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News for 04 June 2016

All the news for Saturday 4 June 2016

Hockeyroos defeat India

Australia fight back to win 2 - 1

By Holly MacNeil

The Hockeyroos defeated India tonight in their last round robin game at the International Hockey Open at the Marrara Hockey Stadium in Darwin.

Australia kicked the match off with a fast paced first quarter with Grace Stewart scoring a field goal in the ninth minute of play.

The Indian team responded quickly with a high deflection from Lilima Minz soaring into goal leaving the score tied at one apiece at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was another quick one with both teams running the length of the pitch numerous times as they looked to get into their circle. At half time the score remained level at one all.

The Hockeyroos came close to scoring three times at the end of the third quarter with narrow misses from Grace Stewart, Kathryn Slattery, and through a deflection from Kirsten Dwyer, with India’s goalkeeper, Savita, doing excellent defensive work.

Eight minutes into the final quarter and Australia had a double opportunity at a penalty corner, however neither opportunity converted to a goal for the Hockeyroos. The Indian team were quick to get the ball back into their circle, with Rachael Lynch doing a great job of stopping a goal attempt.

In her 150th game, Emily Smith scored a scorcher of a field goal following a smooth pass from Kirsten Dwyer, giving Australia a 2 – 1 lead over India with just five minutes to go.

Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens said: “It was a pretty comprehensive victory, I don’t think we gave them too many chances, but I would have preferred we didn’t give away a couple of opportunities late in the game.

“I thought we had a lot of opportunity but we need to be more clinical in our execution. I was pleased we were able to come away with the win.”

Australia will play New Zealand in the gold medal match on Saturday at 7.30pm ACST, after the Black Sticks defeated Japan 2 -1 earlier in the evening. India will take on Japan in the fight for bronze.

Results today
NZL 2 - 1 JPN
AUS 2 – 1 IND
Grace Stewart 9 (FG)
Emily Smith 55 (FG)

INDIA 1 (1)
Lilima Minz 12 (FG) 

Hockeyroos’ squad v India
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 108/2
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 95/9
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD) 173/96
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC) 146/0
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 97/9
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW) 39/8
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 88/13
Casey Sablowski (Albion Park, NSW) 245/44
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA) 49/13
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 150/61
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW) 15/7
Used Substitute
Laura Barden (Kew, VIC) 14/4
Kirsten Dwyer (Mackay, QLD) 101/2
Gabrielle Nance (Kingscliff, SA) 33/2
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 176/35
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW) 3/0
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW) 96/31

Unused Substitute
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC) 74/0

Saturday 4 June: Hockeyroos v New Zealand | 7.30pm ACST / 8.00pm AEST / 6.00pm AWST

Hockey Australia media release

Hockeyroos to face New Zealand in International Hockey Open in Darwin

The Hockeyroos have beaten India 2-1 in their last round-robin match to reach the final of the International Hockey Open in Darwin.

Australia began with a fast-paced first quarter on Friday evening with Grace Stewart scoring a field goal in the ninth minute.

The Indian team responded quickly with a high deflection from Lilima Minz soaring into goal to level at 1-1 at the end of the first term and the second quarter was scoreless.

The Hockeyroos came close to scoring three times at the end of the third quarter with narrow misses from Stewart and Kathryn Slattery, and through a deflection from Kirsten Dwyer, with India's goalkeeper Savita doing excellent defensive work.

Eight minutes into the final quarter, Australia had a double opportunity at a penalty corner but could not convert either.

In her 150th game, Emily Smith scored a scorcher of a field goal following a smooth pass from Dwyer, giving Australia a 2-1 lead with just five minutes to go.

Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens said it was a fairly comprehensive victory.

"I don't think we gave them too many chances, but I would have preferred we didn't give away a couple of opportunities late in the game," he said.

"I thought we had a lot of opportunity but we need to be more clinical in our execution. I was pleased we were able to come away with the win."

The Hockeyroos will play New Zealand on Saturday night in the gold medal match.

The Black Sticks defeated Japan 2-1 earlier on Friday evening, leaving India to take on Japan for third place.


Black Sticks power into Darwin final

Petra Webster scored to help the Black Sticks into the final. Photo courtesy Tim Nicol

The Black Sticks Women face a rematch against hosts Australia after defeating Japan 2-1 in their final game of round robin at the International Hockey Open in Darwin.

New Zealand scored goals either side of halftime through Kelsey Smith and Petrea Webster, while Maki Sakaguchi delivered Japan’s only goal two minutes from fulltime.

The result ensures the Black Sticks will play the Hockeyroos in tomorrow’s gold medal match at 10pm (NZ time), with live coverage through Epicentre.tv

Head coach Mark Hager said it was pleasing to come away with the desired result which sets up a chance to win the series.

“It wasn’t pretty tonight, we were a bit scrappy but did enough and were able to contain a Japan side which pushed us hard,” he said.

“They put us under a lot of pressure which was valuable in highlighting some things we need to work on going forward.

“Playing Australia in the final will be another high quality game for us and a chance for players who are vying for Olympic selection to step up and prove themselves.”

Capital’s Kelsey Smith opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a terrific baseline run which saw her collect her own deflection and flick into the goal on the reverse stick.

The Black Sticks carried their momentum into the second half and doubled the lead when Petrea Webster showed composure to collect a loose ball and fire home in the 34th minute.

The Kiwis continued to create chances throughout the game but couldn’t put any further goals into the back of Japan’s net.

Maki Sakaguchi pulled one back from a well-executed penalty corner variation two minutes from fulltime but the Black Sticks held firm in defence to take the win.

The International Hockey Open is part of New Zealand’s build up for the Champions Trophy in London from 19-27 June and the Rio Olympic Games in August.

BLACK STICKS 2: (Kelsey Smith, Petrea Webster)
JAPAN 1: (Maki Sakaguchi)
Halftime: Black Sticks 1-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

New Zealand get rematch with Australia in final

The New Zealand womens hockey team. Photo / Getty

New Zealand will get a second bite at arch rivals Australia in the final of the Four Nations women's hockey tournament in Darwin tomorrow night.

Having had the better of the Australians, for much of their round robin game on Wednesday night, and creating a flood of scoring chances only to go down 2-1, the world No 4 Black Sticks confirmed their place in the final with a 2-1 win over 10th-ranked Japan tonight.

Japan had to win the match to have a chance of making the final. The first quarter was tight, but New Zealand went ahead three minutes before halftime.

Young midfielder Kelsey Smith was well rewarded for her persistence.

Having made a neat run down the backline, Smith pushed the ball into the centre and when it bounced back towards her, Smith reacted smartly to flick the ball off the reverse side into the Japanese goal.

The lead was doubled four minutes into the third quarter. Striker Charlotte Harrison, running into the Japanese defensive circle, made a desperate dive to cross the ball where the ball bounced to Petrea Webster and she turned the ball into the open goal.

Webster could have got a second goal, but pushed her shot weakly wide from a great position.

Japan got a late goal, from a clever set piece move at a penalty corner, and there were echoes of the final of the Hawkes Bay Cup in April when Japan reduced a 3-0 deficit to 3-2 in the final couple of minutes.

It was a game of fewer chances than New Zealand's first two matches against India and Australia.

New Zealand's defensive pair of Brooke Neal and Emily Gaddum were impressive while Liz Thompson and Sam Charlton were energetic through the middle of the park.

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks women beat Japan to set up Australia rematch in International Hockey Open final

Petrea Webster scored the match-winner against Japan. DIRK MARKGRAF

The Black Sticks women have the chance to avenge their defeat to Australia earlier this week after setting up a rematch in the final of the International Hockey Open in Darwin.

Mark Hager's side booked their place in Saturday's decider with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Japan on Friday night, with goals to Kelsey Smith and Petrea Webster.

With the tournament serving as part of their build-up to the Champions Trophy later this month and the Olympics in August, the Black Sticks suffered a 2-1 round-robin loss to the Hockeyroos on Wednesday as they struggled to make the most of their scoring chances.

Those problems continued to plague the side against a gallant Japanese outfit, although Hager was pleased by the way his team defended, particularly in the first half.

"They put us under a lot of pressure which was valuable in highlighting some things we need to work on going forward.

"Playing Australia in the final will be another high quality game for us and a chance for players who are vying for Olympic selection to step up and prove themselves."

New Zealand were forced to absorb plenty of pressure early on as Japan controlled possession and, as a result, had the better of the opening scoring opportunities.

They gradually worked their way into the game in the second quarter but the breakthrough still came somewhat against the run of play as Smith collected her own deflection before beating the goalkeeper with a nice finish.

Japan had their moments after halftime but they faded as possession swung in favour of the Kiwis.

Webster have her side extra breathing space when she showed quick reaction to pounce on a deflection and fire into goal.

The Black Sticks appeared to be cruising in the fourth quarter only for Japan's Maki Sakaguchi to score from a penalty corner with less than thee minutes to play to set up a grandstand finish.

Japan had one last chance to snatch an equaliser but the Kiwi defence held strong to ensure their place in the final.

NZ 2 (Kelsey Smith, Petrea Webster) Japan 1 (Maki Sakaguchi). HT: 1-0


Indian eves lose 1-2 to Australia

DARWIN: Lilima Minz's goal went in vain as the Indian women's team suffered a narrow 1-2 loss against hosts Australia in their final round-robin game at the four Nations hockey tournament here on Friday.

Keeping with the rhythm of the tournament, India started off keeping a solid shape in defense, and let Australia hold possession, hoping to catch them on the break.

The hosts made the most of their possession and took an early lead via Grace Stewart in the 9th minute. The goal galvanised India into attack and soon, they were controlling the possession and pushing the Australians deep into their own half.

The hard work paid dividends and India scored the equaliser in the 12th minute. Deep Grace's strong drive at the top of the Australian circle caused a mistake by the Australian defense and Lilima Minz pounced on the stray ball outside their area. Cutting in, she unleashed a shot which was deflected in by Australia's Kirstin Dwyer to draw India level.

After shocking the Australians, India pressed home the advantage, and had a great opportunity in the final seconds, but Australia's goalkeeper Rachael Lynch saved smartly to deny India the lead going into the break.

In the second quarter, the teams fought out an even battle, although Australia took more chances on goal. Their first PC, shot into the bottom left corner was parried away smartly by Savita, before Sunita Lakra cleared the stray ball away cleanly.

Defending spectacularly, India frustrated Australia throughout the quarter and then in the closing stages, leading to half time, they started pressing harder, forcing the hosts into mistakes. The two teams went into half time evenly matched with a goal apiece.

Australia came out strongly after half time and controlled a large part of the third quarter, constantly pressing and testing the Indian defence, who rose up to the task brilliantly.

The Indian eves kept thwarting the Australian strikes and ensured the hosts didn't manage too many shots on target. With two minutes left, Australia came closest to breaking the deadlock, as Dwyer shot past Savita, and had seemingly done enough, before Feli, defending on the goal line, flicked the ball away to safety.

In the dying minutes, Australia, had two PCs pushed away by Savita, before Deepika had the chance to give India a lead, but Lynch was up to the task.

Lynch's save proved to be a game changer as with three minutes of the game left the hosts broke India's resolute defence with Emily Smith scoring the goal to give them a victory.

"I think tactically and defensively, this was an ideal performance from the team, our best in the tournament. Savita was huge in our goal and all the defenders took collective responsibility and worked together brilliantly," said Coach Neil Hawgood.

"When we are playing teams with a strong attacking battery like Australia we need to be compact defensively, and tactically smart and we showed that today. It is unfortunate we conceded so late in the game, but we are proud of our performance today," he added.

India take on Japan in the bronze medal match on Saturday.

The Times of India

Alex Danson's late equaliser secures series win for Great Britain against The Netherlands

By Mike Haymonds

Alex Danson's leveller earns Great Britain a 1-0 series win over The Netherlands

ALEX DANSON’S late equaliser gave Great Britain’s women a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands in their second and final game of a two-test series in Amsterdam.

Danson’s 90th international goal, with three minutes remaining, gave her side a 1-0 series win after a 2-1 success in the opener.

Eva de Goede had given the hosts a 13th-minute lead from the penalty spot after a Dutch penalty corner had struck the previous game’s match winner Helen Richardson-Walsh.

The two teams will meet again on June 19 at the pool stage of the Champions Trophy in the Olympic Park, which starts a day earlier.

GB coach Danny Kerry said: “I’m very pleased with this performance. I felt we had the balance of play, particularly in the second half.

“I feel we can come away from the two matches feeling very positive, knowing that we still have growth to come.”

Daily Express

India aiming for historic first in London

Akashdeep Singh and his team will be aiming for top spot in London Photo: FIH/Getty

India have never won the Hockey Champions Trophy but the eight time Olympic champions have in recent years been showing signs that a return to the glory days of old might be just around the corner. Following a ninth place finish at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup, the team produced a string of high quality performances to claim the silver medal behind World Champions Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. That success was a sign of even greater things to come, with India storming to glory at the 2014 Asian Games to seal their place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by defeating eternal rivals Pakistan in the competition final before landing a fourth place finish at the end-of-year Hero Hockey Champions Trophy on home soil in Bhubaneswar. 2015 saw even greater improvement, securing a fourth place finish at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp, Belgium, early in July before securing the bronze medal at the end-of-year Hero Hockey World League Final event in Raipur, India.

The team coached by legendary Dutch tactician Roelant Oltmans – who guided the Netherlands men to Olympic and World Cup glory in 1996 and 1998 respectively – has made a promising start to 2016, with the side claiming the silver medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. Defender Harmanpreet Singh, one of the outstanding performers at the Sultan Azlan Shah event, finds himself retained in the squad, as areyoungsters Harjeet Singh and 21-year-old goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya. Gifted goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh and drag-flicking defender VR Raghunath, both rested for the event in Malaysia, have returned to the squad and will provide a strong backbone to an impressive looking Indian squad. Sreejesh has been named captain of the team in the absence of brilliant midfielder Sardar Singh, who has been rested for this event. S.V. Sunil and Akashdeep Singh are two star performers in the forward line who are both capable of making a big impact in any game. 

Will they win their first ever Hockey Champions Trophy in London? They are certainly in with a good chance!

Coach comment – Roelant Oltmans: “It is important that we approach the tournament not just with a view to winning it, but also to execute our tactics well, and learn from past mistakes and keep evolving. This will ensure that as a team we are prime placed when we reach Rio, physically, mentally and tactically.”

Player perspective – Manpreet Singh (midfielder): “We don’t feel scared to take on big teams anymore. We don’t think ourselves as underdogs anymore. In fact, we will go with the confidence that we are as good as any other team if not better.”

One to watch: P.R. Sreejesh. One of the most athletic goalkeepers in the game, 28-year-old Sreejesh is a sensational shot-stopper and a hugely respected figure within the Indian team. Sreejesh looks set to make his 150th international appearance in London. 

Current FIH World Ranking: 7
Notable honours: 8x Olympic gold medallists (1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1964, 1980), Olympic silver medallists (1960), 2x Olympic bronze medallists (1968, 1972), World champions (1975), 3x Asian Games champions (1966, 1998, 2014), 2x Asia Cup champions (2003, 2007). Hockey World League bronze medallists (2015)
Rank in previous CT editions: 2014 – 4th, 2012 – 4th, 2005 – 6th, 2004 – 4th, 2003 – 4th, 2002 – 4th, 1996 – 4th, 1995 – 5th, 1989 – 6th, 1986 – 5th, 1985 – 6th, 1983 – 4th, 1982 – 3rd, 1980 – 5th

Hockey India website: www.hockeyindia.org
Twitter: @thehockeyindia
Facebook: TheHockeyIndia

FIH site

Crutchley names squad for Hockey Champions Trophy

Barry Middleton will be competing in his sixth Champions Trophy. Credit Ravi Ghowry

Great Britain Head Coach Bobby Crutchley has named a squad of 18 athletes to compete in the Hockey Champions Trophy in London later this month. Crutchley has chosen a strong squad to take on some of the best sides in the world as they step up their preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio.   

Great Britain open their campaign on Friday 10 June against Australia, the side they faced in a test series late on in May. The following day they take on India ahead of their other three clashes with Korea (13 June), Germany (14 June) and Belgium (16 June). The finals of the tournament will be held on 17 June. Great Britain will be aiming to win the Hockey Champions Trophy for the first time in their history.

Barry Middleton will be playing in his sixth Champions Trophy having first appeared in the competition back in 2007. The 32-year-old has 362 international caps to his name and will captain the Great Britain side in London.

The Great Britain squad has a number of players who could reach landmarks during the competition. Defender Dan Fox is in line to reach 50 Great Britain caps, currently he has 47. In addition to that, Fox’s combined total of England and Great Britain caps is 148, meaning he could reach 150 international appearances in the second match of the tournament.

Goalkeeper George Pinner needs just two more appearances to reach 100 international caps whilst Henry Weir (97 international caps) and David Condon (96 international caps) are also closing in on their centuries.

Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said of the tournament:

“The Hockey Champions Trophy is part of our Rio preparation but it’s also a big tournament in its own right. We’re aiming to develop our squad for the summer and play some good hockey. It’ll be a good chance to test ourselves against some of the best teams, different styles and different plans which will help us to adapt ahead of the Olympics. The Champions Trophy is a massive tournament and we’ve picked a strong squad because we want to do well.”

Tickets for the Hockey Champions Trophy are on sale now. For all the event details click here.

Full squad for Hockey Champions Trophy:  

Name, Club

George Pinner (GK), Holcombe
James Bailey (GK), Wimbledon
Henry Weir, Wimbledon
Ashley Jackson, Holcombe
Simon Mantell, Reading
Harry Martin, Beeston
Alastair Brogdon, Wimbledon
Michael Hoare, Wimbledon
Sam Ward, Holcombe
Mark Gleghorne, Beeston
Adam Dixon, Beeston
Barry Middleton, Holcombe
David Condon, East Grinstead
Iain Lewers, Holcombe
Nick Catlin, Holcombe
Dan Fox, Holcombe
David Ames, Beeston
Ian Sloan, Wimbledon

Great Britain Hockey media release

GTB Gold Cup: Taites stands tall for Customs in defeat

Sudheendra Tripathi

MUMBAI: But the Pool 'A' match played between Air India and Mumbai Customs in the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup played at Churchgate's Mumbai Hockey Association Limited facility on Friday, had more to it than the eventual score.

Mumbai Customs' goal keeper, Lincoln Taites, who stands just a little over five feet, made at least seven saves in a one-to-one situation to deny Air India a win by an embarrassing goal difference. Customs, in fact, were on level terms with their much fancied rivals. It was Customs who opened scoring. It is a different matter that Air India drew parity just a minute later. But the first half was a keenly contested one and promised a lot after the change of ends.

The plot, though, changed dramatically after the teams returned to play their second set of 35 minutes. Customs, lost steam and Air India, the old foxes that they are, capitalized on the mistakes made by their local rivals.

"Experience," Taites said. "We lacked it on the day," he explained, brushing aside his heroics with a plain smile. "In big matches like these we need to play consistently over the period of 70 minutes. But I guess we lost the plot," Taites added before heading to the change room.

But once Mumbai Customs skipper, 42-year-old Olympian Rahul Singh started speaking, the picture got crystal clear. "The basic problem is that we can't independently field a team. We loaned seven players from Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF) to make up the numbers," he said. Results: Pool A: RCF, Kapurthala 8 beat Food Corporation of India 1 Pool A: Air India 7 beat Mumbai Customs 2.

The Times of India

Johnson names squad for Italy test

Jo Westwood will be in line for her 50th cap

Wales Women’s Head Coach Kevin Johnson has named his squad for their first international fixture of the summer. The eighteen-strong contingent travels to San Vito Romano later this month to face Italy away in a three match test series taking place from 23-26 June.

The selection puts both Sarah Jones and Hockey Wales International Ambassador Jo Westwood in line to receive their 50th Welsh caps during the series, while Sarah-Jane (SJ) Thorburn of Swansea City Spartans and Hannah Cozens of Loughborough University are set to receive their first caps.

This will also be the first international for Wales Women since Johnson - also head coach of ladies England Hockey League Premiership side Holcombe Ladies - came into place as head coach:

“The forthcoming away series against Italy has come at a good time for us as we look ahead to a busy summer period”, said Johnson, who has previously worked with GB and England Hockey.

“The group has completed a positive block of training where we have underpinned a number of core principles to our game and we now look forward to testing these against a higher world ranked opposition.”

The series against Italy marks the start of the Women’s international season, which is also set to include two exciting home international test series that will take place at the National Hockey Centre in Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, details of which are to be released shortly.

Johnson added, “It is an opportunity for our players to showcase the gains they have already made whilst also allowing us a further insight into areas we must continue to build upon.”

Facing competition from top European side such as Italy will be important preparation for the women ahead of FIH World League. Round 1 of the tournament, in which Wales will come up against world-class opposition, will take place in Douai, France in September.

Wales Women Squad, San Vito Romano 2016

Abi Welsford (Captain), Swansea City Spartans
Beth Bingham, Loughborough University
Danni Jordan, Clifton HC
Ella Jackson (GK), University of Exeter
Hannah Cozens, Loughborough University
Joanne Westwood, Swansea City Spartans
Julie Whiting, FC Lyon
Leah Wilkinson (Vice Captain), Holcombe HC
Lisa Daley, Swansea City Spartans
Natasha Marke-Jones, Swansea City Spartans
Phoebe Richards, Buckingham HC
Roseanne Thomas (GK), Wimbledon HC
Sarah Jones, Holcombe HC
Sarah-Jane Thorburn, Swansea City Spartans
Sian French, Bowdon Hightown HC
Sophie Clayton, Swansea City Spartans
Tina Evans, University of Birmingham
Xenna Hughes, University of Birmingham

Match Schedule

18:00  Thursday 23 June
18.00  Saturday 25 June
11.00  Sunday 26 June

Follow Wales Women on Twitter @hocicymruwomen

Hockey Wales media release

Japan Tour: Chance for others to shine

By Jugjet Singh

NATIONAL coach Stephen van Huizen picked a young squad for the Japan Tour on June 5-16, as the seniors are either down with injury, have exams, drafted into the Police Force and have personal commitments.

Looking at the positive side, van Huizen said this is a golden chance for others to show their prowess.

"We will be playing six matches against Japan, four of which are friendlies and two are Tests. Even though many of the seniors are not available for this Tour, I believe it gives an opportunity to our younger players," said van Huizen.

Goalkeeper S. Kumar is still nursing his thigh injury,

Faiz Helmi and Fitri Saari have examinations and Shahril Saabah has family commitments.

National skipper Razie Rahim and Nabil Fiqri are back with Police training after getting a brief release to play in the Razak Cup.

"In their place, 19-year-old players and also those who did not play in the Azlan Shah Cup like Baljit Singh and Harvinder Singh have been called up. This is a golden opportunity for them to shine.'

Razak Cup top scorer Faizal Shaari will have to sit out the Tour, as his ban from playing in international tournaments only ends on June 20.

Terengganu Hockey team goalkeeper Hazrul Faiz, 22, and Syafiq Sumantri, 19, are among those who will be under the spotlight in Japan.

The Tour will be used to prepare the team for the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan, which offers ranking points for the top-three teams for the first time.

Umpire Rais Zakaria will be accompanying the team to officiate in both Test and he will also be officiating at the upcoming Sultan of Johor Cup.

JAPAN TOUR: Goalkeepers: Hairi Rahman, Hazrul Faiz; Defenders: Shukri Mutalib, Izad Hakimi, Baljit Singh, Najmi Farizal, Najib Hassan, Firdaus Omar, Marhan Jalil, Meor Azuan, Joel Samuel Van Huizen, Azri Hassan, Harvinder Singh, Firhan Ashaari, Norhizzat Sumantri, Ramadan Rosli, Rashid Baharom, Haziq Samsul, Nik Aiman Rozemi, Nor Syafiq Sumantri.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Pakistan Hockey League a step in right direction

Mohsin Ali

RAWALPINDI - Pakistan hockey team’s former head coach and manager Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh said Pakistan Hockey League is a step in the right direction and foreign players’ participation would open floodgates of international hockey revival in Pakistan.

Talking to The Nation Shahnaz said the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) would have had to take some highly difficult decisions to make the idea a success as same old people would try to create unwanted and uncalled for hurdles and would try to sabotage all the good work done by PHF President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior.

When asked about the fact that those same old people are once again occupying key slots and whether the new PHF regime would really be able to guide Pakistan hockey in the right direction in this scenario, Shahnaz replied: “Off course, same old used bullets normally do get chance to occupy high-profile posts.

Opportunists in the past too come and go but it doesn’t matters.

The thing that matters most is the leadership, who is sitting at the helm of affairs and making all the shots.”

He said to achieve same old glory days success, the PHF must has to introduce both short term and long term policies for senior team to provide them exposure as it is highly important to keep on getting favourable results at the top level.

“Otherwise players would get frustrated and could further hamper Pakistan hockey hopes of climbing back to the top.

There is hardly any money on offer for the hockey players and officials and why should youth start hockey as career? The players need proper back up, jobs and central contracts.

I know Brig Khalid is a well-connected persons and he is trying his level best to ensure jobs for players and he is in close negotiations with different departments in this regard.”

He said his services are always available for the national team and federation like he had always preferred national interests over personal ones.

“Hockey is my life, I had given everything to hockey and this is just because of hockey that today I enjoy so much respect wherever I travel whether home or abroad.

I am quite hopeful, the federation would succeed in enhancing junior pool of players and expand them and take that number to respectability, which would indeed help Pakistan hockey a great deal in the years to come.”

He said it does not mater if results do not come according to wishes and plans in the initial time period but if the things go in right direction and the genuine players are provided with free and fair selection, there is a little doubt about Pakistan teams’ future.

“I can see and feel hockey future of Pakistan is highly bright.”

He rubbishes claims made by some quarters that hockey talent is vanishing in the country and youth doesn’t anymore want to play hockey.

“It is childish thinking of some ill-minded elements.

The way youth was keenly involved in the recently concluded National U-18 Hockey Championship was clear evidence, that Pakistani youth still takes a lot of interest in hockey.

I was present at the venue.

The way the Naseer Bunda Stadium was packed with spectators, Olympians, hockey lovers and families was highly heartening.

I want to congratulate the PHF, Col (R) Ahmed Nawaz Malik tournament director and his entire team for putting up such great show.

Frankly speaking, I had never witnessed such a wonderful and highly organised crowd during a junior hockey event.”

He said he had noticed quite few brilliant youngsters and if they are given training and proper guidance they would very soon represent country.

“I had noticed amazing talent, which just need to be polished and results would be more than desired ones.

I feel Brig Khokhar is taking practical steps to take Pakistan hockey back to same old glory days and he needs all out backing from former players, media and all stake holders.

I believe he must be given proper time to implement his plans.

I am quite optimistic he and his team would deliver goods for the country and hockey, “Shahnaz concluded.

The Nation

Juniors Provide Lifeline for Pakistan- Camp with a Difference

By Ijaz Chaudhry

Junior Camp (Abbottabad) Goal Keeping Coaching

Recently, a hockey training camp was held, also at Abbottabad, for 16 days.  40 probables for the Pakistan junior team participated under the supervision of head coach Tahir Zaman.

The importance of the current batch of hockey juniors can’t be overemphasized.  After the national side’s failure to qualify for this year’s Olympics, all eyes are on the colts. Pakistan’s show at the next junior World Cup in December holds great significance for the future of the game in this country.  Moreover, that would be Pakistan’s sole participation in any global hockey event at least over next two years.

Tahir, a former captain of the national team and FIH’s Grade 1, High Performance Coach, laughed when asked if this was also a boot camp, “No, but at the same time it was different from any hockey camp conducted before.”

The camp had multiple aims.

Hockey, one of the fastest team games, requires ultimate fitness.

“Abbottabad at an altitude of 1,200 metres is an ideal location to improve cardiopulmonary ability. The boys climbed different hills with varying difficulties.  There was gym and speed endurance training as well.  Towards the end, tests were carried out which showed improvement in colts’ cardiopulmonary efficiency. We also had the expertise of former Pakistan hockey captain Rana Ghazanfar, a level III fitness coach who has been working in England for quite some time. “

Skill improvement was another important aspect.

‘In today’s up and down game, there are far more attempts on the goal but unfortunately, in the recent international outings, goal keeping has proved to be our weakest link.  The net minders were given special training on the modern lines by not one but two goal keeping coaches: Arshad Hussain, a former international and Waqas Butt.

‘Penalty corners often make all the difference. Conversion as well as defence is of equal importance.  Attention was given to all the three stages of execution:  Accurate and swift injection, proper stoppage and aiming different areas of the target i.e. goal.  Then various indirect drills were also practiced. In defending penalty corners, we tried to make the defenders realize their respective roles, the rushers and the goal line defenders. ‘

‘Conceding soft penalty corners is often a cause of disaster. Hence, circle defence was given due importance. It has been observed that our players often succumb to pressure situations. For instance, when surrounded by a number of opponents. Situations were created and other team mates had to make quick decisions to create options for the boy in possession. Likewise, they were taught how to put opponents under pressure. "

Sometimes, there were three session in a day to make the boys physically and mentally tougher.”

Video analysis forms an important component of training in sports.

“There were regular video sessions to have a look at the training carried out. We also watched Pakistan juniors’ matches at their last international assignment, the junior Asia Cup, and discussed our strengths and shortcomings.”

Normally, the camp trainees play a match in the evening among themselves, but not this time.

‘From the technical aspect, skill improvement was the focus. However, towards the end, two matches were played for assessment. It gave us immense satisfaction that the boys showed marked progress in all the areas.”

Tahir Zaman has coached the national teams, men and women, of four countries and he is also the FIH Academy Coach Educator- the only Asian to have this status. He was assisted at Abbottabad by Zeeshan Ashraf, also a former Pakistan captain.

“We have talked about the cardio pulmonary efficiency, skill improvement, mental strength, etc.  You might think this would have made the boys crazy. ”

All the above was carried out in a relaxed atmosphere. There were barbecue nights and social evenings where boys sang and told jokes.  They were also taken to sightseeing tours to picturesque adjoining areas such as Ayubia and Nathiagali.

The 40 boys were lodged in four dormitories.  In order to develop sense of responsibility and enhance confidence, each dormitory was assigned a head boy who was given various tasks. The head boy was changed every two days. Lads who appeared shy by nature were given more responsibilities.

That said we also wanted boys to remain focused. The boys have a realization about the importance of the Junior World Cup for country’s hockey.

On the conclusion of the camp, the trainees were asked, “How you feel?”  They responded,” We feel physically and mentally better”. 

Tahir desires to keep the boys engaged in some meaningful activity most of the time leading to the World Cup in December.

“Players have been given homework to be carried out individually at home. I will also be in touch with them over phone.

Next, we have planned Hockey 5s tournament during Ramzan. Many of our problem areas could be benefited through Hockey 5s which entails all the skills of 11 a side hockey except the penalty corner.  As the game is played in a smaller area with just four outfield players, the pace is faster.  The situation changes frequently from attack to defence and vice versa. It has been observed that our players often take more time to adapt to this changing scenario. Hockey 5s would not only help in overcoming this weakness but should also improve communication and ball watching skills, two other sore points.  Then goal keeping skills would also be sharpened.”

Tahir agrees there is no substitute for good international competition.

“In July, Pakistan juniors would tour Germany for a tournament involving the junior sides of the three highest ranked European nations, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, apart from Pakistan. We also plan to play a few games against top German clubs, and are hopeful for two matches against the Netherland juniors as well.”

Where he sees Pakistan at the 2016 Junior World Cup?

‘Pakistan had finished ninth at the last edition.  The way the boys are showing improvement and more importantly enthusiasm, I have realistic hopes for a top 6 finish.”

Tahir Zaman, the World Cup winner (1994), has had stints with Pakistan’s national senior and junior sides before with not so good results.

This time around he seems to mean business.  In his first assignment with this junior squad, Sultan of Johor Cup, Pakistan finished last sixth.  Still, he was confident of his team’s chances at the 2015 junior Asia Cup which doubled up as the junior World Cup qualifier. And Pakistan not only qualified for the junior World Cup but also ended a creditable second.  Those who witnessed both the above events in Malaysia commented, “there is a visible improvement in Pakistan’s performance’.

After an extensive training camp, quality domestic competition and international exposure, one can earnestly hope that Pakistan team achieves the target set up by its head coach.

The future of Pakistan hockey might be defined in Indian this December- hopefully for the better.

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports, for more about him and his work, visit www.sportscorrespondent.info

Fieldhockey.com exclusive

Bann excited to welcome world's best to Ireland

Banbridge’s club president Sheree Totten says her club are looking to step up their welcoming skills further after they were praised for their hugely successful hosting of the Irish Hockey League finals earlier in May.

They were awarded the rights to host Round 1 at their Havelock Park home from October 7-9, 2016, bringing the competition to Ireland for the first time.

“Those competing in the competition will be among the top teams from across Europe with the potential for several Olympians from different nations being represented by the various competing clubs.

“It will be fantastic to have such talent on display here in Banbridge and will be a massive boost for our sport locally and indeed across the island of Ireland.

"We recently hosted the EY Irish Hockey Champions Trophy finals weekend and the effort put in by the whole club during this event did not go unnoticed and we were subsequently considered as a potential venue for the EHL."

She is looking forward to the impact will have on the hockey-mad town in south Ulster where the sport is one of the top sports alongside soccer, golf and rugby.

“Players and supporters from clubs all over Europe will be coming to Banbridge to stay in our local area that weekend and therefore it will also be a great boost for local businesses.

“For those not travelling, the competition will be screened widely allowing us to promote Banbridge and Northern Ireland to tens of thousands of hockey fans across the continent and further afield.”

Banbridge qualified for the EHL by finishing second in the EY Hockey League behind near neighbours Lisnagarvey who advance to the KO16. It will be Banbridge’s second campaign in the EHL having played in the 2011/12 season and their eighth European campaign in total.

Indeed, they hosted the 1985 edition of the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy, winning the title ahead of SG Amsicora, another side that will be present at Round 1 this year.

At this stage, the following sides have qualified for Round 1 of the EHL: Royal Leopold (Belgium), SV Kampong (Netherlands), Atlètic Terrassa (Spain), Holcombe (England), Saint Germain (France), Cardiff & Met (Wales), Kelburne (Scotland) and SG Amsicora (Italy).

They will be joined by the third ranked team from Germany – which will be decided next weekend – the Polish runners-up and the Russian champions.

There, they will be divided into four groups of three with four tickets to the KO16 available to the respective group winners.

Straight through to the KO16 are the following: Oranje Rood, SV Kampong (both Netherlands), KHC Dragons, Racing Club de Bruxelles (both Belgium), Club Egara, Real Club de Polo de Barcelona (both Spain), Wimbledon (England), Racing Club de France (France) and Lisnagarvey (Ireland).

The first and second ranks from Germany and the Polish champions will join these sides in the KO16.

Ireland becomes the seventh different place to host an EHL event, following England, France, Spain, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.

Euro Hockey League media release

College’s amazing hockey feat

Jade le Roux

Devon van der Merwe

Maritzburg College’s hockey department has gone from strength to strength, ranking in top positions in school hockey in the country and there is a common factor to that success – Devon Van der Merwe, director of hockey and first team coach.

In both 2014 and 2015, Maritzburg College ranked first place in the country for hockey. Currently, mid-season they are sitting in second place just behind Rondebosch.

Maritzburg Sun talked to Devon Van der Merwe, Director of Hockey and First team coach for Maritzburg College, about the secret of their hockey success and how they have been able to keep a consistent standard year after year.

“There’s a really fantastic winning culture at this school” Devon expressed, saying that this is factored by the way the boys train, their understanding and their work ethic. “The boys set themselves a very high standard, and just the same, we as coaches also have a very high standard that we expect them to maintain.”

Devon said that the hockey department has a succession plan set in place, which puts a great emphasis on communication between both coaches and students.

“Communication is critical for me, and not just what we communicate, but how we communicate. Sometimes we see little machines running out there, but you have to remember that they are people first and foremost,” said Devon, emphasising the importance he placed on dealing with the individual.

The hockey department has accommodated for three different groups of players, to ensure every team has a united focus. Firstly there is the group that just wants to play the social friendly game of hockey, with no added pressure. There is the second group whose aim is to compete on a provincial level and lastly, there is the third group who aims to play hockey on a national level. The Maritzburg College Hockey department caters for all three categories in their coaching.

As far as his personal coaching technique goes, he upholds balance as the key, alongside effective communication. “I like to always remind the boys that there are three or four spheres in life which consist of sport, academics, and social and family interactions. It is important to balance all of them equally. If you had a bad day at school, don’t bring it onto the field. Just because any one phase was bad, doesn’t mean the other three don’t have to be a success. If you live only for hockey, what do you have after that? One needs to develop the relationship between the four phases equally. We need balance, its crucial” Devon expressed.

Devon’s belief in the necessity of balance extends to his understanding that while he is coaching sport, it remains a school sport and therefore, the students should be getting an educational experience from it. They should be learning lessons that they can take with them, and which will hold them in good stead on as well as off the field.

Like any job, directing and coaching hockey comes with its fair amount of challenges, Devon admitted. At times, he finds it difficult to transfer his philosophy to the players. “A player not making it into a certain team, is another thing that proves challenging to relay to the individual, Devon revealed. The coaches try their best to explain to the individuals why they didn’t get in, as well as putting measures in place to aid them in reaching their desired positions. “As coaches, it is our job to give that player the opportunity to get better” said Devon.

Devon, who studied a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Resources, and then went on to complete his PGCE, is now completing his honours. Apart from directing and coaching hockey, he also teaches EMS and physics at Maritzburg College.

Looking into the future, Devon just wants to continue to keep up the high standard of hockey. “It is easy to set the standard, but it’s harder to maintain it” Devon said, although he believes that if Maritzburg College continues in the fashion that they have been doing these past two years, they will keep their bench mark.

In his personal life, change is something to be embraced, as he and his wife anticipate the arrival of their first child in September. “I’m still young, so I just want to carry on learning and stay adaptable. I want to be able to embrace change and try to be ahead of the game, because that is the only way to be effective through the changes life brings. In essence, I just want to strive to be the best that I can be” Devon expressed.

Maritzburg Sun

Wellesley Scoops: Youth Program on the Rise

Content and Photo Courtesy of Wellesley Scoops Field Hockey Club

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In the Wellesley, Mass. area school system, field hockey is not offered until the 8th grade. That is, until a few mothers decided to do something about it.

In the summer of 2014, they came up with the idea to start a youth program but not knowing anything revolving around starting a local sports program, let alone providing field hockey instruction to youth girls, the group had to do some research. They contacted a few metro-Boston club teams to network and ask about their programs and resources. Boston Field Hockey Club's Eileen Habelow and Wizard Club Team's Sue Caples were both valuable in providing insight and expertise to the group and were also extremely supportive. They got direction to reach out to USA Field Hockey about their FUNdamental Field Hockey program and as a result of this joint effort to make something out of nothing, Wellesley Scoops Field Hockey Club was born.

While having all the logistics in place, the group was faced with a significant hurdle, the lack of field space to hold practice. At one point, a mom offered to hold practice sessions in her backyard. But after some more networking, Wellesley Scoops was fortunate enough to hold practices at three different academic institutions: Babson College, Dana Hall School and Wellesley College. Eager and supportive of the mission of this newly found club team, Wellesley College even started a partnership with Wellesley Scoops. The varsity team agreed to provide turf field space and coaching (assistant coach and student-athletes) in return for a donation provided back to the college program. Similarly, Dana Hall School, an all girls private school, also provided them with field space when Wellesley College's field was not available.

The support of the local community started to pull all the necessary pieces together and this progression can be seen in the registration numbers of the program. In the fall of 2014 there were 40 girls in first and second grade registered to learn how to play field hockey. In spring 2015, the program expanded to 42 girls in first through fifth grade for a 4-week session. At this point, 65 girls in the area were introduced to the sport of field hockey. One year since the start and in the fall of 2015, 150 girls in first through seventh grade participated in Wellesley Scoops. Continuing to progress, in the spring 2016, more than 90 girls in first through seventh grade participated in a shortened spring season.

In both fall 2015 and spring 2016, Wellesley Scoops had to turn away more than 30 girls from registering due to player safety concerns and to keep a low coach-to-player ratio to help with quality of instruction. The popularity of the sport and program spread quickly mostly through word of mouth. Local parents in the community also have been very supportive of the program as they have helped with the organization, volunteered to bring snacks, became team coordinators and helped distribute registration details to local Wellesley Public Schools.

Their initial goal was to provide an additional team sport option to youth girls in the area. At the time it started, the only fall team sport option available was soccer. However, Wellesley Scoops primary goal is to introduce field hockey to youth girls, help build their confidence and have fun in safe learning environment. This past spring, the program introduced Scrimmage Sundays where the girls will scrimmage the entire practice with a focus of one offensive and one defensive skill as well as learn a new rule of the game. The girls are also learning to play on turf and are advised that this was very important to the game. As an added benefit, the girls also get to be coached by the assistant and student-athletes of Wellesley College, who are positive role models for the youth girls. While Wellesley Scoops would love to introduce the sport to boys, there has not been enough interest to expand it into the program. In the Wellesley, Mass. area, soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey, basketball and baseball dominate the interest of our youth boys.

What are the next steps for this youth program on the rise? As they don't like to turn anyone interested in playing away, they want to expand as much as possible by continuing to run two separate sessions in the fall, for grade school and middle school girls. As they continue to grow, they'll look to partner with Babson College, who has recently expressed interest in the program. They had more than 200 girls who have attended at least one of their sessions representing the towns of Wellesley, Mass., Newton, Mass., Needham, Mass., Weston, Mass. and beyond. They would like to help start “Scoops Field Hockey” programs in their neighboring towns. The program has donated approximately $30,000 since the start to Wellesley College, Dana Hall School and the Wellesley Field Fund. 

Wellesley Scoops Field Hockey Club is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. 

Disclaimer: USA Field Hockey does not promote or encourage the usage of protective eyewear in the sport of field hockey or at any held national events

USFHA media release

Samba Sticks surfacing across Olympic nation Brazil

The question on hockey fans minds in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics is whether the host nation’s hockey team will provide one of those magical moments that the Olympics has a habit of producing. Can the team in yellow and green out-perform their higher ranked rivals to make hockey history in the Deodoro Olympic Park? With Brazil men ranked 32 in the world – with 14 being the next lowest ranking – a win will both send the home support into a frenzy of samba celebration and turn the hockey world on its head.

With just over two months to go before the 2016 Olympics burst into action, we caught up with the man who is leading hockey’s development in Brazil, Bruno Oliveira, the General Manager at the Brazilian Hockey Federation (CBHG).

Brazil men’s team qualified for the Olympics when they met the FIH criteria by finishing in fourth place at the 2015 Pan American Games. The women, who were set similar criteria, missed out on qualification at the same event.

“Both of our national teams have recently undergone great development and transformation, especially the men's team,” says Oliveira. “ Also, both national teams won an international tournament for the first time when they won the Pan American Challenge.

“We focused on winning a spot in the Olympic Games, with both of our national teams. Unfortunately the women's team did not reach the targets set by FIH, despite it's development, but the road that both national teams have come so far has been very important for promoting hockey in our country.”

And this is at the heart of the CBHG’s ambitions. Yes, the Confederation wants to prosper on the national stage but it also wants that exposure and any related success to translate into grassroots development and an appetite for the game at club level.

Hockey is currently played in five states across Brazil, explains Oliveira. These areas are Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná. In the past few years, hockey interest and participation has risen dramatically in these states and the aim now is to introduce the game in a further two states.

Oliveira explains that a partnership between the CBHG and the States Federations was signed to promote hockey in schools, clubs and universities. This promotion is done through hockey clinics and coaching courses. So far, the sport has been taken up by two public and two private universities and the Federation is working hard to promote hockey in schools. The main area of focus is upon schools in Rio de Janeiro, because there will be four FIH Quality Programme for Hockey Turf Global certified hockey fields available once the Olympic flame has moved on.

The national team are doing their bit to promote their sport. Both players and coaches run or participate in the coaching course and clinics held at the schools and universities and Oliveira says the players are becoming sports superstars in a country where this status is normally reserved for soccer.

“As our men's national team will be in Rio de Janeiro next month, we plan to take advantage of this to bring the young players near to the players of the national teams. We are beginning to create hockey idols and this is great.”

Oliveira and his staff are determined to make hockey a popular and sustainable sport in Brazil. Development has been supported by the government, the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the FIH and the International Olympic Committee via its Olympic Solidarity Programme, but now the CBHG is looking to build partnerships with private companies to continue the development.

Of course, just for the moment any grass roots development will be taking a backseat but, once the Olympic Games come to an end, the focus turns back to the long game. “In Rio, Brazil is going to face the best teams in the world for the first time. That is a huge challenge but we believe that our national team can put in a good performance in Rio. After that, our focus is on increasing the number of people involved with our sport, increasing the number of hockey clubs across the country and by achieving better results in the international competitions. Our main ambition is to bring hockey to a new level in Brazil.”

In raising the profile of the game and consequently attracting more players at each level, the development in Brazil is very much in line with the FIH's 10 year strategy – the Hockey Revolution – which aims to bring the game to millions of new fans.

For more information about this project, check them out on Twitter or Facebook.

FIH site

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