All the news for Wednesday 19 March 2014
Faizal in the dock
RASH REACTION: Top striker faces one-match suspension for lashing out and breaking a chair after being sin-binned
By JUGJET SINGH
FOUR-GOAL hero Faizal Saari faces a possible one-match suspension after he broke a chair at the technical table during the Azlan Shah Cup match against Canada on Monday.
Faizal was yellow-carded in the 24th minute for hitting Jagdish Gill, and instead of sitting it out, he hit the sin-bin plastic chair with his hockey stick and broke it. A report was lodged by the technical officials, and his case will be heard this morning.
"It was a 50-50 situation when I clashed with the Canadian and when I received the yellow card, I just lost my head and took a swing at the chair and unfortunately it broke.
"I really regret my action because if I am suspended for the match against China (later today), my teammates are the ones who will have to shoulder a heavier responsibility in that crucial match," said Faizal.
Malaysia have only eight goals to show after three matches, and 50 per cent of them came from Faizal.
"It was an unfortunate incident as there were many off-the-ball incidents in that match where Malaysian players were roughed up and this led to temperatures rising.
"We will collect all the off-the-ball incidents and present our video tomorrow (today) to the tournament director (Gavin Hawke of New Zealand) to strengthen our case on why Faizal should not be too heavily penalised for his action.
"It was wrong for him to break the chair, no doubt, but there were many off-the-ball incidents which led to the unfortunate incident," said Malaysia's coach K. Dharmaraj.
The worse case scenario is a one-match suspension and Dharmaraj added: "We will put up a good appeal, but if Faizal is suspended for the China match, it will be a big loss as he is among the best performers in the team right now."
Malaysia must beat China, who only lost 3-2 to South Korea, to keep the fire of playing in the final burning bright.
"The tournament is still open but Australia are sure of claiming one ticket in the final, and it looks like Malaysia and South Korea will be battling for the second ticket. So we need to beat China by a healthy margin as goals might come into the picture at the end of the day.
"But it won't be easy as the China team are also progressing very well as they showed their mettle against South Korea," said Dharmaraj.
The Azlan Shah Cup, which is in its 23 edition, has seen Malaysia take silver in 1985, 2007,2009 and 2013, while the Australians again look the best bet to lift their eighth title from 13 appearances.
The Aussies were champions in 1983, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013.
New Straits Times
Faizal sits out China match after suspension
By Aftar Singh
Faizal Saari (left) in a file photo. He has been suspended for one match after breaking a chair during Malaysia's match against Canada on Monday.
IPOH: Faizal Saari has been slapped with a one-match suspension for breaking a chair during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match against Canada on Monday.
The 23-year-old striker, who has scored four goals in three matches, will serve out the suspension against China on Wednesday.
Faizal and Malaysian team manager George Koshy attended the hearing, which was conducted by tournament director Gavin Hawke of New Zealand on Wednesday.
After a 10-minute meeting with Faizal and George, Hawke said he had gone through the video referral and found that Faizal was guilty of a “level one infringement”.
“For his breach of conduct he has been suspended for one match and will not play against China,” said Hawke.
Faizal, who was the top scorer in the same tournament last year with six goals, did not speak to reporters after the hearing.
On Monday, Faizal was flashed a yellow card by umpire Javed Shaikh of India for hitting the knee of Canada’s Jagdish Gill in the 24th minute of the match.
In his frustration, Faizal broke the plastic chair at the technical table with his hockey stick.
On Wednesday, national chief coach K. Dharmaraj also refused to make a statement about the incident.
The suspension will serve as a reminder, not just to Faizal but other players as well, that they must learn to keep their emotions in check during matches.
Faizal, who has represented Malaysia in 134 international caps, will also feature in next month’s Champions Challenge I in Kuantan and the World Cup in The Hague, Holland, from May 31-June 15.
Faizal is also expected to play in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July and the Incheon Asian Games in September.
The Asiad is an important assignment for the national team as the winner will gain an automatic berth in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The Star of Malaysia
Pressure on Shahril to deliver penalty corner goals
By Aftar Singh
Mohd Shahril Saabah (right) in a file photo. He has already netted two goals in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
IPOH: Rookie Mohd Shahril Saabah has been in top form in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, scoring two goals in the first two matches against South Africa and South Korea.
And now the 20-year-old forward from Kuala Terengganu will have to deliver the penalty corner goals in the absence of experienced striker Faizal Saari, who faces a one-match suspension for breaking a chair in the match against Canada on Monday.
Shahril, who made his international debut in the tournament, netted the opening field goal against South Africa last Thursday to guide Malaysia to 3-2 win. He also converted a penalty corner in the match against the Koreans on Sunday, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Nippy Faizal is the top scorer in the national team for netting four of the eight goals in three matches. He scored in all three matches – the winning goal against South Africa, the equalising goal against South Korea and two goals against Canada.
Malaysia have seven points from two wins and a draw and they will have to collect full points against China on Wednesday to stay in contention for a place in the final.
Debutants China, who are ranked 25th in the world and are the lowest ranked team in the tournament, are in fourth spot in the standings with one win and two defeats.
Shahril, a penalty corner drag flicker, said that they definitely would miss the services of Faizal, who was the top scorer with six goals in the same tournament last year.
“Faizal is the toast of the team as he is a very hardworking player who has delivered goals in every match.
“It will be difficult for me to fill his shoes and score both field and penalty corner goals, but I will try my best,” said Shahril, who netted three goals in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi last December.
Shahril said that they can expect a daunting time against China, who have been playing exceptionally well.
“China did superbly to outplay South Africa (ranked 12th in the world) 5-0 and give Asia Cup champions South Korea a torrid time before losing 2-3. And they definitely will be going all out against us to finish in a good position.
“The challenge will be for us to beat them as they are very fast with their counter attacks,” said Shahril, who is pleased with his performance in the tournament so far.
The other forwards in the national team are Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, Mohd Firhan Ashaari and Mohd Rashid Baharom.
Tengku Ahmad and Firhan have yet to put their name on the score sheet while Rashid scored a goal against South Africa.
Malaysia last played China in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kakamigahara, Japan, last November, where they won 3-0 in the playoff for the bronze medal.
The Star of Malaysia
Ward makes way for Daly express
By Graham Wilson
MATT DALY and Sam Ward are slugging it out to the last game of the season to see who takes the prize of top scorer in the NOW: Pensions League.
Daly crashed in another four goals for Surbiton as they saw off Cannock’s challenge with a 6-4 win.
That saw the London Olympian overtake Ward who scored only one goal in Beeston’s 4-1 win against Loughborough Students. Ward is donating £50 for every goal he scores to Leukaemia Research in support of his team-mate Martin Scanlon, who is undergoing treatment for lymphoma.
Daly is now one ahead of Ward on 21 goals, having converted 16 penalty corners and five field goals to Ward’s 16 field goals and four corners.
Beeston’s last game is against bitter rivals Cannock while they will be hoping fourth-placed Surbiton can beat leaders East Grinstead to let the Nottingham club in at the top for an automatic European place. The play-offs are at Reading on April 5-6.
Clifton made sure they became the last club to qualify for the women’s Investec League play-offs at Reading on April 12-13 by scoring all their goals in the first 20 minutes in the 4-2 win at Sutton Coldfield.
Champions Reading ended Leicester’s chances with a 2-1 win.
Play-off weekends offer plenty of drama for hockey fans but table-toppers have reason to miss out
By Ross Bone
Battle for the top: Are the play-off weekends a fair way to conclude the season? Photo: ADY KERRY
The Investec and NOW: Pensions Premier Division play-off weekends offer plenty of drama, but is the format fair, asks Top of the D.
The end of season play-offs in early April are two weekends of fantastic hockey. There is agony and ecstasy in equal measure and it is always a privilege to be able to watch the best players our domestic game has to offer giving everything to get their hands on the coveted trophies.
Here’s the thing, though: as much as I love the play-offs and as much as they’re great for the fans, I always have a nagging feeling about whether they’re absolutely fair to the teams or not.
It could be argued that it is somehow wrong that the team who proved themselves as the best over 18 games potentially ends up with no silverware to show for their efforts.
In the last four Men’s Championship Play-offs, the team who finished first in the regular season has only gone on to triumph once in the finals. In the women’s competition, that number is zero.
The winners of both competitions have come from the second-placed team (three times) the team in third (also three times) and the team in fourth (once).
Automatic European qualification is unquestionably a great incentive to finish first, but it still doesn’t feel quite right.
The other incentive is that of a “favourable” draw (first plays fourth in the semi-finals). But with so little to choose between the top teams these days, even that seems to be a small crumb of comfort for the league leaders.
Obviously, I can see the attraction of such a system. The battle for the play-offs has kept both men’s and women’s leagues exciting and interesting right up until the final weeks of the season, which is great for those sides battling to get in.
And of course, the play-offs themselves are a great showcase for the players and fine spectacle for the fans. Just spare a thought for the table toppers who don’t always get what they deserve.
Cannock Hockey hearts broken by Surbiton as relegation battle looms on last weekend
By Rod Gilmour
Simply four-some: Matt Daly scored four second-half goals to down Cannock Photo: ADY KERRY
Cannock 4 Surbiton 6
With 20 minutes left and leading 4-1, Cannock looked to have banished relegation fears. Yet, Matt Daly struck four times as Surbiton somehow contrived to win a classic encounter. Three open play goals before the break had handed Cannock the initiative. Daly then came to the fore with a 10-minute hat-trick before knocking in his 21st goal of the season in the last minute. Having lost to East Grinstead in the last minute the previous week, Cannock now face a last-day relegation fight, with Loughborough and Sheffield looking for survival.
However, Cannock were offered a respite on Sunday. A day after losing to Surbiton, they dusted themselves down and reached the NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup final. Cannock beat Sevenoaks 4-1 and will play Brooklands Manchester University, who beat Old Loughtonians 5-4 in the other semi final.
Quote of the day
“The club have really got behind the team and it has had a positive effect. It will be nerve-racking this weekend.”
Alex Hill, Cannock Hockey
Elsewhere in the division…
Sheffield Hallam’s survival hopes were dashed as Canterbury rallied to win 4-3, Mickel Pierre hitting a late winner. Loughborough needed to beat Beeston to leapfrog Cannock but lost 4-1 to Wimbledon. Meanwhile, East Grinstead stayed top on goal difference after a tight 4-3 win over Reading.
Clifton surge to secure play-off spot
Sutton Coldfield 2 Clifton 4
On this evidence, none of the top three will want to face Clifton in next month’s play-off finals. Two goals from Emily Kirkham helped the Bristol side to a 4-2 win, securing the last spot for the April 12-13 play-off weekend. But it was the manner in which they did it that impressed. Kirkham’s brace plus strikes from Els Mansell – her 10th of the season - and Zoe Leach gave Clifton a 4-0 lead inside 20 minutes. They then let down their guard as Sutton Coldfield replied twice after the break, but victory handed Clifton their fifth win since the winter break.
Quote of the day
“The attacking plan was as good as I've seen it. We were courageous and bold.”
Steve Rixon, Clifton coach
Elsewhere in the division...
Leicester needed a win to keep their play-off challenge alive. Pascale Massey opening the scoring in the 10th minute before Alex Danson and Kate Richardson-Walsh gave Reading a 2-1 win. Bowdon Hightown’s hopes were also blown after a 0-0 draw against Surbiton. Beeston beat University of Birmingham 4-1.
Top four positions decided ahead of the play offs
As the Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s National League Division 1 came to a close this weekend with the final playoff positions being decided.
Grange lost 5-0 to fifth place Grove Menzieshill which leads to them staying in fourth position and facing top side Glynhill Kelburne in the playoffs this weekend. With two goals coming from Craig Falconer and the rest from Duncan Riddle, Gav Tomlinson and Jamie Carnegie, a strong performance from the Dundonian side which puts them in good stead as they go into the relegation battle.
In the Glasgow derby it was end to end play but neither side could snatch that winning point as it finished all level as Hillhead drew to PSL Team Sports Clydesdale 2-2. This leaves the first time play off players, Hillhead in third spot looking to face local rivals Western Wildcats this Saturday.
Western Wildcats faced a shock defeat to Dundee Wanderers at home losing 3-2 to the bottom of the table side. After being 3-1 at half time the Wildcats woke up and tried to rescue the game but the travelling Dundonian side held out to finish their season on a rare win.
Top the table Glynhill Kelburne made the journey East to Inverleith who have had a much better second half of the season, there were goals a plenty with Glynhill Kelburne finishing victors with a 6-3 win.
Elsewhere AAM Gordonians leap frogged into eighth position after beating Edinburgh University students 3-2.
Uddingston claim the Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s National League Division 2 titleholders after a super season, winning twenty out of their twenty two games this season. They won 5-2 over eigth place Granite City Wanderers this weekend to add to their tally.
Second place Watsonians, who will be joining Uddingston in the last 8 of the play offs in Division 1 lost out at the weekend to third place University of St Andrews 5-0.
It was double figures in goals for Alpha Data Carnegie as they beat bottom side FMGM Monarchs an astounding 10-0 at home. FMGM face relegation with CALA Edinburgh, who had a slightly better scoreline drawing 5-5 with Erskine Stewart Melville FP.
Glasgow University dropped to tenth after losing by one goal to fourth place Falkirk GHG 2-1. Elsewhere Stepps came away with all three points after beating Aberdeen Grammar FP 3-2.
Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s National League Division 3 title winners, 2020 Renewables Greenock were presented with their trophy on Saturday after their 8-3 win over Waverley Inveresk Trinity.
The battle for second spot continues as Perthshire move up to second after a solid 2-0 win over Giffnock, whilst Harris Academy FP move up to third and appoint behind with a 5-0 win over Ayr.
In the middle of the table Highland move up to sixth after a worthwhile journey South to Stirling Wanderers winning 6-1.
2020 Renewables Greenock being presented with the trophy by the Scottish Hockey President, Martin Boag.
Central Division 1
Edinburgh University II gave the league leaders Grange II a scare over the weekend as the narrowly lost 4-3. Edinburgh University III are having a great second half of the season as they won 7-2 over Stepps II, the students are slowly creeping up the table.
Grange III edged a win over Western Wildcats II 3-2, as Hillhead II also edged a 3-2 win over PSL Team Sport Clydesdale II.
Central Division 2
Watsonians II move up to fifth after two wins over Anchor after 7-3 win followed by a solid 4-0 win in which both teams become level on points.
Uddingston II stay in second place after a 6-1 over Falkirk GHG II, Glasgow University II lost out to Clydeside 3-0. Elsewhere Erskine Stewart Melville FP II won comfortably 3-0 over bottom side Livingston & West Lothian.
AAM Gordonians II hit double figures in goals as they won 11-1 over Aberdeen University II. AAM Gordonians III drew 3-3 for Aberdeen Grammar FP III WHILST Grove Menzieshill II won 2-0 over Granite City Wanderers II.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Harpreet does it for Punjab
Harpreet Singh slammed home thrice in Punjab’s comprehensive 11-1 win over Manipur in a Pool B match of the National ‘A’ division hockey championship at the Dhyan Chand Stadium here on Tuesday.
Apart from Harpreet’s penalty corner conversions, Ajay Kumar, Parvinder Singh and Prabhdeep Singh scored a brace each for Punjab. Varun Kumar and Harjit Singh were the other scorers for the winning side.
Jayenta Meitei had put Manipur ahead in the ninth minute.
Second half goals from Mohammad Faheem Khan and Ved Prakash Bhatt helped Services beat Chandigarh Olympic Association (COA) 2-0 in a Pool B match.
Pool A: Services 2 (Mohammad Faheem Khan, Ved Prakash Bhatt) bt COA 0.
Pool B: Hockey Punjab 11 (Harpreet Singh 3, Ajay Kumar 2, Parvinder Singh 2, Prabhdeep Singh 2, Varun Kumar, Harjit Singh) bt Manipur Hockey 1 (Jayenta Meitei).
Himachal Pradesh, Assam in final
Himachal Pradesh outplayed Delhi 5-2 (2-2) on penalties while Assam edged past Tamil Nadu 3-1 in their respective semifinals to set up the title clash in the fourth Hockey India senior women’s National championship (B Division) here on Tuesday.
Tamil Nadu opened the scoring through Karuppayee in the fourth minute but Assam took charge thereafter. Seema Bharti levelled two minutes later while Shikha Singh and Pooja Choudhary scored one goal apiece for Assam.
In the other semifinal, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh dominated one half each. Delhi took a 2-1 lead in the first half but Himachal fought back in the second and Rachana Jamalta levelled scores.
In the shoot-out, Sonia Rani, Sonia and Rachana scored for Himachal while ‘keeper Kanika Devi did not allow Delhi to score any.
The results (semifinals): Assam 3 (Seema Bharti, Shikha Singh, Pooja Choudhary) bt Tamil Nadu 1 (Karuppayee); Himachal Pradesh 2 (Pooja Devi, Rachana Jamalta) bt Delhi 2 (Pooja 2) on penalties.
A DIVISION: Pool A: Haryana 11 (Navneet Kaur 5, Navjot Kaur 3, Bharti, Ritu Rani, Sonika) bt Odisha 0.
Pool B: UP 7 (Pratibha Chaudhary 3, Savita 2, Rachna Chourasia, Vaishali A. Lal) bt Bihar 1 (Jyoti Pandey).
Pool C: SAI 6 (Shabnam Lakra 2, Priya Rai 2, Etwari, Punam) bt Mumbai 2 (Nishi Singh, Jahan Arra).
Pool D : Punjab 14 (Sukhjit Kaur 4, Anuradha 4, Gurjit Kaur 3, Anu Bala, Monica Badram, Gurwant Kaur) bt Kerala 1 (K.S. Sooryalakshmi).
Karnataka 7 (A.K. Ranjitha 3, K.R. Teena 2, B.P. Nandini, P.G. Muthamma) bt Maharashtra 2 (Pratibha Sawant 2).
HP eves to face Assam in final
Bhopal - Assam defeated Tamil Nadu, while Himachal Pradesh edged past Delhi to set up the title clash in the Hockey India senior women’s National Championship (Division B) at Aish Bagh hockey stadium here today.
HP beat Delhi 5-2 via penalty shootout after the regulation 70 minutes ended in a 2-2 draw. It was Delhi who broke the deadlock in the 14th minute when Pooja converted a penalty corner. But HP levelled the score in the 32nd minute from a penalty corner which was converted by Pooja Devi. Three minutes later, Delhi restored their lead through Pooja.
After the change of ends, HP once again drew level when Rachana Jamalta successfully converted a penalty corner in the 44th minute.
Thereafter, both the teams tried hard for the winner but it eluded them as the match went into the shootout.
In the shootout, Sonia Rani, Sonia and Jamalta scored for HP, while Delhi failed to get past a resolute Kanika Devi in HP goal even once.
In the other semifinal, Assam came from a goal down to beat Tamil Nadu 3-2.
Meanwhile, Haryana defeated Hockey Odisha 11-0 in Pool A to register their first win in Division A. Navneet Kaur and Navjot Kaur scored five and three goals respectively.
Punjab men thrash Manipur 11-0
Lucknow: Services Sports Control Board beat Chandigarh Olympic Association 2-0 to register yet another win in Pool A in the senior men’s National Championship (Division A) at Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium here today. In another match, Punjab trounced Manipur 11-1. For Punjab, Harpreet Singh (26th, 35th, 60th) scored a hat-trick, while Ajay Kumar (13th, 57th), Parvinder Singh (14th, 34th), and Prabhdeep Singh (33rd, 53rd) scored two goals each.
Himachal, Assam women enter national hockey final
BHOPAL: Himachal Pradesh surpassed Delhi and Assam edged past Tamil Nadu in the semifinals to enter the summit clash of the National Women's Hockey Championship (Division B) at the Aish Bagh Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
Assam defeated Tamil Nadu 3-1. Tamil Nadu opened its account (fourth minute) through Karuppayee but Assam's Seema Bharti's (sixth) levelled the scores.
A penalty corner conversion by Shikha Singh (15th) and a field goal by Pooja Choudhary (31st) helped Assam take a 3-1 lead at halftime. With no goal being scored in the second half, Assam entered the final.
In the second semi-final Himachal Pradesh edged past Delhi 3-0 via penalty shoot-out. Delhi dominated the first half, bagging a 2-1 lead. Delhi opened (14th) when Pooja made no mistake in converting a penalty corner.
Himachal Pradesh equalised (32nd) through a penalty corner converted by Pooja Devi. Three minutes later Delhi scored their second through Pooja.
The second half saw Himachal Pradesh putting pressure on the opponents and in the 44th minute, Rachana Jamalta successfully converted a penalty corner. The two teams ended 2-2 after regulation time.
For Himachal Pradesh, Sonia Rani, Sonia and Rachana Jamalta scored in the shoot-outs and their goalkeeper Kanika Devi's potent interception restricted Delhi from scoring any.
Semifinal results: Assam 3 beat Tamil Nadu 1; Himachal Pradesh 2 tied Delhi 2 -- Shoot-out: Himachal Pradesh 3 beat Delhi 0.
The Times of India
Elima Minz nets five
Odisha trounced Bihar 15-0 in a Pool D encounter of the Division ‘A’ division fourth Hockey India junior women’s National championship here on Tuesday.
Elima Minz scored five goals, including a hat-trick, while Priyanka Ekka slammed home three goals. Mariana Kujur (2), skipper Ambika Topno, Rashmita Minz, Priyanka Kujur, Manju Lakra, and Dominika Kujur were the other scorers for Odisha.
Punjab registered a 2-1 win over Mumbai in a keenly-contested Pool C tie.
Captain Ranbir Kaur (penalty corner) and Jaspreet Kaur scored for Punjab while Pranjali Patil reduced the margin for Mumbai.
Chanda Gupta performed a hat-trick, scoring off penalty corners, as Bhopal recorded a 4-0 win over Delhi in a Pool B match. Annu Gurung completed the tally for Bhopal.
In another Pool B contest, last edition’s runner-up Madhya Pradesh had it easy against host Karnataka, winning 8-1.
Skipper Priyanka Wankhede was on a scoring spree with six goals — including a hat-trick — while Preeti Dubey and Lalruatfeli were the others who found the target. Niha scored a consolation goal for Karnataka.
Division A: Pool B: Bhopal bt Delhi 4-0; Madhya Pradesh bt Karnataka 8-1.
Pool C: Punjab bt Mumbai 2-1.
Pool D: Odisha bt Bihar 15-0.