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News for 14 February 2019

All the news for Thursday 14 February 2019

2019 FIH Pro League (Men) - weekend fixtures

15 Feb 2019 11:00 (GMT +1)     ESP v NED (RR)     -     Estadio Betero, Valencia
15 Feb 2019 19:00 (GMT +13)    NZL v GER (RR)     -     Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch    
16 Feb 2019 15:30 (GMT +8)     AUS v GBR (RR)     -     Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth

Live streaming on https://fih.live (Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

FIH Match Centre

2019 FIH Pro League (Women) - weekend fixtures

15 Feb 2019 17:00 (GMT +13)     NZL v GER (RR)     -     Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch    
16 Feb 2019 17:30 (GMT +8)     AUS v GBR (RR)     -     Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth
16 Feb 2019 19:00 (GMT -5)    USA v NED (RR)     -     Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem
17 Feb 2019 17:30 (GMT +13)     NZL v CHN (RR)     -     Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch    

Live streaming on https://fih.live (Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

FIH Match Centre

Lynch hopes to turn up the heat in Perth

Rachael Lynch is enjoying a fantastic start to the FIH Pro League season. The multi-capped Australian goalkeeper (currently 198 caps) was voted Player of the Match as her team inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Netherlands. She was also highly credited for the shoot-out win over Germany in the Hockeyroos' most recent match.

A surprise defeat at the hands of Belgium has been the only hiccough for Paul Gaudoin’s team as they also beat China in an entertaining 4-3 match.

We caught up with Lynch, who also works as a nurse in an emergency ward, ahead of her side’s home encounter with Great Britain on 16 February.

Speaking about her early thoughts the FIH Pro League, the ‘keeper says: “This is a fantastic format and a great way to showcase hockey. Playing in home cities makes it much more special for the players.”

Certainly the crowds of sport-loving spectators have been flocking to the grounds at Melbourne and Hobart, and equally large numbers are expected in Perth for the Great Britain encounter.

Australia’s schedule means that the Hockeyroos have endured two weekends of back-to-back hockey. In the first of these they recorded a win over the Netherlands but looked tired for their match against Belgium 24 hours later. A double header against China and then Germany saw a win and a draw [with a subsequent victory in the shoot-out], but Lynch says dealing with back-back matches is tricky but they are finding ways to manage the fatigue.

The new competition is changing the way players prepare for matches and, says Lynch, it is very different for her as a goalkeeper. “I always prepare for each game by scouting the opposition but now I must prepare for one on ones [shoot-outs] in every game. Normally that situation would arise just in finals but in the Pro League the thorough home work is required for each match regardless.”

While the current round of matches are billed as home matches for the Hockeyroos, the notion of a “home” fixture is a misleading one for a country as large as Australia. To reach as many fans as possible, home matches are played at venues across the country. As Lynch says: “Travel for us means we are spending a lot of time away from our actual homes. Most of our home games are not in Perth [the headquarters of Hockey Australia] so they are not actually ‘at home’.”

That said, Lynch has been thrilled by the reception the team has received across the country. “Melbourne is the home of sport so it was a great place for us to kick off our campaign. Hobart is much smaller but still a very supportive crowd. Playing alongside the boys [the Kookaburras] has been great for us and also the spectators.

“Playing in Melbourne was incredible. It is my home city and being able to beat the Dutch in front of 5,500 fans was so amazing. It has been almost 10 years since we have beaten them so I was super excited. I got plenty of touches in the game so I was proud to have a big involvement in the win.  “We will definitely take a lot of confidence out of that. We have been very close since the World Cup and to beat them without many of our key players was a very positive sign for our group.”

On the forthcoming fixture against the world number two side, Lynch says she is pleased that Great Britain [and the other European teams] will get to experience the circumstances that Australia face in the lead-up to most competitions. – long flights, jet lag, big time difference and a complete change in climate.

And with a mischievous grin, she adds: “Hopefully Perth will turn on some hot weather as we are very used to training in 30+ degrees every day.”


Official FIH Pro League Site

WA’s Wilson Aiming For ’Home’ Hockeyroos Debut After ACL Injury

Ben Somerford

Mahogany Creek’s Georgia Wilson is gunning to represent Australia for the first time in her hometown Perth when the Hockeyroos play Great Britain on Saturday in the new FIH Pro League.

WAIS product Wilson, 22, missed the entire 2018 Hockey season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury on the eve of the Spain Test series last year in Perth.

The midfielder, who has 21 caps, also missed the Commonwealth Games, World Cup and Champions Trophy in 2018, but returned to action earlier this month in the new FIH Pro League.

Wilson has since made four appearances in a successful return from the serious knee injury.

The Victoria Park talent admitted it’s not been easy picking up the pace but after settling back into the tempo, is hopeful of re-gaining top form for the upcoming match against the Rio Olympic gold medallists at Perth Hockey Stadium, Bentley.

“Being able to play the first two games against some high quality opposition was difficult,” Wilson said.

“It’s always hard playing against the world number one (Netherlands) on a good day let alone the first game back.

“I definitely feel I’m starting to settle back in and it’s amazing. I’m very proud I’m back out there playing.

“I’m very excited. I’m working hard to be selected for this weekend’s game. Hopefully if I am selected, I’ll be able to get a whole group o family and friends down to support me.

“It’s special to play in Australia but also Perth which I’ve never had the opportunity to do.”

Wilson acknowledged there were no guarantees about selection, despite the sentimental attachment, and called on plenty of support for Saturday’s double-header from the Perth public.

“My mum has vocalised whether selections fall my way or not, that she is realty excited to still be able to see the team play,” Wilson said.

“I’m encouraging as many people as possible to come down and support the girls this weekend.”

The Hockeyroos’ 18-member team for Saturday will be announced on Friday morning.

Australia have started positively, with two wins, one shootout win and one loss from four matches, including toppling World Cup winners Netherlands.

The British have only played one game in the FIH Pro League, going down 5-1 to New Zealand but Wilson was wary of them.

“They’ve just come out of a re-development phase, just like us, after the success at he Rio Olympics,” she said.

“It’ll be the first time I’ve played against them, so I’ll do my research. We’re looking to continue our success from the first four games and hopefully get a win.”

Tickets are available from www.ticketbooth.com.au, representing great value for the double-header, from $30 for adults and $10 for children.

Saturday 16 February 2019 - Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth
Kookaburras v Great Britain - 3:30pm WST (live on kayosports.com.au, delayed on FOX SPORTS 506)
Hockeyroos v Great Britain - 5:30pm WST (live on FOX SPORTS 506 & kayosports.com.au)
Tickets via ticketbooth.com.au from $30 for adults, $10 for children
Gates open 2:30pm WST

Hockey Australia media release

Ex-Black Sticks coach Mark Hager compares himself to All Blacks mentor Steve Hansen

Former Black Sticks coach Mark Hager was uncomfortable with the scrutiny he has come under. GETTY IMAGES

Controversial former Black Sticks coach Mark Hager says he knows how Steve Hansen feels.

Hager quit as the women's Black Sticks coach last month to take up a similar post with Great Britain.

He departed before an independent review into the environment inside the Black Sticks was released, but had been accused of being in charge of "a toxic culture."

A review was launched after it emerged that in August Hager mistakenly sent an email bagging players to the entire team.

The email was sent during the team's Hockey World Cup campaign and was meant for team management only.

Hager didn't stay around to face any consequences of the report, although his appointment with Great Britain has raised eyebrows.

The 54-year-old Australian has broken his silence and told Britain's Daily Telegraph he found it a tough experience to go through and compared the scrutiny and negative comments to what's faced by Hansen and England rugby coach Eddie Jones.

"I've never experienced the media scrutinising me as an individual or even the programme," Hager told the Daily Telegraph.

"I now know what it's like for someone like Steve Hansen or Eddie Jones or professional football coaches who get scrutinised every day. It was a learning experience, especially for my family.

"In the end we got through it and felt there's not much we could control, but we could control how we moved forward and how we want to be with the team."

Hager said the situation was talked through with Great Britain Hockey when he went through his appointment process.

"We both had discussions and have been upfront with each other all the way through," Hager said.

"You will get criticism in professional sport but I'm confident of my coaching abilities and how I talked to players and staff.

"I like collaboration and I'm very trusting in people. We will have discussions around the pros and cons with my staff and players. Like I was as a player, I like being challenged and pushed to limits I thought I would never reach.

"Hopefully I can push them to reach boundaries they have never reached before, particularly the physical side, so when we are ready for the games we play a fast, high standard game.

"In the end I saw it as an opportunity and now it's a matter of getting GB prepared."


EDP graduates making their mark

Jack Waller

The Great Britain Elite Development Programme (EDP) was launched in October 2017 as part of a strategic objective during the Tokyo 2020 cycle to accelerate the development of future medal winning Olympians.

And despite being just over a year old, the programme has already had plenty of success with several players progressing to playing for the senior men’s and women’s teams at the Men’s Hockey World Cup and in the brand new FIH Pro League.

Jack Waller has quickly become a mainstay in the Great Britain senior squad since progressing through the EDP programme and made his international debut against Belgium in October 2018 before featuring at the 2018 Hockey Men’s World Cup. With four Great Britain and 13 England caps to his name, the young defender has featured in both of GB’s opening FIH Pro League matches and hasn’t looked out of place as the team recorded back to back wins. Such has been his impact on the side, Waller was recently named as part of Great Britain and England’s leadership group, the youngest player taking on a leadership role in the new structure.

Zach Wallace is another player making a mark on the men’s senior team, featuring in all of Great Britain’s FIH Pro League matches and scoring a vital goal in the first game against Belgium to help spark a remarkable comeback. Like Waller, 19-year-old Wallace made his debut at the Toshiba Anniversary International against Belgium in October 2018 and also appeared at the 2018 Hockey Men’s World Cup and has made five Great Britain and eight England appearances so far.

Midfielder Rhys Smith also made his Great Britain debut against Belgium in October 2018 before earning a place in the men’s FIH Pro League opening squad to face Spain away from home. The 21-year-old featured in that game and helped Great Britain to a memorable victory.

In the women’s set-up, 20-year-old Tess Howard’s first senior international involvement came in the 2018 Women’s Champions Trophy as she featured for Great Britain in every game. She put in several impressive performances, scoring against Japan, and was also part of the team that faced New Zealand in the women’s first FIH Pro League match in February 2019.

Lizzie Neal joined the senior programme in January 2019 and made her senior international debut for Great Britain’s women at the first opportunity, also featuring in their opening FIH Pro League match against New Zealand. She showed early signs of her attacking quality too as she came within inches of finding the net in a promising performance.

While those five have all progressed from the system, several players currently part of the set-up have also been named in the squads for Great Britain’s opening FIH Pro League games.

Nottingham University’s Josh Pavis was also included in the squad to face New Zealand and Australia and could make his senior international debut against the latter this weekend.

Scotland international Lee Morton was also selected for the tour of Oceania and featured in the emphatic win over the Black Sticks, having made his Great Britain debut against Belgium in June 2018.

Holly Hunt (21) and Holly Munro (20) are also both in line to make their senior debuts against either Australia this Saturday or China on the 23 February. Both have been vital members of the EDP side in recent times and have also spent plenty of time training with the seniors and are fully deserving of their place in the squad.

Great Britain face Australia in their next double header on Saturday 16 February. Both games will be shown live on BT Sport, with the men getting underway at 07:30 GMT with the women following on straight afterwards.

Great Britain Hockey media release

Field Hockey Canada announces Men’s Masters Indoor National Teams

Two Canadian Men’s Masters Teams set to attend the Masters Indoor World Cup in Hong Kong.

Field Hockey Canada is thrilled to be sending two men’s teams to the 2019 Masters Indoor World Cup. The competition is set for February 14-17 This is the first time the tournament will be held under the joint banner of the IMHA & WMH. The tournament will be held at the Hong Kong Football Club facilities and will feature teams from all over the world. According to national indoor program manager and coach, Louis Mendonca, said the teams have some incredible experienced athletes that area looking to stay active in the hockey community and keep competing. For Mendonca, the goal isn’t strictly winning.

“The goals for this tournament is to re-ignite the competitive nature of these athletes while facilitating an essential component of camaraderie,” he said. Mendonca, who was inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame in 2018 said that he hopes this experience ignites a push for growth in the Canadian hockey community. “I hope the momentum from this tournament is taken back to the home cities of all the athletes to re-invest in the grassroots of the sport.”

Field Hockey Canada is submitting a 45+ team (that will be playing in the 40+ division) and a 50+ team. Congrats to all athletes selected. Please stay tuned to the Field Hockey Canada website and social media next month for official schedule and results from Hong Kong!

Men’s Masters Indoor 45+
Cassius Mendonca   
John DeSouza
Dave Cox   
Ken Pereira
Dmitri Chipilo   
Mahyar Ouladrabiei
Gary Singh   
Reggie Pereira
Jag Mahal   
Sandy Singh
Jagdish Singh   
Tom Clarke

Coach: Louis Mendonca

Men’s Masters Indoor 50+
Asgar Kapasi   
Parimal Mody
Baljinder Rakhra   
Philip Loy
Dennis Pang   
Robin Godin
Kempton Graham   
Satpal Singh
Murali Rajaramam   
Sean Godfrey
Ozias D'Souza   
Vernon Grattan-King

Coach: Shankar Premakanthan


Field Hockey Canada media release

Women’s National Indoor Masters Team set to take on the World in Hong Kong

Looking to build off chemistry from last summer, Field Hockey Canada sends a Masters Indoor Women’s Team to the 2019 Masters Indoor World Cup.

Field Hockey Canada is thrilled to be sending a women’s over-45 division masters team to the 2019 Masters Indoor World Cup. The competition is set for February 14-17 This is the first time the tournament will be held under the joint banner of the IMHA & WMH. The tournament will be held at the Hong Kong Football Club facilities and will feature teams from all over the world.

Cara Jay, Victoria, BC
Cat Jacobs, Calgary, AB
Colleen Wilkinson, Vancouver, BC
Flor Donelly, Vancouver, BC
Heather Wheatley, Victoria, BC
Helen Truran, Victoria, BC
Ilenna Tai, Whitchurch-Stoufville, ON
Maryanne Umbsaar, Calgary, AB
Paige Brodie, Boston, MA
Wendy Stewart, Calgary, AB

Coach: Sharon Rajaraman
Manager: Cora Donelly

Canada’s roster features eight returning players from the over-50 outdoor world cup squad from August 2018. This is the first time Canada’s indoor masters teams have gone to a World Cup event. Victoria’s Cara Jay, who coached the O50 team last summer is one of the key players on the 2019 Indoor O45 squad. She said indoor hockey offers a different type of challenge that she really likes.

“I love indoor,” she said. “We don’t get too much of it out in BC and I’d like to see more. It’s a great way to continue to play competitive hockey and share great experiences with friends.”

Last summer’s Masters and Grand Masters World Cups in Spain was a huge success. Dozens of teams competed in age ranges from O35 – O65. With over 345 games in the span of a few weeks on the Spanish coast, it was one of the biggest hockey events ever put on. Indoor O45 women’s national coach Sharon Rajaraman had a tremendous experience last summer as a part of Team Canada and is looking forward to the Indoor World Cup in February.

“The community really comes together at these events. We meet new people from around the world,” she said. “It’s just such a great opportunity and experience.”

Because of the overlap between the summer roster and the indoor roster this year, Jay and Rajaraman expect there to be a certain level of chemistry on the team. Leading up to the world cup next month, the team has already engaged in a competition and training schedule to prepare them. Several of the team members met up in Calgary last month, there was a tournament in Victoria and an upcoming final test in Duncan, BC this coming weekend.

“The team has bought in, we’ve done the fitness and preparation. I think we’re going to do great,” Rajaraman said. “Canada is quite small in the hockey world. It’s just such a great experience for us to go and see how big it can be.”

Rajaraman said the team is full of hockey ambassadors that will bring this experience back to their local clubs and provinces and help continue to grow the sport.


Field Hockey Canada media release

Australian Indoor Squads & Touring Teams Confirmed

Ben Somerford

Following January’s Australian Indoor Hockey Festival, the Australia’s touring teams and squads for the Open, Under-21 and Under-18 divisions have today been announced.

Newly appointed National Indoor Head Coaches Mark Sandhu (women) and Steve Willer (men) oversaw the selection process used to name the training camp squads.

Prior to the Festival, interested and available players were required to nominate for selection at the Festival.

This is the first selection conducted as part of the new team development cycle towards the next Indoor World Cup.

Both the Open men’s and women’s teams will travel to Vienna in November to compete, having attended a three-day camp during October in Wollongong.

The Under-21 teams will also attend the camp in Wollongong prior to travelling to Prague during November to compete.

To view all the squads, click here: http://www.hockey.org.au/High-Performance/Australian-Indoor-teams

Hockey Australia media release

Ards in uncharted territory ahead of Euro indoors in France

Naomi Grundie leads a team talk for Ards. Pic: Billy Pollock

Ards will be in uncharted territory in more ways than one when they represent Ireland at the European Indoor Championship in France this weekend, writes John Flack.

Not only is the opposition unfamiliar but so too is the fact the Ulster side won’t be in charge of their own destiny for the first time in seven consecutive trips to the continent.

That’s because Ards surrendered their Irish title to Railway Union a couple of weeks ago and their finishing position this weekend will determine in which division the Dublin side compete next year.

Player-coach Naomi Grundie says her players are looking forward to the trip to Lille and they are aiming to do Railway a favour by earning them promotion to the second-tier.

Ards are up against Lisbon Casuals, Turkish side Bolu and Slovakians Raca in their group before going into the play-offs.

Grundie said: “Our aim is to finish in the top-two in our group and secure a place in the semi-final and, ultimately, we’re hoping for a spot in the final to guarantee promotion as two teams go up.

“We haven’t played any of the teams before, so we know relatively little about them apart from the little footage we’ve seen of some of them on the internet.”

Grundie says Ards weren’t too disappointed at losing their Irish crown and believes the experience of playing in Europe will be invaluable for her team going forward.

“Strangely, we weren’t disappointed, not at all. Our aim was to develop and give opportunity to a wider group of players this season who perhaps in seasons gone by might not have got the opportunity given the strength and experience of players we’ve had in the past,” she said. “With this in mind, I feel our squad performed very well. Winning Ulster was always our aim and we knew that wasn’t a given, we had to work hard for that.

“Ultimately I suspected it might come down to another Ards v Railway showdown in the Irish Championship. Railway were more clinical on the day and we can accept that.

“But I’m excited for Europeans and to give our younger players the opportunity to play in this tournament knowing how much it will benefit their game.
“Knowing we’re not going to Europe next year is bitter-sweet I suppose. As a team, we absolutely love going to this competition, this will be our seventh Europeans.

“We were naturally disappointed at not going to Europe next year but, equally, we are all content that we have the freedom to pursue other life events (skiing, holidays, weddings, family etc) during the February half-term break.”

Grundie believes indoor hockey is in a better place now than it has been for some time although the sport hasn’t perhaps grown at adult level in Ulster to the same extent as in the south.

“Yes definitely it’s on the up in the junior age-groups in Ulster with the U15 and U18 club competitions being extremely well attended and supported.” she added.

“There are still a lot of senior teams who are choosing not to enter and probably lack the resources to do so (hall hire, boards, coaching). “Hopefully, the younger crop coming through will impact the senior attendance in years to come.”

Women’s EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I (Douai, France)
Friday: Ards v Lisbon Casuals (Portugal), 9am; Ards v Bolu Belediyesi Spor Kulübü (Turkey), 3pm
Saturday: Ards v KPH Rača (Slovakia), 10.10am
Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning: classification pools

The Hook

UHC Hamburg the ones to watch at Euro Indoor Club Cup in Vienna

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

The best of men’s European indoor club hockey descends on Vienna this weekend with the EuroHockey Indoor Cup bringing together eight top clubs.

As always, German clubs are usually the sides to beat and UHC Hamburg are looking forward to a preliminary group against the Swedish champions Partille HC, the Swiss series champion HC Wettingen and the Dutch winners in 2018 AH & BC Amsterdam.

"I'm really happy with the group," said UHC coach Benedikt Schmidt-Busse. "We will see the full gamut of the defensive setups in the three games - from Amsterdam, who will play offensively, to Wettingen, which I expect to sit very deep.

“I think we're the most athletic side of the bunch which is why we have to go fast from the beginning with the shorter 20 minute halves [compared to 30 in the German league] to take advantage of it.

“The main challenge is the two-game-a-day format to be able to get up and then relex between matches, a sensible alternation between focus and shutting down."

UHC reached the semi-final of the German indoor championship before falling to TSV Mannheim. Leo Harms comes back into their line-up for the event.

AH&BC Amsterdam were runners-up in the Dutch indoor championship to SCHC a couple of weeks ago. They do feature numerous hall experts like Robert Tigges, the captain of the World Cup winning Elftal in 2015 in Leipzig. Wettingen recently successfully defended their Swiss title.

In the other group, hosts SV Arminen, RC Brussels, HC Minsk and Dinamo Ekaterinburg are fighting for the two semi-final places.

"The two teams from the East especially can make things uncomfortable because they are most synonymous with the national team of their country and so they will be internationally very experienced and something like professional hockey players. That's why I do not see our group as the stronger one," said Schmidt-Busse.

Euro Hockey League media release

WKS Grunwald Poznan and Complutense earn Euro indoor promotion

WKS Grunwald Poznan and SPV Complutense earned Poland and Spain promotion to the top tier of European club indoor competition following their runs in the EuroHockey Trophy last weekend in Croatia.

Grunwald battled through their group with a 2-2 draw against Slavia Prague, a 4-3 win over Complutense and a 5-3 success against hosts HK Zelina to top the pool.

The Spaniards went through by winning their other two games, defeating Zelina 8-5 and Slavia 4-2.

It left the Poles needing a win against East Grinstead to guarantee they would get promotion with a game to spare and they duly won a titanic battle.

Mateusz Poltaszewksi ensured the two sides went in at half-time level at 1-1 before they cut loose in the second half with goals from the experienced Artur Mikula, Tomasz Dutkiewicz and Mateusz Hulboj.

Ashley Jackson and Ross Stott got EG back in the contest at 4-3 with eight minutes to go but Dutkiewicz scored a crucial fifth to ensure they stayed clear, winning 5-4 in the end.

Complutense had earlier snuck by Turkey’s Gaziantep Polisgucu SK 4-3 to keep alive their promotion hopes. Gaziantep bounced back by beating Grunwald Poznan 6-5 on Sunday afternoon which meant that the winner of Complutense and EG could go on to win gold.

The Spaniards dominated the scoring with Ignacio Cobos and David Alvarez-Villabol making it 2-0 at half-time before Cobos and Inigo Corral stretched the advantage to 4-0.

Ashley Jackson pulled one back but Corral and Jose Villegas put Complutense in line for a 6-1 win, top spot and promotion.

Euro Hockey League media release

Three Rock earn back-to-back Euro indoor promotion

Three Rock Rovers will become the first Irish club to contest the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy – the second tier of continental competition – since 1996 following their second place finish in Oslo last weekend.

Ross Canning’s goal 90 seconds from the end of the tournament with Scotland’s Inverleith eked out the 3-3 draw they needed to earn back-to-back promotions in Europe.

Having topped their initial group, they took forward a thumping 8-1 win over Italy’s Bologna into the promotional pool but fell 5-3 to eventual champions AD Lousada from Portugal on Saturday evening.

That left Three Rock - Ireland's representative at the EHL KO16 - needing a draw or better against the Scots but they looked destined for defeat for long periods, going behind three times.

Indeed, had Jamie Carr not saved a penalty stroke with four minutes to go, they would have been toasted but they summoned one last corner which Canning nailed for the promotion spot.

Having won the National Indoor Trophy a fortnight ago, Rovers will take up the place in the 2020 European club competition, becoming the first Irish side to play at that level since Avoca 23 years ago.

Euro Hockey League media release

Scotland Senior Women announce new support staff for 2019

Vikki Bunce playing for Scotland

Scottish Hockey is delighted to announce that Vikki Bunce and Chris Duncan will join the Scotland Senior Women’s coaching team as assistant coaches, in addition to Neil Menzies who will continue his role as an assistant coach, while providing a strong link to the under 21 women and national age group programmes.

Vikki Bunce is a former Scotland and GB international who earned 206 caps for Scotland and 14 for GB. Chris Duncan is the Scotland U16 Boys’ Head Coach and former Scotland international player. Both were part of the Beatson Cancer Charity Super Series coaching staff at the end of 2018.

Scottish Hockey is grateful to both the Edinburgh Academy and sportscotland Institute of Sport for their support in allowing Chris and Vikki to commit to their new roles.

Following the appointment of Jen Wilson as Scotland Senior Women’s Head Coach in the latter part of last year, the leadership team has taken time to review the operation of the Senior Women’s programme and plan its future direction.

Chris Duncan coaching Scotland under 16 boys v UK Lions – photo by Duncan Gray

Scottish Hockey’s Head of Performance Andy Tennant said “We are delighted to have two new talented and energetic recruits to the women’s high performance programme – and look forward to them adding their enthusiasm, knowledge and experience to the existing coaching team and further enhance the support provided to this exciting group of athletes.”

The new support staff, along with our valued SIS sports science and medicine team of practitioners, will have their first competitive outing in the three-match test series against Italy in Rome.

Neil Menzies team talk with Scotland women – photo by Mark Pugh

Scottish Hockey Union media release

PREVIEWS: English Men's Hockey League

The battle for a place in the play-offs continues this weekend with third-placed Beeston heading to fourth-placed Holcombe in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Sunday.

Beeston secured a narrow one-nil victory when the two sides met back in November, but Holcombe are looking to gain revenge for that loss and have strengthened their team in the winter break.

South African Ross Hetem and Kalyan Jeram from New Zealand have signed up for the Kent outfit, while Matt Symonds returned from injury in time to help the new trio gel during three outdoor friendly fixtures over the last few weeks.

A successful indoor campaign which saw Holcombe just miss out on a place in the semi finals at the Copper Box has left them match fit for the resumption of the outdoor season, although Harry Trusler suffered a broken thumb and will miss the next few games.

“Our first meeting with Beeston this season was a tight match,” said Holcombe’s first team manager Neil Trusler. “Our defence was steadfast and the only goal of the game came towards the end of the first half.

“We had the better chances in the second half but were unable to convert, so we are looking forward to the weekend and hopefully reversing the earlier result. I am sure it will be another close encounter!

“At this stage of the season we are in a good position to aim for a play-off position and with Beeston only two points ahead, a win this weekend will help our chances of a top four finish.”

Elsewhere, leaders Surbiton are at home on Saturday evening against East Grinstead, who could climb into the play-off spots with a win. And second-placed Hampstead & Westminster entertain Reading who are also hopeful of moving into the all-important fourth place this weekend if other results go in their favour.

The bottom two sides, Sevenoaks and the University of Exeter do battle on Saturday night, while in Sunday’s other top flight match Wimbledon head to Brooklands MU.

Old Georgians will be aiming to preserve their unbeaten run with a trip to strugglers Cambridge City in the Men’s Conference East on Saturday, while second-placed Oxted host Teddington on Sunday.

Leaders Bowdon travel to fourth-placed Sheffield Hallam on Sunday in the Men’s Conference North, while the University of Durham could take top spot if they can win at Preston and Bowdon lose.

And in the Men’s Conference West leaders Olton & West Warwicks are looking to cement their place at the top of the table with two home games this weekend. They play the University of Birmingham on Saturday, and Chichester on Sunday.

Should they slip up, Havant could go top if they can beat Fareham on Sunday.


Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, 16 February 2019)

Men’s Premier Division
Sevenoaks v Univ of Exeter 17:00
Surbiton v East Grinstead 18:00

Men’s Conference East
Cambridge City v Old Georgians 13:30
Brighton & Hove v City of Peterborough 14:00

Men’s Conference West
Univ of Bristol v Oxford Hawks 11:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Univ of Birmingham 12:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Fareham 12:30

Men’s Conference North
Sheffield Hallam v Doncaster 13:30
Preston v Leeds 14:00

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, 17 February 2019)

Men’s Premier Division
Brooklands MU v Wimbledon 12:15
Hampstead & Westminster v Reading 14:00
Holcombe v Beeston 14:00

Men’s Conference East
Old Loughtonians v Cambridge City 12:00
Brighton & Hove v Southgate 13:00
City of Peterborough v Canterbury 13:00
Old Georgians v Richmond 14:00
Oxted v Teddington 14:00

Men’s Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Oxford Hawks 12:30
Isca v Univ of Bristol 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Univ of Birmingham 13:00
Fareham v Havant 13:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Chichester 13:30

Men’s Conference North
Univ of Nottingham v Belper 13:00
Sheffield Hallam v Bowdon 13:30
Alderley Edge v Doncaster 14:00
Leeds v Loughborough Students 14:00
Preston v Univ of Durham 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release

PREVIEW: Investec English Women's Hockey League

The University of Birmingham head to Canterbury in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday, to play the first of two crucial matches against relegation rivals.

Currently eighth in the table, the University of Birmingham are due to play both the teams below them over the next two weeks with all three teams desperate for points to avoid the drop.

“The next fortnight is a very important time for us,” said Phil Gooderham, the University of Birmingham’s Head Coach. “Unfortunately we have three girls away on international duty, and another four injured.

“But we’re working with all our squad and we’re lucky to have a larger squad than some clubs do, and the girls who do come in have done well for us.

“Slough and Canterbury will both be tough games, especially because everyone is scrapping for points. I don’t underestimate anybody in the Premier Division, it doesn’t matter if they’re at the top of bottom, the standard is always high.”

At the other end of the table, new leaders Holcombe are at home against a Beeston side who are aiming to preserve their place in the top four.

And Surbiton – who lost their third game in four matches last weekend and dropped to second in the table – are at home against third-placed East Grinstead in another mouth-watering clash.

And both Clifton Robinsons and Buckingham could move into the play-off spots with a win as they play each other on Saturday.

In the Investec Conference East, second-placed Cambridge City head to third-placed Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday as they both eye the top of the table.

Leaders Wimbledon are at home against St Albans and will want to hang on to top spot, while Sevenoaks go to bottom of the table Ipswich.

Loughborough Students maintained their unbeaten run in the Investec Conference North with a win at the University of Durham last weekend, and they will be looking to secure another win this Saturday when they head to Leeds.

Below them, second-placed Leicester host third-placed Brooklands-Poynton in an important match for both sides, while the University of Durham are at home against strugglers Sutton Coldfield.

And in the Investec Conference West leaders Stourport will be aiming to make it 11 league wins in a row as they go to bottom of the table Exe, who are still looking for their first victory.

Elsewhere in the Conference West second-placed Gloucester City go to Oxford Hawks, another team without a league win so far.


Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, 16 February 2019)

Investec Premier Division
Clifton Robinsons v Buckingham 13:00
Holcombe v Beeston 14:00
Canterbury v Univ of Birmingham 16:00
Surbiton v East Grinstead 16:00

Investec Conference East
Ipswich v Sevenoaks 13:00
Hampstead & Westminster v Cambridge City 13:30
Harleston Magpies v Bedford 13:30
Wimbledon v St Albans 14:00
Horsham v Southgate 15:00

Investec Conference West
Barnes v Olton & West Warwicks 12:00
Exe v Stourport 12:00
Oxford Hawks v Gloucester City 12:00
Swansea City v Reading 12:00
Trojans v Isca 12:00

Investec Conference North
Univ of Durham v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Ben Rhydding v Belper 13:30
Fylde v Timperley 13:30
Leicester v Brooklands-Poynton 15:00
Leeds v Loughborough Students 16:00

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sunday, February 17 2019)

Investec Conference East
Hampstead & Westminster v Harleston Magpies 12:00
Sevenoaks v St Albans 14:30

Investec Conference West
Isca v Oxford Hawks 14:30
Stourport v Trojans 14:30

Investec Conference North
Sutton Coldfield v Ben Rhydding 13:00
Brooklands-Poynton v Ben Rhydding 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release

PKS Uniten out to make amends after disappointing first leg

By Naqib Nor Said

KUALA LUMPUR: A penalty corner is surely a team’s weapon of choice in the search for goals in modern day hockey.

So it is of no surprise then that PKS Uniten’s penalty corner specialist, Nuraini Rashid, is under a lot of pressure to deliver on the eve of the Vivian May Soars Cup semi-final second leg clash against the Terengganu Ladies Hockey Team (TLHT) at the Tengku Abdullah Stadium tomorrow (Thursday).

PKS Uniten coach, Lailin Abu Hassan is also not having it easy as they are trailing by two goals after losing 4-2 to TLHT in the first leg yesterday (Tuesday).

In fact, the condition of the turf at the Tengku Abdullah Stadium in Bangi which is uneven makes the clash all the more interesting because both teams are exposed in making unnecessary errors.

“For me scoring a field goal is very important, but then if we were to get penalty corners then it should make things easier on us in scoring goals.

“In the semi-final first leg yesterday, we were somewhat gifted with two penalty corners and were able to score a goal.

“It’s just that we need to cut down on making unnecessary mistakes because the stadium’s turf is uneven and the ball can bounce very easily, but the fact of the matter is we need to avoid any unforced errors and concentrate on getting on the scoresheet,” he said.

This season, PKS Uniten are considered as one of the most dangerous teams when it comes to penalty corners as 19 out of the 38 goals they have scored have come from penalty corners.

PKS Uniten have gotten the better of their opponents in the second round of matches in the league when they defeated TLHT 2-1, so there is nothing to stop the 2017 league champions from bouncing back during tomorrow’s semi-final second leg.

Malaysian international Nuraini also believes that they can overcome their opponents when she said: “By right we should have won the first leg yesterday (Tuesday)”.

“But we failed to convert the chances and scoring opportunities that came our way especially in the first quarter apart from letting in what I felt were four rather soft goals,” said the 30-year-old who has netted eight goals so far.

The other semi-final is seen as more evenly balanced as the Police Blue Warriors narrowly lost 2-1 to China side Liaoning Infinite Space yesterday.

The winners of the semi-finals will move on to the final that is scheduled to be played at the Tun Razak Stadium this Saturday.

New Straits Times

Butali Sugar kick off league campaign against returnees Sailors


Butali Sugar's Frank Wanangwe in full drive against Kenya Police during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League match at City Park on December 9, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Butali Sugar Warriors launch their Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier League title defence against newly promoted Sailors on March 17 at City Park Stadium.

According to the 2019 season fixtures released by the fixture secretary Moses Majiwa, 21 times champions Telkom will start their women’s league title defence against Amira Sailors on March 10 at City Park Stadium.

Butali Sugar, who are chasing their fifth title, and Kenya Police will clash on April 20 at City Park in the men’s league with Strathmore hosting Telkom the following day at the same venue.

Majiwa said that the hockey leagues season gets underway on March 2 with all the matches being played at City Park Stadium.

Men’s Premier League will feature 10 teams after three teams-Park Road Badgers, Nakuru and Kenya College of Accountancy University- were relegated with only Sailors being promoted. The restructuring of the league started last season when teams were chopped from 15 to 12.

Women’s league will feature nine teams after only one team was relegated with two teams joining the top flight league. Vikings was chopped from the top tier as Kenyatta University and Lakers from Kisumu were promoted.

The first leg that will end on August 11 will be interrupted on March 23-24, April 27-28 and May 25-26 for the National Teams training and June 1-2 for Mombasa Hockey tournament.

The first leg will also take a break on June 22-23 for Olympic Day celebrations, June 29-30 for the National teams training and July 12-13 for Nakuru Hockey tournament.

"The women's premier league has, however, been increased from 7 teams to 8 teams for the 2019 season and hopefully we shall have it settle at 10 teams eventually after the gradual growth,” said Majiwa.

Majiwa explained that this year, they will focus more on restructuring the Super League for both men and women as they witness the rapid growth of the sport across the country.

Daily Nation

Sailors stoked ahead of KHU league opener


Sailors' Douglas Nyerere (left) celebrates with team mates Abraham Muse and Timothy Obonyo after scoring against Multimedia University. Sailors won 2-0 to qualify for the 2019 Men's Premier Hockey League. PHOTO | MAGONGO KENYA | 

Newly promoted Sailors are ready for their big return to Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier League season that kicks off on March 2 at the City Park Stadium.

Sailors face United States International University (USIU) in their opening match on March 6 before meeting defending champions Butali Sugar on March 17 all at City Park Stadium.

Sailors have signed midfield Samson Tembo from Lusaka Sharks, Zambia and Thika Rovers midfielder Juma Juma for the season.

Sailors won the 2018 Super League to earn promotion to the top flight hockey but their team leader Jayala Asimba warned his charges to prepare for a tough running.

“The Premier League is a different game ball altogether but we are ready for the big boys,” said Asimba.

“With only 10 teams, every game will count and we will take a game at a time.”

Sailors that was formed in 2015, won the National Super League the same year to earn promotion to the Premier League where they played for two season in 2016 and 2017 before being relegated.

Daily Nation

Kisumu's Lakers beef up squad as team manager says they signed up 10 players ahead of the season

By Washington Onyango

Lakers Hockey team after playing against UoN. Jonah Onyango, Standard

Lakers Hockey Club have bolstered their squad signing up 10 players ahead of their Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Women Premier League debut next month.

The Kisumu-based side earned a place in this year’s premier league after finishing second in the 2018 Hockey Women Super League with 22 points, three behind champions Kenyatta University.

Team Manager John Paul Otieno said they signed four defenders, three strikers and midfielders with most of them being students from top performing schools in the region.

“We brought in a crop of young talented players from Sinyolo, Nyamira, Tigoi, Kisumu Girls and St Teresa Girls. We are giving the young players an opportunity to grow. I know it will be difficult to predict how they will help us but we hope they will exhibit good show when they play top teams like Telkom,” Otieno said.

The team’s new signings are Stephanie Nicole, Chery Muhatia, Judith Abayo and Edna Vallery (defenders), Sumbwa Ongoche, Millicent Adhiambo and Roseline Oranga (midfielders), Charlene Sydney, Angela Akelo and Chepkemoi Cheruiyot (strikers).

Otieno was confident with the new signings saying they played a great role in their respective school’s top performance and in the just concluded Maseno Open.

“They are fresh players who are talented and have been behind their school’s good performances. This was also shown in the just concluded Maseno Open which we won,” he said.

Lakers defeated Kampala Hockey Club 1-0 in the finals of the Maseno Open last weekend to win the women’s hockey category.

Enroute to the finals, the lakeside team defeated Kaimosi 5-0 and Kampala 2-0 with last year top scorer Aurelia Atieno netting five goals of the eight they scored in the tournament.

Captain UoN Hockey team Agnes Maina dribbles the ball. Jonah Onyango, Standard

Aloice Owino, the team’s coach, said the team’s target is to beat Telkom but will take each game at a time starting with Sliders on April 6 in Kisumu.

“Telkom has ruled the league for about 21 years but we believe we can pose a significant threat this year. We are going for them. We want to prove that it is possible to stop them,” said Owino.

Lakers was formed in 2017 and made debut in the second division last year. It becomes the second women’s hockey team in the lakeside city after the defunct Chelsea that was disbanded in 2000.

They will be banking on the 2018 super league top scorer Aurelia Atieno to replicate his form to the premier league after netting seven goals last season. She will however have support of the three new strikers. Lakers will begin their premier league trophy hunt against Sliders in April.

The Standard Digital

Former USWNT Athlete Claire Laubach Inducted into Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame

Hoisting an NCAA Championship trophy during one's time as a student-athlete is rare. It's what athletes dream of accomplishing after years of pouring blood, sweat and tears into a craft. Winning three national championships is nearly unheard of. Add the Pan American Games and Olympic Games and an athlete's measure of success is nearly off the charts. Claire Laubach, former U.S. Women's National team athlete, accomplished all of this, plus much more. However, her success on the field was not without obstacles.

Laubach will join six other Wake Forest legends in the 45th induction class of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame. The group will be honored during a dinner on Friday, February 15 at Bridger Field House and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during halftime ceremonies of Wake Forest's men's basketball game with North Carolina on February 16.

Laubach didn't pick up a field hockey stick until she was 16, but behind great teammates and coaching from Wake Forest legend Jen Averill, Laubach's athletic accomplishments piled up quickly. After years of playing soccer, her future with the sport seemed shallow. But her athleticism and raw talent on the field could not be wasted, so she made the transition into field hockey and Averill took notice.

 "Coming out of high school I wasn't highly recruited. I had been playing in the USA system, and they had a camp, but me and a few of my friends didn't want to go to it, so my mom suggested going to the Wake Forest camp. So, we went and that's when I met Jen (Averill) and Jen got to know me. Our relationship just grew from there. That camp was one of the best camps I had ever been to. Jen's whole mantra felt very comfortable and in that moment, it felt like everything belonged."

Laubach was a member of the Wake Forest field hockey team from 2001-04. Not only was she one of the few to win back-to-back-to-back national championships, but she helped write history for Wake Forest athletics. The 2002 hockey team was the first women's sport at Wake Forest to capture a national championship. Field hockey remains the only sport at Wake Forest to three-peat.

Laubach and her teammates laid the foundation for Wake Forest to become a field hockey powerhouse, competing alongside the best in Connecticut, Old Dominion, North Carolina and Maryland.

"We always just exuded this sense of confidence. We weren't cocky, we weren't overly assured, we just had the mindset of 'We got this. We are going to walk on the field and win. That's just how it's going to go.' That was the start of it, especially after losing in overtime at the final four during my freshman year. We weren't afraid, but at the same time, we always knew we had work to do, so we were going to do it."

That confidence earned Wake Forest field hockey its first-ever national championship, but that was just the beginning. Laubach knew there was much more work to be done, but she had no doubt Wake Forest had the talent and mindset to get it done. Each year, new leaders emerged and the program reached new heights.

"That's pretty much the same attitude that we had the next two years as well. I always looked up to the classes above me, and then my class took that on when it was our turn to be the leaders. But the great thing was, even the freshman class coming in that year, just bought right into it. My junior year was the year we were the most dominant. We all just bought into it and it carried into my senior year."

After two national championships, it was clear that Wake Forest was building a field hockey dynasty. As a senior, Laubach wasn't going to let her collegiate career end with anything but a three-peat. But this time, the pressure was higher than ever before.

 "My senior year was one of the harder years because we all felt the pressure, we all felt the target on our backs because we were the team to beat. We still had that 'We got this' mentality, but that all started at the top with Jen. I've never had a coach as motivating as she is. Her pregame speeches I will never forget-that feeling of walking out of the locker room, it was like nothing mattered and we were going to win no matter what. It was just a matter of the team coming together and leaving it all on the field."

And that's just what they did. Led by Laubach and the rest of the senior class, Wake Forest field hockey finished the 2004 season with a 20-3 record and lifted its third national championship trophy in as many years after topping Duke 3-0.

It didn't take long for her accomplishments at Wake Forest to translate to an international stage. Months before she walked across the stage for graduation, she knew what her future held. While most college students spend spring break vacationing at the beach, Laubach and a few other teammates drove to Virginia Beach, Va. to try out for the U.S. Women's National Team. She got the call.

Even for a three-time national champion, the transition onto a new team had many challenges. After being so team-motivated, Laubach had to learn to look after herself.

"I was on the national team for about eight years. It was a bit of a learning curve. Jen was always so motivating and Wake was always an entire team effort. When I got to the national team it became more individual just because we had to look out for ourselves. We had to be able to compete and do what you needed to do, and you have a bunch of people from different colleges with different experiences trying to do the same thing. You have to standout so you make the teams, but you also have to be able to play as a team at the same time. For me, it was a hard transition-I was super arrogant at that time. It took me about four years to humble myself. Those first four years when we were gearing up to go to Beijing for the Olympic Games were tough."

In 2008, Team USA made the trip to Beijing, but Laubach didn't make the final roster.

"I got cut from the team before the 2008 Olympic Games, but I was still on the developmental squad. That's when it hit me and I knew I had to work my butt off to prove to everyone that I was a great player. I earned my way back on the team and into a starting position in time for the London Olympics."

Team USA qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games following a first-place finish at the Pan American Games in 2011. Laubach trained hard and became a powerhouse on penalty corners featuring an impressive drag-flick.

The U.S. Women's National Team left London without a medal after a 12th place finish. But for Laubach, earning back a starting position on the team was what she set out to do.

Laubach retired from professional field hockey in 2013. Her next adventure - culinary school. To many, field hockey and culinary school seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. But it was as a professional athlete where Laubach discovered her love for food and cooking. She even gets to incorporate her education from Wake as a studio art major.

"I liked to eat. When I was on the national team, you learn how to cook because you want to eat the food that's good for you, but you also want it to taste good. So I taught myself a lot of things during that time, and then I decided to go ahead and try to make it a career. The art background also helps because I get to build a plate and design something. I can be creative when I'm combining flavors and it all just works together."

While she doesn't get to experience much field hockey as a chef in California, Laubach potentially sees a future as a hockey coach if she returns to the East Coast.

A limited number of $60 tickets are available for sale to the general public for the Hall of Fame dinner on Friday, February 15.  Contact Amy Fleet at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a ticket.

Content Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics Communication

USFHA media release

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