News for 09 February 2013

All the news for Saturday 9 February 2013

Ireland fall to Spain in Valencia

Spain 2-0 Ireland (Valencia, Spain)

The Electric Ireland Irish Senior Women's Squad began their preparations for FIH World League 2 later this month with a 2-0 defeat vs Spain in a Friendly International in Valencia, this afternoon. The squad have been away at a training camp in Spain since last Saturday and will return to the same venue for their opening game vs Czech Republic in FIH World League 2 on 25th February 2013

The Green Army squad, playing for the first time under new Irish Coach Darren Smith, included 17 of the 18 Irish players who claimed the Bronze Medal at the FIH Champion Challenge I in Dublin last September and also saw the return of Nicci Daly, Cliodhna Sargent & Shirley McCay who were previously unavailable for the FIH Champions Challenge I tournament.

Smith's charges played some good hockey today but came up a little short today against an experienced Spanish side playing in familiar surroundings. Spain took the lead mid-way through a first half in which Ireland had settled into well. The Green Army defended excellently on numerous occasions in the first half with Old Alexandra's Pamela Smithwick making some vital saves. It wasn't all one way traffic though with Ireland probing for an equaliser throughout and coming closest to scoring after 20 minutes though great combination play between N. Gray, McCarthy & Evans. UCD's Katie Mullan also threatened the Spanish goal late in the first half however the teams headed to the break with the score still at 1-0 to the hosts.

Ireland began the second half brightly but were dealt a body blow within 6 minutes of the restart when Spain doubled their advantage to 2-0. The Green Army continued to fight hard to get a strong foot hold on the game and were unlucky to not pull a goal back through first Mullan and then Watkins later in the game. On this occasion, time ran out for the Green Army and Spain were able to hold on to claim a 2-0 victory.

Speaking after the game, new Ireland Coach Darren Smith said ‘Understandably it was a case of getting used to each other again after a four month break from test matches. We saw some nice passages of play throughout and a number of good opportunities created. Overall I am satisfied with what we have achieved and optimistic for the other two matches in this series'

The two sides will meet again tomorrow at 3pm Irish Time in Valencia before rounding off the series on Monday lunchtime.

Ireland Starting XI: Smithwick, McCarthy, Sargent, Harvey, N Gray, Watkins, Symmons, Smyth, Mullan, Evans, Connery

Irish Hockey Association media release

SEMI-FINAL TIME - Pietie Coetzee gives high praise to strike partners


Dirkie Chamberlain reflects on a near-miss during the epic round-robin match between the Investec South African women's hockey team and Australia at the Investec Challenge in Cape Town Tuesday night. Photo: PLATE PICTURES

One of the all-time greats of the game is seeing exciting developments in the Investec South African women’s hockey team’s strike force and cannot wait to waive the magic wand that is her most potent weapon when her country goes out to do battle with the Australian Hockeyroos in the much-anticipated second semi-final of the Investec Challenge that starts at 5 pm at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Saturday.

Despite not scoring in her last two matches after a magical run of 11 goals in five matches, SA’s world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee is happy with the way her celebrated hockey stick is working and is even more excited at the potential that is being ignited in the young forwards around her.

“Yes, I am happy with my form in the last two games and as far as scoring goals is concerned it’s just a case of every match presenting different opportunities, so scoring or not scoring depends on the situation in that moment,” said the 34-year-old Coetzee.

“But what is really exciting is how the SA strikers are gelling as a force up front. Our aim is to play attacking hockey and the cohesion is paying off in the number of entries [into the strike zone] so it’s just a matter of time before we will start scoring many more goals once our technical skills match up to the plentiful chances we as a unit are creating.

Triple Olympian Coetzee reserved praise for her partners in the strike team and the likes of Dirkie Chamberlain, Bernie Coston and Sulette Damons are on the verge of adding an ever-increasing number of goals to their personal accounts.

Referring to SA’s epic 1-1 draw with the Aussies in the Investec Challenge round-robin tie on Tuesday, Coetzee said it was very, very special.

“It was the most dramatic match I have ever played in and I am confident that Saturday’s semi-final will be another cracker - and we will draw huge energy from our home crowd if the turnout and support at Tuesday’s game is anything to go by.”

In the early semi-final, England tackle The Netherlands at 2.30 pm for a berth in Sunday’s 2 pm title match.

SA Hockey Association media release

SA set to face Australia

Johannesburg - The cards have been drawn for Saturday’s semi-finals of the Investec Challenge following Thursday night’s thrilling action at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town, which saw Australia edge England 3-1 and the Netherlands better the South African women’s hockey team by the same scoreline.

Both matches saw the winners lead 1-0 at half-time and featured constant yet varied bombardment of each goalmouth - and had it not been for superlative saves by the world-class keepers on display the goals wouldn’t have stopped coming.

London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists the Netherlands will meet London 2012 bronze medallists England (playing as Great Britain) in Saturday’s semi-final at 2.30pm and the Hockeyroos of Oz will square up to the girls in green and gold at 5pm.

The difference in both matches came to penalty corner time, from which the Aussies directly scored two, a feat that was repeated by The Netherlands.

While South Africa did score from a penalty corner rebound, it was the direct penalty corner drag-flicks in both attack and defence, which were the trump cards for the four teams.

There was frustration, too, for world record sharpshooter Pietie Coetzee, who went scoreless for the second match in a row despite firing in her shots from all angles in the strike zone.

On another day Coetzee would have scored a hatful, while her team-mates are also creating enough chances of their own to suggest that South Africa’s head coach Giles Bonnet, his trainers and the team are well on the road to Rio 2016, not to mention Hockey World Cup 2014 in The Hague and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

This Netherlands team is very, very good - their ability to more or less keep South Africa’s hungry attackers at bay for long periods is coupled with gold medal quality at scoring goals when it matters.

If the Hockeyroos’ bruising 1-1 draw with South Africa on Tuesday night is the blueprint - a match in which high-class skills were exhibited, the late semi-final between Australia and South Africa is certain to draw crowds in even bigger numbers than Thursday’s great turnout.

Thursday’s 8pm match saw The Netherlands beat South Africa 3-1 with the Oranje’s goals coming from penalty corners by Irene van den Assem and captain Maartje Paumen (2) while South Africa captain Marsha Marescia had her name on the scoresheet.

The early match saw Australia beat England 3-1 with goals from Anna Flanagan and Jody Schulz penalty corners, as well as a field goal from Georgia Nanscawen, while Nic White pulled one back for the English.

Independent Online

Pietie expecting a thrilling encounter

South Africa's world record hockey goalscorer Pietie Coetzee is confident the women's team will give a thrilling performance when they take on the Australian Hockeyroos.Gallo Images

Johannesburg – South Africa's world record hockey goalscorer Pietie Coetzee is confident the women's team will give a thrilling performance when they take on the Australian Hockeyroos on Saturday in Cape Town.

The South African team, who will be playing their second Investec Challenge semi-final, squared 1-all with the Aussies in a tense round-robin tie on Tuesday.

“It was the most dramatic match I have ever played in and I am confident that Saturday’s semi-final will be another cracker,” said Coetzee.

“We will draw huge energy from our home crowd if the turnout and support at Tuesday’s game is anything to go by.”

Despite not scoring in her last two matches after a magical run of 11 goals in five matches, Coetzee was happy with her form and even more excited by the potential in the young forwards around her.

“Yes, I am happy with my form in the last two games and as far as scoring goals is concerned, it’s just a case of every match presenting different opportunities.

“So, scoring or not scoring depends on the situation in that moment, but what is really exciting is how the SA strikers are gelling as a force up front,” said Coetzee.

She praised her partners in the strike team and said the likes of Dirkie Chamberlain, Bernie Coston and Sulette Damons were on the verge of adding an ever-increasing number of goals to their personal accounts.

“Our aim is to play attacking hockey and the cohesion is paying off with the number of entries into the strike zone so it’s just a matter of time before we will start scoring many more goals once our technical skills match up to the plentiful chances we are creating as a unit.”

Independent Online

Paumen breaks Dutch scoring record

Goal machine Maartje moves past Fieke Boekhorst’s landmark

2011 FIH Player of the Year Maartje Paumen has become the all-time top scorer for the Netherlands women, breaking a record which had stood for 27 years.

The penalty corner ace scored her 128th and 129th international goals in the Investec Cup on Thursday evening (7 February 2013), with her team easing to a 3-1 victory over host nation South Africa. The previous record of 128 was set by fellow penalty corner expert Fieke Boekhorst, who played for the Netherlands in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  

It is the latest in a long line of achievements for the 27-year-old Netherlands captain, who over the past eight years has claimed every major title the sport has to offer. As well as Olympic Gold medals from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, Paumen has also been a central figure in the Dutch squads that were victorious at four Champions Trophies (2004, 2005, 2007, 2011), three European Championships (2005, 2009, 2011) and a world cup (2006).

Maartje Paumen holds the record for most goals scored in women’s hockey at the Olympics with 14, 11 of which were scored at the Beijing 2008 Games.

FIH site

Ireland test for players

PERFORMANCE: Veterans, fringe players under the microscope


Malaysian National coach Paul Revington will use the three Test matches against Ireland to gauge the performance of several veterans and young players.

Revington roped these players in soon after his appointment and among those who will come under the microscope will be Amin Rahim, Chua Boon Huat, Jivan Mohan and Ismail Abu.

The first match at the National Hockey Stadium is tomorrow. The second Test will be on Monday and the third on Wednesday.

"The Test series is important for the coaching staff to expose some players and assess their progress as many regulars are not available," said team manager George Koshy.

"We have left out goalkeeper S. Kumar and Faizal (Saari) who are playing in the Hockey India League, while regulars Nabil (Fiqri), Izwan (Firdaus) and Hafifi (Hafifiz) are carrying injuries. Baljit Singh is also on leave after getting married last week."

Malaysia will play in two important tournaments this year -- the World Hockey League semi-finals in Johor Baru and the Asia Cup in Ipoh.

Both tournaments offer tickets to the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands.

THE SQUAD: Amir Farid, Azlan Misron, Chua Boon Huat, Faiz Helmi, Ismail Abu, Jivan Mohan, Kairulnizam Ibrahim (gk), Hazrul Faiz, Sukri Mutalib, Izad Hakimi, Fitri Saari, Shahrun Nabil (capt), Amin Rahim, Azammi Adabi, Ramadan Rosli, Amerullah Aziz, Marhan Jalil, Razie Rahim, Norhizzat Sumantri, Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), Tengku Ahmad Tajudin.

New Straits Times

National trio out to impress Revington


Getting his chance: Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi (in front) finally has a chance to play for Malaysia under national coach Paul Revington

KUALA LUMPUR: Injuries robbed Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi, Mohd Ramadhan and Mohd Amerullah Abdul Aziz of a chance to impress newly-appointed coach Paul Revington in the last two international tournaments.

But fret not.

They will get a chance to prove their worth to Revington when the national hockey team play a three-match Test series against Ireland at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The first Test will be held today, the second on Monday and the third on Wednesday.

The trio missed the trip to the Champions Challenge I in Argentina in November and the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha in December.

Team manager George Koshy said yesterday that the trio had been listed in the team of 21 players for the three Test matches.

The series was planned to give some veterans and youngsters a chance to show their progress since Revington took over last October.

“The Test matches are important for the coaching staff to expose some players and assess their progress. We have also left out goalkeeper S. Kumar and forward Faizal (Saari), who are playing in the Hockey India League,” said Koshy.

The national team will play in two important tournaments this year – the World Hockey League semi-finals in Johor Baru and the Asia Cup in Ipoh. Both tournaments offer tickets to the 2014 World Cup in Holland.

The team will take part in next month’s six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament, which will also be used to select players for the two big assignments.

The Star of Malaysia

Goalkeeper coach in town

Martijn Drijver, the goalkeeping specialist coach arrived yesterday afternoon and had his first session with the keepers this morning. He will be here until the 16th February.

Drijiver was also responsible for coaching the keepers in Holland prior to the Champions Challenge in Argentina last November and also joined the national squad in Argentina.

Meanwhile Chua Boon Huat will have to give the Chinese New Year a miss after he was named in the squad of 21 players that will take on Ireland at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

While Hafifihafiz Hanafi, Izwan Firdaus and Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor were left out due to injuries, Baljit Singh was left out as he is on his honeymoon after tying the knot last weekend.

Keeper S. Kumar and striker Faisal Saari are playing in the Hockey India League hence their omission.

Those left out of the team are M.Jiwa, Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Mohd Syamim Yusof and Mohd Sallehin Ghani.

"The coaches want to give some players who did not feature in Argentina and Doha an opportunity and all players have to be given a chance to prove their worth," said team manager George Koshy.

"We will name 18 players for each match and there is also the two matches against New Zealand before the coach decides on his line up for the Azlan Shah Cup next month."

The Squad for the Irish Test Matches

Amir Farid, Azlan Misron, Chua Boon Huat, Faiz Helmi, Ismail Abu, Jivan Mohan, Kairulnizam Ibrahim (gk), Hazrul Faiz, Sukri Mutalib, Izad Hakimi, Fitri Saari, Shahrun Nabil (capt), Amin Rahim, Azammi Adabi, Ramadan Rosli, Amerullah Aziz, Marhan Jalil, Razie Rahim, Norhizzat Sumantri, Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), Tengku Ahmad Tajudin

Malaysian Hockey blogspot

Ranchi awaits intense action

Intense action is expected in the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) over the weekend as the event reaches its knock-out phase, starting with the semifinals at the Astro-turf Hockey Stadium here on Saturday.

The city has already given its thumbs-up to the event as almost all of Ranchi Rhinos’ quota of six home matches have been played before packed galleries. The semifinals and the final will be no different.

Everyone in the stands will pray for a mouth-watering Ranchi Rhinos-Delhi Waveriders title clash on Sunday. But no one can take Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Jaypee Punjab Warriors, the other two semifinalists, for granted.

Rhinos, holding a 2-1 win-loss record against the team from Uttar Pradesh, is proud of its formidable midfield and will be keen to give its best in the last-four contest.

The likes of Floris Evers, Moritz Fuerste, Austin Smith, Manpreet Singh and Birendra Lakra will again try to control the proceedings and get the better of the Wizards, featuring stars like Teun de Noojier, Luke Doerner and Dutch forward Jeroen Hertzberger.

Exciting battle

The battle between Waveriders and Warriors is expected to be equally exciting. Having lost to Waveriders thrice in a row, Warriors, captained by the inspirational Jamie Dwyer, will try to find chinks in Waveriders’ armour.

Waveriders, which has lost just one of its 12 matches, has been served well by its able leader Sardar Singh and a bunch of fast-moving strikers. The team has scored 37 goals in 12 matches and most of them have come through the effort of its forwards, including Oscar Deecke, Simon Child and Gurvinder Chandi. So far, 13 players have found the mark for the Waveriders and that speaks of the variety in its attack.

Warriors, consisting of several Aussie players, has to curb its inconsistency to come good against Waveriders.

Whatever be the results, Ranchi is all set to experience a high dose of hockey entertainment.

The Hindu

Ranchi braves lathis for hockey

Daksh Panwar

Tucked away in one corner of Morabadi in old Ranchi, the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium seems to be built as an afterthought when compared to its much-grander namesake that stands next door: the Birsa Munda Football Stadium.

This weekend, however, the tiny 5,000-seater hockey arena is set to bask in the limelight, as it has done over the last one month, while the 35,000-capacity football ground will get the leftover. Such has been the craze for the Hockey India League in the Jharkhand capital that all six league matches staged here were sold out.

And while 5,000 may not be the kind of number to declare an event successful, an equal number of fans were turned away empty handed from the ticket counters for the semi-finals and finals to be played on Saturday and Sunday respectively, vouching for the fact that HIL seems to have struck a chord with the hockey loving people here.

"I have been at all five venues and I can say that Ranchi has the best atmosphere for hockey. It's also been the best-attended venue," said Ranchi Rhinos' South African coach Gregg Clark.

The demand for tickets, priced Rs 60 to Rs 2,000, peaked on Thursday as the ticket window opened briefly for the semi-finals and finals. With requests for passes also at an all-time high, the availability of seats was correspondingly lower. Inevitably, it led to chaos and resulted in a lathi-charge.

Later, the organisers announced that a large screen will be erected in the adjacent football stadium to accommodate those who couldn't get tickets. This is a scenario that has seldom been seen outside of cricket in the country, and almost never - at least in recent memory - in hockey.

Assured of a grand finale to what has been a successful first edition of the tournament, Hockey India might allow themselves a pat on the back. However, this move to have both semi-finals and the final in Ranchi was borne out of logistical necessity than foresight. With the semis and the final on back-to-back dates, it was decided during the course of the tournament to have the two-day knockout stage at the same venue. After early reports of the excitement HIL had generated in Ranchi, it was chosen to host both the semis and the final.

Clark says Ranchi also showed that having hockey matches at a smaller venue is a win-win situation: for the game looking for a mass base and the small-town fan who is largely on the periphery when it comes to watching big-time sport in the flesh.

"This way you expand hockey's reach. Moreover, Delhi and Mumbai have very good facilities, but they are barely filled to the capacity. The impact that they create isn't much," he said.

The Rhinos have also taken it upon themselves to create a loyal fan base, with players such as Ashley Jackson and Mortiz Furste reaching out to school children and trying to offer them an alternative to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the local legend.

That may not happen anytime soon, but what surely is happening is that Ranchi is set to become a hub of international hockey in the country. Encouraged by the response, Hockey India plans to host an India-Pakistan Test in May. Cue for more snaking lines, lathi-charges and pandemonium.

Indian Express

Waveriders have an edge over Warriors

By Arnab Lall Seal

RANCHI: The Astroturf Hockey Stadium is all decked up and the preparations are in full swing as the inaugural season of the Hockey India League (HIL) is entering its home stretch.

While the hosts will play the first semifinal against Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Delhi Waveriders will take on Punjab Warriors in the other semifinal encounter on Saturday.

Delhi might have lost their last match against Uttar Pradesh Wizards, but they are still the best team in the tournament after having qualified for the last-four stage with 49 points from 12 matches and Warriors will have to be at their best to get past them.

Delhi have had a fairytale run in the tournament, but it came to an end on Thursday when they were handed their first defeat. But AK Bansal's side is experienced enough not to get bogged down by that defeat and will look to strike back.

With Sardar Singh in the midfield. They have been excellent in converting the penalty corners also, with expert dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh scoring six times from set pieces.

However, their defence has not been as good as their attack and they have let in far too many goals. In most of the matches, Delhi have taken the lead but have allowed the opponent to come back into the game with easy opportunities.

It would be interesting to see whether UP can take advantage of the defensive lapses and take the attack to Delhi.

Dwyer will have to deliver the goods now, after he failed to live up to expectations in the group stage. Another player on whom Warriors will bank on is Malak Singh.

The Times of India

Wizards in the way of charging Rhinos

By Arnab Lall Seal

RANCHI: Before it is decided whether Delhi Waveriders or Punjab Warriors get a chance for a final shot at the HIL title, hosts Ranchi Rhinos will take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the first semifinal on Saturday.

Even though Rhinos - who finished second in the table - have won two of their three league matches against Warriors, it won't be an easy ride for the home team when the two teams meet again in the last-four stage.

A lot has happened after the two teams last met on Jan 26. Wizards come into the match after ending the unbeaten run of Delhi Waveriders on Thursday. In doing so, they catapulted to the third place in standings and also avoided a clash with AK Bansal's boys in the semis.

However, Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans will be aware of the fact that playing Rhinos at their home is not an easy proposition because of the crowd that has been an inspiration for the side coached by Gregg Clarke. Right through the tournament, the stadium has seen capacity crowds and they have stood by their team in times of victory as well as defeat.

Moreover, Rhinos' Birendra Lakra, Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Singh and Kothajit Singh will look to justify their inclusion in the national side for the World Hockey League Round II which will be held in New Delhi from February 18 to 24. They have been outstanding in the tournament so far and have outshone their foreign counterparts in most matches.

Mandeep has been the most impressive of the lot and is the second highest scorer of the tournament, having scored eight goals in 12 matches.

The Times of India

Video referrals for teams in Hockey India League semifinals

RANCHI: The video referral technology will be used for the first time in the inaugural edition of the Hockey India League during the semifinals on Saturday. Both teams will get one referral each and they could use it any time during the game.

The appeal for referral can be made by any player of the team and once the referral is taken it cannot be called off.

On-field umpires will then let the TV umpire decide whether the decision is good or it needs to be changed. If the decision is good, the team will lose their referral.

But if the decision is found wrong, then the on-field umpire will have to change his verdict.

The Times of India

Is the HIL here to stay?

Y. B. Sarangi

After nearly four weeks of action and 30 league matches in Hockey India League (HIL), its impact is hard to miss.

As the inaugural edition of the HIL nears its end, the question in the minds of those following the sport is how is it going to help Indian hockey? Support from sponsors and spectators has been encouraging and competition too has been intense in most matches.

The league stands out in terms of quality, and to the delight of the spectators, the availability of top players and coaches.

International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre is convinced HIL is here to stay.

Negre painted a rosy picture about the league and said the proposed Club World Cup next year would let people know where the HIL stood in terms of quality. “The availability of international stars and revelation of youngsters as good talent has proved to be a great combination. The seriousness of HIL has given hope that not just cricket but hockey too can give you a bright future in sports,” Negre opined.

The FIH chief also claimed a decent following for the league in Europe. “Everybody in Europe is following the HIL. It is not only important for India, but also for the world,” he said.

Nearly 2,400 Twitter followers, including several players and fans from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA, give credence to Negre’s claims.

According to Uttar Pradesh Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans, who will take over as the High Performance Director of Indian hockey next week, HIL provided the up-and-coming domestic players some ‘international experience’. “Here every match is a serious game. The young players have become better in the past few weeks. So imagine what you can expect after four years.”

Thanks to HIL, 17-year-old Mandeep Singh of Ranchi Rhinos impressed everyone as a frontline player (second on the top-scorers list with eight goals) and made it to the Indian team for the Hockey World League.

Several others like Malak Singh, Satbir Singh, Ranjit Singh, Pradeep Mor and Amit Rohidas have excelled in the company of their more accomplished European teammates and made an impression.

Gagan Ajit Singh, a former dashing forward who used to play in the Dutch League, said the experience of playing alongside top foreigner players was invaluable. “Playing with international players gives you confidence,” said Gagan Ajit.

Can the league be compared with some other of its kind is open to debate? “Yes,” insisted former international Jagbir Singh, coach of Punjab Warriors. “It is beyond imagination of any world hockey player and it is good for the progress of Indian hockey. The league has created a golden path for youngsters to look at.

“It will also give the youngster the confidence of carrying a hockey stick. The visibility that hockey has gained is the biggest factor because the game had been striving for space for too long,” said Jagbir.

The Hindu

Know Your Star - Mark Knowles

'Will like to invite Ferguson, Giggs for dinner

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

Australian hockey star Mark Knowles rose to fame when he was named the FIH Young Player of the Year for his exemplary show in 2007. Since then, the defender from Queensland has been an integral part of the Kookaburras squad.

In the country for the inaugural Hockey India League, Knowles is a part of the Punjab Warriors team and reckons there is  a "lot that they would take home". A look at the little-known facts about the 28-year old defender:

Earliest sporting memory: Playing hockey at the age of four and watching my dad play on grass fields in Rockhampton.

Sports played: Hockey, golf, cricket, tennis, football

Most memorable sporting moment:
Winning the Athens Olympic gold medal in 2004

Worst sporting moment: Losing the Olympic semi-final in 2008 Beijing Games and also the loss in the 2006 World Cup final to Germany.

Questions most asked by the public/press: How long will I keep playing hockey, and also am I married to Jamie Dwyer’s sister?

Sporting heroes: Jay Stacy, Michael Jordan, Ryan Giggs

Favourite venues: Major Dyand Chand National Stadium In New Delhi and Rotterdam hockey club in the Netherlands.

Other sport you would pay the most to see: Any Manchester United football game

Biggest regret: None, been very lucky to have played a great sport.

Who would you most like to invite to dinner and why?
Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs, legends of Manchester United.

Person you learnt most from:
My father, he taught me a lot of things from a very young age that have helped me in life. After that, ustralian national coaches Barry Dancer and Ric Charlesworth.

How will you like to be remembered? As a professional, who worked very hard to improve and gave everything I could for any team I have been involved with.

Hobbies: Spending time with family, coffee and the beach

What do you never leave home without? My phone and wallet

A habit you wish to get rid of: Biting fingernails

Favourite actors: Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington

Any superstition? Left shinguard on first, I always carry coins and things from the old stick bag to the new one.

Funniest fan letter/proposal? There were a lot of them during the Olympics.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Living on the beach, hopefully running my own cafe with a happy, healthy family.

One thing that frightens you the most: Heights and snakes

What if not a hockey player? Soccer player for Manchester United

The Asian Age


Do not expect overnight results, says Oltmans

Roelant Oltmans’s team in the Hockey India League may have been a slow starter but Delhi Waveriders has picked up steam gradually and is now in contention for a spot in the final. The Dutch coach is optimistic that the Indian national team will follow a similar path in the four years he will be with the team.

Named high performance manager for Indian hockey, Oltmans admitted on Thursday that it was not going to be an easy job, but that was exactly why he had taken up the challenge in the first place.

Interestingly, he was one of the contenders for the job of the national coach in 2011.

“That would have been a much easier job. I would have had only one team to look after. Now I have to not only look after four teams — the men’s seniors and juniors, and the women’s seniors and juniors — but also travel across the country and the world to do my job.

“Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing by agreeing to the offer, now that I realise what a huge responsibility this is,” he said, laughing.

It was easy to talk to Oltmans even though he was not keen on talking about his new role till the HIL ends. “My job starts the day after HIL ends. I will be here for two weeks, and then I go back to Holland to tie up loose ends and return after a week,” said Oltmans, also the current performance manager for Elite Sports with the Dutch Olympic Committee.

Free hand

Oltmans, who is yet to sit down with the coaches of all the national teams and chalk out plans, said he is not concerned with the fact that he will also be working with Michael Nobbs, who had pipped him to the men’s team job. One of the main reasons for Oltmans being rejected then was his insistence on selecting his own support staff. As HPM, that requirement is done away with, and he will also have a free hand in planning.

Hockey India general secretary Narinder Batra had earlier said the delay in appointment of an HPM was because of the unique requirements of the job — understanding the sport and its management while also accepting the conditions in the sub-continent. Oltmans, having led the Dutch national team to Olympic gold and having worked as Pakistan’s coach in the past, fitted the bill.

“Please, I have only one request. Do not expect overnight results. There is still a big gap between India and the top teams like Australia, Holland and Germany. First we have to get closer to them before thinking of beating them,” he said.

“I am here for four years, and it will take at least this much time to get among the top teams. But if I wasn’t hopeful of doing it, I would not have taken up the offer in the first place.”

The Hindu

Kuala Langat pay heavy price

KUALA Langat have been thrown out of the Junior Hockey League for failing to show up for two matches.

The Selangor side failed to turn up for a rain-postponed tie against Kuala Lumpur Sports School and then against Politeknik KPT.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation competitions committee decided to erase Kuala Langat's previous match results from Division Two, Group B, and referred them to the disciplinary board.

Meanwhile, the Division Two semi-finals between Kelantan and Politeknik and Kuala Lumpur Sports School and Anderson Juniors will be held on Feb 15, while the final will be on Feb 17.

The finalists from Division Two will then move up to the Overall title home-and-away quarter-finals on Feb 22 and waiting for them from Division One are league champions Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School, Petaling Jaya City Council, UniKL Young Guns, Andersons, SSTMI Juniors and Malacca High School.

New Straits Times

MBPJ and UniKL down to meet in semis

KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) have the same mission – to wrest the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League overall title from Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt.

But before they can do that, they will probably have to contend with one another in the semi-finals after being placed in the bottom half of the draw in the knockout stage.

Thunderbolt, aiming for their second straight double, have MBI-Anderson in their half of the draw.

The four teams will know who their quarter-final opponents are on Feb 18.

The other quarter-finalists are SSTMI Juniors and Malacca High School, the fifth and sixth-placed teams from Division One, and the winners of the playoff matches between MSS Kelantan-Politeknik KPT and KLSS- Anderson Juniors.

MBPJ, however, will have to play in the quarter-finals without two of their experienced players – Mohd Asraf Zulzali and Mohd Khairul Shafik, who will have to serve out three-match suspensions for the red cards they received in the preliminary rounds.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) secretary general Johari Abdul Aziz clarified yesterday that all bookings will be carried forward into the knockout stage.

“There is no issue here as the teams were told at the team managers’ meeting that the cards will be carried forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kuala Langat MSD have been thrown out of the junior league after failing to turn up for their last two Division Two Group B matches on Monday and Wednesday against KLSS and Politeknik-KPT respectively.

All their previous results have also been declared null and void.

This has resulted in KLSS and Politeknik-KPT being declared the winners and runners-up of Group B respectively. The Division Two final has been set at Feb 17.

The Star of Malaysia

Wanderers the team to beat at Indoor Gala Day play-offs

Wanderers vs. Inverleith Indoor

Dundee Wanderers are the overwhelming favourites to add European qualification to their National Indoor League Division 1 title success this weekend, especially if Great Britain and Scotland international Vikki Bunce maintains her blistering scoring form.

The twenty-nine year old, who is also Wanderers’ coach, has netted a remarkable 49 goals during the indoor season alone, just under half of her side’s final total of 121 goals scored, and will be looking to get on the score-sheet when Wanderers face Milne Craig Clydesdale Western in the first women’s semi-final.

She has also been ably supported in the goal-scoring department by Rachel Osbourne (16), Sam Sangster (12) and Amy Rowan (10), while in goal Carmin Dow has kept two clean sheets and conceded only seventeen goals; impressive stats for indoor hockey.

Looking forward to the women’s National Indoor League play-offs, Bunce said, “We have had a pretty consistent season and proven to be the best team throughout the season.

“We have to continue that [winning streak] and we should be fine. Any team can win on the day so we have to make sure we go in to the matches with confidence and continue our good play.

“We have had a couple of training sessions in preparation for the day. It is most important we keep doing what we do and hopefully that will be enough on the day.”

However, in knock-out competition upsets can, and do, happen and their city rivals Grove Menzieshill cannot be discounted from making a strong challenge for the European spot.

Discussing her team’s chances, Grove Menzieshill’s Ailsa Wylie said, “I think we have a great chance. Any team can take the points in an event like this, which gives us even more confidence of being able to secure a place in Europe.

Grove M vs MCC Western indoor

“Wanderers have proven they are a strong side so it will be difficult. We, as a team, need to keep a strong mind-set heading into the play-offs in order to win.”

The 2011 champions will play CALA Edinburgh for a place in the European qualification match and will need to be on their toes from the get-go. The Edinburgh side held them to 1-1 draw last time out and could pose the Dundonians problems.

The Indoor Gala Day take place at Bell’s Sports Centre, Perth on Saturday 9 February.

An action packed day of indoor hockey is on offer, including play-off semi-finals and finals between the top four sides in the Men’s and Women’s National Indoor League Division 1 to determine Scotland’s European indoor participants next season, and the U18 Indoor Cup finals

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Tackling from the left safely

By Shiv Jagday

In the light of several horrific facial injuries at the Olympic Games and a further two during the South Africa v Australia pool game in the Investec Challenge, FIH coach, Shiv Jagday has put together a video to help avoid these injuries in future.

Video Tackling From The Left.wmv

Webber Naturals sponsors National Teams

Field Hockey Canada is pleased to announce a new sponsorship from Webber Naturals, who will become the exclusive supplier of natural health products to our National Team athletes.

“We are very excited to be working alongside Field Hockey Canada, to provide health products that will help Canada’s best field hockey players train, recover, and perform at their very best” says Don Bird, Executive Vice President at W.N. Pharmaceuticals. "Canada has a tradition of excellence in field hockey, and we are excited to be working alongside these athletes as they start their new Olympic cycle."

Don, himself a former manager of Canada’s National Team (including the 1990 World Cup in Lahore Pakistan), is also the older brother to two-time field hockey Olympian, Ian Bird.

“As we build towards the Pan American Games in 2015, and the 2016 Olympic Games, both the Men’s and Women’s National Teams will be going through intense, periodized training schedules” says Scott Tupper, Captain of the Men’s National Team. “Partnering with Webber Naturals now means that both of our Canadian squads will have access to the right supplements needed to train and perform at our peak. This is a win-win for all athletes at Field Hockey Canada.”

Webber Naturals are part of a bigger family of natural health products (WN Pharmaceuticals Ltd.), made in Canada at one of North America's largest state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities for health supplements. Their wide range of natural health products can be found in neighbourhood pharmacies, grocery stores and other retailers across Canada.

Field Hockey Canada media release

National Age Group Squads Announced

England National Age Group Squad

England Hockey is pleased to announce the National Age Group Squads for the U16 Boys, U16 Girls and U18 Boys programmes for 2013.

It will be an exciting year for the teams with training camps across Europe, four nations tournaments and the U18 European Championships taking place.

The U18 Girls squad will be finalised following further assessment on 17th February at Bisham Abbey NSC. The original assessment day on 26 January had to be cancelled due to snow.

Click here to view the U16 Girls Squad and programme.

Click here to view the U16 Boys Squad and programme.

Click here to view the U18 Boys Squad and programme.

England Hockey Board Media release

U.S. U19 Junior National Travel Squad Named

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Today, USA Field Hockey announced the names of the athletes selected to the tour with the U.S. Under-19 Junior National Squad in 2013.

The selection process began last summer at the 2012 National Futures Championship and Futures Elite Championship. In total, 102 athletes were selected from both events to attend the Junior National Camp, presented by Longstreth, and held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, July 9-12. At the camp, athletes received daily tactical sessions from some of the top field hockey coaches in the country, followed by test matches in the evening. 

From the Junior National Camp, a select number of athletes were invited to attend a winter training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Cali. Following the winter training camp, eighteen under-17 athletes and eighteen under-19 athletes were selected to represent the U.S. Junior National Squads on an international tour this spring.

The following athletes have been selected to the U.S. Under-19 Junior National Travel Squad: Kristy Bernatchez, Carly Celkos, Anna Dessoye, Casey Dinardo, Annabeth Donovan, Anya Gersoff, Jordyn Hamilton, Ashley Hoffman, Rebecca Holden, Alexa Mackintire, Gabby Major, Eryn McCoy, Emily McCoy, Jess Newak, Alyssa Parker, Moria Putsch, Tara Vittese, Alyssa Chillano.

Megan Anstotz, Shannon Johnson, Alyssa Manley were named replacement athletes.

USFHA media release

Scottish Hockey Statement: Chief Executive

Scottish Hockey notes that Robert Heatly MBE has tendered his resignation as Chief Executive on personal grounds.

Denis Robertson-Sullivan, Chair of the Scottish Hockey Board said, “I am very sorry to see Robert go but fully understand and appreciate why he has made this decision now. It has clearly been a very difficult decision for him.

“I am grateful to Robert for the loyalty and hard work he has demonstrated during his time with Scottish Hockey. I am sure the future will be bright for such a talented individual and I wish him all the best. I am now working with Robert and the staff to facilitate a smooth transition.”

Robert Heatly MBE, Chief Executive, said, “After careful consideration, I have tendered my resignation based purely on personal grounds. The implications of the organisation's impending move to Glasgow have become finely focused for me; I have significant family and domestic commitments that do not afford me the flexibility and time to undertake a considerable daily commute from Edinburgh to Glasgow and back in addition to my duties as Chief Executive. Therefore, I have prioritised my family accordingly.

“Both I and the Board are in full agreement that it is in the best interests of the organisation that I depart prior to the move so that Scottish Hockey can continue with the process of relocation to the new Glasgow facility with minimal disruption.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working within hockey and I hope to maintain my interest and contacts in the sport for many years.”

Robert Heatly MBE has been with Scottish Hockey since June 2011 having previously served with distinction for almost 30 years as an officer in the Royal Marines. During that time, he served in a variety of Military, Civil and Diplomatic appointments, at home and overseas, including USA and South Africa.  He ended his time in the Royal Marines as the Commanding Officer of Royal Marines Reserve Scotland.

Scottish Hockey Union media release