All the news for Thursday 24 July 2014
Aussie men back on field
Australia's first run-out since the World Cup is practice against Malaysia
Australia’s men settled into their surroundings with an uncapped practice match against Malaysia at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow on Wednesday morning ahead of the start of the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
Goals from Chris Ciriello and Mark Knowles handed the Aussies a 2-0 win over their opponents in the shortened match, which was played as two periods of 25 minutes.
Five weeks on from the World Cup final, Australia were dominant from the off with Chris Ciriello putting them ahead in the opening few minutes from the penalty spot after Matt Gohdes’ shot was illegally blocked on the goal line. It remained 1-0 until the break, although Australia enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and chances.
Mark Knowles’ screaming tomahawk effort made it 2-0 in the second half while Simon Orchard tested the goalkeeper further soon after. At the other end Andrew Charter had little to do, although he was called upon on a couple of occasions as the match progressed towards its conclusion.
Australia’s men will have to wait for their first competitive action at Glasgow 2014 with their opening match, against Wales, not until Saturday. By the time they begin at 2pm local time (11:00pm AEST) on Saturday, each of their four pool B opponents – India, Wales, South Africa and Scotland – will already have a match under their belts in the quest for Commonwealth gold.
Hockey Australia media release
Canadian teams begin play at Commonwealth Games on Thursday
On Thursday, both the Canadian Men's and Women's National Teams kick off their Commonwealth Games with preliminary round action in Glasgow.
First, at 6amPST/9amEST, the women take on India, while the men play in prime time overseas, taking on New Zealand at 11amPST/2pmEST.
CBC Sports will be live streaming event coverage every day of the games, followed by highlight packages at the end of the day. Tune in to catch a glimpse of our men in women in action!
Follow these links for schedules and results for our Men's National Team and Women's National Team in Glasgow.
Field Hockey Canada media release
Time to get the hockey underway!
Photo: Dean Couzins (left) and Phil Burrows talk to media ahead of their first game. Photosport.co.nz
The New Zealand Men play their first game against Canada at 7.50am (NZ time, Sky Sport 8) tomorrow and the Women hit the turf at 5.50am this Saturday (NZ time, Sky Sport 3) to face Trinidad and Tobago.
To see the schedule and other Commonwealth Games info – click here.
And remember you can vote on your favourite players from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and help choose New Zealand's first ever Gatorade People's Choice Award winners! Plus, one lucky person will win a Black Sticks replica shirt signed by both winners along with a Gatorade prize pack. Vote here now!
For all the latest info from the Glasgow National Hockey Centre you can follow us at www.facebook.com/nzblacksticks or on Twitter @blacksticks.
Let’s go Kiwis!
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Good news for the Black Sticks on injury front
MATT RICHENS IN GLASGOW
ON THE MEND: Black Sticks drag-flick specialist Andy Hayward, who sat out Tuesday's practice session with his left foot in a moon-boot, returned to the turf in Glasgow on Wednesday. ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ
Both the men's and women's hockey teams had good news on the eve of the Commonwealth Games with injured players Kayla Whitelock and Andy Hayward on the mend.
Women's Black Sticks captain Whitelock missed the side's 2-1 warm-up loss to Australia after team-mate Gemma Flynn accidentally whacked her on the elbow with a hockey stick.
Men's drag-flick specialist Hayward has also spent time on the side in a moon boot and missed his side's 3-2 win over India yesterday. Both were on the turf today.
Whitelock played in the women's side's 3-1 win over Games' hosts Scotland while Hayward took a full part in training.
Hockey call-up for Ollie Willars as Tim Whiteman injured ahead of Commonwealth Games
TIM WHITEMAN’S dream to make the Commonwealth Games came crashing down around him – but he would want no-one better to take his place than Ollie Willars.
By Graham Wilson
Ollie Willars has replaced Tim Whiteman in England's hockey team for the Games [GETTY]
Willars is his team-mate at champion club Beeston and flatmate at Bisham where they put in the hours of training for England.
Whiteman smashed a thumb in the World Cup in Holland last month, where England came fourth, got the all-clear from doctors after surgery, provided he wore a protective glove, and played in the Investec London Cup a fortnight ago, which England won. Unfortunately, after a scan last week Whiteman was forced to pull out for another operation next week.
“It was certainly a surprise call-up,” said Willars. “It’s a shame. Tim’s a very good friend of mind but the doctors said the thumb hadn’t healed properly so it is best for him in the long-term that they get that right.”
Willars, 24, a Nottingham Trent University student, said: “It’s very exciting to come to an event like this at still a young age.
“For me I want to play well, and as a team we want to win medals and to get to the final.”
England are second highest ranked to Australia, who retained their world title in emphatic fashion in Holland last month and have won the gold medal in the Games since the competition started in 1998.
But Willars said: “We have to fancy our chances if we go at our business carefully, build the momentum and get to the semi-finals. It’s important we win the group and avoid Australia in the semi-finals.
“The village atmosphere is brilliant, Bradley Wiggins is walking around and there is a positive feel to everything here.
“My parents are coming up for Sunday’s game against Malaysia and the family are all piling up for the finals.”
Ten nations split into two pools of five compete in each of the men’s and women’s competitions. The top two teams in each pool progress to the semi-final play-offs.
England women open up against Wales and the men play Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday.
Will Jason Lee's absence enable England hockey team to bounce back after World Cup debacle?
Performance director Danny Kerry takes reins until coach is found as unhappy women's squad start with Wales clash
By Rod Gilmour, in Glasgow
Crunch: England captain Kate-Richardson Walsh (right) challenges South Africa's Kathleen Taylor in the recent Investec Cup Photo: ACTION PLUS
Out of the low ebbs that England’s women experienced during an insipid hockey World Cup campaign in the Hague last month, there is one image that encapsulates their worst showing - 11th - at the sport's showpiece event.
It portrays coach Jason Lee staring over a sea of reporters and captain Kate Richardson-Walsh looking glumly away at a media conference following their 4-1 defeat to South Africa in the pool stages.
The loss ended hopes of a semi-final berth as England faced the ignominy of an 11th-place play-off game.
With England riding high as the world No 3 side and many predicting a medal, the World Cup was never meant to turn out like that. Not after they had followed up a bronze medal at the Olympics with the same at last year’s World League in Argentina.
How optimism can quickly turn sour. On England’s return to their Bisham Abbey headquarters, a full debrief on their debacle in the Hague ensued.
Players, who were seen arguing with each other on the pitch as their World Cup hopes faded, were encouraged to speak their minds off it. The soul-searching left forward Hannah Macleod to recently admit she “never wanted to return to that meeting room”.
Lee, who took over as women’s coach last year, subsequently left by “mutual consent” last month as deeper factions inside the camp evolved. The Daily Telegraph understands that the players were also contacting potential coaches in the national league to apply for the vacant role. It implied the squad was largely unhappy at the set-up.
So it is that England will start their Commonwealth Games tilt – two silver medals and two bronze since 1998 – against Wales in Pool B on Thursday morning under Danny Kerry, England Hockey’s national performance director, until interviews start the day after the Games.
Kerry will watch from the stands while vocal Tasmanian Craig Keegan, the assistant coach, will be pitchside.
The squad is largely the same as the World Cup, though Holcombe’s Lucy Wood makes her Games debut, while Giselle Ansley is recalled.
The latter is a welcome addition, given the Surbiton defender’s ability at short corners, a worrying failure for England at the World Cup as other teams pounced on scoring opportunities.
There have also been recent signs that a corner has been turned.
The Investec Cup at England Hockey’s £30 million home at Lee Valley (played four, won four), was in stark contrast to the World Cup (played six, won two).
Despite the winning return, there were still periods where England failed to turn possession into goals.
Whether England can iron out those deficiencies at the Commonwealth Games remains to be seen.
England's baby-faced assassin Sophie Bray eyes hockey glory in Glasgow
England start their Commonwealth Games campaign on Thursday against Wales
By Rod Gilmour, in Glasgow
Eyes on the prize: Sophie Bray (right) determined to shine in Glasgow Photo: PA
Sophie Bray has just the kind of youthful nickname - Baby-faced Assassin - to propel England’s women back to winning ways.
It stuck when Bray first played in England’s under-21 side as an inexperienced 17-year-old. As she says: “I don’t look much older now, but one of the players said ‘you’re like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’.”
A year later she was knocking in dramatic late poacher’s goals, just like the then-Manchester United player had done a decade previously against Bayern Munich. It came in the 2009 Youth Olympic Festival final against Australia in Sydney. Trailing the hosts’ by two goals, England levelled in the last 10 minutes to take the match into extra-time.
“I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time,” said Bray on her golden goal-winning strike. “I can’t describe the feeling. It was incredible and I’d love to be able to do it again.”
The 24-year-old can do so on Monday when England – who start their Commonwealth Games campaign on Thursday against Wales – play Australia, albeit in the pool stages. England never got the chance to take on their chief rivals in Glasgow following their dismal World Cup exit, but Bray has shown enough glimpses over the last month to suggest she can be a major threat on the world stage.
She has more than waited for a second chance at international level, too. Bray made her England debut in 2008, but had to wait a full five years before being handed a third cap last year.
In that time, she harboured ambitions to be included in GB’s London 2012 squad, but after much deliberation from England’s coaches over a centralised contract, she failed to make the cut.
There was an upside. She decided to play for club side MOP in Holland – a rare commodity these days for centralised England players – and she immersed herself into a new culture.
“I felt for my development I would learn an awful lot and hopefully I’d re-join England in the next cycle,” she says of her Dutch experience.
“I had a fantastic time and hope to someday go back. I have definitely come back more confident and not afraid of trying anything new. It is a different style over there.”
Bray’s own prowess is indicative of the multi-talented skills currently on show in both England teams. It is little wonder that Bray has been mentioned in interviews alongside Lottie Dod, the five-time Wimbledon singles champion, who also formed England’s first hockey team in 1900.
“Both playing tennis [she had Surrey county trials] and football [she was scouted for Fulham Ladies] for as long as I could alongside my hockey, helped my hockey,” she says.
“You get the pattern of play from football and the hand-eye coordination from tennis and they massively overlap into hockey. So when I first came to pick up a stick, it felt natural straight away. My best friend at primary school was an ice hockey player, so we used to play roller hockey in the street quite a lot too.”
Not only has she morphed other sports into her forward play, she has also used aspects of her Birmingham University psychology degree on the field.
“I am aware how powerful and extremely clever the brain is,” says Bray, who was offered a centralised contract in January. “I’m more aware than others in how the brain and the mind work and how it can affect your performance. I’m more conscience to find ways to develop that and how it can help our performance.”
At the recent Investec Cup at Lee Valley, the hard-hitting Bray looked in good touch, despite only notching one goal. But she is unfazed by her strike rate and is just looking to “time that last move, read the play and where the ball will land.”
The Investec Cup (played four, won four) was in stark contrast to the World Cup (played six, won two). A couple of days of soul-searching ensued when the team arrived back from the Hague after finishing a lowly 11th – fellow player Hannah Macleod admitted she “never wanted to return to the meeting room” – but Bray now wants to continue the winning run.
She said: “The two weeks were gutting, but those sort of experiences do make you stronger individually and as a team.
“Everyone was given the opportunity to express their opinion on what they felt and the group has come together. We are all determined to show what we can do at the Commonwealths as we try and get that winning feeling back again.
“The final group game against Scotland will be a big game. After what’s happened this summer, we will definitely go in with a game-by-game approach and see what happens.”
That approach starts against Wales in their first group game at the National Hockey Centre. Xenna Hughes, daughter of Stoke manager Mark, will also line up for the Welsh.
Malaysian goalie fears the worst in opening match
GLASGOW: National goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya is already feeling jittery as she prepares to face the powerful attacking force of defending champions Australia in their opening women’s Group B match at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Thursday.
There is a good reason why she dreads facing the mighty Australians.
The Johor goalkeeper endured a nightmare when she last played against Australia in the International Super Series nine-a-side tournament in Perth last October.
Farah, who is featuring in her second Commonwealth Games, let in nine goals in that match.
To make matters worse, Australia have retained 15 of the players who finished runners-up to Holland in the World Cup in The Hague last month.
The 25-year-old Farah admitted that it would be almost impossible to stop the marauding Australians.
“I was devastated when I let in nine goals the last time I played against them. I’m already feeling nervous … it’s not going to be easy to stop them,” confessed Farah.
“We simply cannot afford to give the Australians any breathing space because they are deadly and clinical in the semi-circle.
“We have to play a very tight marking game and launch counter attacks whenever we can. But I know this is easier said than done.”
Malaysia’s other group matches are against Scotland (on Friday), England (July 27) and Wales (July 30).
At the last Games in New Delhi in 2010, Malaysia started off well by beating Canada 3-2. But they then lost the other three group matches – 5-0 to New Zealand, 2-1 to Wales and 3-0 to England.
In the ninth placing playoff, Malaysia finished last after losing 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago.
The Star of Malaysia
Indian women's hockey team eye win against Canada in CWG 2014 opener on Thursday
With eyes firmly set on a podium finish, Indian women's hockey team would look to make a positive start against a lowly Canada in its opening pool match of the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow on Wednesday.
Going by their present form, the Indian eves have a fair chance of progressing to the semifinals of the quadrennial event as apart from Canada they are placed alongside 2010 Delhi Games silver medallist New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa in Pool A.
Apart from New Zealand, who are ranked fourth in the world, South Africa (11th) is the other higher placed team in India's (13th) pool, but the gap between the Indians and the South Africans are minimal.
A winning start against Canada will act as a confidence booster for the Indian eves as they take on New Zealand in their next match on July 27, followed by games against Trinidad and Tobago (July 28) and South Africa (July 30).
Against the 22nd ranked Canada tomorrow, the Indians will definitely start as overwhelming favourites as in their last clash in 2012, it was the latter who came out victorious with 4-0 margin. Going by past records, the Indian girls enjoy a clear edge over Canada, having won both their duels in the history of CWG Games - in 2002 and 2010.
Coming into the Glasgow Games, the Indian eves could not have asked for a better preparation as they routed Malaysia 6-0 in an away Test series recently to gain confidence. With a well-balanced unit at his disposal, Indian women team's chief coach Neil Hawgood is confident that his young team will deliver their best result in the Games.
He, however, warned his wards against complacency against a young Canadian outfit who are desperate to prove a point at the world stage. "While the team is young but the kind of play they showed in the recent Malaysian Tour gives me reasons to be proud of them and confidence that we will deliver our best performance here," Hawgood said.
Hockey girls face lowly Canada
Glasgow - On the eve of their first match of the competition, Indian hockey girls troop out of the CWG Village, on their way to practice at the hockey stadium. Ritu Rani, the captain, says she's confident of doing well. "We've got many junior players in the team and we're hopeful of doing well," said Ritu Rani.
One of the emerging stars, the young Rani Rampal, says the team is planning and practising well. "We're working on our strategy and its execution," she says.
The Indian girls take on Canada in their first Pool A match tomorrow.
Canada is not a particularly formidable opposition - they're ranked 22nd in the world against India's 13th position. The last time the two teams played, in 2010, India won 4-0. Playing against Canada raises the possibility that India would make a great start to boost their confidence.
The others teams in Pool A are world No. 4 New Zealand, No. 11 South Africa and the lowly Trinidad and Tobago, world No. 31. India, thus, have a fair chance of progressing to the semifinal.
India coach Neil Hawgood does want the girls to guard against complacency. "While the team is young, the kind of effort they put up in the recent Malaysian Tour gives me reason to be proud of them, and also the confidence that we will deliver our best performance here," Hawgood said.
"I am confident that the girls will play well tomorrow, but I am still keeping my fingers crossed," he added. "Canada would fight, they want to prove a point… Their captain and forward Kate Gillis will be their key player tomorrow."
Hockey in ‘Gift of the Games’ programme
The sport of hockey will be part of a unique programme designed by the Glasgow 2014 organising committee in a bid to popularise the Games among disadvantaged children.
Titled the ‘Gift of the Games’, the programme will provide an opportunity to children born with a disadvantage, to witness the Games, accompanied by their parents or an adult companion.
Accordingly, the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, the venue of the hockey competitions, will host approximately 400 disadvantaged children, aged between seven and 15 years, hailing from the Greater Glasgow area on Thursday.
India is scheduled to play its first match against Canada in Pool A of the women’s section on Thursday, at 4 p.m. local time.
The other teams in the pool are New Zealand, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago.
The Indian men, also drawn in Pool A alongside reigning champion Australia, host Scotland, South Africa and Wales will begin their campaign on Friday.
Scottish umpires excited for a home games
Congratulations to the Scottish umpires who have been awarded to officiate at a home Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.
We have two female umpires Sarah Wilson and Alex Walker who will be umpiring at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre which will be very different to the National Division 1 matches they are used to umpiring there.
Sarah Wilson cannot wait to get out there at this worldwide event; ‘The environment and atmosphere created at a home games is going to be unbelievable. I am so proud to be representing Scotland and to be part of such a fantastic umpiring team.
‘The energy and enthusiasm that is surrounding the hockey ground is second to none. I think that this will encourage young umpires to be brave and continue developing their skills. We have all had to start somewhere and with the right support, the sky has no limits.
‘I would like to thank everyone who has supported and guided me over the years to help me achieve me goal and dream of being part of the Commonwealth Games.’
Sarah has umpired at the Junior World Cup and will umpire at the Champions Trophy in November and the indoor World Cup next February.
Martin Madden is a well-established International umpire who has just come back from umpiring the bronze medal match at the recent FIH World Cup in Holland and is excited at the prospect of umpiring on home turf. ‘As it’s a home games and a big multiple sport national event it is an honour to represent my country at Glasgow 2014.
‘I’m looking forward to umpiring at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, it may be a smaller venue than the world cup but it will have a much more personal atmosphere which the Scottish crowds will really cheer on the teams.
‘This is a major highlight for me in my umpiring career, I umpired in Delhi games and it was great. It’s all about embracing all the different cultures and working with teams that you wouldn’t normally come across.’
Barbara Morgan from Kelburne hockey club and a member of the Scottish hockey board is a technical official during the games with Iain McKay, whom both were involved in the FIH Champions Challenge that was held earlier this year in Glasgow. Also Martin Monaghen and Victoria Truesdale are two Scottish judges that will be in Glasgow 2014
Scottish Hockey Union media release
England U21 Men reach Semi Finals
Drayton Chana England v France U21 450 credit Frank Uijlenbroek
England Under 21 Men topped Pool A in the EuroHockey Junior Nations after recording an emphatic 7-0 win over their French counterparts.
Having beaten Poland 6-2 the day before, England once again showed their dangerous attacking play and kept their second clean sheet of the tournament.
England were dominant from the first whistle and quickly put France under pressure. The breakthrough came after 15 minutes after Rob Farrington burst forward before unleashing a reverse stick shot beyond the French keeper.
On 28 minutes, James Alberry converted a Ben Boon cross to double the advantage and David Goodfield made it three on 34 minutes, his shot from a short corner deflecting in off a defender.
England maintained their high energy levels going into the second half and it only took three minutes of the restart for them to make it four as a Jonny Gall cross was touched in by Ben Boon.
Ed Horler scored the fifth from a corner on 43 minutes, his low hard shot finding the net. Jonty Griffiths found the bottom right corner to make it six on 58 minutes and in the final minute of the game, Sam French capped off a sterling team performance with another goal from a penalty corner.
Head Coach Jon Bleby said: “I’m proud of the performance, in particular the effort levels the lads showed in the game. We feel we can do better and there is more to come.
We are certainly going to work hard between now and the semi-final on Friday to make sure that we’re ready again.”
England Hockey Board Media release
England U21 Women reach Semi Finals
England U21 Women celebrate v France, July 23 2014 - credit Frank Uijlenbroek
ENGLAND Under-21 Women beat France 3-0 on Wednesday afternoon to book their place in Thursday’s semi finals at the EuroHockey Junior Nations Championship at Waterloo, Belgium.
After narrowly losing to Spain on Monday, England’s superior goal difference means they still topped Pool B and will face Germany in Thursday’s semi final.
“After asking for a positive response from the girls following game two, I’m delighted with the attitude displayed and the intensity in attack we have shown in the game against France,” said Head Coach Kevin Johnson.
“Our improved attacking fluidity meant that we created enough chances and scored enough goals to top the group. We are now prepared for an exciting semi final.”
Hannah Martin thought she had given England the head, but her 22nd minute effort was ruled out because of a foot.
But England didn’t have to wait long to take the lead with Emily Defroand scoring on 25 minutes. Lydia Clissitt and Jo Leigh combined well to get the ball to Defroand at the top of the D, from where she scored to the left of goalkeeper.
The ball was in the net again on 43 minutes, but again it was ruled out after the umpire deemed it had not touched an England stick.
But once again, England were not fazed and pushed on to score nine minutes later, Kim Leiper firing home after Hannah Martin’s shot was deflected out by the goalkeeper.
And four minutes later England added a third goal, Holly Hunt deflecting in from a Rebecca Van Berkel cross from the right.
England Hockey Board Media release
Millfield girls lay down their marker on day one
JONATHAN COOK at Hartleyvale
Phew, if anyone was in any doubt as to the quality of a healthy slice of this year’s visiting teams from across the seas, they need look no further than the Millfield girls’ first team, who outplayed last year’s champions Somerset College of the Western Cape 4-1 at Hartleyvale Wednesday.
Regarding the Somerset College girls, it must be pointed out that coach Mark Pickering is in a rebuilding phase with his current elite group, as the Dream Team he piloted to the 2012 and 2013 Cape Town U18 International Schools and Clubs Hockey Festival titles have moved on at last (no doubt much to the relief of their opponents).
Having said that, Pickering’s Somerset College side – with just two Grade 12 girls – are a spirited bunch and they fought back hard in the second half, the 4-1 half-time score staying that way until the final whistle.
But the first-half bombardment on the Somerset College defensive third, which was perpetrated by coach Reggie Keates’ Millfield machine, was a delight to watch. In the second minute Megan Albon, Olivia Allin, Hannah Cozens and Rea Briggs combined with precision down the right to set up Tania Coxon with a great chance but the ball was fired into the near-post sideboard.
Three minutes later Allin’s accurate cross from the right wing was a whisker away from Coxon’s outstretched stick looking for the tip-in. But the goal had to come and so it did in the eighth when Allin’s neat inside-tuck-left set up a standard slap-in for Coxon who was at the ready inside the penalty area (1-0).
The young Somerset College side were working hard to get back in the game but the vital, game-breaking pass was either too far in front, or behind, the receiver’s stick to make a telling impact.
Millfield were building beautifully down the left and right, and in the 15th the on-song Coxon weaved her way into the strike zone before laying inside to Tess Hannah who made no mistake with a strong slap past busy Somerset College goalkeeper and captain Jade Batchelor (2-0).
And inside the same 15th minute Millfield got their third goal when Coxon nailed the ball past Batchelor with a well-timed strike (3-0).
With Millfield launching yet another attack down the left, this time with Mimi Sweet and Zoe Zembrzuski involved, Coxon eliminated two defenders before firing past the wrong side of the far post. Six minutes later, in the 25th, the irrepressible Coxon found space to net her hat-trick goal (4-0).
Somerset College were rewarded for their hard work three minutes from the changeover (27th) when Laurie Oliver finished with precision (4-1).
The second half went better for Somerset College as their young players gained in confidence and got over the shock of Millfield’s first-half onslaught. That said, Batchelor in goal also played a big role, one example being her making a superb double save at one of Millfield’s numerous penalty corners. Somerset College vice-captain Natasha Furness also saved on the goalline from Tess Hannah, one of a number of key interventions by the able defender.
At the other end Millfield keeper and captain Katya Slater twice saved after Oliver’s initial shot - and it was game over.
WYNBERG BOYS vs PAREL VALLEI
The late game on Hartleyvale’s stadium pitch saw Wynberg earn their second win of the day when they beat a spirited Parel Vallei 3-0 after leading 2-0 at the break, this after a morning 4-1 win over Paarl Gim. At least PV got something tangible out of the day, having beaten Outeniqua 3-0 in their early clash.
In the fourth minute PV keeper Marc Marasigan kept out a full-blooded Greg Briton piledriver and thereafter the PV lads, led by the impressive skills of captain Chris Hawkridge, launched several forays upfield from deep but the good spell of play wasn’t converted into goals.
Wynberg, well-organised, came back in the 19th for the opening goal when Chad Gouws slotted a penalty corner (1-0). In the 24th Wynberg put together a lovely move initiated by Kyle Verreyne’s elimination skills that was finished smartly by Ché February (2-0).
The six minutes to half-time saw Wynberg in total control and PV did well to keep out a flurry of goalshots.
After the break PV’s natural flair once again brought little reward and in the 42nd Wynberg’s industrious Briton finished off well from a PC variation right (3-0).
Although the Parel Vallei lads deserved to get at least a goal out of the game, it was not to be.
Some classic clashes are in store and at a glance those of the many with the potential for rich entertainment see:
Paarl Girls High versus Kennemer Lyceum on Hartleyvale stadium at 9am;
home side SACS vs Somerset College boys at 9am;
Wynberg Boys vs Pearson at Western Province Cricket Club (WPCC) at 9am;
Stellenberg vs Wakefield Girls at DF Malan (10.15am);
SACS vs Merchant Taylors’ A team (boys) at 11.30am at SACS;
Paul Roos vs Pinelands (boys) at 11.30am at DF Malan;
Rhenish Girls vs Millfield at 12.45pm on Hartleyvale B;
home side Stellenberg girls vs Kingston Grammar at 2pm;
Hugenot vs Merchant Taylors A (boys) at Hartleyvale stadium at 3.30pm;
Rhenish Girls vs Windhoek Gim on the same pitch at 5pm
The boys’ medals race sees SACS, Paul Roos, Wynberg, Rondebosch and London’s Kingston Grammar both winning two matches from two starts on Wednesday.
For the girls, Stellenberg reigned supreme in winning two from two, scoring 15 goals with only one against in the process.
* It must be pointed out that some top schools have only played one game to date.
Former England and Great Britain international Nick Brothers was impressed with the quality of hockey he witnessed during day one. “My initial impression is that the star individual players are from the South African schools, however I expect the touring schools from abroad to feature heavily in the knockout stages through having a greater depth of player resource.”
There were some very, very talented boys and girls on show Wednesday.
Visual and spatial awareness, tactical nous, an appreciation of discipline in defensive situations and some exceptional technical skills were all most impressive to see.
Indeed, some of the “lesser” schools – in terms of their standing as far as top tier, middle tier and lower-tier hockey schools are concerned in their region, exhibited aspects of combination play and individual skills that were quite remarkable.
However, albeit that it is the end of the July holidays in South Africa, there were some skilled players on the ball in both the high-profile and lower profile hockey schools that were close to passengers when it came to support play, due to a marked lack of conditioning. Hopefully this will improve during the next five days.
That said, this also demonstrates the great value the CT International provides to local schools as it helps to get the players in good nick before the second half – the business end - of the Western Cape school season kicks off in earnest.
FOLLOW ALL THE ACTION
You can follow the action and get the results at #CTIHF2014 as well as the www.teamsports.co.za website, and their facebook page and at TEAM_Sports_TDM which is the sports travel company’s twitter handle.
This year, each day, the results and logs shall be posted as close as possible to 1pm and 6pm on the website, facebook page and twitter handle, as well as the day’s video highlights, photos, reports and press releases.
2014 Cape Town U18 International Schools and Clubs Hockey Festival media release