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News for 16 January 2020

All the news for Thursday 16 January 2020

Chinglensana relishes 'fresh start' at Pro League

Chinglensana  sustained a fracture on his right ankle during the 9th senior men’s national championship where he led his team to the title.   -  S. Subramanium

Indian hockey team mid-fielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam said on Wednesday he was unsure if he would make a comeback from an ankle injury that kept him away from the game for a year.

Chinglensana  sustained a fracture on his right ankle during the 9th senior men’s national championship where he led his team to the title.

“It was a very difficult phase for me. I was not allowed to use my lower body much which resulted in me gaining about 5-6 kilos. I was not sure if I could come back again into the Indian team,” recalled Chinglensana who last played for India at the FIH Men’s World Cup in December 2018.

He will return to action at the FIH Hockey Pro League after a year-long break. It was not until October last year that Chinglensana held the stick once again.

“I didn’t play hockey for about eight months but I never gave up hope. During this period I ensured I stayed fit, followed a systematic routine provided by our scientific advisor Robin Arkel which involved gym, cycling and I followed a strict diet.

“It was important to ensure my weight was under control. I had given up on rice completely,” he said.

Fresh start

With chief coach Graham Reid recalling him into the squad for the matches against the Netherlands, Chinglensana feels he needs to give his 100 per cent to prove his worth.

“I am happy to earn the India jersey again. I need to make this opportunity count. With a good talent pool available, every player has to prove his place in the team and I am no different.

“I see this as a fresh start for me and I am looking forward to a good contest against the Netherlands,” stated the Arjuna Awardee.

India will take on the Netherlands on January 18 and 19 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium here.


Jackson raring to go for Irish indoor return in Santander

John Jackson will captain the Irish indoor side. Pic: Adrian Boehm

After 33 years wait, the Irish men’s indoor side finally return to action on Friday with a double-header against Wales (11am) and Scotland (5pm) in Santander in the EuroHockey Championships III.

Quite where they stand will only become apparent as the tournament goes along but captain John Jackson says the side Is “raring to go and the lads are chomping at the bit”.

After the devastation of October’s Olympic qualifiers, John Jackson is extremely grateful to have a quickly get back into action in an Irish shirt and attempt to heal some of the wounds from Vancouver.

With precious little outdoor action on the horizon in 2020 for the Green Machine, the 33-year-old is thrilled to captain the Irish indoor side that will play in the EuroHockey Championships II in Santander next week.

Jackson was just a year old the last time Ireland competed internationally indoors before the Irish Hockey Union decided to halt its involvement in the six-a-side form of the game.

Since then, the Belfast native has been one of the masters of the code in England, winning three championships with Loughborough University, often in front of crowds of over 5,000 in Wembley arena, as well as playing in European club tournaments in Russia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

He also reached the final four regularly with Reading and then player-coached rank outsiders Bath Buccaneers to the 2018 final with Irish team mate Stephen West in goals.

It is something he has a real passion for but lining out in green was something he thought was set to pass him by.

“When I heard the like of Rob Abbott and Kenny Carroll were putting this together [in 2018], I got straight on the phone,” Jackson said. “This is something I have been hoping and looking forward to since I started playing and was desperate to be involved.

“Pulling on the green shirt again is something I always relish but is a new and exciting challenge, particularly given how the last few months have gone.”

That is a reference to how his Tokyo dreams with the outdoor squad went up in smoke in horrific fashion, a hotly contested final second video referral denying them victory over Canada.

For Jackson, he says that having the indoor Euros to look forward to has been cathartic for him and, potentially, for the men’s game in general in the country.

“I hope it will be part of something much bigger; I really don’t want it to be a flash in the pan or a one-off. I hope it will grow and become a bigger part of our calendar and younger kids will aspire to be part of it.

“It was always something on my radar and was something spoken about long before the Olympic qualifiers in Canada, something I wanted to be involved with. Had we qualified, whatever the preparation we had, this is something I would have asked the coach that I could be involved with, no matter if we had a warm-weather training camp or whatever. It is something I wanted for years.

“Following some reflection, I thought this was something really good that my next involvement with Irish hockey will help the men’s game recover from a hugely disappointing October.

“This is a chance for all of us to restart and hopefully be part of something which becomes much bigger and do something better than what we have done before. It’s a fresh start in a fresh decade.”

With over 200 outdoor caps, Jackson is the best known name in an eclectic panel named by coach Carroll.

Former Zimbabwean captain Rowland Rixon-Fuller has his papers in order having lived in Leinster for over a decade. Neal Glassey was Jackson’s indoor protégé at Mossley and has impressed in recent weeks in the German league – the best club competition in the world – scoring for Crefelder HTC.

Michael and Callum Robson have also had an education in the code at that German club. Ross Canning, meanwhile, has been Three Rock Rovers’ star man in their recent run of dominance of the Irish scene. His father Liam was part of the last international teams back in the 80s..

40-year-old Brendan Parsons is an indoor specialist who has not played outdoors for a number of years while Bandon man Jason Lynch is the sole Munster man included.

They will take on hosts Spain, Scotland, Wales and Slovenia in the tournament which starts on Friday, January 17th.

Neal Glassey in action for Crefelder HTC earlier this month. Pic: Hans Kramhöller

Jackson recognises a few names from the Scottish and Welsh line-ups but, in reality, form guides are anyone’s guess.

“We are probably the most unknown and none of them will have any info on us! The beauty of indoor is it’s a much more structured game and has much fewer moving parts. With only a handful of players, it can come together a lot quicker than an outdoor setup can and hopefully we can turn a few heads!

“The only thing we really know is a few of the names of the Scottish and Welsh teams who have been around the circuit. Stephen Dick has played a hell of a lot of indoor for Scotland; Joey Naughalty for Wales and Ioan Wall who played in the outdoor Euros. Spain are reasonably inexperienced so it is completely unknown.”

Top spot will earn promotion to the second tier in Europe.

Ireland Men Indoor Squad – Santander January 17th- 19th 2020 EuroHockey Indoor Championship III: Ross Canning (Three Rock Rovers), Mark English (Three Rock Rovers), Neal Glassey (Crefelder THC – Germany), John Jackson (captain, Team Bath Buccaneers – England), Jason Lynch (vice captain, Monkstown), Harry Morris (Three Rock Rovers), Stephen O’Keeffe (GK, Railway Union), Brendan Parsons (Railway Union), Rowland Rixon Fuller (Glenanne), Callum Robson (Crefelder THC), Michael Robson (Crefelder THC), Stephen West (GK, Team Bath Buccaneers)

EuroHockey Indoor Championships III (all in Santander, times Irish):

Friday: Ireland v Wales, 11am; Ireland v Scotland, 5pm

Saturday: Ireland v Spain, 11.25am; Ireland v Slovenia, 4.40pm

Sunday: classification matches

The Hook

Hockey Ireland claims video referral at Olympic qualifier was not fit for purpose

Ireland men’s side lost out on penalties after Canada scored late equaliser in Vancouver

Johnny Watterson

Ireland’s Jonathan Bell discusses a video review with the referee that led to Canada being awarded a penalty shot with no time left during the second half of the FIH Men’s Olympic Qualifier match at Rutledge Field in Vancouver. Photograph: Darryl Dyck/Sportsfile
Hockey Ireland (HI) has condemned the video referral system for the Olympic qualification event in Vancouver last October that saw Ireland controversially fail to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. HI said in a statement the system was not fit for purpose.

In the second men’s Olympic qualifying match against the home side Ireland lost on penalties following a Canadian equaliser in the final seconds of the game.

The equalising goal came from a penalty, which was awarded after the use of a Canadian video referral, where the angles and quality were limited. Ireland subsequently lost out on an Olympic berth following a penalty shootout in which they led 3-1.

“Hockey Ireland are of the view that the broadcast quality and number of camera angles available in respect of the qualification series were not of a level to facilitate Video Referral,” said a HI statement.

HI added that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has been unable to provide adequate responses to the queries raised following the series and it is their understanding that there are no specific minimum standards in relation to the set-up and delivery of the video referral system in hockey.

Irish hockey also sought clarification from the FIH in relation to the minimum standards to ensure adequate broadcast quality, as well as an availability of a minimum number of camera angles. The FIH have been unable to provide any clarification.

The difficult part for the Irish players, who have nothing to play for this year because of the Olympics, is to accept that there is no way the result against Canada can now be challenged.

“Hockey Ireland however, as a result of the lack of regulations in respect of Video Referral, have no grounds on which to challenge the FIH in relation to the incident,” the statement read.

“Hockey Ireland regrettably must therefore conclude that they have exhausted all avenues in respect of a potential appeal regarding the outcome of the series and the non-qualification of the men’s team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

The Irish women’s hockey team did qualify for Tokyo 2020 for the first time in history, when they won a penalty shootout against Canada in Energia Park after drawing over two legs.

The Irish Times

Sophie Bray and Sam Ward voted UK hockey players of the year

By The Hockey Paper

Sophie Bray receives her award from Investec’s Lucy Oman PIC: Andy Mair

Have there been two more popular winners? Sophie Bray and Sam Ward have been voted UK hockey players of the year for 2019 by members of the Hockey Writers’ Club (HWC) following Wednesday’s awards lunch in London.

Bray was honoured as the Investec women’s player of the year award for the first time, after she previously won the HWC junior award in 2007, while Ward wins the men’s senior award for the second time in three years.

Both winners are firsts for their clubs. Bray is the first female player from East Grinstead to receive the award and no Old Georgians player had previously won the men’s award.

Bray said: “It means an awful lot when you look at the past winners. It’s something I’m incredibly proud of. I didn’t expect to be nominated, let alone win the award.

“I wouldn’t have won this award without my EG team-mates. I have an incredible team behind me. The midfield is one of the best there is and they would argue I would score a few more goals but they create a lot of chances for me.

Commanding respect

Bray, 29, has been in blistering club form since her international retirement in early 2019.

The forward scored four goals in the 2019 Jaffa Super 6s women’s final as East Grinstead won their second title in four years. She was also joint top scorer with 18 goals as East Grinstead made it through to the end of season League Finals at Lee Valley.

At the West Sussex club, she is regarded as an instrumental role model due to her coaching work with East Grinstead juniors.

Her coach, Mary Booth, said: “She commands respect from us all and has brought her high standards of performance and behaviours to our club. Her determination, knowledge and passion enable those around her to improve their own performance.”

Bray’s Investec player of the year award means that a Rio Olympian has now won the women’s category for the 16th time spanning the last 17 years, underlining the depth of talent and experience in that gold medal-winning squad.

Bray was voted ahead of her former GB team-mates Hannah Martin, in second, and Lily Owsley and Anna Toman, who were tied third.

I’m shocked, admits Ward

Meanwhile Ward told of his “utter shock” following a challenging year, as he claimed his second men’s award after winning in 2017.

Ward scored eight goals for GB in the inaugural FIH Pro League, as well as helping Old Georgians secure promotion to the men’s Premier Division for the first time in the club’s history.

This season, he had scored seven goals in four games before being picked for GB’s Olympic qualifiers against Malaysia.

The GB forward is currently recovering from a career-threatening injury sustained in November against Malaysia after he suffered a crushed retina and facial fractures after being struck in the face by a team-mate’s shot.

Ward had scored twice to help GB secure Tokyo 2020 qualification and the hockey fraternity rallied in support of the 28-year-old following his surgery and positive outlook on social media.

Ward, who was unable to attend the awards with GB coach Paul Revington receiving on his behalf, said: “I was in utter shock when I was told I had won it. It was a challenging year and so to have this award is pretty amazing on the back end of everything that has happened, with a broken thumb and then a head injury at the end of the year.

“When you look at it overall with Old Georgians being promoted to the Premier Division and how we started this season and then, on top of that, to realise a dream of playing an Olympic Games and to do it in such fashion in the Malaysia games.”

On his injury, he said: “It’s perspective and overall whether I come back or not, I am very proud of my career. There are bigger things in life and, if anything, I find it so humbling with the support I’ve got.”

Ward was voted winner ahead of Zach Wallace, who has been in fine form so early in his international career, and David Ames, who had a standout year for England and GB.
The Hockey Paper will have a full feature in our next print issue, including the four junior award winners. Subscribe now!



1983 Margaret Gleghorne; Paul Barber
1984 Karen Brown; Richard Leman
1985 Linda Carr; Sean Kerly
1986 Moira McLeod; Ian Taylor
1987 Violet McBride; Imran Sherwani
1988 Barbara Hambly; Jon Potter
1989 Vickey Dixon; David Faulkner
1990 Maggie Souyave; Andy Halliday
1991 Joanne Thompson; Jason Laslett
1992 Jane Sixsmith; Rob Hill
1993 Sandie Lister; Julian Halls
1994 Karen Brown; Simon Mason
1995 Tammy Miller; Ian Jennings
1996 Kathryn Johnson; Bobby Crutchley
1997 Karen Brown; Jon Wyatt
1998 Carolyn Reid; David Hacker
1999 Christina Cullen; Chris Ashcroft
2000 Jane Sixsmith; Mark Pearn
2001 Jane Smith; Danny Hall
2002 Leisa King; Robert Todd
2003 Kate Walsh; Simon Mason
2004 Crista Cullen; Barry Middleton
2005 Crista Cullen; Jonathan Ebsworth
2006 Crista Cullen; James Tindall
2007 Kate Walsh; Barry Middleton
2008 Beth Storry; Ali McGregor
2009 Helen Richardson; Ashley Jackson
2010 Helen Richardson; Barry Middleton
2011 Alex Danson; Mark Pearn
2012 Kate Walsh; Barry Middleton
2013 Maddie Hinch; Adam Dixon
2014 Susannah Townsend; Iain Lewers
2015 Maddie Hinch; Iain Lewers
2016 Maddie Hinch; Dan Fox
2017 Hollie Pearne-Webb; Sam Ward
2018 Giselle Ansley; Alan Forsyth
2019 Sophie Bray; Sam Ward

The Hockey Paper

Youth and Junior winners announced at prestigious Hockey awards

The winners of the 2020 Hockey Writers’ Club youth and junior awards for 2019 received their awards at the annual presentation lunch on January 15 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London.

The four inductees of the prestigious Hockey Writers' Club youth awards join an illustrious cast of past winners, including Rio Olympic Games gold medalists Maddie Hinch and Sophie Bray.

The judging panel sought information from coaches, clubs and schools, with the judges considering not just hockey ability but players’ personal qualities and potential for future development.


Youth, Boys under-18 – Ben Wall (Whitchurch HC, Caldicott School)
Youth, Girls under-18 – Raphaella Robeson (Wellington College & Wimbledon HC)
Junior, Girls under-16 – Claudia Swain (Repton School & Repton HC)
Junior, Boys under-16 – Thomas Leadlay (Eltham College and Blackheath & Elthamians HC)

Boys under-18 - Ben Wall

Ben Wall with Hockey Writers Club chairman Charles Randall

Ben, who is aged 16, originally played for Gwent HC and has moved to Whitchurch HC this season and currently attends Caldicot School, a non-hockey school for boys, though it is offered to girls. Ben, who plays in midfield and defence, attended his first NAGS camp when he was 12 and has since played for Wales U16, U18 and U21s. Ben is also a junior coach at Gwent HC, coaching the U9s mixed team and played against Scotland and in the European under-21 competition. Underlining his commitment to the sport, Ben and his sister set up and ran a hockey club at their old primary school and there are now hockey players in the years below.

Girls under-18 - Raphaella Robeson

Raphaella Robeson with former GB GK Coach John Hurst and GB Coach Mark Hager

Goalkeeper Raph joined the senior set up at Wimbledon this season and has completed her first half of the season in the Ladies 1st Team in the Investec East Conference Premier Division. “She has done amazingly well, being such a young person within a very talented adult environment,” said Simon Organ, Wimbledon coach. “I am very proud to see how she has developed both as a goalkeeper and how she has matured with her thinking and communication skills amongst older people. She has been selected for Wessex Leopards at the England Hockey Futures Cup and England U16 NAGS. Raph has also trained with England Hockey to be a Level 1 umpire, and is also active as a coach with Wimbledon’s junior goalkeeper programme. She is also establishing her own website for goalkeepers, with objectives to provide support and guidance. She is also a fine swimmer, recently completing two official cross channel swim relays at her school (2016 and 2018) and raising £8000 for charity.

Boys under-16 - Thomas Leadlay 

Thomas Leadlay with Hockey Writers Club chairman Charles Randall

Thomas, who plays left midfield, has been playing for Blackheath & Elthamians HC since he was aged eight. Still only aged 13, his passion for hockey is not limited to just playing but also volunteering as a young helper (coaching and umpiring) at both the club and his school. Thomas has been supported in his rise by Edd Thorogood, Head of Sports at Eltham College, and Blackheath’s club captain, who has nominated him for this award. He hopes to get stronger physically and mentally over the next couple of years and reach a higher level after receiving plaudits at the club.  He is also planning to take a Level 1 Umpire course as soon as he turns 14.

Girls under-16 - Claudia Swain

Junior Girls U16 winner Claudia Swain with GB Coach Mark Hager

Claudia played for England U16 for the past two seasons, and is now part of the U18 squad. She has been instrumental in many of Repton School's recent titles, including a hat-trick in the U14 final in 2018 and finding U16 successes for the school and club titles last year. She played for Repton HC Ladies 1st VI Indoor Squad as a starting player as they qualified for the National League Division 1, with an average squad age of 18. “Claudia is one of the most exciting prospects that I have coached at Repton,” said Martin Jones. “She has an immense amount of natural ability and raw athleticism. Added to her ever-improving skill level, her determination, hard work and willingness to win she has a bright future in the sport.”



2004 Rebecca Herbert; Darren Cheesman
2005 Nikki Kidd; Ashley Jackson
2006 Maddie Hinch; Dan Barstow
2007 Sophie Bray; Liam Doidge
2008 Alice Sharp; Ben Arnold
2009 Sarah Haycroft; David Condon
2010 Alice Sharp; Andy Bull and Harry Martin

From 2011 onwards the awards were increased to allow a Junior (16-and-under Award to be added.)


(Age 18-and-Under)

2011 Martha Baker; Joe Sharp
2012 Emily Defroand; Luke Taylor
2013 Rebekah Walker; Chris Proctor
2014 Holly Hunt; Liam Sanford
2015 Charlotte Calnan; Toby Reynolds-Cotterill
2016 Kate Axford; Tim Nurse
2017 Hannah Griggs; Matthew Ramshaw
2018 Beth Wood; Jordan Lake
2019 Raph Robeson; Ben Wall


(Age 16-and-Under)

2011 Joanna Leigh; James Albery
2012 Charlotte Daly; Conor Caplan
2013 Alice Wills; Jack Turner
2014 Lizzie Neal; Jack Whelan
2015 Ellie de Heer; Josh Pavis
2016 Darcy Bourne; Alex Pendle
2017 Maddie Goodman; Xavier Teyletche
2018 Aimee Plumb; Ellis Robson
2019 Claudia Swain; Thomas Leadlay 

The Hockey Writers’ Club media release

Hockey Writers' Club Award goes to local Reading journalist

DAVID WRIGHT is the 2020 winner of the Graham Wilson Memorial Award for outstanding service to hockey journalism. The award is in memory of the former Daily Express journalist and former Hockey Writers’ Club chairman, who died in 2016.

David was the first winner of the Chris Moore Memorial Award for local hockey journalism in 1996 and his career has lasted 58 years since joining the Wokingham and Bracknell Times as a 16-year old.

After a decade there he worked in London for three years on the weekly soccer magazine “Goal” before joining the Reading Post in 1974 where he lasted 40 years before it went online. During his time at the Post he also had 22 years of Saturday shift work on the News of the World sports desk

Since 2014 he has been with the Reading Chronicle, Bracknell News and Slough Observer covering football, cricket and ice hockey, as well as hockey for the Reading and Sonning clubs in the Chronicle and the Slough club in the Observer.

On learning of his award David said: “I sincerely thank members of the Hockey Writers' Club for this award. Even just to be nominated is a real honour, so I am absolutely delighted to be named the winner.

“It is extra special as Graham Wilson was a fellow journalist I fully admired and always enjoyed reading his articles and talking to him.

“We have both been fortunate enough to work in a sport where there is a great camaraderie, from the very summit of England Hockey down to the most junior of teams - that's players, coaches and supporters.

“That makes a journalist's job so much easier.”

David received his award at the Hockey Writers’ Lunch from Graham Wilson’s widow Lisa on Wednesday 15 January.

Previous winners of the Graham Wilson Memorial Award:
2017    George Brink
2018    Patrick Rowley
2019    Barry Davies   

The Hockey Writers’ Club media release

SA Invitational U21 Ladies Announced

The eagerly anticipated summer series is back. Maties Hockey will be hosting the South African Women’s Hockey team from the 19 January until the 04 February. The South Africans will take on Ireland and Germany, while the SA U21 Invitational side will take on Netherlands.

Today the SA Hockey Association has great pleasure in announcing the South African U21 Invitational side:

#, Player Name, Province (Represented at IPT)

1, Maboloke Serage, WP
2, Mishka Ellis, NW
3, Jacolene McLaren, NW
4, Samantha Smuts, WP PENS
5, Christa Ramasimong, NW
6, Jean-Leigh Du Toit, NG
7, Jeanri Thomas, Boland
8, Mikkela Le Roux, SFS
9, Kayla de Waal, WP
10, Sare Laubser, NW
11, Zimkhitha Weston, Border
12, Kiara Meyer, EP
13, Tamlin Kock, SG
14, Ammaarah Hendricks, WP
15, Edith Molikoe, EP
16, Cailynn den Bakker, KZN
17, Caylin Maree, EP
18, Laylaa Davids, WP

 Kayla de Waal and Edith Molikoe both join the team after a fantastic tour with the SPAR South Africa Women’s Indoor side that drew with Poland away from home, while the likes of Mishka Ellis, Ammaarah Hendricks and Jean-Leigh du Toit have impressed at PHL as well.

For the U21’s selected in this invitational squad, the focus will be on impressing and staking a claim for a spot in the African Cup later this year and hopefully a view to qualifying for the next FIH Junior World Cup.

SA Invitational U21 Fixtures at Summer Series

23 January – 17:00 – vs. Invitational Side
24 January – 19:00 – vs. Invitational Side
26 January – 15:00 – vs Netherlands U21
28 January – 17:00 – vs. Netherlands U21

SA Hockey Association media release

Seasoned campaigners beat Maybank despite Akhimullah’s lack of form


Focused: Maybank’s Alfarico Lance Liau Jr (left) vying for the ball with Tenaga Nasional’s Muhd Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal during the Malaysia Hockey League match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: National forward Mohd Akhimullah Anuar Esook was a little off form but it did not stop Tenaga Nasional from winning again in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

Tenaga powered by 13 national players pulled off a 2-0 win over Maybank at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday but the 19-year-old Akhimullah lost his scoring touch in his third consecutive match in the league.

He had been on fire by scoring a total of three goals in the first two matches, one against TNB Thunderbolt and two against Kedah-Nurinsafi last week.

While Akhimullah struggled, defender Syed Mohd Syafiq Syed Cholan stepped up to give Tenaga the lead in the 22nd minute off a low drag flick penalty corner that sailed past goalkeeper Mohd Zaimi Mat Deris.And seven minutes later, Mohd Arif Syafie Ishak sounded the board off another penalty corner to make it 2-0.

Tenaga could have increased the score but failed to capitalise many chances they had in the matches.

Akhimullah was clearly disappointed with his game as he hardly made any effort to score a goal.

“I started the league well by netting three goals in the first two matches and was hoping to score again but I was totally off form today, ” said Akhimullah.

“I could not make a proper attempt at goal. I’m really disappointed with my game. I’ll buck up and perform better in the next match.”

Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini admitted Akhimullah was not in the game at all.

“I don’t know what happened to him in this match. He needs to wake up and start playing like a national player, ” said Nor Saiful.

“Overall, the team did not play well either. We conceded three penalty corners in the first quarter before we started making some progress in the match.

“Our strikers were just not playing their normal game. We need to work on their fitness level, ” he said.

For the Tigers, it was their first defeat in three matches.

At the adjacent stadium, Terengganu trounced Kedah-Nurinsafi 8-2 while league champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) also hammered Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) 7-0 at the Tun Razak Stadium to record their third straight win.

The Star of Malaysia

2020 Schools Super 6s Champions Crowned

Cranleigh 2020 Schools Super 6s U16G Champions

The 2020 England Hockey Schools Super 6s competitions came to a thrilling conclusion last weekend as four different schools won the titles on offer.

Whitgift retained the U18 Boys’ trophy with a narrow 3-2 win over Dean Close. Having overcome last year’s runners-up Altrincham Grammar 2-1 in their semi-final, Dean Close took the lead in the first minute in the final through Jacob Paynton.

Whitgift struck back quickly as goals from Dyland Holland and Fin Hurst put them ahead before Paynton struck again to leave the scores level after nine minutes. Then, with just three minutes remaining, Hurst struck again to ensure the trophy would be heading back to Surrey.

Whitgift 2020 Schools Super 6s U18B Champions

Having narrowly lost the U18 Girls’ title to Trent this year, Repton claimed the trophy this year thanks to a 3-0 victory over St George’s College in the final.

Having eased through their pools, Repton beat Wellington College 4-1 in their semi-final. It was a much closer affair between St George’s and Millfield, with the game going to a penalty stroke competition after finishing 1-1, with the former prevailing 7-6.

The final was not so tight as Repton took an early lead through Georgia Brown before second half goals from Sian Emslie and Joana Boehringer sealed the win.

Repton 2020 Schools Super 6s U18G Champions

It was not to be a double victory for Repton however as their U16 girls’ team were beaten to the title by Cranleigh on penalty strokes for a second consecutive year.

Having topped their group with a 100% record – including victory over Cranleigh – Repton then beat Framlingham College 4-1 to reach the final. However Cranleigh put in a fine performance over St Teresa’s – who topped their group with a goal difference of +26 – to win 4-2 and ensure they could reclaim their crown.

And they did exactly that with Matilda Hamilton’s late equaliser cancelling out Bronte-May Brough’s earlier effort, taking the game to a stroke competition where Hamilton and Siena Keijsers were on target.

Cranleigh 2020 Schools Super 6s U16G Champions

The final competition of the weekend saw St Lawrence College claim the U16 Boys’ title after a narrow victory over Ipswich in the final.

The Kent-based team headed into the final full of confidence having beaten reigning champions Whitgift 3-2 in their semi-final, while Ipswich overcame Dean Close on a shootout after a 0-0 draw.

In a game of few chances, Tassilo Sura scored the winner in the final minute to ensure it was his school who were crowned this year’s champions.

St Lawrence College 2020 Schools Super 6s U16B Champions

Congratulations to everyone who competed over the weekend. You can view all of the results by clicking here.

England Hockey Board Media release

GB hockey's Alex Danson-Bennett opens up about her concussion struggle

'You need specialist care at the early stages of a head injury'

Fiona Tomas

Alex Danson-Bennett was concussed in 2018 after hitting her head while on holiday Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Alex Danson-Bennett has spoken of her renewed optimism at overcoming her “treatable” post-concussion symptoms since returning to train with Great Britain hockey - but warned athletes navigating the “debilitating” symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury must receive better support in the early stages of their recovery.

Danson-Bennett was concussed in 2018 after hitting her head on a brick wall in a freak incident while on holiday with her then fiance, Alex Bennett. Since rejoining the Great Britain squad at its Bisham Abbey training base on January 6, the Rio Olympic gold medallist has taken part in high-intensity running and bike sessions, but revealed she was still suffering from post-concussion symptoms, notably headaches. 

The 34-year-old has not been included in Great Britain’s squad for their opening Pro-League fixtures against Australia next month as she continues to prioritise her graduated return to full fitness. Central to the 34-year-old’s recovery has been a bespoke graded exercise programme as well as physiotherapy and neuropsychology sessions from Hobbs Rehabilitation, an independent neurologist provider.

“I believe you need specialist care at the early stages of a head injury, which I receive via Hobbs, but it took me a long time to find them,” Danson-Bennett told Telegraph Sport. “Now, it couldn’t be any better. I have physiotherapy every single day. I can see a doctor every week. Everybody here [at Bisham Abbey] knows me and knows my character and that if I could be on the pitch, I’d be there, but not everybody is that fortunate though, which is why it’s important to highlight just how debilitating head injuries can be.”

She continued: “There isn’t one in-patient facility for anyone with mild traumatic brain injuries in the country. I would love for that to change. What part I can play in that at this stage is unknown, but I think that’s something that could be - and should be - something that sports people and people who have gone to work and hit their head at home can all access. Also, the diagnostics is fabulous in this country but, the recovery after... I feel a lot more can be done.”

Danson-Bennett was part of the Great Britain side that won gold at Rio 2016 Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS

Research into mild traumatic brain injuries remains scant among females, although studies have shown women are prone to concussion more than men and endure a longer recovery. Where a woman is at in her menstrual cycle is also thought to influence concussion likelihood, while embryonic studies in the US have suggested women taking the hormonal contraception pill at the time of a head impact may experience less severe symptoms.

Like fellow Great Britain teammate Shona McCallin - who was sidelined for 10 months after sustaining concussion in March 2018 - Danson-Bennett was not taking the pill at the time of being concussed.

“There’s tons of different things I’ve read about what can lead to concussion,” said Danson-Bennett. “I’ve got my own theories, but there’s no science to back it up. I have tried everything since my head injury - whether it be diet, every single holistic treatment you can find - I think I’ve probably tried it.”

She added: “But I do think it’s treatable. At the moment, if you have been diagnosed with concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury, your rehab is to go home and rest and I believe there’s so much more that can be done in that phase.”

Danson-Bennett’s return to the Great Britain setup was announced less than a month after her fellow Rio teammate Nicola White was transitioned away from the central programme. White, who documented her struggles in a special report on female concussion by Telegraph Sport last year, was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome following a head injury in March 2018.

“No one’s is necessarily worse or better, but it wasn’t helpful for me at the start to compare symptoms,” said Danson-Bennett. I just had to think about getting well, getting myself better. Of course we’ve been in touch to wish each other well and make sure each other is doing well, but I just simply wasn’t well enough to place any phone calls, read any messages or do anything for myself at that stage. The thing is, it’s invisible. Even now, I’m so delighted to be in, but no one can tell if I have a headache.”

Having postponed her wedding last year as a result of her ongoing symptoms, Danson-Bennett decided to press ahead with her rescheduled marriage just 10 days after her sister Claire - a former age-grade European triathlete champion - was paralysed from the waist down during a training ride in August.

“She’s making so many improvements and I’m so proud of how she dealt with such a horrific injury,” said Danson-Bennett. “Not being able to walk again is a horrific thought for any of us, but I think she’s shining a light on all the additional health related problems with spinal cord injuries - your bladder, your bowels, your skincare, your blood pressure - it’s like relearning all over again.

She added: “The past year has given us the most enormous perspective. I thought I had perspective before, but I think the irony is you don’t know you have perspective until you have perspective.”

The Telegraph

Malawi enters new hockey era

When FIH awarded Malawi the prestigious Pablo Negre Award in 2016, the Malawi Hockey Association found itself in a situation where, in theory, possibilities were boundless, but the reality was much tougher.

The award meant that Malawi would be given a Hockey Turf carpet and floodlights, which would make a huge difference to the level of training and competition possible. However, it also meant that the Association had to find the means to pay for and build the infrastructure so the use of the pitch could be maximised. As an African country with an economy largely based on agriculture and ranked among the poorest countries in the world, this was going to be a huge ask.

The fact that just three years later, the pitch is installed and ready to use is a tribute to the hard work and commitment that the Association, Polytan and Musco Lighting have poured into the project. The story is one of collaboration and determination.

In getting the pitch to a state of readiness, the Malawi Hockey Association persuaded the Malawi Sports Council to give the ground for the facility and to fund and organise the construction of the base for the pitch. Polytan (www.polytan.com) were then able to supply the Hockey Turf and underlaying shockpad and Musco Lighting (www.musco.com) supplied and installed the lighting.

The driving force behind the new field is Krishna Achuthan, Vice President of the Malawi Hockey Association and someone who has dedicated a large chunk of his working life to bringing the project to fruition as he explains: “I was one of the pioneers of this project,which goes back 26 years. 18 years lobbying government for a site and eight years lobbying for a synthetic turf. It’s a great satisfaction to see this dream come true.”

The pitch, which will provide a base for the national teams as well as numerous clubs, schools and college teams, is based in Blantyre. It is the third largest city, located in the south of the country and, says Achuthan: “the heart of hockey in Malawi”.

Talking about what the new pitch will mean for the African nation, Achuthan says: “It opens a new ball game in so far as hockey is concerned. The interest will rise and we will see new players coming to play hockey.”

And never one to stand still, the Vice President adds: “We will most probably see further hockey turfs fields being built in the central and northern regions of the country.”

The Pablo Negre award recognises national associations for their dedication to promoting hockey and embracing the spirit of the sport.

FIH site

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