News for 27 October 2011

All the news for Thursday 27 October 2011
USA makes fifth consecutive Pan Am finals appearance

Ashley Meunier

GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Claire Laubach (Centreville, VA) tallied two goals to lead the USA Women’s National Team to a 4-2 victory over Canada this afternoon. Team USA will play for a Pan American gold medal in the finals on Friday, October 28 at 5:30pm local time against the world’s No. 1 ranked team Argentina. A win in the finals will earn Team USA an Olympic berth.  

“We knew we would get a very genuine contest from Canada today,” said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. “I am very happy with the way our team played and in getting the result we wanted to put us in the final on Friday.”

The Canadians started out with an early goal. Team USA was able to answer back immediately with Laubach scoring on a penalty corner to even the match at 1-1. Both teams traded possession and had equal scoring opportunities throughout much of the first half.

Michelle Cesan (New Vernon, NJ) recorded her first goal at the Pan Am Games and gave Team USA their first lead of the match in the 21st minute. Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, VA) sent a perfect pass to Cesan who instantly flicked the ball past the Canadian keeper.

“I was in the right place at the right time and put the ball in the net,” commented Cesan.

USA had a one goal advantage at intermission.

Laubach increased the lead to two goals with another effective drag flick on a penalty corner early after the start of the second half. Canada fought hard from behind and scored a second goal which was tipped past keeper Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa).

Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC) capped off the scoring at four goals and gave Team USA some relief going into the final ten minutes of play. 

Team USA will make its fifth consecutive appearance in the Pan American Games final on Friday against the favored Argentinian Team who came away with a 4-0 shutout win over Chile this afternoon.

“This is something that our team has been training for since 2008,” said team captain Lauren Crandall. “We’ve put the proper things in place to help us focus on each game and help us get to the final on Friday. We are mentally and physically exactly where we should be.”

Team USA only has four veteran Pan American players, something Bodimeade feels is a “real positive” going into Friday’s match.

“The real difference is that the previous years have no relevance to this team,” said Bodimeade. “With only four returning athletes, the past results are really just results and have no correlation this Pan Am team.” 

USFHA media release

Women fall 2 - 4 to Team USA in the semi-finals

Team Canada will play for bronze on Friday

Canada scores - 2011 Pan American Games : Oct 26. Photo: Yan Huckendubler

The Canadian women lost a hard fought battle in the semi-final of the Pan American Games against the USA, ranked 7 spots higher than them in the World Rankings.

Canada started the game with a positive attitude, saving a penalty-corner in the 5th minute and opening the scoring immediately after by Brienne STAIRS. The USA replied promptly to tie the game with a penalty-corner, then play stayed balance, but very intense, until the 21st minute when a Canadian defensive break-down was immediately sanctioned by another American goal.

Canada worked hard in the last ten minutes of the period, creating many attacking chances but they could not close the gap before half-time.

Canada started again the second half strongly and earned a penalty-corner, but were unable to convert it. They were short-changed shortly after when they scored but the goal was called back, the umpire claiming that she had whistled before an American foul… The USA on the other hand capitalized efficiently on another penalty-corner to push the score to 3-1.

Canada however were certainly not down yet, and Brienne STAIRS scored her second goal of the match in the 45th minute, deflecting a penalty-corner shot by Stephanie JAMESON to cut the American lead to one small goal. An intense period followed, both teams throwing all their strength and skills in the battle. The USA regained their two-goal cushion in the 58th minute but had to fight hard against a Canadian team pushing to the very end to come back on the scoreboard.

For the fifth time in a row, the Final of the Pan American Games will be between Argentina and the USA. Canada will play for the Bronze medal against Chile on Friday at 15h00. For all the skills, positive spirit and pride that they have displayed in this competition, all the Canadian fans wish them a successful end to their Guadalajara campaign!

"A tough loss today," says Head Coach Louis Mendonca.  "But we gave it our all - the USA just had a better day.  And now we need to change our focus to Chile.  The goal hasn't changed - we still have a chance of finishing on the podium and I'm confident the girls will come out fighting.  It's a very close unit, and they believe in each other."

"The girls fought hard, and I'm really proud of the team," says Team Captain Katie Baker.  "But there's a lot more that we can give and we're still wanting to go home with a medal.  That's our goal and that's what we're going to do."

"It was a hard fought game," says Kate Gillis.  "We scored the first goal and came out flying - the US really had to weather the storm - but unfortunately we came out with a loss.  We have another game against Chile, the bronze medal game, on Friday.  We're not coming home without a medal, so they better watch out."

Field Hockey Canada media release

On India's Diwali, Australia has the fireworks

K Arumugam

India failed to celebrate its Diwali in distant Busselton on Wednesday. They handed over the job of fireworks -- hallmark of the Indian festival of Lights -- to the hosts, as if to enlighten themselves on how to score and defend. undefined

Playing first time in full strength, Australia came out with a goal blitzkrieg that could never be replied by their rival.

Australia indeed never allowed India to dominate the proceedings.

Its only second time in Indian history that Australia concedes 8 goals in a match, first time being last year's Commonwealth Games


8 (Min), Kieran Goers, 0-1 Fg
12(Min), Danish Mujtaba, 1-1 Fg
15 (Min), Des Abbot, 2-1 Fg
21 (Min), Chris Ciriello, 3-1 PCg
27 (Min), Kieran Govers, 4-1 PCg
32 (Min), SV Sunil, 4-2 Fg
35 (Min), Chris Ciriello, 5-2 PC
39 (Min), Des Abbot, 6-2 FG
59 (Min), Glenn Turner, 7-2 Fg
66 (Min), Danish Mujtaba. 7-3 Fg

Kookaburras goal fest signals return to form

The Kookaburras look to be on the right track heading towards the upcoming 2011 Champions Trophy, defeating India 8-3 last night in Busselton, WA in game one of their 3 Nations tournament against India and Pakistan.

After a quiet first six months of the year the Kookaburras appear to be hitting their straps, building slowly during their recent Oceania Cup in which they defeated New Zealand before dominating last week’s Lanco International Super Series. Tonight’s win shows that they are continuing to regain their form, however despite the big margin they will be disappointed to have conceded three goals.

In a positive sign for the Kookaburras, world class striker Des Abbott seems to be showing no signs of the leg injury that kept him out for over a year, scoring two goals in his first international match for the year and his first since returning from injury.

Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth will also be pleased with his teams accuracy from penalty corners, with Chris Ciriello and Kieran Govers both looming as legitimate threats throughout the game.

The Kookaburras will next play Pakistan tonight at 7.30pm WST.

Kookaburras 8 India 3

Goals - Aus Kieran Govers 8m FG/ 27m PC, Ind Danish 12m FG/ 66m FG Aus Des Abbott 15m FG/ 39m FG, Aus Chris Ciriello 21m PC/ 35m PC, Ind SV Sunil 32m FG, Aus Glenn Turner 59m FG, Aus Eddie Ockenden 69m FG

Hockey Australia media release

Schulz gives Hockeyroos early series lead over China

Penalty corner specialist Jodie Schulz has helped lead the Hockeyroos to a convincing win in game 1 of a 6 test series vs China, scoring two goals to help record a 3-1 win in Busselton, WA last night.

The win follows on from last week’s championship win at the Lanco International Super Series and will go a long way to providing confidence to the young squad that they are capable of defeating world class teams.

Despite China being ranked 4th in the world and the Hockeyroos 7th, the Hockeyroos controlled the match, and possibly could have won by even more.

It was Schulz, who has proven to be a weapon for the Hockeyroos from penalty corners throughout the year, who gave the Hockeyroos the edge they needed, scoring two first half goals to Australia a vital 2-1 lead at half time.

Goals proved hard to come by in the second half but when Fiona Boyce scored Australia's third goal at the 54 minute mark the result was put beyond doubt.

The Hockeyroos will be hoping to continue this form through the series as they ramp up their preparations for the London Olympics.

Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens said he was pleased with the team’s performance.

“It was a very good performance against a world class opponent. Physically we were very good and players in all lines contributed. Our penalty corners were clinical and Jodie Schulz is developing into a real threat,” said Commens.

Jodie Schulz, Jade Warrender, Keliie White and Jill Dwyer were amongst the best players as was Kate Hollywood who returned to the team for the first time in 2011.

Hockeyroos 3 China 1 (2-1 half time)

Goals - Aus Jodie Schulz 17m PC/ 2 PC, china Yudiano Zaho 19m FG, Aus Fiona Boyce 54m PC

Hockey Australia media release

Inverleith`s perfect start at stake

Inverleith`s perfect record in the Scottish Subway national league will again be under scrutiny when Western Wildcats come calling to Peffermill this weekend.

After beating Grange 2-1 last weekend, unbeaten Inverleith moved to within three points of leaders Glynhill Kelburne, but with a game in hand against bottom side VWS Dundee Wanderers.

"Last weekend against Grange was a big game for us and taking all three points was a great step forward," said Stevie McCurry, Inverleith`s coach.

There must always be a concern for Inverleith that a perfect record brings with it additional pressure as the winning sequence continues.   McCurry said: "Every game is difficult this season and we try to approach it in the same positive manner and take nothing for granted."

McCurry is well aware of the potential threat posed by the Wildcats.   "By their own standards, they have had a mixed start to the season, but Western are still a very good side and Saturday will be a very tough game for us."

The Wildcats have been rather inconsistent this season, but coach Vishal Marwaha remains upbeat.  "I have confidence in every game we go into, with the group of players we have, we can cause any team problems.

"I know it`s going to be a difficult game for us, Inverleith have been playing well, they are on a great run, and have a number of current international players. I think we can take a lot from our performance against Clydesdale last weekend, and the challenge for us is to repeat that."

Marwaha regarded the 3-2 win over Greaves Clydesdale as a great team performance, and could be seen as a springboard to a better run of form.  In the opening fixture last season Inverleith fell victim to the striking prowess of Scott McCartney and Douglas Simpson in a 7-1 win, but the Edinburgh side recovered to take the return game 2-1, John Harris and Adam McKenzie from a penalty corner were the scorers.   (11.30hrs at Peffermill)

Leaders Kelburne should continue their goal scoring bandwagon against an Edinburgh University side that have done well in their opening encounters to reach fourth place.  The students have only lost one game, 2-1 to Grange, but will do well to restrict the free-scoring Paisley front line which has notched up a total of 46 goals in six games already.  Kelburne`s avalanche of goals can come from a variety of players, but  Alan Forsyth is consistently on target with an average of two a game.

"Yes, at the moment we have had a few big scores, but I think the moment you start to take anything for granted is the time you are likely to fall flat on your face," said Harry Coles, Kelburne`s manager.  "Edinburgh University have made a pretty good start to the season, and we will certainly have to maintain the standards we have set thus far in the title race to ensure another three points."   (13.30hrs at Bellahouston)

After dropping five points in the last two weeks, Grange will be keen to get back on the rails with a convincing win over city rivals CALA Edinburgh at Peffermill.  The two sides met recently in the cup and Grange emerged 4-2 winners, captain Rob Barr will settle for some of the same.

CALA have quietly moved into sixth position in the table, but last weekend they were on the wrong end of a nine goal defeat at the hands of Kelburne, it will be interesting to see if coach Neil Allan can restore his young charges` confidence.  (14.45hrs at Peffermill)

AMN Hillhead broke their duck with a comfortable 4-1 win over VWS Dundee Wanderers last weekend, another three points against Grove Menzieshill would ease any relegation concerns for coach Keith Joss.  The Taysiders are a bit of an enigma outfit, last season they finished a very creditable third in the table, but now they are second from bottom with only two points to show for their opening six games.  Menzieshill`s present low position in the league may prove to be a false one at the end of the day, but it is in defence that the problem appears to lie, the loss of 26 goals is the proof of the failing.  (14.25hrs at Jordanhill School)

Clydesdale are another side in the doldrums, they also have yet to record a win.  The visit of bottom side VWS Dundee Wanderers to Titwood may rectify the situation, as it did last season when the Taysiders left Glasgow on the wrong end of a 10-1 thrashing, that day Ciaran Crawford notched four and Raymond Wrightson scored a hat-trick.   Given that Wanderers only picked up their first point last week in a goalless draw with Edinburgh University, Clydesdale coach Gordon Shepherd will see this encounter as a must-win occasion to relieve the mounting pressure at Titwood.

There are no women`s Division 1 fixtures this weekend due to Scotland under 21`s three uncapped games against England at Lilleshall.   The Scots are preparing for the European under 21 Nations Championships 11 in Anapa, Russia from July 15 to 21 where they are drawn against Russia, Czech Republic and Wales in the pool part of the competition.

The Scots youngsters were relegated from the elite top eight in Bra, Italy last year, despite beating France 3-0 in the final game.  England will certainly be a tall order as they won silver in the sane tournament, but by their very nature junior sides vary enormously from one tournament to another.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Umpires strike back

Officials get together to stand up against abuse

Vijhay Vick

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Match officials are up in arms over players getting away with light sentences for what they regard as serious offences — some are afraid there may come a day there will not be any umpires to officiate.

A letter from an anonymous umpire, copied to Mailsport, was sent to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Technical Committee and Umpiring Committee stating the umpires' disappointment on the lack of urgency in deliberating disciplinary issues.

The letter, signed off by the umpires, states they are disappointed with the constant criticism of the umpiring and that umpires are often the first to be blamed.

"Umpires are always on the receiving end of all the faults that take place on the pitch. Never once have team officials and/or players been blamed just because they spend hundreds of thousands of ringgit preparing for tournaments. When things are not favourable to them, we get the blame," stated the letter.

The standard operating procedure when any offence is committed is that the matter will be deliberated by the technical committee. Should they find the offence serious, the matter will be sent to the Disciplinary Board (DB).

A senior umpire, who did not want to be named, also questioned the whole process and hopes the umpiring committee will play an active role in their cause.

"The whole procedure of disciplinary action is vague. There should be clear guidelines on how to deal with different circumstances," he said.

The letter listed four cases in which players were either let off lightly or disciplinary action was delayed.

Umpires believe all this abuse towards them will only stop if the technical committee and the DB mete out immediate and appropriate punishment to players and officials.

"Some of us have been umpiring for more than 15 years. We see the same players and officials year in and year out. We have been swallowing a lot of rubbish. We have new, younger umpires coming up the ranks and they too are facing the same problems.

"How do you expect the country to produce more umpires when the rot is still there?" questioned the letter.

Meanwhile, Umpiring Committee chairman Lt Kol B. Muthukumar acknowledged receiving the letter but refused to comment.

"I can't say anything because the committee have not met to discuss the matter," he said.

The following are extracts from the letter:

"1. Razak Cup 2010 – Kuantan — National player Faisal Saari pulled umpire Ravinderpal Singh's T-shirt for awarding a penalty corner against his team. Faisal was shown a yellow card for the act and then a red for uttering foul words to the umpire. This player was referred to the DB, without the umpire concerned being called. He apparently apologised and got off without any punishment. Being the "blue-eyed-boy" of the hockey team, officials felt they needed his services more. He went on playing for the country and received the same treatment from international umpires for similar behaviour but our officials kept a blind eye. This matter was also brought up in the MHF council meeting and highlighted to the president. The DB head said since there was no physical abuse they could not take any action on the player. Do they expect the umpire to be hit and only then action will be taken? The president asked the umpiring committee to write to the DB to reopen the case but sadly this was never done.

2. MHL Premier League 2010 — Nur Insafi Penang's Keevan Raj approached and pushed umpire K. Lingam when the umpire awarded a penalty corner to Maybank. He said that the umpire had been bought over by Maybank. Lingam gave Keevan a green card, and the player repeatedly abused him with foul language and spat on him. The umpire immediately showed him the red card. He too followed proper procedures by making a report and waited for the outcome. Action was only taken after two to three weeks whereby Keevan was subsequently banned for 21 months.

3. MHL Premier League 2011 — Armed Forces' Norfadzeli Nasir came up to umpire K. Illango after the match, threatened him and called him out of the stadium for a fight. Norfadzeli had to be calmed down by his fellow teammates. Once again, a report was made and submitted to MHF but action was not taken immediately. The player played two more matches and in one of those matches, he again approached umpire R. Anbanathan after the match and abused him. Another report was made against this player. This time he was suspended for two matches.

4. MHL Premier League 2011 — Sapura captain S. Kuhan was red carded by umpire Anbanathan for using foul language. After the match, said player approached the technical bench and continued to hurl more foul words on the umpire in the presence of MHF officials and the technical officer of the match. Having received a red card, the player was automatically suspended for one match pending the DB hearing. What baffles us is that, the technical committee did not meet to take further action and/or refer him to the DB. The technical committee, in a Press statement, said that the matter could not be deliberated because a certain person was not available and therefore it would be held on a later date. Kuhan was then given an additional one-match ban. For all the abuse and outburst, Kuhan received only a two-match ban. The Armed Forces player, who did not receive any card but abused the umpires after the match, was also suspended for two matches."

Malay Mail

India women's hockey captain to be honoured

RAIPUR: Indian women's hockey team captain Saba Anjum will get Chhattisgarh's top Gundadhur sports award, official sources said on Wednesday.

"The award will be conferred on Saba Anjum as she is a real gem in hockey," an official said.

The annual award is given to a person who brings honour to the state in sports at national and international levels. It carries a cash prize of Rs.100,000 and a citation.

Anjum, 24, will receive the award Nov 1 here at a function to mark the foundation anniversary of Chhattisgarh, carved out from Madhya Pradesh in 2000. Anjum belongs to Durg district of Chhattisgarh.

The Times of India