News for 20 January 2012

All the news for Friday 20 January 2012

Investec South Africa Hockey Women beat Spain


Attacking midfielder Shelley Russell was outstanding in South Africa's 3-1 win over Spain in the third Test of the Investec International Series at Randburg Astro Thursday night. Photo: REG CALDECOTT

A fired-up Investec South Africa women’s hockey team beat Spain 3-1 in the third of the five-Test Investec International Series at Randburg Astro Tuesday night to level the series 1-1 with two to play. The first international was drawn 1-1 while Spain won the second 3-2.

Carlota Petchame opened the scoring but goals from Lenise Marais, Pietie Coetzee and Kim Hubach sealed South Africa’s win and set up intriguing fourth and fifth Tests, at 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday at Randburg.

In the second minute Kate Woods moved the ball to Lesle-Ann George, who relayed to Shelley Russell, the superb attacking midfielder making ground before lashing a rising shot that was gloved away by goalkeeper Isabel Barguno. Spain immediately countered and Marais saved on the line before brilliant SA keeper Sanani Mangisa made a crucial save.

With the first quarter drawing to a close, Mangisa made a glove save, as did Barguno from Pietie Coetzee. At 12 to half-time Spain won a hotly-disputed PC, which SA somehow managed to scramble away but six minutes later the Spaniards’ use of the long ball evaded the defensive screen once again and Carlota Petchame smashed high into the net (1-0).

SA had a great chance two minutes from half-time when strikers Sulette Damons and Coetzee combined but it was not to be. Two minutes after the break a neat SA move earned their first PC and trapper Lenise Marais recovered quickly from the wayward injection pass to score the equaliser from the edge of the strike zone (1-1).

Three minutes later George supplied a defence-splitting pass to Coetzee whose powerful shot dribbled off the keeper’s pads over the goalline for a soft goal that nevertheless heralded her 228th in 231 Test matches (2-1). Soon after, Coetzee’s third PC brought out a stunning stick save Barguno low to her right.

Midway, Spain’s third PC was intercepted by first wave Damons and soon after Coetzee was stick-checked in the strike zone. The variation left saw Kate Woods’s power shot strike a defender in the goals with Barguno beaten and Kim Hubach slotted the penalty stroke for 3-1 in the 54th minute.

From the re-start Russell set up Chamberlain, who effort was superbly saved before Kathleen Taylor forced another top save. Spain then missed an open goal, which summed up their night.

Meanwhile in Delhi the South Africa men’s team beat India 3-1; the first time the SA men have beaten the eight-time Olympic gold medallists since 2004, the goals coming from Lloyd Madsen and the Haley brothers, Ian and Craig. India lead the five-Test series 2-1 with the fourth Test at 1.30 pm SA time Friday.

SA Hockey Association media release

SA Hockey Men beat India 1st time since 2004

Fans at Randburg Hockey Stadium will be hoping the Investec SA women's hockey team follow the example of the national men's side when they take on Spain in the third of the five-Test Investec International Series at 7 pm tonight.

The SA men beat eight-time Olympic gold medallists India 3-1 in Delhi this afternoon after leading 2-0 at half-time, the goals coming from a Lloyd Madsen penalty stroke in the 21st minute, Ian Haley on the half-time whistle and his younger brother Craig in the 55th minute. Ace penalty corner drag-flicker Sandeep Singh netted for India in the 49th minute.

"It was a great performance and the first time the South African men's team have have beaten India since 2004," said delighted SA captain Austin Smith.

"We moved the ball exceptionally well and put India under a lot of pressure, closing down their space, while our basics were far better."

The five-Test series stands at 2-1 to India after they won the first and second Tests 4-0 and 2-1 respectively.

Captain Marsha Marescia's Investec SA women's team trail Spain 1-0 in the series after going down 3-2 in the second Test, the first having been drawn 1-1.

SA Hockey Association media release

Series come alive with a fluent African victory.

s2h team

Lloyd Madsen scores from a penalty stroke

Indian team disappointed a fairly large crowd that came to support them today at the Major Dhyan Chand stdium. Ever-improving visitors showcased perhaps their best today to set aside the week and meek challenge of the hosts, with measurable elan.

Establishing suzerneity all through the proceedings, despite some poor umpiring decisions that went against them, South Africa overwhelmed India 3-1 in the third test today.

With this, the Series comes alive. The visiting team that lost both the tests, changed the course of the series, which at 2-1 in favour of India is tantalizingly poised now.

Sandeep Singh, sometimes upfront, some times down below the defence, gave away a stroke early in the match. He foot-stopped a goal-bound feeble shot before the empty cage after goalie PR Sreejesh charged early and lost position.

Lloyd Madsen had no difficulty to get past Sreejesh (1-0, 21st Min).

The Africans built on the momentum. Indians were on full stream early in both sessions. But poor finish by the forwards, especially Juvraj Walmiki, who played first time in the series, showed no class or acumen to turn even full chances that came on his way. On couple of occasion, he fell after stopping good feeds, and the chances thus went abegging.

Africa enlarged the lead seconds before the lemon time. A free hit was deflected in by Ian Haley (2-0, 35th min).

After missing more than half a dozen sitters, the Indians got a easy penalty corner award – as Arjun outside the circle was hard-tackled – and Sandeep Singh converted. (2-1).

India got two more penalty corners, for feeble reasons, and was expectedly protested by the visiting side. However, both were frittered away by Sandeep Singh.

India today played youngster Khandranghan Kothajit, who surely played better than the established names.

The visitors scored their third goal through Craig Haley (3-0, 55th min).

Chief coach Michael Nobbs agreed the team did not jell well, the midfield play was not good enough.

“On the other hand I compliment South Africa for their fine game today”, he conceded.

The penultimate, fourth match of the series will be played tomorrow 17.00 hrs.

South Africa's superb show sinks India

Y. B. Sarangi

India’s Sandeep Singh celebrates after scoring against South Africa in the third hockey Test on Thursday. Photo: S. Subramanium

South Africa gave its best performance in the series so far to stun India 3-1 in the third hockey Test at the National Stadium, here on Thursday.

The keen contest between the two sides in the bone-chilling weather was the only source of warmth. South Africa surprised India with its hardworking and aggressive effort to narrow the gap down to 1-2 in the five-match series.

Lloyd Madsen (21st), Ian Haley (35th) and Craig Haley (55th) hit the target for the winning team, while Sandeep Singh converted a contentious penalty corner awarded to India in the 49th minute.

Attacking approach

The host, fielding two new forwards in the experienced Rajpal Singh and the young Yuvraj Walmiki, adopted an attacking approach right from the outset.

The visitor gave a befitting response, but could not breach the Indian defence until goal-keeper P.R. Sreejesh rushed forward and Sandeep touched the ball with his foot to concede a penalty stroke. Madsen happily grabbed the opportunity as South Africa went up 1-0.

The South African goal-keeper blocked a Sandeep drag-flick in the 29th minute to foil India's quest for the equaliser. To make matters worse, Ian scored off a cross from the left to help the tourist take a comfortable 2-0 lead at the breather.

After the change of ends, the home team, guided by its skilful centre-half Sardara Singh, intensified the attack from both the flanks. However, South Africa handled it with some tough tackling and solid marking. The host also paid the price of spoiling several opportunities, mostly due to poor passing.

Sandeep's goal off the second short corner was the only bright spot for the Indians. The South Africans were sharp in their counter-attacks and benefitted from swiftly switching positions. One such rapid move sealed the fate of the match, when Craig tapped in a ball from the right flank.

India orchestrated many a move and gained two more penalty corners. However, South Africa was better prepared to thwart the attempts.

Michael Nobbs attributed the loss to “poor basic skills” of the Indian players as well as the missed chances. He promised to field stronger teams in the next two matches.

The result: South Africa 3 (Lloyd Madsen, Ian Haley, Craig Haley) bt India 1 (Sandeep Singh).

The Hindu

South Africa pull one back

Uthra G Chaturvedi

Scrappy play that lacked bite saw the Indians crashing to a 1-3 defeat against South Africa, their first in the five-Test series. The reversal mean the series was alive at 2-1.

Though, the hosts rested several key players but the fact that those who took field on Thursday, and put a mediocre show, form the core of the country’s top 30 players was certainly a cause for concern. The Indians were found wanting in all department, in contrast to the fast-improving South Africans, who constantly kept up the pressure with their fluid passing.

The biggest disappointed for the hosts was striker Yuvraj Walmiki, who had a disappointing return to the field after the brief injury-induced break. The off-colour forward missed at last four clear chances in front of an open goal — three of them coming within five minutes.

SA were full of purpose and, after losing the first two games, were much more attacking and agile on field. Their one-touch play created open spaces where the Indians were guilty of holding the ball far too long. With Julian Hykes and skipper Austin Smith doing the hard work, upfront, South Africa went ahead through a penalty stoke by Lloyd Madsen in the 21st minute.

It became 2-0 at the stroke of half time when Ian Haley shot into the top of the net after a free-hit bounced off goalkeeper Sreejesh’s pads. Craig Haley sealed the win in the 55th minute.

Eves make it 2-0

The Indian women’s team expectedly wrapped up their four-match series against Azerbaijan with a 2-0 win the final match on Thursday to remain unbeaten. Even though the visitors put up a fight, credit goes to the Indian defence for not coming under pressure and ensuring they did not give any easy passage to their opponents. Goalkeeper Savita was impressive.

Indian Express

South Africa beat India 3-1 to keep hockey series alive

NEW DELHI: A scrappy India wasted chances galore as South Africa dished out a spirited performance to beat the hosts 3-1 in the third hockey Test on Thursday and keep alive their hopes in the five-match series.

With the Olympic qualifiers less than a month away, India coach Michael Nobbs yet again fielded a new look team in search of combinations, and the changes quite evidently reflected in the performance of the home team.

South Africa, on the other hand, seemed to be getting their acts together slowly and steadily after the 0-4 drubbing in the opening Test, as the performance of the visitors got better and better with every match.

The South Africans also utilised both the flanks to the hilt and played possession hockey. The tourists played one-touch hockey, thereby creating more open spaces during their attacks.

The Indians, on the other hand, were guilty of holding on to the ball for too long and failed to control the pace of the game.

South Africa put the Indian defence under pressure from the word go and their efforts bore fruit in the 21st minute when India conceded a penalty stroke, which was easily converted by Lloyd Madsen.

The visitors then doubled their lead just at the stroke of half time through Ian Haley, who tapped home from close range after receiving an open ball that recotiated of Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh's gloves.

The Indians, however, managed to put up some fight after the breather and got numerous scoring chances but the just-recovered Yuvraj Walmiki and Dharamvir Singh failed to utilise the opportunities.

India, however, pulled one back in the 49th minute when Sandeep Singh converted a penalty corner out of the four they earned in the match.

But the joy was short-lived for the Indians as Craig Haley scored a field goal when he tapped home a cross from the left flank six minutes later to restore their two-goal lead.

Thereafter, India pressed hard for goals but the sting was lacking in their forward line as Yuvraj, Dharamvir and Rajpal Singh, who also returned from an injury lay-off, wasted numerous scoring opportunities. Veteran Vikram Pillay also looked out of sorts.

Sardara Singh once again was the star performer for India but he lacked support at the midfield. Debutant Kothajit Khadranghan also impressed in the left back position.

Expectedly, India coach Michael Nobbs was utterly disappointed with the performance of his boys and said the team had to pay the price for carrying a "lot of passengers" on Thursday.

"It was our last game to try out all players (before Olympic qualifiers). We had a number of passengers in the team. They were not just good enough and the better players were trying to make up for them (in the field)," Nobbs said.

"We lacked in executing our basic skills today, and South Africa punished us in the first half. In the second half we played better but we were not thorough enough. We missed a lot of scoring chances," he said.

"I think we put ourselves under pressure today rather than South Africa putting us under pressure."

Asked whether the performance of his team was dipping with each match, considering the fact that India won the first Test by a 4-0 margin and then eked out a 2-1 in the next before losing on Thursday, Nobbs said, "I was expecting this."

"We tried to give everyone an opportunity in the first 3 games just to see their talent and their eagerness to play for the country. In the last two games we will field much stronger teams than tonight."

Even though Yuvraj looked rusty in his comeback match after recovering from a hip injury, Nobbs seemed contended with the young striker's performance.

"It was his (Yuvraj's) first outing after quite sometime. I am pleased to see that he got through the game without any injuries. He did a lot of running which we wanted him to do."

Nobbs also praised debutant Kothajit, saying, "His was excellent considering it was his first game. He was under tremendous pressure all the time but he did a good job."

South Africa coach Gregg Clark, meanwhile, was delighted to see his side improving with every passing game.

"I am very happy with the performance. It was a very good performance, which was due for a long time," he said.

"We have very talented group of players but they haven't played much hockey in between competitions. They have lot of potentials."

He was also happy to see his side not succumbing to India's continuous pressure in the second half.

"India put a lot of pressure on us. We gave India too much open spaces in the second half. But I am really proud of my team for weathering that pressure."

The third Test between the two teams will be played on Friday.

The Times of India

Coach Michael Nobbs identifies 'passengers'

Biswajyoti Brahma

NEW DELHI: "Nothing to worry about," said chief coach Michael Nobbs assuredly minutes after India crashed to their first defeat of the hockey series, a 1-3 loss to South Africa in the third 'Test' at Major Dhyanchand National Stadium on Thursday.

The wry smile on the Australian's face suggested he had achieved the objective set before the series; to tryout different combinations and pick the best possible team for the Olympic qualifiers. The result clearly did not upset the coach against a much-improved South African side, which lost the first two matches, as it helped him identify the "passengers" in the squad.

Apart from the first few minutes of the match and a brief period after the break, the Indians looked totally out of sorts against a side seeking a win desperately.

The visitors took control of the match in the first-half itself scoring two goals - first a penalty stroke by Lloyd Madsen (21st minute) and then a field goal from a defensive lapse in the 35th minute through Ian Haley.

India tried to come back into the match with a series of counter-attacks early in the second half, but they were thwarted by the rival defence. Sardar Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki and Dharamveer Singh made inroads into the rival defence in a span of three minutes but failed to score.

India's lone goal came through Sandeep Singh, who converted a penalty corner in the 49th minute. This was the only one India converted from the four penalty corners they got. South Africa sealed the contest with a fine field goal in the 55th minute through Craig Haley.

"We missed a number of chances. The basic skills showed by some of the players during the match was really poor," Nobbs said. "But this (result) is not an important thing at the moment. The important thing is coming next month (the qualifiers)," he added.

"We will be playing strong teams in the remaining two matches," the coach said indicating that the next matches will mostly feature players who are likely to play in the qualifiers. The South Africans, on their part, had much to cheer about as the win helped them stay alive in the series. "Finally we have a result to show for our performance," said South African coach Gregg Clark. "They had their moments, particularly in the second half, but our team played really well to emerge victorious."

The Times of India

Indian women clinch the Azerbaijan series in style

s2h team

Playing good hockey in spells was sufficient for coach CR Kumar's girls to clinch the 4-match Azerbaijan Test series, being played at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Indian girls, who seemed struggle most part of the match against the better organized rivals today, came good in a few spells that proved turning point in deciding the rubber.

India needed a draw or win to wrap up the series today in the third test, and they made it style, winning again today 3-0.

India had already won both the test gone by before today.

Agile and alert Sushila Chanu set the Indian scoring in the third minute and three minutes before the hooter, the best goal of the match was struck by player-maker Ritu Rani.

In between, three minutes before lemon time, Anuradha Devi too entered her name on the score board.

Ritu Rani got a loose ball on the top of the circle, wasted no time to send in a power-packed forehand, the ball crashing on the right edge of the net. The goal came much against the run of play, and gave the impression the winners had a easy walk today.

The visitors lacked in scoring power and it told on the outcome, instead.

Both the sides struggled to negotiate penalty corners

India need to thank hardworking defenders, recalled star Subhadra Pradhan and ever-green Joydeep Kaur, for emerging winners today. For, its the Azerbaijan girls who nearly held the sway in the whole of match, and the defence stood to the task.

Assisted by Asusnta Lakra in the centre, the defender duo dished out heartwarming display to thwart the moves of well-oiled frontline of the visitors.

On one of the penalty corner drills, its Joydeep who made a goaline save, her reflex and energy are joy to behold.

Indian women complete the rout over Azerbaijan

Ritu Sejwal

NEW DELHI: The Indian women's hockey team ended its campaign against Azerbaijan with a 2-0 victory in the fourth and final match at the National Stadium on Thursday, completing a 4-0 series rout. And now, with the Olympic qualifiers round the corner, it's time for the girls to work on the grey areas.

"We wanted to win all the matches and we have achieved that goal. There are quite a few grey areas in terms of converting penalty corners, scoring field goals and the build-up in the midfield. In the next two-three weeks we will surely work on that," coach CR Kumar said.

A penalty stroke by Jasjreet Kaur (44th minute) gave India the lead while Rani Rampal added another in the 68th minute.

It was a good performance by the Indian girls but fitness of players remained an issue throughout the series. "Some players are recovering with Chanchan Devi returning from a collar bone fracture. Fitness will be the priority in our quest to reach the desired standards. Qualifiers are going to be very difficult," Kumar said.

Meanwhile, skipper Asunta Lakra, who plays the key role in the midfield, admitted that the team needs to improve to make an impact at the Olympic qualifiers. "The team is playing well, We can put up a good show (at the qualifiers) but we will have to improve," Asunta said.

The Times of India

Indian women secure series whitewash over Azerbaijan

NEW DELHI: Indian women's hockey team completed a clean sweep in their four-Test series against Azerbaijan after notching up a 2-0 victory in the fourth and final match on Thursday.

The Indian women were not at their best but still prevailed over the visitors after they scored twice in the second half through Jasjreet Kaur (44th minute) and Rani Rampaul (68th).

With this victory, India kept their slate clean after having defeated the visitors with margins of 3-0, 2-1 and 3-0 in the first three Tests at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

After playing out a goalless first half, Jaspreet, who missed the third Test due to back pain, put India ahead, scoring on a penalty shot which the home team earned after Rani Rampaul's shot hit a defender near the goal mouth.

Rani, who had injured her hand and missed the last match, was once again in action in the dying moments of the Test when she deflected in a diagonal cross from skipper Asunta Lakra from the right to seal the match 2-0.

Azerbaijan had their moments and had, in fact, earned their first penalty corner as early as the ninth minute but they couldn't make it count.

Towards the end of the first half, India too had earned a penalty corner, but Lakra was too late to react. On a counter attack, the visitors too earned a chance to score from a set piece, only to squander the opportunity.

Few minutes after the first goal, India had earned another chance, but failed to capitalise with Jasjreet hitting wide of the goalpost.

The Times of India

World Champs toppled by GB

Crista Cullen in action for Great Britain women

Great Britain’s women pulled off an excellent victory over World Champions Argentina at the Cordoba Four Nations late on Thursday night as goals from Leicester duo Kerry Williams and Crista Cullen (below right) moved GB to the top of the standings.

In an open encounter and spurred on by an enthusiastic South American crowd, Great Britain rose to the challenge, sticking to the game plan and demonstrating their experience to take all three points against a team that included seven times World Player of the Year Luciana Aymar.

Great Britain rotated the goalkeepers with Scottish goalkeeper Abi Walker replacing Beth Storry in goal.  Slough’s Ashley Ball also came in having sat out the opening night win over Korea with clubmate Nicola White sitting the match out.

While she might not have made the score sheet herself, Reading’s Helen Richardson played a significant role in the victory.  With 21 minutes on the clock the 30 year old from Nottinghamshire fed her former Leicester colleague Kerry Williams (below right) for the opening goal.  A week earlier Williams had been drafted into the squad to replace the injured Vikki Bunce and she took her opportunity well giving Great Britain the lead.

Kerry Williams

And less than five minutes later Richardson showed more of the aptitude that saw her voted into the International Hockey Federation’s World All Stars team as she cleared a goal-bound penalty corner effort off the line, preserving Great Britain’s lead to the break.

Great Britain enjoyed the better of the opportunities in the match and from one such chance, a 48th minute penalty corner, Crista Cullen fired home a trademark low drag flick to give GB what would become an unassailable lead.

After the match Head Coach Danny Kerry was pleased with his squad for the result and the performance: “It was a thoroughly professional and disciplined performance against a full strength Argentina side.  We should excellent concentration, which allowed them very few opportunities while we created good chances of our own.

Kerry singled out 22 year old Dilly Newton and 23 year old Laura Unsworth for particular praise, saying: “Dilly had a game of maturity beyond her years while Laura Unsworth grows with every game.  She is becoming a world class player.  Looking at their ages it bodes well for the future and our development.”  

The result takes Great Britain to the top of the tournament standings, three points clear of Argentina and Korea, who beat New Zealand 7-4 earlier in the evening.  Great Britain’s last pool match is against New Zealand on Saturday.  The result also guarantees them progress to Sunday’s final, with the opposition for the tournament trophy as yet unknown.

Great Britain Hockey media release

Black Sticks Women lose 6-4 to Korea

Black Sticks Women’s coach Mark Hager says defensive lapses in the second half let the team down again today and allowed Korea to come away with a 6-4 win in the Black Sticks second match of the Four Nations tournament in Cordoba, Argentina.

Midlands players Gemma Flynn and Samantha Charlton helped the team to a 2-0 lead early on in the game, but Korea did not hesitate to counter attack, scoring two goals in quick succession. It was Capital’s Anita Punt who slotted one home before the half time hooter sounded and the teams took respite from the hot conditions.

Korea was the first to score in the second half but Northland’s Charlotte Harrison equalised. Korea’s speed and skill through the midfield stretched the score line to 5-4, and as the Black Sticks pushed forward to try to equalise, gaps opened up and Korea scored their sixth goal in the final stages of the game.

“Defensive lapses let us down again today, in particular our inability to defend penalty corners. We also needed to make the most of the penalty corners that we were awarded,” says Hager.

The Black Sticks play Great Britain at 9am on 22 January (NZ time). Argentina would need to lose the next two games for the Black Sticks to have a chance of getting through based on goal difference.

Hawke’s Bay is the principal partner of  the Black Sticks Men and Women.

Full time: 6-4 (Korea win)

Half time: 3-3
NZ goal scorers: Gemma Flynn, Samantha Charlton, Anita Punt, Charlotte Harrison.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks fall to Korea

Gemma Flynn scored the opening goal for the Black Sticks. Photo / Ron Burgin

Second-half defensive lapses cost the New Zealand women's hockey side as they went down 6-4 to Korea in their second match at the Four Nations tournament in Cordoba, Argentina, today.

It was the second big defeat in consecutive days for the Black Sticks after their 7-3 loss to world No 2 Argentina yesterday.

They led 2-0 early in the game against Korea thanks to goals from Gemma Flynn and Samantha Charlton but Korea were dangerous on the counter-attack and went to the break level 3-3.

Korea's speed and skill through the midfield caused headaches for the New Zealand defence and they conceded another three goals in the second spell. The last came as the Black Sticks pushed forward in search of an equaliser wen the score was 5-4 but coach Mark Hager was left lamenting their defensive effort.

"Defensive lapses let us down again today, in particular our inability to defend penalty corners,'' Hager said. "We also needed to make the most of the penalty corners that we were awarded.''

The Black Sticks play Great Britain on Sunday morning (NZT) with little hope of qualifying for the final. They will need to beat Great Britain and then hope Argentina lose their next two games to have a chance of progressing on goal difference.

Their main goal, however, is the Champions Trophy starting in Rosario next weekend after they won a bronze at last year's tournament. Their game against Argentina yesterday was their first since October and the New Zealand players have gone into the Four Nations relatively cold considering it is their off-season.

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks lose again after second half lapse


Same story, different day for the Black Sticks women's hockey team, who were punished for second half defensive lapses in their Four Nations hockey match against lesser-ranked South Korea in Argentina today.

As the did yesterday against Argentina, sixth-ranked New Zealand competed well in the first half and went into break level at 3-3, but the eighth-ranked Koreans eased away in the second stanza to record a 6-4 win in hot conditions in Cordoba.

New Zealand jumped out to an early 2-0 lead courtesy of goals to Midlands players Gemma Flynn and Samantha Charlton but Korea mounted a swift comeback and two goals in quick succession, on the counter-attack, brought the Asians back into the match.

Capital's Anita Punt slotted New Zealand's third first-half goal but it wasn't enough to give them a lead at the break.

New Zealand were level with world No 2 Argentina at halftime in their opening match yesterday but faded in the second half to lose 7-3, and it was a repeat of that pattern today.

Korea edged ahead early in the second half before Northland's Charlotte Harrison equalised, but Korea's speed and skill through the midfield stretched the score line to 5-4, and as the Black Sticks pushed forward to try to equalise, gaps opened up and Korea scored their sixth goal in the final stages.

New Zealand coach Mark Hager said they were let down by defensive lapses in the second half.

''In particular our inability to defend penalty corners,'' he explained. ''We also needed to make the most of the penalty corners that we were awarded.''

The Black Sticks play their third match against fourth-ranked Great Britain on Sunday and are most likely to be playing off for third and fourth on Monday.


Argentina and Spain men split points in Córdoba

Last minute goal gives home team a draw

Argentina and Spain draw in Córdoba (Photo: CAH Press/Matías Correa Arce)

In the first encounter of the three match series in which Argentina faces Spain, the teams drew with three goals each.

In an entertaining encounter in Córdoba, Argentina and Spain, the ninth and fifth ranked teams in the current FIH World Rankings, drew 3-3.

The start into the match was dynamic and lively, with play moving back and forth. Argentina used their second penalty corner to get onto the scoreboard as Rodrigo Vila sunk a rebound in the fifth minute, and only a few minutes later, the hosts increased their advantage to two goals when Pedro Ibarra made good use of the very next short corner opportunity.

Gabriel Dabanch narrowed the gap again, scoring for Spain in the 16th minute, and thereby established the half time scoreline early, as both goalkeepers, Juan Manuel Vivaldi for Argentina and Quico Cortes for Spain,  displayed strong form to keep their respective territories clean for the remainder of the first half.

After the break, Argentina had opportunities to pull away again but could not make them count, while their European counterparts grew stronger and controlled ball possession more and more as the clock ticked down.

Roc Oliva scored the equalizer 15 minutes from the end, and five minutes later, Edi Tubau finally tipped the score in Spain's favor. However, a fast break by Facundo Callioni in the dying seconds of the match presented Agustín Mazzilli with an opportunity, and he put the ball away over the Spanish goalkeeper for the 3-3 final result.

The two teams will face each other again, at the same venue, on Sunday.

Source: Argentinean Hockey Confederation press release

FIH site

Semifinals of National U-21 Hockey today

Staff Report

LAHORE: The semi-finals of the Pakistan National Under-21 Hockey championship will be played at the National Hockey Stadium here on Friday (today). Pakistan WAPDA will play Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) in the first semi-final at 9:30am while National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) will take on Punjab Colour in the second semifinal at 2:30pm.

The Daily Times

Five players to be dropped for Perth tour

KUALA LUMPUR: Five players will be axed from the 25-man MAlaysian national hockey team today.

The 20-man squad will head for Perth, Australia, on Jan 27 for a five-match series.

The team management decided to drop the five players after assessing all the players’ performances during the friendlies with China last week.

The Perth tour – the team’s final round of warm-up matches – will see Malaysia playing four matches against Australia and one against Holland.

After that, two players will be dropped before the team leave for the Olympic qualifier in Dublin on Feb 28.

Team manager George Koshy said the 20-man squad would take a short break for the Chinese New Year holidays.

“We have just five more practice matches to go before the final 18 is named. The China matches allowed us to identify areas that needed more work.

“The players are shaping up well and we feel that they will perform better in the coming matches,” he said.

George also confirmed that Japan would not be coming here for friendly matches in February.

Meanwhile, the national team will undergo a three-day motivational camp, organised by the National Sports Institute (NSI) in Port Dickson from Feb 17 as part of their final phase of training.

George said the national team would set up camp in Cardiff, where they hope to play two or three matches, before heading for Dublin.

The Star of Malaysia

Give them time

Former captain says two defeats no reason to panic

Vijhay Vick

KUALA LUMPUR: Former national skipper S. Kuhan (pic) has jumped to the defence of the national team.

Malaysia, coached by Tai Beng Hai, suffered losses in the opening two matches of the fivematch series against China (2-1 and 4-1).

However, they bounced back to win the remaining matches.

“They (Malaysia) are being put through tough training modules. The matches against China were merely part of their training,” said Kuhan.

“The matches against China are not an indication of the quality of the Malaysian team. There is no reason to panic just because of the two defeats.”

Kuhan was certain if they were competitive matches, Malaysia would have reigned supreme.

Kuhan was in the stands when Malaysia defeated China 3-1 in the final friendly on Wednesday.

Many observers have noted that since returning from the Champions Challenge in South Africa late last year, the national team’s performance has only deteriorated.

Even former Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president Sultan Azlan Shah was not impressed by their performances against China, adding he wouldn’t be surprised if Malaysia did not qualify for the Olympics.

“We planned to use the friendly matches to test certain aspects of our game and we have got the desired response,” said Beng Hai.

“We’ll go back to training now and work on those loose ends.”

The national team are preparing for the London Olympics qualifiers on March 10-18 in Dublin, Ireland.

Beng Hai will be taking his charges to Australia on Jan 28 for a series of warmup matches. They will play the Aussies four times and Holland twice before returning on Feb 5.

Malay Mail

UniKL struggle for a win

Defending league champions Unikl Young Guns opened their campaign of the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League with a 2-1 win over Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) at the KL Hockey Stadium this evening.

And at Taman Daya Johor Baru, defending overall champions SSTMI-Thunderbolts registered a 7-1 win over their junior counterparts SSTMI.

Bukit Jalil Sports school too got off to a winning start as they hammered BJSS Juniors 6-0 in a match at the Ministry of Education Stadium in Pantai.

In JB, Thunderbolt opened scoring in the 12th minute via Mohd Afzanizam Zakaria before Muhamad Aminudin Mohd Zain doubled the advantage through a penalty corner in the 30th minute for Thunderbolt to lead 2-0 at half time.

SSTMI reduced the deficit in the 39th minute through Daniel Asyraf Abdul Ghani but that was as far as they could get for Thunderbolt went on a goal scoring spree in the closing 15 minutes.

Mohd Sufi Ismat Md Rohulamin made it 3-1 in the 55th minute and in the next minute Mohd Khairul Shafik Kasim found the net to increase the lead to 4-1. Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Zain made it 5-1 off a penalty corner in the 60th minute.

Goals by Mohd Shafiq Nordin (62nd) and Muhd Shahril Saabah (69th minute) completed the rout.

Despite the win, UniKL were far from impressive as they played well in patches with the forwards squandering several sitters. And they should count themselves luck that the fixtures were changed as they would have paid the price if up against better prepared opponents.

They led 1-0 through a penalty corner converted by Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman in the 6th minute.

UniKL forced another three penalty corners in the first half and two more early in the second half but could not find the target. On the other hand the MBPJ side started gaining confidence and made inroads into their opponents semi-circle in the second half.

It was only in the 53rd minute that UniKL got their second goal via Mohd Haziq Shamsul. But Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam reduced the deficti, converting a penalty corner in the 64th minute.

"We have a problem scoring and need to improve on this in the next 24 hours as we play TBSS tomorrow," said UniKL manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim.

"Despite the performance, it was nonetheless a good start to the campaign as we got the three points. We are not pushing the panic button yet but suffice to say we could have played much better."

BJSS opened scoring in the 11th minute when Muhammad Fitri Ismail converted a penalty corner. Muhd Azrul Hasbullah made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute before Muhammad Redzhwan Jaffar scored in the 33rd minute for a 3-0 halftime lead.

Muhammad Shahiram Zali made it 4-0 in the 40th minute through a penalty corner. And in the 55th minute Redzhwan scored his second of the match and BJSS's fifth for a 5-0 lead.

Redzhwan completed his hattrick by scoring in the 68th minute to give BJSS a comprehensive 6-0 win over the junior counterparts.

Meanwhile in Division Two A, Kedah Juniors and Kedah HA-MSNK played to a 1-1 draw in an early match at the Hijau Kuning Sports Complex in Alor Star. Mohd Shukri Faisol scored in the 16th minute for KHA-MSNK while Arief Daniel Mohd Fadzil netted the equaliser.

Sapura too got off to a winning start as they hammered USM-MSSSPP Juniors 5-0 at the USM Stadium in Penang, while hosts Anderson Juniors lost 2-3 to PHK-MSS Kelantan at the newly laid pitch at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

Politeknik KPT too won 2-1 in their opening match at Alor Star against Nur Insafi.

In Group B, MHS edged MPBP 1-0 at the Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium while MSP-Yayasan Pahang defeated Tunas Pahang 3-2 at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium.

Unofficial MJHL site

MBPJ take UniKL Young Guns to the edge

By Jugjet Singh

LEAGUE champions UniKL Young Guns had a shaky start when they could only edge Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) 2-1 in the Milo-Junior Hockey League curtain raiser yesterday.

Playing at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium, the UniKL goals were delivered by Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman in the sixth minute off their first penalty corner, and Haziq Shamsul in the 53rd minute off a field attempt.

MBPJ got their act together late in the match, and scored their moral booster off their only penalty corner in the 64th minute courtesy of Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam.

But UniKL's challengers Thunderbolt, the defending Overall champions, had a field day when they hammered Tengku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI) 7-1 at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.

Thunderbolt scored through Afzanizam Zakaria (12th), Aminudin Zain (30th, 60th), Sufi Ismat (55th), Khairul Shafik (56th), Shafiq Nordin (62nd) and Shahril Saabah (69th).

The SSTMI consolation goal was scored by Daniel Asyraf in the 39th minute.

UniKL team manager Amir Azhar was surprised on how his team muffed eight penalty corners and at least 10 field attempts after training for the last three months.

"Our penalty corners were a big letdown as we could only score one off the eight we won," said Amir.

Today, the league champions meet last season's Division Two champions Tengku Besar Secondary School (TBSS) of Tampin.

TBSS had a rest day yesterday, and the match could turn into an explosive encounter at the Seremban II pitch today.

Today -- Division One: TBSS v UniKL (Seremban II, 5pm), MBI Anderson  vs  USM-MSSPP (Azlan Shah, 5pm).

Division Two (A): Politeknik KPT v  Kedah HA Jr (Alor Star, 5pm), Nur Insafi v  KHA-MSNK (Sg Petani, 5pm), Anderson Jr  v Sapura (Azlan Shah, 5pm), MSSPP-USM Jr  v  PHNS (USM, 5pm).

Division Two (B): Yayasan Pahang v  Datuk Taha (Kuantan, 4.30pm), KLSS v Olak-PKT (KLHA, 5pm).

Tomorrow -- Division One: Thunderbolt v  SSBJ (Taman Daya I, 5pm), SSTMI v  SSBJ Jr (Taman Daya II, 5pm), TBSS  v MBPJ (Seremban II, 5pm).

Division Two (A): PHK-MSSK  v PHNS (Azaln Shah, 5pm).

Division Two (B): KLSS  v MPBP (KLHA, 5pm), Padang Midin v Datuk Taha (Terengganu, 5pm), Olak-PKT v Malacca HS (Bukit Jalil, 5pm).

New Straits Times


Thunderbolt stroll to win, a struggle for UniKL


Narrow win: Mohamed Safami Mohamed Sayuti (left) of MSS Kelantan trying to stop an Anderson Juniors player during a Division Two match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday, MSS Kelantan won 3-2. — RONNIE CHIN / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending lea­gue champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and de­­fen­­­ding overall champions Thun­der­bolt got their campaigns in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hoc­key League off to a winning start.

While UniKL slogged to beat Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) 2-1 at the KL Hockey Stadium, Thunderbolt zapped their junior counterparts SSTMI 7-1 at Taman Daya in Johor Baru.

Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) also began with a bang, hammering their juniors 6-0, at the Ministry of Education Stadium in Jalan Pantai here.

UniKL, who played well in patches and whose forwards were guilty of profligacy, could only take a 1-0 lead in the first half courtesy of a penalty corner conversion by Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman in the sixth minute.

It wasn’t until the 53rd minute that UniKL manag­ed to get a second goal through Mohd Haziq Shamsul. But MBPJ, gaining in confidence, reduced the deficit through a T. Ganeisha penalty corner set piece in the 64th minute.

“We have a problem with scoring goals and we need to improve on this before we play Tunku Besar Sports School tomorrow (today),” said UniKL manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim.

“Still, it was a good start to the campaign as we got all three points. We are not pushing the panic button yet but we could have played much better.”

Thunderbolt, meanwhile, turn­ed the power on in the closing stages – scoring five times in the last 15 minutes – against SSTMI.

Thunderbolt took a 2-0 half-time lead through Mohd Afzani­zam Zakaria (12th minute) and Mohd Aminudin Mohd Zain (30th).

Although SSTMI reduced the deficit in the 39th minute through Daniel Asyraf Abdul Ghani, Thunderbolt stepped up a gear to find the net five times through Mohd Sufi Ismat Md Rohulamin (55th), Mohd Khairul Shafik Kasim (56th), Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Zain (60th), Mohd Shafiq Nordin (62nd) and Muhd Shahril Saabah (69th).

In the other match, Mohd Redzhwan Jaffar bagged a hat-trick in the 33rd, 55th and 68th minutes to lead BJSS to a thumping 6-0 over their juniors.

Mohd Fitri Ismail opened the scoring through a penalty corner set piece in the 11th minute before Mohd Azrul Hasbullah doubled the score in the 22nd minute. Mohd Shahiram Zali added the other goal in the 40th minute.

The Star of Malaysia

UniKL need to get better

KUALA LUMPUR: UniKL will have to start converting their attacking moves into goals.

They started their Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) with a 2-1 win over Petaling Jaya at the Pantai Stadium yesterday.

However, the scoreline certainly did flatter PJ as they were no match for last year’s league winners.

“We should have won by at least six goals. We had all the chances but didn’t convert,” said UniKL manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim.

“We have about 16 new faces this year and several from the Project 2013 and 2017 squad. The four Project 2013 boys joined us this week.

“We need to work on our set pieces as well,” he added.

UniKL play Tengku Besar Secondary School (TBSS) tomorrow, a match Amir is wary about.

“The match is less than 24 hours away and we can’t do much now,” added Amir.

The match was largely played in PJ’s half. UniKL put up some brilliant moves and won countless penalty corners but were unable to put it to good effect.

UniKL’s goals came from their first penalty corner in the sixth minute when Kaatigan Nadarajan found the back of the net and Muhd Haziq Samsul scored in the 53rd minute. PI struck through Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam in the 63rd minute.

Malay Mail

Hockey Writers' Club unveil Players of the Year

GB hopefuls Pearn and Danson take the honours

Mark Pearn collects his Award from FIH President Leandro Negre. (Photo: Hockey Writers' Club / Peter Savage.)

MARK PEARN, the 34-year-old Great Britain, England and East Grinstead striker and ALEX DANSON, the 26-year-old Great Britain, England and Reading forward have been named UK Players of the Year for 2011 following the annual poll conducted amongst British members of the Hockey Writers’ Club.  Both are currently in the GB Olympic training squads and are no strangers to honours and barring injury look certain to take their places in the GB squads in the London Olympics. There was a record attendance to hear Leandro Negre, President of the FIH, and Richard Leman, President of Great Britain Hockey, make some stimulating speeches before the presentations.

Alex Danson comes under pressure from Sophie Polkamp of the Netherlands at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championships.

Alex Danson, the former Trojans and Slough player who joined Reading two years ago on returning from a season playing for Laren in the Dutch League has had a highly successful club and international season which was  iced at the end of December with her selection, with her club colleague, Helen Richardson, for the FIH World Squad.  The youngest player to be capped for England when she played against Germany in a 1-1 draw in Cologne on 23 October 2001 at the tender age of 16, she has now amassed 162 combined Great Britain and England international caps at the end of 2011 including the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Mark Pearn's international career started way back in 1995 when he pulled on an England shirt at the age of 18 in Berlin against the Netherlands. It included selection for the Sydney and Athens Olympics and has been rekindled by his recall to the international arena with England and Great Britain during 2011 after a gap of seven years at the age of 34. The call came after a series of fine performances as player/coach of East Grinstead where he moved seven seasons ago after a highly successful career with Reading and a season in Barcelona playing for the Polo Club. Mark had previously won the Award for 2000.

Mark received the traditional Rose Bowl and his cheque at a presentational Lunch at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, in Knightsbridge, London from FIH President Leandro Negre, who flew in from Barcelona for the occasion. Unfortunately, Alex was unable to attend the presentation as she was on international duty with Great Britain in Argentina. In her absence, her award was accepted by her parents, Trisha and David.  On learning of her award Alex commented, “It’s been quite a surreal day and I feel so honoured.  I feel so exceptionally lucky to play the sport I love in the environment I do.  The central programme for me is quite simply the best job in the world. “

Barry Middleton (East Grinstead) and Helen Richardson (Reading) the 2010 winners were runners up with James Fair (Cannock) with  Beth Storry (Reading) in third place.

Plaques and cheques were also presented to Jo Leigh (Clifton HC) and Joe Sharp (Belper HC & Ecclesbourne School) as winners of the Higgins Group UK Youth Hockey Awards.  Martha Baker (Beeston HC & Bramcote Hills School) and James Albery (Old Loughtonians HC) won the newly introduced Higgins Junior awards.

As well as the player Awards, the Hockey Writers' Club Luncheon featured thoughtful speeches from Great Britain Hockey President Richard Leman, FIH President Leandro Negre and FIH Chief Executive Officer Kelly Fairweather. Former Great Britain goalkeeper David Luckes MBE - a key player in the original team behind London's successful bid to host the 2012 Games - was another keynote speaker at the event, announcing the teams that will take part in the London 2012 test event which takes place in May. For more information about this story, please click here.
The awards were hosted by legendary British television commentator and long time Hockey Writers' Club member Barry Davies MBE.

Hockey Writers Club media release