News for 23 January 2012

All the news for Monday 23 January 2012


Draw enough to clinch series for SA hockey women

JONATHAN COOK in Randburg



South Africa's superstar striker Pietie shrugs off Spain's Gloria Comerma and enters the strike zone during the 1-1 draw at Randburg Sunday. Photo: REG CALDECOTT

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team won the five-Test Investec International Series against Spain2-1 after the final international ended 1-1 at Randburg Sunday.

SA trailed 1-0 at half-time in the fifth Test of the Investec International Series after Spanish captain Julia Menendez’s superb goal in the 14th minute but a lightning-enforced delay with 29 minutes left was kind to the girls in green and gold as world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee scored the vital equaliser that denied the Spaniards a series-equalling victory.

SA were intent on winning the match or at least earning a draw which would give them the series 3-1 or 2-1 respectively, while Spain were all out to level the series 2-2 with the first Test drawn. The second Test went 3-2 to Spain, the third 3-1 to SA and the fourth 3-0 to SA.

Play swung to and fro from the outset, Spain still the better team in terms of keeping the ball though the phases and they made the breakthrough when Maria Tost’s thrust up the right channel set up Menendez’s blast into the net (1-0).

SA went in search of the equaliser from the re-start but Coetzee’s rocket shot went into the side-netting. Then 13 minutes from half-time Jade Mayne did well to create something for Lauren Penny but it was a 30-70 chance.

However, Spain’s dynamism down the right continued to trouble SA and centre back Kate Woods made a critical clearance. Carlota Petchame, Spain’s best player was a thorn in SA’s side wherever she popped up with the ball, her enviable close control a lesson to the scores of schoolchildren. Olalla Pineiro was not far behind.

With three to half-time, Illse Davids’ superb reverse-stick pass set up the match’s first penalty corner but Woods’ shot was saved by keeper Isabel Barguno. SA won their second PC on the hooter but a possible equaliser was not to be.

Two minutes after the changeover the talented Olivia Pineiro made ground in close confines but her shot sizzled past the post. After six minutes, play was halted due to thunder and lightning.


The Randburg Astro submerged during the storm.

Almost an hour later play resumed and the crowd erupted when Coetzee equalised (1-1). Play ebbed and flowed with both sides having opportunities, but striker Lauren Penny and captain Marsha Marescia were instrumental in SA finishing the stronger side to seal the 2-1 series victory.

Marescia picked up the Investec Player of the Series Trophy just ahead of Petchame and Woods.

SA have a short break before the Investec Tri-Nations that includes Belgium and Ireland kicks off on Wednesday, continuing until February 6 – all at Randburg

Meanwhile, the SA men’s side let slip a 3-0 half-time lead to draw 3-3 with eight-time Olympic Gold medallists India in the fifth and final Test in Delhi Sunday.

SA scored first-half goals through Ricky West in the 26th minute, Ian Haley (31st) and Miguel da Graca (34th) with India replying after half-time via the sticks of Yuvraj Walmiki (43rd), V. R. Raghunath (49th) and S.K. Uthappa, who equalised four minutes from the final whistle.

India won the series 3-1 with one match drawn

SA Hockey Association media release



SA Hockey Men throw away half-time lead

By Jon Cook


The SA men's hockey team surrendered a 3-0 half-time lead to drew the fifth and final Test match 3-3 with eight-time Olympic Games gold medallists India in Delhi Sunday afternoon.

SA scored first half goals through Ricky West 26th minute, Ian Haley 31st and Miguel Da Graca 34th with India replying after half-time via the sticks of Yuvraj Walmiki 43rd, V. R. Raghunath 49th ans S.K. Uthappa 66th.

India won the series 3-1 with one match drawn

India 3 (Yuvraj Walmiki 43, V. R. Raghunath 49, S.K. Uthappa 66) South
Africa 3 (Ricky West 26, Ian Haley 31, Miguel Da Graca 34)
H-t: 0-3
Match drawn; India win five-match series 3-1.

SA Hockey Association media release



Entertaining 3-3 draw in the last Test

s2h team




The rubber was dead, but not the spirit. Another of good test was played at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium in the capital.

Yet again there was two contrasting sessions of play. The last of the five test matches against South Africa was played in the noon. As fitting finale, a thrilling match was witnessed by a sizeable holiday crowd. There was nothing left for the visitors except to play for honour in the last test,as the serie s has been lost when India won its third match on Friday.

Like India tried in vain yesterday, Africans were on the ball in the first quarter of the match though it did not reflect on the scoreboard.

Ricky West broke the logjam in the 26th minute, five minutes later Ian Haley added one more. Even as Indians were trying to recover the situation, Miguel Da Graca came with another stunner, that is three field goals in just under 9 minutes.

One would not have hoped better lemon time, with three goals against the home side.

Like yesterday, the Indian press was expected. It came in the form of otherwise much-missing Yuvraj Walmiki (43rd minute).

Its Sardar Singh who snatched the ball near the 25-yarline and brought it to the circle before making alert Walmiki to do the rest

Six minutes later, Raghunath could score off team’s another of penalty corners, which Rupinder earlier failed with repeatedly.

At 2-3, the Indians sensed a comeback, and it was there when the series debutant SK Uthappa scored four minutes before the hooter (3-3).

The accompanying picture depict this goal scoring moment.

This goal was set up by Sarwanjit Singh, who could maintain a decent form in the series.

Indians kept on attacking but could not add another, first time in five matches a draw was there on the card.

South African coach Cregg Clark was not happy. He attributed to the cards that his team earned in the crucial phase proved to be their undoing

“Taine Paton getting a green in the 46th minute and then Rick West getting an yellow card suspension in the 63rd minute largely led to the Indians scoring”, he said.

“We expected a fight back from India as we have taken 3-0 need, and one full half session was to be played out. They fought well, and equalized, our aim was to contain such situations and we could not”, he said mater of factly.

The hosts came out strongly yesterday with four goals in the second session and today, scored three goals in the second session.

Indian team now gets a week’s rest and then assemble here on 31st.

Stick2Hockey.com



India fights back for a draw

Y. B. Sarangi



SUCCESSFUL SQUAD: The victorious Indian team members posing with the trophy after Test Series agianst South Africa on Sunday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

India again staged a fightback to hold South Africa to a 3-3 draw in the fifth and final match of the hockey Test series at the National Stadium here on Sunday. The draw helped the host win the series 3-1.

South Africa took a 3-0 lead at half-time through strikes from Ricky West (26th minute), Ian Haley (31st) and Miguel Da Graca (34th). India wiped out the deficit with goals from Yuvraj Walmiki (43rd), V.R. Raghunath (49th) and S.K. Uthappa (66th).

India, fielding Danish Mujtaba, Rupinderpal Singh and Manpreet Singh (who were making a comeback from injuries and fitness-related issues), tried to keep possession and control the pace. The plot, however, went wrong as a slack defence allowed South Africa take the upper hand. The tourist sprung surprises with some quick attacks and scored three within a span of seven minutes.

The ever-active Julian Hykes beat the crowd inside the circle to pass it from right and West completed the formalities. Haley fired in off a defensive lapse to extend the lead, while Da Graca made the most of a Taine Paton cross to expose the Indian backline.

Sreejesh'frank views

Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh, who made some brilliant saves, was frank about his fellow defenders. “Because of their mistakes I was making mistakes in the first half. However, they supported me well in the second half.”

India showed more urgency to bounce back after the break. The first goal came off a S.V. Sunil move from right. Sardar Singh provided the ball to Walmiki and he found the target without any hesitation.

Raghunath converted the side's fourth penalty corner before Uthappa utilised a Sarvanjit Singh cross to eke out a draw.

Positive sign

India's chief coach Michael Nobbs said the fightback was a positive sign ahead of the Olympic qualifier. “We have been coming from behind for the last five months. It is a good team, it will take time to become a great team,” he said.

The Australian said, after having sealed the series, the players should have showed more professionalism instead of being complacent. “They thought the series had been won. I got very angry with them in the half-time and fielded a tighter defence.”

Nobbs said the players needed to work on “simple tactical things” and was confident that these could be fixed up when the main team started to train together.

The result: India 3 (Yuvraj Walmiki 43, V.R. Raghunath 49, S.K. Uthappa 66) drew with South Africa 3 (Ricky West 26, Ian Haley 31, Miguel Da Graca 34).

The Hindu



India fight back to hold South Africa, win series 3-1

Biswajyoti Brahma


NEW DELHI: In the end, a few angry words from the coach did the trick. India bounced back from a 'lost' situation to hold South Africa to a 3-3 draw in the fifth and final hockey Test at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium on Sunday.

The Indians put up an ordinary display early on in the inconsequential match, having come to the tie leading the series 3-1. At the breather, they were down 0-3. But thing changed dramatically afterwards.

"I was a little angry. I told the players to pull up their socks and do more in the field. I could understand that they were a little complacent having already won the series," coach Michael Nobbs said after the match.

The terse words coupled with some tactical changes not only helped India score thrice in the second half, but also denied the visitors any addition to their tally.

A goal attempt by SV Sunil after a fine run on the right flank was stopped by the rival goalkeeper but Sardar Singh grabbed the free ball and passed on to Yuvraj Walmiki who slammed home in the 43rd minute for India's first goal.

VR Raghunath scored through India's fourth penalty corner six minutes later to further reduce the lead before Sarvanjit Singh set it up for SK Uthappa in the 66th minute to complete the tally.

Earlier, South Africa dominated the first half with goals from Ricky West (26th minute), Ian Haley (31st) and Miguel de Grasa (34th). Nobbs said that he was happy to see his players' abilities to salvage the situation from critical positions. "Coming back from that position is a terrific result, a real positive. In the last four-five months, whenever we have trailed, we have often made strong comebacks," he said.

On Sunday, India fielded comeback men Rupinder Pal Singh and Danish Mujtaba, who returned to the side after brief injury layoffs. Both played for a fair amount of time though they looked a bit rusty. Having done a lot of experimentation with the team in the five-match series, Nobbs suggested that his boys would continue playing attacking hockey when they square up during the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.

The Times of India



India pass Nobbs’ test

Navneet Singh


India coach, Michael Nobbs, wore a big smile on Sunday. His boys had played to a game-plan and surprised South Africa in the fifth and final test. Down 0-3, India stuck to their strategy, and it helped them make a dramatic comeback to finish 3-3 at the National Stadium.

With series already clinched, Nobbs utilised the match to test the mental strength of his players.

“We wanted to test the mindset of the players --- whether they'd perform under pressure or wilt. It worked. Conceding three goals in the first half was also part of the bigger plan,” he said.

India's defence was feeble in the first half and even the forward line lacked sting. But the contest got exciting as the home team put more pressure on the rivals to restore parity in the second session.

The experiment over, Nobbs now has the more challenging task of preparing the team for the Olympic qualification tournament, which begins on February 18. “We will continue with the national camp and work on the shortcomings,” he said.

The coach also expressed satisfaction over Yuvraj Walmiki's performance. “It was good,” he said, hinting that Walmiki would figure in his scheme of things in the future. But former skipper Rajpal Singh, who was also making a comeback, has been ruled out of the next phase of the camp and the Olympic qualifying event.

“He (Rajpal) needs to improve a lot. It might take a few more months for him to regain total fitness. We have his replacement in SV Sunil. Hope he does a good job,” the coach observed.

Of the 44 players in the camp, Hockey India (HI) will prune the number to 32 for the next phase, which will commence at the National Stadium from February 1.

Result

India - 3 (Yuvraj Walmiki 43, VR Raghunath 49, SK Uthappa 66)

South Africa - 3 (Ricky West 26, Ian Haley 31, Miguel Da Graca 34)

Hindustan Times



India eke out thrilling draw, pocket hockey series 3-1

NEW DELHI: India made a stunning comeback in the second half to hold South Africa 3-3 in the fifth and final hockey Test on Sunday to clinch the five-match series 3-1.

Trailing 0-3 at the breather, the Indians dished out a spirited fight back in the second half to end the series on an impressive note ahead of next month's Olympic qualifiers.

The hosts had already pocketed the series on Friday after securing a hard-fought 4-3 win in the fourth Test. India had defeated South Africa 4-0 and 2-1 in the first two matches before the visitors registered their lone victory (2-3) in the third game.

Contrary to the result, it were the visitors who were the better side on display in the opening half, and scored three field goals in a span of nine minutes through Ricky West (26th minute), Ian Haley (31st) and Miguel Da Graca (34th).

India, however, regrouped and pumped in goals through Yuvraj Walmiki (43rd), V R Ragunath (49th) and young S K Uthappa (66th) to draw parity.

The Indians started positively and showed some sparks in the opening few minutes before fading out.

It took South Africa 26 minutes to capitalise on India's feeble defensive line when West tapped home after he was set up by Julian Hykes' brilliant stick work from the right flank.

The tourists doubled their lead five minutes later through Haley, who slapped home after pouncing on a loose ball inside the circle.

Just a minute before the break another defensive lapse cost India dearly when Da Graca scored from Lloyd Norris-Jones' cross.

India, however, looked a different side in the second half and put the South African defence under constant pressure by searching for goals.

Their efforts bore fruit when Walimik scored from a close range after receiving a pass from Sardar Singh.

Raghunath then converted a penalty corner in the 43rd minute out of the five India earned to reduce the margin.

Uthappa scored the all-important equaliser just four minutes from the hooter after setting the goal with a great one-two with Sarvanjit Singh, who was given the captain's arm-band today.

India chief coach Micheal Nobbs lauded his wards for the series win but said it will take some more time for his side to become a "great team from good team".

"It was a terrific result considering we were trailing 0-3 at the half team. For me it is a positive result. This is a good team but we need some time to become a great team," he said.

"I was very angry at the half time because it seemed we were complacent in the first half. But we put a lot of pressure on South Africa's defence (in the second half)."

With the qualifiers round the corner, Nobbs also issued a veiled threat to unfit and non-performing players and hinted that veteran Rajpal Singh, in all probability, will face the axe from the team for the February 18-26 event.

"We tried a few players today who are coming back from injuries. They were rusty but still they have got little bit more time," he said referring to Danish Mujtaba and Rupinder Pal Singh.

Asked about Rajpal, he said, "He is physically not fit and needs lot of hard work. He has been out of the team for 12 weeks and will take at least 2 months to get back to top shape."

South Africa coach Gregg Clark, meanwhile, was heartbroken with the result.

"I am heartbroken. We were 3-0 up (at half time) and had numerous chances to finish off the game but we couldn't."

The Times of India



Dilip Tirkey set to become India’s defence coach

By Mihir Vasavda


India’s defensive woes were more than visible during their five-Test series against South Africa. And from the selectors’ point of view, there seems to be no solution to this problem.

Despite coach Michael Nobbs trying and testing various combinations in the series which India won 3-1 (the last match, on Sunday, ended in a 3-3 draw), no particular defender managed to impress. What’s more, the existing committed childish errors.

It is learnt that Hockey India has turned to former India skipper Dilip Tirkey and AB Subbaiah, the former goalkeeper, to take over as the defence coaches of the national team. They are likely to take charge when the next camp starts in February. “We have been conceding quite a lot. Against lesser teams, it won’t affect us but top countries will make the most of our deficiencies,” a selector told DNA on Sunday.

Sandeep Singh looked fragile as ever. What’s worse, neither VR Raghunath nor Rupinder Pal Singh managed to impress. Throughout the series, the Indian defence was guilty of conceding soft goals. They managed to keep a clean sheet in just one match. In the other four games, they conceded 10 goals. The team management is worried this might cost India dear during the Olympic qualifiers that begin in New Delhi on February 18.

The appointments of Tirkey and Subbaiah are expected to be formalised later this week. The selectors will also name the 22 probables over the next seven days. The team will then assemble in the Capital on January 31 for the qualifiers.

Stopwatch: India 3 (Yuvraj Walmiki 43, VR Raghunath 49, SK Uthappa 66) drew with South Africa 3 (Ricky West 26, Ian Haley 31, Miguel da Graca 34); India win five-match series 3-1

DNA



Great Britain finish second at Cordoba Four Nations



Crista Cullen - Great Britain

Great Britain’s women have had to settle for second place in the Cordoba Four Nations Tournament as they went down 3-2 to Korea in the final.  Earlier on New Zealand lost their match to Argentina losing 3-2 in extra time to the home side in the play-off for third and fourth place.

Canterbury’s Abi Walker replaced Reading’s Beth Storry to play in the final, whilst Storry’s club teammate Helen Richardson stepped back into the team with Natalie Seymour sitting the game out.

In much the same way as the first game that Great Britain played against Korea earlier in the week, it was an action packed affair with plenty to talk about.  Leicester’s Crista Cullen gave Great Britain the lead after 9 minutes with a powerful drag flick from a penalty corner,  However the advantage did not last long as Korea pulled the scores level through M.H Park just moments later.

Considering the heat and humidity the game was played at a high tempo throughout.  On the 18th minute Great Britain had a chance to go a goal up as they were given a penalty stroke, but Richardson saw her effort saved by the Korean goalkeeper.  With the game flowing, both teams had chances and just before half-time Korea’s Kim scored her first goal of the night to make it 2-1 going into the break.

It took Kim just 10 minutes to add her second giving Korea a two goal advantage and it could have been 4-1 a few minutes later when Korea scored again, but this time their goal was disallowed.  Great Britain pushed hard to pull a goal back and they were rewarded in the 61st minute as Slough’s Ashleigh Ball broke down Korea’s play and scrambled the ball into the goal.  Despite Great Britain pressing hard in the closing minutes Korea held on to their advantage to be crowned Champions.

Speaking after the game, Great Britain’s head coach, Danny Kerry was disappointed with the result but upbeat about his team’s performance, saying “This was a really strong team performance and I feel for the girls because they played so well and gave everything.  Korea took their limited opportunities very well and at this level it is the smallest things that make a difference.”

Great Britain will now travel the five hours from Cordoba to Rosario ready for the FIH 2012 Champions Trophy, which begins next week.

GREAT BRITAIN 2 (1)
Crista Cullen 9 (PC)
Ashleigh Ball 61 (F)

KOREA 3 (2)
M.H Park 11 (F)
Kim 31,45 (F) (F)   

Great Britain Hockey media release



Black Sticks' Olympic hockey hopes on trial

SIMON PLUMB


The 2012 Olympic chances of the Black Sticks will be put to the test in a third-place playoff against South Korea at the Four Nations tournament in Cordoba, Argentina, this morning.

The national women's team, which has enjoyed great improvement under coach Mark Hager over the past 18 months, has done little to encourage its Olympic dream – losing all three Four Nations pool games.

After a 7-3 loss to Argentina and a 7-4 defeat by South Korea, Britain yesterday morning piled further misery on them, with Alex Danson and Kate Walsh pushing the Brits to a 2-0 win.

Most worrying about the Kiwi performances has been a leaky defence which has conceded 16 goals in three games.

But Hager said he was encouraged by the display against the British, who are great form and are so far unbeaten in the Four Nations.

Hager was pleased with the team's defensive effort but felt they lacked accuracy on attack.

"Defensively, we were a lot better today and we looked like the team of old," he said.

Hager will be looking for further improvement when the Black Sticks face South Korea at 9am in the playoff for third. Britain plays hosts and world champions Argentina for the title.

The Black Sticks start their Champions Trophy campaign against Argentina at midday on Sunday in the final major tournament ahead of the London Games.

Stuff



Black Sticks Women lose to Argentina in extra time

More accuracy and discipline needed


Black Sticks Women’s coach Mark Hager is calling on his team to show more accuracy and greater discipline as they head into the Champions Trophy starting on Sunday.

The Black Sticks lost their final match today at the Four Nations tournament in Cordoba, Argentina going down 3-2 in extra time to the home side in the play-off for third and fourth.

While a one-goal loss in extra time is an impressive result against the second best side in the world, Hager has high expectations for the current Kiwi side on the road to the London Olympics.

“Our basic skill level let us down today,” said Hager from a 36 degree day in Argentina.

“We weren’t able to hold the ball in midfield and we showed an inability to defend adequately around the top of the circle.”

The match was all square at half-time with Julia King (Auckland) scoring her first goal for her country. The Kiwis took the lead in the second spell thanks to an Anita Punt (Capital) penalty stroke before the Argentinians equalised with a few minutes to go.

The Black Sticks had a good chance to take the match in the first spell of extra time with Punt crossing a superb ball to captain Kayla Sharland who was unable to put the winner away.

The winning Argentinian goal was a penalty corner in the last minutes of the second spell of extra time.

New Zealand players to stand out included King, Sharland, who led the team superbly, and Amelia Gibson (Canterbury) in goal.

The Black Sticks start their Champions Trophy campaign against the home side Argentina at midday on Sunday 29 January (NZ time).

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

RESULT:
Argentina 3 New Zealand 2 after a golden goal in extra time (2-2 at fulltime)
Half time: 1-1
New Zealand goal scorers: Julia King (field goal) and Anita Punt (penalty stroke).

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks suffer fourth loss in Argentina

The women's Black Sticks have slumped to their fourth successive loss to finish the Four Nations hockey tournament at Cordoba in Argentina with the wooden spoon.

Having lost their three pool matches, the sixth-ranked Black Sticks this morning (NZT) went down to world No 2 Argentina 3-2 after extra time, with the scores having been tied 2-2 at  in the third-fourth playoff.

While the result was an improvement on their opening 7-3 loss to the hosts, and subsequent 6-4 and 2-0 defeats to South Korea and Great Britain, it wasn't enough to satisfy coach Mark Hager who is calling on his team to show more accuracy and improve their discipline as they head into the Champions Trophy.

"Our basic skill level let us down today," said Hager from a 36-degree celcius day in Argentina.

"We weren't able to hold the ball in midfield and we showed an inability to defend adequately around the top of the circle."

The match was all square at at 1-1 at half-time with Auckland's Julia King scoring her first goal for her country. The Kiwis took the lead in the second spell thanks to a penalty stroke from Capital's Anita Punt before the Argentinians equalised with a few minutes to go.

The Black Sticks had a good chance to take the match in the first spell of extra time with Punt crossing a superb ball to captain Kayla Sharland who was unable to put the winner away.

The winning Argentinian goal was a penalty corner in the last minutes of the second spell of extra time.

New Zealand players to stand out included King, Sharland, who led the team well, and Canterbury goalkeeper Amelia Gibson.

The Black Sticks start their Champions Trophy campaign against Argentina on Sunday (NZT) and will need to lift immeasurably if they're to repeat their showing last year, when they claimed bronze.

Stuff



World Champions Argentina lose 1-5 to Korea

Las Leonas play for Bronze in Cordoba


World Champions Argentina have lost their last round rubin match in Cordoba. The hosts were beaten 1-5 by Korea who join Great Britain in the final.

Lee Seon took the early lead for Korea in the 10th minute. Argentina went for the equalizer but it were Korea who doubled the lead thanks to Mi Park who picked up a pass coming from the Argentine defense. Afterwards Korean goalkeeper Moon Young saved brilliantly against Noel Barrionuevo and Kim Da Rae was denied by Argentine goalie Belen Succi.

Korea created more chances in the second half and gained success by Cho Eun’s 3-0 and Mi Park’s 4-0. Two minutes later Barrionuevo got Argentina on the scoreboard. Korea immediately stroke back, Seon Lee scored the 5-1.

Great Britian, who have defeated New Zealand 2-0, play off in the final against Korea, while Argentina face New Zealand in the bronze medal match.

Team Argentina: Belén Succi; Florencia Habif, Silvina D´Elía, Noel Barrionuevo; Macarena Rodríguez, Rosario Luchetti; Luciana Aymar, Josefina Sruoga; Daniela Sruoga, Sofía Maccari, Carla Rebecchi, Jimena Cedrés, Carla Dupuy, Delfina Merino, Rocío Sánchez Moccia, Mariela Scarone.
Coach: Carlos Retegui.

Team Korea: Young Moon; Eun Cho, Hye Han, Seon Lee, Yu Jeon; Sung Gim ©, Young Kim, Ok Kim; DaKim, Mi Park, Jong Kim, Seon Park, Jong Kim, Eun Cheon, Yoojin Hong, Ji Hong.
Coach: Lim Jung Woo.

Umpires: Amy Hassick (USA) / Aleesha Unka (NZL)

Table
1. Great Britain   9 Pts (+6)
2. Korea               6 (+4)
3. Argentina         3 (-2)
4. New Zealand  0 (-8)

Argentinean Confederation press release



Natascha Keller played 400th international match

Germany beat Chile 6-0



Rabo FIH Champions Trophy - Day 1 - Germany v New Zealand (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)

Natascha Keller has played her 400th international match (including 36 indoor matches) when Germany beat Chile 6-0. No other woman in international hockey has ever participated in more international games. The 34 years old striker also scored her 198th goal.

Natascha became the fourth member of the Keller Dynasty to win an Olympic Games medal after the German national team secured Gold at the 2004 Games in Athens. Making her international debut in October 1994 and known as “Taschi”, she was named Player of the Year by the FIH in 1999. Born in Berlin, she plays domestically for Berliner Hockey Club.

The family's list of accolades stretches back to her grandfather Erwin, who won Silver at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Her father Carsten won Gold in 1972 in Munich, her brother Andreas won Silver in 1984 and 1988 before winning Gold in 1992 in Barcelona. Brother Florian won Gold with the men's team in Beijing 2008.

Germany are preparing in Santiago de Chile for the FIH Champions Trophy. The CT squad will be announced by coach Michael Behrmann on Monday. On Tuesday the team will make its way to Rosario.

The German squad in match two: Frank, Müller, Hasselmann, Haase, Mandy, Rinne, Schütze, Otte, Teschke, Hillmann, Plass, Krüger, Wilde, Hahn, Mävers, Keller, Stöckel.

0-1 Tina Schütze (5‘)
0-2 Natascha Keller (13‘)
0-3 Jana Teschke (27‘)
0-4 Katharina Otte (38‘)
0-5 Jana Teschke (53‘)
0-6 Maike Stöckel (61')

PC
CHI 1 (0) / GER 8 (1)

DHB media release




Hockeyroos Blast Past World Number One Team

The Hockeyroos have continued their good form with a convincing victory against the world number one team, the Netherlands. The 4 - 1 victory came off the back of a 2-0 series win against the USA.

The Hockeyroos got off to a flying start in the match with Megan Rivers pouncing on a loose ball and getting it past the keeper. The 4th minute goal through Rivers stunned the Dutch who quickly recovered and replied with a field goal of their own 4 minutes later. In reply, the Hockeyroos continued to press the Dutch defence and their hard work paid off with two quick penalty corner goals in the 13th and 19th minute through striker Claire Messent and penalty corner specialist Jodie Schulz.

The Hockeyroos first half showed significant improvement from their USA tour with greater efficiency in the attacking circle. The Hockeyroos had 7 shots on goal from 13 circle penetrations whilst the Dutch were equally as efficient managing 5 shots on goal for only 6 circle penetrations.

A 3-1 half time lead against the world’s best team gave the Hockeyroos enormous confidence going into the second half. The Hockeyroos picked up from where they left off and continued to penetrate the Dutch defensive circle. The pressure became too much for the Dutch who conceded a fourth goal in the 53rd minute through striker Jade Close.

Best player honours were evenly spread around the team: Madonna Blyth, Casey Eastham, Kobie McGurk, Jodie Schulz and Jayde Taylor.

Hockeyroos 4 def Netherlands 1 (Half time 3 - 1)

USA and Argentina Tour Goal scorers tally


2 - Megan Rivers
2 - Claire Messent
1 - Kellie White
1 - Georgia Nanscawen
1 - Emily Smith
1 - Jade Close
1 - Jodie Schulz

Next game: Hockeyroos v Netherlands Jan 23rd Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Hockey Australia media release



Ireland 1-2 Netherlands (men)

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

Ireland put in a much better performance against the Dutch today although again they conceded an early goal in the 4th minute when Kemperman scored from open play to make it 1-0.

It was the Dutch who were next on the score sheet once again when Weusthof double his sides lead in the 29th minute capitalising from attacking open play.

Half Time Ireland 0-2 Netherlands

Ireland had the better of the second half and were deservedly rewarded in the 52nd minute when John Jackson hit a high reverse shot from the left hand side of the circle to make it 2-1. The game flowed end to end, providing great entertainment for those watching despite a lack of goals in the second half.

Ireland will play the Netherlands again on Tuesday at 1pm Irish Time

Ireland Starting XI:

John Jackson; Ronan Gormley (c); Paul Gleghorne; Conor Harte; David Harte; Eugene Magee; David Ames; Chris Cargo; Gareth Watkins; Mitch Darling; Geoff McCabe.

Reserves (all used): Stuart Loughrey; David Cole; Andy McConnell; Michael Watt; Peter Caruth; Jason Lynch; Timmy Cockram

Irish Hockey Association media release



Argentina men record big numbers against France

Encounter ends 6-0 in favor of hosts



Lucas Rey and Santiago Montelli both scored for Argentina today (Photo: CAH Press/Matías Correa Arce)

In the third of four test matches in Córdoba, in which Argentina plays Spain twice and France twice, the French proved unable to keep up with with an eager and energetic home team, suffering a heavy 6-0 defeat.

After a resounding win in their first meeting last Wednesday, Argentina won 4-1, and today, their superiority was even clearer, especially taking into account that the six goals came from six different players.

Penalty corner expert Pedro Ibarra put the hosts on the scoreboard as early as the 4th minute, Santiago Montelli followed up with the second for Argentina midway through the first half, and Facundo Callioni piled on another from a short corner variation shortly before halftime. All the while, Argentina dictated play and didn't leave the French with much room to move.

The second half continued much in the same vein, and the home team eventually doubled its advantage, through goals from Lucas Cammareri, Lucas Rey and Matías Paredes.

The final match of the Córdoba test series will be played Sunday night against Spain, at 10pm. All three teams will move on to Rosario next week, where they will play more tests in the World Cup Stadium.

Argentinean Confederation press release



England Women promoted in EuroHockey Indoor Champs



ENGLAND Women secured promotion to the top flight of the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Championship when they beat Switzerland 3-2 in their final match in Slagelse, Denmark, on Sunday.

England had to draw or win to secure their spot in the top division in two year's time, and after being level at 1-1 at the break they achieved their aim with a one-goal victory.

The win was well deserved. England contained Switzerland superbly with some strong defensive work, and Maddie Hinch was voted goalkeeper of the tournament.

“It was a brilliant team performance,” said Head Coach Nick Clark. “They have developed so quickly in such a short period of time and every player has contributed significantly despite the various set-backs such as injuries to Hannah Smith and Abi Harper.”


GOAL! Denise Marston-Smith and Sam Quek celebrate scoring against Switzerland.

England will be joined in the top flight by France, coincidentally the same two teams who achieved promotion from the C Division two years ago.

Switzerland took the lead after just five minutes with Stephanie Walti scoring from open play, but England were level at 1-1 following a 15th minute goal from Katie Long.

Neither side had any penalty corners in the first half in a display of two strong defences, although England had Takara Haines to thank following a goal-line save on 12 minutes.


We're going up: Showing off their medals are, from left, Sam Quek, Denise Marston-Smith and Nicky O'Donnell.

However, Emma Thomas put England into the lead on 22 minutes with a full-length dive after good work from Long.

And two minutes later England put themselves 3-1 ahead with captain Denise Marston-Smith scoring from England’s only penalty corner which she rifled into the roof of the net.

Switzerland’s captain Saskia Muller pulled back a 25th minute goal from a penalty corner, but England’s defence held firm and didn’t conceded further goals despite their rivals having several penalty corner chances.


For Keeps: Maddie Hinch received the Goalkeeper of the Tournament Award from President of the Lithuanian Hockey Federation, Leonardas Caikauskas.

England Hockey Board Media release



Scots finish off the Russians

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

SCOTLAND  4  RUSSIA  2


With the relegation pressure off, Scotland recorded a comfortable 4-2 win over Russia yesterday to finish top of the lower pool in the women`s European Indoor Nations Championships in Denmark.

The game was won in the first half, Becky Ward opened the scoring in seven minutes from a cross by Susan McGilveray.  The second was made by goalkeeper Nikki Cochrane, the 18-year-old Strathallan pupil was making her Scotland debut, her kick out fell to Amy Brodie whose shot was saved but Nikki Lloyd was on hand to slip the ball home.  Scotland went three up when Kareena Marshall played a diagonal ball to Ward who deflected it past the goalkeeper.  Just on the interval Nikki Kidd had the chance to add a fourth but her shot at a penalty corner cannoned off a post to safety.

The second half was a combination of missed chances by Marshall and McLellan along with wasted penalty corners and two goals from the Russians to bring some spice to the contest.  However, the result was sealed four minutes from the end, the ball broke to Marshall from a saved penalty corner, she crossed to McGilveray who turned the keeper and slotted the ball home.

Kidd had the chance to increase the lead with a late penalty corner, but again her effort struck a post - the Mannheimer player succeeded in hitting the goal frame on regular occasions during the tournament.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



One step forward, two steps back

By A. Majid Khan



The tournament also proved that both the Asian nations—Pakistan and South Korea—are far behind than Europe and Australia in international hockey. -Photo by AFP

When Pakistan ended up at the seventh position in the recently concluded eight-nation 33rd Champions Trophy in Auckland, it raised a few questions about that what went wrong with the team that was expected to be among the top four.

Finishing seventh means that Pakistan is out of the 2012 Champions Trophy to be held in Argentina and they will now have to earn qualification at the Challengers Cup tournament.

Although the team management never promised that the team—which is in a process of rebuilding under Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel—would win back the trophy but they were not expected to perform so poorly either. The team coached by Heuvel secured a direct entry in the London 2012 Olympic by winning the Asian Games championship in China in 2010 after constant failures in four previous events. Prior to participating in the 33rd Champions Trophy, Pakistan had also won the tri-nation tournament in Australia by defeating the host—a major event before the London Olympic.

In Auckland, Australia, the 2010 World Cup winners, won a hard-fought battle against 2008 Beijing Olympic silver medalists Spain by a solitary goal for a record fifth successive win and in all lifting the trophy for the12th time. Skipper Jamie Dwyer, the highest goal scorer, was adjudged the best world player of the year for the fifth time.

The tournament also proved that both the Asian nations—Pakistan and South Korea—are far behind than Europe and Australia in international hockey. The Asian Hockey Federation should work out a plan in collaboration with the International Hockey Federation to hold matches against leading countries to give boost to Asian hockey. Otherwise the standard might fall even further.

Coach Heuvel has also come under bitter criticism by a group of ex-Olympians who were against hiring foreign coach. But they fail to understand that it was a team trained by the Dutch coach that recaptured the 2010 Asian Games title after a lapse of 20 years and has helped Pakistan gain a direct entry in London Games. Fairness demands that he should be given due credit. The Pakistan Hockey Federation president, Qasim Zia, himself a former Olympian, should arrange a press conference with the Coach and disclose the real reasons behind Pakistan’s failure at the Champions Trophy in Auckland.

The London 2012 Olympic is barely seven months away and Pakistan’s dismal performance is no bright spot for a team gearing up for the coming 12-nation tournament. But the team management seems hopeful and intends to overcome the shortcomings before the Olympic battle.

Let’s hopes so.

Dawn



Improving Tunku Mahkota mean business

By Jugjet Singh


TUNKU Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) rattled Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) to the bone when both their seniors and juniors both teams won by 5-1 margins in the first weekend of the Milo-Junior Hockey League.

SSTMI, formerly known as Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS), proved that they are steadily improving while their counter-parts in the city have had their backs to the wall for the last three years.

BJSS have the distinction of winning seven consecutive league titles from 2003 to 2009, after which BPSS Thunderbolts and UniKL took over for the last two seasons. They have also won six Overall titles but that too have slipped out of their grasp and went to UniKL in 2010, and Thunderbolts last year.

A coach, who declined to be named, said hockey should be taken out of both the sports schools as clubs and dedicated teachers in schools have started to produce more quality players.

“I see a trend where the best players are now in premier hockey playing schools or with clubs bent on doing development work,” said the coach.

“That is why parents have started to avoid sending their children to BJSS and prefer to have them closer to home in their own states.”   However, longtime BJSS coach S. Prakash disagreed when asked if the school is being shunned by parents, leaving only third-rate players in their charge.

“I totally disagree with talk that parents are reluctant to send their children to play hockey in BJSS and that is why the best in the country are not with us,” said Prakash.

“We have over 50 hockey players in BJSS, but the oldest are only in Form Five while our pre-university boys have been pinched by other clubs who have the money to pay them handsomely. That is why our young players are finding it hard to compete against older boys in clubs and other schools.” 

Prakash has seen better days when his side won consecutive doubles in the JHL, but is now assigned to the BJSS Juniors while Lokman Yahaya coaches the Seniors.

SSTMI are fielding Thunderbolts and Juniors, and basically the sports school, based at the southern tip of Johor, have a better crop of players than the current BJSS bunch.

After the dust had settled in the first weekend, it is evident that Thunderbolts and UniKL will again be the two teams who will be fighting for the League and Overall titles.

Meanwhile, the starting time for matches in Alor Star, Sungai Petani, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Taman Daya (Johor), Seremban and USM has been changed to 4pm due to adverse weather conditions.

New Straits Times



Thunderbolt and UniKL are the frontrunners for title again

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: Only two matches into the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and everything is pointing to another Thunderbolt-Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) joust for the Division One title.

It was the same last year, with the two-horse race going down to the wire before UniKL pipped Thunderbolt to the crown on goal difference.

Both teams have got off to cracking starts again with Thunderbolt having scored 12 goals and conceding two, and UniKL six for and one against.

The organising committee must have seen this coming as they reviewed the fixtures to ensure that the two teams will only meet in the last match of the preliminary round.

But UniKL are aware that the tables could be turned on them this time if they continue to spurn the chances that come their way.

UniKL coach K. Embaraj admitted as much saying: “Our scoring rate is not good and our penalty corner executions are poor as well”.

“That is a concern for us. Thunderbolt lost to us on goal difference last year and that could be decisive again this year.

“We need to be sharper in front of goal ... every goal counts. There won’t be any easy matches this year as even the school teams are well prepared for the challenge.”

Former champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) were tipped by many to be title contenders but they lost ground after the 5-1 loss to Thunderbolt on Saturday.

But they can get back on track if they beat UniKL on Feb 4.

“That is another crucial match for us as BJSS are no pushovers. They will have to beat us to stay in the race,” said Embaraj.

UniKl have enough experience in their side with five players from last year’s team leading the campaign. They are Mohd Nor Aqmal Abdul Ghaffar, Mohd Hafiz Zainol, Mohd Taufik Hamid, Mohd Shafiq Zulzairin and Mohd Hanif Saidin.

Embaraj, knowing that goals could come into the title equation, has decided to get his penalty corner flickers Nor Aqmal and N. Kaatigan as well as his forwards to come in for some extra practice over the next few days.

The Star of Malaysia



Committee won’t entertain requests for postponements

KUALA LUMPUR: The MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) technical committee will no longer entertain requests for the postponement of matches.

The committee have decided that games cannot be called off or rescheduled unless due to matters beyond the teams’ control.

They, however, made one exception, allowing the match between Nur Insafi and PKS-MSS Kelantan, scheduled for Feb 8, to be played on Feb 4 following a written request by Nur Insafi.

The committee reminded the teams that they would not entertain any more requests as they wanted to complete the fixtures by Feb 19.

The panel also fixed new dates for the two matches that were postponed on Friday due to heavy rain.

The Olak KPT versus KL Sports School match will now be played on Wednesday while SMK Datuk Taha and MSP-Yayasan Pahang will meet at the Seremban Two Hockey Stadium on Jan 30.

The committee also decided that matches in Alor Setar, Sungai Petani, Kuala Terengganu, Kuan­tan, Taman Daya in Johor Baru, Seremban and Penang will be played an hour earlier than the usual 5pm slot.

This is due to the adverse weather conditions and the fact that some of these venues do not have floodlights for late matches.

Teams must also be prepared to continue playing their rain-disrupted games at a later time.

This comes in the wake of Saturday’s postponement of the match between MSS Kelantan and Negri Project at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium.

The technical official wanted to continue with the game when the rain subsided an hour later, but the Negri team refused as they had to return to Seremban.

No action has been taken and the committee have yet to set the date for the replay in Kuala Tereng­ganu, which is the Kelantan team’s home ground.

The Star of Malaysia