News for 23 August 2013

All the news for Friday 23 August 2013

England women book place in 2013 EuroHockey Final

England women celebrate their place in the 2013 EuroHockey Championship Final after beating the Dutch in a penalty shoot out

It’s been 22 years in the waiting, but England’s women tonight earned themselves a place in the 2013 EuroHockey Championship Final thanks to a historic win over the Netherlands.

At full-time there was nothing to separate the two sides as the game finished in a 1-1 draw. An own goal from the Dutch and a piece of individual magic from Eva de Goede ensured the game would be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Holcombe’s Maddie Hinch was world class in England’s goal, saving four out of six Dutch efforts and the Reading duo of Helen Richardson and Alex Danson (2) both contributed to England’s tally to take the shoot-out 3-2.

It had taken another penalty shoot-out, earlier in the night, for Germany to beat Belgium and seal their place in the final which takes place at 15:00 (UK time) on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking after the game, England Head Coach Jason Lee said, “I think the girls played brilliantly. I know we’ve had an up and down tournament, but I felt confident that they had some really strong performances in them and I think we showed that tonight. I’ve experienced something with these girls since I’ve been in charge, which I’ve been in awe of – they have a fantastic level of ability and the work ethic they have as a team is brilliant. Coming into this game I felt really excited to be with this group in a semi-final against Holland because I know we could do something special. I also think we’re in a great place to go and take the title now as well.”

Speaking about reaching the EuroHockey Final and getting her hands on a medal that isn’t bronze, Captain Kate Walsh added, “I thought I’d jinxed myself by saying I don’t want any more bronzes and that maybe we could end up fourth! But I’m just so proud of the whole squad and the effort we put into that game. The Dutch are a fantastic side and we had to defend very strongly at times, especially with their penalty corners, but we spend hours and hours working on them, analysing every part and making sure we get it right, and it paid off for us tonight.”

Speaking about facing Germany in the final, Surbiton’s Hollie Webb added, “I think we go into the final believing we can win it. We only just lost to them [Germany] in the week and we are confident we can turn that around. With the players we’ve got we know we have the ability and the belief to put it to them and win.”

Speaking about Maddie Hinch’s performance, Lee added, “Madddie’s super cool! I think she looked completely in control tonight. We all watched her walk from the half-way line and we just knew that she had that belief, and I know we all had that confidence in her. She was player of tournament at the Investec World League Semi Final and I think she’s just continued to grow from there.”

The game itself was not short of drama. The world number one side showed their form throughout the first 35 minutes and enjoyed the majority of possession, threatening England's defence at every opportunity. Despite winning six penalty corners inside the first 15 minutes, the Dutch were not able to register on the scoreboard once, proving that this has not been a tournament to convert from the top of the circle. As the attacks came, Kate Walsh had her line-up well organised, keeping Holland at bay and as the sides went in for the break there was nothing to separate them at 0-0.

In the second half England matched the Netherlands across the park; they worked the ball around well and threatened the Dutch defence almost immediately. In the 40th minute Sally Walton played the ball into the danger area and there was little Joyce Sombroek in the Netherlands' goal could do as she watched the deflection roll in off Kitty van Male’s stick to make it 1-0. England’s lead didn't last however, the Netherlands gradually found their feet again and in the 52nd minute Eva do Goede scored one of the goals of the tournament with a fantastic reverse stick strike from the top of the circle to pull the scores back level at 1-1.

With just five minutes to go England lost a rock in their defence as Sally Walton was stretchered off with what looked to be a serious injury to her right ankle. Walton was taken to hospital and is reported to have torn ligaments in her ankle.

The clock ran down and after 70 minutes there was nothing to separate the two sides at 1-1. Playing under FIH tournament rules - due to this being a World Cup qualification event - the game went straight to a penalty shoot out.

After the first five were taken it was 2-2, Danson and Richardson were both on target for England and Maddie Hinch in England’s goal was outstanding, saving three from five attempts. After that it went to sudden death. Richardson stepped up again and this time Sombroek saved, but moments later Hinch matched her opposite number, saving as well. It was down to Danson and Hinch. First up, Danson, who made no mistake again as her trademark reverse stick shot flew past Sombroek to give England the advantage. Next up Hinch, who made yet another brilliant save to seal the victory and book her side a place in their first European final since 1991.

Click here to read the full match report.

Eva de Goede 52 (FG)     

OG 40

England win 2-3 on penalty shoot-out, full details attached below.

The TriFinance EuroHockey Final will take place between England and Germany on Saturday at 15:00 (UK time). It will be shown live on BBC online and Eurosport UK.

For more information about the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships please visit the official website

England Hockey Board Media release

England's women secure their place at the TriFinance European Championship finals

Superb Maddie Hinch and her team mates celebrate their win

ENGLAND’S women beat Olympic champions Netherlands 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out to reach the TriFinance European Championship final in Boom, Belgium.

So often the bronze winners, England now have a chance of gold when they meet Germany tomorrow.

The match was delayed as England’s Olympian defender Sally Walton was taken off on a stretcher with a broken leg five minutes from time with the score finishing at 1-1. Walton’s cross gave teenager Lily Owsley her chance in the 39th minute which forced an own-goal.

The Dutch equalised through Eva de Goede in the 52nd minute.

But England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch was superb in the shootout, saving four chances with Alex Danson twice beating the Dutch stopper.

Daily Express

Scotland still fighting after win over Belarus

Holly Cram and Linda Clement look on as Nikki Kidd fires an attempt on goal. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

Scotland Senior Women recorded a vital victory in their fight to retain their place in the EuroHockey Nations Championship following a 3-2 success over Belarus in Belgium this afternoon.

First half goals from Holly Cram, Nikki Lloyd and Vikki Bunce gave the Scots a commanding 3-0 lead at the interval, although a penalty corner strike from Belarus captain Khrystsina Kibkova and a Krestina Kulinkovich penalty stroke resulted in a nervy and tense second period for the national side.

Nevertheless, Scotland Senior Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd and his players have put three crucial points on the board in the relegation pool and Saturday morning's match against Ireland will now be a real one off decider to determine European survival.

It's simple - a win or draw for Scotland against Ireland will result in them keeping their place in the Championship for 2015.

Scotland's Susan McGilveray in action against Belarus. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

Scotland started off on the front foot with two penalty corners in succession inside the first two minutes. Holly Cram almost opened the scoring when she got on the end of a rebound from Nikki Kidd's drag-flick, but the striker couldn't quite finish off the opportunity.

Kidd herself had a chance in the sixth minute but her reverse stick shot was saved comfortably by Belarussian goalkeeper Veranika Mikanovich.

Four minutes later, Scotland number one Amy Gibson was called into action to make an magnificent world-class double save from two snap-shot attempts on goal to deny Belarus the lead.

Scotland goalkeeper Amy Gibson produces another world class stop: Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

The Scots were dominant throughout the first half and their persistence finally paid off in the 22nd minute when they broke the deadlock from a penalty corner. The ball was injected back for Kidd to fire in a drag-flick pass that was deflected high into the net by Cram at the back post to give Scotland a 1-0 advantage.

There was no let-up in pressure following the opening goal, leading to a second Scottish goal in the 26th minute. Good work from Nikki Lloyd on the right of the circle allowed the striker to fire the ball across the face of goal, resulting in a Belarus defender turning the ball into the net under pressure from Ali Howie to make it 2-0.

A minute before half-time, Vikki Bunce was on hand to give her side a 3-0 lead when she slammed home a low drive past Mikanovich after the 'keeper had been left high and dry by her defence to deal with four attempts on goal.

With Scotland well in the ascendency at the break, Belarus got back into the match in the early stages of the second half when Khrystsina Kibkova fired home a penalty corner to make it 3-1 in the 43rd minute.

Chances then fell for Bunce and Kidd before Belarus hit back from the penalty spot to make it 3-2 in the 55th minute. Scotland had been penalised for preventing a goal with an illegal block and Krestina Kulinkovich stepped up to beat Gibson and reduce the deficit to one goal.

With nine minutes remaining, Bunce won a penalty corner that resulted in Howie, Kidd and Linda Clement all having attempts on goal, only for the Belarus defence to somehow keep the ball out of the net and leave Scotland agonisingly short of a fourth goal.

Catriona Ralph just failed to make contact with Kidd's penalty corner set-piece in the 64th minute, before some herioc defending denied Belarus an equalising goal that would have put a dent in Scotland's survival hopes.

Nonetheless, a nervy second half drew to a close with Scotland recording their first win of the tournament, setting up a mouth-watering clash with Ireland.

Scotland players reflect on their win over Belarus. Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

For all Scotland's fixtures, results and pool position, please visit the EuroHockey 2013 website.

EuroHockey Nations Championship: Scotland (Cram 22', Lloyd 26', Bunce 34') 3-2 Belarus (Kibkova 43', Kulinkovich 55')

Scotland Senior Women: Amy Gibson (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Cochrane (Edinburgh University), Vikki Bunce (Dundee Wanderers), Morag McLellan (Clydesdale Western), Alison Bell (Grove Menzieshill), Catriona Ralph (Clydesdale Western), Samantha Judge (Edinburgh University), Holly Cram (Clydesdale Western), Linda Clement (Captain, Grove Menzieshill), Kareena Marshall (Western Wildcats), Leigh Fawcett (Grove Menzieshill), Rebecca Merchant (Edinburgh University), Nikki Kidd (Edinburgh University), Susan McGilveray (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Lloyd (Sevenoaks), Alison Howie (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Skrastin (Clydesdale Western), Emily Maguire (Reading)

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Ireland 0-1 Spain; European Hockey Championships (w)

Ireland were narrowly defeated by the higher ranked Spain in their second last match of the European Championships - making Saturday's final game against Scotland a must win for Ireland. Ireland are in the final stages of the competition along with Spain, Scotland and Belarus the bottom two teams of which will be relegated to Europe's B division (full league tables here).

Ireland secured the first set piece of the match on the 5 minute mark but slow shot effort enabled the Spanish defence team to see off any danger, a second corner followed quickly but this time Audrey O'Flynn's powerful drag was tipped around the corner. Spain enjoyed a spell of attacks including 3 successive penalty corners but Emma Gray in goals combined well with her defenders to keep the sheet clean. After 18 minutes Spain broke the deadlock showing pace down the flank leading to Bonastre picking up the pass at the top left of Ireland's circle for a good reverse shot home and a Spanish goal.

Both sides had chances to score before the break, Gillian Pinder with the strike for Ireland and Guajardo for Spain, but the half closed out still Ireland 0-1 Spain.

Ireland enjoyed their best spell of the match five minutes into the second half with chances falling to Anna O'Flanagan and Naomi Carroll after some good build up but an on form keeper kept Spain's lead intact. Ireland's defensive team were kept on their toes also with Cliodhna Sargent, Audrey O'Flynn, Nikki Symmons and Shirley McCay combining well to tackle the oncoming Spanish attacks. But with no goal of their own Ireland closed out with a 1-0 loss leaving them in a must win match against Scotland this Saturday at 8am.

Commenting after the match Coach Darren Smith knew this was always going to  be a tough game "

Today's match was a tough battle but we didn't have any surprises Spain are a good team, we are pretty evenly matched as we saw in World League 2 when we beat them 1-0 - there was always going to be a goal in it. We had some reasonable opportunities during the match but we have to take this loss on this chin and get ready for Saturday."

"Our job now is to get the girls up and game plan for Saturday. We will work as hard as we can to win on Saturday against Scotland."

SPAIN 1 (1)
Bonastre OP 19m

Starting XI: Emma Gray, Cliodhna Sargent, Alex Speers, Shirley McCay, Megan Frazer, Naomi Carroll, Chloe Watkins, Niamh Atcheler, Nicola Gray, Anna O'Flanagan, Gillian Pinder

Reserves: Emma Smyth, Lisa Jacob, Nikki Symmons, Audrey O'Flynn, Nicci Daly, Niamh Small, Grace O'Flanagan

Full Results
IRELAND'S MEN will play SPAIN on Friday at 3pm

Irish Hockey Association media release

Still All To Play For With Green Army & Green Machine

Both of Ireland's teams came so close to semi final spots but despite missing out both the Green Army and Green Machine still have it all to play for.

WOMEN - Ireland's Electric Ireland Green Army kicked off their Europeans last Saturday putting up a great contest to the World number 1's The Netherlands holding them at 1-0 until the 50 minute mark. The Dutch then displayed exactly why they are the worlds best team putting 5 goals through in 20 minutes, closing out the game 6-0, in a scoreline that did not reflect the competitiveness of Ireland.

With a less than 24hour turnaround Ireland were up against Belarus in a must win match - a game which produced five goals three of those in favour of the Green Army thanks to Alex Speers' brace and Lisa Jacob's classy finish. Ireland then knew they had a big task ahead taking on the higher ranked and home nation Belgium, a game they need to win to progress to the final four. Ireland contented well but the host nations finishing proved too much and Ireland now find themselves in the final stages competing against Spain, Belarus and Scotland. Ireland's next focus will be to secure 5th or 6th spot and retain their position in top flight European hockey. If Ireland secure the 5th position this ranks them one above where they came into this tournament.

MEN - Ireland's Green Machine began their European campaign in exciting fashion taking on The Dutch (world no 3's) and thanks to young Shane O'Donoghue took the lead in the 20th minute. The Dutch equalised before half time and the reminder of the game ensued in an exciting fashion before the Dutch broke through with the winner just five from the end - breaking Irish hearts. Nonetheless Ireland were back on the field 22hours later to take on Poland in a match where they secured the required 3 points in a 4-2 victory. Ireland went into their final pool match knowing a win was required against England (world no 4's) for a semi final spot. Ireland competed at the highest level again proving their ability to test the world's best - although they trailed 2-0 at half time a brace from Shane O'Donoghue's pair of penalty strokes made for compelling viewing through to the final whistle. Ireland were persistent and chased the winner to the end but sometimes you need a bit of luck to go your way and despite numerous goal chances right to the end Ireland just couldn't convert and so they face into the end of the week battling it out for a 5th - 8th spot.

Ireland like the women came into this tournament ranked 6th but will be aiming for a 5th place finish. They carry with them three points from the Poland match and will square up against Spain and the Czech Republic to determine their final ranking.

Thursday 22nd August - IRELAND v SPAIN 3pm (W)
Friday 23rd August - IRELAND V SPAIN 3pm (M)
Saturday 24th August - IRELAND V SCOTLAND 8am (W)
Sunday 25th August - IRELAND V CZECH REPUBLIC 9am (M)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Southerns, Northerns, WP and North West in Women's IPT semis

JONATHAN COOK in Port Elizabeth

The stage has been set for two exciting semi-finals in the top-tier A Section of the SA Women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament following the outcome of Thursday’s final round of Pool matches at the KC March Astro in Gelvandale, Port Elizabeth.

In Friday’s first semi-final unbeaten Pool B winners Western Province will play North West at 6 pm, while the second semi-final features unbeaten defending champions and Pool A winners Southern Gauteng against Northern Blues at 8 pm.

The pivotal encounter Thursday was the Pool B clash between Free State and Northern Blues. Free State had to win in order to reach the semi-finals while a draw was good enough for the Blues. And what a match it turned out to be.

The Blues eventually prevailed 3-2 but one had to feel for the very young Bloemfontein-based side who gave everything in their bid to remain in medal contention.

In the other A Section matches WP edged winless KZN Coastal Raiders 2-1, Southerns were given a proper run for their money by Border before eventually prevailing 3-2, and North West were held to a 0-0 draw by a winless but much-improved Eastern Province.

The first B Section semi-final at KC March Astro will see Pool B winners KZN Inland versus Pool A runners-up EP Settlers at 10 am. Pool B runners-up Mpumalanga will meet Pool A winners Witwatersrand at 2 pm.

Saturday’s A Section gold medal match for the right to be crowned national champions is at 8 pm with the bronze medal match at 6 pm, while the B Section final is at 2 pm, all at the KC March Astro.

The SA Men’s Interprovincial Tournament flicks off in Cape Town on Sunday.


A Section: Northern Blues 3 Free State 2; Western Province 2 KZN Coastal Raiders 1; Southern Gauteng 3 Border 2; North West 0 Eastern Province 0.

B Section: SA Country Districts A 6 Southern Cape 0; KZN Inland 7 Mpumalanga 2; EP Settlers 1 SA Country Districts A 0; KZN Mynahs 2  SA Country Districts B 0; Witwatersrand 4 EP Settlers 2.

(KC March Astro unless stated)

A Section (bottom four playoffs): Eastern Province vs Free State (12 pm); Border vs KZN Coastal Raiders (2 pm).

A Section semi-finals: Western Province vs North West (6 pm); Southern Gauteng vs Northern Blues (8 pm).

B Section (bottom four playoffs): Southern Cape vs KZN Mynahs (8 am); SA Country Districts A vs SA Country Districts B (Westering High School 2 pm).

B Section semi-finals: KZN Inland vs EP Settlers (10 am); Witwatersrand vs Mpumalanga (2 pm).

(All played three)

Pool A: 1 Southern Gauteng 9 points; 2 North West 4 pts; 3 Border 3 pts; 4 Eastern Province 1 pt.

Pool B: 1 WP 9 pts; 2 Northern Blues 6 pts; 3 Free State 3 pts; 4 KZN Coastal Raiders 0 pts.

(All played three)

Pool A: 1 Witwatersrand 9 pts; 2 EP Settlers 6 pts; 3 SA Country Districts A 3 pts; 4 Southern Cape 0 pts.

Pool B: 1 KZN Inland 9 pts; 2 Mpumalanga 4 pts; 3 KZN Mynahs 3 pts; 4 SA Country Districts B 1 pts.

SA Hockey Association media release

Berth sealed as MHC eyes 2018 edition

By Jugjet Singh

THE Malaysian hockey team have qualified for the World Cup after 12 years in the cold, and there is more good news as a bid paper was submitted on Wednesday to host the 2018 edition.

"It is good that we have qualified, but we have to be consistent in every (Asia Cup) match in Ipoh to win our first international gold medal (other than the Sea Games) at the senior level," said national coach Paul Revington.

Team manager George Koshy was elated with the news, but said: "We need to win something (a major tournament) for a change."

Revington and his men made the 2014 World Cup, in the Netherlands on May 31-June 15, on merit by virtue of finishing fifth in the World League in Johor Baru.

Malaysia were then placed as third reserve by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), behind South Korea and Spain. The Koreans, however, made the World Cup when Argentina won the Pan American Cup.

And in Europe, all four teams that reached the semi-finals of the Euro Championships -- the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and England -- had qualified for the World Cup from the World League, paving the way for Spain to qualify.

Malaysia's ticket to the World Cup will come from the Oceania Cup, as Australia and New Zealand -- who are expected to win the title -- have qualified which means Malaysia will advance.

The other teams in the Oceania Cup are Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

As for the 2018 World Cup bid, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president Manjit Majid Abdullah submitted the bid papers to FIH on Wednesday.

When contacted, Manjit said: "I'm in Lausanne (FIH headquarters) and have just submitted Malaysia's bid for the 2018 World Cup."

The early indications are that Australia, Belgium, England, India and New Zealand will also hand in their bids before the Aug 31 submission deadline.

Both the men's and women's 2018 World Cups will feature an increased 16-team field, with the FIH to announce the hosts on Nov 8.

New Straits Times

Azlan aims to go all out in Asia Cup


Azlan Misron (right) knows that the Asia Cup, which will be held in Ipoh starting tomorrow, is his last chance to make his dream come true.

KUALA LUMPUR: The desire to end his playing days by making a debut in the World Cup is what has kept Azlan Misron going all these years.

And the 30-year-old Perak-born player knows that the Asia Cup, which will be held in Ipoh starting tomorrow, is his last chance to make his dream come true.

Although indications are that Malaysia will clinch one of the spots for next year’s World Cup Finals as a reserve through the World Hockey League, Azlan would prefer the team to qualify on merit, instead.

“I want the team to qualify through merit – and that would be by winning the Asia Cup. That’s always been the target and that’s what we are working so hard to achieve,” he said.

“There won’t be any let-up in our quest to achieve our objective ... we are not going to take it easy.

“Yes, a World Cup place is virtually ours but I believe many will take that (the reserve slot) as going through the back door. But that’s not true ... we have earned the right to be reserve for the World Cup spot.”

Only the winners of the Asia Cup will qualify for the World Cup Finals in The Hague, Holland.

Azlan will go into this edition of the Asia Cup as one of few players with vast experience at the world level.

He will be featuring in his sixth edition of the Asia Cup after making his debut in the 2003 edition.

The Star of Malaysia

S. Korea suffer early blow


KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions South Korea suffered an early blow to their Asia Cup hopes following an untimely injury to their playmaker Hong Eun-seong.

The centrehalf fractured his finger during a training session and the Koreans have decided to call up another player to replace him for the tournament, which begins in Ipoh tomorrow.

Team manager Shin Seok-kyu said yesterday that midfielder Jeong-byung is the other change from the team who played in the FIH World Hockey League semi-finals in Johor Baru last month.

Jeong Byung has been replaced by Cho Suk-hoon.

“Eun-seong is a big loss to the team. His finger is fractured and there’s no point risking him in the Asia Cup. Other than these two players, the team is almost the same as the one who played in Johor Baru where we finished fourth,” said Seok-kyu, who is glad that his team will be under no pressure to win the Asia Cup.

The Asia Cup is a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup in Holland and the Koreans have already qualified for it following Argentina’s triumph in the Pan-American Cup.

But the Koreans are not about to surrender the Asia Cup without a fight because they view the tournament as the start of their Asian Games programme.

“Yes, we have qualified for the World Cup. But we still want to win the Asia Cup as we have brought our best players ... we see this as the first step in our Asian Games preparations,” said Seok-kyu.

“We (South Korea) are hosting the Asian Games next year and that is the qualifying stage for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. We do not want to fail in the Asiad. So, from now on, we will use all the coming tournaments to mould our Asiad squad.”

South Korea are in Group B for the Asia Cup and their first match is against Bangladesh on Sunday. They will then play against India on Tuesday and Oman on Thursday.

The Star of Malaysia

Aminuddin dropped from playing tour of Australia


KUALA LUMPUR: Penalty corner drag flicker Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Zain is among seven Project 2013 squad players dropped from the playing tour of Australia.

The others dropped are Dangerous Lee, Shahrul Azadin Arkauzie, Sobirin Alias, Mohd Fariq Saadon, Mohd Azrul Hasbullah and Syafiq Zulzairin.

The 20-member Project squad will leave for Brisbane today to play four matches against the Australian national juniors on Aug 25, 26, 28 and 29.

The tour is part of the Project squad’s preparation for the six-nation Sultan of Johor Cup in Johor Baru from Sept 21-29. The teams in the fray are Argentina, England, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Malaysia.

Project squad team manager Mirnawan Nawawi said that Aminuddin was dropped because he suffered a hamstring injury.

“He is our main penalty corner drag flicker ... we hope he will recover in time for the Sultan of Johor Cup,” said Mirnawan.

“As for the other six players, they will be allowed to represent their states in the 51st edition of the Razak Cup in Kuantan from Sept 5-15.

“But we will not release the 20 players who will feature in the playing tour of Australia for the Razak Cup.

“The 20, together with another five who are in the national senior team will continue training in preparation for the assignment in Johor.”

The five national players, who are eligible to play in the Junior World Cup in Chandigarh, India, from Dec 6-15, are defenders Faiz Helmi Jali, Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, midfielders Mohd Fitri Saari and Meor Mohd Azuan Hassan and forward Mohd Firhan Ashaari.

Except for Meor Mohd, the rest will feature in the Asia Cup, which begins in Ipoh tomorrow.

The Star of Malaysia

Hockey hopes

Since Pakistan's title-winning triumph at the 2010 Asian Games in China, it has mostly been bad news as far as the country's hockey team is concerned. But things can get even worse if the Green-shirts continue their poor form and fail to win the eight-nation Asia Cup that gets underway in the Malaysian city of Ipoh tomorrow.

In the past, winning or losing the Asia Cup hasn't mattered for Pakistan as much as it matters now. This is because the tournament represents Pakistan's last chance to make the cut for Hockey World Cup 2014 as Asia Cup champions will get a spot on the quadrennial spectacle to be played at The Hague next summer.

Pakistan’s players and coaches have assured the nation that they will return home with the Asia Cup early next month but their promises sound hollow if you consider the national team's below-par showing during the last few seasons. In the recent past, Pakistan has even struggled against lower-ranked teams.

Time and again, rivals have laid bare the national team's several weaknesses both in attack and defence in various international events.

History is also not on Pakistan's side – not having won the title in 24 years.

This year, Pakistan has been bracketed in Pool A with Malaysia, China and Japan but such is the state of the national team that there are no guarantees that it will win all of its league matches to progress to the semi-finals as the number one side from its group.

Both its chief rivals – India and South Korea – are in the other group. They are the teams that will have to be beaten in order to win the Asia Cup and qualify for next year's World Cup.

Losing is not an option for Pakistan, which – with its four World Cup titles – is one of the most successful nations in hockey's history. Pakistan's players will have to rise to the occasion and regain the Asia Cup.

The News International

Announcing the Canadian Women’s Pan American Cup Team

Congratulations to the 18 athletes!

Connor Meakin

Building off a productive summer chalked full of international competition in Ireland and Germany, the Women’s National Program is eager to return to international competition heading into the Pan American Cup in September.

The volume of games combined with the positive performances for both the Senior and U21 Teams made for an arduous selection process. Coach Ian Rutledge was impressed by the performance of many of the girls at the Junior World Cup, with eight U21's making selection.

Pan Am Cup Team:

Lauren Logush
Kaitlyn Williams
Jessica Barnett
Danielle Hennig
Shanlee Johnston
Sara McManus
Kaelan Watson
Amanda Woodcroft
Ashley Kristen
Abigail Raye
Maddie Secco
Natalie Sourisseau
Thea Culley
Kate Gillis
Hannah Haughn
Caashia Karringten
Stephanie Norlande
Brienne Stairs

Rutledge is confident in the 18 players, now focusing on the details one month out: “We are still a new and young team, attempting to modernize our style of play. Our focus has been about perfecting our offensive and defensive structure and system and move these from the cognitive to the automatic stages.”

The success of the Ireland tour in June confirmed that the program is progressing well. There’s a priority on increasing the team’s depth and with that, exposing more athletes to the speed and tempo of international competition. The Pan Am Cup will certainly accomplish this goal, with top teams vying the coveted spot in the 2014 World Cup in The Hague.

“The final push to the PAC will be about focusing on individual and system refinements to ensure we are optimally prepared ahead of the tournament” said Rutledge.

Veteran striker Kate Gillis welcomes the new attacking style of hockey promoted by Rutledge: “We’ve been focusing on a fast attacking game where we put a lot of pressure on the oppositions defence. There’s a lot of up and coming talent on the squad which makes every training session competitive.”

Gillis also commented on returning to the tournament atmosphere: “It’s been a year since we competed in World League, so we’re itching to play a major competition. It’s going to be a tough tournament with some really talented teams, and I can’t wait to see how our team measures up against our continental competition.”

The Pan American Cup takes place in Mendoza, Argentina, September 21-28. Canada draws Argentina, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago in Pool A, and opens their tournament vs. Guyana.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Australia women's indoor squad announced

14 athlete party to compete in Singapore four nations tournament

The Australian women’s indoor squad has been selected for its tour to Singapore in October.  The squad was selected from the Australian Indoor Hockey Championships held in January 2013 and comes ahead of a European tour in January next year.

Announcing the squad, Stuart Fenton, the Australian women’s indoor team coach, said: “I am delighted to announce a squad of players to play a four nations tournament in Singapore in late October 2013.

“With a view to the ongoing development of players as we prepare for the World Cup to be held in Germany in 2014, this team has been selected with the future in mind. After the recent announcement of a team to tour Europe in January 2014, this tour will give players an opportunity to press for the final two places available on the European tour as well as give some of our up and coming younger players an opportunity to continue to develop for the future.

“On behalf of the coaches we congratulate all players on their selection and look forward to a successful tour.”

Australian women’s indoor squad for Singapore tour, October 2013
1. Tara BOWATER (WA)
2. Tayla BRITTON (TAS)
3. Olivia CHIU (WA)
6. Tamsin LEE (NSW)
7. Ellie LYONS (ACT)
9. Bronwyn POULTON (ACT)
10. Lauren RICHARDS (QLD)
11. Claire RIECK (NSW)
12. Emily SECCULL (VIC)
13. Erica TRAHAR (VIC)
14. Roberta WALTON (TAS)

Stewart Fenton – Coach
Karen Seaman – Team Manager and Assistant Coach
John Trueman – Assistant Coach
Alex Lupton – Assistant Coach

Hockey Australia media release

Three Nittany Lions highlight Big Ten Field Hockey Players to Watch

Whitney Reddig joins teammates Laura Gebhart and Brittany Grzywacz as Big Ten Players to Watch for 2013. Image:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State field hockey program has placed three athletes on the Big Ten's 2013 Field Hockey Players to Watch List. The three Nittany Lions garnering this recognition are seniors Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.) and Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.) and junior Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.).

Grzywacz is coming off a standout 2012 campaign, where the Methacton High product was named the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Last season Grzywacz set a career-high in goals scored with 12 and ranked second on the team and eighth in the Big Ten in that category. The defender was also named first team All-Big Ten, NFHCA All-America third team and Academic All-Big Ten.

Thursday's honor is the first for Reddig, who led the team and ranked second in the conference in assists with 16 a season ago. The midfielder added six goals to total 28 points in 2012, the ninth most in the Big Ten. Last season Reddig earned NFHCA National Academic Squad and Academic All-Big Ten status.

2013 marks the second-straight season Gebhart has been placed on the Big Ten's Field Hockey Players to Watch List. The junior, a 2011 and 2012 first team All-Big Ten selection, is coming off an impressive summer, as Gebhart captained the U.S. National Team at the Junior World Cup in Germany. The Donegal High product matched her career-highs in goals (6), assists (12) and points (24) last season. The midfielder also earned second team NFHCA All-America, Academic All-Big Ten, NFHCA National Academic Squad and Big Ten All-Tournament Team honors in 2012.

Grzywacz, Reddig, Gebhart and the rest of the Nittany Lions will begin this season with an exhibition on Friday, Aug. 23 at 5 p.m., as the team hosts the 2012 NCAA Tournament semifinalists Maryland. An autograph session will be held following the game for fans at the field.

Penn State's regular season-opener is scheduled for Aug. 30 at Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va. with a 5 p.m. start. The Lion's first regular season home match is on Friday, Sept. 6, as the team hosts Temple in a 5 p.m. start. 

Penn State News