News for 15 November 2013

All the news for Friday 15 November 2013

SA coaches bullish ahead of Africa Cup campaign

South African men’s and women’s hockey coaches Charlie Pereira and Fabian Gregory were confident their teams headed into the Africa Cup of Nations tournament as favourites.

“Our chances are good. We are the current champions,” men’s head coach Pereira said ahead of the teams’ departure to Nairobi on Friday.

“So we go in there as champions and our goal is to win the tournament so we qualify for the World Cup.”

The winners of the Africa Cup of Nations both the men’s and women’s team would qualify as Africa’s sole representatives at the 2014 Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands.

“I definitely believe winning this tournament will give us impetus and good preparation going into a World Cup if we should be successful, which we are confident we will be,” Gregory said.

“For a number of the girls, it would probably be the crowning moment of their careers.

“For some of the juniors, who are just starting out their careers, it would be fantastic.”

The Nairobi event, originally scheduled for September 16 to October 5, was postponed after the bombing of a Nairobi shopping centre.

Islamist gunmen entered the Westgate mall in the country’s capital on September 21 and used automatic weapons and grenades to kill 67 people.

Kenya entered into a period of three days of national mourning following the end of the four-day siege at the mall, prompting the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to halt the event and move it to a later date.

Pereira said the men’s team had suffered two withdrawals from the team as a result of the date change due to work and university commitments, and revealed his concern at not having had his team together to train before they departed.

“We’ve had to replace Andrew Cronje and Matthew Guise-Brown. We’ve brought in Francois Pretorius and Greg Last,” Pereira said.

“It’s been a little bit disruptive in that regard. Also, we haven’t been able to train together as a group because our guys are all over the place in South Africa, and we have guys playing in Europe.

“That’s the real difficulty, because we haven’t been able to get together for a week before we go away to train, which is what we needed to do.”

In the men’s draw, South Africa will take on Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. The four teams competing the women’s competition are South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania.

Despite the team having had little in the form of preparations for the uncertainty of Nairobi’s facilities, Pereira believed his team would be able to get the job done.

“We don’t have too many guys who have played there before, maybe three or four who have played there (in Nairobi),” Pereira said.

“It’s going to be a new experience. We’ve tried to brief the guys as much as we can in terms of the pitch

“It’s not going to be great, we know that. The reports haven’t been excellent, but the FIH sent a delegation down there to have a look at the pitch and they’re happy playing international fixtures on it.”

Pereira fingered Egypt as the men’s toughest opposition, while Gregory believes Ghana will pose the biggest threat to the women’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup.

“Egypt have traditionally been our toughest opponent.,” Pereira said.

“The team we’re probably most wary of is Ghana. They would definitely be the toughest team in my book,” Gregory said.

The South Africans get their tournament underway on Monday, with the men taking on Ghana, while the women meet Kenya in their opening fixture.

South Africa men: Rassie Pieterse, Jacque le Roux, Rhett Halkett (vice-captain), Francois Pretorius, Greg Last, Jethro Eustice, Dylan Swanepoel, Mohamed Mea, Austin Smith (captain), Jonty Robinson, Clint Panther, Wade Paton, Taine Paton, Tim Drummond, Julian Hykes, Geoff Abbott, Pierre de Voux, Lloyd Norris-Jones. Head coach: Charlie Pereira.

South Africa women: Hanli Hattingh, Phume Mbande, Lenise Marais (co-captain) Marcelle Keet (co-captain, Lisa Deetlefs, Illse Davids, Celia Evans, Shelley Russell, Kaila Flemming, Quanita Bobbs, Sulette Damons, Christine Roos, Jade Mayne, Bernie Coston, Tanya Britz, Lilian du Plessis, Izelle Lategan, Kelly Madsen. Head coach: Fabian Gregory.

The Citizen

Black Sticks Women set for World League Final

Sophie Cocks scored on debut for the Black Sticks

The three debutantes named in the Black Sticks Women’s team for the recent Oceania Cup are packing their bags again – however this time, they will be taking on the top eight teams at the World League Final in Tucuman, Argentina.

Brooke Neal (Midlands), Elizabeth Thompson (Auckland) and Sophie Cocks (Canterbury) are in head coach Mark Hager’s line-up alongside some more experienced names.

Captain Kayla Sharland, Krystal Forgesson, Gemma Flynn and Anita Punt join the newbies with Sharland likely to reach 200 international test caps and Flynn set to play her 150th game while away.

Hager notes there is no easy pool in this tournament - the Black Sticks will face current World Champions Argentina as well as Australia and China in Pool B, while Pool A includes reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands alongside England, Germany and Korea.

“It will be a hard challenge – we will face Argentina at home, Australia is playing well at the moment and China is a bit unknown, but it is another opportunity to play against the top eight teams ahead of a big year of hockey in 2014,” says Hager. 

In the first six months of next year, the Black Sticks Women will play a Four Nations in the United States in February, a Six Nations Tournament in Hawke’s Bay in April, the World Cup in Holland in June and then the Commonwealth Games in July. 

Ranking points are up for grabs at Tucuman, with the points being recalculated following the tournament to determine the pools for the 2014 World Cup. “There is nothing in it when it comes to the rankings - it is so tight between the top countries."

Tucuman is nine hours north of Rosario and can get up to 40 degrees Celsius at this time of year, which is why the Black Sticks are arriving a week early and playing three games against Chile in Santiago before heading North. 

“We have only had the four Oceania Cup games since World League Three in June so playing Chile is another good chance for this group to play together,” says Hager.

Emily Naylor, Stacey Michelsen, Katie Glynn and Aniwaka Roberts are not available for the World League Final due to injury or personal reasons.

The format of the tournament is the same as World League Three.  After round-robin pool play, there will be quarter-finals, semi-finals, classification and medal matches.

Following the pool play, the teams will move into the crossover quarter-final phase, with the pool winners meeting the bottom team from the opposite pool. The #2 and #3 finishers will also face-off in the knock out quarter-final. From there, the winners move into semi-finals and the medal games, with the losing teams playing for placement.

Click here to read more about the format of the FIH World League

Black Sticks Women's Team
World League Final


Player Name

NHL Team














Olivia MERRY






North Harbour









Brooke NEAL










Danielle JONES










Julia KING










Sophie COCKS











North Harbour



















Anita PUNT





Hockey New Zealand Media release

Newcomers named in Black Sticks

Brooke Neal. Photo / Christine Cornege

Three players who made their New Zealand debut in the recent Oceania Cup have kept their bags for the World League final in Tucuman, Argentina next month.

Brooke Neal, Elizabeth Thompson and Sophie Cocks are in the squad of 18 for the tournament comprising of the world's top eight nations.

Four players were unavailable for selection either for injury or personal reasons - key striker Katie Glynn, defenders Emily Naylor and Aniwaka Roberts and classy midfielder Stacey Michelsen - which removes a large chunk of experience.

World No 3 New Zealand will play world champions Argentina (ranked second), Australia (sixth) and China (seventh) in pool B, while Olympic champions the Netherlands, England, Germany and Korea are in pool A.

"It will be a hard challenge," Black Sticks coach Mark Hager said.

"Argentina are at home, Australia is playing well at the moment and China is a bit unknown but it is another opportunity to play against the top eight teams ahead of a big year of hockey in 2014."

Ranking points are on offer in Tucuman to help determine pools for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague.

Black Sticks squad: Kayla Sharland (c, Central), Krystal Forgesson, Danielle Jones, Julia King, Liz Thompson (Auckland), Anita Punt (Capital), Olivia Merry, Amelia Gibson, Sophie Cocks, Bridget Blackwood, Pippa Hayward (Canterbury), Petrea Webster, Rhiannon Dennison (North Harbour), Sally Rutherford, Brooke Neal, Sam Charlton, Gemma Flynn, Rose Keddell (Midlands).

The New Zealand Herald

Army, Parkites reach Magnolias vets final

Defence Force and Queen’s Park CC set up a meeting in the tonight’s Veterans Division final of the Shandy Carib Magnolias Indoor Hockey Tournament with comfortable semifinal wins at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo on Wednesday night.

In the first semifinal, the Parkites led by hat-trick from Raphael Govia and Azad Ali and two apiece from Gary Chin and Minister of National Security, Gary Griffith outplayed rivals, Fatima 11–6 after both teams were locked at 4–4 at the end of the first 15-minutes half.

For Fatima, Alan Young also netted a hat-trick in a losing effort while his brother, Alan Young, Gerard Vieira and Mark Nieves got the others.


Veterans semifinals:

QPCC 11 (Raphael Govia 8th, 9th, 25th, Azad Ali 17th, 17th, 30th, Gary Chin 4th, 12th,Gary Griffith 25th, 28th, Jerazeno Bell 16th pen) vs Fatima 6 (Alan Young 6th, 7th, 29th, Colin Young 11th, Gerard Vieira 14th, Mark Nieves 27th)
Defence Force 7 (Nicholas Wren 7th, 15th, 16th, Anthony Morales 9th, 20th, Gerard Ferguson 13th, Neil Lashley 29th) vs Malvern 4 (Shawn Alexander 2nd, 4th, 29th, David Francois 20th)

Women’s Open:
Malvern Sweaters 4 (Krizia Layne 16th, 18th, 29th, Rose-Ann Reyes 10th) vs United Hockey Peongs 1 (Gabriella Xavier 24th)
Notre Dame 5 (Dana-Lee De Gannes 14th, 16th, 27th, Tonya-Marie James 11th, Blair Wynne 28th) vs Checkers 2 (Patricia Wright-Alexis 4th, Brittney Hingh 20th)

Men’s Open:
Malvern 6 (Daryl Hume 7th, 17th, Tariq Marcano 9th, 26th, Jemuel Romeo 19th, Triston Grant 30th) vs Defence Force 2 (Marcus James 22nd, Dwain Quan Chan 29th)
Notre Dame 9 (Shaquille Daniel 3rd, 6th, 19th, Chad Pedro 20th, 20th, 21st, Solomon Eccles 12th, Darren Cowie 18th, Dillon Campbell 23rd) vs Fatima 2 (Jordan Vieira 7th, 24th)

The Trinidad Guardian

Seven Malaysian seniors rested

Although there has been much confusion with regards to coaches and composition of players for the SEA Games, one thing is certain, key players will not be on the flight to Yangoon this December.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation, upon request of its national coach Paul Revington, is expected to leave out a host of senior players.

Amongst the players to be left home are Faizal Saari, Mohd Sharun Nabil, Mohd Shukri Mutalib, keeper S.Kumar, Mohd Nabil Mohd Nor, Mohd Razie rahim and Mohd Marhan Jalil.

That would mean coach for SEA Games Tai Beng Hai will have the likes of Azlan Misron, Mohd Madzli Ikmar, Baljit Singh, Harvinder Singh, Jivan Mohan and keeper Roslan Jamaluddin to rely on.

With the senior national team heading for Korea next week, Beng Hai will hardly have time to assemble his side.

This is due to the fact that the bulk of his team will be in Korea and due back only on December 3.

Malaysia will play Korea on November 23, 26, 28, 30 and December 2,

Meanwhile Olympic Council of Malaysia Honorary Secretary Dato Sieh Kok Chi denied that they had cut the list submitted by MHC.

"The OCM does to intervene in naming a squad and deny we made the selection," added Kok Chi.

"Any changes made now will be subject to the approval of the Myanmar Organising committee."

Start working together

It may only be the SEA Games, but the level of politics within the Malaysian Hockey Confederation reached its peak as two key officials created a furore over a small issue.

The fact that Senior Vice President Dato Azmi Ahmad and Vice President Manjit Majid Abdullah do not see eye to eye is an open secret.

And those in the hockey fraternity are all too aware of the spat between these two, as they guard their territories with vengence.

Thus it was not a surprise that Azmi once again breached into Manjit’s territory when it came to naming officials for the Sea Games squad.

MHC had ealier blundered as they named only 19 players for the initial registration for SEA Games and it comprised of some players that were on the “rest” list of national coach Paul Revington.

The football squad listed 30 players and MHC ought to have done the same as no additional names are allowed after November 10. But true to its unability to adminiter the sport, MHC messed up a simple thing like registration and even had not picked a manager as yet.

“As there are only two places available for officials since the National Sports Institute wants us to name two medical staff into our list, we opted to pick Lailin Abu Hassan as the manager and in the process he will assist in coaching the team,” said Azmi after chairing a discussion between officials of the national senior and junior squads.

But when told that the medical personnel come under a pool system, Azmi claimed that it was not the case for hockey as they have their own personnel although they are staff of the National Sports Institute.

The MHC Coaching Committee had recommended Perak’s Razak Cup winning coach Kulwant Singh and former international M. Kaliswaran as assistant coaches for the SEA Games squad.

But Azmi claimed that it was Coaching Director Tai Beng Hai who had proposed the name of Lailin Abu Hassan as the Assistant Coach, and he merely followed what was requested.

However Azmi chose to make a quick exit and refused to comment if those presence had the right to decide on who will be appointed manager and why they had changed the composition of the assistant coaches.

“As far as we are concerned we had submitted many names for the SEA Games squad but it was OCM that had cut the list to 19. I will sort this out with OCM,” said Azmi.

Manjit when contacted said that he had no inkling about the decision made today.

“As so far as the Coaching Committee is concerned, we have submitted our recommendations and it should be respected. Another sub-committee has no jurisdiction to change our recommendation as it can only be done by the Management Committee or the Council,” was the stand taken by Manjit.

If the top officials of the MHC want to squabble on petty matters, then its best that they both quit their positions and let others take over. Personal interests should be set aside for the sake of hockey in this country.

New lease of life for programme

By Jugjet Singh

THE 1Mas Hockey programme will be entering into its fourth year in January, and plans are afoot to bring out the coaches and players from their comfort zone.

"After three years, we have 18 centres (14 states and four outsourced) and while some are active, others have needed constant monitoring to bring the coaches as well as players from their comfort zone.

"And where complacency has crept in, the new re-structuring will make sure they become performance based again," said 1Mas Project Director Lim Chiow Chuan.

From January, centres will be classified into four different categories, where funding will also play a big role in keeping coaching staff on their toes.

"Following the steering committee meeting (on Oct 30), it was decided that the programme will be re-structured which will involve classification of centres into different categories. This exercise is vital and necessary to improve the quality and take the programme to a higher level."

The centres will be categorised from Class One to Four, with Class One being best performers and Class Four being poor performers.

"The classification of centres will also determine the amount of allowances payable to coaches support staff. Centres in the higher bracket will be receiving better remunerations," said Chiow Chuan.

A head coach, with all the required qualifications, can earn up to RM2,250 by running the weekend coaching centre at his state.

Right now, most of the age-group tournaments have shown some improvement in skills, as 1Mas players are the preferred choice.

"From our observations, the age-group tournaments that were held this year saw a large number of 1Mas players being selected to represent their states as these players have already been taught the basics.

"Also the Under-16 team that play regularly in the Mannheim (Germany) tournament has seen a big jump in the number of 1Mas players selected. In 2011, there was only one 1Mas player, 2012 seven 1Mas players, and this year there were eight 1Mas players selected to represent Malaysia," said Chiow Chuan.

New Straits Times

All eyes on Felda

The Malaysian Hockey League Premier Division is not expected to start until October next year.

But the hockey circles is abuzz with news of player movements, the same as what is happening in the football M-League. And all this excitement boils down to one thing, that there will be a new club making its entry into the MHL.

Although nothing has been confirmed yet,  it is understood that Felda will be venturing into hockey in a big way. And the who’s who of Malaysian hockey is being associated with the club.

Such ahs been the excitement that some of the national players who will see an end to their existing contract with their current clubs have refused to renew their contracts, hoping for a higher pay bracket with Felda in the coming season.

Top hockey players currently receive anything between RM3,000 to RM10,000 per month from clubs and this benchmark was set after Terengganu Hockey, who made their debut in the MHL last year went on a buying spree.

Thus players are hoping for a better deal as it is said that Terengganu may not put up a side for the MHL next season, opting to do the right thing by concentrating on development.

A former international skipper is said to have submitted a proposal to Felda to form a team that will comprise of several national players that will leave Terengganu.

Amongst those who are playing for Terengganu are national juniors skipper Fitri Saari, national seniors skipper Mohd Shahrun Nabil, striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tg Jalil, Ismail Abu , Jivan Mohan and keeper Khairulnizam Ibrahim.

The madness that strikes football has now shifted over to hockey and it will be best for Felda to weigh its options and not blindly jump into something that could eventually leave them asking why we bothered in the first place.

Teams may withdraw from under 14 tournament

The Malaysian National Under 14 Championships that will be held from November 18 till 27 could well be hit by several last minute withdrawals.

A total of 14 boys teams and 12 girls teams had confirmed their participated in the tournament hosted by the Terengganu Hockey Association.

However some states are having second thoughts of participation following the inability of the hosts to provide accommodate and internal transport for participating teams.

"We were only notified yesterday that no accommodation or internal transport will be provided. And that has now put a financial strain on us," said a state secretary who did not want to be named in fear of repercussions by MHC.

"Fielding boys and girls team means we need to fork out around RM10,000 just for accommodation.

"And with no internal transport, we will have to hire a bus for the whole duration as there are three venues.

"Thus we may decide to withdraw one of our teams."

His sentiment was shared by several other states saying that MHC should have informed them much earlier and not state that accommodation and internal transport maybe provided in their circular.

Terengganu HA Secretary Saberi Salleh however denied they had promised accommodation and internal transport.

" The MHC only made the request a week ago in writing and subsequently we made a request to the Menteri Besar," clarified Saberi.

"This it's unfair to say we have not kept our word.

"As organisors we have given a list of 27 places of accommodation for teams to consider. So they should have known earlier.

"I do symphatise with teams and hope we can resolve this issue without them having to withdraw."

This is the first time that the boys and girls event is being hosted simultaneously by a state body.

For the record MHC does provide a subsidy of RM3,000 for each team but many a time it is paid after the tournament is over.

Surbiton head to East Grinstead in NOW: Pensions Premier Division

Surbiton celebrate

TWO top four sides do battle in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday, with second-placed East Grinstead playing host to fourth-placed Surbiton.

After battling to a hard-earned 4-4 draw with rivals Reading last weekend, East Grinstead will be aiming to get back to winning ways and keep pace with leaders Beeston, who now have a five-point lead.

But Surbiton (pictured) – who also drew with Reading a fortnight ago - will be similarly determined to take the points and maintain their spot in the top four.

Elsewhere Reading – who have the meanest defence in the Division with just 13 goals conceded – will hope for their first win in three matches when they travel to bottom of the table Loughborough Students, who have just one win so far this season.

But having lost by just one goal to leaders Beeston last weekend, Loughborough will be aiming to snatch a valuable win and climb the table.

Wimbledon climbed to sixth on the back of a 4-0 win over Hampstead and Westminster last weekend, and they could step up to fifth if they can beat fellow Premier Division newcomers Sheffield Hallam this Saturday.

Canterbury travel to Hampstead and Westminster in the Division’s final match. The Kent side have won three of their last four matches, while Hampstead haven’t won a league match in over a month.

With four victories in a row, Team Bath Buccaneers will want to make it five and consolidate their lead in the NOW: Pensions Conference West when they head to bottom of the table Guildford on Saturday.

Meanwhile, second-placed Cardiff & Met entertain Havant as they maintain the pressure on Team Bath.

The only team with an unbeaten record in the table, University of Durham host Bowdon in the NOW: Pensions Conference North. Meanwhile, second-placed Brooklands MU entertain strugglers West Bridgford and could overtake Durham if they slip up.

And in the NOW: Pensions Conference East, Teddington - who are unbeaten in their last seven league matches - will aim to make it eight when they play host to Old Loughtonians.

Leaders Southgate entertain Bromley and Beckenham, with second-placed Holcombe facing Richmond.

* Bromley & Beckenham’s appeal against their deduction of four points for fielding an ineligible player was recently considered by the England Hockey Appeals Panel and the penalty has been reduced to three points.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, November 16 2013):

NOW: Pensions Premier Division

Cannock v Beeston 14:00
East Grinstead v Surbiton 17:30
Hampstead and Westminster v Canterbury 14:00
Loughborough Students v Reading 14:00
Sheffield Hallam v Wimbledon 13:30

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Brighton and Hove v Oxted 14:00
Cambridge City v St Albans 12:00
Holcombe v Richmond 18:00
Southgate v Bromley and Beckenham 17:00
Teddington v Old Loughtonians 12:30

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Brooklands MU v West Bridgford 12:00
Khalsa (Warks) v Belper 14:30
Olton and West Warwickshire v Deeside Ramblers 13:30
Univ of Durham v Bowdon 12:00
Wakefield v Leek 17:00

NOW: Pensions Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Havant 13:00
Cheltenham v Indian Gymkhana 14:30
Fareham v Isca 17:00
Guildford v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:00
Univ of Exeter v Univ of Birmingham 18:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Clifton target Canterbury in Investec Premier Division

Clifton celebrate a goal

SECOND only on goal difference, Canterbury face a tough clash against third-placed Clifton in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Sunday.

The Kent side could go top if they win and leaders Reading lose this weekend, but first they will have to get past a Clifton side who have the only unbeaten record in the Premier Division.

However, Clifton (pictured) were beaten in the Cup last Sunday by Sevenoaks, and will want to get back to winning ways to avoid damaging their League ambitions.

On Sunday Reading will be aiming to notch up their seventh victory when they go to Bowdon Hightown, a side who had a torrid time last weekend with defeats in both the league and the Cup.

Surbiton climbed into the top four on the back of a 4-0 win over Bowdon Hightown last weekend, and they could climb to third if they can take the points at Beeston.

After securing just one win in the last five matches, Leicester entertain bottom of the table Olton and West Warwicks, while Sutton Coldfield are hosting University of Birmingham.

The new leaders in the Investec Conference North, Wakefield will be aiming to preserve their unbeaten record when they host Whitley Bay and Tynemouth on Sunday.

But if they slip up two other teams could go top – second-placed Brooklands Poynton entertain Kendal, while former leaders University of Durham go to Stourport.

In the Investec Conference East, leaders Holcombe are at home against St Albans, while East Grinstead will lose second spot if they are beaten by Harleston Magpies.

Investec Conference West leaders Slough host Swansea City, while Buckingham could go top if they win at Gloucester City.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sunday, November 17 2013)

Investec Premier Division

Beeston v Surbiton 12:00
Bowdon Hightown v Reading 12:30
Canterbury v Clifton 12:45
Leicester v Olton & West Warwicks 12:30
Sutton Coldfield v Univ of Birmingham 13:30

Investec Conference East
East Grinstead v Harleston Magpies 13:00
Holcombe v St Albans 14:30
Ipswich v Old Loughtonians 14:00
Sevenoaks v Horsham 14:30
Wimbledon v Chelmsford 14:00

Investec Conference North
Boots v Loughborough Students 12:30
Brooklands Poynton v Kendal 11:45
Doncaster v Ben Rhydding 14:00
Stourport v Univ of Durham 12:00
Wakefield v Whitley Bay & Tynemouth 13:30

Investec Conference West
Barnes v Exe 13:00
Bristol Firebrands v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Gloucester City v Buckingham 12:00
Isca v Trojans 12:30
Slough v Swansea City 13:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Holcombe cash strategy excites me, says Barry Middleton


England men's captain brushes off critics of Kent side Holcombe and believes others should follow club's vision

By Rod Gilmour

No extra cost: Barry Middleton says focus on hockey full-time will benefit national side Photo: ADY KERRY

Barry Middleton, the England hockey captain, says he isn’t fazed by the “snowball effect” that has engulfed Holcombe over the Kent club’s strategy to sign a number of high-profile players on professional contracts.

Holcombe are currently second in the Now: Pensions Men’s Conference East, one rung below hockey’s top flight, but have come in for criticism after being described last month as “unsustainable” by rivals Canterbury.

“I don’t know if people are jumping on the bandwagon,” Middleton told Telegraph Sport. “Clubs have done it [investing] for a long time to varying degrees, so it’s nothing new.

“But it has taken off with a snowball effect with people having a go. This is a good thing, it means that everyone wants to beat us and this is a challenge for us.”

Middleton joined the Kent outfit this season on a three-year deal after a stint with Dutch side HGC. It followed 18 months of negotiations with David South, the Holcombe chairman for the past 30 years.

The club, Middleton says, are now using the next couple of years as a “springboard”, but are also looking to bolster the club’s youth strategy. In that time, some high-profile names will leave the club.

“I have always seen it as it’s been sold to me,” he added. “There isn’t that youth set-up yet. It’s a case of how long you wait for that to happen, or do you try and do as much as you can now.

“It’s not a case of seeing what happens. The Olympics made the club bigger, it is exciting and one of things that sold it for me was the plan for the future.”

Middleton, who will be one of five England players to feature in next week’s Hockey India League auction, believes that Holcombe’s vision can benefit his side – and the national game as a whole if other clubs follow suit.

“For me, I can play full-time hockey and some other players in the squad can have the same chance, which players didn’t have in the past,” he added.

“Now we have a whole squad who can focus full-time on hockey, which makes us better as a national team.

“The professional approach shows that we can relax as players and don’t have to worry about other things in their lives such as working or coaching.

“The more we can get this, the more players will embrace hockey. It shows to me that they are committed to England and GB.”

The Telegraph


Secret Umpire: lowly volunteer is fair game - but what if tables turned and players berated for lack of skill?

By The Secret Umpire

Under scrutiny: think about the boot being on the other foot when questioning a decision next time Photo: ADY KERRY

Our undercover field hockey umpire, ensconced somewhere in England, says players must stop scrutinising and get on with the game

It is Saturday morning on a wet damp November day. Awaiting the majority of hockey umpires is the 3pm push back between the mens’ and ladies’ 4th XI and their willing opposition, who have drawn the graveyard slot under lights in the drizzle.

Unlike those who have chosen to take umpire appointments, be it at national, regional or county level, the vast majority of umpires across the country will be playing the same day and – before or after 70 minutes of vigorous competition in which they have either won or lost – then swap hats and take to the field as an official.

I have been that person, sometimes umpiring back-to-back games after having already played myself. As a player you always think you can do a better job than the person in the cerise (that’s pink for non-umpiring folk), yellow, orange or green shirt who is controlling the game for you.

No time for a shower and an after-match drink with the team as they dissect the game in minute detail, the missed goals, the howlers and obviously the favourite topic: just how bad was that umpire?

It seems as if the lowly volunteer umpire is fair game to all and sundry involved with the sport, whether or not they have ever read a rule book. Or for that matter picked up a whistle.

Umpires are under the scrutiny of 22 or more players who are more than willing to offer an opinion as to the validity of the decisions they make.

Imagine if the tables were turned and every time an umpire perceived a player to have made a mistake the whistle was blown. The player concerned was then berated in front of both teams for their lack of skill. How would they feel then?

I’m quite sure that after a couple of weeks they would not enjoy playing at all.

The key point here is that these are volunteers who give up their time to enable players to play.

They may not have an FIH badge and string of coaching and assessing behind them as support. However, without them, the game just would not exist outside the top leagues.

So, players, next time you turn to question a decision, think about the boot being on the other foot. Stop and just get on with the game.

I’m off now to have a drink with my colleague in the corner of the clubhouse as my team mates have all gone home!

Secret Umpire will appear monthly in The Telegraph

The Telegraph

Scots trio earn first Great Britain caps in Germany series

Scotland internationals Ali Bell, Morag McLellan, and Nikki Kidd were included in a Great Britain women’s squad that played three capped matches against Germany in Mannheim earlier this week. All three players won their first caps.

The matches gave Great Britain Head Coach Jason Lee the opportunity assess a number of players in the Great Britain training squad, and also the chance for England internationals to take on Germany before the FIH World League Final later this month.

Ali Bell

Great Britain started strongly, winning their first game 3-1, however Germany fought back to reverse this score line in the remaining two games to take the series win.

Nikki Kidd

Speaking after the final match, Great Britain Head Coach Jason Lee said: “We started strongly with a win in the first game and then it was slightly disappointing to be on the losing end yesterday and today. We created a lot of chances today and it felt like a very typical game against Germany where they converted their chances and we just couldn’t score from ours. But I felt overall it was very even between the two sides which is pleasing.”

He added: “Our job coming over here was to continue to develop the wider GB squad and we have certainly done that. I’m really pleased for all the players who have made their international debuts out here and there have been some good performances from the less experienced members of the squad. Having said that, everyone is aware that there is still plenty of progress to be made as we continue to build this squad.”

Mo McLellan

Great Britain Women
Ashleigh Ball -Slough - England
Alison Bell - Grove Menzieshill - Scotland
Sophie Bray - MOP (NED) - England
Stephanie Elliott - Holcombe - England
Susie Gilbert - Reading - England
Sarah Haycroft - Surbiton - England
Sabbie Heesh - Loughborough Students - England
Nikki Kidd - Canterbury - Scotland
Joanna Leigh - Clifton - England
Kirsty Mackay - East Grinstead - England
Shona McCallin - MOP (NED) - England
Morag McLellan - Clydesdale Western - Scotland
Lily Owsley - University of Birmingham - England
Suzy Petty - Beeston - England
Susie Townsend - Reading - England
Georgie Twigg - Surbiton - England
Laura Unsworth - Holcombe - England
Sally Walton - Wakefield - England
Ellie Watton - Beeston - England
Hollie Webb - Surbiton – England

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Over 17 Scottish Hockey umpires covering International Tournaments

We have an outstanding number of Scottish Hockey volunteers that have been appointed to be either an umpire, a technical official or umpire manger for a range of International tournaments over the next year.

In those 17 volunteers we have our very own chairperson of Scottish Hockey, Scott Baird and the newly appointed Scottish Hockey CEO David Sweetman are among them. All these umpires started out umpiring on weekends at their local clubs and are still umpiring domestically as well as abroad, they are all lucky enough to travel the globe all because of hockey. The volunteers are;

Sophie Ashcroft, Appointed as National Umpire to:

13th to 19th July 2014 Outdoor Women's EuroHockey Junior Championship II @ Vienna (AUT)

Gavin Cruickshanks, Appointed as EHF Appointed Umpire to:

20th to 26th July 2014 Outdoor Men's EuroHockey Junior Championship @ Waterloo (BEL)

Alex Fedenczuk, Appointed as National Umpire to:

13th to 19th July 2014 Outdoor Men's EuroHockey Junior Championship II @ Lousada (POR)

Martin Madden, Appointed as EHF Appointed Umpire to:

16th to 21st April 2014 Outdoor Men's EHL KO16 and Final 4 @ Eindhoven (NED)

David Sweetman, Appointed as National Umpire to:

6th to 9th June 2014 Outdoor Men's EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy @ Cagliari (ITA)

Kerri Targett, Appointed as National Umpire to:

6th to 9th June 2014 Outdoor Women's EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge I @ Catania (ITA)

Alex Walker, Appointed as National Umpire to:

6th to 9th June 2014 Outdoor Women's EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge I @ Catania (ITA)

Sarah Wilson, Appointed as EHF Appointed Umpire to:

18th to 21st April 2014 Outdoor Women's EuroHockey Club Champions Cup @ s'Hertogenbosch (NED)

Jean Duncan, Appointed as Umpire Manager to:

20th to 26th July 2014 Outdoor Women's EuroHockey Junior Championship @ Waterloo (BEL)

John Heron, Appointed as Trainee Umpire Manager to:

6th to 9th June 2014 Outdoor Men's EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge II @ Slagelse (DEN)

John Heron, Appointed as Umpire Manager to:

3rd to 6th July 2014 Outdoor Men's EuroHockey U16 Championship @ Vienna (AUT)

Aileen Ross, Appointed as Umpire Manager to:

6th to 9th June 2014 Outdoor Women's EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge I @ Catania (ITA)

Scott Baird, Appointed as Tournament Director to:

6th to 9th June 2014 Outdoor Men's EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy @ Cagliari (ITA)

Ross Dixon, Appointed as Judge to:

20th to 26th July 2014 Outdoor Men's EuroHockey Junior Championship @ Waterloo (BEL)

Iain McKay, Appointed as Technical Officer to:

16th to 21st April 2014 Outdoor Men's EHL KO16 and Final 4 @ Eindhoven (NED)

Martin Monaghan, Appointed as Judge to:

16th to 21st April 2014 Outdoor Men's EHL KO16 and Final 4 @ Eindhoven (NED)

Victoria Truesdale, Appointed as Judge to:

6th to 9th June 2014 Outdoor Women's Eurohockey Club Champions Challenge III B @ Porto (POR)

This is brilliant news to have so many great Scottish Hockey volunteers involved in world hockey.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Wildcats aim to upset new leaders Glynhill Kelburne

Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s National League Division 1

Last weekend’s fixtures were the most closely fought of the season so far with three scorelines being draws, either side of victories for Glynhill Kelburne and Grange.  These results favoured Glynhill Kelburne as they climbed to the top of the league.

Glynhill Kelburne’s position at the top of the league will be tested sternly on Saturday, as they face old rivals Western Wildcats at Glasgows National Hockey Centre.  Western are sitting comfortably in third, after a draw with Hillhead on Saturday.  They are safe in the knowledge that a win against Glynhill Kelburne for the second time this season would see them level on points and with the advantage of a game in hand.  The last time the two sides met Western won 4-2 at Auchenhowie.  Ralph’s men have recovered well from this early defeat and will be confident of avenging their early defeat to Dunlop’s charges.

Hillhead men tarnished Western’s perfect home record on Saturday, with a 4-4 draw, having surrendered an early 2-0 lead.  With Glynhill Kelburne and Grange to come, the visit of Edinburgh University this weekend looks on paper Hillhead’s most winnable match before Christmas.  Moodie’s students, however, have picked up four points in their last three matches, the most recent a creditable draw with Grove Menzieshill.  The last time the two sides played, a three nil score line flattered Keith Joss’s side, with the students guilty of not turning possession into goals.  This promises to be a close match.

Grange welcome Dundee Wanderers to Peffermill on Saturday on the back of an away draw to PSL Team Sport Clydesdale.  Wanderers were unable to take the benefit of home advantage, losing out to Glynhill Kelburne last weekend. Despite being separated by six league places, this match promises much with Grange losing to Dundee Wanderers in their first outing of the season.  A repeat result would seriously dent Grange’s hopes of putting pressure on the league’s top three sides.  A win for Dundee by contrast could move them off the bottom and as high as seventh, if other results go their way.

Inverleith travel up to Dundee on Saturday to face a Grove Menzieshill side that have been struggling for consistency, having failed to win two matches on the trot this season.  Chris Anderson’s men will face an Inverleith side which are showing the signs of a return to form. After a win against Gordonians last weekend and some closely fought defeats against top sides are evidence of progress.  A win for Menzieshill is a must as they look to keep pace with the chasing pack for the top four play offs positions.  Inverleith will go into this match confident of causing an upset.

The final match of the day sees PSL Team Sport Clydesdale welcome Gordonians to Titwood.  The southsiders have fallen upon difficult times with only a draw to show for their efforts against three of the top four sides.  Despite this, a win on Saturday would see McKnight’s men back in the hunt for a top four place.  Gordonians have had a difficult month, with a number of single goal defeats, and have lost their last seven matches.  They are a very capable side that on their day can cause any team problems.

Aberdeen Asset Management Women’s National League Division 1

There were no surprises in division one last weekend with Scotland’s  top four sides completing comfortable wins against lower half opposition.  The stand out result of the day being CALA Edinburgh 3-0 win away to Western Wildcats, a result which saw them rise to a high of sixth for the season.

CALA Edinburgh have had a return to form in recent weeks, with two wins and a draw in their last four matches, easing the pressure at the lower end of the table.  How much progress the young side has made recently will be put to the ultimate test on Saturday as they host free scoring Milne Craig Clydesdale Western.  Western travel to Edinburgh in a confident mood after their significant victory over title challengers Edinburgh University at Titwood. CALA’s youngsters will be aiming to continue their steady improvement as the season rolls on.

In the bottom half of the league winless Grange travel to Glasgow to face GHK, a match which will be keenly contested by these two sides struggling for form in recent weeks.  Coach Kane will be looking to tighten things up defensively with his young squad having conceded 16 goals in their last two outings. In contrast Grange will be looking to score more goals, as yet to reach double figures this season.  Despite being winless, a reversal in their fortunes in this fixture could see Grange jump as high as eighth in the table.  A win for GHK could see them reclaim the sixth position which they had held for much of the season.

Watsonians have the ominous task of facing up to Sam Judge’s Edinburgh University side on Saturday.  The two teams sit at opposite ends of the table, with Watsonians precariously close to the bottom, meanwhile Edinburgh University will be disappointed to be only sitting in third, after defeats to Western and Menzieshill.  Although Watsonians have shown themselves to be a stubborn opposition having lost fewer matches than any of the bottom four sides, they will do well to subdue University’s abundance of attacking options whether from open play or set pieces.

Dundee Wanderers have recovered well from a defeat to Edinburgh University some weeks back, recording three straight victories albeit their most recent 2-0 victory over Glynhill Kelburne was not so convincing.  They face Western Wildcats who by contrast have struggled for form losing their last three matches, the most recent a defeat at the hands of a resurgent CALA Edinburgh.  A difficult assignment for the young Wildcats, particularly away from home.

The final match of the fixture card pits league leaders Grove Menzieshill against fifth placed Glynhill Kelburne.  Menzieshill will be confident of maintaining their perfect start to the season, with only Edinburgh University having come near to upsetting the odds against the champions elect. Glynhill Kelburne have had a less consistent season than their opponents effectively winning every other match they have played in.  They are yet to make an impact on the top four sides but have shown some real form against those teams placed below them in the league, only CALA proving capable of taking points off the Paisley outfit.  A win for Glynhill Kelburne, albeit unlikely, would give them an outside chance of pressuring those above them for a fourth place finish and a play off spot.  A win for Grove would see them continue their flawless start to the season with tougher challenges to follow in the coming weeks.

For more information on this weekends fixtures please go to our competitions page.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

World class facilities at Dundee get the stamp of approval

Hockey players at the High School of Dundee are benefitting from world class facilities – and that’s official.

The school has recently received confirmation from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) that one of its two all-weather, floodlit pitches at Dalnacraig on the Arbroath Road has achieved “Global” certification, placing it in the same top level category as the hockey fields for the London Olympics and next year’s Commonwealth Games.

The classification means that the pitch is one of only four in Scotland currently approved by the FIH for the hosting of ‘world level’ competitions.

Both of the school’s all weather surfaces were also assessed as meeting the “National” standard requirements, making them suitable for international and national hockey events.

Great Britain and Scotland hockey player Vikki Bunce, who coaches at the High School of Dundee, said, “The pitches are fantastic.

“Lots of people have been commenting on how good they are and how lucky we are to have them.”

The pitches, as with the school’s adjacent Mayfield Sports Centre, are available not only to High School of Dundee pupils, but also to local and national sports groups, clubs and societies

A number of international hockey training sessions have already been held at Dalnacraig, as well as a home nations veterans competition, youth interdistrict trials and training, and training and games for the Dundee Wanderers mens and ladies national league sides.

Dr John Halliday, Rector of the High School of Dundee, was delighted to receive news of the impressive accolade.

He said, “We now have facilities that are literally world class and we are delighted to be able to make these facilities available to our pupils and to external clubs.

“We look forward to hosting high quality matches on a regular basis in future.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Captain Jackson Shows No Fear

Irish Captain John Jackson when questioned about the future of the team, talking to Graham Hamilton in the Belfast Telegraph was asked about the 2018 World Cup and Ireland's chances says "We have the ability to qualify for the 2018 finals, and more so with four additional teams that year. (16 will qualify in 2018 as opposed to 12 teams)"

"Would I fear playing in New Delhi? Absolutely not. We have had positive results against the leading Asian nations like Korea, Pakistan, India and Malaysia, who are all ranked above us, and there is no reason why that shouldn't continue."

Irish Hockey Association media release

U18 & U16 Appointments Announced

Irish Hockey are delighted to announce the appointments of the JAG coaching teams for 2013/14 who will work in close alignment with our Senior National Coaches Andrew Meredith and Darren Smith.  The U16 Girls have already had two training camps following the squad selection at the recent Interpos in Cork and the U18 Girls will get together for the first time on Sunday 1st December.  This will give their new coach Graeme Francey an opportunity to access the talent.

The 16 and 18's Boys Interpros will be hosted by Ulster in Mossley Hockey Club next weekend (22nd - 24th November).  Coaches Ricky Lee & Andy Smyth together with National Coach Andrew Meredith will all be in attendance throughout the weekend to view the talent on display.

U18 Boys
COACH: Andy Smyth
ASST COACH: Gareth Borland
MANAGER: Mark Murray

U18 Girls
COACH: Graeme Francey

U16 Boys
COACH: Ricky Lee
MANAGER: Trevor Lorimer

U16 Girls
COACH: Alison McNeill
ASST COACH: Sarah Scott
MANAGER: Michelle McMillan

Irish Hockey Association media release

Greater Palm Springs to Host 2014 and 2015 National Hockey Festival

USA Field Hockey has selected Greater Palm Springs, Cali. and the Empire Polo Club to host the 2014 and 2015 National Field Hockey Festival presented by CranBarry – a longstanding holiday tradition in the hockey community. For most families, Thanksgiving is about rituals, stuffed turkeys and football. For field hockey enthusiasts, the tradition is slightly different. Approximately 5,000 athletes choose to forego pumpkins and pilgrims for a four-day hockey showcase celebration.

“Festival is an amazing event for the field hockey community and coming back to the West Coast next year will be a little bit like coming home,” said Karen Collins, USA Field Hockey’s Director of Events. “The fields are in immaculate condition at Empire Polo Club and the entire community is very welcoming. Together with our partners, the Greater Palm Springs CVB and Empire Polo Club, it will be a fantastic event.”

Several cities submitted bids, of which the Greater Palm Springs area emerged with the most compelling bid, promising to deliver an incredible experience for all in attendance, at a world-class facility. National Hockey Festival remains the world’s largest amateur field hockey event, enticing athletes and families from around the world to travel to a sunny destination over the American holiday.

“The entire destination is excited to welcome the USA Field Hockey Festival back to Greater Palm Springs in 2014,” said Scott White, President and CEO of the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The Greater Palm Springs CVB and our hospitality partners truly appreciate the opportunity to host this very important event.”

The National Hockey Festival returns to Greater Palm Springs after a four year gap. The Empire Polo Club hosted the event from 2004 to 2009, which has grown in player participation since. In 2014, the Empire Polo Club will host the world-known, premier event that is anticipated to draw over 9,000 visitors to the area.

“Since the last USA Field Hockey Festival was held in 2009, many of our hotels, attractions, airport and the host venue, Empire Polo Club, have completed significant improvements,” said White. “Festival participants will find more direct flights into Palm Springs, voted one of the top ‘Stress Free’ airports in the country in 2012. We are ready to welcome everyone to our oasis and share our new and improved destination.”

“Attendees and organizers alike will be pleasantly surprised by what is new and enhanced at the Empire Polo Club,” said the owner of Empire Polo Club. “To name a few items, we have acquired additional land that allowed us to create even more turf areas. A large, elevated viewing terrace that includes a regulation announcer’s box has been added field-side in front of the peaked tents. And, as we are known for, of course additional palm trees, lion statues, gazebos, fountains and columns have been placed throughout the venue."

The Empire Polo Club is a topnotch facility in a beautiful location for Festival participants. Increased airline service, renovated hotels, and blossoming new attractions and businesses were a few of the many deciding factors when selecting a new host city. Strong support from the Greater Palm Springs CVB and Empire Polo Club will promise a Festival to remember.

“USA Field Hockey is really looking forward to returning to the Greater Palm Springs area in a revamped venue,” said Steve Locke, Executive Director, USA Field Hockey. “The high level of professionalism from the staff in Indio will ensure a premier event. Hockey Festival is an epic event as it is the largest of its kind in the world. We look forward to planning a first class event with our friends in the Greater Palm Springs area.”

Accommodations will be booked by JBS Destination Solutions/Global Housing for their 17th consecutive Festival, continuing their long standing relationship with field hockey clubs and families. While Thanksgiving weekend next year seems far off, the planning begins now. 2014 information will be available at the USA Field Hockey tent at the 2013 National Field Hockey Festival in Palm Beach County, Fla.!

USFHA media release

Excitement over new turf in New Zealand

By Cameron Leslie

Workers, including Rockie Aquino, are making good headway at the site of the new hockey turf on Kensington Park, Northland, New Zealand. Photo / John Stone

Northland's new $1.8 million hockey turf is building excitement - especially now it is starting to take shape on Kensington Park.

Late last week the lights were placed on the outside of what will be the Currie Electrical Turf, with Hockey Northland chief executive officer Grant McLeod saying plans for use had already started.

"From our point of view there's been a lot of positive feedback from the hockey community.

"It would be fair to say we are starting to look at how we can schedule things, from an administration side."

McLeod added that from this process it can be seen that all teams will need to be patient as it will be a balancing act in regard to which teams will play at what time.

Some teams would find themselves playing in similar timeslots to last year but could be on a different day, McLeod said.

He added that so far it looked like the turf would be ready on time, with the next steps being setting up the fencing and services before the asphalt can be put down around early December.

"The weather has been really good to us.

"In October we had rain but it's allowed the construction crew the time to get onto it. We're really pleased with how it's progressed and what the third turf will offer and how it'll allow greater opportunity."

While Currie Electrical had secured naming rights to the turf, McLeod said that hoardings would be up for grabs at a later date once the turf had been completed.

The turf, which should be completed by the end of January following a three month construction project, received a mid-winter present from the Whangarei District Council of $1 million - which was agreed by council at the end of 2011.

An ASB grant and $200,000 from Hockey Northland reserves have helped to fund the new turf. While some may criticise the council for helping fund the project, Hockey Northland has proved its ability to attract international teams and national tournaments to the region.

This year alone, Northland has hosted an international Four Nations and the national under-21 tournaments.

The New Zealand Herald