All the news for Thursday 31 August 2014
SA hockey women in Commonwealth Games semi-final
Lisa Deetlefs (2nd from the right) earned her 200th cap for SA. Picture by WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN/SASPA/SASCOC
The South Africa women’s hockey team beat India 3-2 after leading 2-1 at half-time at Glasgow National Hockey Centre Wednesday to qualify for the Commonwealth Games semi-finals.
The last of their Pool A matches, the SA goals came from Tarryn Bright in the 14th minute, Dirkie Chamberlain in the 35th and Illse Davids in the 54th while India scored through Jaspreet Kaur in the 34th and Rani Rampal in the 60th.
Captain Marsha Cox’s girls will now play Pool B winners Australia at 3.20pm SA time Friday (SS7 and SSHD7) in the second of the semi-finals.
SA started with a bang, putting India under enormous pressure with their high-tempo approach, Bright and an on-fire Shelley Russell getting in goalshots, but India indicated their danger following a remarkable Jaspreet Kaur aerial.
In her 200th Test at just 26, SA centre back Lisa Deetlefs stepped up for the match’s first penalty corner in the 14th minute and the primary target slapped her pass back to corner injector Bright who swept the ball hard into the backboard (1-0).
Midway through the half, more impressive SA build-up saw striker Jade Mayne get in two snap shots in as many minutes, lively goalkeeper Savita Punia up for the challenge, while at the other end world-class striker Rampal won India’s opening PC but first-wave defender Bernie Coston’s extreme pace ran down the threat easily, comfortably blocking the drag-flick.
There was drama in the 26th when first-wave runner Sulette Damons was pole-axed by a thunderbolt from India’s second PC, this when India were down to nine players, and the blow to her leg meant South Africa’s pacy striker had to be helped off.
SA had a second PC before excellent work from Lenise Marais stopped India at a set-piece opportunity shortly after, but in the 34th minute clever India interplay led to a penalty stroke and Kaur rifled the ball into the roof of the net.
Yet 30 seconds later, on the stroke of half-time, SA were back in front when Chamberlain fed Celia Evans out right, whose pass to Davids was immediately relayed back to the instigator for Chamberlain to finish clinically (2-1).
After the changeover, Mayne used SA’s strength around the outside to win two PCs in quick succession, the latter of which saw keeper Punia make a superb diving save low to her right. Damons got in a shot and SA’s dominance told when a great Chamberlain trap and snap-shot saw the rebound fly to Davids, who struck the ball beautifully on the rise to make it 3-1 in the 54th minute. But Rampal was not done yet and slammed a PC into the backboard for the score to read 3-2 in the 60th minute.
Deetlefs was helped off soon after, having taken a fearful blow to the hand from Rampal. Goalkeeper Anelle van Deventer made a big save from a key India PC with eight minutes left as the SA defence came under fierce pressure before the amped up Indians won another PC that Coston deflected high over the crossbar. Two minutes left and Van Deventer made an astonishing save from a Rampal backhand lash and it was just about match over.
India had to win. Their six points from three games had resulted in a goal difference four less than South Africa’s. Conversely, SA knew that defeat would consign the African champions to a fifth place playoff.
Meanwhile, the SA men must beat India’s men at 5pm SA time Thursday (SuperSport 4, SSHD4) if they are to qualify for Saturday’s semi-finals against what is likely to be England.
On Tuesday, the SA men beat Wales 5-1 with Natius Malgraff, captain Austin Smith (2), Julian Hykes and Jethro Eustice getting the goals.
SA Hockey Association media release
Future is bright for the young Indians
by Dil Bahra in Glasgow
India's rising star, 18 years old Jaspreet Kaur. Photo Ady Kerry
The experience of the South African Women’s team was the difference between the two teams. Led by Skipper Marsha Cox who was playing her 345th international, having played at three Olympic Games, three World Cups and three Commonwealth Games, South Africa beat India 3 – 2 to reach the semi – finals of the Commonwealth Games being played at Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
Six of the South African squad had played 200 or more internationals. Ten of India’s squad were 21 or under.
The early exchanges were even. South Africa took the lead in the 14th minute from their first penalty corner, a well drilled routine scored by Tarryn Bright. In the 34th minute India’s Vandana Katariya was stick obstructed just as she was about to shoot and India were awarded a penalty stroke. South Africa’s team video referral was rejected and Jaspreet Kaur made no mistake with the penalty stroke, flicking the ball to the top left hand corner of the net levelling the scores at one all. This was Jaspreet’s 6th goal of the tournament and the 200th goal scored at XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. With 30 seconds left on the clock, Dirkie Chamberlain put South Africa back in the lead, 2 - 1, at the interval.
South Africa started the second half strongly and were denied by Indian keeper Savita Punia who made two good penalty corner saves. However in the 54th minute, a poor clearance in the circle resulted in Illse Davids scoring with a shot from top of the circle to make it 3 – 1 to South Africa.
This goal spurred the Indians who made several attacking moves. One of these moves resulted in a penalty corner in the 59th minute from which Rani Rampal scored to make the score 3 – 2. India pushed for the equaliser and despite being awarded three penalty corners in the last 8 minutes were unable to score. With two minutes to go to the final whistle, Rani Rampal came close to scoring to scoring the equaliser. But it was not India's day.
India will now play for the 5th / 6th playoff match against hosts Scotland and South Africa will meet Australia in the semi – finals on Friday.
“If we played the 70 minutes as we did in the last 15 minutes, we would have been in the semi – finals. It’s a very young side. Most of them played in the Junior World Cup. Here they are competing against a team with World Cup and Olympic Games experience. We won’t get an easier chance to get into semi – finals than this” said Indian Coach, Australian Neil Hawgood.
Illse Davids and Lisa-Marie Deetlefs. Photo: Dil Bahra
Just before the start of the match, South Africa’s Lisa-Marie Deetlefs was presented with her 200th cap. “I’m very honoured and privileged. What a place to get it. I want to get more experience. Can’t wait” the delighted 26 years old Deetlefs said.
In the morning matches today, whilst England had to work hard to beat Scotland 2 – 1 to secure their place in the semi - finals, their opponents, New Zealand had a comfortable 6 – 0 win against Canada, scoring 3 goals in each half. The highlight of the match was New Zealand’s first goal scored by Anita Punt after only 38 seconds. This is the fastest goal scored so far at the XX Commonwealth Games.
Malaysia and Wales match ended scoreless, the only match at XX Commonwealth Games where no goals have been scored.
Our rising stars
By Dil Bahra in Glasgow
Three of the girls in the Indian Women’s team at the XX Commonwealth Games being played in Glasgow are Sikhs.
Kirandeep Kaur is one of the experienced members of the team. Aged 25, she was educated at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, India. A defender, she plays for Indian Railway. She played at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, the World Cu in Rosario in 2010, the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010, the Asia Cup in 2007 in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur in 2013 and The World League in 2014. She also played at the Junior World Cup in Boston in 2009. Kirandeep has played 143 international matches so far.
Jaspreet Kaur, who is only 18, has already scored six goals in the competition so far. She is a rising star in this young Indian squad. A defender and a penalty corner specialist, she plays for Indian Railways. This is a remarkable comeback for Jaspreet after a knee replacement one and a half years ago. She is one of many in the young Indian squad from Shahbad Hockey Centre in Haryana. She played at the Junior World Cup in 2012. Jaspreet has played 61 internationals so far – a remarkable achievement bearing in mind her injury.
Navjot Kaur, a 19 years old midfielder played at the last Junior World Cup and also in the World League in 2014. She too is a member of Shahbad Hockey Centre in Haryana. Navjot has played 26 internationals so far.
Indian women lose to SA in hockey
Indian women lost the chance to make it to the semifinals in the hockey competitions as they went down 3-2 against South Africa at the Glasgow hockey centre here on Wednesday.
Left in a must-win situation after having lost to New Zealand the other day, the Indians looked to have come well-prepared as they kept the South Africans on the back foot for a while in the first half.
But the South Africans after settling down came up with raids with great consistency and precision.
One of these moves resulted in the side gaining a penalty corner in the 14th minute, which was converted by Tarryn Bright.
The Indians tried to make a comeback but in vain as the girls were unable to pierce through the tight South African defence.
However, with about a minute left for the breather, India found parity as Jaspreet Kaur converted a penalty stroke.
But hardly had the cheers died down, that the South Africans were back in the lead. Dirkie Chamberlain found space within the Indian circle to slot the ball in.
After the break, the Indians started off well but again their attempts were thwarted by the South African defence. Soon South Africa got the third goal that put the issue beyond doubt.
The result: South Africa 3 (Tarry Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Illse Davids) bt 2 (Jaspreet Kaur, Rani Rampal).
Indian hockey women crash out of semifinal race in CWG
GLASGOW: India failed to qualify for the semifinals of the women's hockey competition in the 20th Commonwealth Games after going down 2-3 to South Africa in a keenly-contested must-win group match on Wednesday.
The Indian women put up a valiant fight and created numerous scoring chances in the second half, only to be denied by a resolute South African defence, to finish in the third position in Group A.
Toppers New Zealand and South Africa have qualified for the semifinals from Group A.
South Africa scored through Tarryn Bright (14th minute), Dirkie Chamberlain (35th) and Illse Davids (54th), while Jaspreet Kaur (34th) and Rani Rampal (59th) were the goal getters for India.
It was a battle between two evenly matched teams but the 11th ranked South Africans dominated the contest in the opening half.
The Indian girls showed glimpses of their skill but failed to convert their build-ups into meaningful chances.
Both India and South Africa earned as many as six penalty corners in the match but could utilise just one each.
South Africa took the lead in the 14th minute when Bright scored from a variation from their first penalty corner.
India earned as many as three penalty corners in the opening half thereafter but failed to convert a single one.
But, in the final minutes of the first half, India were awarded a penalty stroke, which was beautifully converted by Jaspreet to level the scores.
India's joy was shortlived as they conceded a soft goal in the next minute when an unmarked Chamberlain scored from close range as New Zealand went into the breather with a 2-1 lead. After the change of ends, South Africa earned two penalty corners in quick succession, but wasted both.
But Davids scored from a rebound in the 54th minute after Dammons' initial shot was saved by Indian goalie Savita to increase South Africa's lead.
Trailing 1-3, India went all out with persistent raids and in the process earned a penalty corner which was converted by Rani with a slap shot.
Needing two more goals in 15 odd minutes, India stepped up the pressure on the South African goal, but the Proteas backline stood tall to seal their place in the last-four stage.
The Times of India
England into Semi-Finals with 2-1 victory
England's Susannah Townsend celebrates scoring the second goal with Sam Quek and Sophie Bray in their match against Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games - photo by Ady Kerry
England women’s secured their passage through to the semi-finals with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Scotland today.
First-half goals from Alex Danson and Susannah Townsend put England in pole position heading into the break but Nikki Kidd pulled one back for the hosts from a penalty corner.
And in the second half, roared on by a raucous home crowd, Scotland pushed hard for an equaliser with a succession of penalty corners.
But each one came to nothing, Maddie Hinch making a string of fine saves in the process as England held firm to seal their place in the knockout rounds and set up a potential semi-final with New Zealand.
Speaking after the game, England Forward Alex Danson said: “We are obviously delighted with the win today, the game was exactly what we thought it was going to be it, it was tight and Scotland had obviously done their homework. They won lots of corners but we are delighted, we stuck to our task and are over the moon to be building momentum for the next game.
“We are so delighted to be in the semi-finals, it’s been a big competition from day one because we had a lot to prove to ourselves. But for us it is all about building momentum and every time we have done that. If it's New Zealand that we are playing we will prepare hard, we know it will be a tight game again but a good showcase and hopefully a great match.
England Women's Head Coach Danny Kerry added: “The first-half was very good, Scotland over exposed themselves and we exploited that. In the second half Scotland stepped up and that generated some anxiety but in the last ten minutes we got some good experienced players on the pitch and that allowed us to see it out."
England 2 (2)
Alex Danson 15 (FG)
Susannah Townsend 27 (PC)
Scotland 1 (1)
Nikki Kidd 31 (PC)
England Hockey Board Media release
England win Battle of Britain
By Mike Haymonds
ENGLAND women reached the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Scotland but it was a far from convincing victory.
Scotland needed a win for the same goal and they put England under intense pressure throughout the second half but failed to score.
England had the better opening half and took the lead in the 16th minute when Alex Danson latched onto a Nicola White pass and lifted the ball over the keeper.
Six minutes later Susannah Townsend added a second with a reverse-stick shot from close range.
Just before the break Scotland won their first two penalty corners, the second after an England video appeal was rejected, and Nikki Kidd’s drag flick beat keeper Maddie Hinch.
Scotland dominated the second half, equalling England’s shot count of 16 and winning six more corners, while England had none after their early one.
Maddie Hinch was their hero, making a series of saves including three corners by Kidd.
England held out to give themselves the chance of at least equalling their bronze medal at Delhi 2010
Alex Danson said: “We are obviously delighted with the win today. The game was exactly what we thought it was going to be. It was tight and the Scots had obviously done their homework.
“They won lots of corners but we stuck to our task and are over the moon to be building momentum for the next game.
“It’s been a big competition from day one because we had a lot to prove to ourselves but, for us, it’s all about building momentum and every time we have done that.
“If it is New Zealand that we are playing we will prepare hard. We know it will be a tight game again but a good showcase and hopefully a great match.”
Nicola White said: “We made it closer than we could have done but sometimes it is just about grinding out the result and especially in front of this crowd and on a home ground.
“The semi-finals are where we want to be, then you are in with a chance of the medals with the crowd behind us.”
England head coach Danny Kerry said: “The first half was very good. Scotland overexposed themselves and we exploited that.
“In the second half Scotland stepped up and that generated some anxiety but in the last ten minutes we got some experienced players on the pitch and that allowed us to see it out.”
Easy! Stopping the Scots is a cinch for England women's hockey
WHATEVER the outcome, unless you were one of the players, the early-morning journey across Glasgow to see Scotland play England in women's hockey was enough to tell this was going to be a great day.
By Bob McKenzie
Danson gives England the lead [ACTION IMAGES]
Any sporting meeting of the two countries has an extra edge, adding tension and entertainment for the supporters and the teams, and in the city's east end Bridgeton area, not known for flower arranging and bridge nights, having an army of hockey fans bedecked mainly in Saltires was a weird experience at breakfast.
Urged by station staff to move up the train to let everyone onto a sardine tin on wheels, the reply from a Glasgow voice was: "Haud oan, I'm jist screwing myself to the ceiling pal."
By the time we passed the convenience shop with the window message "Don't be afraid to panic buy", the mood was euphoric.
Scotland's national hockey arena is part of the area's rejuvenation, much like the process that England are going through since the shock of being humbled at the World Cup just six weeks ago.
Out went the coach, a couple of players and much of the confidence which had seen England ranked third in the world.
Danny Kerry, who guided the team to bronze in the London Olympics and is performance director, has become temporary coach while the team has the outstanding on-field leadership of Kate Richardson-Walsh, who has 218 caps.
It would be impossible not to be inspired by Richardson-Walsh, who became a national hero at the 2012 Olympics when she had her jaw broken by a flying hockey stick, had an operation, donned a face mask and led them to the podium.
That experience in defence was to be crucial after England opened strongly with two goals from their hot shots Alex Danson and Susannah Townsend, who are now on 49 international goals each.
Chants of "Scotland! Scotland!" were finally answered when Nikki Kidd grabbed a late first-half goal from a penalty corner, and after that the match changed.
On a day when a strong wind made kilts impossible without fearing a trip to Glasgow Sheriff Court, the half-time rendition of "Donald Where's Your Troosers?" was just one of the questions posed in the next 35 minutes.
Scotland had them all but unfortunately for them, England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch had all the answers.
The Scots dominated the second half but Hinch made some terrific saves from a series of corners and as the pressure built, players on both sides departed with green cards for two minutes in the sin bin.
There were bagpipes, choruses of "Flower Of Scotland", but England were not to be broken.
"I just loved Scotland's passion and bite," said Richardson-Walsh, 34, who also showed the same by getting herself sin-binned for a time.
"That was a big match. We both wanted to make the semi-finals so badly. We came into this setting markers and one was reaching the semi-finals so we have managed that, now it is the last two stages.
"We have it within us to beat anyone in the tournament if we can put it together for 70 minutes.
"After the World Cup we had reviews, selection, we got nailed for two weeks by the coaching teams in terms of physicality. We worked so hard and when it is that hard you have to pull together as a team and it worked beautifully."
New Zealand, who hammered Canada, now stand in England's way tomorrow and then a possible collision with mighty Australia and retirement for Richardson-Walsh with hopefully a gold.
For the Scottish fans it was a trip back to the city centre on the train, a journey already made famous during the Games by the reply of a local to a station official who shouted: "All aboard, all aboard." That was met with: "It's Scotrail, no the Chattanooga-choo-choo."
Excellent Scots denied semi-final place by England
Cat Ralph in action against England. Photo Credit: Ian Steele
Scotland suffered the agony of missing out on a semi-final place in the Women’s Hockey competition after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of England in their final Pool B match.
In front of a packed home support at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, midfielder Nikki Kidd had brought Scotland back into the contest with a penalty corner strike shortly before half-time, after Alex Danson and Susannah Thomas goals had given England a 2-0 lead.
The Scots dominated for long second half spells, fashioning a number of chances from open play and penalty corners. Alas, England and Great Britain goalkeeper Maddie Hinch had an excellent game, repelling the Scottish advances in front of goal with a number of top class saves.
Scotland produced a valiant team display against England, but it wasn't to be. Photo Credit: Ian Steele
Following the match, a shattered Scotland Captain Linda Clement said, “The first emotion is disappointment and also a bit of hurt. We’re really disappointed not to beat England today, and we’ve missed our target of not making the top four.
“There’s also a sense of pride, we fought really hard and we gave it our everything. Unfortunately we just fell a little bit short today.
“There were a lot of chances in the game and their keeper did play well. In the second half, I felt we dominated, just disappointed that we couldn’t get the ball in the goal. That’s tournament hockey. We pick ourselves up and go for fifth place now.”
“[The crowd] were absolutely outstanding and all we can do is thank them for their support today.”
Scotland Head Coach Gordon Shepherd added, “It was a fantastic performance, one I’m very proud of. I’m so proud of the players, I couldn’t have asked for any more from them.
“We prepared so well for this game, we had a game plan that very nearly came off. In the second half, I don’t know if I’ve seen them play with such conviction, they were amazing.
“We had the corners, we had the open play chances. We had six corners so no-one can say we didn’t create chances, but we just didn’t execute, that was the only thing.
“It’s a game we definitely want to win. We’d like to finish in the highest position possible and it also gives the girls a great opportunity to come and play in front of such a magnificent crowd. They were tremendous from start to finish today, and the players want to enjoy every minute of it.”
Scotland now advance to the 5th/6th classification match on Friday, with England taking a semi-final spot.
England demonstrated their danger as early as the second minute, Sophie Bray dispossessing Scotland defender Aileen Davis, but she was penalised for dangerous play after her initial shot had been blocked by Scottish goalkeeper Amy Gibson.
Gibson kept the deadlock firmly shut in the seventh minute after Alex Danson glided along the baseline to rattle a reverse stick effort against her pads, the ball cleared to safety.
England continued to build on their promising start in the 13th minute when Zoe Shipperley found Sophie Bray inside the scoring circle, but her wild shot sailed over the bar.
However, the Scottish rearguard was successfully penetrated three minutes later when Danson made it 1-0, the Reading forward turning past Leigh Fawcett on the left of the circle to scoop the ball into the far corner.
Scotland responded immediately; Cat Ralph robbing the ball in midfield and finding Nikki Lloyd in space in front of the circle. The Canterbury forward played a sumptuous pass into the path of Linda Clement, whose cross was only narrowly missed by the outstretched stick of Nikki Kidd at the back post.
Gibson was alert to deny both Bray and Lily Owsley extending England’s lead, but the Scotland shot-stopper could do nothing to prevent a second English goal in the 28th minute from a penalty corner. Sam Quek’s initial attempt deflected to Bray, whose shot was blocked by Gibson but Susannah Townsend was on hand to turn the ball home.
Nevertheless, Scotland replied four minutes later at a penalty corner. Kidd’s first attempt came off an English foot, her second attempt struck low and hard into the right corner to bring the Scots back into the game.
Nikki Kidd fires Scotland back into the contest. Photo Credit: Ian Steele
Nikki Kidd and Cat Ralph celebrate Scotland's goal. Photo Credit: Ian Steele
A rousing reception from the home crowd as the teams emerged for the second half gave Scotland momentum.
Kidd’s reverse stick shot just missed the target two minutes after the re-start, before Clement’s shot was saved by Maddie Hinch shortly after.
Hinch demonstrated her goalkeeping prowess in the 43rd minute, denying Kidd low to her right to prevent a potent drag-flick reaching its target.
Persistent Scottish pressure almost paid off in the 45th minute, Kidd driving to the baseline and cutting the ball back to Ailsa Wyllie, the Grove Menzieshill forward’s turn and shot just going over the bar.
The home side were awarded a penalty corner mid-way through the second half after England were penalised for dangerous play. A clever penalty corner move almost bore fruit as Ralph dummied for Vikki Bunce to find Clement, whose pass to Wyllie was deflected just wide of the right hand post.
Scottish frustrations in seeking an equalising goal were increased in the 54th minute as Hinch again denied Kidd with a super save from a penalty corner drag-flick.
Six minutes from time, England’s number one kept her side in front, denying Ali Bell and Bunce from close range, before diverting a Kidd penalty corner attempt to safety.
With Hinch in imperious form, it wasn’t to be Scotland’s day, the second half finishing goalless and England advancing to the semi-finals.
Team Scotland: Amy Gibson, Vikki Bunce, Morag McLellan, Ali Bell, Becky Ward, Cat Ralph, Sarah Robertson, Linda Clement (c), Ailsa Wyllie, Leigh Fawcett, Nikki Kidd, Susan McGilveray, Nikki Llloyd, Nicki Skrastin, Emily Maguire, Aileen Davis.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
England beat Scotland to reach hockey semis
GLASGOW: England women's hockey team secured their place in the semifinals of the Commonwealth Games with a hard-fought 2-1 win over hosts Scotland on Wednesday.
New Zealand will be England's opponents for a place in the gold medal match on Friday as they thrashed Canada 6-0 to complete a 100 percent record from Group A.
With both Scotland and England having already beaten Malaysia and Wales and lost to gold medal favourites Australia, second place in Group B was on the line.
Alex Danson and Susannah Townsend had given England the perfect start as they marched into a 2-0 lead after 27 minutes.
However, Scotland rallied before half-time when Nikki Kidd slammed home a penalty corner and the home side could have provided a sensational comeback in the second-half had it not been for England keeper Maddie Hinch as she made a string of fine saves.
Despite their best efforts, though, Scotland couldn't find an equaliser and will have to settle for a place in the fifth-place playoff on Friday.
"Defeat would have been difficult to take after the summer the girls have had, but they have come together over the past four or five weeks and been quite united so I'm very happy," said England coach Craig Keegan.
"I think we will play better now. The first-half we were nice and bright, the second-half they let the anxiety get to them and I think in the semi-final when we are playing teams of a similar ranking to us, for whatever reason, they will play with less fear and go for it."
For Scotland coach Gordon Shepherd it was a tale of missed chances as his side failed to reach the Commonwealth semi-finals for the first time ever.
"Against a team like England you don't get loads of chances, but I think in that second-half we had more than our fair share and I know a few of the players are disappointed they didn't take their chances."
New Zealand are likely to prove an even tougher task as they took their tally for the tournament to 25 goals in just four games in routing Canada.
"I am not surprised at our form today," said New Zealand coach Mark Hager.
"We have been building with each game, been clinical with passes and that forces the opposition to be defensive."
South Africa also booked their place in the semi-finals on Tuesday with a tight 3-2 win over India to take second place in Group A.
Tarryn Bright opened the scoring for the Africans before Jaspreet Kaur restored parity for the 2002 champions.
However, goals either side of half-time from Dirkie Chamberlain and Illse Davids sent South Africa through despite Rani Rampal's consolation for India.
The Times of India
NZ Women cruise ahead of Canada, 6-0
Anita Punt in action in today’s game against Canada at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre. Photo credit - photosport.co.nz.
The New Zealand women’s hockey team have stormed Canada 6-0 and are continuing their dream run at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, giving them confidence ahead of their big semi-final game against England early Saturday morning (1.30am NZT).
The NZ Women have cemented their place at the top of Pool A with four wins from four games, scoring 24 goals and conceding just one.
With a spot already booked in the semi-final from their South Africa victory, today’s straightforward win means they will face England, who are sitting second in Pool B while Australia will play South Africa in the earlier semi-final (on Sky Sport 7 at 11.05pm, Friday).
The Kiwis were strong in all areas of play today, making things look easy against the 22nd ranked side.
Anita Punt got New Zealand off to the perfect start scoring in the first minute and Petrea Webster with pin-point accuracy smacked it home in the 16th minute. Krystal Forgesson, who is sitting alongside Anita Punt as the second highest goal scorer of the tournament, gave the Kiwis a 3-0 halftime lead with a deflection from a well-worked penalty corner.
Things continued well for the Kiwis in the second half, captain Kayla Whitelock scored one of the best Kiwi goals of the Games striking from a very tight angle on the baseline, the ball ricocheted off the post and across the line. Forgesson and Punt then found the net once more and the game finished up 6-0.
Overall, New Zealand had 32 shots on goal compared to Canada’s two attempts.
“You always want to score more goals from the opportunities you create, and hopefully that happens in the last two games, but I’m pretty pleased with the amount of opportunities we are creating,” said Hager.
The NZ Women play in the semi-final against England at 1.30am on Saturday (NZT, Sky Sport 7) in their final pool play game. The NZ Men are next up, aiming for a win against Malaysia at 10pm TONIGHT (NZT) to confirm their top of the pool position.
Hager knows that just like the men’s game against England was tough, the women’s match up will be no different.
“It will be a good game, they are a very dogged, very tough, very hard side. They have some strong attackers and some key defenders and we are going to have to play really well against them to win.
“You are always weary of wounded teams, their World Cup wasn’t a good performance and they know that, they have had a change of coach for this tournament. We just need to make sure we do our homework and give them the respect they deserve,” said Hager.
Vote for your favourite New Zealand hockey player from the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Click here to vote for the Gatorade People’s Choice Award and go in the draw to WIN!
Full time: 6-0
Half time: 3-0
NZ goal scorers: Anita Punt x2, Petrea Webster, Krystal Forgesson x2, Kayla Whitelock
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Black Sticks women to face England in semis
MARK GEENTY IN GLASGOW
FINDING FORM: Krystal Forgesson (left) high-fives Olivia Merry after scoring in the Black Sticks' 6-0 domination of Canada in their final pool match. Getty Images
As expected, New Zealand will face England in the Commonwealth Games women's hockey semifinals tomorrow night (NZT) after both sides won their final pool matches today.
The Black Sticks strolled past Canada 6-0, thanks to doubles from Anita Punt and Krystal Forgesson, to boost the team's goal tally to 25 for the tournament.
England, meanwhile, had to work harder to beat hosts Scotland 2-1 to ensure second spot in pool B behind a dominant Australia.
New Zealand made a strong statement early on, with Punt cracking home from the edge of the circle inside the first minute.
But there was frustration within the team that they couldn't hammer home their chances and reach double figures against a team not in the same league.
They led 3-0 at halftime, with Forgesson scoring each side of the break to boost her tournament tally to seven. After Petrea Webster and Kayla Whitelock netted, Punt added her second to match Forgesson's goalscoring haul from their four pool games.
"It'd just be nice to put a few more goals away with the chances we're having," Forgesson said.
"On attack we're not gelling 100 percent. We're creating lots of opportunities but we're not connecting with them all. That's something we have to tidy up."
England haven't been as dominant in recent months, changed their coach and watched New Zealand move past them to No 2 in the Commonwealth.
Coach Mark Hager and his Black Sticks kept a close eye on England's game and while they weren't saying so, they will be confident of dispatching them and booking the long-predicted trans-Tasman gold medal match.
"That's the sort of side they [England] are, they're very tough and dogged and they've got some quality attackers and really key defenders and we're going to have to play really well," Hager said.
"Ours was a pretty good performance, all up. You always want to score more goals but hopefully they will fall in the semifinal. I'm pleased with the amount of opportunities we're creating. that's been a real bonus."
Katie Glynn (forearm) and Whitelock (knee) both took blows during the match but Hager didn't deem their injuries serious.
The team wore black armbands as a mark of respect for Samantha Charlton's best friend's mother, who died in recent days.
Canadian women fall to powerhouse Black Sticks
The Canadian women fell to a very strong New Zealand team that took control of the game in the first minute of play and never released their pressure. The “Black Sticks” are still unbeaten in these Commonwealth Games and will finish on top of Group A to advance to the semi-finals.
The Canadian Women’s team was against a tough opposition for their last pool match at the Commonwealth Games: New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world and finished 5th at the recent World Cup in the Netherlands.
The New Zealanders did not leave anything to chance and were already on the scoreboard within a minute of play (38 seconds to be precise) by their star Anita Punt (also representing New Zealand in athletics) who sprinted into the circle on the right and delivered a clinical shot to the opposite post of Kaitlyn Williams.
Play settled for a while but New Zealand doubled their tally in the 16th minute with a penalty-corner shot that shaved the right Canadian post. Canada had a good reaction and came close to the New Zealand circle, but could not really threaten Sally Rutherford in the New Zealand goal.
The Canadian defence was under permanent and intense pressure. They held themselves well but could not prevent another penalty-corner goal, this time from a deflection close to the keeper.
Play opened up at the end of the period and there was a strong Canadian push, but the half-time break was reached with a 3-goal lead for New Zealand.
Canada carried their momentum into second period and immediately forced a penalty-corner on a rushed along the backline by Kate Gillis, but it was denied by the video-umpire. Canada remained threatening for ten minutes but the Black Sticks defence showed its experience and weathered the storm calmly, before their captain Kayla Whitelock put them back on a forward motion with a spectacular reverse shot from an impossible angle that stunned Kaitlyn Williams.
New Zealand progressively regained control of play and showed their realism by Krystal Forgesson scoring their 5th goal from a half-chance.
The young Canadian defence were kept busy all afternoon, and handled the pressure well. The Canadians however could not clear the ball effectively, or keep it long enough in midfield, and the defence was overwhelmed by the incessant waves of attacks coming to them.
Canada will now play their last match of the Commonwealth Games tomorrow evening for classification 7th-8th.
Field Hockey Canada media release
Women’s hockey team earn first point
GLASGOW: The Malaysian women’s hockey team held Wales to a 0-0 draw for their first point in Group B at the Glasgow National Hockey Stadium.
Malaysia have lost three group matches – 4-0 to defending champions Australia, 2-0 to Scotland and 5-0 to England.
Malaysia and Wales are both tied with one point each from four matches but Malaysia finished fourth in the five-team group on goal difference.
Coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli was far from pleased with the team’s performance because “they failed to score a single goal in the four group matches”.
The Star of Malaysia
Nick Haig ahead set for 150th test match
New Zealand’s Nick Haig will play his 150th test tonight against Malaysia in the Kiwis’ final pool game at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
“I obviously knew my 150th game was coming up and I had thought about it before I left, but since we have been here it hadn’t actually crossed my mind until the guys started talking about it today,” said Haig.
“When you do reflect back there’s a lot of hard work that goes in to making this side and to play well once you do, and so I’m pretty proud of making this milestone,” said the Cantabrian.
Haig said the team had come a long way under coach Colin Batch and with all the players now so well capped, especially with so much major tournament experience, he believes it’s exciting times ahead for the side.
“We are a lot more attacking in the way we play now, we compete a lot more and we really believe that we can beat any of the best teams on our day if things go right.”
So far, the New Zealand Men are unbeaten in pool play with a 3-1 win against Canada, an 8-0 victory against Trinidad and Tobago and a superbly executed 2-1 triumph over England.
“I think we have always been a fit side, when we turn up to tournaments we feel like we are the fittest there, but the thing that I think has given us the real edge recently is the level of detail and time we spend scouting other teams.”
“It’s a player driven approach, where we usually break into four teams, and look at different aspects of a game, analyse it closely and then feed it back to the team. It provides us with some really clear and concise direction for each of us individually and as a team, and really helps to build our knowledge of the opposition.
“We have so much footage on the countries we compete against, that we can really go into a lot of detail and be accurate with the way we prepare.”
Haig, who has converted two penalty corners and is pleased with his performance so far in Glasgow, said his team are under no illusion that Malaysia will be a tough game.
“We have lost the last three games against them – we drew against them at Champions Challenge recently – so the boys believe we are ready for a win.
“They are very fast and quick on the counter-attack and we have been stung by that in the past. So we just need to be diligent in the way we play our game and be ready to go.”
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Preview: AUS (m) v Scotland
Aussies focused on task in hand before turning attention to semi-finals
With qualification for the Commonwealth Games semi-finals already secure the Australian men have one pool match remaining – Thursday’s clash against the hosts, Scotland (2pm BST / 11pm AEST / 9pm AEST).
Australian co-coach Graham Reid insists that his side will be focused on the task at hand before they turn their attention to Saturday’s semi-final, which although yet to be confirmed will most likely be against England.
“We’ve got our game against Scotland then after that hopefully we can play well in the semi-finals and we’ll be trying to get to the main game,” he admitted, before adding, “But first of all we have to play Scotland and that’s what our focus will be on.”
Australia and Scotland don’t meet often. Their last clash came four years ago at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi when the men in green and gold overcame the men in blue 9-0. Penalty corners played a big part in proceedings that day with former Aussie set-piece taker Luke Doerner netting a hat-trick alongside a Chris Ciriello double. Rob Hammond, Trent Mitton, Simon Orchard and Des Abbott were also on the score sheet that day.
Thursday’s encounter is only the fourth meeting between Scotland and Australia with the pair last meeting in Melbourne in 2006 when Australia won 5-1 and in 1978 at Lords, London, when Australia won 5-0.
On Tuesday, Scotland produced the comeback of the Games so far, storming back from 3-1 down to beat Wales 4-3. Sitting fourth in the pool, a semi-final spot is beyond reach for the hosts, who are three points behind India and South Africa, the two sides vying to join Australia in the semi-finals. The Scots are the eighth ranked side in Glasgow and have a world ranking of 25th. Their previous best finish at a Commonwealth Games is seventh, in Melbourne in 2006.
Hockey Australia media release
India eyeing outright win against SA to seal semis spot
Glasgow - High on confidence after the spirited showing against Australia, the Indian men’s hockey team would look to win outright against South Africa in their final group match, even though a draw is enough to seal their semifinal spot.
Going into tomorrow’s crucial match, both India and South Africa have six points from two wins apiece but the Sardar Singh-led side occupy the second position behind Australia in Group A on account of better goal difference. India have a goal difference of plus four as against South Africa’s zero.
Even though a draw is enough for India to seal a semifinal berth, India’s chief coach Terry Walsh said they would be going for an outright win. “We are going to try and create as many chances at goal as possible. We will not play for draws as that might end up bad,” Walsh said.
“South Africa have some quality in attack so we will be required to close down all avenues. A semifinal position is at stake but more importantly our playing qualities will need to be in place for a good result.”
Canadians in key matches Thursday at Commonwealth Games
The Canadian National Field Hockey Teams book-end the day of hockey in Glasgow on Thursday as both teams play key matches at opposite ends of the day.
First up, the Men's National Team takes on England in the final match of its preliminary round at 1amPST/4amEST. The men are fighting for positioning to determining who they will face in the next round and for which position.
England is ranked fifth in the world and has two convincing wins (6-1 vs Trinidad and Tobago; 8-1 vs Malayisa) and one narrow loss (2-1) to No.6 New Zealand this tournament.
The women play twelve hours later in the final game of the day in Glasgow, in a classification match for 7th place versus Malaysia at 1pmPST/4pmEST.
The women are looking to finish their tournament on a high note versus the Malaysians who are ranked one spot higher (21st) than Canada in the FIH women's world rankings. Malaysia has not won a game or scored a goal this tournament.
Field Hockey Canada media release
MHC presses panic button
THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) is in panic mode and rightly so. Losing to Trinidad & Tobago is a shocker but were it a case of one of those days, it would be acceptable.
But if the grapevine is to be believed, there are more serious reasons for the national hockey team's struggles, both here in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and in the recent World Cup in the Netherlands.
MHC, it is said, is already investigating with a committee even having interviewed players for feedback.
Coach K. Dharmaraj's position could be shaky as the MHC, based on the national team's recent form, is not going to win the Asian Games gold which would mean automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympics.
There is no doubt that the MHC has to do something, simply because Malaysia must play in the Olympics after having missed out on the last three editions.
This, however, is a short term target as MHC must also concentrate on the long term and that involves a revamp of its entire structure.
Blaming coaches and players every time there is a failure is not going to help develop Malaysian hockey and the MHC must understand this.
There is certainly no excuse for Malaysia losing to Trinidad but MHC was very much party to the decision to send a mixed squad of seniors and juniors to the World Cup.
The reason for this was mainly because the juniors, following the Junior World Cup campaign in New Delhi last year, have been starved of competitive action as Malaysia played in the Azlan Shah Cup, Champions Challenge and World Cup prior to the Commonwealth Games.
This meant the Malaysian Hockey League, the nation’s premier' hockey tournament, being pushed to until after the Asian Games.
When then will the juniors, who are the reason why Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said hockey will continue to be among the core sports despite the huge cost of funding, going to play competitively?
Certain sections also feel that Dharmaraj shouldn't have been elevated to the national coach’s job as he isn’t ready.
Again, whose decision was this?
It is an undeniable fact that MHC settled for Dharmaraj out of desperation following Paul Revington’s abrupt resignation.
MHC also cannot deny that the Malaysian coaching job is not a plum position and the only way it can attract a foreigner is by paying big bucks.
That, however, will have no effect if the talent that the foreign coach has to work with is of, at best, mediocre standard.
And who is to blame for this? The MHC as it is the guardian of the sport, and the coaches and players are its products.
The bottom line is MHC cannot absolve itself of blame here but the good thing is, the defeat to Trinidad could well be the catalyst for the administration of hockey to improve.
What Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is told by his fellow office bearers may not necessarily reflect the actual scenario, and the only way out is for the MHC president to go directly to the ground, not only to unearth what is ailing hockey but to find out the cure.
If not, not only can we expect failure at the Asian Games and missing the 2016 Olympics but more shockers akin to the one that Trinidad delivered in Glasgow on Tuesday.
New Straits Times
WITH the Asian Games looming and the national hockey squad showing no signs of being capable of winning gold in Incheon, South Korea, the National Sports Council (NSC) may ask the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) to take drastic action.
Tuesday’s shocking 4-2 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago in a Commonwealth Games Group B match has the NSC alarmed and director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong said steps must be taken to ensure the team are up to the mark in the Asian Games.
If not, Zolkples said the result will be the same as the World Cup and Commonwealth Games - failure.
“There seems to be something wrong in the squad. The first liners failed to impress in the World Cup while the squad in Glasgow have fared even worse.
“Defeat to Trinidad is unacceptable, considering our world ranking and the support hockey enjoys in Malaysia," said a shocked Zolkples.
While the Commonwealth Games semi-final was always considered a stretched target for K. Dharmaraj’s second liners, defeat to an unheralded nation was never in the script.
Assistant coach M. Gobinathan, in trying to explain the defeat, said luck had been on Trinidad’s side as they scored four times from six chances in the first half.
“Trinidad are also a rising team as several of their players are playing in the English league. In fact, Kwandwane (Browne - Trinidad’s hat-trick hero in the win) has been playing in England for eight years.
“I agree that we shouldn’t have lost to Trinidad but defeat was caused by several factors, one of which was we started very slowly and couldn’t recover after Trinidad had taken the 4-1 lead,” said Gobinathan.
While the team officials may have their reasons, the MHC must be in panic mode, especially as the defeat to Trinidad comes after a hugely unimpressive World Cup where Malaysia finished last in the 12-team competition.
“Tengku Abdullah (Sultan Ahmad Shah - MHC president) contacted me and asked me for my opinion on the defeat.
“What I said was that the Asian Games are our priority as a gold will mean automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympics.
“NSC is of the opinion that if something is wrong in the national squad, then drastic action must be taken.”
Zolkples did not elaborate on what drastic action should be taken but it is learnt that a committee had been tasked with finding out what was ailing the national squad.
Dharmaraj, elevated to national coach after the Junior World Cup side he coached finished fourth in New Delhi last year, could be in danger as certain players are said to be unhappy with him.
Zolkples, when asked, declined to comment, only saying: “We can’t be losing to Trinidad but we have. This is an alarming result and the team have to be sorted out.”
It will be interesting to see just how the MHC plans on doing that.
New Straits Times
Perfect match: Love at first sight for Sardar and Ashpal
Glasgow - Ashpal Kaur Bhogal, the first Sikh girl – and the first south Asian girl, too – to play for England in hockey, last visited India when she was eight, but she is deeply interested in the welfare of Indian hockey.
“I’m sure the Indian team is on the right track,” says Ashpal, who turns 20 in September. Her interest in India is hardly surprising – she has roots in India, though she last visited India 12 years ago; her interest in hockey, is natural, too – she comes from a family of hockey Olympians.
Dad Bobby Singh Bhogal and uncle Satvinderpal Singh Bhogal, both excellent players in the UK, are now hockey coaches, the first mentors of Ashpal.
However, beyond these reasons, there’s another, very compelling reason for Ashpal’s interest in Indian hockey.
Ashpal, who has played for the England junior team, is engaged to be married to Sardar Singh, the charismatic captain of the Indian men’s team.
The petite Ashpal can be seen during the Indian team’s matches here, shouting encouragements to the Indian team; off the field, she and Sardar Singh can be seen in the Glasgow city centre, chatting as they amble around. They look happy being with each other – possibly, that joy could be caused by a technical discussion on the finer aspects of the sport. Possibly, it’s just love.
Ashpal and Sardar became friends on Facebook two years ago, during the London Olympics. Ashpal was part of the England Under-19 team, Sardar was preparing for the Olympics.
“We were both experiencing difficulties at that time as the Indian team failed to perform at the Olympics, and I was unfortunate to get injured, which kept me out of the game for nine months,” says the Leeds-born player.
They became good friends, providing support for each another, sharing and halving their troubles. “Both of us were able to relate with each other, support each other,” adds Ashpal.
When they met, it was love at first sight, she says. They started spending time with each other and, on May 22 this year in The Netherlands, Sardar proposed to her, and it became official.
Sardar turned 28 earlier this month, and he comes from a very different background. Due to these reasons, Ashpal’s family did have some worries about the future of the couple; they wondered if Ashpal and Sardar had a good understanding about the challenges they might face in the future.
“But all’s well now… Sardar felt it was the right time in our relationship so he proposed to me, and we got engaged,” says Ashpal.
Hockey brought the two together, and it retains a very important role in their relationship. Sardar is one of the world’s best players – Ashpal says that she benefits a great deal from his advice.
“There has been the occasional hockey skills session given to me by Sardar when having a mini hockey battle in the house,” says Ashpal with a laugh. “He’s very conscious about not making errors, so usually after each game, he asks me how many balls I missed or failed to trap, or what I excelled in.”
Her own support for Sardar’s game is more moral and mental than technical.
“Making a contribution to his game is something that has become very regular. I don’t go to just watch him play – I do that, of course, but he’s made me into his personal game analyst!” Ashpal says. “Being a hockey player myself, I am able to give Sardar the support he needs, be it psychological or even some advice about his game.”
As for her own game, Ashpal is no slouch in the sport. After representing England in junior hockey, she hopes to be part of the senior team as well.
She had that dream right from the time she fell in love with the game – she remembers the day well. “I started playing at age six, and I remember that day in 2001, during the Champions Trophy in The Netherlands, when I really fell in love with the sport,” she says. “I remember watching the final… It was just amazing – the bond between the players, their happiness in each other’s success… Tennis had been my sport until then – but that experience made me move to hockey.”
Asian heritage kids are not encouraged much to get into sports – Ashpal, luckily, found much support at home. “I’ve found success only because I had the backing of my parents,” Ashpal says. “It’s well known that Asian families do not push their children into sport, especially their girls. They usually advise them to get educated and then marry early. Not my parents – they gave me the opportunity to play sport and music.”
She learnt Indian classical music and also plays the flute. “My father was my biggest role model, I didn’t really need anything else,” says Ashpal. “I had a role model, coach, trainer, psychologist, father all in one.”
Being terrific in hockey hasn’t prevented Ashpal from doing well in academics – she’s done well in school and when she was recovering from her injury in the USA, she also studied sports medicine there. She recovered quicker than expected, so she returned to England and hopes to complete her degree in an English university, while continuing to play club hockey.
Marriage is slated for next year, and Ashpal plans to move to India after that.
“My family is very traditional, and I’ve always stayed in touch with my roots,” she says. “I recite my paath (prayers) everyday first thing in the morning. I spoke Punjabi with my great-grandparents, but because Punjabi is Sardar’s first language, and also the only language his family can speak, I find myself speaking Punjabi more often than before!”
A move to India would entail challenges – she’s put her heart into the relationship, she’s convinced she’s going to make it work.
Rachel Williams awarded rank of International Outdoor Umpire
Rachel Williams - International Umpire
Rachel Williams has been promoted by the FIH to rank of International Outdoor Umpire.
Rachel started her umpiring development on the National Young Umpires Promising List (NYUPL) which enabled her to gain experience at tournaments across the country from a young age.
“Due to the pathway England Hockey has established I managed to qualify from the NYUPL as a National League umpire”
Since being nominated as a Level 3 Candidate, Rachel’s expediential growth of her umpiring career has been phenomenal. Since 2012, Rachel has been appointed to televised National Finals, has received Premier Panel promotion and been appointed to her first European and FIH appointments to the Club Champion Trophy and 4 Nations.
Rachel puts her achievements down to hard work and that she has been fortunate in sharing the journey of hockey development with emerging talents as well as the prestigious names of hockey,
“I’m honoured to receive these recognition milestones, but I’m also very aware that to open up the possibilities, it’s now that the hard work begins”.
“I’ve been privileged this season on the pitch and am grateful for the support network around me and the learning that each experience brings. I’d also like to thank Sports Resources for tactile products, supporting me in my career aspirations”.
“My advice for anyone, anywhere on the umpiring ladder: learn everything you can, anytime you can from anyone you can”.
England Hockey Board Media release
The Magic of the 2014 Disney Junior Field Hockey Classic
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The fourth annual Disney Junior Field Hockey Classic for under-12 and under-14 athletes took place this past weekend at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla. The tournament has grown from 50 teams in 2012 to 125 teams this year.
The tournament was a fantastic opportunity for younger athletes to gain the same competitive experience on the national stage as their older counterparts in the Disney Field Hockey Showcase in February in a fun environment. Over the three-day event, under-12 and under-14 teams proudly represented their club colors and competed on the national stage for a chance take home medals for their achievement.
Congratulations to the following medalists:
Gateway Field Hockey Red, MO
Northeast Elite Gold, NH
Saints Hockey Rocks, VA
Stealth Comets, KY
TCOYO Prana, VA
Shore Byrds, MD
Jersey Intensity, NJ
Marojoka Field Hockey Club, PA
South Jersey Edge Black, NJ
Viper Gold, PA
IFHCK Fire, KY
H2O Pink, MD
Rapid Fire Elite Simba, NJ
Typhoon Elite Canes, VA
Spirit of USA Red, NJ
BCFHC ST Storm, NY
M. Malik Stars Field Hockey Club, MD
New Heights Red, NJ
Hymax Jaguars, MD
Freedom HKY, MD
Carolina All-Stars, NC
Spirit of USA Stars, NJ
South Jersey Edge Pink, NJ
Jersey Intensity, NJ
Stealth Flares, KY
Gateway Red, MO
Saints Hockey Rocks Gold, VA
Peninsula Field Hockey Hurricanes, VA
USFHA media release