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News 06 March 2014

All the news for Thursday 6 March 2014

Olympic champs win first Test

Olympic champs Germany beat South Africa 7-2 Wednesday night after leading 5-1 at half-time in the first of three Test matches at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium in Cape Town.

Mats Grambusch opened the scoring with a field goal in the eighth minute and Pierre de Voux equalised for SA in the 12th.

Another Grambusch goal in the 15th restored Germany’s lead and Oskar Deecke scored in the same minute for Germany to go 3-1 up.

A field goal in the 20th by Christopher Ruhr and captain Martin Haner’s penalty corner in the 26th left the half-time score 5-1.

After half-time Lloyd Norris-Jones pulled one back for SA in the 39th minute but Florian Fuchs’ brace of field goals in the 44th and 56th minutes cemented Germany’s 7-2 win.

SA umpires Sean Rapaport and Riaan Osman issued one (green) card during the game.

The second Test is at 7pm Friday.

SOUTH AFRICA (starting): Lance Louw, Wade Paton (capt), Andrew Cronje, Lloyd Madsen, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Matt Botha, Craig Haley, Jacques le Roux (GK), Lungi Tsolekile, Clive Terwin, Francois Pretorius.

Rolling subs: Nick Spooner (12th minute), Nick Gonsalves (10th), Robin Jones (16th), Pierre de Voux (11th), Owen Mvimbi (10th), Geowynne Gamiet (11th), Gowan Jones (GK, 36th min).

GERMANY (starting): Linus Butt, Martin Haner (capt), Oskar Deecke, Christopher Wesley, Tobias Hauke, Jan-Phillip Rabente, Benjamin Wess, Florian Fuchs, Thilo Stralkowski, Lukas Windfeder, Tim Jessulat (GK).

Rolling subs: Tom Mieling (7th minute), Tobias Matania (7th), Mats Grambusch (6th), Moritz Polk (7th), Christopher Ruhr (7th), Martin Zwicker (7th), Nicolas Jacobi (GK).

Umpires: Sean Rapaport (SA), Riaan Osman (SA).


SA vs Germany at Hartleyvale
1st Test: SA 2 Germany 7
2nd Test, 7pm Friday
3rd Test, 4pm Saturday

Tickets – adults R40; children (age 4-18) R10; family (2 adults, 2 children) R70; series ticket (per person) R80

Gates open: 1 hour prior to start time

SA Hockey Association media release

GB men training in France

Henry Weir during their un-capped friendly against Scotland at Lilleshall National Sports Centre 2013

From 4-6 March England and GB Men's Head Coach Bobby Crutchley will take the GB men's squad will travel out to Lille, France for training along with two capped matches against the French squad.

The men will travel to the CREPS (the Centre of Resources, Expertise and Sporting Performance) de Wattignies in Lille, France, and they'll be straight into training to make the most of their few days there before their first match the following day.

Their two games will be capped, the times of which are below:

Date Time (UK) Match

5 March 2014 14:00 Great Britain v France
6 March 2014 11:00 Great Britain v France

Match 1: Great Britain 0-0 France

Dan Fox took the captain’s armband as Great Britain played their first of two matches against France out in Lille this afternoon. Head Coach Bobby Crutchley fielded a side full of Great Britain debutants as he left the six players who have recently competed in the Hockey India League back at home.

Goalless draws are not a common sight in hockey, but that was the score after 70 minutes had been played between these two sides. Despite starting quite strongly and forcing early penalty corners, Great Britain were unable to convert any of their chances. Making his GB debut in James Bailey had to be sharp as France came back into the game towards half-time.

The second half was quite an even affair. GB had some good possession when attacking, but the French side were able to push their opportunities as the final pass often let the GB side down.

Speaking after the game, Crutchley said, “Our performance was lacklustre out there today and I’m disappointed with the way we played. We were inconsistent across the 70 minutes and we didn’t put France under enough pressure which resulted in us not scoring. We need to create better opportunities by having a greater intensity in our attacking play and I will very much be hoping to see more of that tomorrow.”

Great Britain Men's Squad


James Bailey – GB debut
Michael Hoare - GB debut
Ollie Willars - GB debut
Dan Fox (Captain)
Andy Bull
Henry Weir - GB debut
Nick Catlin
David Condon - GB debut
Dan Beckett - GB debut
Tom Carson - GB debut
Chris Grassick - GB debut

Subs used:

Ben Arnold - GB debut
Phil Roper - GB debut
Ali Brogdon
Tim Whiteman - GB debut
Dan Coultas - GB debut

Did not play:

Patrick Smith

GB Men's Squad list

Player - Club

Ben Arnold - Beeston
James Bailey (GK) - Reading
David Beckett - Cannock
Alastair Brogdon - Wimbledon
Andy Bull - East Grinstead
Tom Carson - Reading
Nick Catlin - Reading
Darren Cheesman - Reading
David Condon - East Grinstead
Dan Coultas - Holcombe
Dan Fox - Holcombe
Chris Grassick - Surbiton
Michael Hoare - Wimbledon
Phil Roper - Wimbledon
Patrick Smith (GK) - Cannock
Henry Weir - Wimbledon
Tim Whiteman - Beeston
Ollie Willars - Beeston

England Hockey Board Media release

Hayward eager to rejoin Black Sticks for Japan series

By David Leggat

Andy Hayward

After five months out of the national side, it's no wonder Andy Hayward is itching for action when New Zealand play their three-test series against Japan next week.

Added in is the fact the games are in Mt Maunganui.

Although Hayward is based in Auckland, his heart is in Tauranga, where he was raised and educated.

Having those games on his home patch means something extra special.

"I can't wait, really looking forward to it," he said yesterday.

Hayward broke his left middle finger during a practice match in September shortly before the Oceania championships in Taranaki.

That ruled him out of January's world league final in New Delhi, when the world No 6 Black Sticks achieved their best tier one result - making the final against the Netherlands - since winning the Olympic gold in Montreal in 1976.

"That was absolutely fantastic," Hayward said. "From my personal perspective it was obviously disappointing not to play in it but it's awesome the team is at that level now and can compete against the best in the world.

"That's been the big goal, that when we go to those major tournaments we've got a chance to medal, and it shows where we've come from in the past few years."

Hayward, who has 158 caps, had a wire inserted in his finger as part of the healing process but he's philosophical.

"It was a bit unlucky but in the last four years before that I've been pretty fortunate. It was just my time, I guess."

North Harbour defender Cory Bennett also returns after breaking a thumb on the eve of the World League finals. National coach Colin Batch has named 20 players for the series - and that includes Capital striker Jacob Smith from the national development group - and may well tinker with combinations.

"We have a lot of big events coming up so this will be an excellent opportunity to develop our team during the series," Batch said.

Confidence is up within the squad. The games are important both in their own right but also as leadups for the Champions Challenge in Malaysia in April where New Zealand will be top-ranked.

In turn that leads on to the World Cup in the Hague starting in late May and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July-August.

World No 14 Japan, with a reputation for playing fast, skilful hockey and a team on the rise, will warm up with three games against a New Zealand Invitation XI, starting at Auckland Grammar at noon today, with other games at North Harbour tomorrow night and Sunday at lunchtime.

They should be keenly contested, with several national squad members lining up today.

The New Zealand Herald

Reduced Participation Won't Rob Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Of Its Allure

KUALA LUMPUR - Reduced participation in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup competition will not rob the tournament of its allure says organising committee chairman Datuk Abd Rahim Md Ariff.

The 23rd edition of the tournament, to be held from March 13 to 23, will feature Australia, Canada, China, South Africa, South Korea and Malaysia.

"From the six participating countries, four, including Malaysia, have qualified for the World Cup in The Hague, Holland, in May. So, fans can expect an exciting tournament as Malaysia have been drawn in the same group as Australia and South Korea.

"The level of competition will be like the World Cup," he told reporters after receiving sponsorship pledges for RM1.85 million from 25 sponsors on behalf of Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, the Regent of Perak.

Apart from Malaysia, Australia, South Korea and South Africa have qualified for the World Cup.

The tournament will also be the first real test for new national team head coach Dharma Raj Abdullah to gauge the performance of his players, ahead of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the fate of Kevin Lim, a Malaysian born player who is currently playing in Germany but keen to represent the National team, will depend on a decision by the President of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) said MHC senior vice president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.

"He (Kevin) is keen to play for Malaysia. We in MHC are looking at the best possible way to address his case. The good news is that he still holds a MyKad, so he can represent the country.

"Maybe after the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the President (Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah) will make an announcement," he said.

For the record, Kevin who has been playing for the Berlin Hockey Club for nine years, has earned 30 caps with the German national team since 2005.

Kevin's father Git San is a Malaysian from Penang while his mother Dagmar is a German.

He first represented Germany in a quadrangular held in Nuremburg (2005) while his last appearance was at the Punjab Gold Cup held in Chandigarh back in 2009.

However, he would not be among the players in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup competition.


Ric Charlesworth explains why Mark Knowles is a leader with great potential

With hockey clubs preparing for the new season and the annual debate of captaincy going on in clubhouses across the country it will perhaps be of some comfort to know that the Kookaburras have also spent time reflecting on their own squad leadership.

The result of a near 18-month development process, the Kookaburras have a new leadership structure. Gone is the previous model of rotational captaincy. In its place, a leadership team led by Mark Knowles and featuring a greater number and variety of athletes with varying responsibilities.

In the second part of our two part exclusive feature Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth explains why Mark Knowles was the stand out man for the job of captain and Mark Knowles provides his thoughts on leadership. If you missed part one, you can read it here.

“There was one leader that the group was very keen to have, if you like, in all categories and that was Mark,” explains Charlesworth.

The soon-to-be 30 year old defender Mark Knowles is considered the leader amongst the leaders. As captain he sits across the Kookaburras’ leadership program, working with his five fellow leaders and the five apprentice leaders in all of their individual areas of responsibility.

“He sets a tone at training and in the game for professionalism and the way in which he prepares himself, presents himself; the way in which he contributes, and that is recognised as a good example,” says the coach.

One of the most important considerations from Charlesworth’s perspective was ensuring that the team has a captain who can cope with the responsibility that captaincy brings without it negatively impacting on his performance.

He said, “My concern is that while there’s responsibility there he still has to deliver on the field and in the end that’s required of everybody. He has the stature, he has the status and he has the quality in his play to be able to handle that.”

A ten year veteran of the team, Knowles has won it all including Olympic and World Cup gold medals, two Olympic bronzes medals, two Commonwealth golds and four Champions Trophies.

Knowles says, “For me it is about being the leader that I would like to be led by. I have always felt I can be a good leader – it’s something that I’ve tried to learn and evolve over my life. It started with my parents and how they raised me during my time growing up in Rockhampton.”

Reinforcing the qualities that Charlesworth believes the group recognised in Knowles, the Queenslander highlights four things he believes are vital for good leadership.

“It's about setting a good example at training and around the group, showing a strong work ethic and being positive. It's also about making connections away from hockey with your teammates which I think improves on field success.”

Knowles identifies former Kookaburras teammate Bevan George as someone whose leadership he respects because of how he went about it.

“Bevan George was the best leader I’ve played under,” he says. “He had an unbelievable work ethic and made me want to improve and strive to be better. It wasn't his voice and what he said, it was very much his actions. I've tried to implement parts of what I learnt from him while also using my voice and experience to help the team. Outside of hockey, Michael Voss with the Brisbane Lions is an idol of mine and someone I look up to.”

As for the new leadership structure, Knowles admits it’s a “big change” but hopes the group’s positive impact will be felt in coming together to help the team.

“As a group we are striving for this but we understand it will take time to click. This is a working goal for us as a leadership group; to try and improve. The group has a variety of personalities and opinions which we hope can ultimately help the Kookaburras go even further.”

The new structure will be well tested over the coming months with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and Tests against New Zealand interspersed into the daily training environment as the Kookaburras prepare to defend their World Cup title in Europe in May and June. Follow the team's progress on the Hockey Australia website, on Facebook at 'The Kookaburras' and on Twitter at @Kookaburras.

Hockey Australia media release

HIL top draws get national call-up

Sandeep, Gurbaj back, Vikramkanth recalled

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

In a bid to consolidate India’s talent pool ahead of a packed calendar, national coach Terry Walsh has banked on a combination of experience and form. On Tuesday, Hockey India announced a 33-member probables’ group that will begin preparations for the World Cup in the capital this week.

Of those rewarded are the experienced Sandeep Singh (defence), Gurbaj Singh and Vikram Kanth (both midfield), all of whom excelled in the recent Hockey India League Season Two.

While Sandeep and Gurbaj return after almost an year, Vikram Kanth has been given a chance after four years.

Besides, a lot of onus is on the youngsters, who are expected to be part of the core group in future. Devindar Walmiki and Vikas Pillay (both midfield), and Lalit Upadhyay, Affan Yousuf, Jasjit Singh (all strikers), have been part of the junior squad and have been included for the month-long camp.

India are to play the World Cup this year, followed by the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.

Said Walsh, "Our objective is to grow the level of players who can perform internationally. I think we will see many more than 18 players being utilised in this year’s congested schedule of international competition.

"From the 84 Indian players in the HIL, 44 were of 21 years of age or less. In my view, this indicates that exposure is being given to the youngsters in this level of competition. Quite clearly, there has been significant progress and development, and in some cases, extremely rapid." Said Vikram Kanth, who turned out for the Kalinga Lancers in the HIL, a franchise coached by Walsh, "It is good news for me, but there is a lot of work to be done. It is going to be rigorous in the national camp.. There are no friends.

"I last wore India colours in 2008 and was part of the national camp in 2010. I am eager to join the boys and take it from there." Said drag-flicker Sandeep, "I utilised the time out of the national camp working on my defence, and I think it showed during the league. Now, the responsibility lies on me to earn my place back into the team."

The camp will continue till April 10, following which the team will travel to Europe for a round of friendly matches against top teams like Germany, Holland and Belgium.

Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, Harjot Singh, Sushant Tirkey

Defenders: Gurbaj Singh, Rupinderppal Singh, V.R. Raghunath, Birendra Lakra, Gurmail Singh, Kothajit Singh, Gurjinder Singh, Gurinder Singh, Sandeep Singh, Vikram Kanth

Midfielders: S.K. Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Satbir Singh, Devinder Walmiki, Vikas Pillay, Jasjit Singh

Forwards: Nikkin Thimmaiah, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Affan Yousuf, Yuvraj Walmiki, Talwinder Singh, Lalit Upadhyay

The Asian Age

Sandeep, Gurbaz back in contention

Chandigarh - After helping their teams into the final of the Hockey India League (HIL), penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh and midfielder Gurbaj Singh have found a way back into India World Cup probables list. The two former India players are among the 33 probables who will attend the month-long training camp for the World Cup, scheduled for May-June.

While Sandeep, playing for Punjab Warriors, was the top-scorer of HIL with 11 goals, Gurbaj was one of the steadiest midfielders for champions Delhi Waveriders. “I wasn't thinking about the selection, I just wanted to play my best,” said Gurbaj, who has been out of the team since the London Olympics.

Gurbaj added that he felt no pressure to find a place in the team. “I am not a newcomer, having represented India for six years. I am looking forward to working with the new coach; I'll try my best to fit into his system.”

Fifteen players from Punjab have been selected for the camp. “We have talented youngsters coming up from the state. I played with Akashdeep Singh and Talwinder Singh for the Waveriders, who are both exceptional players,” he said, the most experienced from the Punjab lot.

World Cup probables

Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, Harjot Singh, Sushant Tirkey

Defenders: Gurbaj Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, V.R. Raghunath, Birendra Lakra, Gurmail Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Gurjinder Singh, Gurinder Singh, Sandeep Singh, Vikram Kanth.

Midfielders: S.K. Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Satbir Singh, Devinder Sunil Walmiki, Vikas Pillay, Jasjit Singh

Forwards: Nikkin Thimmaiah, Nithin Thimmaiah, S.V. Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Affan Yousuf, Yuvraj Walmiki, Talwinder Singh, Lalit Upadhyay.

The Tribune

Affan: I hope to make it to the World Cup squad

Tazeen Qureshy

Bhopal lad Affan Yousaff, son of former international player, Md.Yousaff, is not exactly the new kid in the hockey town having established his name in the national team already. However, the whimsical way he has been omitted from the squads raised many eyebrows, like not seeing him in the Junior World Cup. Since then he has been under constant focus with added demand from the public for his inclusion in the national team. He had a wonderful and highly successful Hockey India League campaign, and with that Affan Yousaff was again drafted into the core group of probable of forthcoming senior World Cup. Our writer Tazeen Qureshy, caught Affan open up his mind on the eve of him joining the camp to be held in Delhi this week.

Congratulations on making it to the probables list. What are your expectations from this camp?
"My focus will be to perform better and make it to the World Cup squad. We have almost two months for preparation. Although we have teams like Australia in our pool, but we have faced top teams earlier in World Hockey League also. So, we have a fair idea about their style of play."

You made your debut in Hockey India League this year with the Punjab Warriors. Share your experience of the journey.
“The experience was good. Playing alongside players like Jaap Stockmann and Jamie Dwyer is a big thing. It was a great learning experience for me.”

Punjab had a dream run in this edition. It made it to the finals and you had a major role to play. Are you satisfied with your performance?
“It was a team effort. Every single player played his part. For me, HIL was satisfying. But, there is always a scope for improvement.”

You played with the likes of Jamie Dwyer and other foreign players. Was it easy to gel with them?
“Jamie and all other players have been very supportive. We interacted on various aspects of the game. All of them motivated a lot. Even if we committed mistakes, our captain Jamie would explain us rather than shout and get angry.”

In HIL, you looked matured and confident. You often single-handedly ventured into the rival D, dodged some of the best defenders and created benefits for your team. Has this league added a lot in you as a player?
“Initially, I was nervous, but after 2 matches, I got a fair idea about the game, the combinations and attacks. That helped me improve my game and yes, I was more confident after that.”

HIL is known to give instant name and fame to young players. Last year, it was Mandeep Singh and Manpreet Singh who came into the limelight overnight. Do you anticipate this edition to be a turning point for you?
“I hope it becomes a turning point for me.”

You were not selected in the main team for the Junior World Cup last year. Do you believe your performance in HIL will silence your critics?
“I am not thinking on those lines. If I was criticized, they would have seen some mistakes in my game. That is not my concern. I just want to play and work hard. Results will follow.”

Which is your favorite match in HIL?
“Both the semifinal against Ranchi and final against Delhi were good.”

What is your next target?
“I hope to make it to the World Cup squad.”


Maharashtra and Gangpur in the semis of Nationals

Tazeen Qureshy

Hockey Maharashtra and Hockey Gangpur-Odisha in the semis of the Division Two National Championships

After playing five matches, Hockey Maharashtra and Hockey Gangpur Odisha have made it to the semifinals of the National Championship being held at Lucknow. While Hockey Maharashtra has bagged 11 points after winning 3 matches and drawing two, Hockey Gangpur-Odisha is leading the table in Pool C with 15 points after winning all the five matches they played.

Hockey Gangpur Odisha has won all the matches with a margin of 4 goals and more and Maharashtra bounced back after drawing their first two matches against Chhattisgarh Hockey and Hockey Delhi.

Meanwhile, in the matches played today, Bengal won against Assam 3-0 in Pool C. In Pool D, Central Reserve Police Force defeated Vidarbha Hockey Association 4-0 and Hockey Delhi drew against Maharashtra 3-3.


Pool C- Bengal 3 Sunil Shah (12 min) Rakesh Burman (61 min) and Sunil Kujur (64 min) vs Assam 0.

Pool D Central Reserve Police Force 4 Rohensingh Thangjam (4thmin), Prashnt Tirkey (6th min), Simon Tirkey (16th min) and Nemhas Khkha (46th min) vs. Vidarbha Hockey Association 0.

Pool D- Hockey Maharashtra 3 Navneet Swarnkar (2nd & 30th min) and Vishal Pillay (42nd min) Delhi 3 Abhishek (38th & 45th min) and Meet Singh (47th min).


Maharashtra join Gangpur in semifinals

Lucknow - Maharashtra were held to a 3-3 all draw by Delhi in their final league match of the 4th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship (Division B) at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium here today.

Despite the draw, Maharashtra, with 11 points, qualified for the semifinals from Pool D. Hockey Gangpur-Odisha qualified for the semifinals from Pool C.

In another Pool D match, Central Reserve Police Force thrashed Vidarbha Hockey Association 4-0.

Big win for Manipur in junior women’s Nationals

New Delhi: Riding on Sarita Devi's nine goals, Manipur women thrashed Tripura 24-0 in a Pool A match of the 4th Hockey India Junior Women National Championship (Division B) in Mysore.

In another Pool A match, Uttarakhand got the better of Vidarbha Hockey Association 7-0. Pooja Bhatt, Anita Maletha and Karishma Nayak scored two goals each to steer their team to a convincing win.

The Tribune

Duo have foot in final


DEFENDING champions SSTMI-Thunderbolts and UniKL Young Guns have virtually sealed their places in the Milo Cup final following impressive wins in the semi-finals first leg at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

SSTMI, the league champions, thrashed Olak-KPT 6-1 in an one-sided affair while UniKL overcame Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) 5-2.

Penalty corner specialist Aminuddin Mohd Zain scored in the the third, 21st and 64th minutes to complete a hat-trick while Azril Misron (24th), Amirol Aideed Arshad (37th) and Luqman Nul Hakim Shukran (59th) completed the SSTMI rout.

Mawardi Harmirin replied for Olak with a field goal in the 47th minute.

"We got the result we wanted so I will rest some key players, especially those with yellow and green cards, for the second leg on Friday (tomorrow). I am happy with my team's performance as three of six goals were scored from penalty corners," said SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Wan Abdullah in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Olak coach S. Sivabalan reminded his players not to concede an early goal yesterday but they did just that and things fell apart.

"We tried our best to match SSTMI but they were better in all aspects of the game. We have achieved our target and will play in Division One next season so reaching this far in the tournament is a bonus," said Sivabalan.

In the other semi-final, UniKL played an intelligent game and could have won by a bigger margin.

UniKL were awarded a penalty stroke in the ninth minute when PJCC captain Zul Pidaus Mizun stopped the ball on the line with his body and was sent to the sin bin. He will miss the return leg as he has collected eight demerit points.

UniKL's Shafirul Aqmar Saiful stepped up and slotted home for the lead. However, PJCC replied through Mohd Helmi Jaafar off a penalty corner set-piece in the 16th minute.

Despite the setback, UniKL regained the lead when captain Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman converted a penalty corner in the 33th minute before Norshafiq Sumantri added a third in the 40th. PJCC managed to reduce the deficit through Helmi in the 52nd minute but UniKL raced ahead with goals from Mohd Haikal Zamri (58th) and Shafirul (63rd) for the comfortable win.

"I am happy with how they played but there is still room for improvement as we made far too many errors in defence. We must play better in the return leg," said UniKL manager Mohd Faiz Isa.

New Straits Times

Thunderbolt, UniKL look set for MJHL final

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) look set to contest in Sunday’s final for the overall title in the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

Both teams have healthy leads after the first leg of the semi-finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.

Thunderbolt carved out a comprehensive 6-1 win over Olak-PKT while UniKL had a tougher time before emerging 5-2 winners over Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).

The return leg matches on Friday are likely to be just a formality for Thunderbolt and UniKL.

The UniKL-MBPJ tie was a close affair and the university team edged it with their clinical finishing.

UniKL took the lead in the ninth minute when Mohd Hafih Elkan converted from the spot, easily beating goalkeeper Mohd Shukor Safie.

MBPJ were back on level terms in the 16th minute through a Mohd Helmi Jaafar direct hit off their first penalty corner.

UniKL regained the lead in the 33rd minute, with Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman scoring a penalty corner goal.

Nor Azrul was green-carded two minutes later and will have to sit out the return leg match.

MBPJ’s Zul Pirdaus Mirzun will also miss the next two matches after earning two yellow cards.

Goals by Norshafiq Sumantri (40th), Mohd Haikal Zamri (58) and Mohd Shahfirul Aqmal (63rd) gave UniKL a healthy 5-1 lead before Helmi added a second for MBPJ off a penalty stroke in the 53rd minute.

UniKL manager Mohd Faiz Isa was happy with his team’s performance.

“I have said many times that they are capable of playing good hockey and today they did just that. It is a good win ... we have a three-goal advantage for the return leg. It is not over yet, but at least we’re in control,” he said.

In the other match, Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Zain bagged a hat-trick (3rd, 21st and 64th minutes) to help Thunderbolt to victory.

With 16 goals in the bag, Aminuddin is sure to bag the top scorer’s award this year.

Thunderbolt’s other goals came from Azril Misron (24th), Mohd Amirol Aideed (37th) and Lukman Nul Hakim (59th).

Marwadi Hamirin scored Olak’s consolation goal in the 47th minute.

Thunderbolt team manager Adam Izamry Idrus is glad to have such a big lead after the first leg.

“Yes, it is good ... we are happy. We need to keep the winning momentum going,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia

Play-off hunt reaches climax

Surbiton's Ben Tibble during their NOW Pensions Hockey League Premier Division game at Sugden Lane Surbiton, 1st December 2013

SURBITON play host to Canterbury in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division this Sunday, with both sides harbouring hopes of clinching the fourth and final spot in the end of season play-offs.

Currently fourth, Surbiton have lost just once in their last 19 games in either indoor or outdoor hockey, and will want to clinch their place in the post-season competition with a win.

But Canterbury have not lost outdoors since before the Winter break, and are determined to secure a win and keep their play-off hopes alive.

“Statistics don’t matter at all to us, we just take it a game at a time,” said Surbiton manager James Lloyd. “We’ve had a couple of performances that we’ve not been pleased with recently, but apart from that Canterbury have been consistent and playing well of late so we need to focus on that.”

With their place in the play-offs guaranteed, Beeston will want to regain the lead which they lost to East Grinstead last weekend. They play host to Hampstead and Westminster on Sunday, with the league’s leading scorer Sam Ward hoping to bag more goals and boost his bid for the cash prize awarded to the top scorer at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, East Grinstead head to Cannock in a bid to keep hold of top spot and the play-off advantage that brings.

Third-placed Reading entertain a Sheffield Hallam side who climbed off the bottom of the table last weekend. The Yorkshire side will be determined to make sure they don’t drop back.

Finally, Wimbledon need to beat bottom of the table Loughborough Students to maintain their hopes of clinching a spot in the play-offs.

New leaders Southgate entertain Oxted in the NOW: Pensions Conference East, with second-placed Holcombe hoping for a win at Bromley and Beckenham 24 hours later.

And Brooklands Manchester University head to Leek as they bid to preserve top spot in the NOW: Pensions Conference North. Meanwhile, second-placed Bowdon face Olton and West Warwickshire, who are fourth.

In the NOW: Pensions Conference West, second-placed Team Bath Buccaneers host third-placed Indian Gymkhana. A win is vital to both sides’ hopes of catching leaders Cardiff and Met, who take on Fareham.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League and the Investec Women’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available to purchase for both weekends, please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 8 2014)

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Southgate v Oxted 12:30

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 9 2014)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division
Beeston v Hampstead and Westminster 14:00
Cannock v East Grinstead 14:00
Reading v Sheffield Hallam 14:30
Surbiton v Canterbury 14:00
Wimbledon v Loughborough Students 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Bromley and Beckenham v Holcombe 13:00
Cambridge City v Teddington 12:30
Old Loughtonians v St Albans 14:30
Richmond v Brighton and Hove 13:30

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Belper v University of Durham 14:00
Bowdon v Olton and West Warwickshire 14:30
Deeside Ramblers v Khalsa 13:30
Leek v Brooklands Manchester University 14:00
West Bridgend v Wakefield 13:30

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

England Hockey Board Media release

Top four face off in Premier Division

Reading's Sam Quek (L) dives in to challenge Surbiton's Georgie Twigg during their Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division game at Surbiton HC, 12th October 2013

THE top four in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division face each other in what could prove a vital weekend to the make-up of the play-offs.

Leaders Canterbury travel to Surbiton, while second-placed Reading play host to Clifton.

Fourth-placed Clifton are enjoying a good run of form, with four consecutive wins in the league, including victories over Leicester and Bowdon Hightown.

Meanwhile, Reading will be determined to take the win and keep the pressure on leaders Canterbury. While they are both assured of play-off spots, the final positions are still to be decided.

“We’ve won every game since the winter break, so we’re going into the game with a bit of momentum,” said Clifton manager Alistair Kilfoil. “But it’s going to be a difficult game with all their internationals playing.

“I would be happy with a draw, but we are capable of a win and that would be a bonus, and even if we lose we’ll still be fourth.”

Reading’s international ace Alex Danson will be hoping to add to the 13 goals which has made her top scorer in the Premier Division, and she will want to remain in line for that cash prize with Beeston’s Sophie Robinson and Canterbury’s Nikki Kidd both just one goal behind her.

Similar to Clifton, Canterbury will remain top of the table no matter what the result against Surbiton, but they will want to maintain their strong recent form which has seen them go unbeaten in nine outdoor league matches – which includes clean sheets in their last four games.

In other Premier Division action, Bowdon Hightown entertain Sutton Coldfield, while Leicester host Beeston and Olton and West Warwickshire take on the University of Birmingham.

Former leaders Slough face third-placed Oxford Hawks in their quest to re-take top spot in the Investec Conference West. Meanwhile Buckingham – who beat Slough 1-0 last weekend – host Swansea.

Investec Conference North leaders Brooklands Poynton head to Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, while second-placed Wakefield head to Boots.

And in the Investec Conference East leaders Holcombe travel to second-placed East Grinstead. A win or draw for Holcombe will ensure they finish top of the table and secure their place in the promotion play-offs.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the Investec Women’s Hockey League and the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available to purchase for both weekends, please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 8 2014)

Investec Premier Division
Bowdon Hightown v Sutton Coldfield 13:45
Leicester v Beeston 14:00
Olton and West Warwickshire v University of Birmingham 12:00
Reading v Clifton 13:30
Surbiton v Canterbury 14:00

Investec Conference East
Chelmsford v St Albans 14:00
East Grinstead v Holcombe 13:30
Horsham v Wimbledon 13:30
Old Loughtonians v Harleston Magpies 14:30
Sevenoaks v Ipswich 12:00

Investec Conference North
Ben Rhydding v Stourport 13:30
Boots v Wakefield 12:30
Kendal v University of Durham 12:30
Loughborough Students v Doncaster 12:30
Whitley Bay and Tynemouth v Brooklands Poynton 12:30

Investec Conference West
Bristol Firebrands v Barnes 13:00
Buckingham v Swansea City 12:00
Exe v Isca 13:00
Oxford Hawks v Slough 16:00
Trojans v Gloucester City 12:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Round 2 IHL This Weekend

This weekend sees the best 24 teams in the country hit the field again for Round 2 of the men’s & women’s Irish Hockey League as we build towards the finals weekend on 5th & 6th April at Banbridge Hockey Club.

The first weekend threw up plenty of goals and some nail biting matches, but Ireland’s top club players have had little time to rest with just 7 days between these rounds and this pace will continue as the rounds continue in back to back weekend fashion. The top two from each pool will qualify for the Semi Finals on Saturday 5th April. League tables and last week’s results for each pool are available at the below links for each pool.

Men Pool A

Saturday 8th March

14:30 Cookstown vs Cork Harlequins
14:40 Instonians vs Three Rock Rovers
14:45 Lisnagarvey vs Pembroke Wanderers

Men Pool B

Saturday 8th March

14:45 Corinthian vs Cork Church of Ireland
15:00 Monkstown vs Annadale
16:30 Banbridge vs UCD

Women Pool A

Saturday 8th March

13:00 Lurgan vs Greenfields
14:00 Catholic Institute vs UCD

Sunday 09/03/2014

14:00 Hermes Hockey Club vs Railway Union

Women Pool B

Saturday 8th March

13:30 Cork Harlequins vs Ards
14:30 Ballymoney vs Pegasus
14:30 Old Alex vs Loreto Hockey Club

Irish Hockey Association media release

Rick Mercer Report on CBC showcases field hockey

Rick Mercer discovers field hockey with women's National Team

Yan Huckendubler

Rick Mercer discovers field hockey   

Popular CBC host Rick Mercer spent a day with the Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Team on Monday March 3rd in Vancouver, shooting all day long for a segment of his show, the Rick Mercer Report.

Rick wanted to discover and showcase some of the athletes preparing for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In the characteristic style of his show, he immersed himself in the team routine and took an active part in every aspects of a typical training day.

The morning session was indoors at the Richmond Oval and the day started with Lauren Logush officially welcoming Rick to the team, explaining that his exceptional qualities and strong work ethic had caught their eyes and that his selection was long overdue. She presented him with his National Team kit, including a team jersey with his name, that he proudly wore all day.

After a general introduction to the sport with Coach Ian Rutledge and team captain Kate Gillis, Rick did some stretching exercise with the players then was keen to start using his brand new hockey stick, but realized quickly that even the basic acts of stopping and hitting the ball were not as obvious as the players make them look.

Rick shared the team lunch, questioning the girls on their life as national team athletes and entertaining them with stories from other shows, before everybody moved to the UBC pitch for the afternoon session. The weather cooperated by temporarily suspending the rain and Rick could get a good feel of play on a standard outdoor pitch during a spirited scrimmage with all the players, during which he, mostly unsuccessfully, chased the ball before deciding to firmly take position in front of the goal and wait for a good pass to score. Despite his best intentions and the cooperation of goal-keeper Kaitlyn Williams, the sequence where he scored with a spectacular dive needed to be re-shot a few times.

After deciding that goal-keeping might be better suited to his aptitude for the sport, Rick Mercer was promptly equipped by the three goal-keepers on-hand and was soon ready to face the shots of the squad. Experts on the sidelines seemed slightly puzzled by his display of somewhat unorthodox technique.

Everybody is now interested to see how the full day of shooting will be condensed into a segment of 7 minutes on the Rick Mercer Show that will be aired on CBC on March 25 (tentative scheduling to be confirmed), an excellent exposure on national television for field hockey.

Field Hockey Canada media release

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