News for 25 February 2013

All the news for Monday 25 February 2013


Double Delhi delight for hosts India as men confirm title

Ireland progress to WL3 in second place; Oman overcome Fiji

Stephen Findlater



India claimed top sport from World League Round Two with victory over Bangladesh (Photo: Cameraworx)

Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013, men’s day five round-up

India – Bangladesh 5-1 (half-time: 2-1)

India completed a perfect five wins from five to take first place from the men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two, making it a Delhi double for the host nation in the Major Dhyan Chand stadium.

Bangladesh, though, came with the intention of spoiling the party and took a shock lead from the first penalty corner of the game, the lethal Md Mamunur Rahman Chayan shooting home his seventh goal of the tournament. He then took a rocket of a VR Raghunath drag-flick off the line as they made life difficult for the hosts.

But, after plenty of pressure, they got back on terms in the 15th minute from a great Danish Mujtaba effort, guiding in a crash ball from Raghunath from outside the 22. They were piling on the chances at this stage but Md Zahid Hossain was in inspired form throughout the game while Md Imran Hasan desperately swept another effort off the line.

Rupinder Pal Singh’s corner goal made it 2-1 on the stroke of half-time and, in the second half, India found the goals just a little easier to come by despite some superb saves from Hossain.

Akashdeep Singh pushed the lead out to 3-1 with a sweetly timed touch while Malak Singh did likewise in the 58th minute. Player of the match Mujtaba closed out the scoring for the tournament with six minutes left. It meant Bangladesh finished in third but, nonetheless, a super showing for the world number 40 side.

Afterwards, India captain Sardar Singh was named as player of the tournament, receiving R200,000 for his efforts, sponsored by Hero. VR Raghunath shared the top goalscorer prize – and a Hero cheque for R100,000 – with Ireland’s Alan Sothern for his eight goals in the competition.

They both won their respective positional titles with Raghunath named defender of the tournament and Sothern getting the prize for best attacker. David Harte was named the best goalkeeper while Rashel “Jimmy” Mahmud was the top midfield player.

Ireland – China 4-0 (half-time: 2-0)

Shane O’Donoghue’s hat trick of low drag-flicks powered Ireland to victory over China in the men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013, a result which ensures they qualify for the next phase of the competition and a step closer to World Cup 2014 in second place.

They were in control for most of the game, making the early running before Peter Brown – with his second goal of the tournament – got on the end of a smart Stuart Loughrey cross at the back post to get the green machine up and running.

Ireland held possession for long periods thereafter and took the sting out of the game on the half-time hooter when O’Donoghue netted his first goal. His second came in similar fashion, hitting the backboard four minutes after the turnaround and the victory was complete from the same source in the 50th minute. China, meanwhile, will end the tournament in fourth place.

Oman – Fiji 7-3 (half-time: 2-3)

A five-star second half performance from Oman saw them end their men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 campaign on a high, recovering well from a half-time deficit against Fiji. In a thrilling opening four minutes, the Fijians moved 2-1 up as Hector Smith and James Saqacala hit the mark with Samir Haliyas Al Shibli getting the response.

It got even better for them when Leevan Dutta roofed a spectacular individual goal, ensuring they would have their first half-time lead of the campaign. But Ahmed Sabeel Al Balushi’s corner rebound reduced the deficit to the minimum at the interval, 3-2.

And Oman powered forward in the second half. They netted twice within a 100 seconds to turn the tie around, Mahmood Salim Al Hasani and Al Balushi scoring for 4-3. Mohamed Hubais Al Shar scored his fourth goal of the week from the penalty spot and two goals in the final few minutes confirmed their place as fifth place finishers with Fiji in sixth.

FIH site



India & Japan seal tickets to World League Round 3

Rani saves best for last in Russia win; Japan see off Malyasia

Stephen Findlater



India claimed top spot thanks to Rani's goal against Russia (Photo: Cameraworx)

Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013, women’s day five round-up

Russia – India 0-1 (half-time: 0-0)

Rani saved her best for last as she fired home the only goal of India’s win over Russia, a goal that saw her side claim top spot from the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 in Delhi.

It was a thing of beauty, jinking away from two defenders to find daylight in a packed circle and smashing through the otherwise impenetrable defences of Russia goalkeeper Oxana Serezhkina. It came in the 51st minute after India had peppered the Russian goal but found the route through incredibly tough to find.

In the first half, Jaspreet Kaur drew a superb save from a penalty corner won 75 seconds in and the likes of Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Rani and Anupa Barla also saw their shots batted away. Olesya Petrova had to take one off the line, too, amid a melee. In response, Russia sporadically threatened, winning a couple of corners late in the second half to show they still carried an interest in the tie. Rani, though, eventually sealed their nerves 19 minutes from the end and she went close to extending the lead soon after.

Again, Russia had intentions of spoiling the party with Maria Nikitina’s sliding shot skipping by the far post while Yogita Bali did brilliantly to block Ekaterina Shaburova’s shot. But India deservedly held on to move up to 13 points, tied with Japan but took the title by virtue of having won mores games.

And they also landed the major tournament prizes. Rani was the top-scorer with seven to her name while Jaspreet Kaur was the overall best defender and player of the week. Fiji’s Susan Mudunatagi was honoured as goalkeeper of the tournament while Japanese veteran Sachimi Iwao was top midfielder and Malaysia’s Siti Rahmah Othman the best attacker.

Japan – Malaysia 4-0 (half-time: 1-0)

Japan became the first side to progress from the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 group in Delhi to round three as they saw off main rivals Malaysia with a tenacious performance. Despite a dominant first half, they were only 1-0 up at the break as Ayaka Nishimura finished into an open net as the Malaysian defence stopped, expecting a free out to be given.  But the Japanese striker remained alert and player on for a 29th minute lead.

Earlier, they were only denied a first goal from a cracking move by Noor Hasliza Md Ali’s last gasp intervention in the third minute while Farah Ayuni Yahya made a string of fine saves. But their resistence after a couple of defensive injuries was weakened in the second half and Japan broke through again in the 45th minute, Kumi Banda’s swept corner turned in by Aki Mitsuhashi. Akiko Kato scrambled in the next goal soon after and the tie was fully confirmed 15 minutes from the end when Aya Ueda was on the mark.

It was a special way to celebrate the 200th cap for Miyuki Nakagawa as Japan kept alive their hopes of making it to the 2014 World Cup.

Kazakhstan – Fiji 4-0 (half-time: 2-0)

Kazakhstan finished their women’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 campaign with a flourish, claiming their first win as they saw off Fiji 4-0, finishing fifth in the competition. Vera Domashneva was the architect-in-chief, scoring twice while being a constant thorn in the attack. Natalya Gataulina put the Kazakhs 1-0 up inside five minutes from the penalty spot before Domashneva swept in from the right hand side just moments after her side had been reduced to ten players.

The third came in the 48th minute, again from Domashneva before, with Fiji pushing on for their first goal of the tournament, Gulnara Imangaliyeva closed out the tie seven minutes from the end with a cool finish.

FIH site



Valencia all set for World League Round 2

Spanish city ready to host five nation tournament




Less than 24 hours after the completion of the men’s and women’s tournaments in India comes another FIH World League event, with the striking Spanish city of Valencia playing host to the women’s Round 2 competition between Monday 25th February and Sunday 3rd March.  

The five-nation competition features Ireland (FIH World Ranking 14), Spain (15) Italy (17), Belarus (21) and Czech Republic (37).  The two highest finishers in the Round Robin tournament will qualify for Round 3 of the World League where they will join South Africa, Belgium, India and Japan. South Africa and Belgium took the respective first and second places at the World League Round 2 event in Cape Town last month, with India and Japan winning through to Round 3 by claiming the top spots in New Delhi on Sunday. 

Three of the teams taking part in this event competed in the very first Hockey World League tournament way back in August, with Belarus emerging as winners of the Round 1 event ahead of the higher-ranked Italy (2nd) and Czech Republic (4th). The Belarusians will be hoping to continue their fine form by grabbing a top two finish in Valencia to reach Round 3, but they will face some serious competition from the constantly improving Ireland and the always competitive Spain. Ireland, the highest ranked team in the competition, have a strong and experienced squad that will take some stopping, although Spain will be determined to claim a tournament victory in front of their home fans.  Italy and Czech Republic are considered to be outsiders for a top two finish, but with the World League’s habit of producing shock results it would be foolish to write either of these two teams off. 

The squad lists for all of the teams competing in Valencia can be found by clicking here.

The FIH will be providing regular updates of the action on our dedicated Valencia World League tournament website which can be found by clicking here.  You will also be able to keep up to date via Twitter by following @World_League1. Live streaming courtesy of tournament organising committee is also available at the following link: www.fhcv.tv .

FIH site



Unbeaten India advances to Round 3

Indian men march into round 3 of Hero Hockey World League

Y. B. Sarangi



Dharamvir Singh of India scored one of the goals in India’s victory over Bangladesh on Sunday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

India completed its Hero Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2 engagements with a 5-1 victory over Bangladesh at the National Stadium here on Sunday.

India, which remained unbeaten in the event, finished at the top of the table with 15 points from five matches and qualified for the third round of the HWL. Ireland, which ended up at the second spot with 12 points, also advanced to the next stage.

In a keenly-fought first half, Bangladesh gave a sturdy performance and kept the flamboyant Indian strikers, led by right-winger S.V. Sunil, in check.

Bangladesh maintained a scattered field, marked every player well and cleared the ball swiftly to frustrate the Indians. The neighbouring country stunned the Indians by taking an early lead.

Mohammad Mamunur Rahman Chayan hit the target off his team's first penalty corner in the fifth minute.

India laboured a lot before getting the equaliser. V.R. Raghunath's slapshot from about 30 yards was deflected in by Danish Mujtaba in the 15th minute.

The host's desperation to gain control over the proceedings was clear as Bangladesh, ranked 29 slots below the 11th-placed India, continued to protect its citadel with exemplary dedication.

Rupinderpal Singh converted the second short corner through a high flick and helped India take the lemon break with a 2-1 lead.

The grinding pressure from the home side resulted in three penalty corners in the initial phase of the second half.

India widened the lead when Akashdeep Singh put Harbir Singh's cross from the right into the post in the 50th minute.

With the Bangladeshi resistance losing steam, Malak Singh and Danish shot home and set India for its fifth successive win.

Sardar best player

Indian men’s team captain Sardar Singh was adjudged the player of the tournament on Sunday.

Indian drag-flicker V.R. Raghunath and Irish striker Alan Sothern, who scored eight goals each, shared the top goal-scorer’s award. Raghunath also bagged the best defender’s award.

In the women’s event, India’s Jaspreet Kaur was declared the player of the tournament. She also claimed the best defender’s award.

Hockey India and title sponsor Hero gave Sardar and Jaspreet Rs. 3 lakh each as cash award.

The results: Oman 7 (Samir Haliyas Al Shibli 2, 69, Ahmed Sabeel Al Balushi 22, 42, Mahmood Salim Al Hasani 40, Mohd. Hubais Al Shar 48, own goal 68) bt Fiji 3 (Hector Smith 2, James Saqacala 4, Leevan Dutta 14); Ireland 4 (Peter Brown 12, Shane O Donoghue 35+, 39, 50) bt China 0; India 5 (Danish Mujtaba 15, 64, Rupinderpal Singh 32, Akashdeep Singh 50, Malak Singh 58) bt Bangladesh 1 (Mohammad Mamunur Rahman Chayan 5).

Other individual awardees: Men: Player of the tournament: Sardar Singh (Ind); Top goal-scorers: V.R. Raghunath (Ind) and Alan Sothern (Ire); Best defender: Raghunath; Best Goalkeeper: David Harte (Ire); Best forward: Alan Sothern (Ire); Best midfielder: Rashel Mahmud (Ban).

Women: Player of the tournament and Best defender: Jaspreet Kaur (Ind); Top goal-scorer: Ritu Rani (Ind); Best goalkeeper: Susana Mudunatagi (Fiji); Best forward: Siti Rahmah Othman (Mal); Best midfielder: Sachimi Iwao (Jpn).

The Hindu



Winning streak

Indian men, women enter Hockey World League Rd 3

MS Unnikrishnan


Indian hockey, fighting to regain its lost glory, got a boost when the men’s and women’s team qualified for the Hockey World League Round 3 at the National Stadium.

In the Round 2 last-round matches, the Indian men blasted Bangaldesh 5-1 while the women got the better of Russia 1-0. Ireland and Japan became the other teams, in the men’s and women’s section respectively, to make the Round 3 cut.

Indian men will play their Round 3 matches in Holland while the women’s venue was yet to be decided. The Hockey World League, launched by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) last year, is the qualification round for the 2014 World Cup.

The Indian men were given a rude jolt when Md. Rahman Mamunur Chayan cleanly swept home off their first penalty corner in the sixth minute to put Bangladesh ahead.

The hosts then launched a furious assault on the rival goal and was rewarded when V.R.Raghunath deflected in a pass from the top of the circle in the 15th minute. Four minutes before half time, Rupinderpal Singh scooped home off the second penalty corner.

India maintained pressure on resumption, and struck three more goals to sign off on a gallant note, they could convert only one of the six penalty corners they earned.

The Indian girls’ qualification route was cleared by Japan earlier in the day when they blanked Malaysia 4-0.

India had suffered their only defeat at the hands of Japan via ie-breaker shootout, after playing a 2-2 draw during regulation time, on Friday. Today, the tall Russian girls proved to be a tough nut to crack, though India, with their agile stick work, eventually managed to fox the visitors when Rani Ramphal hit high into the goal, after trapping a pass relayed from the top of the box by Soundarya Yendala, in the 17th minute.

Joydeep Kaur of India was adjudged the player of the tournament, which carried a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.

The Tribune



Indian men progress to round 3 with Ireland

By Ritu Sejwal


NEW DELHI: The Indian men's hockey team concluded the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 in style, defeating Bangladesh 5-1 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday.

With this, India topped the points table with 15 points followed by Ireland (12 points), who defeated China 4-0, and Bangladesh (9 points). India and Ireland advanced to Round 3.

Rupinder Pal Singh, Danish Mujtaba (2), Malak Singh and Akashdeep Singh scored for the hosts, while Mamunur Rahman was the lone scorer for Bangladesh.

"I am happy we've advanced to the next round. We played consistently throughout the tournament," coach Michael Nobbs said.

Bangladesh found early success when Mamunur converted a penalty corner in the 4th minute. Indians stepped up the gas and Raghunath's long hit into the 'D' was deflected in by Mujtaba for the equalizer.

India continued to attack in the first half. Just when one thought the half would end 1-1, Rupinder converted a penalty corner in the 32nd minute to put his team ahead.

Bangladesh took a back seat as India continued to dominate. The hosts, though, failed to convert three penalty corners in a span of four minutes.

But Akashdeep Singh soon made up for the misses when he deflected in a smooth pass from captain Sardar Singh to strengthen India's position.

Malak made it 4-1 in the 58th minute before Mujtaba completed the tally by adding the fifth goal in the 63rd minute.

In another match, Oman beat Fiji 7-3.

There were prizes for the leading goalscorers of the tournament, India's Raghunath and Ireland's Alan Sothern and Player of the Tournament, Sardar Singh.

The Times of India



Danish strikes a brace in India's 5-1 win over Bangladesh

NEW DELHI: Danish Mujtaba scored a brace as India came from behind to beat a gritty Bangladesh 5-1 in their final round robin match and qualify for the third round of the Hero Hockey World League at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, on Sunday.

Danish (15th minute, 64th) starred for India with two field goals while Rupinder Pal Singh (32nd), Akashdeep Singh (50th) and Malak Singh (58th) also sounded the board once each for the hosts in their final match of the Hockey World League Round 2.

But it was Bangladesh who surprised the Indians when Md Mamunur Rahman Chayan scored opening goal of the match in the fifth minute.

By virtue of this win, India has topped the men's competition with 15 point from five wins, three points clear of second-placed Ireland, who also progressed to the Hockey World League Round 3, a qualifying tournament for next year's FIH World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands.

But against Bangladesh, the Indians were nowhere near to their best in the opening half as they looked off-colour in all departments of the game.

The 11th ranked Indians came into the match high on confidence with four convincing wins under their belt, but they didn't look dominating as they should have been, at least in the opening 35 minutes.

The Indians struggled with penalty corners as they utilised just one of the seven short corners that came their way.

Vice captain and ace drag-flicker VR Raghunath looked a pale shadow of himself today as he failed to convert a single penalty corner into goal.

Credit should also go to Bangladesh who produced a lion-hearted performance against the mighty Indians.

The Bangla boys put up a stubborn defence in the opening half to frustrate the Indian forwards.

The Indians were in for a rude shock when 40th ranked Bangladesh took the lead in the fifth minute through Chayan, who converted their only penalty corner of the match.

Stunned by Bangladesh's early strike, India went into offensive mode with repeated attacks, only to find opposition goalkeeper Md Zahid Hossain standing in between them and goal.

The Indians, however, drew parity in the 15th minute when Danish scored with the faintest of deflection from Raghunath's feed down the middle.

Rupinder then surged India ahead three minutes from the break when he converted India's second penalty corner.

The second half saw a completely different Indian side as they looked more coordinated and orgainsed which eventually reflected in the final outcome of the game.

Young Akashdeep tripled India's lead in the 50th minute when he neatly deflected in Harbir Singh's cross from the left flank.

The Indians did not give an inch to the Bangladeshis after the change of ends as the visitors' defence was caught napping by India's relentless attacks in the second half.

Malak made it 4-0 in favour of India by deflecting home Gurjinder Singh's cross from the right before Danish scored his second goal of the day just six minutes from the hooter after he was set up captain Sardar Singh's brilliant work down the left flank.

For his tireless work, inspirational Sardar Singh was adjudged player-of-the-tournament, while Raghunath was emerged as the joint highest scorer of the event along with Allen Sothern of Ireland.

Sadar was awarded with Rs one lakh by Hockey India for winning the player-of-the-tournament award.

India chief coach Michael Nobbs said he was happy with the performance of the youngsters and was also impressed with the consistency of the team since the Champions Trophy.

"In this tournament our first aim was to try and improve as a team and qualify for the next round, which we have achieved. Youngsters like Malak Singh and Mandeep Singh have played really well and we have to keep trying out young players to build a larger pool," he said.

Meanwhile, in earlier matches of the men's competition today, Oman defeated Fiji 7-3, while Ireland outclassed China 4-0.

The Times of India



Ireland power past China at World League

Shane O'Donoghue's hat trick of low drag-flicks powered Ireland to victory over China in the World League Round Two 2013, a result which should ensure they qualify for the next phase of the competition and move them a step closer to World Cup 2014.

They were in control for most of the game, making the early running before Peter Brown - with his second goal of the tournament - got on the end of a smart Stuart Loughrey cross at the back post to get the green machine up and running.

Ireland held possession for long periods thereafter and took the sting out of the game on the half-time hooter when O'Donoghue netted his first goal. He was on primary flicking duties in the absence of Conor Harte, one of the official nominees for player of the tournament, who missed out on the game through injury.

But his presence was scarcely missed as O'Donoghue's second came in similar fashion, hitting the backboard four minutes after the turnaround and the victory was complete from the same source in the 50th minute. There were plenty of decent chances in between while China were kept under wraps for the majority of the tie, only creating real chances in the closing quarter when the game was up.

Speaking afterwards about the tournament, coach Andrew Meredith was delighted with how his side performed in the wake of a tough build-up to the tournament. Training sessions were snowed off while a number of players were unavailable but the side overcame the odds to come close to claiming the tournament outright. "Just one goal separated us from the side that finished first; who knows what might have happened if we were more effective from our corners?" he said afterwards.

Meredith continued "But it's remarkable in the context that we probably only had six days preparations for this competition against teams that are training full-time together. It's a huge disadvantage as is coming from the European winter. To produce what we did and to finish like that is something I am really proud of from the guys."

Reflecting on the game itself, Meredith said it was the best performance of the five games this week "It was a pressure game and one we had to win. To go out with that sort of mentality and discipline and be so effective was really pleasing."

Captain Ronan Gormley, meanwhile, said there is more to come from the green machine: "It's nice to finish off with a dominant performance, keeping a clean sheet in a must-win match.

The Skipper continued "There were areas of our performance this week which were not good enough and, if we got them right, we could have won the tournament. There are areas that we can improve that will help us beat the very top teams at these tournaments."

Irish Hockey Association CEO, Mike Heskin congratulated the team on their excellent performances in New Delhi "I'm delighted for Andrew Meredith, his staff and of course the players that things have gone so well both on and off the field in India. Everyone in Irish Hockey is extremely proud of this group and their excellent performances. I'd also like to thank the Irish Sports Council, Irish Institute of Sport and Sport Northern Ireland for their continuing support of Irish Hockey as well as the vast Irish Hockey Community that support our teams with great dedication"

Finishing in the top two means Ireland should qualify for round three of the World League where 12 of the 16 entrants will qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

The 16 will be divided into two tournaments with eight heading to the Netherlands and the other eight going to Malaysia. Ireland must wait for the completion of the other round two ties for confirmation and to see which tournament they will be entered into.

WORLD LEAGUE 2, New Delhi, India

Ireland 4
(S O'Donoghue 3, P Brown)
China 0

Ireland Starting XI: D Harte, J Jackson, G McCabe, R Gormley, M Watt, E Magee, M Darling, P Maguire, P Gleghorne, S Loughrey, S O'Donoghue

Irish Hockey Association media release



Indian women top table, enter next round

Uthra Ganesan



Indian team celebrate the solitary goal by Rani (centre), against Russia at the National Hockey stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

It was a scrappy performance from the Indian women in their final game of the round two of Hockey World League against Russia.

India won 1-0 to finish on top of the points table, advancing to the next round.

The game was rendered inconsequential after Malaysia lost its game earlier in the day as India and Japan, the top placed teams in the fray, were assured of a spot in the next round regardless of India’s result. The teams were locked goalless at half time, India failing to breach the Russian defence due to a combination of poor finishing, conceding a lot of turnovers and not learning from past mistakes.

India continued to attack from the left flank but could not get the breakthrough. Even midfield possession, India’s strength so far, was not up to the mark.

Fitness problems

The Indians were also outrun and beaten in fitness, indicating there was still a lot of improvement required. The second half was similar though the Indians were more attacking and managed to earn a couple of penalty corners that were wasted.

The Indian women finally broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through one of their rare attacks from the right, Anupa Barla’s hit into the striking circle deflected on to the board by Rani Rampal.

Russia had its chances, earning three penalty corners and coming close on several other occasions, but was unable to score. Its best chance came in the 33rd minute with Ekaterina Shaburova having only Indian goalkeeper Yogita Bali to beat but hit straight to her.

Japan moves up

Earlier, Japan beat Malaysia 4-0 to become the first team to move into the next round. Kazakhstan defeated Fiji by an identical margin in another game.

The results: India 1 (Rani Rampal) bt Russia 0; Japan 4 (Ayaka Nishimura, Aki Mitsuhashi, Akiko Kato, Aya Ueda) bt Malaysia 0; Kazakhstan 4 (Natalya Gataulina, Vera Domashneva 2, Gulnara Imangaliyeva) bt Fiji 0.

The Hindu



Indian eves pip Russia 1-0 to qualify for round 3

By Saumojyoti S Choudhury


India defeated Russia by a solitary goal in their final round-robin match to top the standings in the women's competition and progress to the third round of Hero Hockey World League at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday.

Rani Rampal scored the all-important winner for India in the 51st minute to emerge as the highest scorer in the round two of the Hockey World League.

Apart from India, Japan also qualified for the third round of the Hero Hockey World League, a qualifying tournament for next year's FIH World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands.

Even though both India and Japan finished on nine points from five games, the hosts topped the standings by virtue of more victories to their credit.

Placed eight places ahead of the Russians in the world rankings, the 12th ranked Indians started the match as favourites and expectedly were the better side on display in the entire 70-minute duration.

The Indians mounted pressure on the Russian goalmouth from the very beginning with repeated attacks but their forwards lacked precision inside the striking circle.

Russians, on the other hand, were more content in playing the waiting game and mostly relied on counter attacks.

The Indians got real good opportunities to surge ahead in the early stages of the match by earning two penalty corners but they wasted both.

The Russians too got two short corners in the opening half but just like their opponents they also did not capitalize on the opportunities as both the teams failed to break the deadlock in the first 35 minutes.

DNA



Indian women advance to next round in World Hockey League

NEW DELHI: The Indian women on Sunday qualified for Round 3 of the World Hockey League after beating Russia 1-0 in Round 2 that concluded at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Japan, who beat Malaysia 4-0, was the other team to go through with both teams at 13 points each.

Eight teams from four Round 2 events (being played in single pool round-robin format) will be participating in Round 3 which will have two pools of four teams each followed by the classification matches.

Rani Rampal (51st minute), who was declared the "player of the match," struck the winner for the hosts. Coach Neil Hawgood said that the aim was to qualify for the next level. "Structurally, we moved the ball well.

In the first half we defended well but were frustrated as the goals were not coming. The girls need to learn how to win tournaments," he said.

Indians dominated the first half but failed to convert any chances. The Indian midfield kept the Russian forwards away. The only time the visitors came close to scoring was in the 21st minute when Ekaterina Shaburova had just Jaspreet Kaur and goalkeeper Yogita to beat.

An alert Jaspreet ticked the ball away. Russia then earned two penalty corners in the concluding minutes of the first half but failed to capitalise.

One expected the hosts to be more aggressive in the second half and India did not disappoint as they continued to breach the circle at regular intervals. A confident Russian defence, though, tasted their patience.

However, a combination of cross passes from the Indians finally opened the gap on the left as Rani's attempt found the net above the goalkeeper. In another match, Kazakhstan beat Fiji 4-0.

The Times of India



Indian women pip Russia 1-0 to qualify for Hockey World League Round 3

NEW DELHI: India defeated Russia by a solitary goal in their final round-robin match to top the standings in the women's competition and progress to the third round of Hero Hockey World League at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Sunday.

Rani Rampal scored the all-important winner for India in the 51st minute to emerge as the highest scorer in the round two of the Hockey World League.

Apart from India, Japan also qualified for the third round of the Hero Hockey World League, a qualifying tournament for next year's FIH World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands.

Even though both India and Japan finished on nine points from five games, the hosts topped the standings by virtue of more victories to their credit.

Placed eight places ahead of the Russians in the world rankings, the 12th ranked Indians started the match as favourites and expectedly were the better side on display in the entire 70-minute duration.

The Indians mounted pressure on the Russian goalmouth from the very beginning with repeated attacks but their forwards lacked precision inside the striking circle.

Russians, on the other hand, were more content in playing the waiting game and mostly relied on counter attacks.

The Indians got real good opportunities to surge ahead in the early stages of the match by earning two penalty corners but they wasted both.

The Russians too got two short corners in the opening half but just like their opponents they also did not capitalize on the opportunities as both the teams failed to break the deadlock in the first 35 minutes.

Just four minutes after the change of ends, India earned their third penalty corner but once again the hosts wasted the chance.

It took an opportunistic Rani to finally break the deadlock when she scored in the 51st minute with a fierce hit from top of the 'D' after latching on to a loose ball.

Russia soon got a chance to draw parity when they earned their third penalty corner but the script was no different for the visitors as they faltered yet again from the set piece.

Ritu got a golden opportunity to score her second goal of the match in the 62 minute from skipper Ritu Rani's feed but the Indian striker's straight hit from top of the circle was easily blocked by Russian goalkeeper Maria Malakhova.

The Indians, however, had to go through some tense moments towards the final stages of the match. The hosts had to thank their goalkeeper Yogita Bali to help them keep a clean slate as she denied the Russians on at least two occasions in the final six minutes of the game.

Although India's chief coach Neil Hawgood was satisfied with his wards' performance in the tournament, he said there is still a lot of work to be done.

"Our goal was to qualify and winning the tournament is a bonus. We get ranking points, which is good for the girls. But we still have a long way to go, the girls need to learn how to win tournaments," the Australian said.

Meanwhile, in earlier matches of the women's competition on Sunday, Kazakhstan defeated Fiji 4-0, while Japan beat third-placed Malaysia by an identical margin.

The Times of India



Japan beat Malaysia to progress to Hockey World League Round 3

NEW DELHI: Japan became the first side to progress from the women's Hockey World League Round 2 to Round 3 as they saw off main rivals Malaysia 4-0 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium Sunday.

Despite a dominant first half, Japan were only 1-0 up at the break as Ayaka Nishimura finished into an open net in the 29th minute.

Earlier, Malaysia were denied their first goal from a cracking move by Noor Hasliza Md. Ali's last gasp intervention in the third minute while Farah Ayuni Yahya made a string of fine saves.

But their resistance after a couple of defensive injuries was weakened in the second half and Japan broke through again in the 45th minute; Kumi Banda's swept corner turned in by Aki Mitsuhashi.

Akiko Kato scrambled in the next goal soon after and the tie was fully confirmed 15 minutes from the end when Aya Ueda was on the mark.

It was a special way to celebrate the 200th cap for Miyuki Nakagawa as Japan kept alive their hopes of making it to the 2014 World Cup.

The Times of India



Malaysian women no match for the mighty Japanese

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women’s hockey team were handed a 4-0 thrashing by favourites Japan in the second round of the World League at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in New Delhi yesterday.

The defeat spells the end of the national team’s quest for a place in the semi-finals of the World League, which will be played in June or July.

Malaysia finished third in the six-team competition with nine points from three wins and two defeats.

Ninth-ranked Japan and hosts India finished in the top two to qualify for the semi-finals.

Japan went on the offensive right from the word go, scoring their goals through Ayaka Nishimura (31st), Aki Mitsuhashi (45th), Akiko Kato (51st) and Aya Ueda (55th).

The national forwards, meanwhile, were a huge letdown as they hardly had an attempt the whole match.

National coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli admitted that Japan were just too good for them.

“They dominated the entire match and we just defended in numbers. I’m disappointed with my forwards as they failed to create any chances,” he said in a telephone interview.

“The strikers couldn’t hold the ball properly either. The first goal should have been disallowed as the ball had hit a Japanese player’s foot before it was scored.

“I’d like to single out goalkeeper Ayuni (Farah Yahya) for praise for making a number of superb saves.

“Although we failed to qualify for the semi-finals, I’m pleased with the team’s overall performance.

“We finished a creditable third by upsetting 20th ranked Russia (3-1). We did well to score 18 goals, while conceding nine.”

Results

KAZAKHSTAN 4 FIJI 0

JAPAN 4 MALAYSIA 0

RUSSIA 0 INDIA 1

The Star of Malaysia



Japan thrash Malaysia

Malaysia’s Noor Hasliza Mohd Ali (left) gets past a Japanese player during their match in the World Hockey League in New Delhi yesterday.

JAPAN trounced Malaysia 4-0 in New Delhi yesterday to qualify for the semi-finals of the women’s World Hockey League.

The Malaysians, ranked World No 22,  never stood a chance against the ninth-ranked Japanese who opened the scoring in the 31st minute, and then slammed in three more goals in the second half.

Malaysia played well in the tournament to beat Russia and Kazakhstan by similar 3-1 margins,  then slammed Fiji 12-0 but lost to India 3-0.

New Straits Times



Oman thrash Fiji 7-3 in Hockey World League

NEW DELHI: Thirtysixth-ranked Oman men's team beat 70th-ranked Fiji 7-3 in a hard fought match on the seventh and last day of the Hockey World League Round 2 on Sunday.

Fiji played an attacking game from the start and kept the Omani defenders busy in the first half.

Fiji opened the account with captain Hector Smith's goal in the seconed minute. Within seconds, Oman captain Samir Haliyas Al Shibli equalised the score at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Fijians fought back as James Saqacala (4th min) and Leevan Dutta (14th min) scored two back-to-back goals to take the lead.

Before half time, Oman's Ahmed Sabeel Al Balushi scored the second goal for his team in the 22nd minute.

Oman came back in the second half strongly and scored thrice through Mahmood Salim Al Hasani (40th), Ahmed Sabeel Al Balushi (42nd) and Mohamed Hubais Al Shar (48th min) to dominate the match.

In the 68th minute, Oman got their sixth goal through an own goal. In the next minute, skipper Samir Haliyas Al Shibli scored again and took the score to 7-3.

Fiji could not come back in the match and lost their last league match. Al Shibli was adjudged player of the match for his two goals and leading the team to victory.

In the first women's match of the day, 33rd-ranked Kazakhstan thrashed 59th-ranked Fiji 4-0 in Round 2.

Kazakhstan skipper Natalya Gataulina opened the account in the fifth minute through a penalty and kept the domination.

The No.10 jersey holder Vera Domashneva scored two goals in both halves in the 10th and 48th minutes.

Gulnara Imangaliyeva scored the fourth goal in 63rd minute and maintained the score-line till the final whistle.

Fijian girls gave some tough time to their opponents but their poor ball possession cost them the match.

Domashneva was adjudged player of the match for her two goals.

The Times of India



Oman denies Fiji first victory

Mereseini Marau In New Delhi, India


THE national men's hockey team played a different style of hockey in their final match of the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 despite losing to Oman 3-7.

They upped their performance from all their previous matches.

Captain Hector Smith Jr opened Fiji's scoring within two minutes into the start from a short corner.

But Oman retaliated and scored their first goal right after.

Two minutes later James Saqacala increased the score with a field goal.

With the next minutes John Ah Tong put in another field goal.

Leading at half-time 3-1, the Hector Smith-coached side looked too good to win the match.

But Oman stopped them from scoring any further.

In the second half, Oman had three field goals, a penalty corner and a penalty stroke and an own goal.

National coach Hector Smith was hoping his team would win the match.

But he was proud of his boys for putting up a good effort.

The Fiji Times



Fiji goes all out

Mereseini Marau In New Delhi, India



Action from the Fiji men's hockey game against Malaysia in India. Picture: MERESEINI MARAU

FIJI's chance of a win against Bangladesh in the Hero World League Round 2 was very high when they were one goal behind 2-3 at half-time.

Jerome Edwards scored the first with a very smart piece of work down the right, lifting the ball in from a narrow angle.

Adrian Smith scored his second of the competition for 3-2 at half-time.

Player of the match Bangladesh's defender Mohammed Mammur Rahman, whose four goals finally dashed Fiji's hope of a win, said the team that play against them was a totally different team.

"We thought that the team was easy to beat, we didn't really play well during the first half," Rahman said

"This team is very strong and different from the team that was playing in the tournament, they were not easy."

In the second half, the Bangladesh side realised that the only way to win against Fiji was to score from penalty corners.

'We needed penalty corners to win," said Rahman.

Rahman's first flick made it 4-2 but, again, Fiji replied this time from Alasace Smith's thumping penalty corner strike.

Rahman had three more drags in the closing 16 minutes to dash Fiji's dream while his teammate Sheikh Nannu spun home in the middle of a late goal-rush.

Adrian Smith got his second in the final minute to cap a lively performance.

National coach Hector Smith Snr said he was expecting a big score from the game.

"We just have to learn to stop giving away penalty corners," he said. Smith said his goalies Eric Niumata and Richard Eyre needed to sharpen their skills.

'I'm proud of the boys that they played their guts out but there are certain things that we need to work on."

Meanwhile, national women's team might have been winless in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 after losing their final match to Kazhakstan 0-4 but they have learnt a lot from their international exposure.

Coach Shaun Corrie said he was happy with the team's performance. He said the team played a much better performance compared to their previous games.

The Fiji Times



Black Sticks strike back with hard fought draw


Photo copyright www.photosport.co.nz

The Black Sticks Women are a much happier side after today’s 1-1 draw against world number two Argentina in their second test in Rosario.

After yesterday’s 4-1 opening loss, the Kiwis played a much tighter defensive game and showed more pressure in attack for longer periods. Stacey Michelsen captained the side and also scored the equaliser late in the first half.

“It was a much improved and more disciplined performance, particularly our penalty corner defence. We still missed some chances that would have won us the game, but hopefully we can really make the most of our opportunities on Wednesday,” said coach Mark Hager.

“We are a young side with a lot of new players. We had a good debrief this morning and there were a lot of learnings. It is pleasing to see that there is definite improvement in the areas that we targeted and that this showed in the score line."

The Argentina team known as Las Leonas, got ahead after Noel Barrionuevo scored a penalty stroke 15 minutes into the first half. Michelsen took a cracking reverse stick shot which the goal keeper initially saved and then Michelsen scored from the rebound.

The coaching staff are pleased with how well the younger players are adapting to the quick pace of the game being played at this level. The last time New Zealand drew against Argentina was in March last year during a home test series in Auckland.

With no game tomorrow, the Black Sticks will have the day off from training and will use video footage to look at what further improvements can be made ahead of the game on Wednesday (1pm NZ time).  With little time to recover from jet lag, the team are also looking forward to a day off the turf.

The stand out players today were Bianca Russell, Cassandra Reid (aged 18 from Canterbury), Krystal Forgesson and Gemma Flynn.

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Leicester sign off in Austria


Leicester Ladies' European indoor campaign came to an end on Sunday morning with the Pukkas going down 2-0 to Ritm-Azot Grodno. Their relegation from the top tier was already known following defeat on Saturday afternoon and two goals from the Belarussians - one early in the first half, one late in the second - rounded off a tough weekend back amongst Europe's best.

The outcome means England's representatives next year, 2013 Maxifuel Super Sixes champions Reading, will play in the second tier of the European indoor competition. Dutch club Den Bosch took the title - the first time that a non-German club has won Europe's premier indoor competition.

On Saturday, despite putting in a strong performance against Germany's Rot-Weiss Koln, Leicester lost their final pool match at the EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup 2-0, a result that confirmed the Midlanders' place in Pool C in Vienna.

Pool C sees the bottom two sides in A and B compete to survive the drop to Europe's second tier next season.

And in their first of two games in Pool C, Leicester went down 2-1 to hosts SV Arminen. Katie Long equalised the Austrians half time lead shortly after the break from a penalty corner but their hopes of a share of the spoils were smashed in the dying seconds as Arminen struck from their own set piece.

The opening day of the EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup had seen Leicester lose their first match narrowly by just 1-0 to Spanish side Club de Campo before losing to Ginta Strekta of Lithuania 3-1 in the afternoon.

Despite conceding to the Spanish before the break, the 2012 Maxifuel Super Sixes Champions couldn't find a way past the solid defence.

Against Gintra Strekte, Leciester were behind after seven minutes but it remained 1-0 at the break and the Pukkas were well in with a chance. But midway through the second half they conceded a second and a third soon after. They withdrew goalkeeper Maddie Hinch in an effort to battle back but ultimately went down 3-1; Kerry Williams bagging the late goal for the Pukkas from a penalty corner.

England Hockey Board Media release



Grove Menzieshill relegated from Euro Trophy

Grove Menzieshill were relegated from the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy today following a 2-2 draw with HC Dinamo-Elektrosta in Switzerland.

Another two penalty corner goals from Louise Carroll, who had a prolific tournament in front of goal, wasn't enough to prevent the Taysiders finishing second bottom in the relegation pool on goal difference behind their Russian opponents.

The Dundonians fell behind in the eighth minute following a penalty corner strike from Viktoriya Zelanova, but Carroll pulled her side level only sixty seconds later from a penalty corner.

With the sides level at 1-1 at half-time, Carroll again found the back of the net from a penalty corner to give Grove Menzieshill a 2-1 lead. With the Scots pushing for more goals, the Russians earned a penalty corner in the 30th minute from which Veronika Slozhneva found a vital equaliser.

Time ran out for Charlotte Jones' side in their attempts to regain the lead and the contest ended with a 2-2 final score.

Dundee Wanderers, who qualified as Scotland's indoor European representatives this season, will compete in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I next year.

For a full run-down of the results and final standings please visit the EuroHockey website.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Beeston secure play-off spot


Adam Dixon, Beeston

Beeston became the first team to be guaranteed a top-four finish in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division after two emphatic wins over the weekend left them 15 points clear at the top.

After knocking six past East Grinstead on Saturday, they went on to beat Loughborough Students 7-4 on Sunday thereby guaranteeing themselves a play in the end of season play-offs.

After going one down after five minutes, Beeston were soon back on level terms through a Carl Smith goal and a frantic shootout ensued with Beeston having too much firepower for their rivals.

Simon Egerton went on to score a brace meaning that he has now reached 20 goals for the season. Carl Smith and Adam Dixon also scored two each.

Beneath Beeston, the table is much tighter with only four points separating second and seventh places. However, Reading currently hold second spot and their 8-1 win over third placed Canterbury underlined their strength. Craig Peel led the scoring with a hat-trick.

Canterbury still hold third place despite that defeat but are looking over their shoulders at Cannock, Surbiton, East Grinstead and Loughborough Students who could all catch them with one win.

Cannock managed to scrape a 2-2 draw against Surbiton after Dan Coultas fired in from a penalty corner with just two minutes left on the clock.

East Grinstead ground out a 1-0 win over Hampstead & Westminster after Mark Pearn slotted in the winner. Ashley Jackson had the chance to double the advantage with a penalty stroke but he found Ian Scandon in fine form with the keeper making a save.

At the bottom of the league, Brooklands MU find themselves four points adrift after losing to fellow strugglers Southgate.

Bowdon are back on top of the Conference North after a thrilling 4-3 win over Olton and West Warwickshire.

Wimbledon still hold top spot in the Conference East despite a shock 1-0 loss to Indian Gymkhana. Holcombe are level on points.

Finally, in the Conference West, Guildford took secured their play-off place with a 5-3 win over Bristol Firebrands.

Men’s Hockey League (February 23 2013):

Premier Division:
East Grinstead 1, Beeston 5; Canterbury 1, Reading 8.

Conference East: Teddington 5, Oxted 5.

Conference North: Sheffield Hallam 4, Leek 1.

Men’s Hockey League (February 24 2013):

Premier Division:
Brooklands MU 2, Southgate 4; Beeston 7, Loughborough Students 4; East Grinstead 1, Hampstead and Westminster 0; Cannock 2, Surbiton 2.

Conference East: Cambridge City 4, Richmond 0; City of Peterborough 3, Holcombe 1; Bromley and Beckenham 2, Old Loughtonians 2; Wimbledon 0, Indian Gymkhana 1.

Conference North: Belper 1, Khalsa 2; Doncaster 5, Preston 1; Bowdon 4, Olton and West Warwickshire 3.

Conference West: Guildford 5, Bristol Firebrands 3; Team Bath Buccaneers 3, University of Exeter 3; Cheltenham 1, Havant 5; Whitchurch 1, University of Birmingham 1; Fareham 1, Cardiff and UWIC 5.

England Hockey Board Media release



‘Azlan Shah Cup, a must win event for Pakistan’

By Fawad Hussain


KARACHI: Former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has urged the national hockey team management not to consider the Azlan Shah Cup a tournament only for experiments but instead, aim to win the event in Malaysia.

The team management, headed by chief coach Akhtar Rasool, made four changes for the event, bringing in new players – Tasawwar Abbas, Amir Shahzad, Imran Junior and Irfan Junior – and resting seasoned campaigners including Shakeel Abbasi and Waseem Ahmad besides Rashid Mehmood and Rizwan Senior. The team management felt the six-nation tournament will be a good chance to test youngsters.

Rasool said he would not claim the team will win the Azlan Shah Cup but hoped for a good show.

However, legendary Olympian Shehnaz expressed discontent on the resolve of the team management for the test.

“This tournament is very important for the greenshirts,” Shahnaz told The Express Tribune. “It’s not a good attitude and the coaches must set winning the cup as the target for players.

“Such a statement that we are not targeting the title will make the players complacent. We are happy with the inclusion of fresh players but winning the title should be made a priority for them. When I say the title is important, it means we need to show consistency.  If we want to regain our lost glory in hockey, we’ll have to win tournaments regularly.”

He also criticised the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for ruing the lack of funds as the team prepared for the tournament.

“The federation should avoid such statements when the team is training for an international tournament as it distracts the players. This PHF received the fund that no other set-up received in the past.

“It was higher than any other sports body in the country and I feel it wasn’t managed properly.”

The Express Tribune



Protest mars SSTMI Juniors win

TENGKU Mahkota Ismail Sports School Juniors caused the biggest upset of the Junior Hockey League Milo Cup quarter-finals when they beat Petaling Jaya City Council 8-7 on aggregate.

SSTMI Juniors took a 4-3 lead in the first leg, and yesterday held the Division One runners-up 4-4 at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru to coast into the semi-finals where they will play UniKL Young Guns.

However, even after 70 minutes, the drama will continue today as PJCC have submitted a protest to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Competitions Committee, with RM500, as they are unhappy with how one of the goals was scored.

MHC Competitions Committee chairman M. Gobinathan confirmed that a protest was lodged by PJCC.

"PJCC have placed a protest: PJCC are unhappy with the umpiring side of the match and have put in a protest at the end of the match today (yesterday) and so the technical committee will meet tomorrow (today) to deliberate on the matter.”

UniKL romped into the semi-finals on a 13-0 aggregate, after they slammed six goals past Malacca High Schol yesterday.

League champions Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School also had an easy last-eight, as they beat Kuala Lumpur Sports School 5-1 yesterday for a 9-1 aggregate win.

SSTMI will play Anderson of Ipoh in the last four, as Anderson beat Kelantan 4-2 for a 9-3 aggregate win,

The SSTMI goals were scored by Sufi Ismat, (8th, 63rd), Shahrusahadan Basri (12th), Shahril Saabah (34th), and Aminuddin Zain (48th). The KLSS goal was scored by Khairul Amirin Jalil in the 14th minute.

SECOND LEG QUARTERFINAL RESULTS

UniKL Young Guns 6 Malacca High Schoool 0
( UniKL win 13-0 on aggregate )

SSTMI 5 KL Sports School 1
( SSTMI win 9-1 on aggregate)

MBI Anderson 4 PHK-MSS Kelantan 2
( MBI Anderson win 9-3 on aggregate)

SSTMI Jumiors 4 PJCC 4
( SSTMI Jnrs win 8-7 on aggregate)

Unofficial MJHL site



SSTMI Juniors scramble into semis

DRAMA: But unhappy PJCC lodge a protest over a goal against them

By JUGJET SINGH


TENGKU Mahkota Ismail Sports School  Juniors caused the biggest upset of the Junior Hockey League Milo Cup quarter-finals yet when they beat Petaling Jaya City Council 8-7 on aggregate.SSTMI Juniors, who won the first leg 4-3, yesterday held the Division One runners-up 4-4 at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru to steal into the semi-finals where they will play UniKL Young Guns.

However, the drama is set to continue today as PJCC have filed a protest with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Competitions Committee, with a RM500 deposit, as they are unhappy with how one of the SSTMI's goals was scored.

MHC Competitions Committee chairman M. Gobinathan, who confirmed that PJCC had lodged a protest, said: "PJCC are unhappy with the umpiring side of the match and have filed a protest at the end of the match today (yesterday). The technical committee will meet tomorrow (today) to deliberate on the matter."

UniKL romped into the semi-finals with a 13-0 aggregate after they slammed six goals past Malacca High School yesterday.

League champions Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School also had an easy passage into the last eight. They beat Kuala Lumpur Sports School 5-1 yesterday for a 9-1 aggregate win.

SSTMI will play Anderson of Ipoh, who beat Kelantan 4-2 for a 9-3 aggregate win, in the last four.

The SSTMI goals were scored by Sufi Ismat, (eighth and 63rd), Shahrusahadan Basri (12th), Shahril Saabah (34th), and Aminuddin Zain (48th). The KLSS goal was scored by Khairul Amirin Jalil in the 14th minute.

RESULTS -- Q-finals (2nd leg): KL Sports School 1 Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School 5 (SSTMI win 9-1 on aggregate); Kelantan 2 Anderson 4 (Anderson win 9-3); Malacca High School 0 UniKL Young Guns 6 (UniKL win 13-0); SSTMI Juniors 4 Petaling Jaya CC 4 (SSTMI Juniors win 8-7).

New Straits Times



MBPJ bite the dust


In your face: Thunderbolt’s Mohd Azwar (left) holds off a determined challenge from KLSS player Noor Afig during their MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League quarter-final match at the Education Ministry Turf in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Thunderbolt won 5-1. — RICKY LAI / The Star


KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Juniors provided the only surprise of the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League quarter-finals when they earned a spot in the semi-finals.

The sports school took a slender one-goal lead into the second leg yesterday and managed to secure a 4-4 draw against Division One runners-up Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.

SSTMI Junior won the first leg 4-3 and yesterday’s draw sees them sneaking in by the odd goal.

SSTMI Juniors got their goals through Mohd Firdaus Musa, Danial Ashraf (two) and Zulaniq Adib while MBPJ replied through Mohd Haikal Zamri, Mohd Zahir Zaki (two) and Nor Ikhwan Rahman.

But the result is still not confirmed as MBPJ have lodged an official protest against the umpiring. Thus, SSTMI Juniors will have to wait for the technical committee meeting today to know if the results will stand.

MBPJ assistant team manager Zainal Abidin Ismail confirmed that they had filed an official protest to the match technical officer Murugan Nair.

“The standard of umpiring was very poor ... we’re just angry that decisions were not firm in the match,” he claimed.

“There were too many U-turns by the umpires and this affected our players. Once again, cards were flashed to my players and penalty corners were not given when fouls were committed.

“I don’t know what the technical committee’s decision is going to be but we need to protest to tell them that this kind of umpiring cannot be encouraged. I have a good set of players and they are young and eager to learn. Such umpiring will kill their interest in the game.”

Hot favourites SSTMI-Thunderbolt, however, booked their place in the semi-finals after a crushing 5-1 win over KL Sports School for a 9-1 aggregate.

Thunderbolt scored their goals through Mohd Sufi (two), Shahrushadan Basri, Zizi Azwan and Mohd Aminuddin Zain while KL replied through Zulhaswan Hashim.

Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) were the big winners in the last eight after beating Malacca High School 6-0 for a 13-0 aggregate win. The last tie of the day saw MBI-Anderson making the cut with ease, beating MSS Kelantan 4-2 in Kuala Terengganu to add to their 5-1 first-leg win.

In the semi-finals, which will be played on Wednesday and Friday, Division One champions Thunderbolt will face MBI-Anderson while SSTMI Juniors will take on UniKL.

Thunderbolt coach Wan Mohd Roslan has warned his boys to expect a tough time in the last four.

“I believe that MBI-Anderson will also be confident as they had beaten us in the preliminary round. It’s not a question of seeking revenge over MBI-Anderson ... it’s about getting the right result that will ensure our place in the final,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia



Begumpur retains OTHL Delhi Cup




Gifted boys of Begumpur school lifted again the One Thousand Hockey Legs Delhi Cup, sweating a lot in the process.

Their challenger Saket Hr. Sec. School did really put up a good show, even leading by a lone goal till half time.

Kishore Arya, lurking around the circle area gently tapped in a deligent push by Rohit Varan to cancel out the lead, and then Brigopal Patra, who otherwise was playing in the back as a defender, made many intelligent moves that helped Begumpur retain the title they won easily last year.

Begumpur thus defeated Saket 3-1 to lift the Delhi Cup 2002, whose final had to be held belatedly as there was law and order problem on Dec 28th when the finals were originally scheduled to be held in the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Eight schools, who subscribed to One Thousand Hockey Legs program of Hockey Citizen Group, played for the home honours between Dec 21 and 27th on round robin format which helped identify the finalists.

In a tense finish, Saket Sr. Sec. School piped Anglo-Arabic Sr. Sec. School to move to the final, which was played yesterday in the Begumpur school grounds.

Anglo-Arabic school, however, had enough reasons to smile, as their Junior Team outclassed Saket junior to win the title. The scoreline was 1-0.

Meanwhile Savodya Bal Vidhyala, Ashok Vihar, lost to combined Saket and Airforce Bal Bharti School team.

Anglo-Arabic School Senior team struck five times against a lone goal by DTEA Sr. Sec. School Mandir Marg, to win the bronze in the senior category.

Under-14 are classified as juniors and Under-16 as Seniors.

Pervez Alam, the kingpin of Anglo-Arabic school was declared Player of the Tournament.

Five players from Saket and four from Begumpur were included in the OTHL Delhi XI. They are Pawan Kumar, Sonu, Sushil, Amit Prasad and Elazer Dung Dung from Saket; Brothers Rahul Varan and Rohit Varan, Vikas Paswan and Brigopal Patra from Begumpur.

Delhi Cup is part of the larger framework of providing competitive atmosphere to young kids who take up hockey at the initiative of Hockey Citizen Group.

Delhi based Hockey Citizen Group, founded in the late 2008, is successfully implementing what it fancifully call One Thousand Hockey Legs project, which aims to introduce hockey to 500 school kids. The project is being implemented in five cities – Delhi, Kanpur, Kolkata, Chennai and Puducherry. At the year end, a competition is held in each city involving schools subscribed to OTHL, and is named after the City.

Stick2Hockey.com



What Is That Boy Holding?



"Koa Best is 2 1/2 years old. That's a field hockey stick he's holding.

In another 14 years he may be on the USA Men's National Field Hockey Team.

Right now, he plays because he loves to play!