All the news for Saturday 22 March 2014
Parker, Smith double up
Two apiece for Parker & Smith who lead the way as 'Roos beat Japan 6-1
Two strikes each from South Australian Georgie Parker and Emily Smith from New South Wales set the Hockeyroos on course to a commanding 6-1 victory over Japan in the first match of their five game series on Friday evening.
Victorian Georgia Nanscawen and Parker’s fellow South Australian Jane Claxton also got in on the act in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, where the team will play the opening two games of the series thanks to the support of the WA Government Department of Sport and Recreation and the team’s major partner, Ausdrill.
Despite a bright start by the Australian women the Hockeyroos were forced to respond after falling 1-0 behind to Yukari Mano’s straight strike in the 12th minute. Parker’s leveller eight minutes later was one to savour for her hometown of Berri as the 24 year old forward combined with Berri-born teammate Karri McMahon to convert from close range.
No sooner were Australia level than Emily Smith had them in front. Remarkably, the home town connections paid off again for the Hockeyroos as the diminutive forward was teed up by her Crookwell compatriot Kellie White before sweeping the ball home. And on the stroke of half time Smith extended the lead to 3-1, nipping in behind to knock the ball over the goal line after Parker’s shot had looped up over the Japanese goalkeeper.
A series of three penalty corners in quick succession paid dividends for the Hockeyroos early in the second half. From the third set piece Georgia Nanscawen deflected McMahon’s powerful low flick into the bottom corner to extend Australia’s lead.
With 15 minutes remaining Jane Claxton scored arguably the goal of the game, unleashing a terrific tomahawk into the far side of the net after breaking into the circle. Moments later, Parker’s second, Australia’s sixth, showed the bravery required of a forward as she put herself in the firing line to deflect Ashleigh Nelson’s pacey pass into the roof of the goal.
Jodie Kenny and Anna Flanagan both came close to extending the margin of victory late on with Kenny denied by the reflexes of the goalkeeper and Flanagan denied by the frame of the goal.
Afterwards, Head Coach Adam Commens was pleased with how his side performed as they look to finesse an exciting brand of hockey. He said, “Japan were probably a little tired coming off their long trip but I thought we were really sharp, we executed our game plan well. There were certain things that we can do better and we can improve on but I was pleased in the team’s attempt to execute the game plan and the way that we finished our opportunities in both the first and second halves.
“The level of team play tonight was impressive and there was a high level of skill as well. It’s an area that the Hockeyroos have really improved on in the last few years and they’re starting to play a really exciting brand of hockey. Tonight we saw some of that play with the goals that we scored.”
Looking ahead to round two on Saturday night, Commens explained, “We’ll look to continue to improve our style of play. Every game you go over some tweaks and adjustments you want to make and I’m sure Japan will have a different style of play or different philosophy when they come out against us. So, it’s a challenge for us to see what they’re doing and adapt and try to find the solution to the way they defend and also the solution to defend their attacking play.”
The Hockeyroos meet Japan in the second match of the series at 6:30pm AWST Saturday evening in Kalgoorlie, WA.
Hockeyroos v Japan
Test 1 of 5
HOCKEYROOS: 6 (3)
Georgie Parker 20, 58 (F, F)
Emily Smith 23, 35 (F, F)
Georgia Nanscawen 47 (PC)
Jane Claxton 55 (F)
JAPAN: 1 (1)
Yukari Mano 12 (F)
Hockey Australia media release
Hockeyroos’ double boost
Coach Adam Commens to lead team to Rio 2016; Ausdrill extends relationship
Australia’s favourite women’s sports team - the Hockeyroos - has secured a substantial double boost ahead of the forthcoming World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
National Coach Adam Commens has signed a contract extension to lead the team until after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. And in a further boost the team’s major partner, Ausdrill, has taken up an option to extend its association with the iconic national team.
Olympic bronze medal winner Commens, who took charge of the team in January 2011, has committed his future to the Women’s High Performance Program as Australia looks to build on three years of substantive progress. Since his appointment, the Hockeyroos have climbed from seventh to fourth in the global rankings and returned to the podium at world level.
Having secured the continued services of Commens, Cam Vale, Chief Executive of Hockey Australia, said: “There’s no doubt that Adam is one of the best young coaches in world hockey at the moment and re-appointing him has been a high priority for us. It was important that we acted with integrity in the process, giving Adam our backing and the confidence to get on with the job in hand.
“Aside from improving the results on the pitch he has successfully driven the pursuit of higher standards across the program and consequently we had no reason to wait until after the World Cup to make this decision.”
Confirming Ausdrill’s continued support for the team, Vale said: “Ausdrill has been a fantastic partner of the Hockeyroos and I’m pleased that they have been so enthusiastic about extending our relationship, particularly given the competitiveness of the sponsorship market in Australia. It’s a tremendous credit to our athletes and coaches that they have embraced Ausdrill as much as Ausdrill and its staff have embraced our team.
“Despite the fact that the Hockeyroos have been at the forefront of women’s sport in this country for decades this is the first time since the late 1990s that the major partner of the women’s national team has extended its support. Aside from being a ringing endorsement of the Hockeyroos and the team’s ongoing progress, Ausdrill’s continued involvement is a fillip for women’s sport in Australia as a whole.”
Ausdrill Managing Director Ron Sayers said: “We came on board as supporters of the Hockeyroos in March 2012. Since that time the partnership has provided numerous opportunities for our staff to meet the athletes and cheer them on at a number of their matches, both in Australia and overseas. As a company Ausdrill is delighted to extend our support for the Hockeyroos, which by any measure is one of Australia's most successful sporting teams.”
Mr Sayers said the partnership between Ausdrill and the Hockeyroos worked well as the two organisations shared many core values.
“For us as a business it’s all about working hard, applying our skills to perform at the highest level and above all working as a team. The Hockeyroos display these qualities in abundance, and we are therefore very proud to support the team on an ongoing basis.”
The dual announcement was made while the Hockeyroos are in Kalgoorlie, the home of Ausdrill, for the first two of five Tests against Japan.
Congratulate Adam on Twitter at @adamcommens and Ausdrill using @Hockeyroos and the hashtag #Ausdrill.
Hockey Australia media release
Eyeing a low score
By JUGJET SINGH
NOBODY expects Malaysia to beat World No 1 Australia in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh today, but the fans can rest assured that coach K. Dharmaraj's men will strive to keep the score low in their bid for a place in tomorrow's final.
The Aussies have already qualified for the final and will be going for their eighth Azlan Shah Cup title, with the second spot being a toss between South Korea and Malaysia.
Malaysia have a plus seven goal difference, while the Koreans have scored nine and let in nine.
Mathematically speaking, Dharmaraj's team need to keep the score against Australia low, and hope the Koreans do not hammer South Africa in their chase for goals -- as they play after the Malaysian game.
"The Australians are in a different league altogether as they are also the raging favourites for the World Cup but we need to make sure we do not let in too many goals so that we have another chance to play them in the final," said Dharmaraj.
This is the best chance for Malaysia to spar with Australia, as their next meeting would be in the opening match of the World Cup in The Netherlands on May 31-June 15.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has paired the World No 1 against the lowest ranked team in the World Cup -- Malaysia at 13th -- for the curtain raiser.
"Playing Malaysia in Malaysia is a dream situation, as this would be our last chance to meet our first World Cup opponents. And with Malaysia having fast forwards who have very good individual skills, it would be a very interesting match for sure," said Australian skipper Mark Knowles, who last played in the Azlan Shah Cup in 2006.
"Yes, the match would certainly be a very interesting one as not only are Malaysia a very fast side, but also have a very supportive fan base and when they fill up the stadium, the noise is deafening and the atmosphere is electrifying.
"We don't get much of this in Australia, so the experience would be good heading into the World Cup," said Australian coach Ric Charlesworth.
The Ipoh fans have filled the Azlan Shah Stadium to the brim during all the Malaysian fixtures, and today will also see a mammoth turnout.
Keeping in mind that Dharmaraj took the risk of blooding seven rookies for this edition, the players showed their mettle by beating China, Canada and South Africa while they drew with
New Straits Times
Australia give rookie goalkeeper Hafizudin the jitters
By Aftar Singh
Mohd Hafizuddin Othman expects a torrid time, especially after having played against Australia during Malaysia’s tour of Perth last month and ending up losing 9-0.
IPOH: Rookie goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman is getting the jitters even before Malaysia face world champions Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Kuala Terengganu lad expects a torrid time, especially after having played against the Kookaburras during Malaysia’s tour of Perth last month and ending up losing 9-0.
“It was really demoralising to let in nine goals in one match,” confessed Hafizuddin on Friday.
“I am already feeling nervous. It is going to be a tough task to stop the Australian strikers from scoring. They also have powerful penalty corner drag flickers like Nicholas (Budgeon). He has scored six goals in four matches.”
The Australians’ statistics certainly strike fear in Hafizuddin. They have scored 25 goals, averaging about 6.25 per game, and are assured of a place in Sunday’s final after topping the six-team tournament with the maximum 12 points.
“Australia also have the psychological advantage as we have not beaten them for more than a decade,” said Hafizuddin, who played in all Malaysia’s four matches and conceded eight goals.
“I have to be on my toes throughout the match because Australia will be going all out to stay unbeaten. I hope I will be able to rise to the occasion to stop their attempts. I don’t want to be blamed for letting the team down by conceding too many goals and missing the final,” said Hafizuddin.
Malaysia are second on 10 points going into their last group match and are favourites to qualify for the final as they have a seven-goal advantage over third-placed South Korea, who have seven points.
The Koreans, the 1999 and 2010 champions, are expected to pile on the goals in their last match against bottom side South Africa on Saturday.
The good news for Malaysia is that Australia’s top striker Jamie Dwyer is a doubtful starter after he suffered a hamstring injury in the 5-1 win over South Korea on Thursday.
Australian skipper Mark Knowles said they would not take Malaysia lightly.
“We are wary as some of the Malaysian players are skilful and fast on the counter attacks,” said Knowles.
“It’s going to be tough to play them in their own backyard as they get very strong support from their fans.
“The fans also make a lot of noise and this can affect our game.
“However, we are looking forward to playing against Malaysia as we will face them in the opening match of the World Cup (in The Hague on May 31),” said Knowles.
Malaysia played Australia twice in the same tournament last year. In the group stage, the match ended 1-1. Australia, however, edged Malaysia 3-2 in the final.
The Star of Malaysia
My players a big let-down, rues South Korean coach Seok-kyo
By Aftar Singh
South Korea’s Moon Kweon-kang losing his hockey stick as he tries to stop Malaysia’s Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match in Ipoh last week.
IPOH: South Korean coach Shin Seok-kyo is annoyed with his team’s performance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament.
Seok-kyo said on Friday his players were a big let-down in the matches against Malaysia last Sunday and defending champions Australia on Thursday.
“We should have beaten Malaysia after taking a 2-0 lead in the first half but we allowed the hosts to come back after the breather to score two goals to snatch a point.
“It was the same in the match against Australia.
“We were trailing 2-1 in the first half but we blew it in the second half by conceding three goals to lose 5-1 due to poor defending.
“Our mission is to reach the final but it will now depend on the outcome of our match against South Africa tomorrow (Saturday) and the clash between Malaysia and Australia,” said Seok-kyo.
Australia have already confirmed their final berth, having collected 12 points from four matches. Second-placed Malaysia have 10 points from three wins and a draw while Korea, the 1999 and 2010 champions, are third with seven points from two wins, a draw and a defeat.
Seok-Kyo said they hoped Australia would do them a favour by beating Malaysia by a big margin.
“As for us, we will go all out to score a big margin win over South Africa and hope for the best,” added Seok-kyo.
Seok-kyo added that his players struggled in the tournament due to a lack of training.
“We could not train outdoor due to the winter back home.
“We only trained indoor for a few days.
“But we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will qualify for the final,” said Seok-kyo.
The Star of Malaysia
New rules: Four quarters to replace two halves of play
FIH cuts down game duration to 60 minutes
Harpreet Kaur Lamba
The growing clamour of various international sports vying to hang on to their Olympic Games slots has seen several changes in formats over the last few years.
On Thursday, it was the turn of field hockey as the International Hockey Federation did away with the 70 minutes and the traditional two halves of play.
Come September, the game will be played internationally over 60 minutes, with four quarters of 15 minutes each. Other changes include the implementation of 40-second time outs following awarding of penalty corners and whenever a goal is scored.
"The purpose of the change will improve the flow and intensity of the game and increase the fan
experience and opportunity for game presentation and analysis," the world body said in a statement.
The news evoked mixed reactions from the coaches and players.
India coach Terry Walsh gave the thumbs up to the new rules, while high performance director Roelant Oltmans reckoned that "it will come down to adaptation".
Under the new rules, a team will get three breaks - instead of one - during a game. After the first and third quarters, each team will have a two-minute break, while the existing 10-minute half time rest will remain unchanged.
"It is not such a bad concept," said Walsh. "For me, it is the first rule that will actually take away some of the keen focus required to play. The breaks make it comfortable without having to play at such an incredible high level. But I am sure the coaches will force that up again.
"With the breaks, it makes it easier to recover. It is a change we have seen in the Hockey India League as well, and I think it will be effective."
Oltmans said the rules will help teams field their "top players" for a longer duration.
"The best players can be on the pitch longer and that is an advantage. Now we do not need to give them extra rest as they will get it during the breaks.
"In fact, now 15 minutes time is fixed for actual play. According to the current rules, when you celebrate a goal or take a penalty corner, the clock is not stopped, so that will change. Overall, I think the average time of play will still be the same as it is now," said Oltmans.
He, however, reckoned that the approach to the game will need to change. "It is a matter of adaptation and all good teams should be up for it. I don’t think it should be a problem."
Meanwhile, top players from Holland had mixed reactions on Twitter. "The rule is an advantage for lesser fit teams, as it gives more rest," tweeted Dutch striker Jeroen Hertzberger.
Penalty-corner legend Floris Jan Bovelandar of the Netherlands had an interesting take. "4 quarters x 15 minutes? I am not in favour. Too much delay. But I was also once against playoffs and turf, and there I was proved wrong!"
The new regulations will come into place from September 1 this year, and will be applicable at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games too.
The Asian Age
Hockey quarters change catches coaches cold
An out-of-the-blue change to the rules of hockey has caught the national coaches off guard and been met with mixed reactions.
Hockey's governing body, the FIH, yesterday announced changes to its playing conditions, which include a switch from 35-minute halves to four 15-minute quarters.
The change will be introduced from September 1, as will a new move to add 40-second timeouts after goals are scored, and when penalty corners are awarded (but not re-awarded).
Hockey New Zealand (HNZ) boss Malcolm Harris was frustrated he only found out about the changes through an announcement on the FIH website, and when he spoke to members of HNZ's high performance programme, the feedback came freely.
"I snuck into the high-performance office to get some feedback, and it was quick in coming, that's for sure," he said.
"A lot of the high-performance guys had mixed views. Some were supportive about the opportunity to grow the understanding of the game."
The Black Sticks coaches, Mark Hager (women) and Colin Batch (men), are nervous, Harris said, that 15-minute quarters would be tactically and strategically demanding.
"It might change the tactical approach in the type of team that you select," he said.
Harris said concerns over the Black Sticks' strong levels of fitness becoming less of a benefit under the new rules were premature, because matches could still be the same length.
Under the current rules, the playing clock does not stop during penalty corners, but under the new rules it will, so matches could still be just as long, Harris said.
The National Hockey League, New Zealand's domestic competition, was likely to be played under the new rules when it gets under way late in August.
The four-quarter format has been trialled in the Euro Hockey League, and Hockey League India, but Harris said he had no idea a change was coming.
"It's completely out of the blue. I'm not impressed that I found out about it at the same time the media and everyone else did. I'll certainly be having a word to the FIH about it."
The new regulations will apply at the upcoming Champions Trophy, World League round two, World League semifinal and final, all continental Olympic qualifying events as of September 1, and at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Railways is the team to beat
The semifinals of the fourth Hockey India Women’s National Championships (A-Division) here on Saturday will see the same teams battling it out as in the past three years. Defending champion Haryana will take on Jharkhand while star-studded Railways will play Punjab.
All the teams had a fairly easy run in the league stages, further underlining the gap between them and the rest.
With almost the entire national team at its service and two titles under its belt in three years, Railways is clearly the favourite. Rani Rampal, Soundarya Yendala, Anupa Barla, Vandana Katariya, Chanchan Devi, Jasjeet Kaur and everyone have been in fine form here, and Railways is spoilt for choice. A shock defeat in the final last year has only strengthened the team’s resolve even more.
Punjab, on the other hand, has had a consistent run in the tournament this year and in the preceding years. Other than a couple of experienced hands in captain Sukhjit Kaur and Anuradha, the team doesn’t have too many big names. That has helped it keep expectations low but added pressure on the seniors. But Railways is likely to have an easy outing.
The other semifinal between Jharkhand and Haryana will be much closer with both teams being traditional nurseries of women’s hockey in India.
Also, a lot of players who had helped Haryana win the title last year after failing to make the Railways squad have turned out for their employer this time around.
Jharkhand, though, has managed to retain its core, comprising Binita Xess, Anima Minz, Poonam Barla and Ebha Kerketta. Aided by a strong defence, Jharkhand may well turn the tables on the holder.
UP, CAG the surprise picks
Two lesser known teams, Uttar Pradesh and Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), making it to the semifinals of the ongoing National A division hockey championship is a big surprise in the fourth edition of the event being conducted by Hockey India.
Uttar Pradesh, which had failed to make a mark in earlier editions, has gained from the ‘patch-up’ between two hockey factions in the State.
It posted some big-margin wins in the league stage on its way to book a spot in the last four.
The relatively inexperienced CAG, on the other hand, has benefitted from the experience of former India coach Harendra Singh. Uttar Pradesh’s sudden rise was not totally unexpected though.
The home team — comprising several international players such as Tushar Khandker, Devesh Chouhan, Diwakar Ram, Pramod Kumar — has banked on players from the State employed with prominent oil companies and a few talented youngsters.
“Most of these players were part of the team which won two prestigious domestic titles earlier this year. Development of the sport and sportspersons is our sole motto,” said Vivek Gupta, a player and Secretary of the Hockey Association of Uttar Pradesh.
UP, which topped Pool C after winning all four matches, will take on the high profile defending champion and unbeaten Air India in the semis on Saturday.
Considering the depth in the line-up of both sides, the contest may be a keenly-fought one.
CAG, featuring players with an average age of 24, did not have many reputed names. However, the young side stuck to the task assigned by new coach Harendra and reaped the reward.
“I was not doing any coaching, so I thought it would be nice to coach a young side. I introduced some new formations, where the whole team attacked and defended, and emphasized on one-touch hockey. The boys gave their best,” said Harendra.
The team, which shocked Punjab in the league to advance to the semis at the expense of last year’s runner-up, recorded four wins to finish atop Pool B.
The semifinals, in the presence of High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans, National Chief Coach Terry Walsh and the selectors, promise loads of entertainment.
Junior hockey men nationals commences on March 24
NEW DELHI: Thirty-five teams will be participating in the 4th Hockey India Junior Men National Championship to be held in Chennai from March 24.
The matches will be played at two venues - SDAT Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium and YMCA Nandanam Hockey Stadium.
The participating teams are divided into two Divisions - A and B. While Division A will have 16 teams, Division B features 19 teams.
The three new teams added to this year's championships are Steel Plants Sports Board, Hockey Gangpur - Odisha and Vidarbha Hockey Association.
The inaugural match of the season will be played between Hockey Mizoram and Steel Plant Sports Board and Hockey Puducherry and Hockey Gangpur - Odisha in Division B.
Defending champions Hockey Punjab will play their first match against Chandigarh Olympic Association on March 24, while runners-up Hockey Odisha will take on Hockey Karnataka.
"The 4th season of Junior Men National Championship is all set to commence and hockey fans will continue witnessing a long season of hockey in India.
These back-to-back tournaments will help Hockey India to identify budding talent, who are then groomed for the international arena," said Elena Norman, CEO, Hockey India.
The Times of India
VHA names team for junior hockey nationals
NAGPUR: Vidarbha Hockey Association (VHA) has announced the squad for the fourth Junior National Hockey Championship, organized by Hockey India, which will begin at Chennai from March 24.
The Vidarbha team will be led by Aurangabad's Nageshwarrao Kotaru. Vidarbha side has been placed in Pool B along with Bengal, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar, states a press release issued by Vinod Gawai, secreatary, VHA, here on Friday.
Thirty-five teams will be participating in the nationals. The matches will be played at two venues — SDAT Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium and YMCA Nandanam Hockey Stadium.
Participating teams have been divided into two Pools - A and B. While Pool A will have 16 teams, Pool B features 19 teams.
This will be Vidarbha's maiden entry into the Hockey India's tournament. Two more teams — Steel Plants Sports Board, Hockey Gangpur - Odisha — would be making their first appearance in the tournament.
Vidarbha squad: Prashik Lanjewar, Rohit Kathoute. Inderraj Hansraj, Nageshwarrao Hansraj, Mohd Wasim Khan, Mohd Ahfaz Khan, Sumit Yadao, Sanjay Lohangare, Rakshit Sangole, Suchit Kalakoti, Nadeem Shaikh, Amit Pandey, Sohel Khan, Rizwan Shaikh, Gaurav Khuje, Riyaz Ahmad Qureshi, Shubham Zode, Imtesal Mohd Khan. Coach: Nimit Lal, Manager: Mohd Shamin.
The Times of India
KL desperate to reclaim crown
By Fadhli Ishak
TRADITIONAL giants Kuala Lumpur are hoping to make up for the disappointment of last year at the Milo-Malaysian Hockey Confederation National Under-16 tournament which starts today in Perlis.
KLHA secretary V. Rajamanickam said the five-time champions have set their sights on recapturing the title after losing to Malacca in the semi-finals last year.
Perak won the tournament after beating Malacca in the decider.
"It was a disappointing tournament for us last season. We lost (to Malacca) due to a clear umpire'ss mistake which everyone was aware of," said Rajamanickam.
"We want to win our sixth tournament in Perlis next week and I believe our squad have what it takes to do it.
"Eleven of our players played in the national junior league. We have three or four players who have experience from last year's competition while the rest are from last year's Under-14 team. Our girls also have good potential and we are hoping that both teams will at least make the finals."
Boys' draw -- Group A: Perak, Kedah, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perlis; Group B: Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Penang, Kelantan, Sabah, Johor.Girls draw -- Group A: Penang, Kedah, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu; Group B: Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perlis, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan.
New Straits Times
KL face huge obstacles to regain Under-16 crown
By S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Kuala Lumpur will be hard-pressed to regain the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey crown when the tournament gets under way in Kangar, Perlis, on Saturday.
KL have won the title five times from 2008-2012, but ended up third last year.
The city side’s aim this time is to reach the final.
They are in Group B with last year’s runners-up Malacca, Terengganu, Penang, Kelantan, Sabah and Johor. Defending champions Perak are in Group A with Kedah, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Pahang and Perlis.
KL coach K. Embaraj admitted that they are in a tough group.
“We don’t have any big names in our side although quite a number of them have been exposed in the KLHA League. We also tried out a few of the players in the recent Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) with the KLSS-KLHC team. So I feel we have some players with experience on our side.
“Regaining the title is our main objective. But with some tough teams in the group, our priority is to make the semi-finals first and take it from there,” said Embaraj.
Perak will start as one of the title favourites. The other serious contenders are Malacca, Selangor, Terengganu, Kelantan and Penang.
“In age-group tournaments, the chances of winning the title are quite even. It is how you perform on match day. It will be an even contest right from the start. We will know after a few matches who the real contenders are,” added Embaraj, who is handling the KL team for the second straight year.
In the girl’s competition, the participating teams are Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.
This is the first time Perlis is hosting a national hockey tournament and it is seen as a test run ahead of Sukma (Malaysia Games) which Perlis will host from May 27-June 4.
Group A: Kedah vs Pahang (7am), Perak vs Perlis (8.45am), Selangor vs Negri Sembilan (10.30am).
Group B: KL vs Johor (2.15pm), Terengganu vs Sabah (3.45pm), Penang vs Kelantan (5.15pm)
Group A: Kedah vs Terengganu (3.15pm), Johor vs Pahang (5pm).
Group B: KL vs Kelantan (7.30am), Perlis vs Negri Sembilan (9am).
The Star of Malaysia
Top four do battle at Glasgow National Hockey Centre
Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s National League Division 1 Play Offs Preview
Scotland’s two European club representatives will be decided over the next two weekends and whilst the permutations are numerous one fact remains, win all your matches and you will be playing in Europe next season.
Glynhill Kelburne who finished comfortably top of the league have home advantage on Saturday as they match up against fourth placed Grange at Glasgow National Hockey Centre. The sides have met twice this season, with Glynhill Kelburne comfortably defeating a lacklustre Grange at Peffermill, but only managing a draw more recently at home.
This upturn in fortunes for the Capital side will install a belief that they have what it takes to cause an upset on Saturday. The prize for the winner of this encounter is a place in the Grand Final and a guaranteed place in Europe. Although both styles of play may negate each other, it will be a great shock if Grange can upset the nine time league champions.
The other teams involved in the play offs on Saturday are Western Wildcats and Hillhead, two clubs separated by only a couple of miles. Wildcats, once a powerhouse of Scottish hockey before the emergence of today’s Glynhill Kelburne dominance, are proudly back at the top of the game and will be keen to dust off their passports once again and add to their European travels.
They have a serious obstacle to overcome first though, as they face city rivals Hillhead. In contrast, Hillhead have a less glittering past but have progressed relentlessly over the last decade to become a respected and feared division one side. Encounters this season so far have seen Western tip the balance with a 3-0 win and 4-4 draw. The high scoring draw at Auchenhowie is an indication that Hillhead are capable of upsetting second placed Western. We have a very close match ahead of us that could be decided by a single goal.
Pool A is made up of Scottish Cup holders Grove Menzieshill, AAM Gordonians, Edinburgh University and Division Two runners-up Watsonians. Saturday’s fixtures match up Edinburgh University and Watsonians in an all Edinburgh tie, and Menzieshill take on AAM Gordonians.
With internationalists Steven Dick, the Moodie brothers and Chris Duncan in the university squad, it will be real test for Watsonians.
The outcome of Saturday’s other match may be a lot closer with the sides drawing earlier in the season, and Grove Menzieshill winning their most recent encounter. Menzieshill will be favourites for the win and will be keen to get their campaign off to a positive start.
Watsonians' prospects of top level hockey will be further tested on Sunday against Grove Menzieshill. With two games at the weekend, the squad with the most depth will hold an advantage with fitness being the all important factor.
The final game of the weekend matches AAM Gordonians up against Edinburgh University. With a win each during the season, and with both games decided by an odd goal this promises to be a very closely fought encounter, with a lot at stake for both teams. Home advantage may prove decisive for the students in this one.
Pool B sees Division Two champions Uddingston face Paul Dailly’s Dundee Wanderers at Forthbank. Uddingston will fancy their chances against the lowest ranked team in Division One, but would be wise to note Wanderers' recent victory against high flyers Western Wildcats.
The challenge for Uddingston will be acclimatising to the pace and intensity that will have been lacking in the second tier If they can do this they have enough attacking impetus to start their campaign off with a positive result. On paper Dundee Wanderers will have more strength in depth, a fact which may prove vital.
Uddingston face an even tougher test of their credentials on Sunday as they face PSL Team Sports Clydesdale at Peffermill. Despite finishing sixth PSL Team Sport Clydesdale only lost five matches and have proven themselves to be a difficult team to beat.
Clydesdale’s other match sees them up against Inverleith. With only one place separating the two sides in the league this match on paper will be both sides most challenging on their group.
A win for either side here would help give them a really good chance of a top two finish and safety from the relegation scrap. The teams played out a remarkable match earlier in the year with PSL Team Sport Clydesdale coming from behind in an 8-6 thriller. Most of the damage on the day done will be done by set play specialists Ciaran Crawford and Inverleith’s Adam McKenzie.
A result is hard to call with both teams closely matched, with match winners in both squads. On Sunday Inverleith are up against Dundee Wanderers at Peffermill. Home advantage will be a comfort to Inverleith as they look to seal another three points.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Tayside derby the highlight in women's play-offs
Despite hopes of a 100% league record being dashed following a 3-1 loss at the hands of Edinburgh University last weekend, Grove Menzieshill still remain the favourites to retain their Aberdeen Asset Management Women’s National League Division 1 title.
However, they may not find their passage to the final easy with the prospect of a Tayside derby when they clash with city rivals Dundee Wanderers at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Saturday.
The winners progress to the Grand Final on 30 March so a hard fought encounter may be in the offing.
In the other Top 4 play-off match, there is not much love lost between Edinburgh University and Milne Craig Clydesdale Western on the pitch and the two sides go head to head on Saturday.
A 3-0 win at Titwood for the Glasgow side followed by a close 1-1 draw in the return fixture at Peffermill gives Clydesdale Western confidence, but the University finished the season strongly with a 3-1 win over league leaders Grove Menzieshill a real highlight. Expect a close battle and with a number of Scotland international players involved, will sure to be a quality contest.
In Pool A, second division AAM Merlins Gordonians find themselves pitched against Glynhill Kelburne, Western Wildcats and GHK.
On Saturday, the Aberdonians face perhaps their easiest fixture on paper against GHK at Mayfield Sports Centre, Dundee. However, the Glasgow side will also be aiming to get off to a solid start with a win against their Division Two opponents.
They then face Glynhill Kelburne on Sunday at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, possibly the toughest of their three play-off fixtures.
Glynhill Kelburne and Western Wildcats match up against each other on Saturday in Glasgow.
Local rivals GHK and Western Wildcats know each other well, and the side from Auchenhowie will be looking to the experience of Scotland international Kareena Marshall to guide a young side to Division 1 safety when the two teams meet on Sunday.
In Pool B, Edinburgh rivals CALA Edinburgh and Watsonians meet at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Saturday. The two sides shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw earlier in the season, but CALA Edinburgh ran out 5-1 winners in the second fixture recently.
Elsewhere, Division Two champions Hillhead Ladies will fancy their chances of beating Grange EL, who finished rooted to the bottom of the top tier.
On Sunday, Watsonians face another capital clash against Grange EL at Glasgow National Hockey Centre. Hillhead Ladies will face a tough challenge against CALA Edinburgh.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Schools Cup success at Glasgow Green
Stewart's Melville College
Stewart's Melville College, George Watson's College, Loretto School and Strathallan School were the winners among the finalists in the Schools Cup Finals at Glasgow National Hockey Centre tonight.
With a capacity crowd cheering all competing teams, a fantastic atmosphere was created in the first of the night time events for youth competitions.
Stewart's Melville College upset the odds to beat Bellahoustan Academy 2-1 in the Boys Open Cup Final.
Chris McFadden gave the Glasgow School of Sport a 16th minute lead.
However, the Edinburgh side hit back through Michiel Doyle and Alastair Thurlow to take the trophy back to the capital.
In the Open Girls Cup Final, George Watson’s College defeated local school rivals Mary Erskine School on running penalties after a 1-1 draw at full time.
Mel McCallum broke the deadlock for George Watson’s after three minutes, before Kerry Anne Hastings levelled the scores for Mary Erskine School in the 32nd minute.
With the sides unable to be separated inside the regulation time, it was Catriona McLellan who proved the match winner, scoring the deciding running penalty to take the cup back to Myreside.
George Watson’s College with trophy
In the Boys Open Plate Final, Strathallan School were 2-0 winners over Edinburgh Academy. Rory Barnes opened the scoring for the Perthshire scholars in only the third minute, and Colin Gordon doubled their lead three minutes after the half-time interval to send the plate back north.
Boys Schools trophy
Loretto School were victorious in the S3 Boys Cup Final courtesy of a 3-1 win over Douglas Academy.
Lewis Murray gave Douglas Academy the lead in the 23rd minute but Brodie Good levelled for Loretto only four minutes later. The east coast school took the lead shortly after, with Finlay McCreath scoring from a penalty corner in the 30th minute.
Ten minutes later, Loretto finished off the scoring with McCreath getting a second to make the final score 3-1.
Finally, in the S3 Boys Plate Final, George Watson’s College ran out 2-0 winners over Stewart’s Melville College on running penalties.
Keiran Shiel gave Stewart’s Melville a 1-0 lead in the tenth minute before Kieran Mooney equalised shortly after in the 17th minute.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
US Mens High Performance Weekend Shows Promise for Future
Last weekend, the Moorpark turf heated up with hockey as the Men’s High Performance squads gathered for the first competition weekend of the year. The Ventura County Red Devils (VCRD) played host to the NorCal Sharks and Chula Vista High Performance and Development squads. The turnout of athletes, families and fans was encouraging for the continued growth of boys and men’s development in the U.S.
“The regional growth and responsibility is having a very positive effect on the state of the game across the country,” said Head U.S. Men’s National Coach Chris Clements. “We are finding more areas where boys are playing and are increasing the connection between them, our developmental or performance sites and competitions such as National Indoor Tournament and Cal Cup. This is critical in populating the pipeline for recreational and national team opportunities for boys and men. We are thankful for the support of the Men's Foundation aiding in providing assistance to the Chula Vista, Ventura, NorCal, Colorado and East Coast."
Below are some thoughts from each of the regions coaches on the past weekend.
The NorCal Sharks players and staff would like to thank the VCRD community for hosting us this past weekend. We look forward to showcasing our new training facility located at Stanford University when the VCRD group returns to NorCal in April 2014.
The Sharks staff has ramped up the training schedule in 2014 to include four times the amount of training sessions and competitions from last year. This has allowed our high performance region to better prepare for the competitive weekends versus VCRD and build towards the National Championships held during the California Cup (May 2014). For the first weekend of competition, we had two focal points for the team: 1. Team structure in a 3/4 press and 2. Work and improve the connectivity of our midfield to manipulate our opponents’ defensive choices. We are satisfied with the improvement of those two aspects over the four game series. We are encouraged about the future of the NorCal and San Diego areas where over 20 under-14 players were exposed to competitive matches over the weekend.
The Ventura County Red Devils thought the home series went great. We have a fantastic group of parents who provide logistic support as well as tournament preparations, not to mention a strong coaching staff with lots of domestic and international experience.
We played eight matches in a two day period with two age groups, exposing 30 players to the best competition possible in California. We also have been training five goal keepers, all of which saw action over the weekend.
The local culture is beginning to understand what it takes to participate in a high performance environment. From the preparations to the actual physical look of the team, it's a lot of work. For the players, this weekend was more about the fitness and mental pieces that take place in these types of situations.
In a weekend of eight matches we won seven and drew one. I am most happy with the combinations of play that were organized and implemented from training. The younger group in particular grew on day two and played some really good combination pieces both offensively and defensively. I thought shot selection was also a high point.
We will continue to work at match fitness and speed development. Penalty corner offense and defense needs to be refined, as does the mobile passing and receiving. Far too many times we are trying to get to areas in one pass rather than two or three easy combinations.
We will again have matches against East Coast HP in two weeks’ time and we'll look to build on the basic concepts of passing and receiving under pressure and in smaller areas, coupled with the amount of information that we can continually get away from the ball and on field coaching off the ball.
The exposure our boys gained from this event will pay dividends heading into our spring training. Weekends like this help our entire group, both players and families, become a tighter unit. The fact is, the majority of our players are still quite new to the sport of field hockey. However, with an average age of only 10, many still have a very realistic chance of becoming elite athletes. The talent is rightly there, but that is only one of the necessary ingredients.
This past weekend has helped instill a competitive drive amongst our club. A healthy rivalry between the High Performance regions is pushing these kids to train harder and reach higher. They also had the opportunity to watch and learn from the older divisions of the tournament, who provided incredible examples for the youngsters. With each match, our ball possession became more valued, our defensive marking more diligent and our spacing more effective. The impact is real and we are psyched to continue the momentum heading toward the California Cup.
Upcoming High Performance weekends
March 28-30 – East Coast vs VCRD at Moorpark
April 25-27 – VCRD vs NorCal at Stanford
USFHA media release
Hockey Awards Takes Place at Stillorgan Park
Irish Hockey hosted their awards at partner hotel Stillorgan Park Hotel earlier today honouring players, volunteers, clubs, coaches, administrators and umpires in an event that saw 200 attend. Irish hockey also inducted four new Hall Of Famers Jimmy Kirkwood, Joanne Menown, John McKee and Noelle Branagan all becoming members this year.
The awards were nominated and voted on by the hockey public which saw over 6,000 people getting involved, bar the president and player’s players category.
The top two international player awards voted on by the players on the national sides to select their player of the year went to David Harte for the Samurai Men’s Award and the women’s Electric Ireland award went to Emma Smyth. While the club player awards were scooped up by Gareth Watkins of Monkstown and Kate Dillon of Railway Union. While Electric Ireland Club of the Year went to Monkstown hockey Club.
The U18 player categories saw Sarah Twomey (Hermes hockey Club / Mt Anville) and Lee Cole (Monkstown & St Andrews) collecting trophies while the well-known Graham Shaw stepped up to accept the Stillorgan Park Coach of the Year award. Inez Cooper (Loreto) was recognised for her volunteer work and Mount Anville received school of the year for the first time. It was ex player turned umpire Fiona Davitt who secured the Dixon Rose Umpire of the Year while Wicklow were only delighted to be on hand to collect Developing Club of the year.
The President’s award which is selected by the current Irish Hockey president to recognise someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the sport of hockey over the years this year went to Doreen Howe who was a very well deserving recipient for all her time and effort over the years.
Irish Hockey Association media release