News for 15 March 2013

All the news for Friday 15 March 2013


Down to the wire

The finalists for the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will only be determined after the dust settles following the final league matches on Saturday.

As it stands Australia and Malaysia are in the driving seat, both with 8 points but Australia with a superior goal difference of plus 8 while Malaysia are on plus 2.

Both the teams need a draw in their final matches, Australia against New Zealand and Malaysia against India to book their places in the final.

A win for New Zealand and a Malaysian defeat will see the two Oceania countries contesting the final on Sunday.

From the three teams in contention for the final berths, Malaysia is in the best situation as they play the last match against India on Saturday and will know what is expected of them.

That fact was not lost on coach Paul Revington and when asked if Malaysia will not field its first team against India should qualification to the final was assured, had this to say.

"We will play our best players immaterial of the outcome of the Australia v New Zealand match. There is no question of toying with the line-up or resting players with one eye on the final. It is still too early to talk about it as we have to cross a big hurdle in our quest to make the final on Sunday."

Malaysia could have sealed its spot in the final had they defeated Pakistan in a match that ended up in a 2-2 draw after Malaysia had twice taken the lead.

Revington added that the Malaysian players had made some crucial mistakes in defence that allowed Pakistan back into the match twice.

"When we were 2-1 up the players knew there were six minutes remaining and we went out looking for the third goal, but it never came dspite us creating enough chances to seal the match," added Revington.

"Six minutes is a long time to just defend a one goal lead and thus there was nothing wrong with our tactics.

"We may need one point but we will play to win all three. It is important to maintain our consistency and not let our guard down."

Malaysia last played India during the AHF Champions Trophy in Doha in December and won 5-3, after takinga 4-0 lead at one stage. Thus the odds are in favour of Malaysia winning the match given that India has an inexperienced team.

"It is good that our young team is placed in such a situation where they have to deny the host team of a place in the final." said India coach Michael Nobbs.

"The pressure cooker situation that our players will face will help them mature faster as the crowd will no doubt put tremendous pressure on our youngsters.

"I am happy that the Indian team has been improving from match to match and we look forward to the match on Saturday. We too need a win to get us into the bronze medal play-off, thus we will play our best team."

New Zealand can sneak into the final if they defeat Australia, something they last did on 6th October 2011 in Hobart, a 3-0 win over the Aussies in the Oceania Cup.

"Matches between the two countries are always keenly contested and what more with a berth in the final at stake," said New Zealand coach Colin Batch who used to represent Austrlia and a member of the Aussie squad that won the inaugural Azlan Shah Cup in 1983.

"We are here to defend the title and beating Australia to make the final may seem a tall order but if that is what is required then we are up to the challenge. They have a young side as well and its a question on just who will be able to take their chances."

Austrlian coach Ric Charlesworth was not too happy with the umpiring in the tournament thus far and decided to let it out at the post match press conference after the 3-3 draw against Korea.

:It is much to be desired ( the umpiring) and really something ought to be done to introduce the video referral here in Ipoh," said Charlesworth.

"Playing the Kiwis is always a tough one and the stakes are much higher this time around as a place in the final is at stake.

"New Zealand are peaking well and we have drawn our last two matches and really a draw is as good as a defeat. This is for FIH to have a look at as a team can end up unbeaten in a tournament yet miss out of a place in the final."

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Finalists undecided in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

Australia, Malaysia & New Zealand all still capable of reaching final



New Zealand defeated India to keep alive their hopes of reaching the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia. (Photo: www.azlanshahcup.com)

Despite there being just one day of Round Robin matches left to play, it is not yet known which teams will compete in the final of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup competition, which is currently taking place in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Front runners Australia and Malaysia both had their chances to seal their place in the tournament final on Thursday, but were held to draws by Korea and Pakistan respectively. The Kookaburras needed a last gasp strike to grab a share of the spoils against Korea, with Tim Deavin's reverse stick effort finding the target with just two seconds of the match remaining. Malaysia were leading 2-1 in the latter stages of their match against Pakistan, but a 62nd minute goal from Shafqat proved to be enough to split the points. The biggest result of the day went to New Zealand, who kept alive their hopes of reaching the final by defeating India 2-0 thanks to goals from Andy Hayward and Cory Bennett.

Saturday's final set of Round Robin matches will decide which teams will compete in the tournament final, with New Zealand needing to defeat Oceania rivals Australia to reach the Championship game. A win for Malaysia against India will be enough to seal their place in the Gold medal match. Korea, Pakistan and India are out of the running.

More information about this annual invitational event can be found on http://www.azlanshahcup.com/

 

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Results - 14 March 2013

Saturday, 9 March 2013 09-03-2013 16:05 New Zealand 3 : 4 Pakistan
09-03-2013 18:05 Australia 4 : 3 India
09-03-2013 20:05 Malaysia 3 : 2 Korea

Sunday 10 March 2013 10-03-2013 16:05 Australia 6 : 0 Pakistan
10-03-2013 18:05 Korea 2 : 1 India
10-03-2013 20:05 Malaysia 2 : 1 New Zealand

Tuesday 12 March 2013 12-03-2013 16:05 Korea 0 : 3 New Zealand
12-03-2013 18:05 India 3 : 1 Pakistan
12-03-2013 20:05 Malaysia 1 : 1 Australia

Thursday 14 March 2013 14-03-2013 16:05 Australia 3 : 3 Korea
14-03-2013 18:05 New Zealand 2 : 0 India
14-03-2013 20:05 Malaysia 2 : 2 Pakistan

Saturday 16 March 2013 16-03-2013 16:05 Korea - : - Pakistan
16-03-2013 18:05 Australia - : - New Zealand
16-03-2013 20:05 Malaysia - : - India

Current standings - 14 March 2013

Rank TeamsPlayedWinsDrawLostGF-GAGDPoints
1 Australia 4 2 2 0 14 - 7 7 8
2 Malaysia 4 2 2 0 8 - 6 2 8
3 New Zealand 4 2 0 2 9 - 6 3 6
4 Korea 4 1 1 2 7 - 10 -3 4
5 Pakistan 4 1 1 2 7 - 14 -7 4
6 India 4 1 0 3 7 - 9 -2 3

FIH site



Australia, NZ and Malaysia to vie for final spots

IPOH: Hosts Malaysia are in the driving seat for a place in the final of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after a 2-2 draw with Pakistan Thursday. Despite being second in the table with eight points, they only need to avoid defeat against India, who are already out of contention, in their final group game on Saturday. Meanwhile table-toppers Australia drew 3-3 with South Korea and lead Malaysia on goal difference but have to next play New Zealand, who beat India 2-0 to revive their hopes of getting into the final. The resurgent Kiwis have won their last two games to claim six points and need a win against Australia. If Australia loses, they will be cheering India on in the next game as they will drop out if Malaysia gets a result.

Pakistan played one of their best matches in the tournament to come back twice to force a 2-2 draw with Malaysia, who took the lead through Faizal Saari and Mohamed Razie Rahim, while Muhammad Imran and Shafqat Rasool were the scorers for Pakistan. Earlier, defending champions New Zealand sealed their win over a lacklustre India after breaking the deadlock in the second half. Andy Hayward scored the first goal in the 40th minute and Cory Bennett contributed the second in the 57th. New Zealand coach Colin Batch said it was always good to win back-to-back matches. “It was a good performance from the players and we played according to plan,” he said. Australia could have sealed their final place but will need a result on Saturday after their draw with South Korea.

The Koreans were the early aggressors but it was only in the 35th minute that they took the lead through Nam Hyun-Woo, and were a minute from clinching their second win when the Kookaburras found the net with their last hit of the ball. Australia managed to pull level in the 41st minute through Joshua Miller, however three minutes later their hard work came undone with an own goal after a scramble in the D after a penalty corner attempt from the Koreans. The world champions reduced the deficit in the 58th minute with Miller netting his second goal, then came the last minute attempt as they earned a penalty corner in the 70th minute and Timothy Deavin dived to deflect the shot into goal and earn a point for his team.

The Daily Times



Korea hold Australia


PIC COURTESY OF SPORTS MEDIA GROUP.COM.AU

Korea held Australia to a 3-3 draw in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup but really it was three points lost then one gained as Korea led till two seconds from the end.

The draw thus puts Korea out of the running for a place in the final while Australia will have to win against New Zealand on Saturday.

"We were not in the match at all in the first half and really should have done better. The draw has made things more difficult especially since we are playing New Zealand on Saturday," said Australian coach Ric Charlesworth.

"The umpiring was not up to mark and we were denied a few penalty corners and even a stroke. And the Korean style of playing is this match is not good for hockey as a whole as all they did was throw the ball with overhead and have lots of defenders.

"But we did not play up to expectations and now have made things difficult for ourselves. The heat was terrible today."

Korea were the early aggressors as they forced two penalty corners, in the 10th and 13th minutes.

But on both occasions, Australian custodian George Bazeley was in his element, as he denied both the direct and set piece shots created.

Just seconds before halftime, the Koreans were awarded a penalty corner and off the third attempt, Korea took the lead as the drag flick by Nam Hyun Woo sneaked into goal giving Bazeley no chance.

Australia were on level terms in the 41st minute when Joshua Miller deflected in a shot that caught Korean keeper Lee Myung Ho off guard.

However Korea regained the lead two minutes later when Australian player Nicholas Budgeon deflected the ball past his own keeper, thus becoming the first player to score an own goal in this tournament.

Lee Seung II then scored Korea's third goal in the 55th minute via a penalty corner rebound and the Aussies were stunned.

And Australia reduced the deficit in the 58th minute as Miller got onto the end of a defence splitting pass by Matt Ghodes.

Australia were awarded their first penalty corner in the 65th minute but could not convert.

As the seconds ticked away, Australia equalised two seconds before the hooter as Timothy Deavin, who will play for Malaysian Hockey League club KLHC, dived in to send a reverse stick hit into goal to salvage a point.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Black Sticks stay in contention for final berth



New Zealand set-up a crucial match against Australia on Saturday when they defeated India 2-0 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Thus with six points they will battle Australia in a winner take all match that could well decide the finalist.

Both the teams trooped onto the pitch with three points each and needed to win to stay in contention for a place in Sunday's final.

While the Black Sticks showed hunger, India were a subdued side as they lack the punch and hardly created moves that could trouble the Kiwi defence.

It was a boring first half as both the teams failed to create any goal worthy chances with play largely centered in the middle of the pitch.

But in the 40th minute, New Zealand opened scoring through Andy Hayward's penalty corner.

India won their first penalty corner in the 53rd minute but Rupinder Pal Singh failed to make it count.

However the Black Sticks made full use of their penalty corner in the 57th minute. The initial attempt by Andy Hayward was padded away by PR Sreejesh in the Indian goal.

But Cory Bennett picked up the rebound, evaded an Indian defender and sent a reverse stick hit crashing into the goal for a 2-0 lead.

Try as they did, India could not find their way past a resilient Kiwi defence.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Pakistan hold Malaysia



Malaysia were held to a 2-2 draw by Pakistan thus ensuring a granstand finish for the tournament as the finalists are yet to be decided.

Three teams are in the running for the two final slots, Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand.

There was not even standing space left when the match started, as more than 12,000 fans came to support the Malaysian team who only needed to beat Pakistan to play in only their fourth final.

Faisal Saari received a green card for a silly mistake in the second minute, but he made up for the folly in the sixth minute.

Malaysia played like they badly wanted to win the match, and earned their first penalty corner in the fifth minute.

Faisal's powerful low drive hit first runner Muhammad Waqas's leg and the deflection caught postman Muhammad Imran as the ball trickled through his lega and Malaysia had the lead they were looking for.

That boosted the confidence of the Malaysians and a concerted push upfront saw Malaysia win their second penalty corner in the ninth minute, but the first runner doused the attempt.

Faisal was all over the pitch, and for his untiring effort, he made another mistake in the 11th minute and was yellow carded.

Pakistan then won a string of penalty corners and in the 15th minute, Muhammad Imran finally perfected it for the equalsier.

There was no letting up on the remaining minutes of the half, as Malaysia kept attacking, but the side netting, as well as an off form Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, failed to produce a lead into the breather.

Malaysia were awarded their sixth penalty corner in the 40th minute. But the Pakistani custodian Imran Butt cast aside his indifferent form early in the tournament to deny Malaysia yet again.

Malaysia won their 8th penalty corner in the 53rd minute and this time Mohd Razie Rahim made no mistake, despite a heroic effort by Imran, for Malaysia to lead 2-1.

Malaysia then won three penalty corners but failed to extend their lead.

Pakistan forced a late onslaught and forced their fifth penalty corner in the 67th minute but Kumar was once again the stumbling block.

And the tired Malaysians sighed in relief when the final whistle went.

Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site



Malaysia let Pakistan escape

By JUGJET SINGH



Malaysia’s Mohd Noor Nabil Fiqri (right) and Pakistan’s Irfan Muhammad vie for the ball in their match yesterday. Pic by Supian Ahmad

MALAYSIA let Pakistan off the hook by sharing the spoils in a 2-2 draw in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.

Now, the hosts must beat India in their last match tomorrow to cement their spot in the final.

There was not even standing room left when the match started, as more than 13,000 fans came to support the Malaysian team who needed to beat Pakistan to play in only their fourth final.

Faizal Saari received a green card for a silly mistake in the second minute, but he made up for the folly in the sixth minute itself.

Malaysia played like they badly wanted to win the match, and earned their first penalty corner in the fifth minute.

Faizal's powerful low drive hit postman Imran Muhammad's leg, and went between Waqas Muhammed's legs for the first goal.

That was the signal his mates needed, and a concerted push upfront saw Malaysia win their second penalty corner in the ninth minute, but the first runner doused the attempt.

Faizal was all over the pitch, and for his untiring efforts, he made another mistake in the 11th minute and was yellow carded.

Pakistan then won a string of penalty corners and in the 15th minute, Muhammad Imran finally perfected it for the equaliser.

There was no letting up on the remaining minutes of the half, as Malaysia kept attacking, but found the side netting, as well as an off form Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, and failed to produce a lead into the breather.

Five minutes into the second half, Malaysia were awarded their sixth and seventh penalty corners but still failed to break the deadlock.

Number eight was the lucky number in the 53rd minute, as Razie Rahim sent the ball crashing into the net for his first goal of the tournament.

The crowd, sensing that Malaysia were on the winning path, started doing the Mexican Wave as Malaysia attacked relentlessly looking for a bigger lead.

But Pakistan drew level again in the 63rd minute, when Shafqat Rasool tapped in the easiest goal of the tournament, and Malaysia had to share points with them.

"I believe this is the best match that we played since January, but the scoreline did not reflect it. I saw total commitment, and discipline in the players and this is what I want from them in every match," said Malaysian coach Paul Revington.

Malaysian skipper Shahrun Nabil was equally dissapointed with the score: "Now our mind is set on winning every match, and when we don't is is very painful for all of us as we gave our very best. But rest assured, our last match against India will also be a cracker, and we will play to win it."

In another match, New Zealand beat India 2-0 to keep their hopes alive of playing in the final, as they now need to beat Australia in their last match tomorrow.

India were a jaded side, as the Kiwis punished them in the 40th minute off Andy Hayward's penalty corner. And in the 57th minute, Cory Bennett picked up a penalty corner rebound to make sure.

Australia, on the other hand, displayed poor form and needed a 70th minute equaliser to draw 3-3 with South Korea.

The Koreans took the lead off Nam Hyun Woo (34th), but Australia were back level in the 41st minute when Joshua Miller scored.

Nicholas Budgeon scored an own goal in the 43rd minute, and Lee Seung II earned Korea's third in the 55th minute.

Miller then reduced the deficit in the 58th, and Timothy Deavin scored the equaliser with just eight seconds on the clock.

New Straits Times



Malaysia now need a draw against India to book berth

By S. RAMAGURU



On his way: Faiz Helmi Jalil goes past a Pakistan player during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match yesterday.

IPOH: Malaysia squandered the chance to qualify for the final of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Pakistan at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday.

Malaysia were on course for a ticket to the final until they allowed Pakistan to snatch the equaliser late into the game.

Earlier, Australia and South Korea played out a 3-3 draw which leaves the Aussies and the Malaysians needing a draw in their last match to qualify for the showdown.

Meanwhile, defending champions New Zealand put themselves back in contention for a final berth with a 2-0 win over India.

The Kiwis will play Australia while Malaysia meet India tomorrow.

Malaysian coach Paul Revington was happy with the performance of the players but felt they should not have squandered their lead.

“There is still the match on Saturday for us to get a result. It will be tough as India will be out to beat us. But the players have made me proud with this performance and I believe that we have what it takes to play at this level,” said Revington.

It was the Malaysians who started off strongly and in the sixth minute earned their first penalty corner. Faizal Saari scored with a low attempt for his third goal of the tournament.

Pakistan earned three penalty corners in a row from the 11th minute and they made good with their third attempt in the 14th minute with Mohamed Imran getting the better of Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar with a direct attempt.

The second half saw action from end to end with both sides using their speed in their counter attacks.

Malaysia again took the lead in the 53rd minute with Mohamed Razie Rahim scoring off a penalty corner. But just as the Malaysians were taking command of the match, Pakistan earned their fifth corner and Shafqat Rasool scored to make it 2-2.

Meanwhile, defending champions New Zealand stayed in the hunt for a final berth.

Two second half goals was enough to give the Kiwis full points. Andy Hayward was on target in the 40th minute off a penalty corner while Cory Bennett scored in the 57th minute to beat a lacklustre India.

Now the Kiwis must beat world champions Australia to secure one of the final berths.

World champions Australia were forced to wait until the outcome of their last match tomorrow to know their fate for a final berth after South Korea held them to a 3-3 draw in an earlier match.

In fact, the Australians had to come up with a last minute goal to earn the draw. The Koreans led for much of the match and unfortunately a last minute penalty corner put paid to their hopes of full points.

The Koreans took the lead in the 35th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Nam Hyun-woo.

Joshua Miller pulled a goal back in the 40th minute but a scramble in the D in the 44th minute saw an own goal scored by Nicholas Budgeon giving the advantage back to the Koreans. Lee Seung-il then added the third goal.

Miller reduced the deficit in the 58th minute and then came the drama as in the very last minute Timothy Deavin scored with the last penalty corner of the match by diving down to deflect in a shot.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth said that they had themselves to blame as they allowed the match to get out of hand.

“We didn’t play well in the first half and that probably cost us in the end. I am happy that we managed to get a draw, as that is better than a defeat. But still there were instances in the match where we should have put away the chances.

“It is difficult when you play a team who are overly defensive. It is a good learning curve for the players. That’s why we are here anyway,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia



Malaysia's unbeaten run continues, hold Pakistan 2-2 in Azlan Shah

IPOH (Malaysia): Giant-killers Malaysia held Pakistan to a 2-2 draw to continue its unbeaten run in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Thursday.

The draw means Pakistan are out of the final race along with India and Korea. Both Korea and Pakistan have four points from as many matches, while India could manage only three from four outings.

Both hosts Malaysia and Australia are atop the leader-board with eight points each from from four matches. New Zealand, with six points from four outings, is the only other team in the race for a place in Sunday's summit clash.

To seal their final berth, New Zealand need to beat Australia in the Trans-Trasman clash on Saturday.

For both Australia and Malaysia, a draw in their final round-robin games will be enough to seal their place in the final. The hosts will be up against India in the final match on Saturday.

Against Pakistan today, Malaysia surged ahead in the sixth minute of the game, courtesy a penalty corner conversion by Saari Faizal from the first of the 11th short corners they earned in the game.

Pakistan equalised through captain Imran Muhammad, who converted his team's third penalty corner in the 15th minute.

But Malaysia again restored their lead through Rahim Muhammad Raize, who converted their eight penalty corner in the 53th minute.

Trailing by a goal, Pakistan raised their game and equalised in the nine minutes later 63rd time through a beautiful field goal by Shan Ali.

The Times of India



Golden chance for Malaysia to win maiden SAS Cup

B. David


Ipoh - Hosts Malaysia, who have never won the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament, have a golden chance to win the 22nd edition here on Sunday, if they keep their form going for another two matches. The team displayed quality hockey under the new South African coach Paul Revington and looks good for their maiden victory.

But in Australia they have a hard nut to crack. They may take solace with two key Aussie strikers in the injured list – Timothy Bates and Daniel Beale. On the other hand, defending champions New Zealand managed to bounce back into contention by beating a young India and with both the table toppers Australia and hosts Malaysia settling for a draw on Thursday, it is a golden chance for the Kiwis to make to the finals if they can beat a Australia in the final round-robin league on Saturday.

All the three teams have a chance to enter the final and fight for the Cup while Pakistan, India and Korea had to be content with the minor placings. The Kookaburras with two wins and two draws have eight points in their kitty and need only a draw against the Kiwis to enter the title match while New Zealand are in a must-win situation.

Meanwhile, hosts Malaysia are in a better position as they will be playing their last match against India after the Australia-New Zealand game and will be aware of the situation. Only if Australia lose to New Zealand, Malaysia have to beat or draw with India.

Only if Australia and Malaysia lose their matches, New Zealand will top the pool and Australia will go through on better goal average.

The ever-smiling Indian coach, Michael Nobbs, is happy with the performance of the boys. He feel that the team is confident and were not bogged down by the loss to New Zealand.

"As I said earlier, the boys are learning and playing good quality hockey. Translating that into results will take time. Patience in the key word and I am willing to wait and see them develop into match winners,’’ he said.

"We will still have a chance to go to the podium if we can beat Malaysia and that is our goal. With the home crowd turning up in full numbers the pressure will be tremendous and our youngsters will have a good learning experience. They will know what pressure is. It is good for them to play such matches. They did well against Pakistan and there is no reason why they can’t do it again," he added.

"This whole tournament is a chance for me to watch the boys, identify grey areas and rectify the mistakes. The boys are learning how tough it is at this level and it is a good learning process. We will go all out for a win and a good placing," he concluded. Malaysia coach Paul Revingon said that he was extremely happy with the way the team has come up thus far in the tournament.

"We had a tough match against Pakistan. It is always difficult to play quality teams like Pakistan and it was one of the best matches in the tournament so far. This is our best chance to go for the title. I don’t want the players to relax. Last year in the Champions Challenge we beat Korea in the pool matches but lost in the crucial knock-out stage. So we are focused not to make the same mistakes and the team is all egged up for the final stretch,’’ he said.

"India is a very strong opponent. Though they are a young team they have played quality hockey and we respect them. India is a dangerous opponent on any day. We will try our best. We have been playing well in the last five minutes and we will try to keep it up," he added.

"Even if New Zealand beats Australia, we will not relax against India as we would like to go to the final in a winning mood and for us every match is important. My main goal is to bring Malaysia back into the elite and to qualify for the senior World Cup. We have the Asia Cup in August and the World Series Hockey in our mind," he said.

Stick2Hockey.com



Pakistan lose chance for final despite draw

By Fawad Hussain



After losing the chance to stay in contention for the final match of the Azlan Shah Cup, Pakistan will now face South Korea tomorrow in the hopes of taking home a bronze medal. PHOTO: FILE AFP

KARACHI: After two back-to-back defeats, Pakistan’s hockey team paid the price when they made an exit from the Azlan Shah Cup despite a gallant 2-2 draw against hosts Malaysia in Ipoh.

The greenshirts paid for their consecutive defeats against Australia and India as a nail biting must-win game ended in a draw against Malaysia and could not salvage them a place in the final.  With just a match against South Korea remaining, Pakistan with four points have no chance to surpass Australia and Malaysia who are favourites to play the final with eight points each.

A dominant performance from hosts

Malaysia, who needed a win to seal their place in the final, dominated the match right from the beginning.

Backed by a packed home crowd, the hosts launched the game with an attacking play and just took five minutes to win a lead on a penalty corner through Faisal Saari.

They continued to test Pakistan’s defence and took their second penalty-corner in the ninth minute, but failed to capitalise this time. However, the greenshirts rebutted with a strings of penalty-corners by making successive counter attacks. It was captain Mohammad Imran who found the equaliser by scoring on the 15th minute penalty-corner.

Malaysia accelerated to regain lead and made several attacks but Pakistan’s defence managed to hold a 1-1 score-line at the breather. The hosts maintained their aggressive style of play and won the sixth of their tenth penalty-corner, five minutes into the second session.

Goal-keeper Imran Butt, who had been witnessing a slump in his form in earlier matches, excelled to block the attempt yet again. However, Pakistan failed to hold the hosts for long as they struck their eighth-penalty corner with Razie Rahim scoring in the 53rd minute to elevate Malaysia to a 2-1 lead.

However, experienced Shafqat Rasool saved face for Pakistan by netting in the 62nd minute to draw the game.

Despite loss, chief coach not disappointed

Despite the disappointing exit, Pakistan’s chief coach Akhtar Rasool gave a thumbs up to his team’s show against Malaysia.

“I am content with their performance,” Rasool told The Express Tribune from Ipoh.

“It’s never easy to fight back after losing big games. The way this young team played after losses against Australia and India is commendable.”

Rasool, a former Olympian, added that he was not disappointed that Pakistan’s run at the Azlan Shah Cup had ended.

“There is nothing to be disappointed about. These young players have started showing improvement and in fact we are happy.”

However, Pakistan’s failure to reach the final drew flak from former Olympians.

“The campaign turned out to be a failure,” said former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh.

“Pakistan entered the tournament as the second-best ranked team after Australia. In spite of showing improvement they fell to lower-ranked teams, which is a setback.”

Chief coach Akhtar Rasool

It’s never easy to fight back after losing big games. The way this young team played after losses against Australia and India is commendable

Ex-Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh

Pakistan entered the tournament as the second-best ranked team after Australia. In spite of showing improvement they fell to lower-ranked teams, which is a setback

The Express Tribune




Pakistan out of final race in Azlan Shah hockey



IPOH: Pakistan held Malaysia to a 2-2 draw here on Thursday but they were out of the race of final in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament.

Thus, the match ensured a grand stand finish for the tournament as the finalists are yet to be decided.

Three teams are in the running for the two final slots, Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Malaysia played like they badly wanted to win the match, and earned their first penalty corner in the fifth minute.

Faisal's powerful low drive hit first runner Muhammad Waqas's leg and the deflection caught postman Muhammad Imran as the ball trickled through his leg and Malaysia had the lead they were looking for.

That boosted the confidence of the Malaysians and a concerted push upfront saw Malaysia win their second penalty corner in the ninth minute, but the first runner doused the attempt.

Faisal was all over the pitch, and for his untiring effort, he made another mistake in the 11th minute and was yellow carded.

Pakistan then won a string of penalty corners and in the 15th minute, Muhammad Imran finally perfected it for the equalsier.

There was no letting up on the remaining minutes of the half, as Malaysia kept attacking, but the side netting, as well as an off form Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, failed to produce a lead into the breather.

Malaysia were awarded their sixth penalty corner in the 40th minute. But the Pakistani custodian Imran Butt cast aside his indifferent form early in the tournament to deny Malaysia yet again.

Malaysia won their 8th penalty corner in the 53rd minute and this time Mohammad Razie Rahim made no mistake, despite a heroic effort by Imran, for Malaysia to lead 2-1.

Malaysia then won three penalty corners but failed to extend their lead.

Pakistan forced a late onslaught and forced their fifth penalty corner in the 67th minute but Kumar was once again the stumbling block.

The News International



Pakistan out of final race with Malaysia draw

IPOH: - Pakistan were held to a 2-2 draw by Malaysia which means an end to their hopes of reaching final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Thursday.

In the first match of the day, Korea lost a golden opportunity to stay alive in the event after conceding an equaliser just 10 seconds before the final whistle while defending champion New Zealand remained in contention after defeating India 2-0. Now three teams are in the running for the two final slots Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand.

There was not even standing space left when the match started, as more than 12,000 fans came to support the Malaysian team who only needed to beat Pakistan to play in only their fourth final. Faisal Saari received a green card for a silly mistake in the second minute, but he made up for the folly in the sixth minute. Malaysia played like they badly wanted to win the match, and earned their first penalty corner in the fifth minute. Faisal's powerful low drive hit first runner M Waqas's leg and the deflection caught postman M Imran as the ball trickled through his legs and Malaysia had the lead they were looking for.

That boosted the confidence of the Malaysians and a concerted push upfront saw Malaysia win their second penalty corner in the ninth minute, but the first runner doused the attempt.

Faisal was all over the pitch, and for his untiring effort, he made another mistake in the 11th minute and was yellow carded.  Pakistan then won a string of penalty corners and in the 15th minute, Imran finally perfected it for the equalsier.  There was no letting up on the remaining minutes of the half, as Malaysia kept attacking, but the side netting, as well as an off form Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, failed to produce a lead into the breather.

Malaysia were awarded their sixth penalty corner in the 40th minute. But the Pakistani custodian Imran Butt cast aside his indifferent form early in the tournament to deny Malaysia yet again. Malaysia won their 8th penalty corner in the 53rd minute and this time Mohd Razie Rahim made no mistake, despite a heroic effort by Imran, for Malaysia to lead 2-1.  Malaysia then won three penalty corners but failed to extend their lead. Pakistan got their equaliser through Shafqat Rasool in 63rd by forcing a late onslaught and forced their fifth penalty corner in the 67th minute but Kumar was once again the stumbling block. And the tired Malaysians sighed in relief when the final whistle went. New Zealand set-up a crucial match against Australia on Saturday when they defeated India 2-0. Thus with six points they will battle Australia in a winner take all match that could well decide the finalist. Both the teams trooped onto the pitch with three points each and needed to win to stay in contention for a place in Sunday's final.

While the Black Sticks showed hunger, India were a subdued side as they lack the punch and hardly created moves that could trouble the Kiwi defence. It was a boring first half as both the teams failed to create any goal worthy chances with play largely centered in the middle of the pitch. But in the 40th minute, New Zealand opened scoring through Andy Hayward's penalty corner. India won their first penalty corner in the 53rd minute but Rupinder Pal Singh failed to make it count. However the Black Sticks made full use of their penalty corner in the 57th minute. The initial attempt by Andy Hayward was padded away by PR Sreejesh in the Indian goal. But Cory Bennett picked up the rebound, evaded an Indian defender and sent a reverse stick hit crashing into the goal for a 2-0 lead. Try as they did, India could not find their way past a resilient Kiwi defence.

Korea held Australia to a 3-3 draw but really it was three points lost then one gained as Korea led till two seconds from the end. The draw thus puts Korea out of the running for a place in the final. "We were not in the match at all in the first half and really should have done better. The draw has made things more difficult especially since we are playing New Zealand on Saturday," said Australian coach Ric Charlesworth.

"The umpiring was not up to mark and we were denied a few penalty corners and even a stroke. And the Korean style of playing is this match is not good for hockey as a whole as all they did was throw the ball with overhead and have lots of defenders. But we did not play up to expectations and now have made things difficult for ourselves. The heat was terrible today."

Results

New Zealand    2 India    0
Malaysia    2 Pakistan    2
Australia    3 South Korea    3

The Nation



Fighting Pakistan hold Malaysia 2-2


According to former great Shahnaz Sheikh, Pakistan employed a flawed game-plan which eventually decided their fate. -File photo by AFP

IPOH: Pakistan played one of their best matches in the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to come back twice to force a 2-2 draw with Malaysia but their efforts were not enough to ensure a podium finish for them even with a game to go.

Hosts Malaysia are in the driving seat for a place in the final and despite being second in the table with eight points, they only need to avoid defeat against India, who are already out of contention, in their final group game on Saturday.

In a match witnessed by more than 12,000 cheering fans, hosts Malaysia took the lead through Faizal Saari and Mohamed Razie Rahim, while Muhammad Imran and Shafqat Rasool were the scorers for Pakistan.

According to former great Shahnaz Sheikh, Pakistan employed a flawed game-plan which eventually decided their fate.

“The Pakistan team-management used a game-plan in the Azlan Shah Cup which could have been a hit with megastar players like legendary Olympians Samiullah or Hasan Sardar but with the contemporary players, it was destined to be a flop. The players were too far away from each other and had not choice but to play an individual game under the circumstances. They should have moved across the field as a unit. Their long passes were constantly being intercepted and hence they kept losing possession,” Sheikh told PPI after the game.

“Pakistan should have proved its fifth standing in the world and second seeding in the tournament. But it failed to win matches even against much lower-ranked teams. They even lost to India, who were defeated by everyone else,” he added.

Pakistan will now face Asian rival South Korea in the last league match.

In the other games of the day, table-toppers Australia drew 3-3 with South Korea and lead Malaysia on goal difference but have to next play New Zealand, who beat India 2-0 to revive their hopes of getting into the final.

The resurgent Kiwis have won their last two games to claim six points and need a win against Australia.

If Australia loses, they will be cheering India on in the next game as they will drop out if Malaysia gets a result.

Defending champions New Zealand sealed their win over a lacklustre India after breaking the deadlock in the second half.

Andy Hayward scored the first goal in the 40th minute and Cory Bennett contributed the second in the 57th.

New Zealand coach Colin Batch said it was always good to win back-to-back matches.

“It was a good performance from the players and we played according to plan,” he said.

Australia could have sealed their final place but will need a result on Saturday after their draw with South Korea.

The Koreans were the early aggressors but it was only in the 35th minute that they took the lead through Nam Hyun-Woo, and were a minute from clinching their second win when the Kookaburras found the net with their last hit of the ball.

Australia managed to pull level in the 41st minute through Joshua Miller, however three minutes later their hard work came undone with an own goal after a scramble in the D after a penalty corner attempt from the Koreans.

The world champions reduced the deficit in the 58th minute with Miller netting his second goal, then came the last minute attempt as they earned a penalty corner in the 70th minute and Timothy Deavin dived to deflect the shot into goal and earn a point for his team.

Dawn



Tim Deavin Saves the Day in Malaysia

Kookaburras draw with Korea 3-all


The Kookaburras needed a win in their penultimate group game against South Korea to progress to the final of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia. Tim Deavin’s late goal saw them fight back to record a 3-3 draw.

The result saw coach Ric Charlesworth lambast the umpires and label them ‘atrocious’ and call for video referrals. “Without referrals the results will not be a true reflection of the game,” he said post match.

Australia conceded two early penalty corners that South Korea failed to convert, before Daniel Mirecki was set up by Aran Zalewski, but his shot sailed into the net the wrong side of the post.

Australia’s game was patchy. They put together cohesive attacks with good passing movement in patches, yet it was South Korea who was forcing the most scoring opportunities.

The siren had sounded for the end of the first half when South Korea took a penalty corner, George Bazelely saved but his save saw the ball lifted and so South Korea had a second opportunity.  On this occasion Nam Hyun Woo was the drag flicker and he beat Bazelely to see South Korea go into half time with a 1-0 lead.

In the 41st minute Australia equalized. Hammond drove the ball into the circle and Josh Miller was on hand to divert it past Lee Myung Ho in the Korean goal for his first international goal and draw the Kookaburras level.

It took South Korea just two minutes to restore their lead. Jung Man Jae smashed a ball into the circle that was headed for Lee Seung Hoon at the back post. Nicholas Budgeon managed to get between Lee and the ball but his body position saw him deflect the ball past Andrew Charter and into his own goal.

As has been the norm for the Kookaburras Bazeley and Charter had swapped goalkeeping duties at half time. Charter pulled of two key saves before he was beaten again and Korea stretched their lead to 3-1.

South Korea won their sixth penalty corner of the match. They opted for a variation and the ball felt to their captain Lee Seung Il who smashed the ball past Charter to score.

Australia had 15 minutes left to resurrect the game and try and book their direct passage into the final on Sunday, a win would guarantee them that. In the 58th minute great control by Matt Gohdes at the to of the circle saw him slide a clever pass to Jacob Whetton, who drew Lee Myung Ho before squaring a pass to Josh Miller to score his and Australia’s second.

With ten minutes to go South Korea looked to defend their one goal advantage and allowed Australia back into the match. Australia won two penalty corners but just as they had against Malaysia failed to convert. Time was slipping away.

With ten seconds left on the clock the ball was driven into the circle from the left, the Korean captain Lee Seung Il blocked but while making sure the ball did not strike his feet let it roll away from his stick. Tim Deavin pounced. One touch to take it further away from Lee, and then diving he managed to guide the ball past Lee Myung Ho and Australia, literally in the dying seconds had managed to salvage a draw.

With Malaysia playing out a 2-2 draw with Pakistan the two teams to play off for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will not be decided until the final group matches on Saturday.

Australia need a win against Trans Tasman rivals New Zealand, who beat India 2-0. A win could see the Black Sticks progress and put them in the position to defend their 2012 title. A loss for Australia will mean they will have to wait on the result of the game between Malaysia and India, as the host nation and the Kookaburras are currently level on points. If both teams lose it could come down to goal difference as to who contests the final.

The next game for Australia is against New Zealand on Saturday 16th March at 6.05pm Malaysia time.

Australia 3 drew South Korea 3
Australia Goals: Josh Miller (41 FG/58m FG), Tim Deavin (70 FG)
Korea Goals:  Nam Hyun Woo (35 PC), Nick Budgeon (43m OG), Lee Seung Il (55m PC)

Hockey Australia media release



Australia-Korea match ends in a 3-3 draw

IPOH: Six-time champions Australia huffed and puffed to hold Korea 3-3 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament on Thursday.

The second consecutive draw for Australia has thrown open the doors for other teams to keep their hopes alive.

However, the draw has not done any good to Korea as they needed nothing short of a win to remain in contention.

Korea struck through their dependable penalty corner specialist Nam Hyun Woo, who made amends from his earlier two misses, with a rasping low grounder just at the half time.

Trailing by a goal, something which had not happened in this edition, rattled the Australians. True to form and expectations, the team bounced back throwing all its weight in the attack.

The long clearance from the Robert Hammond was well anticipated by Joshua Miller and in a trice he deflected the ball into the net.

The 41st minute goal lifted the Aussie spirits but it was the Koreans, who forged again in fortuitous circumstances.

A long hit from the right by Jung Man Jae was deflected in by Aussie defender Nicholas Budgeon in his desperate attempt to clear.

Thereafter, the Korean attack was in full flow and they struck gold through their sixth penalty corner for their third goal by skipper Lee Seung.

Down but not ready to give anything away, the Aussies came up with twin strikes. First Joshua Miller made capital use of a pass from Jacob Whetton to score a field goal in the 58th minute, while Timothy Deavin added another field goal, his efforts synchronising with the final hooter.

The Koreans ploy of slowing down the proceedings worked wonders on a day when the Australians really missed the services of injured Timothy Bates and defender Daniel Beale.

That Korea forced as many as five penalty corners in the first half itself was a reflection of the domination they enjoyed on the higher-rated opponents. For all they siege in the first half, the Koreans had to wait till the last minute of the first half to forge ahead.

The Times of India



Black Sticks keep hopes alive at Azlan Shah Cup

The Black Sticks Men have set-up a crucial match against Australia having defeated India 2-0 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup last night in Ipoh, Malaysia.

With a win against India and six points in the bag, the Black Sticks will play Australia in a winner takes all match that could well decide the finalist. Last night’s game was a must-win, with both teams on three points they needed the victory to stay in contention for a place in Sunday's final.

“It was another pleasing outcome, a really gutsy team performance. We are building the depth within this group and trying to improve with every game we play,” said head coach Colin Batch.

“We had a couple of opportunities that we could have put away in the first half, but it was not to be. What was pleasing is we didn’t have a lull at the start of the second half, we came back on hungry and scored two goals. The win now sets us up for a showdown against Australia tomorrow."

It was a scoreless first half, the Black Sticks were hungry for the ball and untroubled in defence, but neither team created many opportunities.

New Zealand made it count in the second half when Andy Hayward clocked up his third goal of the series from a penalty corner drag flick which went low to the goalkeepers right in the 40th minute.

The Kiwis' second goal came in the 53rd minute when the initial attempt by Hayward was blocked by Indian goalkeeper Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh, but new Black Stick Cory Bennett picked up the rebound, evaded an Indian defender and sent a reverse stick hit crashing in the goal for a 2-0 lead.

“We lost possession and there was quite a lot of turnover ball late in the second half, so we will review this and look at how it can be improved going forward,” said Batch.

Goalkeeper Hamish McGregor was noted as a standout player and the midfield trio – Arun Panchia, Marcus Child and Blair Hilton – continued to impress coaches. Bennett was awarded man of the match.

Australia and Malaysia remain top of the table on eight points with Malaysia set to play India tomorrow. The Black Sticks are on six points followed by Korea and Pakistan on four and India on three.

If you missed last night’s game, it will be replayed at 2.30pm today on Sky Sport 2. The game against Australia is at 11pm tomorrow night live on Sky Sport Highlights.

New Zealand 2 (Andy Hayward, Cory Bennett)
India 0
Halftime: 0-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks men remain in final contention

New Zealand men's hockey team coach Colin Batch is demanding improvements to their turnover rate in tomorrow's must-win match against Australia at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

The Black Sticks remain a chance to defend their title in Ipoh after defeating India 2-0 last night, their second win in succession after opening with two losses.

Moving to six points, world No 6 New Zealand, missing a number of experienced players, will battle second-ranked Australia (eight points) in a winner-take-all match that will decide at least one finalist.

New Zealand must win the match to advance, though Australia could lose and still make the final if Malaysia, who are also on eight points, lose to India.

New Zealand are the only other team that can crash the final match party. South Korea and Pakistan sit on four points and India three.

Batch described the performance against India as "gusty" but said improvements would be required against the Australians tomorrow (11.05pm NZT).

"It was another pleasing outcome. We are building the depth within this group and trying to improve with every game we play," he said.

"We had a couple of opportunities that we could have put away in the first half, but it was not to be. What was pleasing is we didn’t have a lull at the start of the second half, we came back on hungry and scored two goals.

"We lost possession and there was quite a lot of turnover ball late in the second half, so we will review this and look at how it can be improved going forward."

In a scoreless first half, the Black Sticks were hungry for the ball and untroubled in defence, but neither team created many opportunities.

New Zealand made it count in the second half when Andy Hayward clocked up his third goal of the series from a penalty corner drag flick which went low to the goalkeeper's right in the 40th minute.

The Kiwis second goal came in the 53rd minute when the initial attempt by Hayward was blocked by Indian goalkeeper Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh, but new Black Stick Cory Bennett picked up the rebound, evaded an Indian defender and sent a reverse stick hit crashing in the goal for a 2-0 lead, his second goal in as many matches.

Goal keeper Hamish McGregor was noted as a standout player and the midfield trio - Arun Panchia, Marcus Child and Blair Hilton - continued to impress the New Zealand coaches.

In the earlier match, Australia and South Korea drew 3-3, while hosts Malaysia and Pakistan drew 2-2 in the later game.

Stuff



New Zealand outplay India

s2h team


A spirited second play gave the fitter and perfect New Zealand a befitting 2-0 win over young Indian side today at the Azlan Shah Cup.

Indian goalie PR Sreejesh put up again a great show which helped India remain clean slate when the sides changed for the lemon time.

Even he could not offer anything when Andy Hayward struck, a perfect grounder off the first PC of second half.

This 40th minute goal clearly upset the loath Indians, whose forwardline, barring Malak Singh, was anything but ordinary. Even as Akashdeep Singh and captain Danish missed a couple of easy looking opportunites, C Bannet added to Indian woes when he lapped on to the rebound of NZ's fourth penalty corner in the 57th minute.

India had two penalty corners but the process was not good enough to beat the tight NZ defence.

India is now walloping in the fifth place with just 3 points and -2 goal difference.

Stick2Hockey.com



India lose 0-2 to NZ, out of Azlan Shah Cup final race

IPOH (Malaysia): India's hopes of qualifying for the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament went up in smoke after they crashed to their third defeat in the event, losing 0-2 to defending champions New Zealand in their must-win penultimate round-robin match on Thursday.

Five-time champions India needed a victory to stay in the competition, instead it was the Black Sticks who scored two second half goals to keep their flag flying in the tournament.

New Zealand struck through Andy Hayward from their second penalty corner in the 40th minute before Cory Bennett took the match out of India's reach, scoring the team's second goal in the 55th minute.

Despite the 3-3 draw against Korea earlier in the day, six-time champions Australia are still atop the leaderboard with eight points from four games, followed by hosts Malaysia (7 points) and New Zealand (6), who has leapfrogged to the third spot by virtue of the win over India.

Korea have four points from as many games just ahead of India (3 points). Pakistan, who play Malaysia later on Thursday, are still in the fray but to remain in the hunt they will have to win their remaining two games of the tournament.

On the contrary if Malaysia beat Pakistan on Thursday, the hosts will be the first team to book its place in Sunday's final. In that case, New Zealand will have to beat Australia in their final round-robin game on Saturday to make the title clash.

Having won only one match (against Pakistan) out of the four they have played so far, India are out of the reckoning and will take on Malaysia in their last league fixture on Saturday. India had earlier lost to Australia and Korea in their opening two games.

It was New Zealand who had the first look at the Indian goal but forward Stephen Jenness' shot was kept away by in-form Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.

It was an evenly contested opening half with both India and New Zealand producing a couple of scoring chances, only to deny by their respective defensive lines.

Indian custodian Sreejesh, in particular, was brilliant in the first half as he pulled off numerous saves, including a double save just 10 minutes from the break.

After a barren opening half, the Indians made a lively start but it was the Black Sticks who had the first shot at the goal.

Hayward gave New Zealand the lead in the 40th minute from their second penalty corner with a powerful, angling low flick which beat Sreejesh all ends up.

Jolted by the goal, the Indians tried hard to get their acts together and strapping Nitin Thimmaiah injected some life into the Indian attack. He was complimented well by the energetic runs of Chinglensana Singh down the left flank.

The Indians almost managed to restore parity through Dharamvir Singh, but his turn-around hit from Thimmiah's defence splitting cross just sailed over the New Zealand bar.

But New Zealand were in no mood to let their guard down and came up with break-away moves to hassle the Indians.

A delectable reverse hit by Blair Hilton from a tear-away cross on the left by Stephen Jenness was of the top-draw variety but it skidded out brushing the near post.

In search of the equaliser, the Indians managed to earn a penalty corner in the 52nd minute but Rupinder Pal Singh's straight flick was not good enough to test New Zealand goalkeeper Hamish Mcgregor, who also denied Dharmvir Singh from the subsequent rebound.

Benett took the game away from India when he scored from a rebound after Hayward's initial flick, from New Zealand's third penalty corner, was saved by Sreejesh.

India's chief coach Micheal Nobbs said his wards were just not upto the mark against New Zealand on Thursday.

"The disturbing factor was to see the boys missing out on elementary things like dropping the call and not marking the man in penalty corner conversions. We played far below our potential. We did not even play 50 per cent of the way we played against Pakistan," Nobbs said.

"There is still a match (against Malaysia) to go for the boys to learn. This edition of the tournament from out our point of view was to identify talents for the Junior World Cup and to some extent the purpose has been served," he insisted.

New Zealand coach Colin Batch said his team played a better brand of hockey on Thursday.

"The Indians played far below than what they churned out against Pakistan. I am happy with the performance of our boys and there is the big task of pulling it across Australia in our final match," he said.

The Times of India



Michael Nobbs: We don't have players to win crucial matches

B.David


Despite India losing out to New Zealand today, Indian coach Michael Nobbs was happy with the performance of the Indian players, even as he regretted the team does not have players who can win crucial matches.

"We have good players but we don't have players to win crucial matches such as today.

Nobbs however hasten to add his eyes are set on future

"As I said before, you have to remember that 10 of our players are below 21 years. Any other country with 10 of their junior players, would have conceded many more goals," he felt.

"Our purpose of coming here is to use Azlan Shah tournament as a platform to get experience and develop players in tough match situations. And to that extent, I am very happy that the players are learning and they are learning fast," he said. "These are all young and they now understand that they have to work hard despite the talent. If they have to take the places of established players like Sardar Singh, Birendra Lakra or Raghunath, they have to work hard, improve and show consistency. Towards that end this tournament is of great help,'' he said.

"This team can do much better and I am sure in six months time they will be more mature and developed players.

Now our goal is the World Cup qualifiers (HWL Semifinals) and then the Junior World Cup. Definitely after that, a few of these boys will graduate to the senior team for the senior World Cup," he quipped.

Stick2Hockey.com



India-Pakistan hockey series called off after govt's objection

NEW DELHI: The diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan has yet spilled over to the sporting arena as the Indian government has refused permission for a home-and-away bilateral hockey series between the two countries on security grounds.

A top source in Hockey India on Friday said that they have received a communication from the Ministry of External Affairs asking it call off the bilateral series.

"The bilateral series between India and Pakistan has been cancelled as the Ministry of Exeternal Affairs did not give us permission. The MEA had sent a fax to us yesterday, asking us not to host Pakistan or travel to the country for the series," said a source.

The Pakistan's hockey team was scheduled to tour India next month for five Test matches, which would have revived the bilateral hockey ties between the two traditional rivals in nearly seven years.

Pakistan was expected to play matches in the cities of Ranchi, Lucknow, Delhi, Mohali and Jalandhar between April 5-15.

After Pakistan's visit, the Indian team was scheduled to pay a return visit and play five matches in Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi and Sialkot from April 23.

Pakistan and India last played a bilateral hockey series in 2006 -- three matches in each country. Pakistan won three and lost one while the remaining two were drawn.

The cancellation of the hockey rubber came close on the heels of an abandoned bilateral snooker series between India and Pakistan earlier this month following Government's objection.

The Times of India



India cancel bilateral hockey series with Pakistan: reports

KARACHI: The Indian government has called off the bilateral hockey series between India and Pakistan amid diplomatic tensions, reports in the Indian media said.

The Press Trust of India quoted a top official in Hockey India who said that the Ministry of External Affairs did not give permission to the national hockey team to visit or host Pakistan.

“The bilateral series between India and Pakistan has been cancelled as the Ministry of Exeternal Affairs did not give us permission. The MEA had sent a fax to us yesterday, asking us not to host Pakistan or travel to the country for the series,” the source was quoted as saying.

However, the Pakistan Hockey Federation did not corroborate the story when contacted by Dawn.com and said nothing had been communicated to the federation officially.

Pakistan and India were set to resume bilateral hockey ties after seven years.

Pakistan were supposed to play matches in the cities of Ranchi, Lucknow, Delhi, Mohali and Jalandhar between April 5-15 wile the Indian team were to pay a return visit and play five matches in Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi and Sialkot from April 23.

Both countries have won 11 Olympic hockey titles between them and ruled the Games arena for decades, with India winning eight and Pakistan three.

But both have slumped at the international level in the last few years as Pakistan finished a poor seventh at the London Olympics last year where India ended at their worst 12th and last.

Pakistan and India recently met in ongoing Azlan Shah Cup where the Greenshirts were beaten 3-1.

Dawn



Who remembers this day?

K Arumugam




38 summers ago this day turned out to be a red-lettered day in the Indian sports. A team prepared under patronage of a State government – it was due to internal feud between two factions of Indian Hockey Federation, a familiar affair even nowadays - a low key team that lost to a Pan-American team in the pool shrugged off its lethargy in time and went on to win the World Cup, defeating two Asian giants, one in the semis others in the final.

On its way it had to defeat reigning Olympic Champions in the pool and the team that it won the final was the defending champions.

Indian hockey, a great survivalist, won the 1975 World Cup in Malaysia where at present Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is being staged.

A substitute to Micahel Kindo, Aslam Sher Khan’s 65th minute penalty corner stunner that brought Malaysian semis 2-2 to full time and then how the incomparable left winger Harcharan Singh on his own struck the winner in the extra time to take India to the final, and then in the final how a shot that Ashok Kumar unleashed hit the board and returned in quicksilver fashion catching umpire K. Vijiyanathan -- then the organizing secretary of the World Cup itself -- a split second delay to understand what had happened before his watchful eyes before doing what he was expected of – whistling for the goal – which ultimately turned out to be winner and the like are stuff of the march 15 1975 final, veritable folkfore stuff, but, are we Indians anymore interested in all these?

In this social media times, where original stuff is subjected to ‘copy and paste’ torture from content, concept and images to everything, creating peak of plagiarism each passing day, we take pride in wishing those 16 players who brought laurels to the country – and reminding others of this important day, with a sad note that none of the print media put out a single line on this only World Cup victory.

We also observe neither do Hockey India nor Indian Hockey Federation, who fight over 5 years to claim their 'rightful' legal status as hockey's guardians, take note of this historic day and did anything in commemoration thereof.

We are happy that at least one World Cup 1975 hero, Brig HJS Chimni, is doing something on hockey today.

He is Organizing Secretary of the ongoing Maharaja Ranjit Singh Cup tournament, whose semifinals will be held today.

Unless a nation remembers and takes lesson from its past glory, there is no way we will have a pride in being worthy citizen.

Stick2Hockey.com



1975 hockey WC heroes to relive memories on 38th anniversary

NEW DELHI: India's 1975 hockey World Cup winning team members will assemble in Betul, Madhya Pradesh on Friday to revisit the glorious chapter they had written 38 years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

It was exactly on March 15, 1975, when the Indian hockey team created history by lifting its first and only World Cup by beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final.

And the living members of the side has planned to celebrate the day by revisiting the memories in a theatre in Betul.

Accusing the national federation of giving a cold shoulder to their achievements, the members of the 1975 World Cup-winning team have arranged a get-together on their own in Betul on Friday.

Ashok Kumar, who scored the winning goal in the final, made his displeasure obvious by stating that the World Cup-winning side did not get its due recognition.

"Our hockey officials should recognise our achievement. They must do something to restore the past glory. After all, we have the lone World Cup for India," said Kumar, son of legendary Dhyanchand.

"We have got the full recording of the final match against Pakistan played on March 15. We have booked a cinema hall and will see the full match on big screen. All the 13 living members of the World Cup team are coming. There will be a small get together where we will remember that historic win," he said.

Cash awards and sponsorships might be the order of the day for sportsperson excelling in international arena today, but Kumar said players of their generation were only hungry for recognition and not financial rewards.

"I got two increments of Rs 50 each from my employer Indian Airlines where I worked for 37 years. The total cash prizes from different state government were Rs 50,000," he said.

"How many know that we won the WC on 15th March? How many know about the team members while every single achievement in cricket is glorified. We did not follow the path and I am afraid that future generation will forget our achievement," Kumar added.

Captain of the 1975 World Cup-winning side Ajitpal Singh feels that they did not get due recognition for their achievement because of the absence of technology in those days.

"There was really tough competition in hockey those days so our win was a great achievement. It is our bad luck that TV, internet or other mediums were not there in those days. People don't even know us by face. Today, in the era of TV, internet, facebook, twitter it is all so easy," he said.

Aslam Sher Khan, who had soared the all-important equaliser in the dying moments of the semifinal against Malaysia, too rued the fact they did not get due recognition for their for their feat.

"I still remember the match against Malaysia. A national holiday was declared that day and there was instruction for Indians based in Malaysia to support the host team," he recollected.

"Our biggest prize was the love and respect we got from the countrymen but it is unfortunate that despite winning the World Cup, not many of our teammates were considered for Arjuna award," he said.

Malaysia was leading 2-1 when Aslam came in for Micheal Kindo and scored the equaliser eight minutes from the hooter. India eventually went on to win the match 3-2 in extra time.

"After that match, a number of Indian supporters came to greet the team outside our dressing room. Even a lathi charge by police could not dampen their spirit," Aslam recalled.

"We were welcomed like heroes at Madras airport and after that we visited 13 cities throughout the country and played exhibition matches. Stadiums used to be jam packed in those matches. I remember that Raj Kapoor had once offered me lead role in his upcoming movie when we played against Bollywood team at the Wankhede stadium," he said with nostalgia gripping his voice.

The Times of India



Swiss official to arbitrate in IHF-HI row

By V Narayan Swam
y

BANGALORE: In another attempt to solve the burning issue of hockey governance in the country, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has suggested the formation of an arbitration committee under Swiss Olympian and International Rowing Federation president Denis Oswald.

Oswald, 66, a Swiss rower who took part in three Olympics from 1968 and now part of the International Olympic Committee, and other committee members will hear both Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation before conveying their verdict to FIH's executive board. A decision on who will get the hockey reins in the country will be decided by FIH's Congress later, it is learnt.

Sports ministry sources felt the move was constructive. "We have been trying to solve the power struggle between IHF and HI for many years now. Oswald's appointment is obviously a good step. The ministry will accept the decision made by the arbitration committee," the sources said.

As instructed, the ministry may also submit the committee's report to the Supreme Court.

Last year, IHF had rejected a similar attempt by the Indian Olympic Association as it felt that the committee headed by former Wrestling Federation of India chief GS Mander would not do a fair job as the panel members were involved in the collective decision by IOA to disaffiliate IHF in 2008. With IHF failing to present their version, the Mander Committee voted HI as the legitimate body.

Even now, IHF is sceptical about FIH's move. "We received a letter from FIH stating that Oswald would be the chairman of the committee. They have asked for our approval and said they would name the other two members later. We will take a decision on the matter by this week," IHF sources told TOI.

The venue and dates of the hearing is yet to be decided, it is learnt.

The Times of India



Players held to ransom as officials play tricks

By Sudheendra Tripathi


MUMBAI: Sixty two Mumbai hopefuls turned up for a selection trial of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF)-conducted senior nationals, in Bangalore, from March 25, at 8 am, on Thursday. But they couldn't use the MHA facility as the gates were bolted.

Eager to help the players, IHF officials called up BN Mote, deputy director of the District Sports Office. But when that too didn't work, the players started training close to the parking lot, where one of them was gravely injured.

It is curious as to why DSO's intervention was sought when the nationals are being conducted by the IHF.

True, the MHA and DSO are embroiled in an eviction controversy and the matter is sub-judice, but the MHA is the sole custodian of the facility till a judgment is passed. Furthermore, IHF has derecognised the MHA as its affiliate only recently. MHA is now affiliated to Hockey India (HI), sans voting rights.

It is also strange why IHF officials chose not to communicate with MHA before using the premises to conduct selection trials. After all, it is the IHF that had derecognised MHA as an affiliate. Despite the controversy, MHA had graciously permitted the IHF to conduct a selection trial at their premises. In a letter written to the DSO, which was signed by secretary Ram Singh Rathore, the MHA offered to help, provided a proper list of players and officials who would conduct and attend the trials was submitted.

The IHF, however, failed to send any such list. "Some players approached us seeking our intervention to help facilitate selection trials at the MHA. We promptly wrote to MHA asking for permission. Their reply was affirmative and immediate. But the IHF officials didn't forward us a list. Players' interest is our main objective. DSO, in any case, isn't directly involved with IHF," Mote told TOI on Thursday.

Rathore, on his part, said, "We wrote to the DSO and extended our support for the selection trails. But how can one expect us to allow 50-odd people in our premises when we are clueless about their identities?

"We are in a dispute with the DSO and the matter is in court. Till a judgment is passed, we are custodians of this premise. What if some miscreants, posing as players, damage the turf? Who, but us, would be responsible," Rathore asked. In this battle of one-upmanship between two warring factions, a player was seriously injured, no selection trials were held and hockey, as usual, suffered.

The Times of India



MHA bars hockey players from practising at its ground

MUMBAI: Ignoring a letter from Maharashtra's deputy director of sports, the Mumbai Hockey Association on Thursday refused to allow 50 hockey players of the state to practise at its ground as after they failed to submit their details with the MHA.

"We have given them in writing that we are ready to give the ground but the only thing is that we want the details about the players. We are saying we want to follow certain procedures so that the ground is taken care of properly," MHA secretary Ram Singh Rathor said.

"We got a letter from NB Mote, the deputy director of sports in Maharashtra that a few players from Mumbai team wanted the ground for practice. They wanted to participate in ahead of Indian Hockey Federation's National Championship that was to be held from March 15. So we gave them official permission but requested them to provide the names of the players and the officials.

"We don't know anything about the team. We don't know the manager or the coach. If someone else comes instead of them and if the pitch is damaged then who will be responsible for that? We need some record to know who will be coming," he said.

The players had contacted Maharshtra's deputy director of sports, asking him for a ground to practice before the IHF Nationals.

"They say the event was postponed but we had no official communication from IHF or Karnataka Hockey Association stating that the National tournament which was supposed to be held from March 15 is postponed," Rathor said.

"The competition has been lingering on since May 2012. It is happening since 2012 and getting postponed each time. Even this time if it is postponed then there should have been some official communication," he added.

The Times of India



Browne’s Canterbury hunts play-off spot

Nigel Simon


England-based T&T men’s hockey team ace Kwandwane Browne and his Canterbury club face two must-win matches in their England Hockey League Premier Division if they are to qualify for the play-offs.

On Sunday last, Browne was among the goals for Canterbury, but it was not enough to stop his team from going under to East Grindstead, his former club, 3-2.

After a 0-0 first-half, Adam Jordan scored seven minutes into the second half for East Grindstead to lead 1-0, but Browne, who missed T&T’s FIH World Hockey League Second Round Qualifiers in Brazil earlier this month due to club commitments, got his team even seven minutes later.

Within two minutes of Browne’s goal, Niall Scott restored East Grinstead’s advantage while Andy Piper made it 3-1 in the 59th before some late pressure by Browne and his Canterbury teammates resulted in an own goal by their opponents, who managed to hang on for the win.

Despite the loss, Canterbury stayed joint fourth on the ten-team table with Cannock on 24 points each and two matches left to play while East Grindstead is a point behind in sixth.

At the top and already assured of a top-four qualification spot is Beeston, which trounced Southgate 6-0 to improve to 40 points, 14 clear of second-placed Surbiton which spanked third-placed Reading (25 points) 5-2.

In the two other Premier Division matches played on Sunday, cellar-placed Brooklands MU edged Loughborough Students 3-2 and Hampstead & Westminster pipped Cannock 2-1.

Going into the final two matches of the 18-match regular season, Canterbury will be aiming to hold onto fourth position with victory over a Southgate side which desperately needs a win to stay clear of bottom of the table Brooklands MU.

The other key matches on Saturday sees Surbiton vs Hampstead & Westminster, Reading vs Loughborough Students, and Cannock vs East Grindstead.

The Trinidad Guardian



Star-studded Terengganu optimistic of at least a title

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: Debutants Terengganu, powered by six national players, are optimistic of winning at least one title in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) which begins on March 22.

The team will be led by national skipper and midfielder Mohd Shahrun Nabil, who is currently playing in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.

The other national players in the squad are defender Azlan Misron, midfielders Mohd Fitri Saari and Jivan Mohan and forwards Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Mohd Amerullah Abdul Aziz.

They have also roped in goalkeeper Khairulnizam Ibrahim, who is in the national training squad and Project 2013 keeper Azrul Faiz Ahmad Sofi.

The rest of the players are from the team who won the Razak Cup in Kuantan last September. Terengganu have emerged as the new powerhouse in hockey as they also won the Sukma (Malaysia Games) title in Kuantan last July.

Terengganu team manager Mohd Saberi Salleh said they decided to enter a team for the MHL after the splendid outings in the Razak Cup and Sukma last year.

“We have taken over from Kuala Lumpur as the new hockey force. Although we will be making our debut in the MHL, we are confident of winning one title,” said Saberi, who is also the Terengganu HA secretary.

“We have enough depth in every department to put up a strong challenge in the league.

“We have been training since January and currently the players are going through intensive training to prepare for the league which begins next week,” said Saberi.

Besides Terengganu, six other teams who will play in the Premier Division of the MHL are double champions KL Hockey Club (KLHC), Tenaga Nasional, Maybank, Sapura, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Nur Insafi.

Saberi said that KLHC and Tenaga Nasional are the two teams who can pose a big threat to Terengganu’s hopes of winning a title.

Seven teams will feature in Division One. They are Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI), Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Uniten-KPT, UiTM, Sunday 2030, Ipoh City Council (MBI) and TNB-Thunderbolt.

The final of the MHL is slated on May 12.

The Star of Malaysia



US Boys National Indoor Tournament Huge Success

There was pure excitement surrounding the boys and mens courts during the 2013 National Indoor Tournament. A total of 56 athletes participating in two divisions showed up in Richmond, Va., March 1-3.

“This year was a huge success and a big improvement from last year,” said Andrew Thornton, Men’s National Indoor Team Head Coach. “All the games drew large crowds, which created a great atmosphere. I look forward to next year’s event and the continuation of participation in field hockey for boys and men in the USA.”

“This tournament was the most memorable weekend of my coaching career,” said Chris Pothier, owner of Cape Ann Coalition. “Being so involved with the creation, planning and preparation of my team along with playing aside them is what made the weekend so memorable.”

Pothier explained Cape Ann was not the strongest, skilled or most experienced team on paper but they had the will to win.

“We did not go into the tournament with the goal of winning,” said Pothier. “Our goal was to learn and have fun, which inevitably set us up for success. It proves that unselfish play and teamwork qualities definitely worked in our favor”.

USA Field Hockey would like to thank everyone who was involved in the boys and men’s divisions this year. Thank you to all of the athletes and coaches for volunteering their time to mentor the younger players. As we move forward in promoting men’s field hockey nationwide, we ask you to stay actively involved in the process.

If you know of any leagues or tournaments that offer boys programming, contact the Sport Development Team at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

USFHA media release



Smith secures Aussie deal

From MERESEINI MARAU in New Delhi, India


AFTER his outstanding performance in the Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi late last month, top Fijian hockey player Adrian Smith has secured another overseas contract.

Smith will be leaving for Melbourne in Australia at the end of this month to  play for the Brunswick Hockey Club.

He displayed top form hockey when playing against top international teams in India.

His skills and flair when playing in the World League were recognised when he was awarded Player of the Match against China, even though Fiji lost.

The Fiji Times



Hockey wants more grassroots development

Rashneel Kumar



Peter Lothian (left), the Third Secretary of the Australian High Commission, watching the first game of the new season with Dr Robin Mitchell at the National hockey Centre in Suva last night. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

THE Fiji Hockey Federation (FHF) will invest the grant it received from the Australian High Commission in the development of grassroots level in the outer islands.

The $A10,000 ($F18,526) was yesterday presented to the federation by the Third Secretary to the Australian High Commission Peter Lothian to take the sport to Levuka, Taveuni, Savusavu and Labasa.

Lothian also opened the new season of the Business House Season One competition at the National Hockey Centre in Laucala last night.

FHF president Doctor Robin Mitchell said they wanted to capture the interest of budding hockey players and develop them into the stars of the game.

He thanked the commission for the timely grant in re-igniting the interest in the sport in these areas.

"We will continue with the work we started and part of our plan is to focus on the base because we have small number of players in Suva and a few in the West," Mitchell said.

"Our first stop will be Levuka where we got schools which are still strong and we want to capture them early."

Dr Mitchell hopes Fiji's participation at the FIH World Hockey League Round Two in Delhi, India last month would bring more interest among people of these areas.

He also said they had an Olympic Solidarity scholarship for coaching clinics which would be held next month in Nadi.

Meanwhile, the Australian High Commission has also given grants to the Fiji Surfing Association and Australian Rules football (AFL) Fiji.

The Fiji Times



New Focus for Hockeyroos star Fiona Boyce

Fiona Boyce Retires from International Hockey




2012 London Olympian Fiona Boyce has retired from international duties at the age of 25, electing to focus her energy and time on a legal career at Herbert Smith Freehills.

The Perth born athlete has represented the Hockeyroos internationally on 100 occasions. She debuted on home soil on the 7th of July 2009 in a test match against Germany and scored her first international goal against Great Britain in June 2010.

Fiona made the hard call on Friday 15 March 2013 after training, saying "I no longer feel that I am able to fully commit to the program requirements and make the sacrifices that I believe each athlete needs to make for the continued improvement and success of the Hockeyroos."

"I would like to thank my teammates, the coaching staff, Hockey Australia, WAIS, my family, fiancé and friends for their incredible support. In particular, I would like to thank my parents and brothers. I would not be the player or person I am without their love and support."

Fiona’s coach for the majority of her career, Adam Commens says “Fiona is a player that put an enormous amount of effort into training and playing at the top level, and her professionalism was something that provided an example to the rest of the playing group.”

Commens praised her commitment and dedication to playing elite hockey - “her work ethic and discipline meant she gave herself the best opportunity to get the most out of her ability.”

“We wish Fi all the best in her future endeavours and hope that she is as successful in her work career as she was for the Hockeyroos.”

Major Achievements

Represented the Hockeyroos at the 2009 Champions Trophy in Sydney where she won a silver medal;
Represented the Hockeyroos at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, bringing home the gold medal;
Represented the Hockeyroos at the London 2012 Olympic Games, finishing 5th.

In 2011, Fiona Graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Law/Commerce.

Hockey Australia wishes Fiona all the best in her career.

Hockey Australia media release



GB OLympic hockey hero tops golf rostrom at La Manga Club

Chloe Rogers, left with England teammates Nicola Clarke, Ann Hynes and Jayne Errington. (Photo: Saffron Walden Reporter)

LONDON 2012 Great Britain hockey bronze medallist Chloe Rogers showed that she’s also more than handy with a set of golf clubs by helping England register a third successive win in the prestigious Ladies Golf Cup World Final at Spain’s La Manga Club.

Rogers, who plays off a handicap of four at Braintree Golf Club, had no trouble swapping her hockey stick for golf clubs and played a leading role as England held off nearest challengers Thailand to claim victory in the 36-hole competition.

The 27-year-old Leicester Ladies star, who has won more than 160 combined caps for England and Great Britain, won both her matches on La Manga Club’s famous fairways and was one of only two players to score maximum points at the international event.

Entering the final day on the resort’s renowned South Course, Rogers and her three teammates – Ann Hynes from Burhill GC, Enmore’s Jayne Errington and Nicola Clarke from Castle Royle GC – held a slender one-point advantage over their rivals from Thailand, with Portugal three points further back.

With each nation represented in four four-balls and points awarded on a sliding scale with the top Stableford scorer in each group receiving three points, there was plenty to play for and Thailand started strongly, levelling the scores when their leading player claimed a maximum return.

But the England quartet, who were sponsored by Callaway, Tommy Hilfiger and Golf Queen, were in no mood to surrender their title and scored strongly in the remaining matches, culminating with a second maximum from Rogers as they finished on 18 points, three ahead of Thailand.

Rogers tweeted immediately after the victory: “We can report on a team England victory. Event great fun!”

Ben Lambourne, UK licensee for the Ladies Golf Cup, said: “The La Manga Club resort lived up to all its expectations and provided a wonderful platform with all its five-star facilities to ensure everyone enjoyed a memorable experience. Hats off to England for completing a hat-trick of victories at the world final.”

More than 1,500 ladies took part in the 2012 competition, with four winners qualifying from each country and earning a trip to Spain to enjoy the first-class facilities La Manga Club has to offer on and off the course.

La Manga Club is one of Europe’s leading golf destinations with three first-class courses. It has previously been the venue for numerous high-profile competitions, including the Spanish Open and Ladies European Tour Final Qualifying, and recently hosted the 2013 Spanish International Amateur Championship.

Saffron Walden Reporter