News for 19 April 2013

All the news for Friday 19 April 2013


Black Sticks take 1-0 win against USA


19 year old Michaela Curtis celebrates with Kyla Sharland. Photo credit: www.photosport.co.nz

Head coach Mark Hager admitted his side was lucky to come away with a win and says they will have to turn it up a notch when they take on Korea on Saturday if they want to confirm their spot in the final.

“We got lots of opportunities tonight but weren’t clinical and that is disappointing, we just aren’t playing as well as we were last week. Korea will come out and fight for it on Saturday so we need to perform much better if we are to make the final,” says Hager.

“I feel like the players tonight were trying too hard to impress and not doing the basics well. They are hoping it will happen rather than really making it sure it does, the USA are very strong in defence and they did well to shut us down in the circle."

The Kiwis had the majority of possession and ample opportunity to score in the first half but struggled to convert. Playing only her seventh test Curtis, aged 19, scored her third international goal tonight when she received the ball from Glynn and standing in front of the net, the Palmerston North striker slotted it home.

Taking a 1-0 lead into the second half, USA were the more dominant side in the second spell and it was thanks to some fortunate saves in defence that the score remained unchanged and New Zealand bagged the win.

The Black Sticks, along with Argentina, are now on four points ahead of Korea on three with the USA still to claim a win during this second leg of this Four Nations tournament. The Kiwis could get away with a draw on Saturday and still make the finals, but Hager has made it very clear that a win is what they are after.

All teams are using this tournament as preparation prior to the World League Semi-Finals which is the new World Cup qualification tournament. The USA and Argentina will compete in the semi-final in London while Korea and New Zealand will compete in the semi-final in Rotterdam in June.

The first half of the earlier Argentina vs Korea game was perhaps not as clinical as either side had hoped. Olympic silver medallists Argentina did a good job of holding possession and were 2-0 up at the break thanks to goals from Carla Rebecchi - her fourth of the tournament, and Noel Barrionuevo.

After the break, Barrionuevo got her second of the night before Young Ran Kim got her team on the scoreboard after converting a penalty corner and then scored again later in the half.

All teams have a rest day tomorrow and travel to Tauranga. On Saturday, the Black Sticks will face Korea at 3pm and Argentina will take on USA at 1pm before play-offs on Sunday. All games during the weekend will be streamed LIVE here on the Hockey New Zealand website.

RESULTS

New Zealand 1 (Michaela Curtis)
USA 0
HT: 1-0 to NZ.

Argentina 4 (Carla Rebecchi x2, Noel Barrionuevo x2)
Korea 2 (Young Ran Kim x2).
HT: 2-0 to Argentina.

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks lucky to get slender win

Coach expecting improvement for tomorrow's match.

By David Leggat



Anita Punt had a sound night for the Black Sticks. Photo / Christine Cornege

New Zealand had one of those "take the win and move on" nights in Hamilton last night.

Their squeaky win over the United States left them joint top of the Four Nations table after two of the three rounds, level with world No 2 Argentina, who comfortably saw off Korea in the early game.

Who plays off for first and second on Sunday will be decided in Tauranga tomorrow. A draw against the eighth-ranked Koreans will be enough to get world No 3 New Zealand into a position to follow last weekend's victory in Whangarei.

But after last night, best hold all tickets on that. They will need to pick their game up significantly after a performance against the world's 10th-ranked team which left coach Mark Hager distinctly underwhelmed last night.

The Black Sticks won their meeting in Whangarei 5-0; last night was a very different story, the only goal coming from 19-year-old Michaela Curtis, in her seventh international, early in the first half, after good leadup work from fellow striker Katie Glynn.

"We were probably lucky to get away with a 1-0 win to be honest," Hager said. "They dominated for long periods, our basic skills were quite poor and our ability to put sequences of passes together wasn't good - and we lost the plot with our structure."

The players can expect a tune up today. Hager was even pondering if this was an occasion where there's little point replaying the video at their debrief today.

He suspected a degree of over-confidence had crept in, especially after the last meeting between the teams. In one sense, five changes to the squad from last week's tournament didn't help, but there's a long-term aim about that.

"What we're hoping is they'd come in and give us energy," he said. "The best thing is we won and we're learning and developing some more players."

And Hager admitted had he been the US coach "I'd have been as gumpy as all hell. They lost a really good opportunity to knock us off."

Senior figures Anita Punt and Stacey Michelsen had decent games while goalkeeper Amelia Gibson had a good night. However Hager is clear on one thing: "If we play like that tomorrow the Koreans will beat us. We have to be better than we have in the last few games."

Argentina were 2-0 up at halftime against Korea, increased it to 3-0 and won well. Two goals apiece from Carla Rebecchi and Maria Noel Barrionuevo did the job for the South Americans, who have the easier path to the final, facing the US tomorrow. Young Ran Kim got Korea's goals.

The New Zealand Herald



Black Sticks women defeat USA 1-0 in Hamilton

ANTHONY MOMOEMAUSU



GOING IN HEAD-ON: New Zealand's Charlotte Harrison challenges USA's Caitlin Van Sickle for the ball during their match at the Four Nations tournament in Hamilton. Photosport

The Black Sticks women have notched up their first win in the Four Nations tournament with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over the United States at the Gallagher Hockey Centre in Hamilton.

After a 2-2 draw in their opening match against Argentina they hosts were made to work hard against a courageous US team.

It was a match the Black Sticks looked to be in firm control of with a first-half goal to striker Michalea Curtis - in her seventh appearence  - proving to be vital in the overall result.

The home side had several chances to increase their lead but visitors were up to the task on the defensive end, with the both sides going scoreless in the second half.

Beforehand Argentina were too strong for Korea winning 4-2 in a match that featured a number of penalty corners.

Goals either side of halftime by the Argentine pair of Carla Rebecchi and Noel Barrionuevo was enough to see the South American side home against a spirited Korean squad.

Korea's Young Ran Kim managed to bag a double of her own late in the match.

The four teams will have a rest day tomorrow as they head to Tauranga where each side will play another match with the final to be contested on Sunday.

New Zealand 1 (Michalea Curtis) USA 0. HT: 1-0

Argentina 4 (Noel Barrionuevo 2, Carla Rebecchi 2) Korea 2 (Young Ran Kim 2).  HT: 2-0

Stuff



Black Sticks fortunate to beat USA, says Hager

ANTHONY MOMOEMAUSU



DANGEROUS BREAK: Anita Punt applies a burst of speed to get around USA defender Maxine Fluharty during the Black Sticks' 1-0 win. Photosport

The women's Black Sticks have notched their first win in the Four Nations tournament with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over the United States at the Gallagher Hockey Centre in Hamilton.

After a 2-2 draw in their opening match against Argentina, the hosts were made to work hard against a courageous American team last night.

It was a match the Black Sticks looked to be in firm control of throughout and a first half goal to striker Michalea Curtis - playing in only her seventh international - proved vital in the overall result.

Both sides were solid defensively in the opening exchanges and struggled to get into the scoring circle.

The best attacking opportunity came when Black Sticks midfielder Anita Punt showed her pace and skill to get behind the defence but couldn't link up with a team-mate in the circle.

Later in the half the Kiwi side were on the board after turning defence into attack with Katie Glynn grabbing possession before firing a shot infield for Curtis to score.

American goal-keeper Alesha Widdall did her best to keep her side in the game when she made a crucial save from a penalty corner.

Glynn was unfortunate not to double the hosts' lead right on halftime after Punt had done superbly evading defenders to create the scoring chance.

Striker Charlotte Harrison was in the action early in the second half on the back of a break where she raced down field but her attempt on goal went wide.

The Black Sticks looked the more dangerous of the two sides with the Kiwis making all the play as they went in search of a second goal.

Widdall came to the rescue again for the visitors, denying another shot on goal by the Black Sticks.

In the end the Americans eventually held out the Kiwis in a scoreless second half but the Kiwis could be pleased with the win.

Black Sticks head coach Mark Hager was honest in his assessment, saying his side were fortunate to come away with a 1-0 victory.

Hager believed his side had created scoring opportunities but would need to reassess areas of their game going into the weekend matches.

Earlier, Argentina proved too strong for Korea winning 4-2 in a match that featured a number of penalty corners.

Goals either side of halftime by the Argentine pair of Carla Rebecchi and Noel Barrionuevo were enough to see the South American side home against a spirited Korean squad.

The four teams will have a rest day tomorrow as they head to Tauranga where each side will play another match, with the final on Sunday.

Stuff



New Zealand sneaks by with 1-0 win over U.S. at Four Nations

Team USA shuts down New Zealand attack in the second half of match; First-half goal seals victory for Black Sticks squad


HAMILTON, New Zealand – New Zealand snuck away with a 1-0 victory over the U.S. Women’s National Team in the second match of the second Four Nations tournament in Hamilton, New Zealand. New Zealand’s head coach Mark Hager admitted his side was lucky to come away with a win and gave props to the U.S. defense for shutting down his team inside the circle.

"There were many pleasing aspects to the performance tonight,” said U.S. head coach Craig Parnham. “A strong, cohesive defensive performance gave us a platform to build upon. New Zealand has been a very dangerous team this past week and we competed well with them. We look forward to the next game against Argentina where we look to continue to develop.”

The U.S. had several opportunities throughout the match with a very solid defensive performance that successful limited scoring opportunities for New Zealand. Unfortunately a scuffle in front of the net in the 17th minute enabled a young member of the Black Stick squad to slip the ball past U.S. goalkeeper Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y.).

"It's been a tour where we've had to do a lot of learning with a new group but today we showed a lot of fight and had some bright periods,” said U.S. striker Michelle Kasold. “We started to connect better in the second half and we dominated periods of play against New Zealand. We took some big steps forward today."

All four teams participating in the Four Nations tournament will be competing at the World League Semi-Finals in June, a qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup. Team USA and Argentina will compete in the semi-final in London, while Korea and New Zealand will compete in Rotterdam. Prior to the World League Semi-Final, Parnham will announce a new U.S. squad following the Women’s National Championship event in Norfolk, Va.

Team USA will face Argentina in their final match on Saturday, April 20 before the playoffs on Sunday, April 21. New Zealand and Argentina both have a win and a draw in the second leg of the Four Nations and New Zealand will be looking to secure their place in the final again with a successful performance over Korea on Saturday. Both weekend matches will be streamed live on the Hockey New Zealand website. 

USFHA media release



Lee looks to the future with “youth and experience”


Susannah Townsend in action at the Investec Challenge in South Africa

As both the men’s and women’s squad settle into their new centralised training programmes this week, Great Britain and England Hockey are delighted to announce the athletes involved in the senior international women’s programme.

Jason Lee, appointed as the new Head Coach of the England and Great Britain women’s team back in February, has named 29 athletes in his squad. With the continued and invaluable support of Investec, specialist bank and asset manager, and National Lottery funding , the coaching team and athletes will spend the next four years preparing for and building up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

After winning bronze at the London 2012 Olympics, 10 medallists return to the side with their sights firmly set on an exciting summer of tournaments and the road ahead. Reading’s Kate Walsh, Alex Danson, Emily Maguire and Helen Richardson; Leicester’s Hannah Macleod and Nicola White; Slough’s Ashleigh Ball; Surbiton’s Georgie Twigg; Loughborough Students’ Laura Unsworth and Bowdon Hightown’s Sally Walton all return to the fold.

And with several other members of the London 2012 squad announcing their retirement Lee has called upon the experience of Reading’s Susie Gilbert and Sam Quek alongside Beckie Herbert of Pinoke (NED) and Maddie Hinch of Leicester as well as bringing in some slightly less familiar faces.

Six players have been called up to the centralised programme following successful international debuts at the Investec Challenge in South Africa earlier this year; Loughborough Students’ Giselle Ansley, University of Durham’s Steph Elliott, Sarah Haycroft of Surbiton, Jo Leigh of Clifton and Beeston’s Captain Hollie Webb and Ellie Watton.

England and Great Britain Captain, Kate Walsh, sees a bright future with the new squad, “It’s very exciting to restart the centralised training programme with a fresh coaching set-up and new faces in the squad. We’ve got a really good blend of youth and experience in the side and looking to the summer ahead, with the Investec World League and the European Championships, I can’t wait to see how the team gels and progresses.”

Looking ahead over the next four years, Lee has named five Scottish athletes in the side. The new faces of Alison Bell, Amy Gibson, Nikki Kidd and Morag McLellan join Olympian Emily Maguire; however the initial focus this summer will very much be on the home nations for both Scotland and England.

England’s first world level tournament will be on home turf from 22-30 June at the Investec World League Semi Final which takes place in London and then Scotland will join them in Pool B action at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships from 17-25 August in Antwerp, Belgium.

Speaking about the road ahead, Lee is eager to start working with his full-time centralised team of coaches and athletes, “The new squad represents a very healthy blend of exciting young talent, those athletes who have already experienced an Olympic cycle and a small group of experienced and world class athletes who understand very well the rigours of Olympic preparation. With a new coaching team and new athletes, we know there’s a lot of hard work to be done before the Investec World League in June, but I’m confident we have the right balance to take us up to the next level over this four year cycle.”

Great Britain and England Performance Director Danny Kerry added, "Our centralised programme remains cutting edge and will allow the very best preparation of the squad over the coming cycle.. I would like to thank the on-going support of the National Lottery and its key role in supporting the funding of performance sport, UK Sport and the EIS in its custodianship of our high performance Olympic sport system.”

Great Britain centralised trianing squad

Giselle Ansley - Loughborough Students - England - 5
Ashleigh Ball - Slough - England - 78
Alison Bell - Grove Menzieshill - Scotland - 92
Sophie Bray - MOP (NED) - England - 7
Alex Danson - Reading - England - 183
Steph Elliott - University of Durham - England - 5
Amy Gibson - Clydesdale Western - Scotland - 30
Susie Gilbert - Reading England - 80
Sarah Haycroft - Surbiton - England - 5
Rebecca Herbert - Pinoke (NED) - England - 102
Maddie Hinch - Leicester - England -11
Nikki Kidd - Edinburgh University - Scotland - 106
Jo Leigh - Clifton - England - 5
Kirsty Mackay - Bowdon Hightown - England - 6
Hannah Macleod - Leicester - England - 74
Emily Maguire - Reading Scotland - 106
Shona McCallin - MOP(NED) - England - 0
Morag McLellan - Clydesdale Western - Scotland - 49
Dilly Newton - Canterbury - England - 12
Sam Quek - Reading - England - 32
Helen Richardson - Reading - England - 235
Susie Townsend - Canterbury - England - 10
Georgina Twigg - Surbiton - England - 53
Laura Unsworth - Loughborough Students - England - 89
Kate Walsh - Reading - England - 292
Sally Walton - Bowdon Hightown - England - 117
Ellie Watton - Beeston - England - 5
Hollie Webb - Beeston - England - 5
Nicola White - Leicester - England - 81

For four of the London 2012 medallists and 12 of the squad in total their immediate focus is both international and domestic hockey as they prepare to do battle for their clubs at the Investec Women’s Finals Weekend at Reading Hockey Club this weekend (20-21 April).

Nicola White and Maddie Hinch will be hoping to defend their title with Leicester as they take on Georgie Twigg and Sarah Haycroft’s Surbiton side in their semi final at 15:15, whilst Reading stalwarts Kate Walsh, Alex Danson, Sam Quek, Susie Gilbert and Emily Maguire will be going for glory as they take on Susannah Townsend and Dilly Newton of Canterbury on home turf in the second semi final at 17:30. The winners will fight it out in the final at 17:15 on Sunday.


Georgie Twigg in action for Surbiton

England Hockey Board Media release



Five Scots selected for Great Britain women's squad


Nikki Kidd

Five Scots have been selected by Great Britain Head Coach Jason Lee for the senior women's international prorgramme.

London 2012 Olympic Bronze Medallist Emily Maguire is joined in the squad of twenty-nine players by Ali Bell, Amy Gibson, Nikki Kidd and Morag McLellan.

The coaching team and athletes will spend the next four years preparing for and building up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.


Ali Bell

Speaking about the road ahead, Lee is eager to start working with his full-time centralised team of coaches and athletes, “The new squad represents a very healthy blend of exciting young talent, those athletes who have already experienced an Olympic cycle and a small group of experienced and world class athletes who understand very well the rigours of Olympic preparation. With a new coaching team and new athletes, we know there‟s a lot of hard work to be done before the Investec World League in June, but I‟m confident we have the right balance to take us up to the next level over this four year cycle.”

Great Britain and England Performance Director Danny Kerry added, "Our centralised programme remains cutting edge and will allow the very best preparation of the squad over the coming cycle.. I would like to thank the on-going support of the National Lottery and its key role in supporting the funding of performance sport, UK Sport and the EIS in its custodianship of our high performance Olympic sport system.”

“Equally, the investment of our women's sponsor Investec, continues to give us critical profile and investment. These key partners are pivotal in our endeavours to facilitate our athletes taking their place on podiums as they did consistently through the last cycle and at the London 2012 Olympics."

Speaking about the road ahead, Lee is eager to start working with his full-time centralised team of coaches and athletes, “The new squad represents a very healthy blend of exciting young talent, those athletes who have already experienced an Olympic cycle and a small group of experienced and world class athletes who understand very well the rigours of Olympic preparation.”


Amy Gibson

Great Britain Performance Director Danny Kerry added, "Our centralised programme remains cutting edge and will allow the very best preparation of the squad over the coming cycle. I would like to thank the on-going support of the National Lottery and its key role in supporting the funding of performance sport, UK Sport and the EIS in its custodianship of our high performance Olympic sport system.”


Morag McLellan

Great Britain Women Squad

 

Name

Current Club

Position

Home Nation

Giselle Ansley

Loughborough Students

Defender

England

Ashleigh Ball

Slough

Midfielder

England

Alison Bell

Grove Menzieshill

Forward

Scotland

Sophie Bray

MOP (NED)

Forward

England

Alex Danson

Reading

Forward

England

Steph Elliott

University of Durham

Defender

England

Amy Gibson

Glasgow Western

Goalkeeper

Scotland

Susie Gilbert

Reading

Midfielder

England

Sarah Haycroft

Surbiton

Midfielder

England

Rebecca Herbert

Pinoke (NED)

Forward

England

Maddie Hinch

Leicester

Goalkeeper

England

Nikki Kidd

Edinburgh University

Midfielder/Forward

Scotland

Jo Leigh

Clifton

Midfielder/Forward

England

Kirsty Mackay

Bowdon Hightown

Goalkeeper

England

Hannah Macleod

Leicester

Forward

England

Emily Maguire

Reading

Defender

Scotland

Shona McCallin

MOP(NED)

Midfielder

England

Morag McLellan

Glasgow Western

Midfielder/Defender

Scotland

Dilly Newton

Canterbury

Defender

England

Sam Quek

Reading

Defender

England

Helen Richardson

Reading

Midfielder

England

Susie Townsend

Canterbury

Midfielder

England

Georgina Twigg

Surbiton

Midfielder

England

Laura Unsworth

Loughborough Students

Defender

England

Kate Walsh

Reading

Defender

England

Sally Walton

Bowdon Hightown

Defender

England

Ellie Watton

Beeston

Forward

England

Hollie Webb

Beeston

Defender

England

Nicola White

Leicester

Forward

England


Scottish Hockey Union media release



Investec ready to crown the Champions

Eight matches to complete an epic season in the Investec Women’s Hockey League


This weekend, the nation’s top hockey clubs will be competing for glory, prize-money and European places in the showpiece finale to the season as Reading Hockey Club hosts the Investec Women’s Hockey League Finals Weekend.

Eight fantastic matches staged over two days will decide who is crowned the Investec Women’s Hockey League Champions, as well as who will take their place alongside them in the top flight next season following the culmination of the promotion play-offs.

With the nation’s top four sides decided in the final weekend of league action, it’s time for the battle to begin as we see who will be crowned champions.  Canterbury, Reading, Surbiton and, last year’s winners Leicester will be fighting it out against each other for the coveted league title, their place in Europe and the £2,500 winner’s cheque.

There will be plenty of names to look out for at Reading as Olympic Bronze medallists Georgie Twigg, Chloe Rogers, Kate Walsh, Emily Maguire and Nicola White will all be in action for their teams.

Meanwhile, the three Investec Conference winners, Harleston Magpies (East), Beeston (North) and Buckingham (West) plus ninth placed Olton & West Warwickshire from the Investec Premier Division will contest the Investec Women’s Hockey League Play-Offs knowing that a top two finish will see them playing top flight hockey next season. With the first two matches already contested at Cannock last weekend, Olton & West Warwicks and Buckingham sit in the driving seat following victories over Beeston and Harleston Magpies respectively.

Thanks to the support of Investec there will also be prize money awarded throughout the weekend with cheques going to the top three Investec Premier Division sides as well as the three winners of the Investec Conferences.

All the top flight action from the weekend will be broadcast on Sky on Wednesday 24 April (19:00-21:00) so there’s another chance to relive all the glory moments and enjoy exciting performances from the nation’s finest players.

England Hockey’s Chief Executive Sally Munday says: “It’s been an exciting but hard-fought season for our top clubs and we’re expecting to see passionate performances and high drama as the 2013 League reaches its thrilling conclusion.  As interest in hockey continues to soar, the event offers an exciting but relaxed weekend for fans and families alike and most importantly, an opportunity for people to engage with the sport.”

Over the two days, there will be lots of entertainment for youngsters wanting to have a go themselves as England Hockey’s Fun Zone will be in full swing throughout the weekend. Managed by hockey coaches, the Fun Zone will offer an inflatable hockey pitch, a chance to ‘beat the goalkeeper’ and to meet two of hockey’s most familiar faces, mascots Jasper and Jess.

The sun is set to shine and supporters will be able to enjoy a fantastic day out with a marquee where they can grab a bite to eat and enjoy a drink. Also inside will be the Official England Hockey Store and the England Hockey stand where you can find out all you need know about hockey from where to play to forthcoming events and how you can get involved in the world of hockey.

Investec Women’s Hockey League Finals line-up

Investec Premier Division 1st place - Leicester
Investec Premier Division 2nd place - Canterbury
Investec Premier Division 3rd place - Reading
Investec Premier Division 4th place - Surbiton

Investec Women's Hockey League Play-Offs line-up

Investec Conference East Champions – Harleston Magpies
Investec Conference North Champions - Beeston
Investec Conference West Champions - Buckingham
Investec Premier Division ninth place – Olton & West Warwickshire

Investec Women’s Hockey League Finals Weekend match schedule

 

Date Time Fixture Result
Sunday 7 April 13:00 Play-Off Match 1 – Beeston v Olton & WW 1-2
Sunday 7 April 15:00 Play-Off Match 2 – Buckingham v Harleston Magpies 2-1
Saturday 20 April 11:00 Play-Off Match 3 – Beeston v Buckingham
Saturday 20 April 13:00 Play-Off Match 4 – Harleston Magpies v Olton WW
Saturday 20 April 15:15 Semi-Final 1 – Leicester v Surbiton
Saturday 20 April 17:30 Semi-Final 2 – Canterbury v Reading
Sunday 21 April 10:00 Play-Off Match 5 – Harleston Magpies v Beeston
Sunday 21 April 12:00 Play-Off Match 6 – Olton WW v Buckingham
Sunday 21 April 14:45 Investec Women’s Hockey League Finals – 3rd v 4th
Sunday 21 April 17:15 Investec Women’s Hockey League Final

England Hockey Board Media release



Jharkhand thrash Hockey Maharashtra 13-0

LUCKNOW: Jharkhand thrashed Hockey Maharashtra 13-0 in their first Pool C league match of the 3rd Hockey India Senior Women National Championship on Thursday.

Jharkhand played attacking hockey throughout and were leading 6-0 in the first half at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

For Jharkhand, Nisha Rani Aind (6, 11, 35 and 60 min) scored four goals, followed by Shilwanti Minjur (9, 33, 34), Sabnam Lakra (42, 46), Anupam Horo (57, 65), Anita Swansi (44) and Subhashi Hemrom (61).

In pool E, Uttar Pradesh got a walkover over Arunachal. In another match of the day, Chhattisgarh beat Andhra Pradesh 4-2.

For Chhattisgarh the goal scorers were Anshuli (4, 66) and Neelam Mundu (21, 35).

Monika Nallapalli (55, 59 min) netted the ball for Andhra Pradesh.

Earlier, Shivpal Singh Yadav, PWD, Cooperative and Irrigation minister inaugurated the 13-day championship at a ceremony.

The Times of India



Closing in on title No 8

By Fadhli ishak



KLHC’S Muhammad Umar Bhutta (left) tussles with Sapura’s Muhammad Izzat Mohd Rahim in their Premier Division match on April 12. KLHC won 3-2. Pic by Abdullah Yusof

MHL PREMIER DIVISION: Two wins this weekend will crown KLHC as champions

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) can  wrap up the Malaysian Hockey League Premier Division title by this weekend. They only need to beat Nur Insafi and Maybank,  two teams who  had lost to them early this season.

Coach K. Dharmaraj, however, cautioned that bagging an eighth consecutive league title will not be as straightforward as it looks on paper, playing away against a vastly improved Nur Insafi side today, and an ever dangerous Maybank.

"Nur Insafi have improved very much as the tournament progressed and will by no means be an easy opponent," said Dharmaraj, whose men routed Nur Insafi 7-0 in the first round of the competition in Bukit Jalil.

"They have shown how dangerous they can be in their last two matches against Tenaga Nasional (0-1) and Maybank (3-4) who they took to the limit before going down in the later stages of both games.

"We need to be well prepared mentally and physically to beat them as the league is very competitive nowadays with all teams having the ability to beat any side on their day.

"Playing away has also been a problem for us and we need to adapt to the conditions in Penang as soon as we."

Dharmaraj said neutralising the threat from Maybank's Pakistani imports Shafqat Rasool, Shakeel Abassi and Muhammad Waqas Sharif will be key to winning the match slated for a challenging 4pm start on Sunday.

KLHC had edged Maybank 4-3 in their first round encounter at the end of March.

"They (Shakeel, Waqas and Shafqat) are all really quality players who have seen action at the highest level including the Olympics," said Dharmaraj.

"They have been dangerous this year and have been the trump card for Maybank in a number of matches. We will have to watch them closely to beat them.

"Playing an afternoon match is always tough due to the heat and the memory of drawing with them during a 3pm match at Universiti Sains Malaysia two years ago is still fresh."

Second-placed Maybank, four points adrift of KLHC, need to win their match against UNiKL today to keep alive their title hopes.

TNB, seven points behind KLHC and three behind Maybank, still have an outside shot at the title but need both KLHC and Maybank to drop points this weekend and they have to beat Sapura and UniKL to stay in contention next week.

TODAY -- Premier Division: Sapura v TNB (4pm), Maybank v UniKL (6pm), KLHC v Nur Insafi (8pm).

Division One: UiTM v MBI (National Stadium II, 6pm), Uniten v TNB Thunderbolts (National Stadium II, 8pm), BJSS v SSTMI (Ministry of Education Stadium, 6pm).

TOMORROW -- Premier Division: Sapura v Terengganu.

Division One: Sunday 2030 v UiTM (National Stadium II, 6pm).

SUNDAY -- Premier Division: Maybank v KLHC (4pm), UniKL v TNB (6pm), Terengganu v Nur Insfai (8pm).

Division One: Sunday 2030 v Uniten (National Stadium II, 6pm), TNB Thunderbolts v SSTMI (National Stadium II, 8pm), MBI vs BJSS (Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh, 6pm)

(All matches at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang unless otherwise stated)

New Straits Times



Shakeel optimistic Maybank can overcome KLHC

By S. RAMAGURU




KUALA LUMPUR: Pakistani veteran forward Shakeel Abassi (pic) is determined to ensure that Maybank keep the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) title run going until the final weekend.

For that reason, he wants to see the team beat leaders KL Hockey Club (KLHC) in their crucial match on Sunday.

Shakeel is playing in his second season with Maybank. Last season, the Tigers finished third in the league.

“It is only natural that we aim to improve on our standings this year. For me, winning the title matters. I want to lead the team to a win over KLHC so that the title run will go down to the wire. A defeat, we all know, will hand the title to KLHC for yet another season,” he said.

Shakeel made his debut in the MHL in 2010 with Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS). But he switched over to the Tigers last year.

Shakeel did not play against KLHC in the first round as he was injured. Maybank lost 3-4.

“But I am back to full fitness and looking forward to the match. The MHL is well organised and I am enjoying my stint here in Malaysia. In fact, there are more players from Pakistan this year.

“I believe that Maybank have the potential to be champions. We did drop points and that has affected our position. But there are still four matches to go and we have to look at them positively,” said Shakeel.

Shakeel, 30, is one of the most experienced players in the Pakistan national team.

But he said that playing in the MHL “has taught him a few things and helped him improve his game”.

“There is a lot of quality matches here. Playing for Maybank has been a good experience. They are very professional in the way they do things. They have good facilities that allow you to train properly.

“I am thankful to the team management for their care and understanding and this is always helpful when you play in a foreign league. I have no regrets playing for them. That’s why I want see them do well this year,” he said.

The other Pakistanis in the team are Shafqat Rasool, Mohamed Irfan and Mohamed Waqas.

Maybank will play fourth-placed Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) today at the USM Stadium in Penang before taking on KLHC.

The Tigers are also wary of the threat posed by third placed Tenaga Nasional who are three points behind them.

Tenaga are out of the running for the league title but they want to try and snatch second place.

The top two teams in the Premier Division will receive a bye in the knockout stage. The other four teams will have to play in the quarter-finals.

The Star of Malaysia



President honours U-16 hockey team



The victorious players of Pakistan U-16 boys hockey team, who brought laurels to the country by winning the U-16 Asia Cup for the second time in running, were invited on Thursday by President Asif Ali Zardari to congratulate them on their brilliant performance in the international event.

At the reception hosted for the players of the winning team, the president also announced award of cash prize Rs 200,000 each to all the 10 players, four coaches and a physiotherapist of the team. The president on the occasion termed the youth a future asset of the country and said that hockey was the game of our national pride and that the recent victory will help in promoting hockey and regaining the lost glory.

He urged the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for dedicated efforts to tap the abundantly available raw talent in the country and groom them on scientific lines. While interacting with the team members, Zardari felicitated them for their glorious victory and said the whole nation was proud of its young athletes. He expressed hope that they would continue making their mark in the field and winning more laurels for the country in the years to come and raise the country’s flag high across the globe.

Lauding the performance of the PHF for the promotion of the game in the country, the president also felicitated its president Qasim Zia, coaches and team management for the historic victory in Asia Cup in Singapore, where Pakistan won the title without losing a single match.

The president expressed delight to learn that by winning the Junior Asia Cup. the U-16 also qualified for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing/China next year. The players of the team thanked the president for the support the government was providing to them and the federation.

The reception was attended among others by spokesperson to president senator Farhatullah Babar, special secretary Himayatullah Khan, PHF chief Qasim Zia, secretary Asif Bajwa, coaches of the hockey team and other senior officials and dignitaries.

The Nation



US Regional Outdoor Club League off to great start

With a brisk cold wind blowing on a beautiful sunny day, the Regional Outdoor Club League (ROCL) got off to a fantastic start. After being locked up indoors for the winter months, it was good to get out into the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. The battle to see which club will be crowned the 2013 ROCL Champion got off to a great start has officially begun!

The majority of games played were in the U-19 Division as some of the Clubs prepare for the upcoming Regional Club Championship, April 27-28. The U-16 Regional Club Championship will be held May 4-5.

Although it is very early with lots of games still to be played, Jersey Intensity FH and Total Dutch FH topped the leader board in the U-16 Division, each with six points. In the U-19 Division, South Jersey Edge and Jersey Intensity FH finished on top with seven points each.

With the start of this new League, we hope it will benefit all participants and we appreciate your patience, corporation and understanding as we work through any and all issues in order to make this league better in 2014 and beyond.

All of the results will be available a few days after each league date on the JPIL web site at www.JPIL.net.

The next ROCL date is April 28, 2013 at the Rutgers University, Sport Club and University Fields located at: University Park & Recreation Complex, 656 Bartholomew Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854.

USFHA media release



Young Jamaican hockey umpire in Miami for workshop

Marc Stamp


Newly appointed International Hockey Federation (FIH) umpire, Duvaughn Henlon, is in Miami, Florida, for the Pan American Hockey Federation's (PAHF) Umpiring Committee Workshop set for today and tomorrow.

Henlon, 23, was appointed as an international umpire last September and officiated at the Junior Pan Am Championships in Mexico. One of the objectives of the local body - the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF) - is to develop young umpires to the international level with the assistance of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF). His airfare and accommodation have been fully sponsored.

HAPPY FOR EXPERIENCE

"It's been good for me and I am happy for the occasion and experience to go on and get further knowledge to umpiring internationally," Henlon told The Gleaner yesterday morning.

The Munro College past student, who has been an umpire for the past five years, said he started officiating because he saw the need as Jamaica is behind on the international stage in this area.

"It's just that I always noticed a vast difference with umpiring overseas. Our national teams were always at a disadvantage in terms of the rules. So, on seeing that, I decided to officiate. I am just trying to keep Jamaica on the ball," he reasoned.

In addition to officiating at matches, Henlon represents St Andrew Phoenix in the Jamaica National Hockey Championship.

The Jamaican Gleaner



Italian Hockey Federation pays tribute to Pope Francis

Hockey gifts presented to His Holiness in St Peter’s Square



Italian international Aldana Lovagnini presented Pope Francis with a national team playing shirt and a hockey stick, both of which were personalised with the name of the Holy Father. (Photo: Italian Hockey Federation)

A delegation from the Italian Hockey Federation was among the eighty thousand strong general audience held on Wednesday 17th April by His Holiness Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

The group, which consisted of Federation President Luca Di Mauro and his wife Anna Sapienza, Secretary General Fabio Pagliara, National Teams Director Vincenzo Corso and national player Aldana Lovagnini, was fortunate enough to meet with and pay tribute to His Holiness following his weekly address to the masses. 

Pope Francis kindly took the time to speak with the members of the delegation before receiving two meaningful and extremely appropriate gifts. International player Aldana Lovagnini presented to Pope Francis an Italian national team playing shirt and a hockey stick, both of which were personalised with the name of the Holy Father. It was a day that Lovagnini – who like Pope Francis was born in Argentina – will never forget. 

On the same day, Pope Francis received a signed playing shirt from Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi, regarded by many as the greatest footballer of his generation. 

To see all of the photos from what was a truly historic day for the Italian Hockey Federation, please click here. (External Link - Italian Hockey Federation website)

FIH site



Kathy quits hockey after 50 years

JESS WEBSTER



Kathy Brown, with daughter Terry Dunbar and grand-daughters Lilly Wosomo and Serena Dunbar, has retired from hockey after playing the sport for half a century. Pucture: JUSTIN SANSON

KATHY Brown's incredible legacy will live on long after her retirement from a 50-year Darwin hockey career.

The much-loved life member of the Darwin Hockey Association and matriarch of East Darwin has decided to hang up her stick at 75, after first playing the sport in her early 20s.

But with six children, 30 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren - who all play hockey once they are old enough - her footprint in the Top End hockey community will always remain.

A passionate member of Easts, Brown said all of her offspring would never dare play for another club because "it would be hard to play with broken legs".

She debuted at half-back, but during her first game switched to goalkeeper at half-time when her teammate didn't want to play there.

Brown played goalkeeper in A and B-grade for the first 20 years before spending the next 30 in C-grade.

A winner of multiple premierships, club awards and NT representative honours, Brown, who grew up on a cattle station outside Elliott, said she fell in love with hockey the moment she started.

"I remember Keith Kemp came up to me and said, 'who taught you to play hockey?' - I said it was my first game and he said, 'you're bloody good'," she said.

"I used to wear my husband's football boots because it had the steel caps, and in those days you didn't have head gear (playing in goals).

"All my kids were born two years apart and I used to manage it so that I could play right up until I was four months along, and then by the time the next season came round I already had the baby.

"I've made a lot of friends at the club, and all the kids respect each other like brothers and sisters.

"But if I kept playing my family would probably come and knock me out themselves."

Brown is famous for her lucky stones she used to carry in her bra.

After winning the 1970-71 grand final, Brown gave the stones to the East Darwin men's keeper to put in his pants for good luck, and they also won the premiership.

She has little time for rivals St Marys, but all of her daughters dated St Marys footballers.

Brown also confessed to enjoying playing bingo at the Saints clubhouse and "winning their money" from time to time.

Terry Dunbar, one of Brown's five daughters, who have all represented the NT in hockey, said the whole family is proud of her achievements.

"I was coaching the C-grade side in her last few games and she still had a bit of fancy stick work there," she said.

"Mum has been a wonderful role model for staying fit and healthy, working hard and showing how to embrace people with humility.

"She has always been generous to families who needed help to have their children play hockey.

"It was never too much to pick up and drop off children to play hockey.

"She always felt that children needed to be playing sport to keep them out of trouble.

"She will still be around hockey every week even though she's not on the field.

"I think the old stick and the pads will go in the grave with her."

NT News