News for 02 April 2013

All the news for Tuesday 2 April 2013


EHL Semi Final line-up completed

Bloemendaal & Amsterdam join Rot-Weiss & Dragons at Final Four



Amsterdam H&BC defeated Berliner HC in the Euro Hockey League Quarter Finals in Amsterdam. (Photo: Euro Hockey League / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Two sparkling matches brought the curtain down on a sensational four days of hockey at the Wagener Stadium, with HC Bloemendaal and host club Amsterdam H&BC sealing their place in the Euro Hockey League Semi Finals with superb wins. The Dutch sides will join Germany’s Rot-Weiss Köln and KHC Dragons of Belgium in the EHL Final Four tournament, which takes place 18-19 May at a venue which will be confirmed in the coming days. 

HC Bloemendaal became the third team to qualify for the Final Four tournament thanks to a 4-1 Quarter Final triumph over Beeston. The English team proved to be worthy opponents for the Dutch hockey giants, but goals from Pelle Vos, Chris Ciriello (2) and a brilliant reverse stick strike from Wouter Jolie gave Bloemendaal victory.  It was the perfect result for HC Bloemendaal legend Teun de Nooijer, who will be aiming to end his playing career in style by adding a second EHL title to his collection at the Finals tournament in May.

Amsterdam H&BC booked their place at that event with a hard earned win against Berliner HC of Germany. Following goal-less first and second quarters, the match burst into life when Berliner’s Robert Marx opened the scoring before Mirco Pruyser and a sensational solo effort from Santi Freixa gave Amsterdam a 2-1 lead. Berliner’s Kevin Lim tied the scores just before the end of the quarter, but Pruyser claimed his second and Amsterdam’s third in the final period to give the host club a fine victory. 

The fact that two teams from the same nation have reached the Semi Finals has triggered a change in the Schedule for Euro Hockey League’s Final Four event. Under EHL rules, if two sides from the same nation qualify for the Final Four, they must face each other in the Semi Finals. Therefore, Amsterdam will meet Bloemendaal in the next phase, with Germany’s Rot-Weiss Köln going head-to-head with KHC Dragons of Belgium.

More information about all the games including video highlights of all the matches from the weekend can be found at www.ehlhockey.tv, the official website of the Euro Hockey League.

Euro Hockey League media release



Beeston beaten as EHL semi final line-up confirmed


Ollie Willars in action for Beeston in the Men's EHL

Two sparkling matches brought the curtain down on a sensational four days of hockey at the Wagener Stadium, with HC Bloemendaal and host club Amsterdam H&BC sealing their place in the Euro Hockey League Semi Finals. The Dutch sides will join Germany’s Rot-Weiss Köln and KHC Dragons of Belgium in the EHL Final Four tournament, which takes place 18-19 May at a venue which will be confirmed in the coming days.

EHL Review:

HC Bloemendaal became the third team to qualify for Euro Hockey League’s Final Four tournament thanks to a 4-1 Quarter Final triumph over Beeston. The Midlands team proved to be worthy opponents for the Dutch hockey giants, but goals from Pelle Vos, Chris Ciriello (2) and a brilliant strike from Wouter Jolie gave Bloemendaal victory.

It was the perfect result for Teun de Nooijer, the legendary Bloemendaal star who will be aiming to end his playing career in style by adding a second EHL title to his collection.   

Beeston – who have dominated proceedings in the English National League this season – made life extremely difficult for their illustrious opponents in the first quarter of the match and could easily have taken the lead with a couple of early penalty corners.  However, there was no way past ace Bloemendaal goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann, who produced fine saves from Simon Egerton and Oliver Willars.

Bloemendaal certainly had chances of their own in the first period, with Roel Bovendeert and the ageless De Nooijer looking lively before they scored the game’s opening goal in the 17th minute. Australian international defender Chris Ciriello was the architect, firing a searching pass into the Beeston penalty area that was brilliantly touched into the net by Pelle Vos.

Bloemendaal had arguably the better of the second quarter, although Stockmann was called into action once again when he produced a magnificent stick save from Adam Dixon’s low penalty corner flick. At the other end, Roel Bovendeert was guilty of missing two clear scoring opportunities in the period, with Bloemendaal going into half time with a slender 1-0 advantage.

The Dutch team stepped up their game considerably in the third quarter but could not find a way past inspired Beeston goalkeeper George Pinner, who made numerous high quality saves to keep his team very much in the game.  However, a brilliant final quarter performance from Bloemendaal ensured that the Semi Final berth would be going the way of the Dutch club.

Bloemendaal scored their second and third goals of the match in the 57th and 58th minutes. Chris Ciriello slammed home a penalty corner drag-flick before Wouter Jolie scored the best goal of the game, starting a move in his own half before joining the attack and unleashing a sensational reverse stick shot to make it 3-0.   Beeston gave themselves a lifeline when Oliver Willars produced a smart finish from a penalty corner re-bound with ten minutes remaining, but a second penalty corner from Ciriello two minutes from the end sealed Bloemendaal’s place at EHL Final Four.

EHL Man of the Match: Matthew Swann (HC Bloemendaal).

England Hockey Board Media release



George Pinner denied

By Graham Wilson



Goalkeeper George Pinner did his best to keep the Dutch at bay

BEESTON have walked the England League by a mile but breaking through into the European elite is proving a frustrating journey.

The Nottingham club travelled to Amsterdam to knock out their English rivals East Grinstead 3-2 and earn the right to play Bloemendaal, the aristocrats of Dutch hockey.

But that quarter-final of the Euro League challenge was where it all came to a halt yesterday, the Bees going down 4-1.

The game hinged on a controversial penalty corner that saw Bloemendaal take a 2-0 lead after GB goalkeeper George Pinner had kept the Dutch at bay.

That ended all English hopes after national champions Reading had beaten Rotterdam to reach the last eight but lost 5-1 against KHC Dragons of Belgium.

English women’s champions Leicester put up a brave fight in the European Champions Cup. They lost 2-1 to Dutch champions Lauren and won 2-0 against Atasport of Azerbaijan but their 1-1 draw against Rott-Weiss of Cologne put them out of semi-final contention.

The play-off was cancelled because of bad weather.

Canterbury’s 3-2 win over Cannock secured third position in the  men’s England League and a place in the play-offs with Beeston, Surbiton and Reading.

Daily Express



Final day defeats for England Boys

ENGLAND Under-18 Boys lost out 4-2 to hosts Spain in their final match of the Easter Four Nations Tournament in Valencia on Easter Monday.

The Spanish scored three goals in the first half, and this proved to be the backbone of their victory. Although England battled back with some strong periods and out-scored their hosts in the second period, it was not enough to avoid a defeat which leaves them fourth in the tournament.

“It was disappointing to finish fourth,” said Manager Martin Langston. “The team’s effort, energy and commitment were outstanding but we need to learn a few more lessons tactically to make the step up that we will need to as we move forward to the Europeans this summer.”

Spain took the lead after 18 minutes through Guillermo Puente Vieco. The ball was played into the circle and only half cleared, while Vieco was on hand to latch on to the loose ball and score under goalkeeper Peter Phillips.

They doubled their lead three minutes later when, from their first penalty corner, the same player fired in. Phillips got his body in the way of the goal, but the deflection trickled into the net.

Five minutes before the break Spain added a third goal, Xavier Gonzalez Elola flicking high and right from a penalty corner.

England hit back in the 34th minute, when Matthew Richards smashed the ball home into the bottom left corner after the initial shot had been blocked but rebounded out into his path.

Spain continued their pressure with a 56th minute penalty corner from Elola again, who flicked high and right.

James Gall netted England’s second on 62 minutes after being fed well by James Albery. Gall moved out to make space, and hit a back space shot into the top of the goal.

England had further chances to close the gap, including a Jonny Ruiz deflection which hit the post, but the score remained unchanged.

* Despite scoring the first and last goals of the game, England Under-16 Boys went down 2-7 to the Netherlands in the third/fourth place play-off match in the Easter Four Nations Tournament in Valencia on Easter Monday.

After playing well for long periods against Germany earlier in the competition, England were left disappointed after failing to beat the Dutch.

“This group of players have shown that they can compete,” said Head Coach Charlie Bannister. “But they need to start improving their concentration levels if they are to truly compete at international level.”

Jack Turner fired in a shot on goal after ten minutes, and it deflected in off a Dutch stick for an own goal which gave England the lead.

However, their lead lasted little more than a minute, and Jair Van Der Horst levelled with a field goal for the Netherlands.

Alex Laarman scored from open play on 25 minutes to give the Dutch the lead, and Bart Kronenberg scored from a penalty corner five minutes before half time to give his side a 3-1 lead at the break.

Kronenberg completed a hat-trick with further goals from penalty corners on 45 and 53 minutes, but the Netherlands didn’t ease off.

Tijn Stuve added a sixth goal on 64 minutes, again from a penalty corner. And Camil Papa added the final Dutch goal on 65 minutes when he drilled it home from the right hand side.

Jack Turner scored for England on 67 minutes when it was returned to him as the injector at a penalty corner, but it was too little too late for England.

England Hockey Board Media release



Mixed fortunes for England girls against Scotland


England U16 Girls - Anthem

ENGLAND Under-16 Girls finished third in the Easter Four Nations Tournament after beating Scotland 4-0 in the third/fourth place play-off at Lilleshall National Sports Centre on Easter Monday.

After tough games against the Netherlands and Germany in the previous two days, the team (pictured) really put into practice what they have learned, and were better able to respond to instructions from the coaching team.

With more time on the ball, they were able to control the game more than they were allowed to do against the eventual finalists.

“I was pleased with the girls’ performance,” said Head Coach Marc Bourhill. “They played nice hockey today and did everything that was asked of them.”

Alice Wills got England off to a great start with a goal in the fourth minute. Nicola Moss put in a good ball for Wills to guide into the net at the far post.

Just before the half time break they doubled their lead, Erica Sanders scoring from a penalty corner with a straight strike.

Chrissy Horn deflected home the third goal from a 40th minute penalty corner, and the scoring was completed by Naomi Kelly who scored with a drag flick at a penalty corner.

* England Under-18 Girls suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Scotland in the final game of the Easter Four Nations Tournament at Lilleshall National Sports Centre on Easter Monday.

Their rivals defended deeply, and England struggled to break through.

The breakthrough for Scotland came shortly before the half time break, when Emily Newlands scored from a 31st minute penalty corner with a straight strike.

England battled on well and positively, and changed systems in search of a way through. But they failed to break down a strong and resolute Scottish defence.

The team are next in action at the European Championships at the end of July, and the coaching team will have much to do at training camps before then.

England Hockey Board Media release



Scotland U18 Girls defeat England to win bronze medal

Scotland U18 Girls claimed a bronze medal finish in the U18 Four Nations tournament in Lillieshall following a 1-0 win over England.

In a strong defensive and disciplined display from Scotland, Emily Newlands was the eventual match-winner for the Scots after her strike from a penalty corner broke the deadlock in the 31st minute.

With Scotland limiting their English counterparts in front of goal, a resolute performance ensured that the squad took the bronze medal at the expense of the hosts.

Linda Clement, Scotland U18 Girls Assistant Coach, said, “Not only a good result [against England] but a good performance to match too. The girls have made pleasing progress throughout the duration of the weekend and we’ve been impressed by their ability to make improvements and willingness to learn.

“We can take plenty of positives from the four games this weekend with regards to moving forward to the Europeans in July.”

Earlier in the day, Scotland U16 Girls fell to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of England in the U16 Four Nations bronze medal match.

Bill Robson, Scotland U16 Girls Head Coach said, “Given that the players have played four games in four days and gave their all against the Dutch in a physically draining contest yesterday, it wasn’t surprising that we ran out of steam against England today.

“Many of these girls have another year at U16 level and there is plenty positives to take away from this weekend. It’s been a great experience for the players and I’m happy with the performances and effort the girls have produced.”

Alice Wills opened the scoring for the hosts in the fourth minute and England doubled their lead right on the stroke of half-time when Erica Sanders found the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Shortly after half-time, England extended their advantage further when Chrissy Horn made it 3-0 in the 40th minute. Naomi Kelly’s penalty corner strike rounded off the scoring to leave the final score 4-0 at full-time.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Browne’s Canterbury reaches playoffs

England-based T&T professional hockey player Kwandwane Browne and his Canterbury club sneaked into the English Men’s Hockey League Premier Division Championship semifinal playoffs on Saturday after a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Cannock in their must-win clash.

Canterbury entered the match in the fourth and final playoff spot with 27 points from 17 matches, one ahead of Browne’s former club, East Grindstead while third spot Reading, also not certain of qualification had 29 points from its completed 18-match schedule while Cannock was next with 24.

Daniel Coultas opened the scoring for Cannock as early as the eighth minute but Nathaniel Joy got Canterbury level four minutes later, while Huw Stevens fired in the go-ahead item in the 15th.

But that lead was shortlived as Cannock got back on even terms a minute later via Will Harris for a 2-2 half-time score.

Both teams were evenly match in the second-half until Michael Farrer fired in a 62nd minute winner for Canterbury to take all three points and end with 30, in third spot behind already qualifiers, Beeston 943) and Surbiton (32).

East Grindstead must now beat Southgate by 14 goals to finish Reading on goal-difference and secure the other semifinal spot.

The Trinidad Guardian



Optimism Ahead For The Women's National Program

U21 and Senior Teams trained through Easter Weekend


71 of Canada’s finest athletes gave up their Easter Weekend to assemble at Wright Field in Vancouver for The Women’s National Program and U-21 Identification camps. By all accounts, everyone from coaches to athletes and parents experienced a fantastic camp – the amazing weather was also a nice added bonus.

The purpose of the camp was to provide the best talent in the country an opportunity to showcase their skills and vie for national selection. The camp certainly accomplished this, as a great balance of athletes from savvy veterans to emerging juniors trained through the long weekend.

Optimism From the Coaches

The camp also provided a logical transition for Team Canada's preparations into the next three years leading up to the Olympics in Rio 2016. All accounts from new WNT head coach Ian Rutledge are positive:

"The athletes on display demonstrated a high degree of competence, application and commitment to a tough and demanding schedule. These attributes will serve Canada well in the Rio Cycle and beyond,“ said Rutledge.

Similarly, the U-21 Identification Camp served as the perfect starting point for developing Canada’s emerging stars. Under Rob Short, 33 junior athletes from British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario assembled for four days of skill development, fitness testing, training, and matches.

“I am very pleased with the group's efforts. From the match on day one, to the final match on day four, the improvements were very noticeable, and the competition level was of international standard.” said Short. “Thank you to everyone who helped to organize the camp. A huge thank you to all the athletes who showed such professionalism in their approach and their delivery on and off the field."

The 2013 National Women’s Squad will be announced in mid-April. From this squad, the respective Senior and U-21 teams will be selected for the upcoming 2013 competitions. Rutledge acknowledged that narrowing down and selecting athletes from the camp for the National training squad will be a very difficult task. However, it does bode well for the future depth of our talent pool. There’s a long path ahead, but the first few steps are positive ones.

Looking Ahead

The next entry point for players not selected or unavailable for this camp will be the Senior National Championships to be held in Brampton, ON from June 12 to 16, 2013. Rutledge will look to refine and improve the squad to build strong teams for the 2013 Junior World Cup in Germany, Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014, and the Pan Am Games, Toronto

2015. The ultimate goal is to become one of the 16 best in Rio 2016.

“I was impressed and encouraged by the commitment and dedication of our senior playing group, and their leadership demonstrated in promoting the development of a positive team culture where enjoyable hard work and the pursuit of excellence is fostered and encouraged.

Rutledge arrived in Vancouver three weeks ago to assume his new role as Head Coach of the Women’s National Program. It’s a fast paced introduction – leading straight into the National camps. “The success of the camps owe a great deal to their organization by Gene Muller, General Manager, High Performance and National Teams and Rob Short, Assistant Coach, Women’s National Team Program.

Thanks for a great camp!

Special thanks to Diane Gillis, Team Manager for her tireless efforts organizing logistics and executing every detail. Finally, thank you for the invaluable participation of the coaches: Paul Bundy, Assistant Coach, Men’s National Team Program and former National Team athletes Krista Thompson and Inderpal Sehmbi. Also, Gavin Leung, Athletic Therapist and Wil Lach, photographer, for their work in supporting Rob and Ian during the camps.

Field Hockey Canada media release



Terengganu in search of answers



Reality has finally dawned on Terengganu HT that life in the Premier Division of the TNBMHL is not a bed of roses. And the East Coast side is now looking to a change of fortunes having faced the stark reality that signing on established players will assure them of instant success.

In acknowledging this, Terengganu HT Team Manager and Hon. Secretary of Terengganu HA Mohd Saberi Salleh said that they were in the process of looking for a consultant to help the team in the coaching aspect.

But that does not mean that they have lost faith in coach Nik Rozemi Nik Mohammad, but prefer to have someone advise on tactics as well as provide a fresh impetus to the team.

"We are in search of a consultant that will help our coaches better plan the tactics as well as provide information while sitting in the stands. The other teams have such personel as well and do not rely solely on the coaches<' said Saberi when met after Terengganu HT were beaten 4-2 by Sapura on Sunday night.

"We have a good side and although there is a gap in terms of experience between the youngsters and the more senior players, that is no excuse to lose matches as we did tonight ( Sunday).

"Already there is a gap between us and the top two teams in the MHL and we cannot allow the gap to widen. Therefore we feel that the presence of an experienced person, who has knowledge of teams in the MHL, will help us plan our strategy better.

"We are learning on how to run a team in the MHL and need all the help we can get. We have identified a candidate and are talking to him but we also have two other experienced coaches on our radar."

Terengganu had a great start in the MHL when they held Tenaga Nasional Berhad to a 4-4 draw. But the season has gone all wrong for them following defeats at the hands of Maybank and Sapura. Their only win thus far has been against Nur Insafi Warriors.

With players in the likes of Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Fitri Saari, Azlan Misron, Mohd Shahrun Nabil, Ismail Abu and Ameerullah Aziz, Terengganu HT were expected to walk tall but are languishing at the wrong end of the table with only four points to show after four matches.

One of their biggest concerns is in the penalty corner area where they do not have the services of a reliable executioner and lack imagination in set-pieces as well.

And they need to get their act together for awaiting them this Friday in Kuantan is defending champions KL Hockey Club.

Unofficial MHL site



Pakistan flavour spices up league

By Jugjet Singh


IT turned out to be a Pakistani weekend in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) while million-ringgit team Terengganu finally realised their folly after four matches.

Sapura, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club and Maybank all relied on  imports to deliver the goals, while Terengganu fell yet again.

Terengganu had gone on a buying spree before the MHL started and netted national players Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Fitri Saari, Azlan Misron and Shahrun Nabil. Ismail Abu and Ameerullah Aziz were also good buys.

However, after a 4-4 draw with Tenaga, they lost 2-1 to Maybank and 4-2  to Sapura. Their only win was a  5-1 demolishing of  struggling Nur Insafi.

Terengganu's big mistake was not signing  a renowned  coach to guide  their big-name  signings.

Team manager and secretary of Terengganu HA Saberi Salleh confirmed that they are  in the process of looking for a consultant to help the team.

"But that does not mean we have lost faith in coach Nik Rozemi (Nik Mohammad).

"What we are looking for is  someone to advise the team on tactics as well as provide a fresh impetus," said Saberi.

"We have a good side, no doubt, and although there is a gap in terms of experience between the youngsters and the  senior players, that is not an excuse.

"Already there is a big margin between us and the top two teams in the MHL so  we cannot allow it to widen.

"Therefore, we feel that the presence of an experienced person who has knowledge of teams in the MHL, will help us plan our strategy better.

"We are learning   how to run a team in the MHL and need all the help we can get. We have identified a candidate and are talking to him."

And while Terengganu are  in the bottom bracket, the other teams are happy with  their foreign signings.

On Sunday, Sapura beat Terengganu with goals from Pakistan's Khasif Ali and Muhammad Zubair. KLHC powered past Nur Insafi 7-0 with Australian Timothy James, and Pakistan duo Umar Bhutta and Muhammad Imran (two goals) playing major roles.

As for Maybank, their 4-1 win against  UniKL came about thanks to  goals from Pakistan trio Shafqat Rasool, Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Imran.

Nur Insafi, with six Pakistan players in the side, are the only team yet to win a match.

New Straits Times



A crucial week in Kuantan for the premier teams

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: It may be still early days in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) but the battle lines are already being marked out in the Premier Division title chase.

Double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club lead the way with 10 points after four matches. They are followed by Maybank on nine and Tenaga Nasional on six.

KLHC and Maybank are clearly the early favourites with Tenaga, touted by many as potential champions, clearly losing their winning touch with three draws.

KLHC team manager George Koshy believes it’s still early days to predict who will emerge champions.

“I see every team in the Premier Division with a fighting chance for the title. We have yet to reach the halfway mark. Tenaga may have drawn a few matches but they are still very much a threat and a potential challenger for the title.

“Most of the teams have assembled a balanced team. Based on the results last weekend, we can expect more surprises in the coming weeks,” said Koshy.

All the seven teams will now move to Kuantan for this week’s matches. All three – KLHC, Maybank and Tenaga – will be involved in two matches each.

“One defeat can change the positions of the teams in the standings. We are not going to take anything for granted but to ensure we win our matches,” said Koshy, whose team will tackle Terengganu on Friday and Sapura on Sunday.

As for Maybank, they are down to play Nur Insafi on Friday and Tenaga on Sunday.

For Maybank coach Wallace Tan, he is quietly confident of winning the title this time around. The last time the Tigers emerged league champions was in 1995.

Wallace, a shrewd tactician, has retained the three Pakistanis – Shakeel Abbas, Mohamed Waqas and Mohamed Irfan – he hired last year. For this season, he added two more top players – Pakistani Shafqat Ali and national star Jiwa Mohan – to his squad. The rest are local players who have been with the team for the last few years.

“We have a more settled team this year. The difference this year is that the foreigners are able to merge well with the local players and we have more experience in the line-up. It’s important for us to keep pace with KLHC in the title chase,” said Wallace.

Tenaga coach Nor Azlan Bakar said it was disappointing to have drawn all their last three matches.

“It is back to the drawing board for my team. We are still searching for an answer. We had chances to score but failed to put them away.

“The good thing is that we did not lose any matches. But three draws are one too many. We need to win and our next two matches are very important.

“Dropping points will only increase the distance with the top two sides. There is simply no other way but to gain full points in Kuantan,” said Nor Azlan.

Both Koshy and Azlan believe the matches in Kuantan will provide a better assessment of the teams’ chance for the title.

“The Kuantan venue will be tricky as we have not played there before. So, it does not give any team a clear advantage.

“For us, staying at the top of the heap after this weekend will put us in the driving seat.

“But it will not mean the title race is over. It will just give the leaders the edge in the next six matches,” added Koshy.

The Star of Malaysia



Nomads Hockey Festival day 3 results

JONATHAN COOK


Results on the third and final day of the Nomads Hockey Festival, which formed part of the Maritzburg College 150th Anniversary Sports Festival.

St Johns 1 Selborne 1; Michaelhouse 2 St Andrews 1; Grey High 1 Jeppe 0; Hilton 5 KES 3; Wynberg 4 Maritzburg College 0; Pretoria Boys’ High 2 Millfield (UK) 2.

Maritzburg College 150th Anniversary media release