News for 21 January 2012

All the news for Saturday 21 January 2012


SA hockey men edged by India in seven-goal spectacular

JONATHAN COOK


The South African men’s hockey team were edged out by the odd goal in seven as India won the fourth Test 4-3 in Delhi Friday to clinch the five-match series 3-1 with Sunday’s Test match still to play.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallists trailed 1-0 at half-time thanks to a strike by Justin Reid-Ross of Northern Blues in the 14th minute. India came hard at SA after the changeover and scored a remarkable four goals inside 13 minutes to clinch victory.

Western Province’s Ian Haley contributed to the goalmouth mayhem; his 54th minute strike making it an incredible five goals in 13 minutes.

KZN Coastal Raiders captain Lloyd Madsen, the eighth of nine members of the Madsen family to play hockey for South Africa, scored the men in green and gold’s third goal six minutes from the end.

Meanwhile, the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team will be looking to take a 2-1 lead in the five-Test Investec International Series when they tackle Spain at 2 pm at the Randburg Astro Saturday.

The first Test was drawn 1-1; the second went to Spain 3-2 with South Africa winning the third Test 3-1 on Thursday night. The fifth and final Test is at 2 pm at Randburg Sunday.

SA VS INDIA IN BRIEF

India 4 (Yuvraj Walmiki 44, 53, V.R. Raghunath 50, S.K. Uthappa 56) South Africa 3 (Justin Reid-Ross 14, Ian Haley 54, Lloyd Madsen 64)

H-t: 0-1

India lead five-match series 3-1.

SA Hockey Association media release



South Africa Test Series: Series won; hearts yet to be

K Arumugam


With a spirited second half display, India doused the threatening African fire in time to emerge winners of the fourth test narrowly 4-3 today at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium in New Delhi.

With three wins in four matches India thus clinched the series 3-1 even as a match remains to be played day after tomorrow.

Only the other day the visiting team's coach stated that their first task in the series is to prevent conceding goals in the first 10, 15 minutes.

His boys today exceeded the quota set by the coach. They saw to it India did not score in the entire first half, and then on a break away move stole a goal too.

In the first 10 minutes, its India all the way. They wove cobwebs and were in the circle quite often. What let them down was the finish, again Yuvraj Walmiki being the culprit in that spell.

However, the lad from Bombay, playing his second match after a brief lay off due to injury, who often failed in trapping the ball in the first came, returned to form in the second half, scoring a brace of goals from close range (44th and 53rd mins).

India was on the back foot for long spells after hard working Justin Reid-Ross put his side in the 14th minute. Then came the opportunistic goal from Walmik, which pepped up the Indian attack.

VR Raghunath neatly converted team's penalty corner six minutes later, which changed the course of the match. This is the turning point.

In fact, after Raghunath's feat, goals reined in.

Four goals in the space of 7 minutes (between 50th and 56th)is more than what was expected when the ball was set in motion in a mist evening. Out of these only a lone goal from Ian Haley belonged to the visitors.

Debutant in the series SK Uthappa, despite playing briefly, managed to enter his name on the score board, in the 56th minute. This is his second goal in three matches

Six minutes from the hooter, captain Austin Smith tapped in a aerial ball to the right of goalie Bharat Chetri to make a match of it. At that time when the score read 4-3, the fate of the match hung in balance.

Indians however were alert, and kept up the attacking spree to ward off the Africans, to keep the score line unaffected.

The series has been portrayed as the exercise to prepare team for the forthcoming Olympic Qualifier. This is what the Indian coach is taking pains to make a point. If that is the case, the end scoreline withstanding, things do not go the desired way.

Indian defence buckles quite often, the ordinary way Indian miss the opportunities it created, and the poor penalty corner drills, do not evoke any confidence in the team.

However, Michael Nobbs stands to the ground.

"It is because of first half, we could invest in the second half", he said. He articulated that the team tired the Africans in the first half, which helped India to make use of subsequently.

On the other hand, the losing teams' coach Gregg Clark lamented the fact that his team conceded four goals in one half.

If result is the yardstick this is a good one; if performance is the yardstick then it is way below.

India may have won the Series, but the team yet to go a long way to win our hearts.

Stick2Hockey.com



Walmiki does it for India

Y. B. Sarangi


MATCH-WINNER: Yuvraj Walmiki was India's hero as his brace ensured a fine series victory against South Africa. Photo: S. Subramanium


Yuvraj Walmiki scored a brace as India rallied to beat South Africa 4-3 in the fourth hockey Test match at the National Stadium here on Friday.

Down by a goal in the first half, the host scored through Walmiki (44th, 53rd minutes), V.R. Raghunath (50th) and S.K. Uthappa (56th) to seal the five-match series with a 3-1 lead after the penultimate engagement.

South Africa gave a tough fight with goals from Justin Reid Ross (14th), Ian Haley (56th) and Llyod Madsen (64th).

The touring side was the more aggressive of the two in the first half and opened its account through Reid Ross's reverse flick. However, it could not beat Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chetri in the two penalty corners that came its way prior to the break.

India's performance upfront was not up to the mark. The home team, nevertheless, was successful in slowing the game down and tiring the opponent out.

Fightback

India staged a fightback when Sarvanjit Singh dribbled into the circle and Walmiki slotted in a cross from the right to level the scores nine minutes after resumption. This triggered a spate of goals and suddenly the home side had the visitor on the mat.

South Africa conceded two penalty corners through defensive errors. Raghunath sounded the board and Walmiki, who was error-prone on the flanks, struck again from a resurrected ball to make the most of the opportunity.

Haley pulled one back from a fast Lloyd Norris-Jones ball from the left. But Uthappa shot home from a goalmouth scramble to make it 4-2 in favour of India.

Madsen converted a short corner six minutes before the hooter. However, South Africa failed to get a draw.

More practice needed

Chetri and Ignace Tirkey made some good attempts even as the Indian backline looked shaky throughout the contest. India's chief coach Michael Nobbs said more practice would improve India's defensive performance.

Nobbs backed Walmiki despite the mistakes committed by the youngster. “He is a consistent scorer and he is coming back from an injury,” said Nobbs.

The result: India 4 (Yuvraj Walmiki 2, V.R. Raghunath, S.K. Uthappa) bt South Africa 3 (Justin Reid-Ross, Ian Haley, Lloyd Madsen).

The Hindu



India fight back to claim Test series against South Africa

Biswajyoti Brahma


NEW DELHI: South Africa drew first blood, but India had the last laugh. The hosts came from a goal behind to down South Africa 4-3 in the fourth hockey 'Test' and win the series 3-1 with a match to go at the National Stadium on Friday.

The hosts played like two different teams in either side of the halves - the first half saw them playing a subdued game which was followed by some real fast action in the second. Michael Nobbs' players were slow off the block, literally allowing South Africans to dictate terms early on. When South Africa went for the breather with a 1-0 lead, the goal coming from Justin Reid Ross in the 14th minute, it seemed all over for the hosts.

But they had other plans. With some smart counter attacks, India made regular inroads into the rival defence and rattled them with three quick goals in a span of nine minutes. Yuvraj Walmiki started the spree with a field goal in the 44th minute. This was followed by VR Raghunath's penalty corner conversion in the 50th minute. Walmiki's second goal of the match, three minutes later, ensured India they had a 3-1 lead.

"In a match, you should wear down your opposition. That's what we did today," said coach Nobbs. "We managed to penetrate into their circle 37 times in the match."

South Africa tried hard to come back into the match and they even managed to score one in the 54th minute through Ian Haley to raise prospects of a possible comeback. SK Uthappa, however, put the hosts in a better position two minutes later with a field goal. Even though, Lloyd Madsen scored South Africa's third goal in the 64th minute, the Indians held on to their lead to emerge victorious.

The series win must have come as a boost for the hosts ahead of the all-important Olympic qualifiers in the Capital next month, but Nobbs knows that there are areas which need improvement - especially trapping, tackling and defence.

The fifth and final match of the series will be played on Sunday at 2.30 pm.

The Times of India



India beat SA, seal series before the real test begins

Navneet Singh


India defeated South Africa 4-3 in the fourth Test on Friday at the National Stadium, to lead the five-match series 3-1. But the score-line in the matches played so far hasn't been convincing enough to warm the hearts of the hockey fans, waiting anxiously to see India qualify for the London lympics.

Almost all the players tested in the series so far have been far from convincing, which has allowed the rivals to come back into the game. It was the same old story on Friday.

Slow start

The hosts looked rusty in the first 35 minutes, though they were able to slot home four goals in the second half despite some erratic play.

Admitting that the players made more mistakes in Friday's match compared with the three previous encounters, coach Michael Nobbs hoped everything would be fixed once he had a smaller group of 22 players to train.

"The basics problem, like trapping and anticipation, would be sorted out in coming days. We didn't have quality time to go through specific drills in the run up to the series," the coach said.

Nobbs promised that laying emphasis on fundamentals wouldn't distract the squad from its main aim of winning the Olympic Qualification tournament in February.

"We are taking one step at a time."

Tomorrow is a rest day. The final of the series will be played on Sunday. It will be the last opportunity for Nobbs to test the strengths of his players and give final shape to his game plan.

Hindustan Times



India pip South Africa 4-3 to clinch Test series

NEW DELHI: Promising youngster Yuvraj Walmiki struck twice as India registered a thrilling 4-3 victory over South Africa in the fourth hockey Test as they clinched the five-match series 3-1 on Saturday.

India scored four second half goals through Yuvraj (44th minute, 53rd), V R Raghunath (50th) and S K Uthappa (56th) after Justin Reid Ross (14th) gave South Africa the lead in the first half at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The tourists, however, did not give up till the last minute and managed to reduce the margin through Ian Haley (54th and Lloyd Madsen (64th).

With this win, India has taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. India had earlier defeated South Africa 4-0 and 2-1 in the first two Tests before the visitors scored a 1-3 victory in the third tie.

The final Test of the series will be played on Sunday after a rest day on Saturday.

Contrary to the result, the South Africans were by far the better side on display in the first half as the Indians found it difficult to breach their strong defence.

South Africa also played fast paced one-touch hockey in the opening period and created more spaces during their attacks.

And as expected the visitors drew the first blood when Reid Ross beautifully found the back of the Indian net with a reverse shot after receiving a cross from the right.

Trailing 0-1, the Indians came out with more purpose in the second period and drew parity when an opportunistic Yuvraj tapped home after he was set up by Sarvanjit Singh's solo run from the right flank.

Pumped by the goal, India went into offensive which resulted in their first penalty corner from which Raghunath scored with a low flick in the 50th minute to make the scoreline 2-1 in favour of the hosts.

Three minutes later, Yuvraj again got into thick of things by scoring his second goal of the match after South African goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse denied Raghunath from India's second short corner.

But South Africa reduced the margin in the next minute when Haley scored from a counter-attack, beautifully guiding Lloyd Norris-Jones' cross from the left into the India net.

To the delight of the sparse crowd present in the stadium, India restored their lead soon when young Uthappa scored from a goal mouth melee to take a 4-2 lead.

But the South Africans seemed in no mood to give up without a fight as Madsen scored with a variation from the visitors' fourth penalty corner just six minutes from the hooter.

The victory margin could have been bigger for India but Uthappa's late strike was disallowed by the on-field umpire.

India coach Michael Nobbs, who gave the captain's armband to senior striker Shivendra Singh today, was happy with the result but rued his wards' innumerable missed chances.

"Consistency is still not there because we are trying around a few things in the series. But once we reduce the squad to 22 players we will work a few specific grey areas. We penetrated the opponent's circle 37-38 times today, but our finishing wasn't that good," Nobbs said after the match.

"Our trapping also wasn't fantastic but it was ok. We were also guilty of not anticipating tackles outside the circle and gave South Africa opportunities to come into our circle," he added.

He also backed Yuvraj, who looked scrappy and out-of-sorts throughout the match but scored two goals.

"If he (Yuvraj) hits two goals being rusty, I am happy. It was just his second match after recovering from the (hip) injury. He is a consistent goal-scorer whenever he plays," Nobbs said.

Agreeing that the team has still lot of work to do ahead of February 18-26 Olympic qualifiers here, Nobbs said the ongoing series against South Africa is just "stepping stone to where the team wants to get to."

He also said that he will continue to experiment with the team in the last match of the series.

"On Sunday also we will continue to try a few things. Danish (Mujtaba) and Rupinder (Pal Singh) will play the next match."

South Africa coach Gregg Clark, meanwhile, was disappointed with the result of the match but was happy with the performance of his wards which has improved steadily.

"We played some really good hockey (in the series), but we shouldn't have been conceding 4 goals in the second half. It was disappointing. We wasted a few chances also," Clark said.

"Our penalty conversion rate throughout the series has been very poor. It is something we need to get back to the drawing board and work hard."

Clark was full of praise for India's spirited fight-back in the second half.

"They (India) created a lot of pressure and played with incredible speed in the second half."

The Times of India



Anticipation and tackling our main problems, says Nobbs

NEW DELHI: Indian hockey coach Michael Nobbs was concerned with anticipation and tackling as his boys came from a goal down to beat South Africa 4-3 in the fourth Test and took an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match Test series at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Friday.

Having conceded a goal in the first half, India churned out a good display in the second half, scoring twice through youngster Yuvraj Walmiki while VR Raghunath and SK Uthappa scored goal apiece. Justin Reid Ross, Ian Haley and Lloyd Madsen were on target for South Africa.

"We did a good job today. We had a total of 37 penetrations in the match...That's a good number," said Nobbs.

Asked if his team played poorly in the first half, the Australian said: "Yes, we did not do that well but we created chances in their area."

While the performance of Walmiki and Uthappa will give Nobbs something to cheer about, concerns remain in the team's defence. Walmiki, who returned from a hip injury, was rusty initially but showed good reflexes inside the area.

"Anticipation and tackling are our main problems. We are not doing it properly in the middle and it is allowing the rivals to penetrate in our area. We have to improve," he said.

Nobbs said he is yet to decide the final squad for the Olympic qualifiers slated at the same venue from February 18-26. "In the last match on Sunday, I will again make some changes," he said.

The Times of India



Good start for England in European Indoor


Katie Long


ENGLAND remain on track to reach the final stages of the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Championship after securing a win and a draw in their first two matches in Slagelse, Denmark, on Friday.

They began with an emphatic 6-1 win over the Slovak Republic, and then battled to a 1-1 draw with Russia. Those results leaves England second in the group and with high hopes of beating leaders Lithuania tomorrow morning and topping the group.

Against the Slovak Republic, England made a promising start with captain Denise Marston-Smith scoring twice from penalty corners – on 7 and 18 minutes – to help England into a 2-0 lead.

Their rivals pulled one back a minute later, but England held firm and after the break added further goals.

England played with patience, and if it wasn’t for some excellent goalkeeping from Zuzana Popelkova they could’ve been further ahead.

However, they didn’t have to wait long before adding to their score.

Sam Quek found the net from open play on 23 minutes, and Katie Long (pictured above) added two more in similar style on 26 and 31 minutes.

Finally, Emma Thomas added a sixth on 34 minutes.

But hopes of another free-scoring game were put on hold as England took on Russia.

England didn’t make the most of the chances they created, and despite dominating could only draw.

England did well to create a number of open play chances as well as nine penalty corners, but failed to find that elusive finishing touch with a mixture of good saves from the Russian Goalkeeper Maria Malakhova and some narrow misses.

At the other end goalkeeper Maddie Hinch did well to prevent Russia from stealing all the points with a couple of crucial saves late in the game.

Afterwards, Head Coach Nick Clark was upbeat about the number of positive goal scoring opportunities created, and the solid, well-organised defence that suffocated the opposition’s scoring chances.

England Hockey Board Media release



Opening win in Slagelse

EUROPEAN INDOOR NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIPS (WOMEN) - SLAGELSE (DENMARK) - 20 -22 JANUARY 2012

SCOTLAND 5  DENMARK  4


Scotland started off their promotion bid with a narrow 5-4 win over hosts Denmark in the opening pool match of the women`s European Indoor Nations Championships in Slagelse.

Scotland were two up at the interval, Kareena Marshall opened following a pass from Leigh Fawcett, then a long pass up the boards by Becky Ward found Susan McGilveray and she slammed a low shot past the goalkeeper.

The Danes pulled one back 15 seconds into the second half, but within a couple of minutes a quick free hit allowed Susan McGilveray to move into the circle, she found Amy Brodie who scored with a low shot.  At the other end Scots goalkeeper Amy Gibson brilliants put a spot effort round the post to  preserve the 3-1 lead.  Nikki Lloyd created the fourth goal, her pass found Morag McLellan whose initial shot was saved by the keeper but the Milne Craig Western player slotted home the rebound.

Denmark pulled another goal back, but soon the Scots were 5-2 ahead when Nikki Kidd`s narrow angle shot hit a post but the former Grove Menzieshill player reacted first to put the ball in the Danish net.  

In the closing minutes the Danish replaced their goalkeeper with a kicking-back and forced Gibson into another fine save.  But in 34 minutes Denmark scored again for 5-3.  In the end game, Brodie was sent to the sin bin, the Danish scored a fourth, but the Scots held their nerve to win the three points.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Hardly a Swiss roll

EUROPEAN INDOOR NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIPS (WOMEN) - SLAGELSE (DENMARK) - 20 -22 JANUARY 2012

SCOTLAND  1  SWITZERLAND 1


The Scots were hardly on a roll in the second game of the day with a 1-1 draw with Switzerland and must now beat France in tomorrow morning`s final pool match to guarantee a spot in the promotion group.

After Susan McGilveray had a first minute effort saved by the Swiss goalkeeper, the remainder of the half was a midfield stalemate with few clear-cut chances available to either side.  But just on the interval the Swiss stole the lead with a penalty corner strike.

The Scots had a great chance to level the score in the opening 30 seconds of the second half but Nikki Kidd`s set piece shot rattled the bar.  Within five minutes the equaliser did come, Becky Ward drove across court from the right, the VWS Dundee Wanderers` player released the ball to Kidd who found the net through the keeper`s legs.  The Scots failed to capitalise with Kareena Marshall getting one of the few chances available, but her effort was saved by the Swiss keeper.

There was a scare at the end when the Swiss were awarded an overtime penalty corner, but fortunately the shot went high and wide of the target.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Ireland 1 - 4 Netherlands

Ireland Men took on the Netherlands in the first of three training matches taking place in Alicante, Spain.

Ireland suffered an early set back when Bakker opened the scoring in the first minute from a field goal but the green machine were unlucky not to equalise in the tenth minute when Conor Harte's penalty corner drag flick came off the post. Bakker for the Dutch made it 2-0 in the twentieth minute with another field goal and it was Verga who made it 3-0 just before half time again from open play.

Ireland played better in the second half, with Blakeney reducing the deficit when he scored Ireland's first goal from a counter attack but Klass Vermeulen made the final score 4-1 for the Netherlands in the 61st minute again from open play.

Ireland will play the Netherlands again on Sunday at 2pm Irish Time

Ireland Starting XI:
John Jackson; Ronan Gormley (c); Conor Harte; Paul Gleghorne; David Ames; Geoff McCabe; Eugene Magee; David Harte (GK); Michael Watt; Mitch Darling; Peter Caruth.

Reserves (all used): Stuart Loughrey; Chris Cargo; Shane O'Donoghue; Gareth Watkins; Peter Blakeney; Jason Lynch

Irish Hockey Association media release



National Field Hockey Teams to compete for spot at London 2012

Men's & Women's Team rosters announced


The Canadian Men’s and Women’s Field Hockey Teams will compete in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Olympic Qualification Tournament in New Delhi, India from February 18th – 26th.  This is the final chance for both Canadian National Teams to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.   

The men’s and women’s round-robin tournaments will run simultaneously.  The teams finishing first and second after round-robin play will compete in the final match –only the winner will earn a berth to the Olympic Games.

Team Canada Men will be in for a tough fight against host and top-ranked India.  The Women are also ready for a battle, entering the tournament ranked fourth out of six.  Regardless, Team Canada is focused and ready to compete.

“We are feeling strong going into this qualifier,” says Women’s National Team Captain Katie Baker.  “On the field, we are competitive and tough.  We know what we can do as a team, and we are ready to compete together.”

“We share the same goal of every team that has been training for the past three years - qualify for the 2012 Olympics,” says Louis Mendonca, Women’s National Head Coach.  “The plan for the next few weeks is to improve the weaknesses that the Pan American Games revealed and to perfect our strengths.” 

“This is our last chance to qualify for the Olympics and our goal is to win,” says Robin D’Abreo, Men’s National Head Coach.  “Our goal is clear but the road to success will not be an easy one – especially as we face India.  We look forward to battling for every point in a fantastic venue in front of some of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans in the world.”

“After our tough loss at the Pan American Games in October, we have been focused on this Qualifier and what we have to do to win,” says Men’s Team Captain Ken Pereira.  “We can’t wait to get on the pitch again.  We are ready to go and get that spot at London 2012!”

The Canadian Men will face India, France, Poland, the U.S. and Italy in their tournament.  For details, visit http://www.fieldhockey.ca/Men2012OQ

The Canadian Women will compete against South Africa, India, Italy, Ukraine and Poland.  For details, visit www.fieldhockey.ca/Women2012OQ.

 

TEAM CANADA WOMEN
HOMETOWN
1 Abigail Raye Kelowna, BC
2 Anna Kozniuk North Vancouver, BC
3 Azelia Liu Scarborough, ON
4 Brienne Stairs Kitchener, ON
5 Danielle Hennig Kelowna, BC
6 Diana Roemer Mill Bay, BC
7 Hannah Haughn North Vancouver, BC
8 Kate Gillis Kingston, ON
9 Kate Thompson Vancouver, BC
10 Katie Baker Argyle Shore, PEI
11 Kaitlyn Williams White Rock, BC
12 Kristine Wishart Hamilton, ON
13 Maddie Secco Victoria, BC
14 Natalie Sourisseau Kelowna, BC
15 Sara McManus Tsawwassen, BC
16 Stephanie Jameson Vancouver, BC
17 Thea Culley Rossland, BC
18 Tyla Flexman Vancouver, BC

STAFF TEAM

Head Coach Louis Mendonca Thornhill, ON
Assistant Coach Paul Bundy Vancouver, BC
Manager Stefanie Sloboda Winnipeg, MB
Video Analyst John DeSouza Toronto, ON
Athletic Therapist Noreen Ortilla Georgetown, ON
Physician Dr. Navin Prasad Vancouver, BC
Video Tech Minder Gill Vancouver, BC
TEAM CANADA MEN
HOMETOWN
1 David Carter Vancouver, BC
2 Adam Froese Abbotsford, BC
3 Jagdish Gill Toronto, ON
4 Matthew Guest Melbourne, Australia
5 Richard Hildreth Vancouver, BC
6 David Jameson Vancouver, BC
7 Antoni Kindler Vancouver, BC
8 Mark Pearson Tsawwassen, BC
9 Ken Pereira Unionville, ON
10 Scott Sandison Mississauga, ON
11 Rob Short Tsawwassen, BC
12 Gabbar Singh Mississauga, ON
13 Iain Smythe Vancouver, BC
14 Hudson Stewart Vancouver, BC
15 Rogier Trip Wassenaar, Zuid-Holland
16 Scott Tupper Vancouver, BC
17 Jesse Watson North Vancouver, BC
18 Philip Wright Vancouver, BC

STAFF TEAM

Head Coach Robin D'Abreo Vancouver, BC
Assistant Coach Anthony Farry Canberra, ACT, Australia
Manager Kinder Gill Vancouver, BC
Physician Navin Prasad Vancouver, BC
Psychologist Bruce Pinel Victoria, BC
Physiotherapist Sean Campbell North Vancouver, BC
Video Giles Wheatley
Video Tech Minder Gill Vancouver, BC

Field Hockey Canada media release



Seven teams for Azlan Shah Cup

By JUGJET SINGH


THE AZLAN Shah Cup will see seven teams, with Olympic hosts Britain the highest ranked, battling it out on the country's first blue pitch on May 24-June 3.

And if Malaysia make the cut via the Qualifier in Dublin on March 10-18, the Azlan Shah Cup will be a fantastic tune-up to the Olympics which will be held in July-August.

Of the Azlan Shah Cup invitees, Britain (ranked fourth), New Zealand (seventh), Pakistan (eighth) and Argentina (ninth) have already qualified for the Olympics, while India (10th), Malaysia (13th) and South Korea (sixth) will be involved in qualifying campaigns.

The Olympics will  be held on a blue pitch, making the Azlan Shah Cup a much sought after tournament this year.

Malaysia, who had just played a five-series friendly with China, have trimmed the squad to 22 players, and will send 21 Down Under to play four friendlies with Australia and two with the Netherlands from Jan 29.

There were no surprises, as the only addition from the Champions Challenge I squad for the friendlies was Kelvinder Singh who replaced Azammi Adabi.

MALAYSIA: S. Kumar Subramaniam, Roslan Jamaluddin, Nabil Fiqri, Amin Rahim, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari, Shahrun Nabil, Madzli Ikmar, Razie Rahim, Marhan Jalil, Sukri Mutalib, Baljit Singh, Hafifihafiz Hanafi, Azlan Misron, Izwan Firdaus, Azreen Rizal, Firhan Ashaari, Kevinder Singh, Fitri Saari , Amir Farid, Izzat Rahim.

New Straits Times

 



UNIKL continue winning ways



UniKL Young guns registered their second consecutive win in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League when they defeated Tunku Besar Secondary School 4-0 at the Seremban 2 Hockey Stadium.

In Ipoh, MBI Anderson came from 1-3 down to hold USM-MSSSPP to a 3-3 draw at the Azlan Shah Stadium

And two Group B matches of Division Two, one in Kuala Lumpur and the other in Kuantan had to be called off due to a downpour.

But the performance of UniKL left much to be desired from a team touted for a double this season. And once again it was their lack of creativity playing against a defensive minded opponent as well as inability to finish off chances they created that let them down.

Fresh from their 2-1 win over Petaling Jaya Municipal Council the previous day, UniKL Young Guns did not let the poor pitch conditions hamper them in their quest for full points.

But it was mistakes by the TBSS defenders that gifted the two opening goals for the visitors.

They went into the lead in the 8th minute through Mohammad Taufik Abdul Hamid and ten minutes later doubled their advantage with Mohd Hafiz Zainol finding the back of the net after the ball had struck umpire Rosdi Pilus and caught the TBSS defence flatfooted.

It was not until the 44th minute that UniKL scored again, this time Fahed Saifullah Shahrom Jamil scoring to make it 3-0 in favour of UniKL. Zulhannan Mazlan got into the act of scoring as he found the target in the 50th minute for a 4-0 lead. But that was all that UniKL could muster.

"We could not get used to the pitch conditions and this put a dent on us scoring from penalty corners. And the forwards need to be sharper in the semi circle. The one week break will give us an opportunity to work on our weakness and despite the not so convincing performances, it was vital to collect maximum points from the opening week," said UniKL team manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim.

In the Division Two Group A match, Sapura notched up their second consecutive win when they defeated Anderson Juniors 5-1 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

Sapura opened scoring in the 2nd minute via Thung Wei Chia who converted a penalty corner. But their joy was shortlived as Anderson hit back with an equaliser two minute later when Abdul Rauf Mohd Nazri scored, also from a penalty corner.

But Sapura went into the lead in the 6th minute as Muhammad Abdul Wafi struck from a penalty corner. Mohd Fadzli Zulkifli made it 3-1, albeit from a penalty corner as well.

Goals from Harmesh Singh (33rd minute) and Mohammad Soffian Kamaruddin (38th minute) gave Sapura a convincing win, propelling them into the top spot of Group A of the Second Division.

Meanwhile in Alor Star, KHA Juniors defeated Politeknik KPT 2-1 while in Sungai Petani, Nur Insafi registered a 3-2 win over KHA-MSNK.

At the USM Stadium in Penang, hosts MSSSPP-USM Juniors defeated the NS Project Team 5-0. The goals were netted by Muhammad Zakwan Mohd Zairozi in the 8th minute and Muhd Muizzuddin Hamdan in the 30th minute for a 2-0 lead in the first half.

In Group B, the match between MSP-Yayasan Pahang and SMK Dato Mohd Taha Gemencheh was called off due to a downpour and will now be rescheduled the the MJHL Technical Committee who will be meeting on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur.

The other Group B match between KL Sports School and Olak-PKT was also called off due to rain.

The match was into its 13th minute when a heavy downpour caused it to be delayed for an hour forcing it to be called off as well.

Unofficial MJHL site



UniKL Young Guns win duel

LEAGUE champions UniKL Young Guns beat Tampin's Tunku Besar Secondary School (TBSS) 4-0 for their second consecutive win in Division One of the Milo-Junior Hockey League at the Seremban II Stadium yesterday.

UniKL had edged Petaling Jaya Municipal Council 2-1 on Thursday.

However the double aspirants still played well below their best yesterday, and it was defensive errors by TBSS defenders which gifted them the first two goals.

UniKL took the lead in the eighth minute off Taufik Hamid and  doubled their advantage 10 minutes when Hafiz Zainol found the back of the net after the ball had struck umpire Rosdi Pilus and caught the TBSS defence flatfooted.

The other goals were scored by Fahed Saifullah (44th) and Zulhannan Mazlan (50th).

"My players could not  adapt to the pitch conditions and could not score during penalty corners, while the forwards still kept muffing sitters.

"The one-week break will give us an opportunity to work on these areas and despite  not scoring convincing wins in our first two matches, the six points would go a long way in our quest for the double," said UniKL team manager Amir Azhar.

In Division Two Group A, Sapura were impressive when they bulldozed Anderson Juniors 5-1 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

Sapura, who made their JHL debut this season, had beaten USM Juniors 5-0 on Thursday.

Two Division Two Group B matches had to be called off yesterday, after torrential rain in Kuala Lumpur forced the KL Sports School-Olak-PKT match to be abandoned after 13 minutes, while the Yayasan Pahang-Datuk Taha match was called off in Pahang for the same reason.

RESULTS -- Division One: TBSS 0 UniKL 4, MBI Anderson  3  USM-MSSPP 3.

Division Two (A): Politeknik KPT  1  Kedah HA Jr 2, Nur Insafi  3  KHA-MSNK 2, Anderson Jr  1  Sapura 5, MSSPP-USM Jr  5  PHNS 0.

Division Two (B): Yayasan Pahang  v Datuk Taha (rained off), KLSS  v  Olak-PKT (rained off).

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

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

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

New Straits Times



UniKL far from convincing despite easy victory


Shortlived joy: Anderson Juniors’ Abdul Rauf Nazri (left) celebrating after scoring against Sapura in a Division Two match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday. – RONNIE CHIN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: League champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) were far from convincing despite chalking up their second straight win in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey Lea­gue.

UniKL defeated Tunku Besar Secondary School 4-0 at the Seremban 2 Hockey Stadium yesterday but the scoreline was not a fair reflection of the match.

UniKL went into battle fresh from the 2-1 win over Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) on Thursday and they basically took advantage of the mistakes by the newly-promoted Tunku Besar side to get their goals through Mohd Taufik Abdul Hamid (8th minute), Mohd Hafiz Zainol (18th), Fahed Saifullah Shahrom Jamil (44th) and Zulhannan Mazlan (50th).

UniKL team manager Amir Azhar blamed the pitch for their unconvincing display.

“The poor pitch condition prevented us from scoring from penalty corner set pieces,” he said.

“Our forwards also need to be sharper in the D. The one-week break (for Chinese New Year) will give us a chance to work on our weaknesses. It was crucial to collect maximum points from the opening week and we have done that.”

The Division Two Group B matches between KLSS and Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak), at the KL Hockey Stadium, and between MSP-Yayasan Pahang and SMK Datuk Taha in Kuantan, were abandoned due to heavy rain.

In a Division Two Group A match, Sapura notched their second consecutive win with a 5-1 thumping of Anderson Juniors at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh to lead the standings.

In Alor Setar, KHA Juniors edged Polimas Kedah 2-1 while Nur Insafi downed KHA-MSN Kedah 3-2 in Sungai Petani.

In another Division Two match, MSS Penang-USM Juniors thrashed the NS Project Team 5-0 at the USM Stadium in Penang.

The Star of Malaysia