturday July 31.

Australia is the most successful Champions Trophy team in the world, having won a record ten gold medals and 27 medals overall.

Having won the 2008 & 2009 gold medals, they will be looking to win three championships in a row for only the second time in Australian history after the Kookaburras also won the Champions Trophy title from 1983-1985.

Although 19 players will travel to Europe, the Champions Trophy squad will be reduced to 18 players prior to the beginning of the tournament.

The Kookaburras will depart for Europe on Monday 19 July.

Name, State, Games played

Des Abbott, NT, 70
George Bazeley, VIC, 29
Graeme Begbie, WA, 40
Nathan Burgers, QLD, 48
Matthew Butturini, QLD, 35
Joel Carroll, NT, 19
Chris Ciriello, VIC, 33
Tim Deavin, TAS, 7
Luke Doerner, VIC, 141
Jamie Dwyer, QLD, 237
Russell Ford, VIC, 68
Kieran Govers, NSW, 19
Fergus Kavanagh, WA, 86
Trent Mitton, WA, 7
Eddie Ockenden, TAS, 105
Simon Orchard, NSW, 54
Matthew Swann, QLD, 25
Glenn Turner, ACT, 34
Jason Wilson, QLD, 18

Hockey Australia media release



Scotland to face strong opposition in Belgium

The Men’s Scotland side face a tough three match series of international fixtures against Belgium, beginning this Friday in Audergham.

The Belgians, who are ten places higher ranked than the Scots in the FIH rankings, will provide a stern test of Scotland’s Commonwealth Games hopefuls, having performed well at last year’s European Championships.  Belgium should provide a good measure for the level of opposition they could face in the hockey tournament in Delhi this coming October.

Head Coach Russell Garcia is undeterred though, welcoming the challenge as Scotland look to use this summer’s international schedule as preparation for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, “We are looking for strong competition at this point and the Belgians will help develop our performance levels as we look forward to future competitions.”

With Kelburne trio Kenny Bain, Alan Forsyth, Gordon McIntyre preparing with the Scotland U21 squad for the European Junior Nations Trophy at the end of July, and Niall Stott turning out for Great Britain, Garcia will again provide opportunities to Andrew Sinclair, Russell Anderson, Cammie Fraser and goalkeeper Jamie Cachie to deliver strong performances.

One player who will be looking to continue his good form is Kelburne’s Mark Ralph, who scored Scotland’s only two goals in the matches against England A last weekend, while his fellow club mate Willie Marshall will have the opportunity to earn his 50th Scotland cap if he can play in all three matches. Edinburgh University’s Graham Moodie has an even bigger milestone awaiting him, with the GB international only two games away from his 100th Scotland cap.

Scotland Senior Men Squad: Alistair McGregor (Loughborough), Jamie Cachia (Bowdon), Mark Ralph, Michael Christie, Iain Scholefield, William Marshall, Ross Stott, Chris Nelson, Gareth Hall (all Kelburne), Adam MacKenzie, Derek Salmond (both Inverleith), Graham Moodie (Edinburgh University), Andrew Sinclair (FC Barcelona), Vishal Marawaha (Western Wildcats), Cameron Fraser (Grange), Russell Anderson (Brooklands), Gavin Byers (Menzieshill).

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Central Preparation Program Announced for Irish Women's Hockey Team


The Irish Hockey Association has today announced that from October 2010 Ireland's National Women's Hockey Team will commit to a Central Preparation Program located in Dublin, running for a period of 10 months. 

This is a progressive step for Irish Hockey, specifically the Women's Team, which has received strong backing from key parties, specifically the Irish Sports Council, Sport Northern Ireland, Sports Institute of Northern Ireland, The Irish Institute of Sport and by the national sponsors of the team ESB.

Commenting on the announcement, Gary Keegan, Director of High Performance, Irish Institute of Sport said The Institute of Sport recognizes the challenges facing Irish Hockey aiming to qualify a team for the London 2012 Olympic Games.  We are supportive of Irish Hockeys decision to centralize the National Women's Hockey team and see this move as a significant step.   Centralizing the team enables efficient and effective delivery of support services whilst maximizing use of training facilities.  The Institutes Athlete Lifestyle Support team are working closely with the Management and Coaching team to transition key members of the squad to Dublin in time for the October start date.

Sport Northern Ireland endorses and supports the move to a central preparation program as a demonstration of the commitment from the sport to achieving its goal of qualifying a team for the 2012 Olympic Games. Norma Bowman, Sport NI, Performance Consultant also commented.

Specifically the Central Preparation Program will facilitate a core, intensive preparation program targeting those athletes in contention for selection in the build up to the Olympic Qualification Events. It will enable the majority of the players to train together on a regular basis in one location with the aim of qualifying the women's National team for the London Olympic Games.

Padraig McManus Chief Executive of ESB stated As proud sponsor of the Irish Women's Hockey Team, we welcome this initiative.  The move to a central preparation Program will undoubtedly strengthen Ireland's ambition to prepare the Irish Hockey team to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics.   We are delighted to support Women's hockey in what we expect will be both an exciting and challenging journey leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

It is envisaged that approximately twenty of the twenty five selected athletes will be in a position to be located in Dublin, and those that are unable to make the move will continue with training at a local level midweek and join the full squad during Sunday and Monday sessions.

National Women's Coach Gene Muller had this to say The move to a central preparation program (CPP)  is a significant move forward for the Irish womens hockey team, and puts our training environment in line with many of the top international nations.  The main aim is to improve our chances of international success.  This plan cannot work without player buy-in and our players have been fantastic in endorsing and driving this process.

"As captain of the Irish Senior Women's Hockey Team, I am absolutely delighted that the CPP has been sanctioned by the Board of the Irish Hockey Association.  I have no doubt that this Program will maximise our potential as a team as well as providing us with a fantastic opportunity to qualify for the Olympics in London 2012.  The current squad of players is hugely committed and dedicated, and I firmly believe that each player will work extremely hard to make this a success.   I am also pleased that the Irish Hockey Association has been able to accommodate those players who are unable to centralise due to their work commitments.  I would like to thank our sponsors ESB, the Irish Sports Council and Sport NI for their support in making this happen. commented Irish Captain, Eimear Cregan.

There are huge benefits in taking this step, which have already been proven in the structures of some of the best hockey countries, primarily:

* It will enable the majority of players to train together on a regular basis in one location.
* It will help address critical technical and tactical weaknesses.
* It will facilitate more intense, frequent and higher quality training sessions.
* A Program of this nature makes the periodization of the Irish training and competition program feasible. Under the previous system it was difficult to control training variables to develop and peak the team.

Players selected will continue to compete for their clubs as the weekly schedule makes provisions for weekend club hockey (except for scheduled athlete breaks or international events) while also enabling athletes to prepare midweek with their clubs for ESB Irish Senior Cup and ESB Irish Hockey League matches.

Additional athletes maybe invited into the Program by Coach Gene Muller as he will continue to monitor both Club and Interprovincial matches throughout the year.

In addition, the women's budget that incorporates the Central Preparation Program will be allocated in line with previous years budgets funded through ISC, Sport NI and ESB.

Irish Hockey Association media release



Malaysians storm back to beat Russians

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia came back from two goals down to beat Russia 3-2 in the first match of a four-nation hockey tournament in Dalian, China, yesterday.

Russia, ranked 22nd in the world, surprised the 14th ranked Malaysia by taking a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.

Forward Tengku Ahmad Taijuddin narrowed the deficit with a field goal in the 30th minute.

Malaysia went on the offensive in the second half and were rewarded with two goals in a three-minute period. Defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim scored off a penalty corner in the 36th minute and a field goal by midfielder Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib turned out to be the winner for Malaysia.

Malaysia, who are preparing for the Guangzhou Asian Games in November, will play against Pakistan today before wrapping up their fixtures against China on Saturday.

The final and the playoff for third place will be held on Sunday.

New Straits Times



Malaysia continue with rampage

K. Rajan


KUALA LUMPUR: The national team recorded a convincing 9-1 win against neighbours, Thailand, to continue their golden run after beating Pakistan 8-3 in the third Asian Men's Indoor Hockey Championship at the Indera Mulia stadium, yesterday.

Malaysia's goals were provided by Chua Boon Huat (4 goals), S. Selvaraju (2 goals), S. Kuhan, Mohd Rodzhanizam Mat Radzi and Mohd Shafiq Yaacob (one goal each).

National coach, Teng Cheng Leong confident of making the finals was still cautious.

“I’m happy with our overall performance. The players played to instructions. The opponents played a good game but they couldn’t match our skills and tacticals.

“Our youngsters were a bit nervous playing in their first cap but they are getting better. Their confidence level will grow as they play more games."

Cheng Leong said he would line up the strongest side for the next fixture and let the youngsters to play after five minutes.

The national squad, skippered by former national field hockey captain, S. Kuhan, will face Kazakhstan today (3.30pm) who lost their first two matches.

Meanwhile defending champions Iran also chalked comfortable wins in their two matches, defeating Kazakhstan 15-0 and Pakistan 6-2.

Malay Mail



Project let it slip

The Malaysian Project 2013 squad let victory slip from their grasp when they conceded an equaliser deep into stoppage time to end up drawing 2-2 against the Spanish U21 side at the Teressa Hockey Club.

Malaysia took the lead twice, but on both occasions let the Spanish, who had six players from last year's Junior World Cup, back into the game.

Mohd Sabri gave Malaysia the lead in the 39th minute when he converted a penalty corner. Ironically that was the sole penalty corner the Malaysians gained in the match.

Spain drew level in the 50th minute but Firhan Ashari put the Malaysians ahead in the 64th minute. Though Spain forced two penalty corners in the closing stages of the match, the Malaysian penalty corner defence held firm.

However victory was denied as Spain scored the equaliser after 75 minutes of play, according to team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.

"Based on our time keeping the match should have been over. But it was not and we paid the price for complacency," said Mirnawan.

"Overall the players played hard and manage to compete with the Spanish in every department. Shahrul Azaddin (GK) played extremely well to deny many attempts by the Spanish forwards as well as keep out the penalty corner attempts.

"The forwards need to work on creating penalty corners as we have been scoring off them. Overall we need to work and learn how to keep possession and to keep the lead."

The Project side play the Spanish again today at 6.00pm local time.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Belgian thrashing for Project squad

By AJITPAL SINGH


THE Project 2013 squad were hammered 6-2 by an Under-21 Belgium side at the Terressa Hockey Club in Barcelona on Tuesday.

The junior team managed to hold on at 2-2 for 40 minutes before their opponents scored four goals to claim victory.

Malaysia's scorers were Firhan Ashaari (10th minute) and Mohd Sabri (38th).

"Belgium are an experienced team with nine players from the 2009 Junior World Cup. They are one of the strongest European junior teams," said team manager Mirnawan Nawawi via e-mail yesterday.

"We managed to match them in the opening 40 minutes. It was a very good experience for my team."

The Project squad played the Under-21 Spain side late yesterday. The team will play Spain again today before facing Scotland tomorrow.

"We expect the players to perform much better for the up coming games before leaving for Poland on Sunday," he added.

New Straits Times



Madhya Pradesh storm into last 8

BHOPAL: Hosts Madhya Pradesh state hockey academy (MPSHA) entered the quarterfinals of the 63rd Rangaswami Cup Senior National men's hockey championship by crushing Himachal Pradesh 11-1.

With this, MPSHA has become the first team to book a berth in the quarterfinal. Surendra Gaur (17th and 66th minutes), Upendra Pillai (24th and 41st minutes), Vikash Choudhary (31st and 53rd minutes), Rana Pratap Singh (42nd and 47th minutes) and captain Shailendra Bundela (44th and 54th minutes) scored two goals each while Kaushlendra Bundela (61st minute) hit a goal for MPSHA.

At breather, MPSHA led 3-0 in the match played at the Aishbagh Stadium here on Tuesday. In the second half, MPSHA played an attacking game, which helped its players to score eight more goals including six in a span of just 13 minutes, and took a formidable lead of 11-0. The lone goal for Himachal Pradesh was scored by Gaurav Kumar in the 67th minute and minimised the margin 1-11.

In another fixture, Bhopal trounced Chhattisgarh 5-1. Asad Kamaal (42nd and 53rd minutes) and Suleman (46th and 68th minute) scored two goals each while Aftabuddin (30th minute) hit a brilliant field goal for Bhopal.

The Times of India



Friends Union notches up win

Friends Union ‘B’ edged out Raja Bungalow Sports Club in the Junior Division of the All-India Aga Khan Hockey Tournament at the PCMC Polygrass Ground yesterday.

Roopesh Sharanpalli opened the scoring in the 21st minute, with Yogesh Thakur providing him with the pass. Dinesh Chauhan soon drew Raja Bungalow level, however, netting in the 40th minute off a pass from Rocky Anthony.

The winning goal came in the 48th minute off the stick of Shubham Thakur, with Yogesh setting it up yet again as Friends Union 'B' secured the win.

In the Senior Division, MLI Pune had to rely on a tiebreaker to beat Rakshak Sports Club, after being locked 2-2 with them at the full-time whistle. Rakshak drew first blood in the 8th minute when Yogesh Pawar converted penalty corner. However, Ganesh Kalkekar and Jagdish Peedake struck two crucial blows in the 16th and 26th minute to give MLI a 2-1 lead.

They almost managed to hold onto this lead, but Rakshak striker Vishal Salunkhe scored late-on, netting in the 55th minute to level the scores.

In the shootout, Jagdish Patil, Atish Patil, Nandu Jagtap and Prashant Bhosale netted their strokes for MLI, while Vikram Khalse and Tushar Kamble were the only players from Rakshak SC to find the net, thus giving MLI a 6-4 overall victory.

Friends Union 'A' take on BEG in today's fixture, while Green Meadows face Metro Sports Club. The last match of the day sees Pune City Police take on the Sikh Regiment at the PCMC Ground.

Hindustan Times



Vale Patrick Ryan OBE

Hockey Australia wishes to express its sadness at the passing of Patrick Ryan OBE.

Patrick passed away peacefully on the 6th of July at Bodington aged care facility Wentworth Falls at 12:49pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time).

Patrick made a great contribution to hockey both in his role as President of the Australian Hockey Association and as Vice President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

A celebration of his life will be held at Macquarie Park Cemetery & Crematorium Delhi Rd, North Ryde, NSW 2113, on Wednesday the 14th July commencing at 11:30am at the Camelia Chapel.

Hockey Australia media release