News for 05 October 2013

All the news for Saturday 5 October 2013


Hosts Victoria to meet Queensland in AHL Final

Defeat doesn't dampen Victorian spirits ahead of live streamed Grand Final

Men's AHL - Day 5

Reporting by Sean Munaweera, Hockey Victoria.

Pool D: TAS 6 def SA 2


TAS goals:  Sam McCambridge 13m FG, 54 FG; Nick Budgeon 17m, 28m PC; Dougal Middleton 22m FG, Kurt Mackey 32m FG
SA goals: Cameron Joyce 21m PC; Harry Gill 67m FG

TAS Tigers put on a clinic as they defeated the SA Hotshots 6 – 2 on day five of competition at the State Netball Hockey Centre.

The Hotshots on a beautiful Melbourne day came into the match wanting to build on their memorable win against the WA Thundersticks.  The Tigers settling for a draw in their previous match were keen on going one better.

The extra emotional motivation was evident early for the TAS team and they began impressively.  They were able to create a lot of space for their attackers in the midfield and it was entertaining to watch.  Their movement in the midfield was rewarded with a brilliant opportunity to score but just breezed past the post.

The Tigers were controlling the midfield battle and their dominance paid off in a big way with two goals in quick succession.  The control in most areas of the ground was apparent with Sam McCambridge scoring from general play and then Nick Budgeon capitalising on their first penalty corner.

The battle then evened out as Cameron Joyce took advantage of SA’s first penalty corner and TAS scored thanks to a fabulous tomahawk from Dougal Middleton on an acute angle.  Nick Budgeon was making penalty corners look incredibly easy as he scored his second and made it 4 – 1 for the Tigers.

SA was unable to do anything about the great movement from the Tigers as TAS continued to find an enormous amount of space.  Kurt Mackey slid in to deflect his first and TAS’s fifth.  The score at half time was 5 – 1 to the Tigers and fans would have been forgiven for thinking the match was over from the goal-fest they were treated to.  If SA wanted to get back into this match they needed desperately to hold possession and make their own space.

The second half started as the first finished with TAS players all over the Hotshots.  They were running harder and now pressing wide which was providing a different game plan for the Hotshots to defend.  The match was now very even and became quite end to end which made it hard to tell whether it was better defending from SA or a cooling off from TAS.

Although the Tigers may have been content on defending their unassailable lead they were able to string some great passes together and score thanks to Sam McCambridge.  The final goal of the match was a consolation to SA but well-constructed by Harry Gill.

The final whistle sounded and the Tigers finished off with a solid victory against SA.  It was a positive confidence booster for the Tigers leading into their final match of the championships.

Pool D: NT 2 def WA 1

NT goals: Mitchell Lockley 22m FG; Jeremy Hayward 63m PC
WA goals: Sam Pike 24m PC

NT Stingers hold on for a gutsy win against a never say die WA Thundersticks 2 – 1.

The Thundersticks' campaign may not have gone as they originally planned but there were no residual effects from their previous results against the Stingers.  Both teams had an equal share of possession in the opening minutes but it was in fact NT that looked more composed coming out of defense.

There was a goal scoring opportunity for WA as they entered their attacking circle, from a hard push, but it was unusual that a flat strike was not used as the push gave the keeper enough time to analyse the impending threat. 

As every situation is different it is hard to judge how the opposition will defend at any given time.  However, entering the attacking circle with a golden opportunity to launch a shot at goal WA opted to maintain possession in the circle possibly attempting to draw a penalty corner.

Conversely the Stingers would use short and quick passing to have a number of shots at goal.  The ball was still evenly shared by both sides but the more dangerous shots went the way of NT.  The WA goal keeper was caught off guard and also out of position which resulted in a goal to the Stigners.

To the Thundersticks' credit they showed some dash to enter their attacking circle and with the penalty corner given to WA they scored and leveled the game.  With 10 minutes to play the Stingers would have wanted the halftime whistle to sound as players were not only going down but also getting green carded.

WA was definitely on top for the remainder of the half but could not show it on the scoreboard.  As such both teams went into the break 1 – 1.  Following the opportunity to cool off the Stingers came out looking fresher and started playing with more poise.

With 20 minutes to go it did not seem that anyone was going to score.  The attack from both sides had dried up and the midfielders were the ones doing all the running.  There was no risk taking from either team until the Thundersticks picked up their intensity and launched a counterattack that consisted of numerous shots and three penalty corners.  It unfortunately did not mount to goals but the play was still effective.

The Stingers then responded with some quality play down the wing and was feeding off the enthusiasm from the crowd.  Being given a penalty corner finally broke the deadlock and gave NT the lead 2 – 1 with eight minutes to play.  That is how the scores remained at the final whistle with WA still searching for a win in the 2013 AHL championships. 

Pool C: QLD 5 def ACT 1

QLD goals: Liam De Young 4m PC; Own Goal 24m; Aidan Rintalla 27m FG; Jake Whetton 42m FG; Jason Wilson 46m FG
ACT goals: Aaron Kershaw 30m PC

QLD Blades slice through the ACT Lakers defence to get over the top in a 5 – 1 win.

The Blades were keen on putting in a solid performance considering internally they would be frustrated in conceding a late goal against the Vikings for their first draw of the championships on Wednesday. Lakers' Glenn Turner had been providing considerable attacking presence but was not given an opportunity in the opening five minutes.

QLD were controlling proceedings by creating space and dominating in close.  Their trapping was exemplary which gave them a few chances early to score.  Being given the first penalty corner of the game the Blades did not let this slip providing a clinical set play.

ACT was trying their best to get Turner into the game by providing long through passes that were misjudged.  On a number of occasions the Blades were intent on playing on and catching the Lakers defenders off guard which opened up the space in the attacking circle. 

Missed traps from the Lakers made it difficult to launch a counterattack as QLD were more dangerous whilst in possession.  On another of their plays QLD entered the attacking circle and took advantage of the poor defensive effort of the Lakers.

Soon after their second goal the Blades were again able to get possession in the attacking circle and score.  The heads of the ACT players began to drop and with six minutes remaining they needed to simply maintain possession and build up to attack.  This eventually saw the Lakers awarded with a penalty corner and with some help from the post made the score 3 – 1 leading into halftime.

The Lakers looked to apply more pressure on the ball carrier at the start of the second half but an unfortunate defensive error from the Lakers saw their entire left wing open. Blades players were able, without pressure, to run down the wing and score thanks to Jason Wilson.  The scoreboard was now 5 – 1 and with 22 minutes left the Blades did not look like easing up.

As QLD had so much confidence they would constantly run off their direct opponent and thus provide another option for their teammates.  This is the kind of play that will be beneficial in the final against the Vikings.  The score remained 5 – 1 until the end and ensured QLD would be the first team to qualify for the final.

The Blades have continued their unparalleled success in the Australian competition making it to their 11th decider in 12 years.

Pool C: NSW 5 def VIC 1

NSW goals: Duncan Pearce 22m FG, 65m FG; Mark Paterson 54m FG, 61m PC; Peter Urquhart 58m FG
VIC goals: Adam Seccull 52m PC

In the final match of the day the VIC Vikings lose against the NSW Waratahs 5 – 1.

Some called it a ‘dead rubber’ but no one told the NSW Waratahs that took it up to the Vikings in the last match of the night.  After scoring a draw in the dying minutes of their last game the Vikings would need to use this match to tighten up their structures in order to again tackle the might of the QLD Blades.

However, thinking too far ahead would be disrespectful to the Waratahs team that would not be easy to beat.  The first 10 minutes saw the Vikings attempt to control possession but leading into their attacking wing the VICs would try and hit through two or three Waratahs players.  This was surely addressed and the Vikings were content on using their defenders at every opportunity to set up play.

The NSW players though were keen on applying the pressure and would ensure that Vikings with the ball would make a rushed decision resulting in a turnover.  As the ball traveled end to end both teams had few opportunities to add to the scoreboard.

That was, until an intelligent entry into NSW attacking circle saw Duncan Pearce record the first goal of the match.  With the VICs on the back foot it was important to continue their push up the ground but the Waratahs were holding their structures and formations very well.  The Vikings in response to the challenge from the Waratahs were starting to apply their flare and dominate the short pass game.

NSW were able to keep their lead and enter the halftime break 1 – 0.  Coming out from the break the Vikings conceded a penalty corner but VIC keeper George Bazeley took care of it.  Both teams were awarded penalty corners but it was the Vikings that took advantage of theirs making the scores 1 – 1.

The Waratahs all of a sudden put 10 minutes of brilliant hockey together and scored four times to put the VICs in a position they have not been in yet in the competition.  After a commanding tournament so far, it was unusual to see the Vikings in such a position and full credit must go to the Waratahs who simply dominated the match in the second half.

The Vikings had no answer and were outplayed by what looked like a hungrier team that wanted to rebound from their loss to the Lakers. 

The VICs continued to persist despite the score line. Even with two minutes left on the clock the Vikings were going to see this one out as a team and regroup.  They play QLD Blades in Saturday's live streamed Final at 16:30.

Men's AHL playoffs and medal matches – Saturday 5th October 2013 (Melbourne)
10:30am – 7th/8th Playoff: South Australia v Western Australia
12:30pm – 5th/6th Playoff:  Tasmania v Northern Territory
2:30pm – 3rd/4th Playoff:  New South Wales v Australian Capital Territory
4:30pm – Grand Final: Queensland v Victoria

Follow on Twitter using #AHLMEN.

For full fixtures, results and tables please visit the SportsDesq platform.

All of the Men’s AHL matches will be live streamed HERE by Hockey Zone and Hockey Victoria.

Hockey Australia media release



Queensland and Western Australia in AHL Final

Dramatic late win puts WA in the Grand Final

Women's AHL - Day 5

Reporting by host State, Hockey Tasmania.

Pool D: SA 4 def TAS 1


SA goals: Ashleigh Robertson 16m PC; Karri McMahon 28m PC; Courtney Rudd 37m FG; Emily Naylor 55m PC
TAS goals: Own goal 13m

The Southern Suns produced a dominating performance to outclass the Tasmanian Van Demons 4-1, with their ability to convert penalty corners key to their victory.

The Suns started the game well and threatened to open the scoring numerous times but the Van Demons' keeper Amelia Gibson stood firm to deny them.

Despite their early pressure, the Suns found themselves a goal down in the 13th minute when a long shot by Tasmania deflected of a Sun defender and into the goal to give the competition’s hosts the lead despite protests from the South Australian’s over whether the ball actually came off a player.

The Van Demons’ lead didn’t last for long though, as the Suns pressure paid off from their second penalty corner of the game when Ashleigh Roberson scored to level the game.

The Van Demons' own Ashley Robertson came close to regaining the lead minutes later from a Sofie McLeod pass, but her shot hit the post and out of play.

Soon after in the 27th minute, the Suns took the lead through another penalty corner, which was converted by a Karri McMahon drag-flick.

With the first half in its dying minutes the Suns nearly consolidated their lead through another penalty corner, but Jane Claxton’s flick was just wide.

The second half saw more of the same, with the Sun’s pressuring the Van Demons defence and they added to their lead in the 37th minute through Courtney Rudd.  They scored their fourth goal of the game in the 55th minute from another penalty corner, which was deflected past the keeper by a Van Demon defender.

Roberson nearly scored her second goal of the game after she weaved her way into the circle, but her shot was well saved.

The Van Demons had a chance to reduce the deficit with time running down after Robertson broke through the Suns defence, but the Suns recovered to prevent her from cutting into their lead.

Pool D: VIC 3 def NT 0

VIC goals: Stephanie Riordan 5m PC; Danielle Schubach 19m FG; Kary Chau 61m PC

A solid first half by the Victorian Vipers was the platform for their 3-0 win over the NT Pearls.

The Vipers began the game well and rewarded for their efforts in the 11th minute when they took the lead after a penalty corner was eventually tapped in by Stephanie Riordan.

The Pearls didn’t have any answers for the attacking prowess of the Vipers and they fell further behind when Danielle Schubach made it 2-0 to the Victorians after Laura Barden squared the ball to her in front of goal.

The Vipers came close to adding to their lead in the 27th minute when their penalty corner was nearly deflected into the goal by a Pearls defender.

The Pearls had their first penalty corner just before the half time break, but the Vipers defence was able to get bodies in front of the flick and the Pearls couldn’t reduce the deficit.

The opening exchanges of the second half saw more of the same from the Vipers with Laura Desmet coming close to scoring twice in quick succession.

The Pearls began to put up more of a contest as the second half went on, but fell further behind from another Vipers penalty corner that was converted by Kary Chau who got a touch on the initial flick.

A penalty corner in the 63rd minute gave the Pearls a chance to get themselves on the scoreboard, but Blair Patten’s shot was deflected wide and the Vipers were able to claim a comfortable win.

Pool C: WA 3 def NSW 2

WA goals: Own goal 35m; Jemma Buckley 43m PC; Ashleigh Nelson 70m PC
NSW goals: Mathilda Carmichael 24m PC; Jade Close 64m PC

An elated WA Diamonds are through to the women’s AHL final tomorrow after a thrilling defeat of NSW.

Missing a couple of key players in Eastham and Khoury possibly affected the NSW game plan as NSW were slow to start.

The Diamonds had purpose and skirted around their attacking circle for a significant part of the first half and it was only the Arrows defence which prevented WA getting some shots away.  Ever disciplined, NSW eventually drove into their attacking circle with a piercing pass from Kellie White to Jade Close who narrowly missed.

Slowly the Arrow gained ascendency and sealed  it with an impressive  three touch penalty corner variation with Mathilda Carmichael having the final touch to give NSW a one nil lead. 

NSW had the chance to increase their lead with a third penalty corner but it was actually WA who got lucky from a powerful strike into the circle from the 25 yard line, when the keeper ever so slightly nicked the ball and WA levelled with the own goal 30 second before the half time break.

A determined and focused WA Diamond outfit continued to spread the NSW midfielders in the second period, but really it was a battle of two fast and skilful teams with the lead seesawing. 

The WA Diamonds went 2-1 up from a Jemma Buckley penalty corner.

Emily Hurtz was hungry for another goal and was weaving and fighting for possession and through Kate Hanna earned another penalty corner for the Arrows but it was well defended by Kobie McGurks foot.   The Diamonds were coping well with the sustained pressure from NSW.

A wayward back pass put WA back into their attack but Ashleigh Nelson and Caitlin Pascov were unsuccessful in threatening the goal, hungry to extend their one goal advantage.

In no time, the Arrows again were back in attack and the next penalty corner was this time easily converted to a goal from a straight shot by Jade Close.

With scores level again, intensity increased again and WA tried various tactics, running Ashleigh Nelson as a high striker and with 3 minutes to go replacing their goalkeeper with another field player.   Success followed with the Diamonds taking the lead from an Ashleigh Nelson penalty corner goal and a place in the AHL Final.

Pool C: QLD 1 def ACT 0

QLD goal: Jodie Schulz 33m PC

ACT Strikers came out hard putting the Queenslanders under pressure right from the start but the QLD Scorchers were tough in defence and quick in attack to win the game comfortably 1 – 0.  ACT looked to have the upper hand at the beginning of the first half but this changed with Queensland gaining control  toward the end of the first half.

The Scorchers earned their first penalty corner of the match in the 33rd minute when the ball was injected into the circle from the right hand side of the field , put back to the penalty spot for a scramble in front of ACTs keeper, Grace O’Hanlon.  Jodie Schulz did not hold back and roofed the ball into the top of the net to take the Queenslanders into the lead. 

In the second half, the Scorchers were unrelenting in their build up attack and had a number of opportunities to increase the score.  Jordyn Holzberger had opportunity to add to the score line with a spectacular dive on the right post for a deflection only to have the ball hit the post and go out to an ACT defender to clear.

Grace O’Hanlon, ACT’s keeper, was able to save another of Jodie Schulz’s drag flicks deflecting it out of the circle.  ACT did not give up trying to equalise and put Queensland again under pressure toward the end of the second half through the efforts of Anna Flanagan in the midfield.  The Queenslanders held strong holding off the persistent efforts to gain a corner or goal by the ACT Strikers.

QLD Scorchers will play WA Diamonds in tomorrow’s AHL Women’s final.

Women's AHL Final Day Playoff Fixtures
Women’s cross-overs – Saturday 5th October 2013 (Hobart)
10:30am – 7th/8th playoff: Northern Territory v Tasmania
12:30pm – 5th/6th playoff:  Victoria v South Australia
2:30pm – 3rd/4th playoff:  New South Wales v Australian Capital Territory
4:30pm – Grand Final:  Western Australia v Queensland

Follow on Twitter using #AHLWOMEN.

For full fixtures, results and tables please visit the SportsDesq platform.

Hockey Australia media release



Lucky 13 days to go! ABC to broadcast International Super Series

Great news for hockey fans unable to make it to Perth this month! ABC will broadcast the 2013 International Super Series Hockey 9s, taking its association with the innovative international tournament into a third year.

A combination of live match coverage and delayed highlights will be shown on free to air TV with hockey fans across Australia able to see the action on ABC 1 from 17-20 October and on iview for 14 days after each broadcast.

And there’s good news, too, for sports fans across the Asia Pacific region with the news that Australia Network will also broadcast the final two days of the International Super Series on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 October.

Confirming the ABC’s partnership with the event, Justin Holdforth, Head of ABC TV Sport & Events said, ““The ABC looks forward to once again entertaining audiences both at home and throughout the Asia Pacific with this exciting form of the game. The Hockeyroos and the Kookaburras are two of Australia’s best sporting teams, full of dynamic, brilliant athletes. The ABC is proud to showcase their talents and looks forward to a continuing partnership with hockey as we head towards the World Cup next year.” 

Cam Vale, Hockey Australia Chief Executive, said that the broadcast arrangement will further enhance hockey’s standing amongst Australian sports fans and provides yet another opportunity to attract new viewers to the sport. He said, “We know that high quality television coverage is pivotal to helping us to grow the profile of hockey in Australia and Australian hockey internationally. The ABC’s commitment to broadcasting this year’s International Super Series underlines, once again, that we have an outstanding sporting product that really appeals to viewers. The exciting, innovative nature of the Hockey 9s format allows us showcase hockey and our World Class athletes in a truly dynamic way and I would urge everyone to make sure they take the chance to see what the International Super Series is all about.”

ABC’s excellent coverage will be led by presenter Stephanie Brantz. Quentin Hull and Peter Wilkins will be joined in the commentary box by expert commentators Rechelle Hawkes and David Wansbrough and guest experts and interviewees from the world of hockey throughout the tournament.

Provisional Broadcast Schedule* – Australia
Thursday 17 October     23:30-00:30 AEDT / 20:30-21:30 AWST     ABC 1     Day one highlights
Friday 18 October     23:15-00:15 AEDT / 20:15-21:15 AWST     ABC 1     Day two highlights
Saturday 19 October     16:00-18:00 AEDT / 13:00-15:00 AWST     ABC 1     Day three live
Sunday 20 October     15:30-18:00 AEDT / 12:30-15:00 AWST     ABC 1     Finals day live

*All times and format (delay/live) subject to change.

Hockey Australia media release



PIA win NBP Gold Cup hockey opener

LAHORE - PIA took a flying start in the NBP Gold Cup Hockey Tournament after defeating NBP 4-2 here at the National Hockey Stadium on Friday.

Airlines led the first half 2-1 with collective efforts and persistent attacking and kept bankers under pressure.

Kashif Ali scored the first goal for PIA in the 14th minute, Asfar Yaqoob added second, M Zubair third and Imran Khan converted the fourth for the winners. Sohaib and Rizwan scored one goal each for the losers.

PHF chief Qasim Zia inaugurated the event which is being participated by leading teams of the country. PHF secretary Rana Mujahid, M Asif Bajwa, Khalid Bashir, Anjum Saeed, Tahir Zaman and other were also present there.

Today’s fixtures: HEC vs PAF at 9am, PIA vs Police at 11am, NBP vs Army at 1pm and Customs vs Navy at 3pm.

The Nation



No. 1 Maryland field hockey grinds out two wins over top 10 teams

By Matt Bonesteel



Ali McEvoy was named Terp of the Week. (University of Maryland photo)

The top-ranked Terrapins beat No. 9 Boston College, 3-2, on Friday and No. 13 Massachusetts, 4-1, on Sunday. With the two road wins, Maryland moved to 10-0 overall and 2-0 in ACC play.

Against the Eagles, the Terrapins trailed twice, but sophomore Sarah Sprink answered both times with goals off of penalty corners to tie the score. Sophomore Alyssa Parker then scored the game-winner with 17 minutes to play. Against the Minutemen, sophomore Anna Dessoye scored twice, and redshirt freshman Emma Rissinger and senior Hayley Turner also added goals.

The Terps travel to No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday at 1 before returning home to face Hofstra on Tuesday night at 7.

The Washington Post



Ninth-ranked Boston College scores early in 3-1 win against New Hampshire


Boston College improved to 9-2 with its win at No. 20 New Hampshire. Boston College Athletics

DURHAM, N.H. — Ninth-ranked Boston College earned its third win against a ranked team, defeating No. 20 New Hampshire 3-1 at Memorial Field on Friday afternoon. The Eagles (9-2) outshot the Wildcats (5-5) 15-7, dominating in the second half 10-2.

“The girls really preserved through a very tough second half,” head coach Ainslee Lamb said. “New Hampshire played extremely well. I was impressed by their play. We have to learn how to continue to play at a consistent high level for the entire game and UNH challenged us with that today. We want to refocus our tactics and combine that disciplined play with the energy that we have brought to every game this far.”

The Eagles didn’t waste any time getting on the board, notching a goal in the fourth minute of action. Sophomore AshLeigh Sebia tallied her third score of the season at the 3:32 mark on a pass from classmate Kelcie Hromisin.

Junior Emma Plasteras increased BC’s lead to two at the seven-minute mark on an unassisted score. The midfielder leads the team with eight goals on the year.

BC held the 2-0 lead for much of the game until UNH was awarded a penalty stroke in the 58th minute. Megan Bozek cut the lead to one by converting the attempt, but it didn’t last long as freshman Eryn McCoy scored her seventh of the season three minutes later on a penalty corner. Plasteras, who inserted the ball, tallied her team-leading 10th assist.

Sophomore goalie Leah Settipane tallied five saves on the afternoon. Classmate Jordyn Hamilton made a stop for her first career defensive save. The Eagles earned four corners while the Wildcats registered six in the game. UNH goalie Carlie Tarbell recorded two saves.

NCAA



Playing abroad - Is it for you?

South Africa star Austin Smith tells of his experiences playing hockey away from "home"



South Africa captain Austin Smith.(Photo: FIH / Palito Aguirre)

Inspirational South Africa captain Austin Smith, a player who has spent the last nine years of his life playing hockey outside of his homeland, is often asked by young South African players if he would recommend the experience.

Here are a few of the things that the Netherlands-based star has learned from training, playing and living abroad for nearly a decade. The full story can be found on Austin’s website – www.austinsmith.co.za

Why do it?

Firstly, what reason do you have for going to play hockey or any other sport abroad? The chance to learn new skills, train with a better team, for your own personal development as a person? There are many reasons why players choose this option, so hopefully I'll be able to explain how playing abroad changed me as a player and a person.

Growing Up

I still remember the first time I left to live overseas, destination Reading Hockey Club, England. As I wasn't paid to play at that stage in my career I was also working full time at a local school just outside of Reading. I lay in bed that first night with tears in my eyes wondering why I'd chosen this, or rather why I'd let my coach persuade me to.

I grew up so much in those first few months away from home. It sounds simple enough but until you have lived on your own, away from friends and your family it's hard to explain how lonely you can feel at times. I had to actually learn how to feel comfortable with just myself for company. I also perfected the skill of how to take 'selfless' with my camera!

Training while no-one is watching

You often hear elite athletes talking about training alone or training harder and longer than any of their competition. I liked the idea and challenge of being away from South Africa for an extended period of time. My goal was to return in 2006 after a year abroad and prove to the SA coach that I was good enough to make the 2006 World Cup and Commonwealth teams. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I wasn't selected for either team.

Disappointed but even more determined, I returned to England and worked harder than ever before. I recall a fitness session I did in the freezing cold on New Year's Eve 2008. That session summed up what I achieved in my years in England. I trained so many times on my own when I knew I could stop at any time and no one would know accept myself.

So what stopped me from quitting sessions early? Well, it's quite simple. If you have a powerful enough goal, when your mind starts feeding you exit strategies you return fire with the strongest mental image you can of your dream. I've never allowed myself to quit a session early unless it's for fear of injury.

Proving yourself

Moving to Holland in 2009 was another big decision for me. I had finally settled in England after four years and my professional career as a teacher / director of hockey was developing well. Honestly I can't even remember what made me make the final decision to go to Holland, a mixture of wanting to know if I could make it in the best league in the world or the chance to play semi-professionally. I had written to all twelve Hoofdklasse clubs asking if they were interested in having me for the coming 2009/2010 season. Aged 24 and after my recent success as a player at the Beijing Olympics, being named SA's Player of the Year and also Reading Hockey Club's Most Valuable Player I thought it would quite easy to pick up a contract in Holland. I was sorely mistaken.

I didn't even receive a reply from most of the clubs I emailed, but after some months of waiting I finally got an offer from HC Den Bosch. I quickly researched the club, signed my contract and that August I arrived in Holland for the first time. The idea of being paid to play hockey seemed incredibly strange to me and with it came a whole lot of unexpected pressure, a kind of pressure that I wasn't used to. No-one from Den Bosch had ever heard of me. In the past they had had some big name signings so to see me arrive at their first training session was I'm sure a disappointment for them. I could feel the eyes of everyone on me at training asking questions like; is he good enough? Does he deserve to be here? Why did we buy him?

Dealing with this pressure isn't easy and something players coming abroad need to anticipate. As someone who is quite shy and unimposing with new people I found this difficult. I made sure I had the basics in place; I made a conscious effort to learn everyone’s name in our team and those of the supporters as soon as possible. I made sure I trained at my best every session to prove I was good enough and not just here for a paid holiday. Five years on, I'm still at HC Den Bosch and enjoying it more than ever.

Learning

I can't believe looking back how much I have learnt about the beautiful game of field hockey. I love South Africa but club field hockey is just not developing quickly enough at this moment in time. Growing up in Cape Town I attended great hockey school with brilliant coaches but once I got to club level I felt my development was beginning to slow down. Playing abroad truly broadened my hockey horizons. I learnt so much in the first few years especially and I felt I was continually being challenged with new styles of play, different techniques and just an all-round different approach. This is a huge reason why I chose to play abroad!

To read Austin’s blog in its entirety, click here.

To follow Austin on Twitter, click here.

Source material:  www.austinsmith.co.za

FIH site



Chief Executive Sally Munday MBE receives investiture


Sally Munday receives investiture

After being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June, England Hockey’s Chief Executive Sally Munday MBE went to Windsor Castle on Thursday morning to receive her investiture.

Sally received the MBE for her services to hockey having worked with the National Governing Body since 1998. Prior to being named Chief Executive in2008, Sally also worked as Development Director and, prior to that, a Regional Development Manager.

England Hockey is proud to see hard work in hockey recognised, all the way from our own CEO through to coaches, umpires and players. Why not help someone you know achieve recognition by nominating them for BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award?

England Hockey Board Media release



2013 HiPAC and Futures Cups Squads Lists


Young players shake hands at the Futures Cup

England Hockey are delighted to announce the 2013 HiPAC (High Performance Assessment Camps) and Futures Cups Squads Lists.

The High Performance Assessment Camp (HiPAC) takes place annually during October and is all about training. Young people in the U15 and U17 age groups are selected from the JRPC Cluster Days to come together and train with some of the country’s finest coaches. As an integral step on the Single System ladder, the HiPACs aim to show players in the U15 and U17 age groups that training is as important as competition and they will be taken through a number of sessions on the pitch and in the classroom. The U15s will go to the University of Leeds and the U17s will go to Lilleshall National Sports Centre, Shropshire for three days of training from 27 – 29 October.

In the U16 and U18 age groups, players learn about the highs and lows of competition at the Futures Cup which is a competition based on a Junior International tournament. Players making their way up the ladder train one year, compete in the second, train in the third and compete again in the final year.

Two days of training/preparation are held in October prior to the squads coming together for the competition in Cannock which takes place from 31 October – 3 November.

Details of the 2013 squads are below. Congratulations to all those selected.

Pumas 2013
Lynx 2013
Tigers 2013
Leopards 2013

England Hockey Board Media release