News for 02 March 2013

All the news for Saturday 2 March 2013


Belarus dances into pole position in Valencia

Spain into second place with shootout win


Belarus 5, Czech Republic 1 (halftime 1-0)

It took more than a day, but in the end Belarus earned its second win of the Hockey World League Round 2 tournament in Valencia, Spain with a 5-1 victory over the Czech Republic. Just over 24 minutes of the game was played yesterday under very soggy conditions before the match had to be suspended, setting up today’s conclusion.

Belarus held a 1-0 lead at the end of yesterday’s play as they seemed to adapt to the wet pitch faster than the Czechs before the game was called. Ryta Batura scored the lone marker of the day for #21 Belarus. Today’s action opened up with the Czechs playing better hockey in the drier conditions.

Belarus failed to capitalize on a handful of penalty corner chances, giving the Czechs space to work their way into the game. Adela Bizova gave the Czechs hope when she struck with the 1-1 goal with 25 minutes left in the second half. But the celebration was short-lived as Batura, celebrating her 26th birthday, stepped up and fired in her second goal of the game five minutes later to restore the one-goal lead.

Belarus’ Yuliya Mikheichyk sealed the win with two goals coming five minutes single digits left on the clock to put any thought of an upset out the Czechs’ minds. Captain Alisia Piotukh got in on the fun as she scooped a blooper penalty corner goal in the net in the last minute of play. The goals powered Belarus through to the 4-1 win, a deceivingly lopsided score for a well-fought game by the Czechs.

Belarus, which entered the tournament as the four-seeded team among the five entrants, now sits surprisingly atop the standings with seven points in three games. But the field is very close in this one with both Spain and Ireland nipping at the heels of Belarus. Italy is also in the hunt for a top finish, while only the Czech Republic is out of contention with three losses in three outings.

Italy 1, Spain 1 (shootout 3-4; halftime 0-0)

Two World Ranking points separate #15 Spain and #17 Italy and it was clear today that two teams are very much on par with each other as they battled to a 1-1 draw that had to be settled in a shootout which Spain won 4-3. The game was critical in the standings with Italy holding two points after playing one game and Spain sitting with three. The win bumps Spain now into second place in the standings and improves their chances for making a push for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

With only the top two finishers from Valencia moving onto the next round, and a very competitive field, today’s game between Italy and Spain had a lot riding on it. It was clear from a tentative first half that both teams wanted to error on the side of caution. The biggest chance came midway through the first half when Spain was awarded a penalty stroke. But Italian goalkeeper Martin Chirico came up with a big pad save on the try and kept the scoreboard sitting on zeros through the end of the first half.

In the second half, it was Italy with the better chances, but they kept missing the mark by mere inches – allowing the Spanish to stay in the hunt for the precious points. Italy’s persistence finally paid off in the form of a penalty stroke Giulia Padalino did what Spain failed to do in the first half and easily hit the low corner for the 1-0 lead with 18 minutes left in the game.

Spain sparked to life after the goal and after missing two consecutive penalty corner chances Rocio Ybarra Solaijn scooped a shot into the net for the 1-1 equalizer with six minutes left in the game. The 1-1 deadlock stood through regulation sending the game into a shootout. The shootout went seven rounds, as the teams were event to the bitter end.

Italy will take on winless Czech Republic tomorrow in a game that they should win if they want to stay in contention for a top-two finish. Meanwhile, Spain has a tough test against top-seeded Ireland, who was a big favorite entering the tournament, but sputtered in a loss on Monday against Belarus.

FIH site



SA hockey men ready for Rio weekend, LNJ reaches milestones

JONATHAN COOK in Rio de Janeiro



Prolific SA striker Llloyd Norris-Jones ... 100 Test matches Saturday and 50 goals (so far). Photo: STANISLAS BROCHIER

The unbeaten South Africa men’s hockey team face two hurdles this weekend as the World League Round 2 tournament goes into its third and fourth rounds and captain Rhett Halkett is confident that the lads are up for the challenge.

The 9-0 win over Brazil and 6-1 defeat of the USA made for a good start to the round-robin event in which the top two teams qualify for the World League semi-finals in June/July.

“Yes, it was a great start,” said Halkett. “There are no second chances in this tournament format so we need to take care of business every time we go out there and I am proud of the way the lads have gone about it.”

World number 12 SA tackle Trinidad& Tobago at 4 pm (SA time) Saturday before taking on world 10 Argentina, the favourites, at 4 pm (SA time) Sunday.

T&T gave SA a real workout at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi before the lads in green and gold prevailed.

“Yes, it was a very close affair and that’s what is wonderful about international hockey, the rankings go out the window and anything can happen in those 70 minutes,” the SA skipper said. “We have got to make sure we are as prepared as possible.”

If and when SA have three more points in the bag from the T&T game, there is Sunday’s much-anticipated crunch with the men from the Pampas.

“We beat Argentina for the bronze medal at the 2011 Champions Challenge in Randburg while they beat us at London 2012 so the matches have always been thrilling encounters and the lads are very excited about taking them on again,” the Northern Blues defender said. “But we are not getting ahead of ourselves, our motto is one game at a time, so T&T are next in line and that is where our focus is right now.”

For SA striker Lloyd Norris-Jones, Saturday will be an extra-special occasion as he plays in his 100th Test match. And the scorer of four goals in two games (the same as midfielder Clint Panther) notched his 50th goal for SA against the USA Thursday.

SA head coach Charlie Pereira will be hoping the pair can continue finding the back of the net this weekend.

SA Hockey Association media release



T&T ‘Stickmen’ face SA in must-win match

Nigel Simon


This country’s senior men’s hockey squad will look to keep its hopes of advancing from the Second Round of FIH World Hockey League qualifiers alive when they come up against unbeaten South Africa at the Deodoro Field Hockey Centre, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 10 am today.

So far, the world 34th-ranked “Calypso Stickmen,” led by 28-year-old Darren Cowie, has failed to pick up any points after losing 9-2 to Argentina, the South American champions, and 4-0 to Chile.

On the other hand, South Africa, ranked 12th in the world, has registered comprehensive victories over host Brazil (9-0) and USA (6-1) led by Clint Panther and Lloyd Norris-Jones, who have tallied four goals each. With matches still to come against 29th-ranked USA tomorrow (Sunday) and 33rd-ranked Brazil on Tuesday, both winless after two matches as well, a win for T&T today against the Proteas will keep it in contention for a top-two finish in the six-team round robin series and a spot for the World League men’s semifinals, which will take place in Rotterdam, Holland, from June 13 to 23, and in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, from June 29-July 7.

Also on today from 8 am, USA and Brazil clash in a battle of winless teams while Argentina and Chile close out the day’s action in a repeat of the South American final which ended 4-3.

MATCHES

Today’s matches:

USA vs Brazil, 8 am
T&T vs South Africa, 10 am
Chile vs Argentina, 2.30 pm
Tomorrow
USA vs T&T, 8 am
South Africa vs Argentina, 10 am
Brazil vs Chile, 12.30 pm

The Trinidad Guardian



Black Sticks go down 1-0 in final game


Pictured: Canterbury’s Cassandra Reid, courtesy Hernan Barrios

The Black Sticks Women are frustrated that they played so well yet couldn’t pull off a win in their final game against Argentina in Rosario today.

Argentina’s Delfina Merino was the only goal scorer of the match.

The second half was some of the best hockey that the New Zealanders had played during the five test series and a win today would have given the Kiwis a rare series victory against the World No 2.

“It was similar to the last game in that we had a messy first half and Argentina put us under pressure, but in the second half we were much more controlled and we had many chances to score and win the game,” said head coach Mark Hager.

Game captain Katie Glynn had the best chance in the first half when she received a pass from Krystal Forgesson and striked, but it hit the cross bar and Argentina took possession.

The Black Sticks were tight on defence and pushed forward on attack in the second spell resulting in three penalty corners – including one right on full time, one was mistrapped and the other two were cleared by Argentina’s goalkeeper.

“Overall, this has been a really pleasing tour. We needed to score goals from the chances that we created, but a tour like this is fantastic development for new younger players in the team, it’s been really positive,” said Hager.

“The good thing is that Argentina are coming to New Zealand in April to play us again in the Four Nations Tournament, along with United States and Korea so it will be game-on again then! If we get good vocal home crowds along to watch us, that could make that little bit of difference to our performance,” said Hager.

The Four Nations is being played in Whangarei, Hamilton and Tauranga and is from 10-21 April.

Stand out players from today were Glynn, Forgesson and Cassandra Reid.

The Black Sticks return to New Zealand at midnight tomorrow.

RESULTS
Argentina 1 (Delfina Merino), New Zealand 0. HT: 1-0.

Previous results from series
First game:  4-1 (Argentina win)
Second game:  1-1
Third game:  4-1 (New Zealand win)
Fourth game: 3-3
Fifth game: 1-0 (Argentina win)

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks women fall short

The New Zealand women's hockey team fell agonisingly short of creating history when they were beaten 1-0 by Argentina in the final test in Rosario today.

The Black Sticks had been chasing a rare series against the Olympic silver medallists but Argentina's win meant they won the five-match series 2-1 - two games were drawn.

Argentina's Delfina Merino scored the only goal of the match and the Kiwis were left frustrated after playing some of the best hockey of the series in the second half.

"It was similar to the last game in that we had a messy first half and Argentina put us under pressure, but in the second half we were much more controlled and we had many chances to score and win the game,'' coach Mark Hager said.

Katie Glynn, who was captaining the side for the day, had the best chance in the first half when she hit the crossbar with her shot.

The Black Sticks were tight on defence and pushed forward on attack in the second spell resulting in three penalty corners, including one right on fulltime - one wasn't trapped cleanly and the other two were cleared by Argentina's goalkeeper.

"Overall, this has been a really pleasing tour,'' hager said. "We needed to score goals from the chances we created but a tour like this is fantastic development for new younger players in the team. It's been really positive.

"The good thing is that Argentina are coming to New Zealand in April to play us again in the Four Nations tournament, along with United States and Korea, so it will be game-on again then. If we get good vocal home crowds along to watch us, that could make that little bit of difference to our performance.'' The Four Nations is being played in Whangarei, Hamilton and Tauranga from April 10-21.

Argentina 1 (Delfina Merino)
New Zealand 0
HT: 1-0.

The New Zealand Herald



Black Sticks women go down to Argentina

The Black Sticks women's hockey team lost 1-0 to Argentina today, missing a rare chance for a series win over the highly rated South Americans.

Argentina's Delfina Merino scored the only goal of the deciding match in Rosario as Argentina took the five match series 2-1 with two of the tests drawn.

Overall, it was a solid series for the new-look Black Sticks against the Olympic silver medallists.

But it was also frustrating because New Zealand dominated today's game for long periods.

Black Sticks captain Katie Glynn had the best chance in the first half when she received a pass from Krystal Forgesson but her shot hit the crossbar and Argentina took possession.

The Black Sticks were tight on defence and pushed forward on attack in the second spell resulting in three penalty corners - including one right on full time, one was mistrapped and the other two were cleared by Argentina's goalkeeper.

Stand out players from today were Glynn, Forgesson and Cassandra Reid

The Black Sticks return to New Zealand at midnight tomorrow.

New Zealand get a chance for revenge on home soil in April when they host a Four Nations tournament featuring Argentina, the United States and Korea.

Stuff



Junior Women go down to Australia


Pictured: NZ goalkeeper Sarah Matthews, courtesy Don Shawyer

Australia have won the second of their three tests against the Junior Black Sticks Women at the Junior World Cup Qualifier in the Gold Coast tonight.

New Zealand’s Brooke Neal scored in the 67th minute in the second phase of a penalty corner, but it was an all Australian affair before that with a penalty corner conversion from Mariah Williams and field goals from Georgia Nanscawen, Murphy Allendorf and Madison Fitzpatrick.

“I thought during the first 20 minutes we played pretty well and it was quite an even match. It was 1-0 at half time, but then Australia scored two minutes into the second half and we let that affect us,” says head coach Chris Leslie.  

“The Australians were more urgent getting to the ball than us and demonstrated better core skills. We have a training tomorrow and the focus will be on the basics – we need the basics to be firmly in place if we are to be competitive against teams at the Junior World Cup,” says Leslie.

Leslie said there were more chances to score in this game than the first, with Katherine van Woerkom’s strike at goal bouncing off the post and more penalty corners being awarded to the Kiwis. Stand out players were goalkeeper Sarah Mathews, Rachel McCann and Phillipa Symes.

The team have a day off tomorrow before their final game on Sunday.

RESULTS
Australia 4 (Mariah Williams, Georgia Nanscawen, Murphy Allendorf, Madison Fitzpatrick) New Zealand 1 (Brooke Neale). HT: 1-0

Match Schedule, Junior World Cup Qualifier (Gold Coast), NZ Time
Women’s schedule

Wednesday 27 Feb – Australia (3-1 Australia win)
7pm, Friday 1 March – Australia (4-1 Australia win)
3pm, Sunday 3 March – Play-offs

Men’s schedule
Wednesday 27 Feb – Papua New Guinea (15-0 NZ win)
Thursday 28 Feb - Australia (4-2 Australia win)
3pm, Saturday 2 March – Vanuatu
From 1pm, Sunday 3 March – Play-offs

Hockey New Zealand Media release



No confidence shocker

MHC UMPIRES COMMITTEE: 12 state chairmen want Muthukumar removed

By JUGJET SINGH


TWELVE out of 16 State umpires' chairmen have signed a  motion of no confidence against Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Umpires Committee chairman Lt Colonel B. Muthukumar.

It was presented and read out during the MHC management meeting last Saturday, but president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said he needed more time to study it before making a stand.

"The motion of no confidence tabled at the management meeting (against Muthukumar) came as a shock to me as I was not made aware of it beforehand.

"However, I am looking into it as I want to find out what the problems are before making a stand," said Tengku Abdullah in a text reply.

The four state chairmen who did not sign the motion were from Armed Forces, Selangor, Malacca and Negri Sembilan.

Among the 12 state HA umpires chairmen who signed were Dr Mohamad Faithal Hassan (KLHA), K. Krishnan (Kedah), N. Nallasamy (Police), Shurizan Mansor (Perlis) and Aftar Singh (Sabah).

Muthukumar was alleged to, among others, have made several important decisions on his own without consulting the committee, and not abiding by some of the decisions taken by the committee.

Other allegations were:

 

  • Failing to implement the MHC Umpires Committee blueprint on the objectives, vision and mission.
  • Failing to plan and organise umpires seminars, workshops, dialogues.
  • Failing to help develop young umpires or enhance the present batch's performance in any area.
  • Failing to nominate names of those who have retired from active umpiring as umpires' managers to the Asian Hockey Federation.
  • Biased to several umpires who keep failing the beep test.

The motion ended by requesting for swift action, as the signatories claimed the umpiring standard in Malaysia is at its worst in recent years due to the problems plaguing the MHC umpires committee.

Muthukumar, when contacted, would not make any statement other than saying that he left the matter to Tengku Abdullah to settle.

New Straits Times



An afternoon stroll for UniKL and SSTMI

With a huge margin of win in the first leg, it was akin to an afternoon stroll for Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School and UniKL Young Guns in the second leg of the semi finals for the MILO Cup.

Both the teams scored early in the matches against MBI-Anderson and SSTMI Juniors to sail into Sunday's final, without breaking sweat, as if saving their best for last.

SSTMI, who won 8-0 in the first leg went through the motion by winning 2-1 for an aggregate win of 10-1 while UniKL Young Guns scored thrice for acomprehensive 9-0 aggregate.

UniKL Young Guns opened scoring in the 9th minute with Mohd Hafifi Elkan converting a penalty corner before two goals from Mohd Syafiq Zulzairin in the 14th and 69th minutes.

In Ipoh, SSTMI scored via Mohd Hafiz Selemen in the 6th minute before Mohd Shahril Saabah doubled the advantage five minutes later. Though N. Kartigan reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute, it was already a lost cause for the home team.

Results

UniKL Young Guns 3 SSTMI Juniors 0

(UniKL Young Guns win 9-0 on aggregate)

SSTMI 2 MBI Anderson 1

(SSTMI win 10-1 on aggregate)

Fixtures - Sunday-March 3

3/4th Placing


1800H - SSTMI JUniors v MBI Anderson

Final

2000H - SSTMI v UniKL Young Guns

Unofficial MJHL site



Bilateral hockey series: Pakistan, India set for decisive talks on revival

By Fawad Hussain



If the meeting today is successful, hockey fans could soon be witnessing rivals Pakistan and India clashing on the field in a bilateral series. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: After two months of friction owing to political tensions, Pakistan and India are moving back to normalcy in the field of sports.

Recently, Pakistan confirmed that India will be coming over for a snooker series later this month and now the officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and Hockey India (HI) are close to finalising the revival of a bilateral series planned for March-April.

The top two officials of the PHF including President Qasim Zia and Secretary Asif Bajwa reached Kuala Lumpur yesterday to attend the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) meeting. They are also scheduled to meet HI Secretary General Narinder Batra to cement the plans for the bilateral series.

In December last year, the two counterparts signed an agreement from that would see them hold Pakistan-India bilateral Test series between 2013 to 2018. As per the agreement, Pakistan were to visit India in March 2013 and play five matches while India promised to pay a return visit in the following month.

But the series became doubtful due to political tensions between the two countries.  Problems were aggravated further when the Pakistan players had to return without playing the inaugural Hockey India League due to security threats.

However, both PHF and HI remained determined for the revival of the series and are now expected to finalise things soon after meeting on the sidelines of the AHF meeting today.

“We will meet the HI officials today,” the PHF President Qasim Zia told The Express Tribune from Kuala Lumpur yesterday. “The discussion to finalise the series and its schedule will be made during the meeting.”

Earlier, Bajwa, while leaving for Malaysia late Thursday night, said the revival of series was in the interest of both the countries and the PHF was looking forward to it.

PHF to press for amendments in series contract

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the top PHF officials may press their India counterparts to send their team first as they doubt the Indian government might hinder their return visit after Pakistan’s tour.

“This point is likely to be made during the meeting,” said a PHF official.

“We have confidence in HI but we have doubts about their government, who may create problems for India team’s return visit.”

The official said there was also a possibility that the two bodies could agree to financial compensations in millions for a team in case it withdraws from making the return trip.

“The PHF wants to make sure it won’t be one-way traffic and that will be the main discussion during the meeting.

“The schedule of the series will be announced once both bodies reach a consensus on the changes in the contract.”

The Express Tribune



Dominant Navy derail WR 5-2

MUMBAI: A dominant Indian Navy scored an authoritative 5-2 win against Western Railway in a Super Division match, of the Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd. (MHAL) League, at the MHAL Stadium, Churchgate on Friday.

Pawan Kumar hammered home three goals and Heera Singh netted two for the sailors who led 1-0 at the break. Western reduced the margin of defeat with goals from Irshad Mirja and Hardeep Singh.

The fitter and faster Indian Navy outfit started off with a bang and fired in the opening goal in the very fourth minute through a field effort from Heera. Pawan then doubled the Salior's lead when he converted from their first penalty corner in the 45 minute.

Navymen continued to exert pressure on the Western citadel and five minutes later added two more goals in as many minutes. First, Heera got his second before Pawan found the target in the very next minute. He scored his third and Navy's fifth goal in the final minute of the match.

Western, forced to play second fiddle, managed to score twice through Irshad in the 59th minute and Hardeep four minutes later.

Results: Super Div: Indian Navy 5 (Pawan Kumar 3, Heera Singh 2) beat Western Railway 2 (Irshad Mirja, Hardeep Singh).

The Times of India