All the news for Saturday 11 April 2015
It won't be easy for Malaysia
By S. Ramaguru
IPOH: A place on the podium – albeit the bronze medal – is all that’s left for Malaysia to fight for in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Even then, it’s not as straightforward as it seems. Malaysia have to beat Canada on Saturday and hope for world champions and defending champions Australia not to falter against India.
National hockey coach Tai Beng Hai said that their aim “is to finish as high as possible”.
“Since we are out of the reckoning for the final, we must try and make the third-placing playoff,” he said.
The national team have had a fairly good tournament thus far, showing improvement with each match. But there are still weaknesses in the team, players who have yet to discard some old habits.
“Yes, we have to stop the errors that creep into our game and not give away silly goals. I’ve always said that the team has to strife for consistency ... only then can we play with greater confidence,” said Beng Hai.
Of the four matches played thus far, Malaysia won one 3-2 against India) and lost three (4-2 to New Zealand, 3-2 to Australia and 3-2 to South Korea).
What has been pleasing is that they’ve managed to score at least two goals in each match.
“But that isn’t enough. We need to win as well. The target is to prepare for the World Hockey League Semi-Finals (in June). So, I’ll be happy if the players use this opportunity to try out new things,” said Beng Hai, who’s hoping to see an improvement in their penalty corner set pieces.
Malaysia have scored nine goals in the four matches – six field goals and three from penalty corners.
Beng Hai is happy to see the team injury-free.
“But we won’t take Canada for granted. They were a little unlucky in some of their matches. So, we have to be cautious ... but I believe we can beat them,” he said.
Canada have lost all their four matches thus far but coach Anthony Farry is adamant that “we’ve learnt from each match”.
“It’s not often that you get a chance to play against higher ranked teams in a tournament of this nature,” said Farry.
“That’s why we are not overly concerned about the results. We want to learn and avoid making the same mistakes. The experience will prove useful for the players.
“Like all teams, our focus is on the World Hockey League Semi-Finals. Having said that, we will go all out to beat Malaysia.
“We have had some very close matches against them ... and even defeated them in the Champions Challenge I in Kuantan last year. So, there’s no reason why we can’t do it again.”
The Star of Malaysia
New Zealand and South Korea clash for final spot
By S. Ramaguru
IPOH: Two former champions – world No. 7 New Zealand and world No. 8 South Korea – will battle it out for the right to meet Australia in the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
New Zealand, the 2012 winners, will be hoping to make this year’s final an all-Oceania affair for the first time ever.
But the South Koreans, winners in 1999 and joint champions with India in 2010, may have other ideas.
The Kiwis need just a point from the match while the Koreans must win to make the final.
Judging by match statistics, the Koreans have a slight edge.
The two teams have met 11 times in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the Koreans have won six times, New Zealand have won four times while one match ended in a draw.
“There is no doubt that the Koreans are a good team and have number of experienced players in their ranks. They will be a handful at any time and tomorrow will be no different,” said New Zealand coach Colin Batch, who singled out Jang Jung-hyun and Nam Hyun-woo as the two most dangerous players in the Korean side.
“They are good players and very effective at penalty corner set pieces. The team is also tactically sound ... with their speed, they will be more than a match for any team.”
South Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu said his men “are determined to make the final”.
“Yes, we have some new players in the team and we want to expose them. But we also have 11 players from the Asian Games to bank on. I’m happy with the team’s performance thus far,” he said.
Both teams have lost just once in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament – to Australia. The Koreans lost 5-2 while the Kiwis went down 3-1.
The Koreans also had one draw – 2-2 with India.
The Koreans have played in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final six times while the Kiwis just once.
The Star of Malaysia
India face Aussies test
In the last pool match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, today, India will be facing defending champions Australia, who have so far remained unbeaten in the team.
In the other two matches, New Zealand will face South Korea while hosts Malaysia will be facing Canada.
India is already out of contention to play for the final while Australia is so far the only team to make it to the final.
India is ranked fourth in the pool behind Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. New Zealand just needs a draw to enter to the final while it is a must win situation for South Korea.
India need to beat Australia to keep the bronze medal hopes alive while Malaysia can only qualify if they beat Canada and hope that Australia beat India.
India and Australia game would be so far the toughest game for India, who has won one match against Canada, drawn against South Korea while lost two matches against New Zealand and Malaysia.
“The next game is Australia, which is the number one side. It will be a tough game of course. Australia is a pretty strong that is a big challenge,” said coach Paul van Ass, ahead of the encounter.
“For me it will be interesting to see under- pressure, who is holding it and who is not holding it, not just individually but also as a team. That information I want to get. I am looking forward for the next game and I want to make it difficult for Australia.”
In Australia, India face toughest challenge in Azlan Shah Cup
IPOH (Malaysia): Out of title reckoning, a misfiring India would look to redeem some pride with an improved performance in their last league match but it would be easier said than done against world champions Australia in the 24th Azlan Shah Cup, here on Saturday.
The Azlan Shah Cup was not only new chief coach Paul van Ass' maiden assignment after taking charge of the Indian team but also kick-started the country's preparations for next year's Rio Olympics.
But going by the performances so far, it is clear that India have a lot of work to do to become a competitive force in the Olympics, for which they have already secured a direct berth by winning a gold in last year's Incheon Asian Games.
India have crashed out of the title race here after garnering just four points with one scrappy win and a draw out of four matches.
On the other hand, the Kookaburras, who are defending their title here, are on a roll and have sealed their final berth by registering four victories out of as many games.
The last time both the teams faced each, the result went in favour of Australia who sneaked a narrow 2-1 win over India to finish third in the FIH Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar in December.
And tomorrow's match gives India an opportunity to avenge that loss.
But looking at India's performance in this tournament, it looks a distant dream and only time will tell if Van Ass' wards have it in them to lift their spirits and salvage a positive result.
If they can at least hold Australia if not win tomorrow, it will act as a huge morale-booster for India, who were without a coach since October last year after Australian Terry Walsh's unceremonious exit.
Van Ass took charge of the team barely four weeks ago and it would be unrealistic to expect a miracle performance from the Dutchman in his maiden assignment.
From day one, Van Ass has been looking at the Azlan Shah Cup to garner as much information as possible about the team and his real test would be the World League Finals at home in December this year.
"Every international game is important for us because every game gives me information to work on the areas and at the moment that is far more important than the result," Van Ass had said.
As a matter of fact, the Indians did not play badly in the last four games but were undone by inconsistency.
What hurt India badly was that for the fourth straight game they were guilty of missing chances and their fragile backline conceded soft goals.
The execution of penalty corners too was not upto the mark. In the presence of two big drag-flick experts in VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh, India utilised just two out of the eight short corners that came their way against Canada yesterday.
Van Ass was candid enough to admit yesterday that India's fragile defence is a major concern for him.
"What worries me is the defence. The defence worried me before I came to India. That is one of my first concerns. Our defence is too bad. I think we lost a lot of games in the end phase earlier as well as in this tournament," he said after India laboured to a 5-3 win over a lowly Canada, his first win with the team.
"We are simply not strong (in defence). We tend to lose our head (in pressure situation). But every game gives us a lesson. Of course it's great if you win and get a lesson."
Going into tomorrow game, the only solace for India would be the marginal return to form of their forwardline, which finally showed some form by scoring three fine field goals.
Up against the toughest opponents, the India coach vowed to give Australia a tough fight tomorrow.
"I am looking forward to the next game against Australia. Australia is pretty strong and it is going to be a big challenge. I want to make it as difficult as possible for Australia," Van Ass said.
Meanwhile in other games of the day, Korea will face New Zealand in a must-win encounter while Malaysia will be up against Canada.
The Times of India
Stat Speak: Asian Giants lock horns with Oceania Kings
Sehore-Bhopal, India - Asia Cup Champions South Korea has to beat New Zealand to reach the summit clash. Asian Games winner India needs victory over World number 1 Australia to play bronze medal match. Both the matches will be crucial. Koreans have an edge over kiwis. Indians have fared good in last 5 outings, winning thrice, though in test series. Here are head to head of these four teams:
South Korea vs. New Zealand
|In Azlan Shah||11||6||1||4||21||17|
India vs. Australia
|In Azlan Shah||11||2||1||8||21||32|
|In Azlan Shah||11||2||1||8||21||32|
PS: India beats Australia 4-2, will play bronze medal match on Sunday. Goal scorers are Nikkin Thimmaiah (3),Raghunath/ Beale,Gohdes.
All Work and No Rest
By Sandip G
CHENNAI: “Expect a good start to my stint,” beamed India’s new coach Paul van Ass, before embarking on his first trip with the team. But a week into the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy, his start to India’s coaching tenure has been anything but “good”. Far from it, as India, who began as one of the contenders, contrived to produce their most listless performance in recent times.
A hands-on coach, more pragmatic than dogmatic, Van Ass has already diagnosed the backline as a bleeding cause of concern. He was just stating the obvious, as defence had been an aching sore for quite some time, and his predecessors had pointed out the same. But as he sets about sewing up the deficiencies, he could care more about rotating the squad too, a less-addressed issue, which if not redressed in time could hamper India’s prospects in the Rio Olympics next year.
Sample this — from the last World Cup, the nucleus of the team has been literally living out of a suitcase. For instance, skipper Sardar Singh has featured in all of India’s 31 matches in the last 10 months, from the World Cup in the Netherlands to the Azlan Shah, across three continents. Add to this the domestic detour for the Hockey India League.
Even someone as industrious as Sardar has felt the brunt of the calendar and consequently wasn’t at his optimal best in the Champions Trophy. “The World Cup year is always difficult, as we also have other big events like the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. And last year, we also had the Australia tour and Champions Trophy. It was hectic,” admitted Sardar.
But this is not a grouse. “As professionals, we shouldn’t complain. We should be able to adjust to this. The earlier the better, if we are to sustain our levels. Of course, playing for the country is a great motivation and we don’t want to miss out on any opportunity,” opined the 28-year-old.
Hockey India officials maintain they have performance monitors. “We have a group of dedicated people overseeing them. If they feel the players are over-worked, they will inform us,” pointed out High Performance director Roelant Oltmans.
The selectors, too, are mindful of the fatigue factor. “Of course, there will be fatigue at this level. But no player is forced to play with any major injury. There will be slight niggles, and that’s the case with most international players. Also, there was mental pressure ahead of the Asian Games. So they are bound to have an off-series,. The coaching staff takes care of the rotation part and they know the players need time for rest and recovery. I don ‘t think they are fatigued. It’s just that they lost a couple of close matches that could have gone either way. It takes time adjusting to a new coach’s methods, and the focus is on peaking in time for the Rio Games,” elaborated selector Arjun Halappa.
Thankfully, there aren’t too many significant tournaments lined up between the Azlan Shah and the Olympics, apart from the World Hockey League, so that the players can nurse their bruised limbs and vitalise their tired minds.
New Indian Express
Kumar has a solid fan
Talking endlessly could be a tiring job, but not for K.T.Pillai, who is a Master of Ceremony here at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. “I have been doing this for almost 28 years now. With Azlan Shah, I have a five year old association. So, there is no question of getting tired. I love talking and I can talk endlessly,” says Pillai as he gets ready to anchor for the first match of the day. So, how taxing really is the job of an anchor in the stadium? “I have an easy job. I just have to announce the penalty corner, the name of the scorers and all those information. I don’t have to go into the technicalities of the game,” he says.
“But, whenever there is a home match of Malaysia, I will have to increase my voice by at least 20 per cent to match the cheering of the crowd. The Malaysian crowd is very enthusiastic.” Pillai is one of the two anchors in the stadium. So, while his job is to engage the foreign audience by speaking in English, his counter-part, a young lady, does the same in the local language. “As a MC, we have to be unbiased. Just because I am from Malaysia doesn’t mean I will not talk about the other teams. So, I anchor in English while there is another lady who does it in the local language. To make the other players at ease, we also play songs of their country,” he says while recalling the ‘Jai Ho’song that echoed in the stadium prior to India’s match against Malaysia. And how much does he love hockey? “I have never played hockey but I have read a lot about it. My favourite player is Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramanium,” he signs off.
Merry ready to strike at Hawke’s Bay Cup
Black Stick striker Olivia Merry says the Hawke’s Bay Cup which starts today in Hastings is a critical tournament in the build-up to their World League Three Olympic qualifying tournament in June.
The Black Sticks will be looking for a first up win against Japan today (7.30pm, live-streamed) after being edged 0-1 by the visitors in a pre-tournament game over Easter.
“To have teams of this calibre here is incredible, hats off to the organisers! It’s a big tournament, and to have the funding and facilities in place to do it is great. It’s a huge benefit for the Black Sticks moving forward to have this tournament here at home,” said Merry.
Merry and fellow Black Stick striker Rachel McCann recently moved to Auckland from their hometown of Christchurch to get more training time with the team under the guidance of the national coaches.
“It’s such a new striker line – with Krystal Forgesson no longer playing and Katie Glynn out with injury – I’m trying to take a leadership role within the striker group. We are focused on building the combinations and getting really familiar with how we all play, moving to Auckland to train has helped with that.”
Joining Merry up front is Petrea Webster, Kirsten Pearce, Rachel McCann and Gemma Flynn and Jordan Grant.
Merry said the Black Sticks were amazed to see so much support for the team for the two games against Argentina in Gisborne earlier this week.
With the turf only recently being laid, it was the first time international hockey had been held in Gisborne, and an estimated 1,800 locals turned up to watch the first game.
“The atmosphere was so cool. Even at training there were hundreds of kids screaming and watching and then at the game to have the turf officially opened on that first afternoon made it pretty special,” said Merry.
“It was also Petrea [Webster’s] 100th game - I have played all of the last 50 games with her, so that added to it.”
Merry, who scored the winning goal in the first game in Gisborne, said although the results were mixed (1-0 win followed by a 1-7 loss), it has provided the team with some real focus ahead of the Hawke’s Bay Cup.
Watching from the stands will be Merry’s family who are taking some well-deserved time off from rebuilding their house in Christchurch to support the team.
“They are yet to miss a major tournament. They are always the first to text good luck before a game and the first to say hard luck after a game if it doesn’t go so well.”
For all information on the Hawke’s Bay Cup, go to www.hockeyfestival.nz
Hockey New Zealand Media release
8 Nations Tournament Provides Possible Foreshadowing of Hockey World League Semifinals
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 8 Nations Tournament kicks off today in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, is primed to set the dominant hockey stage. Several of the world’s highest ranked teams will be competing in this preparatory tournament opportunity before meeting at the summer Olympic qualifiers.
The U.S. Women’s National Team and the seven other teams participating in the 8 Nations Tournament are all placed in the top 13 in world rankings, according to the FIH World Rankings. With this tournament falling in close proximity in date to many World League Semifinals, Olympic qualifying tournaments, some of the games at 8 Nations could end up providing insight as to what to expect during qualifying matches. The 8 Nations Tournament will take place at the Hasting Sports Park in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Team USA’s first game is on April 11 against second world ranked Australia.
Following the 8 Nations Tournament, the USWNT will host Ireland at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. for a three game test series, May 18-21. From here, the team will head to Valencia, Spain for the World League Semifinals, June 10-21. This qualifier will include Argentina, China, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Russia and the USA. With Argentina and China also competing at 8 Nations event, Team USA looks to capitalize on this playing opportunity with the foresight of meeting these international squads in Valencia.
About The 8 Nations Tournament:
The 8 Nations Tournament, or Hawke’s Bay Cup, is one of three tournaments held under the umbrella of the Festival of Hockey. In 13 days, 80 games will be played showcasing the world’s best teams. All six teams that participated in 2014 (Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, China, Korea and Japan) are returning this year with the addition of India and Team USA.
For all information regarding the 8 Nations Tournament, including the schedule, check out the event page and follow the team on Twitter at @USAFieldHockey.
** Games can be viewed by clicking here for access to the live stream! **
USFHA media release
India women take on China in Hawke's Bay Cup opener
NEW DELHI: Buoyed by their victory in Hockey World League Round 2, the Indian women's team is geared up for the opening match against China in the Hawke's Bay Cup beginning in New Zealand on Saturday.
Both teams are looking forward to a positive start and a close contest is in the offing.
India and China last met at 2014 Asian Games where India suffered a 1-2 loss.
Aiming for a win, India captain Ritu Rani said, "the victory at World League has definitely motivated the team for the upcoming tournament.
"The players are all in good spirit and want to give a tough fight to the opponents. Also, this is a good opportunity for us to work on our skills and bring in the required improvement which will help us to perform better in the World League Semi-Final Round. We hope to begin the tournament on a winning note."
Roelant Oltmans, Director High Performance, Hockey India said, "The players have worked really hard with enough practice sessions for this tournament. Our team has become strong with time which is very evident.
"The aim now is to play the matches with the best efforts being put in and meanwhile makes the team even stronger to give a tough fight in the upcoming Semi Finals.
"The aim will be to earn the crucial penalty corners and convert them, for this the girls have to maintain the attack on the opponents during the entire match. For the team, this is a wonderful opportunity to polish the skills make themselves strong enough to qualify for the Rio Olympics," the Dutchman added.
The Times of India
Final line-ups set after exciting day
NZ Maori Wahine playing in the final tomorrow morning
The finals are set for the Margaret Hiha and Dave Craven trophies after an exciting day’s play at Park Island.
The National Senior Tournament XI continued their domination of the Women’s competition, defeating Hawke’s Bay 4-1 thanks to a double from Hannah Mowat. They will take on NZ Maori in the final, after they defeated Hong Kong 2-1 despite trailing 1-0 at halftime. NZ Maori are the defending champions and won’t let go of the trophy lightly!
Hawke’s Bay and NZ Maori will face off in a repeat of the 2014 final after 1 goal Semi Final victories over the National Senior Tournament XI and NZ Indians respectively. Mac Wilcox scored an acrobatic winner for Hawke’s Bay with 3 minutes left on the clock to give them the win 3-2, whilst goals from Te Huatahi Edmonds and Jury Herewini were enough to see of the NZ Indians 2-1.
The 3rd/4th Playoffs will see Hong Kong take on Hawke’s Bay in the Women, and the National Senior Tournament XI taking on the NZ Indians on the Men’s side.
DAILY RESULTS – 10TH APRIL
NST XI 4 (Hannah Mowat 2, Imogen Neil 2) vs Hawke’s Bay 1 (Kezia Taylor)
NZ Maori 2 (Sian Fremaux, Awhina Rickard) vs Hong Kong 1 (Nadine Greter)
MEN – SEMI FINALS
Hawke’s Bay 3 (Sam Hiha, Dylan Thomas, Mac Wilcox) vs NST XI 2 (Jimmy Linehan 2)
NZ Maori 2 (Te Huatahi Edmonds, Jury Herewini) vs NZ Indians 1 (Jana Bhana)
Click here for the full results
Hockey New Zealand Media release
English playoff champs to be crowned
This weekend the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre plays host to the culmination of the English NOW: Pensions Hockey League with the semi-finals and finals of the Championship playoffs set to take place over an action packed two days.
On Saturday, the first of the two clashes is a star-studded affair with no less than 14 Great Britain stars due to take to the field as table-toppers East Grinstead take on reigning champions Beeston, in a repeat of last year’s final.
With the two sides scoring 127 goals between them this season and a galaxy of stars on show, this promises to be a thrilling clash for a place in Sunday’s showpiece final.
The second semi-final is not short of quality either, as Surbiton, who finished second in the league on goal difference behind East Grinstead face Wimbledon, who are making their first visit to finals weekend.
Wimbledon had the better of the meetings between the two sides in the league; with a 4-1 win followed by a 3-3 draw later on in the season, however Surbiton have had an outstanding campaign, pushing East Grinstead right to the wire. Both sides have an array of attacking options on show and with both renowned for their free-flowing style of hockey, this promises to be a spectacular clash.
Euro Hockey League media release
IHL Men's Final: Preview
By Stephen Findlater
The climax of the men’s Irish Hockey League season is ready to roll at Grange Road with Banbridge, Monkstown, Three Rock Rovers and Pembroke all fighting out it out for the national title and a place in Europe.
For County Down side Banbridge, they lie just two wins away from a perfect season having already won the Irish Senior Cup for the first time in 29 years. In addition, the Ulster Premier League, Anderson Cup and Kirk Cup are also residing in Havelock Park for the summer and they will be hoping to continue their immaculate unbeaten form through to Sunday. They have done so despite the long-term absence of Irish internationals Philip Brown but they have an array of attacking options with Eugene Magee the pivot around which everything works. Owen Magee was superb on finals weekend on the attack while Irish caps Matthew Bell, Gareth Lennox and Drew Carlisle hold the fort to strong effect. The tie could also be experienced striker Dane Ward’s last game for the club as he moves to London for work reasons in the wake of the tie.
Standing in their way is a Pembroke side keen for vengeance following their 4-0 loss to Bann in the Irish Senior Cup semi-final a couple of weeks ago. They will hope that goalkeeper Mark Ingram will be fit and back in the mix after being stretchered off the last time the two clubs met with a head injury. The coaching team of David Passmore and Paddy Conlon will have picked through that performance in a bid to turn things around but will certainly have the underdog status.
The other semi-final pits reigning champions Monkstown against Three Rock Rovers in a repeat of last year’s battle at the same stage. Town shaded that one in extra time and will be bouyed by the return of Swiss star Fabian Wullschleger – who lined out in their final group game against Annadale – after international duty at the indoor World Cup and the World League. The cosmopolitan reigning champions – who also have a French and German player in their ranks - have had the edge over Rovers in the Leinster league this season, winning twice.
Richard Sykes’ drag-flicks will be a key threat as will the strike-power of Gareth Watkins, Davy Carson and Peter Caruth is all are in tandem, quite a handful for a young Rovers’ defence. Three Rock’s heavy injury list looks to have abated in recent weeks, though, meaning Joe Brennan has a full deck to pick from with the player-coach among those to have missed quite a bit of hockey during the season. Peter Blakeney’s aggression and Ali Haughton’s pace down the flanks will be key elements for them while it could be a formative date for their large portion of Under-21 players. That second semi-final takes place at 5pm in Grange Road with the final a day later at 4pm on Sunday.
The final berth in the 2015/16 expanded Irish Hockey League, meanwhile, will be determined over the weekend with Railway Union, Instonians and UCC battling it out for that one-spot in a round-robin tournament that gets underway on Friday evening.
Men’s Irish Hockey League (all at Three Rock Rovers, Grange Road, Rathfarnham):
Semi-finals (Saturday): Banbridge vs Pembroke, 3pm; Monkstown vs Three Rock Rovers, 5pm
Final (Sunday): 4pm
Friday: Railway Union vs Instonians, 7.30pm
Saturday: Instonians vs UCC, 1.15pm
Sunday: UCC vs Railway Union, 1pm
Irish Hockey Association media release
IHL Women's Final: Preview
By Stephen Findlater,
Former champions UCD, Pegasus and Loreto along with Hermes will all be hoping to land Irish Hockey League glory this weekend at Grange Road in what is the highlight of the annual club season.
Reigning champions UCD – with an array of international stars – face Pegasus on Saturday morning in the first semi-final at 10.30am. They do have a doubt over the fitness of key striker Anna O’Flanagan – who has scored over 30 goals this season – following a nasty ankle injury sustained in the Netherlands last Monday while in European club action, necessitating a set of crutches to aid her journey home. At that stage, it was unclear how much damage was done amid the swelling but, if absent, could leave Jonathan Harte’s side shy a potent attacking force.
Nonetheless, Nikki Evans was hugely impressive in their run to sixth place in the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup as were Sarah Greene, Katie Mullan and Leah Ewart at the back. But the fatigue of three major tournaments within a month – five of UCD’s side were part of the World League round two gold medal winning side – could take its toll.
They meet a Pegasus side – the 2011 champions – in something of a transitional phase with Pamela Glass, Claire McMahon, Sharon Moffett and Arlene Boyles retiring in recent times. Stephanie Quinn and Suzanne Beaney, though, are both top quality performers while Ayeisha McFerran and Hannah Grieve are growing all the time into the panel since moving to the club.
The second semi-final pairs Dublin rivals Loreto and Hermes. The latter were left stunned by Ulster Elks in the Irish Senior Cup final a fortnight ago, ending their hopes of a quartet of titles.
Hermes had won the Leinster league and the Jacqui Potter Cup crown and they will be keen to bounce back quickly from that Senior Cup setback. They are bidding to win the IHL for the first time with Loreto, the side that beat them to the 2009 edition, providing an opposition rich in historic rivalry. The clubs shared the spoils in the Leinster league, with Hermes winning on the final day of the season to land the title and drop the Beaufort side into fifth place.
But Loreto are different side with their full international quotient of Hannah Matthews, Nicci Daly, Lizzie Colvin and Ali Meeke – who have recently been joined by Hayley Mulcahy – and they picked up an impressive 3-0 win over Hermes. As such, this looks set to be a combative tie. If Hermes can get speedsters Aisling Naughton, Aine Connery and Sinead Loughran going, they will pose a huge threat while Loreto have similarly strong options in attack and defence to push their claims.
It sets the scene for an exciting finals weekend with the winners of the semi-finals meeting at the same venue on Sunday at 1.30pm.
Women’s Irish Hockey League (all at Three Rock Rovers, Grange Road, Rathfarnham):
Semi-finals (Saturday): Pegasus vs UCD, 10.30am; Loreto vs Hermes, 12.30pm
Final (Sunday): 1.30pm
Irish Hockey Association media release
Experience the drama and excitement of Scottish Cup & Plate Finals Day in Glasgow!
The Scottish Cup & Plate Finals are a real highlight in the hockey calendar, with FOUR fantastic finals being staged at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Saturday 18 April:
Can Grange retain the Men's Scottish Cup for the second season running or will Edinburgh University rise to the occasion to win their first ever Scottish Cup?
Will Milne Craig Clydesdale Western's attempts to win the Women's Scottish Cup for the second time in three seasons end in success or are Grove Menzieshill ready to claim the silverware for the first time since 2012?
Can Falkirk GHG cause an upset when they take on PSL Team Sport Clydesdale in the Men's Scottish Plate final?
Are the students from Edinburgh University III set to take on the challenge of playing Dundee Wanderers in the Women's Scottish Plate?
Come along and support your club during an action-packed day of hockey, including nail-biting drama and exciting match-ups, as some of Scotland's top teams battle it out for the top domestic cup and plate competitions.
As well as all the hockey action, see the presentations to the competing teams including trophies and medals, plus music to keep the atmosphere going as you cheer on your chosen team.
Refreshments are available on site via the venue café, while car parking is also available at the venue car park (please note that there is a charge for parking on-site)
We look forward to seeing you there!
As well as all the hockey action, see the presentations to the competing teams including trophies and medals, plus music to keep the atmosphere going as you cheer on your chosen team.
Refreshments are available on site via the venue café, while car parking is also available on Ballater Street and King's Drive (note that the venue car park will be closed off to spectators).
Entry is on a 'Pay At The Gate' basis; £5 for Adults, U16 & Senior Citizens are FREE
We look forward to seeing you there!
10.00 Women's Scottish Plate Final, Dundee Wanderers v Edinburgh University III
12.00 Men's Scottish Plate Final, PSL Team Sport Clydesdale v Falkirk GHG
14.00 Women's Scottish Cup Final, Milne Craig Clydesdale Western v Grove Menzieshill
16.00 Men's Scottish Cup Final, Grange v Edinburgh University
Scottish Hockey Union media release
LAHORE - Pakistan Railways and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police have won their matches in league stage of the 10th Nishan-e-Haider Hockey Tournament at the Dring Stadium Friday.
According to Pakistan Hockey FedreRailways defeated Multan 6-2 and KP Police beat Bahawalpur by 5-2. Railways dominated the proceedings of the first match from the beginning. M Umar converted a penalty corner in the seventh minute. Three field goals by Waji-ul-Hassan in the 16th, 17th and 45th minutes respectively further strengthened the position of Railmen. Team captain Rizwan and M Ramzan made a move in the 20th minute and the latter neatly flicked the ball into the goalpost. Shaharyar netted the fifth goal for his team in the 55th minute. Apart from the scorers, Shah Zaib played very well and was instrumental in making some productive moves.
Trailing by four goals, Multan lads seemed different in the third and fourth quarts. Their forwards launched a series of attacks on their opponents and pressed them hard for a considerable period of time. They demonstrated brilliant passing and control of the ball and succeeded in scoring two goals. Adil Hussain and M Khurram launched an attack soon after the match resumed in the third quart and Akbar Ali, who got a short pass in the D, made no mistake in the 31st minute. M Usman’s goal in the 56th minute reduced the margin. Multan wasted six penalty corners.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Ms Imrana Ajmal was the chief guest whom moving spirit of the tournament Mehr Riaz presented a memento. The spectators witnessed a thrilling contest in the match between KP Police and Bahawalpur.
Both the teams displayed aggressive stick-work and fought hard to take control of the ball.
The visitors took lead in the ninth minute through a field goal by Adeel which was leveled by Mansoor of the hosts in the 27th minute. Adeel scored his second goal in the 31st minute for KP. Team captain Jameel Khan, Asif Khan and Touseeq Ahmed scored goals in the 36th, 48th and 55th minutes respectively.
Local boys did not lose heart and continued to attack ferociously but they failed to finish their moves successfully. They got two back-to-back penalty corners in the 49th minute of which Mukhtar converted one.
TODAY (SATURDAY)’S FIXTURES: Port Qasim vs Asia Ghee Mills, Wapda vs Flying Horse Club.
FIH release schedule for the men’s Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Home Advantage for Argentina Men
FIH) have released the pools and match schedule for the men’s Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Hockey World League Semi-Final is a qualifier for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with three guaranteed places available to the ten teams competing in the Semi-Final leg in Argentina.
The Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires takes place from 3 June 2015 and concludes with the Finals and play-offs on 14 June 2015. The ten teams making up the pools are a mixture of automatic qualifiers courtesy of their world rankings (at time of entry) and the teams who join via their successful participation in Round 2 of the Hockey World League.
The event will take place in the ‘Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo’ (CeNARD), Buenos Aires. It is the first time in its history, that the CeNARD will host a hockey event of this size and prestige, and a hockey event with so much at stake.
2014 World Cup Silver medallists the Netherlands line up in Pool A alongside New Zealand, Korea and qualifiers from Round 2, Japan and Egypt. While London 2012 Olympic champions Germany are joined in Pool B by host nation and 2014 World Cup Bronze Medallists Argentina, Spain and Round 2 qualifiers Canada and Austria.
FIH President, Leandro Negre said: “The Argentinian fans are passionate about hockey and will be providing amazing support to their team at this fantastic venue. With Olympic qualification at stake, this will be a competitive and exciting event.“
Pool A Pool B
New Zealand Argentina
To see the complete event schedule,please click here.
Punching above their weight
The Hockey World League Semi-Finals are the events where hockey dreams can come true, but is it possible for a team ranked 29th in the world to overturn the form books? When Uruguay face the likes of Germany and the USA, they are playing teams that are ranked more than 20 places above them, but also in their pool are South Africa, a team that knows that rankings can be overturned and no side can be discounted.
The South American team has a short hockey history. While other Pan-American nations such as Argentina, USA and Canada have long been involved in international events and competing on the global stage, Uruguay’s activities has largely been restricted to competition on the American continent. A bronze medal in the 2007 Pan American Games and a third place finish in the 2014 South American Games are the team’s best achievements to date.
At this year’s Round Two event, held in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, Uruguay demonstrated just how far the team has come in the past few months. Comprehensive victories over fellow Pan-American teams, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, as well as a victory in the early round against eventual winners Italy meant that Uruguay out performed three teams with a higher ranking. Head coach Gonzalo Ferrer, will be looking to build on the success his team enjoyed at the Round Two event and will be reminding his team that a David and Goliath ending is never out of the question.
A team that is often cast in the role of the underdog is the South African women’s hockey team. Currently ranked 11th in the world, South Africa are more than capable of upsetting the form book. In Valencia, new head coach Sheldon Rostron will be looking for his charges to challenge the higher ranked teams for a quarter-final place.
The two teams will compete in Pool B in Valencia, Spain – a pool that also includes top 10-ranked teams Germany (6), the USA (5), and another Round Two qualifier, Ireland (14).
Should either side make it to the quarter-finals, then they face the likes of Argentina (3), China (7), Great Britain (8), Spain (15) and Canada (20).
While Uruguay will be an unknown quantity to most of their rivals, South Africa are well-known. At the 2014 Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands they surprised England - who were ranked third in the world at the time – with a smash and grab 4-1 victory, and they came close to upsetting the Chinese in a thrilling 4-3 encounter. Although they lost to both Germany and USA in that event, the matches were close and South Africa proved they are not afraid to play attacking hockey.
Both Uruguay and South Africa have players in their teams who can turn matches. The advantage the South Africans have over their pool rivals is a squad of great experience including players such as Nicolene Terblanche, Illse Davids, Shelley Russell and Dirkie Chamberlain – all players who have experienced World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Olympic competition.
On the Uruguayan team, players that shone at the recent Hockey World League Round Two competition include the team’s top scorers Florencia Norbis and Sofia Mora, and Constanza Barrandeguy who was voted young player of the tournament in Montevideo.
South Africa will travel to Valencia knowing that they have the ability to cause an upset against the higher-ranked teams. Their form at the Hockey World Cup demonstrated that. But when they face Uruguay, roles will be reversed and as Sheldon Rostron and his team know so well, underdogs have a fierce bite.
Make Your Mark!
Taking centre stage - the rise of the volunteer
One phenomena which has really taken major hockey events by storm in the past few years has been the rise of the volunteer. It was at the London 2012 Olympics when we first saw the status of volunteers change from a dedicated, but largely anonymous workforce, to a body of people who are now at the heart of any successful major sports event.
But volunteering in its many guises has been around since sports clubs began and, when the Queen's New Year honours list in Great Britain was revealed at the start of this year, one recipient epitomised the spirit of volunteering that is so much at the core of hockey across the globe.
Jim Barrow is the president of Wilmslow Hockey Club in England, and, for most of his 83-year life, he has been volunteering his services in different roles within the sport, from founding the Parish Youth Fellowship mixed team in 1947 to spearheading the funding and building of an astroturf pitch at the current site of Wilmslow Hockey Club just over a decade ago. In his time, Jim has been a team captain, treasurer, chairperson and president of the club he has been part of for nearly 70 years.
For his 60 years of voluntary work at both the club and as a county and regional umpire, Jim was awarded the British Empire medal and will be travelling to Buckingham Palace to receive the honour from Queen Elizabeth.
Talking about his years as a volunteer, Jim says: “I have just thoroughly enjoyed my association with the game in all its variations. When I am presenting prizes at junior tournaments, I always start by congratulating the players on choosing hockey. Speaking from experience, I tell them they will meet some very nice people and make friendships that will endure a lifetime, something that still happens to me today.”
Volunteers such as Jim are one of the cornerstones of a successful event. This was perhaps best demonstrated at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, when the event itself was almost upstaged by the humour, dedication and sheer energy of the thousands of volunteers who willingly gave their time. Venue manager for the press centre at the Olympic Hockey Pitch at the time was FIH’s Richard Stainthorpe. He had this to say about the value of volunteers who assist at FIH events.
“Quite simply, our events wouldn't be possible without the tireless work of volunteers who sacrifice their precious time, all for the love of the game. They are always enthusiastic and their importance in the running of our events cannot be overstated.”
And Hayley Roach, who worked with hockey volunteers in 2014 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, added: “As a recruiter of volunteers in Glasgow, the challenge was tougher as we required less volunteers than we did in London, but we had so many people who wanted to get involved. Glasgow benefited from the massive success of London.”
“Volunteer qualities included dedication and commitment - both financial and personal. Volunteers for both events were selected from all over the world. They have a massive role to play in delivering big events. Its not only about volunteering for their role at the event, but its about learning and development, training, meeting people from different backgrounds, skills development both personal and professional.”
In The Hague at the 2014 Hockey World Cup, the volunteers were out in force. And they certainly came from all backgrounds. Jelle Spree was in charge of the volunteer programme for the KNHB, the Dutch Hockey Federation. He says: “We used 1,183 volunteers at the World Cup. These ranged in age from 16 years-old to nearly 80.” They also came from a range of backgrounds, with a varied skill-set.
Jelle explained that a team from KNHB had visited London during the 2012 Olympics and witnessed the volunteers there in action. “To be honest with you, London set the bar very high. We saw how kind all the volunteers were and that is something we impressed upon our people.”
The process of recruitment began two years prior to the World Cup, and 1,400 people from the 20 hockey clubs near the Hague applied. Once selected, the volunteers attended workshops and meetings and a network of communication was built up.
“For the volunteers, the network is one of the benefits,” said Jelle. “We introduced volunteers to some of our partnership organisations if we felt there was a good fit. This had the potential of leading to other opportunities. But really, the biggest benefit was being part of something unique.”
Looking to future events, Jelle said one of the biggest things he had learnt from the World Cup experience was the importance of personally getting to know everyone. “It is no good seeing a photo or an application form. You must get to know everyone and learn what their capabilities are.”