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News for 13 September 2019

All the news for Friday 13 September 2019

AirAsia Women's Junior AHF Cup 2019 - Day 4


12 Sep 2019     TPE v UZB (RR)     2 - 2
12 Sep 2019     BAN v HKG (RR)     0 - 1
12 Sep 2019     SRI v SGP (RR)     1 - 10

Pool standings

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Singapore 3 3 0 0 14 1 13 9
2 Chinese Taipei 3 2 1 0 10 2 8 7
3 Uzbekistan 3 1 1 1 7 3 4 4
4 Bangladesh 3 1 0 2 2 4 -2 3
5 Hong Kong China 3 1 0 2 1 7 -6 3
6 Sri Lanka 3 0 0 3 1 18 -17 0

FIH Match Centre

U-21 women’s hockey team lose to HK

Bangladesh will take on Uzbekistan and Chinese Taipei Saturday and Sunday respectively

Bangladesh U-21 women's hockey team's Fardia Akter Ratri in action during their U-21 Asia Cup match against Hong Kong in Singapore Thursday BHF

Bangladesh U-21 women’s hockey team faced their second defeat as they lost to Hong Kong 1-0 in the Air Asia Women’s Junior (U-21) AHF Cup 2019 Qualifiers in Singapore Thursday.

In the last group stage game Tuesday, Bangladesh clinched their first ever international win, against Sri Lanka 2-0.

Despite a good start against Hong Kong, Bangladesh could not find the net in the first quarter of the game.

In the 27th minute of the second quarter, Bangladesh conceded the winning goal scored by Hong Kong’s So Mei Kei.

In the third and fourth quarter, Bangladesh tried to get back to the game but that one goal decided the fate. 

Assistant coach of Bangladesh, Hedayetul Islam Rajib said “Inexperience in the reason of the defeat. Hong Kong were way ahead in ball controlling and passing.”

Bangladesh will take on Uzbekistan and Chinese Taipei Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The round-robin tournament will conclude Sunday after which the top two finishers will qualify for the final round, scheduled to be held in India next year.

Dhaka Tribune

FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers: Germany seek to thrill home fans

Continuing our series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, Germany (FIH World Ranking: 6) captain Mats Grambusch looks ahead to his team’s all-important two-match clash with Austria (WR:20), with a place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the line. The crucial matches will take place in Mönchengladbach, Germany on 2/3 November 2019, with timings to be confirmed in the coming weeks. A transcription of the interview can be found below.    

What are your thoughts about your opponent in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers and how is your squad feeling about these matches?

Mats Grambusch: I believe that Austria has a strong team and they play just like us because they are an European team. Their tactics will be similar to ours. They have some very good individual players who play in Holland and the Bundesliga so we know them very well. I expect a strong Austrian team but at the same time, I think we are the favourite and I hope we succeed.

As the home team, what can the fans expect to see from your team in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?

Mats Grambusch: We will hopefully win in the end but I don’t really know yet what they can expect. I hope there will be a lot of fans supporting us because these are two massive matches for us and we need their support. I hope they will see some good attacking hockey by the Honamas.

Finally, what would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?

Mats Grambusch: The Olympic Games is just crazy. It is the biggest event in sport and obviously the biggest in hockey as well. All of us are looking forward to the matches against Austria to actually qualify for this event because they [the Olympic Games] mean everything. All of us play hockey just to play in the Olympic Games, so yes, that is the aim and we really want to reach the Olympics.

Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city from 25 July to 7 August next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.


FIH site

Hager on Olympic Qualifiers: “It’s an exciting time for us”

Great Britain's women will take on Chile in a two-legged Olympic Qualifier in what is the last opportunity to reach Tokyo 2020.

The games will take place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on 2 and 3 November with tickets on general sale on Monday 16 September. Sign up HERE to get the latest ticket news for the all-important Olympic Qualifiers.

Head Coach Mark Hager gave an insight into his thoughts on being drawn against Chile and how his side will ready themselves for the test:

“Chile are a bit of an unknown for us, we’ve seen some footage of them but haven’t played them for a very long time. We do know they’ll very much play with a South American style of hockey with flair and attacking impetus. It’s an exciting time for us. To know who our opponent is now means we can get on with getting ready.

“I think we need to focus on ourselves and getting our things right. Chile have got nothing to lose, from their point of view they’ll come here and throw everything at us. I think as long as we prepare properly and do everything that we need to do then we’ll come away with the win.

“We just need to prepare properly, go out there and play without fear. It’s the old cliché that as long as we do what we need to do, follow the processes and forget about the result then the result should take care of itself.”

Mark Hager

Knowing that the Olympic Qualifiers provide an opportunity to progress to Tokyo and spark memories of the events of Rio in 2016, Hager spoke of the intrigue around the must-win nature of the qualifiers and how a big home crowd could make the difference:

“I think it’s exciting for the spectators. As long as we perform well, being at home we should have the crowd on our side, and I think that’s what we need. We need the support to make sure it’s not an easy environment for the Chileans when they come and play here, and I think the main thing for us is making sure we have our processes right and do the little things right on the pitch. If that works well for us, then we’ll be okay.

“It’s great knowing you don’t have to travel 9 or 10 hours across the world into a different time zone. We’re in our back garden with the home crowd, I think that’s the exciting thing, being able to play at home which is a huge advantage.

“I think it will be fantastic if we can pack it out and have that same support that we had through the Pro League, it would really help us.

“The more people we can get out there and the more support we can have on both days will be very beneficial for us. When you’ve got a crowd that’s supporting you, you tend to grow an extra arm and a leg, you find that extra 1% of energy because you’ve got that support behind you.”

Great Britain Hockey media release

Britain to go on the attack against Malaysia in Olympic Qualifier

By Jugjet Singh


BRITAIN intend to take no prisoners when they battle the Malaysian men’s hockey team at the Lee Valley Olympic Stadium on Nov 2 and 3.

That was the clear message from Britain coach Danny Kerry when asked about his opponents in the final battle for a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“With due respect to our opponents, we will be on the front foot in the Qualifiers and we’ll also maximise our home ground advantage,” he said in an interview with the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

Simply put, Britain plan to be all over the Malaysian defence right from the first whistle and pile up a big scoreline in the first leg so that they will have an easier job in the return leg.

The Olympic Qualifiers will be held on a home-and-away basis, but lower ranked Malaysia, at No 11, will play both matches in England.

Six other teams will be involved in similar do-or-die last ditch efforts to reach the Tokyo Olympics, with India looking the best bet to seal qualification.

That is because India will be up against Russia, a team they hammered 10-0 when they last met at the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar in June.

The winners of the other ties — Spain v France, New Zealand v South Korea, Canada v Ireland, Netherlands v Pakistan and Germany v Austria — will also qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Japan, Argentina, South Africa, Belgium and Australia have qualified after winning their respective continental tournaments.

Kerry had seen first-hand what coach Roelant Oltmans’ men are capable of during the Malaysian team’s recent Tour of Europe, where they held the World No 7 to a 3-3 draw.

“When we were drawn against Malaysia, my first thought was that it was fortunate us as we only played against them recently,” said Kerry.

“They’re a good side, they have some good individuals and a number of threats but, having played them recently, we know where their threat comes from.

“They have some good penalty corner routines; some very fast and skilful players; overhead flicks; good counter attacks; and a very experienced coach in Oltmans.

“So, they will be very well prepared.

“We respect them and will prepare accordingly.”

Malaysia’s best Olympic result was an eighth placing in Munich in 1972 and their last appearance was 20 years ago — finishing 11th out of 12 teams at Sydney 2000.

New Straits Times

Preparations for qualifiers in full swing for Indian Men's and Women's hockey teams

File image of Indian women's hockey team. Twitter@TheHockeyIndia

Bengaluru: The Indian men's and women's hockey teams are sweating it out in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers scheduled for November.

The coaches and captains sounded upbeat about the prospects of the two teams in the qualifiers, scheduled to be held at Bhubaneshwar on 1 and 2 November, for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

While the women's team faces a tricky opponent in USA, the men side will take on a lower-ranked Russia.

Speaking about the preparations, now underway at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre, the women's team captain Rani Rampal said the players have prepared well.

"Our team is very well prepared for the match. We are focusing on how to perform well. Our focus is not on the US team but on us, how better you perform," she told PTI on Tuesday.

Rampal said the fitness of the team members was beyond anyone's imagination, which will help them face any rival side in the world.

She said the team had been focusing on playing with a lot more co-ordination.

"We have been playing together for quite a long time and now we have to implement the coordination in the match as well," she added.

The men's hockey team too is toiling hard for the tie against Russia.

Skipper Manpreet Singh Pawar told PTI that as part of the preparation, the team would be heading to Belgium to play some matches against the world no 2.

"First we need to play with Belgium and there is a qualifying round later, because we should not underestimate Russia as well because they have a very good defence. They also want to qualify for the Olympics," he said.

The coaches too are excited about the events lined up till November.

The chief coach of the men's and women's teams respectively Graham Reid and Sjoerd Marijne are looking forward to the qualifiers.

"We will prepare for these games like we prepare for the Olympic Games. So, we are looking forward to a good challenge for us," Reid said.

He emphasised that playing World No.2 Belgium will help them step-up their performance ahead of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers.

"We have built some good momentum with this young squad and I am satisfied with how focused this unit has been. They are committed to achieving the Olympic Qualification and in that pursuit we continue to emphasis on improving our defence and working on creating quality opportunities in the circle during this on-going camp.

"I believe training and playing against some of the best competition (Belgium) in the world will give us a good platform for the qualifiers."

Marijne expressed satisfaction over the fitness of the girls.

"The fitness of the girls has improved significantly. They are very fit. It has been a long process but now we are there where we want to be," Marijne pointed out.


Rani Rampal to captain Indian women's hockey team in tour of England

Star forward Rani Rampal was on Friday named captain of the 18-member Indian women's hockey team which will take on England in a five-match series starting September 27 in Marlow.

The series is scheduled to take place from September 27 to October 4 and Rani will have goalkeepeer Savita as her deputy.

Savita and Rajani Etimarpu retained their places in the side following the team's triumph in the Olympic Test Event in Japan recently.

Defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar and Salima Tete have also been named in the squad.

The midfield sees the return of the experienced Namita Toppo after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury, Hockey India said in a statement.

India's midfield will also consist of other experienced players in Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz.

The forward-line features Rani, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and youngster Sharmila Devi who made her international debut during the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo.

"The balance and mixture of players in our team remains the same from previous tournaments as go into an important phase in our objective of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020," Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said about the team selected for the event.

"It is good to have Namita Toppo back in the squad for the first time since Asian Games 2018...We still have ten days of training before we leave for the matches in England.

"I am sure these matches will serve as good preparation for our vital FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha against USA in November 2019," he added.

The Dutchman also said the tour will help in preparing the team to face USA in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha.

The Indian Team:

Goalkeepers: Savita (Vice-Captain), Rajani Etimarpu

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete

Midfielders: Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo.

Forwards: Rani (Captain), Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Sharmila Devi.

Business Standard

Pakistan hockey players revolt against new coach Khawaja Junaid following differences within team; refuses to take part in training camp

File image of Khawaja Junaid. AFP

Karachi: Pakistan's new hockey head coach Khawaja Junaid is facing a revolt of sorts from some senior players and officials even as the national team prepares for two tough matches against the Netherlands next month in its first step towards winning a berth in Tokyo Olympics.

Not only has top goalkeeper Imran Butt refused to come out of retirement to join the training camp in Lahore, making it clear he will not work with Junaid, but a successful video analyst Abuzar Omrao also refused to join the team because of the head coach.

Butt and Abuzar were part of Pakistan contingent which in December 2014 had reached the final of the Champions Trophy in India.

Well-informed sources in the national camp, underway in Lahore, said some senior players were also not happy with Junaid, a former Olympian who has been appointed coach in the past as well by the Pakistan Hockey Federation.

"To make matters worse chief selector Manzoor junior also conveyed his objections to the PHF when Junaid decided to call-up some senior players for the camp without consulting the national selectors," one source said.

Asked about this, Manzoor junior, a celebrated name in Pakistan hockey, shot back, saying, "You think I am such a weak person or small name that anyone can call players to camp without consulting me."

Apparently, PHF secretary Asif Bajwa had also asked Imran Butt, one of the top goalkeepers in the country, to come out of retirement and join the national camp.

"Yes, I cannot and will not like to be part of any team where Khawaja Junaid is head coach," Butt said.

"I respect him as an elder and senior but we have some serious differences and I don't think we can work well together," Butt added.

Butt decided to retire at a young age two years back when Junaid was head coach of the Pakistan team that did badly in the World Hockey League in London.

The PHF is already facing some embarrassment after it was revealed that assistant coach Muhammad Wasim had returned from the camp to Australia to play league hockey even as the players prepared for the Olympic qualifiers.

But the PHF said Wasim has before accepting to become assistant coach informed the officials that he had commitments with his Melbourne Hockey Club and would need to travel to Australia for a week or so to play some matches and then return to Lahore.


Preview: Men’s Premier Division returns this weekend

This weekend sees the start of the 2019/20 English Men’s Hockey League and Investec Women’s Hockey League seasons with the other Conferences starting the following weekend of 21-22 September.

Following a gripping campaign in 2018/19, we’ve taken a look at what looks set to be another action-packed year of domestic hockey in the Men’s Premier Division with a club by club preview:

Fixtures, Sat 14 Sep:
Brooklands Manchester University v Wimbledon (12pm)
Beeston v Hampstead & Westminster (2pm)
Holcombe v East Grinstead (6pm)
Old Georgians v University of Exeter (6pm)
Reading v Surbiton (6:30pm)

Having finished third in the regular season in 2018/19, Beeston were unable to make it to the Grand Final after falling to a narrow 2-1 semi-final defeat to eventual winners Hampstead & Westminster. Finishing four points clear of fifth placed Reading, Beeston will be looking to apply more pressure at the summit of the table with the return of Sam Apoola and addition of young Stuart Kentwell adding to an already strong squad that includes Adam Dixon, Ollie Willars and James Albery.

Brooklands MU
Brooklands will be keen to improve on last season’s record of 6 wins, 8 losses and 4 draws. Despite finishing eighth, the side were only five points off fourth placed East Grinstead and will hope to gain ground with talented youngster Eddie Way, who captained England’s U21s to silver at the 2019 Junior EuroHockey Championships, joining the team.

East Grinstead
Taking the final place at League Finals after finishing above Reading on goal difference in 2018/19, East Grinstead were defeated 2-1 by Surbiton at the semi-final stage. With a strong core and key players including the likes of Wesley Jackson, Lewis Prosser and Ross Stott in their side, East Grinstead will be looking for another League Finals appearance this season.

Hampstead & Westminster
Crowned champions in 2018/19 with a 3-0 victory over Surbiton in the Grand Final, Hampstead & Westminster have shown that they will be a force to be reckoned with. Boasting a supremely talented squad including Matt Guise Brown and Sam French, who both scored to seal victory over Surbiton, Hampstead will aim to replicate last season’s success story.

Only three points away from a place at 2018/19’s League Finals, Holcombe will be hoping they can better last season’s sixth placed finish. Boosted by the addition of former England and GB international great Barry Middleton, combined with the signing of Mark Gleghorne, Holcombe will be looking upwards.

Old Georgians
Storming into the Premier Division after an unbeaten season in the Conference East division before winning all three games at the Play Offs to secure promotion, Old Georgians will be an exciting proposition. With some superstar additions to their team including Ashley Jackson, George Pinner and Liam Sanford, Old Georgians will hope to make waves in their debut season in the top flight.

Having just missed out on a League Finals appearance on goal difference, Reading will be hungry to secure a top four place in 2019/20. With international pedigree in the team from Wales’ Owain Dolan-Gray, Reading have a young squad which will face a testing opening match against Surbiton.

Despite topping the 2018/19 league in the regular season, Surbiton were defeated by Hampstead & Westminster in the Grand Final. Having only picked up one loss in the regular season and with Alan Forsyth finishing as the league’s top scorer for a number of years on the trot, Surbiton will be looking for more of the same and silverware this season.

University of Exeter
Finishing ninth, ten points adrift of Brooklands MU, the University of Exeter will be looking to bridge the gap this season. Having only picked up three victories in the regular season, the University of Exeter were able to avoid relegation at the Play Offs and will have to find their footing quickly to avoid a relegation battle this season.

Finishing last season in seventh, five points shy of fourth placed East Grinstead, Wimbledon will be eager to kick on and look to climb the table in 2019/20. With the addition of Rhys Smith, Wimbledon have an array of talented young players including Jack Waller, Ben Francis and Ed Horler, combined with some experienced heads in Iain Lewers and Michael Hoare.

England Hockey Board Media release

Preview: Who's shaping up well in the Investec Women's Hockey League?

Surbiton earn Investec Women's Hockey League title

The Investec English Women's Hockey League Premier Division begins this coming weekend, with the nation's best ten female teams doing battle across the country.

Opening day fixtures
Sat 14 Sep:
Beeston v Hampstead & Westminster 4pm
Buckingham v Clifton Robinsons 12pm
Holcombe v East Grinstead 3:30pm
Loughborough Students v Surbiton 2pm
University of Birmingham v Bowdon 3:30pm

Having finished only a couple of wins outside the top four last season, Beeston will be aiming to go one better this time around. With the addition of international experience in Argentian Agustina Fernandez Merlo and American Jenny Rizzo, they will feel they have strengthened their squad and will look to start well in their first home vs newly-promoted Hampstead & Westminster.

Following last season's seventh-placed finish, Bowdon will be looking to build on a solid season last time out. Six points clear of the bottom two and nine behind the top four in 2018/19, they will be looking upwards with the likes of Sam Quek, Kirsty Mackay and returning Xenna Hughes among a group of key players.

Having powered into fourth last season, Buckingham will be looking to maintain the very high standards they set in 2018/19. With leaders like Zoe Shipperley, they performed very well to reach the end-of-season play-offs. In adding the likes of Lucy Wood to their squad they have the ability to once again make their mark at the top end of the table.

Clifton Robinsons
One or two more positive results would have seen Clifton move from fifth into the end-of-season league finals, and they will be aiming to perform well in 2019/20. An opening day game away to Buckingham will be a tough test but also a good marker for their progress over the summer. Phoebe Richards will come up against her former club in that game, while Carmen Ansley moves from Swansea.

East Grinstead
Having finished third last season and then losing in the semi-finals, it was another very solid season for EG. With the likes of Sophie Bray, Laura Unsworth and new signing Amy Costello and more on their books, they have experience throughout the side and will be going all out for success once more. With Tess Howard joining fellow young talent like Ellie Rayer, there are exciting times ahead.

Hampstead & Westminster
Performing brilliantly to earn promotion last season, Kate Richardson-Walsh's side are giving themselves every chance of success in the top flight with some excellent additions to the squad. Former FIH World Player of the Year Lily Owsley has joined their ranks, with fellow internationals Grace Balsdon, Holly Hunt and Joie Leigh also joining what looks to be an exciting project.

Finishing top of the table and then only losing 1-0 in the end of the season final, only the finest of margins prevented Holcombe from having a fantastic season in 2018/19. They have kept a settled squad for the new season, and an opening day match against East Grinstead is perhaps the most eye-catching game as the new season gets underway on Saturday.

Loughborough Students
Having been promoted last season, Loughborough will fancy their chances of another good season as they reach the top flight. Fresh from scoring her first international goals, Izzy Petter looks to be an exciting signing, with more international experience from Lizzie Neal and Miriam Pritchard. Lorna Mackenzie looks another key addition from Stourport. They will be pleased to start the season at home, but in Surbiton they have been handed a real test in their first match.

Reigning Champions from last season, Surbiton had finished second in the ten-team league before overcoming East Grinstead and then Holcombe in the end of season finals. They've added talented young players Eloise Stenner and Holly Munro, but Izzy Petter has moved to Loughborough so there will be a number of new faces as they look to once again make their mark on England's top league. The return of Beckie Middleton will also be a boost to the reigning title holders.

University of Birmingham
After last season's eighth-placed finish, the students will be looking for a slightly more comfortable season this time around. Having lost Lily Owsley, Amy Costello and Holly Hunt, the challenge is made slightly harder but there is plenty of quality in the squad, as shown by their home win over Surbiton back in March. Coca Hall, Lauren Hunt and Pip Lock will also boost their ranks this year.

England Hockey Board Media release

It’s a teen game in Investec Hockey Premier Division as Izzy Shelley sets sights

By The Hockey Paper

Setting sights: Izzy Shelley in action at the Euro Club Trophy PIC: Theresa Waight

Rising teenage star Izzy Shelley is set on a lengthy hockey career after a breakthrough season with Holcombe.

Believed to be the youngest playing hockey at women’s national league level, Shelley made her debut for the Kent side in the 1s shortly after turning 15 last season.

She will be one of a number of teenagers playing in the Investec Premier Division this season. In recent years, Surbiton have handed several debuts to 15 and 16-year-olds – even at top European level – while Bowdon Hightown have seen several promising young stars make hay in the top flight.

In all, these young players are set to be involved in a season which looks wide open in terms of play-off spots and the eventual league champion. East Grinstead have have made several astute signings, H&W are set to make serious inroads in their first season, while Beeston have strengthened. Surbiton’s stranglehold on the title will be no easy task.

Shelley played the back end of the season after being a committed member of the 1s training through the season and made her European debut when Holcombe hosted the Euro Club Trophy.

“It was a rollercoaster, there were a few ups and downs but it has been the best,” Shelley said. “It’s what I always wanted to do and to do it one season aged just 15 was amazing.”

We first profiled the Holcombe teenager in our April issue

Shelley credited ladies coach Leigh Maasdorp for “giving me some of the best opportunities and I’m really looking forward to this season.”

She hopes to be part of a Holcombe squad which will be gunning for glory after losing the league play-offs and then the Euro Trophy final.

She added: “It was bitter sweet losing both finals but it sets us up and we know we don’t want to do that again. We’ve had that disappointment and we hope to come back harder and stronger and ready to smash it.

“It’s my life and I love it and I couldn’t think of playing anywhere else!”

This article is reproduced from our September print edition.

The Hockey Paper

We want clubs to professionalise, says England Hockey

By Richard Bright

Attendances have been sparse for Play-offs at Lee Valley PIC: SIMON PARKER

England Hockey “senses an appetite” from the top clubs to become more professional which could see international players have more contact time at domestic level.

As the women’s national league celebrates its 30th anniversary since inception, and 45 years since the men’s league was created, the national governing body’s vision is for our domestic clubs to be training more frequently and less emphasis on the international game.

In an interview with The Hockey Paper before England’s below par EuroHockey Championships, Sally Munday, England Hockey’s outgoing chief executive, said there were challenges ahead but admitted: “If we can get to a point where we can increase quantity and quality of contact time with clubs, we won’t need to have a full-time programme but we would have still have a central programme.”

Munday, who will begin her new role with UK Sport in the autumn, added that it would be a “dream scenario” in a few years time where clubs had “evolved sufficiently” enough and were able to professionalise.

She said: “We will work with the clubs in how to help them to create an environment which allows players to have more access to more coaching more frequently.

“Part of it is commercial, part of it is money. We have to decide whether we want the top end of our domestic game and enough of our clubs want to have the culture where they are training four or five times per week.

“If the club’s don’t want it, then no money in the world will make that happen. I’m sensing an appetite from some of the clubs to go on that journey.”

Munday said that England Hockey has twice put propositions to the clubs on creating a commercial entity around the National League in recent years, but had failed to gain sufficient support. “But I’m not blaming the clubs,” she added.

An elite domestic game panel has also been set up in recent seasons, although Beeston and Surbiton have refused to sit at the top table. “We have given them the opportunity to engage with us and that’s their choice,” said Munday.

She understood the contrast with the top end of the domestic game and how it sits alongside the international game, despite taking a “deliberate approach” to grow the international audience.

“It’s got to the point where we are gaining traction and what the future looks like and how the domestic and international game can co-exist alongside each other,” added Munday.

“The conversations we are having are very encouraging. There will always be calendar conflicts but we can manage it better.

“I get frustrated when people say we don’t care about the domestic game. Our game is more than the 10 clubs in the Premier Division. It’s about the 800 clubs across the country.”

This article is reproduced from our September print edition.

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The Hockey Paper

FIH urges England Hockey to adopt four quarters

By Rod Gilmour

The four quarters would have posed problems for umpires and clubs for the grass roots game PIC: SIMON PARKER

World Hockey chiefs hope that England Hockey will still introduce the four quarters rule across the domestic game after a decision to implement the ruling at national level only.

With time ticking until the opening weekend of this season, grass roots clubs breathed a collective sigh of relief in the summer after England Hockey introduced 4 x 17.5 minute quarters for the 2019/20 season for just the elite game, leaving the rest of the club game to be played as halves.

England Hockey had expressed “considerable concern” over implementing sweeping changes to the quarter ruling after citing “far reaching implications for the grass roots of hockey” in its announcement last month.

“As has always been the case, National Associations can request to opt out of certain rules if they provide reasonable rationale,” an FIH spokesperson told The Hockey Paper.

“We understand that England Hockey have a concern over the length of matches when the new rules are applied as the majority of their pitch bookings are 90 minutes in duration.

“They have therefore opted to move to quarters at the elite domestic level but await introducing this at lower levels. The FIH look forward to all National Associations introducing quarters in future seasons so that the match format is consistent from club to international hockey everywhere in the world.”

The FIH was unable to give this newspaper a full list of those countries adopting the quarters ruling, while the world body said that although many Southern hemisphere nations introduced the new rules from January 2019 it was not aware of any who had not moved to quarters.

In an edict last December the FIH said that the four quarters “has additional advantages at junior levels of the sport in which coaches often umpire youth/school matches and the additional breaks provide for coaching opportunities.”

But on a wider scale and with the new season rapidly approaching, the rule posed problems, including the lack of technical tables for timings and stopping matches.

England Hockey said it would seek further clarification behind the FIH decision to make the ruling global, ahead of any decision to adopt the rule for clubs in the 2020/21 season.

For now, the 17.5min quarters, without the clock stopping at PCs) will apply to all England Hockey leagues and Tier 1 adult club championships.

England Hockey has implemented all other FIH rulings for the 2019/20 season: removal of player with goalkeeper privileges, amendments to attacking free hits within the 23m, defensive free hits awarded within the circle and amendment to ruling around attackers entering the circle at a penalty corner.


“It is a ridiculous rule, only there to complicate running local leagues. It should be restricted to Hoofdklasse and international play. They [FIH) clearly never observed a typical weekend at our club. Stopping time for PCs is even more ridiculous and unmanageable At least we’re not doing that.”
Pinoke HC, Holland

This article is reproduced from our July print edition.

The Hockey Paper

Negri face tough time to move up in Razak Cup without key players


KUALA LUMPUR: Negri Sembilan have a tough job to regain a spot in Division One of the Razak Cup hockey tournament in the absence of goalkeeper S. Kumar and midfielder Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil (pic).

Kumar and Marhan are training with the national team in preparation for the playoff matches against Britain in London to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympics on Nov 1 and 3.

Negri are now banking on former national goalkeeper Khairulnizam Ibrahim, junior keeper Che Shahrul Azmi Che Saupi and defender G. Kavin Kartik when six teams battle it out in the lower division at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Sept 20-28.

The other teams are Armed Forces, Selangor, Kelantan, Perlis and Kedah.

Negri competed in Division One for 11 years before they were relegated to the second tier this year after skipping the tournament last year.

Team manager S. Chandran said they snubbed the tournament last year because of a change in the competition rules.

“Last year, players were only allowed to play for the states they were born in. Then, we had few Melaka-born players studying at Tampin schools in Negri Sembilan but they couldn’t play because of the ruling,” said Chandran.

“This year the rules have changed. The players are finally allowed to play for states where they are studying or working.

“It’ll be difficult for us to gain promotion next year as we have named 11 juniors who will feature at next year’s Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Johor Baru. We expect strong challenges from Selangor, Perlis and Kedah.”

The Star of Malaysia

JHA receive RM1.6mil sponsorship for Sultan of Johor Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: The Johor Hockey Association (JHA) received a shot in the arm with a total sponsorship boost of RM1.6mil for the ninth edition of the six-nation Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) hockey tournament.

The Under-21 tournament consisting of Malaysia, defending champions Britain, two-time winners India, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, will be played at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru from Oct 12-19.

Organising secretary Datuk Majid Manjit Abdullah said the SOJC tournament, which was inaugurated in 2011, had grown from strength to strength.

“This annual tournament is now used by the teams to prepare for the 2021 Junior World Cup,” said Majid, who is also the deputy president of JHA.

Meanwhile, it was also a double joy for JHA as UM Land Berhad presented them with a four-storey shop lot as their new office.

The property worth RM1.8mil is located at Fortuna Hub, Bandar Seri Alam, Johor.

The Star of Malaysia

Sharland sisters reunite for hockey’s last hurrah

Central Mysticks captain - and hockey coach on the rise - Verity Sharland (left) competes for the ball with North Harbour's Kirsten Pearce in the final of last year's NHL. Photo: Hockey NZ/Simon Watts.

She may have been one of the great Black Sticks captains, but Kayla Whitelock may no longer be able to tell her little sister Verity what to do on the hockey turf.

Especially now that Verity Sharland’s winning streak as a coach keeps growing.

The Sharland sisters, now in their early 30s, are back playing together this weekend in the National Hockey League, with their old team Central Mysticks for a poignant final tournament.  

Kayla, who notched up 255 tests for New Zealand and played at four Olympics, now has two young children with her husband, former All Black George Whitelock. They own a gym in her hometown of Palmerston North.

Verity, who played for the Junior Black Sticks, is a PE and health teacher at Palmerston North Girls High, and her reputation is growing as one of the country's top women’s hockey coaches.

It's been a couple of years since the sisters, of Maori heritage (their iwi is Rangitāne in the Manawatu), played together.

“Now I’ve become a coach, I’m less receptive to her telling me what to do,” says 32-year-old Sharland.

“She does it less so now. But I still have to do [what she says], because I think she still knows more than me when it comes to hockey!”

Others might argue that’s no longer the case.

Sharland has built an outstanding record at the helm of the Central U18 women’s side. For three years running, they’ve won the national age-group title. And across those three years, her team has lost just one game.

She’s used a few tips from a couple of All Blacks to keep her team happy and unbeatable.

Sharland is also co-coach of the New Zealand U18 women, with former Black Stick Katie Glynn, and they’re charged with building the next generation of Kiwi hockey stars.

Returning to the Central Mysticks side she captained to the NHL final last year, Sharland is now a team-mate of “quite a large number” of the girls she’s been coaching.

“That’s my next challenge, running around with the youngsters,” she says. “I feel old when the 18-year-olds are running rings around me.

“I’ve been giving them a hard time at training, because it’s actually some of the younger ones who are injured - not the over-30s! They’re a good bunch, so it’s all good fun.”

Kayla Whitelock celebrates a Black Sticks goal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo: Getty Images.

Also joining the Sharland sisters on the 'experienced' side of the Mysticks line-up is their childhood friend, Emily Gaddum (nee Naylor) - the most capped Black Stick of all time until this year, when she was overtaken by New Zealand captain Stacey Michelsen.

While it's a kind of reunion, the nine-day NHL tournament in Tauranga will also be a farewell. This will be the 21st and last NHL. Hockey NZ has decided to scratch the regions and return to a championship for the old 32 associations - to give more players experience at the top level and build local pride.

“I don’t think it’s a popular decision,” says Sharland, who first played for Central when she was 17.

Sharland's coaching career began with her first job as a teacher at Westlake Girls High. In 2014, the then Black Sticks coach Mark Hager encouraged her to become assistant coach of the New Zealand women's side at the Youth Olympics in China.

When she moved home to Palmerston North four years ago, Sharland began coaching Central age-group teams.

“We were really lucky growing up that we had awesome coaches, so I wanted to give back,” she says. “I’ve been so fortunate that a lot of my coaches have been Maori women. It’s been cool to learn from them and take some aspects of coaching from them.” 

Sharland also has the support of her elder sister and her rugby brother-in-law George, who played 85 games for the Crusaders and 70 for Canterbury. “They’re both really good sounding boards for me,” she says.

With the help of George and his brother Sam Whitelock (widely tipped to be the next All Blacks captain), Sharland has been able to tap into the genius of victorious Crusaders coach Scott “Razor” Robertson.

“I’m a huge believer in team culture – you have to have fun on and off the field. And a lot of that has come from ideas George got through Razor. Sam has been a big help too,” Sharland says.

Central captain Verity Sharland receives her silver medal at the 2018 NHL final from Hockey NZ CEO Ian Francis. Photo: Hockey NZ/Simon Watts.

Sharland first took the Central U18s to victory in 2017 after a season unbeaten. They repeated that in 2018.

The only loss the team have suffered under Sharland’s watch was this season, in an early game to Auckland. “Some of the girls who’d been in the team for the three years were disappointed to lose. But it was probably the best thing that happened to our team,” Sharland says.

Needless to say, they won the tournament, and their star striker Kaitlin Cotter – who’s in the Black Sticks development squad - was the top scorer. (The Napier schoolgirl shared top scorer honours at last year's NHL with Harbour's Kirsten Pearce).

Sharland has coached other rising stars, including new Black Sticks Olivia Shannon and Hope Ralph, and predicts there will be more to follow over the next few years.

“It’s been so cool coaching this team, because it changes so much. Every year you’re getting an influx of new talent from different regions. This year was the most rewarding because we had 11 new players - which challenged my coaching, and really pushed me,” she says.

Sharland keeps in touch with her young players once they leave school, becoming more of a mentor.

“I know what it’s like. When I moved to Auckland to study, I was in the national development squad and I'd played for the Junior Black Sticks. So I know what it’s like to try your best to get there, and not quite make it,” she says.

“But I’ve also travelled the world to watch Kayla and the Black Sticks, and I’ve seen that side of things too.

“I like to check in with the girls and help them with anything they need, or if they just want to debrief. I’m still looking after them and following their path.”

In her role as New Zealand U18 coach with Glynn, Sharland says she feels they’re guiding players at the starting point of their international careers.

“It’s essentially a squad, who we’re preparing to move on to the under-21s and be ready for the 2021 Junior World Cup,” she says.

And looking at her squad, Sharland believes the future of NZ women’s hockey is in strong, capable hands.

“We’ve got a lot of real athletes coming through. There’s a large number of strikers, true goal scorers, which we haven’t had previously,” Sharland says.

“And we have a lot of girls who are really committed to developing themselves to becoming the best they can be. You always get a drop-off of players around 18, but these girls are very ambitious in their hockey goals.”

With her own goals, Sharland isn’t quite ready to leave teaching and become a full-time hockey coach. But she’d love to coach a New Zealand side at a Junior World Cup and have the “opportunity to observe and learn in the Black Sticks environment.”

Then she may finally feel her hockey nous equals that of her famous big sister.


Taradale Intermediate goes back-to-back with hockey gold medal

Keri Welham

The Taradale team celebrate their mixed 6-aside finals win at the Anchor AIMS Games. AIMS GAMES MEDIA

Taradale Intermediate claims gold at mixed 6-a-side hockey final at AIMS Games.

Taradale Intermediate claimed gold for the second year running in the mixed 6-a-side hockey final at the 2019 Anchor AIMS Games.

Taradale, from Hawke's Bay, beat Auckland's Bucklands Beach Intermediate, 8-3, while almost 600 students watched the match on livestream in the Taradale Intermediate hall.

Sports coordinator Kirsten Demanser-Wilson said the school was mad about hockey, and many parents left Hawke's Bay early on Friday morning to drive 3.5 hours each way to be turf-side for the final.

Year 8 Adrian Dixon only started playing hockey this year - and now has a gold medal.

As he played, he said he felt the support of the school community.

The Rosmini College team celebrate their 1-0 win over Northcross in the Anchor AIMS Games hockey final. AIMS GAMES MEDIA

"It's good that all the whole school is backing us, even if they are not here. And all our supporters out there just motivating us, keep us going for the last minutes."

In the inaugural boys' 6-a-side hockey final, Hillview Christian School beat New Plymouth's Highlands Intermediate, 4-3.

Head of sport Paul Norton said about a quarter of the school's 100 intermediate age-students were at the Games.

Action from the AIMS Games girls' hockey final between Heaton Normal and Cobham Intermediate. AIMS GAMES MEDIA

The final was livestreamed to classrooms back at school in Christchurch, and Norton said that support and vocal sideline encouragement was invaluable in getting his team the win.

"It encourages them, it inspires them. It's absolutely massive," Norton said.

Tournament director Vicki Semple also recognised Hillview's exceptional sideline sportsmanship, awarding the school a $500 Night & Day supporter prize to go towards its PE budget.

The Hillview contingent's goal for the Games had been to make lots of friends at AIMS. The girls' 6-a-side team made great friends with their opposition from Raroa Intermediate, and both teams went out for dinner together after their game.

Hillview parent Alison Cook said: "It's just what we wanted from AIMS Games, for our children to have that friendship. We've loved the whole experience."

Otumoetai Intermediate won the inaugural girls' 6-a-side hockey event, beating Kristin School 3-1.

Rosmini College beat Northcross Intermediate, 1-0, in the boys' 11 final, while the girls' event was won by Heaton Normal Intermediate which beat Cobham Intermediate School 2-0.


Munster hockey is looking to end Ulster and Leinster's dominance

Rory Noonan

Coaches Emily O'Leary and Brian Collins with Aoibheann Collins, Alex Halley, Siri Forde and Robyn Murphy, all members of the Munster U16 hockey team. Picture: David Keane.

IT has been more years than they care to remember, but the Munster U18 and U16 boys and girls hockey sides go in search of inter-provincial glory over the next two weekends.

It won’t be an easy task for any of the four sides, as all four tournaments have been dominated by either Ulster or Leinster for some time.

But Munster have been making strides in recent years and have come close on a number of occasions. They will now be hoping that at least one of their teams makes the breakthrough this year.

Up first, starting tomorrow are the boys U18 and U16 tournaments that are taking place in Belfast.

First into action will be the U16 side, at 12.30pm, and they couldn’t have asked for a much tougher opener, taking on the host province. Since 2005, either Ulster or Leinster have won this particular tournament and the latter are hoping to make it two in a row.

Front from left, Munster U16 team members Cian Dorgan and Paul Curtin with U18 team members Iarlaith O'Neill, Ian Balding and Kevin O'Dea, attending a training session at the Mardyke. Also included are Samantha Dorgan, U16 team management along with Ashley Smyth, Matt Treacy, John Dennis and Ivan Bateman, all U18 team management. Picture: David Keane.

Munster are managed by Mandy Dorgan, who was a prolific player for Ashton in her day. She certainly will have them primed and ready to go and if they lose out, it won’t be for lack of effort .

They follow their opener with two games on Saturday, against the defending champions and Ulster again (Connacht don’t compete at this level so they all play each other twice).

They round off the tournament against Leinster on Sunday and hopefully, there will be all to play for in that game. The side is captained by Ashton student Cian Dorgan, who also plays with Church of Ireland at club level. Their vice-captain is Paul Curtin, who plays with Midleton school and club.

The U18s also start on Friday against Ulster, and their games will follow the same pattern as the U16 fixture list.

Managed by John Dennis, who has been around the game for some time, he will know what it takes to win a tournament like this and, much like Dorgan, will have them well-primed tomorrow.

They are captained by Ian Balding, who plays with Kilkenny College, with Kevin O’Dea, from Ashton installed as their vice-captain. A key player will be keeper Iarlaith O’Neill, who plays with Bandon Grammar School.

The following weekend, September 20-22, the girls’ sides are in action and they will be hoping that home advantage can count, with the games being played at Garryduff Sports Centre.

Facilities at Garryduff are amongst the best in the country at the moment, with Belfield still being renovated, and it is surprising that more top tournaments are not held there.

The girls tournament has five sides taking part as they split it into the traditional four provinces, but also add in the South-East at these levels.

Both teams start with two games on Friday, with ties against Connacht and Leinster. They then have a game each on Saturday, again both facing the South-East, before they finish off against Ulster on Sunday.

For the U16 side, they will be hoping to see the province win for the first time since 2002, two years before most of the squad were even born.

Leinster will be hot favourites for this title, as they bid for three-in-a-row, but Munster will look to the likes of Siri Forde and Alex Hally to lead them to glory.

You have to go back further, 1999, for a Munster win at U18 level and since then Ulster have been the dominant province, with 15 wins.

Munster will look to the likes of Nicky Barry and Sophie Clein to break that streak.

Alice Browne, President of the Munster branch of Hockey Ireland, pictured with members of the Munster U18 and U16 hockey teams. Picture: David Keane.


All games in Belfast


Boys U18 inter-pros: Munster v Ulster, 2.45pm.
Boys U16 inter-pros: Munster v Ulster, 12.30pm.


Boys U18 inter-pros: Munster v Leinster, 12.15pm; Munster v Ulster, 4.45pm.
Boys U16 inter-pros: Munster v Leinster,10am; Munster v Ulster, 2.30pm.


Boys U18 inter-pros: Munster v Leinster, 3.45pm.
Boys U16 inter-pros: Munster v Leinster, 1.30pm.


All games at Garryduff

Girls U18 inter-pros: Munster v Connacht, 1.15pm; Munster v Leinster, 6.15pm.
Girls U16 inter-pros: Munster v Connacht, 12 noon; Munster v Leinster, 5pm.


Girls U18 inter-pros: Munster v South-East, 4.15pm.
Girls U16 inter-pros: Munster v South-East, 3pm.


Girls U18 inter-pros: Munster v Ulster, 12.15pm.
Girls U16 inter-pros: Munster v Ulster, 11am.


HA commits support to Cairns Hockey Indigenous program

Nic Kerber

(Pictured left to right: Mel Woosnam - Hockey Australia President, Clare Prideaux - Oceania Hockey Federation President, Julie McNeil - Cairns Hockey Operations Manager, Bob Claxton - Oceania Hockey Federation Hon. Secretary General)

Hockey Australia is delighted to support Cairns Hockey in their work with the Aspire to be Deadly Program, aimed at increasing Indigenous participation and wellbeing.

The collaborative partnership will see Hockey Australia donate 100 HookIn2Hockey packs, which will be included in Aspire Learn Well Live Well Lead Well programs and given to indigenous young girls as part of community and school support programs.

Hockey Australia has also committed to providing a minimum of 100 packs per year over a three years period with minimal margins to aid the inclusive program.

“We are delighted to partner with Cairns Hockey for this fantastic program,” said Hockey Australia CEO, Matt Favier.

“Hockey Australia already does a wealth of amazing work with remote communities up in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which are predominantly with Indigenous people, and the objectives of the Aspire to be Deadly program are ones we fully support.

“One of the best things about the hockey community across Australia is how close knit it is and the willingness to support each other, so we look forward to contributing and building on the great work that is being done.”

The donation and provision of the packs is the first initiative in what is hoped to be a longstanding association between the two parties, with plans in place to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to stamp the partnership.

“Cairns Hockey is especially proud of the programs and the results and outcomes Aspire to be Deadly delivers,” said Cairns Hockey President Dr Robert Pozzi.

“Our Aspire initiative is based around strong engagements and partnerships and this national collaboration is exciting and will strengthen the advancement of hockey across Cairns and Far North Queensland.”

Other ways Hockey Australia is exploring to provide assistance is through mentor support with national program athletes to develop talent pathways, mentor and leadership opportunities.

About Cairns Hockey Aspire to be Deadly Learn Well Live Well Lead Well Indigenous Hockey Programs:

A partnership was established with the Commonwealth Government- Indigenous Advancement Strategy to deliver a series of programs to increase school attendance, support leadership and mentor programs, highlight healthy lifestyle choices and celebrate culture, all with the aim of increasing opportunities for indigenous young women and girls to complete school and view future opportunities with increased self -confidence and self-worth.

Aspire to be Deadly uses the hockey programs through the LEARN WELL LIVE WELL LEAD WELL Program to develop strong life skills by participating and advancing through the hockey program and learning new skills, working together and teamwork, problem solving and understanding how to address challenges without giving up or resorting to aggressive and unacceptable behaviour.

For more information on the Cairns Hockey Association and the Aspire to be Deadly programs, visit http://www.cairnshockey.com.au/aspire.

Hockey Australia media release

Meet V. Chokkaiah and Barkat Ali, the fans who will never give up on hockey

Fans such as Chokkaiah and Ali have been the beating heart of the 93-year-old competition which started as the Madras Challenge Cup in 1901.

Samarnath Soory

Barkat Ali and his friends have been coming to watch the Murugappa tournament since 1978.   -  SAMARNATH SOORY

Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium, the VIP section, top row, extreme right. Retired Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) employee V. Chokkaiah made this seat his own during the 2019 MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup.

“Come on, faster. More speed!” As Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) goalkeeper J. Chetan hollered at his teammates during pre-match drills on the day of the final against Punjab National Bank (PNB), the 69-year-old Chokkaiah's eyes darted from player to player as they sprinted across the turf.

From the warm-ups to the finish, from the swoosh of the hockey stick to the smacking sound of the ball, he soaked it all in at the stadium in Egmore.

Asked if he was an official, he chuckled. “No sir, I really like hockey. I just came early because I don't want this seat taken. It gives me the best view.”

Chokkaiah has not missed a single minute of Murugappa hockey action in the last seven years. “As a boy, I used to follow our school hockey team. I was fascinated by the sport ever since. And here at Murugappa, its free entry, what’s not to like?”

V. Chokkaiah, 69, is particular about his seat and is the first person to arrive at the stadium.   -  SAMARNATH SOORY
Fans such as Chokkaiah have been the beating heart of the 93-year-old competition which started as the Madras Challenge Cup in 1901. The tournament returned after a long gap in 1962, and established itself as a mainstream annual sporting event in Madras in the ‘70s and the ‘80s.

Those were the days of hockey on grass turf that hooked Barkat Ali. The 74-year-old former employee of MRF too makes it a point to catch the Murugappa tournament live in the stadium. What's more, he comes with a band of friends and fellow hockey lovers. 

 “I remember watching my first Gold Cup match in 1978 which was played at Chepauk [Stadium]. It is great to watch hockey because it makes the players link up and play as a unit. And it keeps you fit.”

Ali was part of a small group of twenty in the ‘80s who would meet once a year to watch hockey. Anyone interested was welcome. A small joining fee of Rs. 4 was collected from each member for use during matches.

“We used to pool money, buy a gift and present it to the best player of the final. It was nothing expensive, but it was to show our appreciation,” he said.

The loyal fans share a special connection with the games played on grass. Despite the introduction of the artificial turf in 1976 Montreal Olympics, hockey stayed on grass in Madras till 1994. Renuka Lakshmi, Secretary of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, has fond memories of the days of yore. “I was following the tournament from the 70s, when I was in school. On the grass, the ball could be hit on the bounce and we had time to observe the movement of players. Nowadays, the game is faster, but it was more fun on grass.”

The Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium where the Murugappa Gold Cup is held every year.   -  SAMARNATH SOORY
Tamil Nadu got its first artificial turf at the MRK Stadium in 1995 as a part of the SAFF Games. In 1996 (the year Madras was renamed as Chennai), the tourney shifted to the new surface in Egmore. M.V. Rama Rao, who represented Karnataka’s state teams and Canara Bank in the ‘90s recalls the excitement among the players.

“There was a charm to the tournament when I first started playing. Players like Bharat Chetri and Ignace Tirkey were eager to come here whenever they had a break from international duty,” said Rao, who continued his association with the tournament as a coach. This year, he was in charge of the Bengaluru Hockey Association team.

Over the years, the crowd at the stadium has thinned down. A few young fans come in, but many also leave before the game ends. Some stay till the end, hoping to win a gift hamper in the daily lucky draw.“How can you expect children to come and watch the matches when all parents talk about are studies,” said Ali.

According to Vignesh Bhaskaran, 28, the younger lot are swayed away by the glitz and glamour of cricket, especially the Indian Premier League (IPL).“The following for the game is not the same as cricket. Entry is free here, but there is no DJ to keep the spectators engaged like in the IPL. Among the spectators you see are members of local hockey teams and teams training in the complex,” said Vignesh, who played for Anna University hockey team a few years ago.

The MCC and Murugappa group have made a push to promote the game, conducting Chennai City Schools Hockey Tournament in 2019 featuring eight teams. A women’s tournament is in the works. Coaches of school teams have urged the organisers to look at conducting U-14 and U-16 tournaments. These initiatives will take time, but fans such as Ali are willing to stay with the sport all the way.

“Three of our group members have died. In our hearts, we want to watch every match just like earlier. But old age has its way. We come to the stadium whenever it is physically possible,” he said.


Weekend College Games

USA Field Hockey's weekly feature of highlighting some of the top college games in Division I, II and III is back for the 2019 season.


DI: No. 18 Stanford at No. 10 Harvard | 4:00 p.m. ET

No. 18 Stanford will journey east to take on No. 10 Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. ET. The last time the teams faced one another was in 2017 where the game went to double overtime and Stanford pulled out the 2-1 decision. The Cardinal currently stand at three wins and two losses, both coming from top-ranked opponents. Harvard is 1-1 after they beat No. 20 Albany but lost to No. 3 Connecticut in their second match of the season. Stanford will look to draw out their winning streak to four games, while Harvard will look to add a win to their even record.

DII: Queens at Belmont Abbey | 4:30 p.m. ET

Queens will travel to Belmont, N.C. to face Belmont Abbey on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET. When the two teams met last season, Queens triumphed with a 3-1 victory. The Royals have a 1-1 record in 2019, beating Mercyhurst but falling to No. 1 Shippensburg in their second game. Belmont Abbey has an identical record by also defeating Mercyhurst and a loss to the top-ranked Raiders last week. In what seems like an evenly matched game, only one team will be able to improve their record to 2-1 following Thursday.

DIII: Lasell at MIT | 6:00 p.m. ET

The Lasell Lasers will play the MIT Beavers on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. ET in Cambridge, Mass. In their 2018 meeting, MIT walked away with the victory and a goal margin of 4-2. Historically, the Beavers have won the majority of the meetings, but Lasell has challenged them in recent years and answered with goals of their own. The Lasers enter the match-up with a 1-2 record after a big overtime win against Becker. MIT has an even record of 2-2 after suffering losses to top-20 teams, Endicott and Montclair State.


DI: No. 20 Albany at No. 5 Princeton | 4:00 p.m. ET

Two top-25 teams will meet in Princeton, N.J. on Friday at 4:00 p.m. ET as No. 20 Albany faces No. 5 Princeton. The Great Danes and Tigers have not played one other since 2016 when Princeton upset Albany 3-2. Albany has suffered two losses so far that were close games against No. 9 Delaware and No. 10 Harvard. Princeton’s record is even at 1-1 as they could not defeat No. 1 North Carolina but held off No. 15 Wake Forest in their opening weekend.

DII:Slippery Rock at No. 7 Kutztown | 3:00 p.m. ET

Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) foes Slippery Rock and No. 7 Kutztown will meet on Friday at 4:00 p.m. ET in Kutztown, Pa. Being in the same conference gives the two teams a rich history, and they see each other multiple times some years. In 2018, Kutztown took the win 3-1 in their lone meeting with Slippery Rock. The Golden Bears come off two wins from their tour in Vermont, improving their record to 2-1. Slippery Rock holds a 1-1 record with a hefty win over Frostburg and a loss to American International last week. With this being the first of two match-ups in the regular season, a win will set the tone for the second game later on.

DIII: No. 18 Babson at Skidmore | 4:00 p.m. ET

No. 18 Babson hits the road this weekend to meet Skidmore on Friday at 4:00 p.m. ET in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The tides have turned in the series between the Beavers and Thoroughbreds with Babson claiming victories the last three years after Skidmore dominated for the six seasons prior. In 2018, the score was close at 1-0 in favor of Babson who is currently 3-1 on the season. Skidmore holds a 1-2 record with their sole win coming over No. 19 Hamilton. 


DI: No. 22 Boston University vs. Columbia (at Maine) | 2:00 p.m. ET

No. 22 Boston University and Columbia will meet at the neutral site of Orono, Maine on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. ET to battle it out in the first-ever meeting of the two programs. Boston sits at 3-1 with their only loss coming against No. 12 Ohio State and moved up one spot in the rankings from last week. Columbia has one win over Central Michigan and one loss to No. 7 Iowa so far this season. The Terriers will look to prove themselves and keep jumping up in the rankings with a win over the Lions on Saturday.

DII: No. 9 Bloomsburg at IUP | 1:00 p.m. ET

Another PSAC rivalry will be played out this weekend as No. 9 Bloomsburg plays IUP on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET in Indiana, Pa. Bloomsburg has dominated the previous meetings of the two teams, taking 12 of the last 13 contests. Last year, the Huskies defeated the Crimson Hawks 2-1 in overtime. Having one loss against them, Bloomsburg will look to continue that tradition and earn their first win of the season. IUP is 1-0 in 2019 as they beat Frostburg in their season opener last week.

DIII: No. 6 Vassar at Smith | 1:00 p.m. ET

Smith College will host No. 6 Vassar on Saturday afternoon in Northampton, Mass. This will be the first meeting of the two teams since 2016 when Vassar bested Smith 2-0 early in the season. The Brewer remains undefeated thus far with wins over Stevens, SUNY Geneseo and New Paltz, each by at least three goals. Smith is 1-3 as they won against Westfield State but fell to No. 15 Trinity among others. Vassar will look to continue their winning streak while the Pioneers will hope to end their losing streak with a big win over a top-10 opponent.


DI: No. 21 Rutgers at Monmouth | 2:00 p.m. ET

Monmouth will host No. 21 Rutgers at their home field in West Long Branch, N.J. on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET. The series between these two teams is currently even at four wins each, but Sunday will put one team on top. In 2015, Rutgers walked away with the 4-2 decision. The Scarlet Knights are 2-2 with wins over Ball State and Maine. The Hawks are 3-1, and their sole loss came to Northeastern in overtime. Both teams will hope to improve their records with a win on Sunday.

DII: No. 3 East Stroudsburg at Mount Olive | 1:00 p.m. ET

No. 3 East Stroudsburg will take a trip south to meet Mount Olive on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET in Mount Olive, N.C. With this being the inaugural season for Mount Olive’s program, the two teams have never met. After their opening weekend was postponed due to Hurricane Dorian, Mount Olive played Coker on the road Wednesday afternoon for the program's first ever match. The Trojans lost 0-4 and will play Converse at home on Thursday before their focus shifts to East Stroudsburg, who currently holds a 2-0 record after defeating Bellarmine and No. 8 Stonehill in overtime last week. Mount Olive will look to make a statement against higher-ranked East Stroudsburg.

DIII: Bates at No. 20 Endicott | 1:00 p.m. ET

Sunday afternoon will bring another tough match-up as No. 20 Endicott hosts Bates at 1:00 p.m. ET in Lewiston, Maine. When the two teams met last season, Bates came away with the 3-0 win. The Bobcats have only played a single game this season, where they squeaked by No. 19 Hamiliton in overtime. Endicott boasts a 3-0 record, with strong performances over top teams like No. 18 Babson. Only one team will stay undefeated after the two meet on Sunday.

USFHA media release

Field Hockey upsets Harvard en route to fourth-straight win

By Holden Foreman

Senior attacker Emma Alderton scored one of Stanford's two shootout points to top No. 10 Harvard 2-1 on Friday. (Photo: Cody Glenn/isiphotos.com)

With yet another shootout victory on Thursday, No. 18 Stanford field hockey (4-2, 0-0 America East) extended its winning streak to four games and secured its second upset of that span, this time against No. 10 Harvard  (1-2, 0-0 Ivy League). The Cardinal’s 2-1 win over the Crimson marks the halfway point of a road trip in which Stanford will next visit New Hampshire.

After opening the season with a pair of one-point losses to top-15 opponents, Stanford has been clutch on both ends of the field. Despite allowing Harvard to tie Friday’s game at 1-1 in its final minute, senior goalkeeper Kelsey Bing kept the Crimson from the net for the duration of the ensuing shootout, while junior attacker Corinne Zanolli and senior attacker Emma Alderton each scored for the Cardinal to claim the win.

Underlying Stanford’s recent success is its efficiency, as the Cardinal found the goal on less than half as many shots as the Crimson (19-8) in regulation. Stanford took only three penalty corners to Harvard’s five, but Zanolli netted the first goal of the game on a penalty shot one minute before halftime. Even before her shootout heroics, Bing made nine saves.

Stanford looks to extend its winning streak to five games when it takes on New Hampshire on Friday at 3 p.m. PT.

Stanford Daily

Bulldogs take on top-16 foes

Jared Fel & Madison Hahamy

Yale Athletics

With four of Yale field hockey’s next six opponents currently ranked 16th or higher in the nation, the Bulldogs will get a taste of what it’s like to play some of the NCAA’s best in what could prove to be their toughest three weeks of the season. That stretch starts this weekend with a trip to Virginia, where the Bulldogs will play No. 16 Liberty and No. 6 Virginia.

The Elis (1–1, 0–0 Ivy), coming off a dominating shutout against Sacred Heart to earn a split in its two games last weekend, hit the road to the Mother of States, where two nationally ranked teams await. The two-game weekend series begins with a matchup against Liberty (3–0, 0–0 Big East) on Saturday. As their overall record suggests, the Flames have gotten off to as hot of a start as any team could hope to have — an incendiary streak that the Bulldogs are hoping to extinguish. The following Sunday, the Bulldogs take on their second-highest ranked opponent of the season in Virginia (4–0, 0–0 ACC). The Cavaliers have come right out of the gate playing at a very high level, as one would expect from one of the top 10 teams in the nation.

“We are excited to play some of the top-ranked teams,” goalkeeper Sydney Terroso ’21 said. “Away trips are always a fun team bonding experience and this weekend will be a great opportunity to get better.”

This will be the second straight weekend that Yale will clash against a team it is not accustomed to playing. The Bulldogs have played the Flames and Cavaliers a combined three times in program history — once against Liberty and twice against Virginia.

The one time that the Elis faced the Flames was a recent 2017 home contest, when Yale come out victorious in overtime, 1–0. Then-rookie Terroso, who tallied seven saves in the shutout, was aided by the backfield’s stellar performance, which players later described as some of the best defense played in recent team history. Fastforwarding to this season, Liberty has been playing nearly perfectly on both sides of the field, scoring a total of 13 goals in its first three games while conceding just one score.

Liberty boasts a loaded roaster packed with talent and depth, showcased in their two star defensive players. Mallory Fortenbaugh, who is now entering her final season, had a career year in 2018. During the past season, she put up 11 assists and 19 total points, ranking second and third on the team, respectively. Her .58 assists per game ratio ranked 17th in the country, and also earned her a spot on the NFHCA National Academic Squad. Meanwhile, junior defender Ashley Dykema earned a spot on the NFHCA All-South Region second team, the All-Big East first team (for the second straight year) and the VaSID All-State first team, as well as the opportunity to compete in USA Field Hockey’s 2019 Young Women’s National Championship.

The Cavaliers began their season in an equally impressive fashion, winning all four games without surrendering more than one goal in any of those matches. Much of this is due to the team’s amazing goalkeeper, Lauren Hausheer, whose play during the 2017 season as a redshirt first-year earned her a sport on the  2019 U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team. Her .842 save percentage through four games ranks ninth in the nation.

Virginia’s top goalscorer is junior Makayla Gallen, who lays claim to four goals and also played this summer at USA Field Hockey’s Young Women’s National Championship. She will compete at the U21 team selection camp this December. Last season, she finished with four goals and two assists, ending with a .765 on-goal percentage. The last time that the two teams faced off was in 2013, when Yale suffered a 6–1 defeat. The earlier time that the teams played each other also resulted in a Yale loss.

“We have nothing to lose but a lot to prove [this weekend],” forward Imogen Davies ’21 said. “These teams are ranked much higher than us but I think we have the ability to give them a really great game and fight for a result. The team is ready to put in two great performances and help us build [momentum heading] into the Ivy season right around the corner!”

Yale heads to Liberty for a 1 p.m. showdown on Saturday before rolling into Charlottesville on Sunday for a 2 p.m. match against Virginia.

Yale Daily News

Despite early bumps in the road, Penn field hockey is confident ahead of challenging schedule

The Quakers' schedule features seven nationally ranked opponents

By Grace Hylinski

Penn field hockey senior goalie Ava Rosati has seen her team get off to a rough start to the season, but she still is confident that the Quakers will contend the rest of the way. Credit: Son Nguyen

For a team that is scheduled to play more than 40 percent of its matches against nationally ranked teams, losing its first two does not sound like a great way to start the season. But Penn field hockey — despite not being ranked itself — is not intimidated by its schedule.

“We have had a similar schedule my last three years and have beaten ranked teams in the past," senior goalie Ava Rosati said. "Princeton and Harvard were both ranked last year as well, and those games were one goal games. We are right there with them and feel that every game on our schedule is completely winnable.”

Coach Colleen Fink has a similar mindset when it comes to competing against teams who, on paper, look to be out of their league.

“I never take the coaches poll too seriously. Just because we haven’t been ranked in that poll doesn’t mean anything too defining in my eyes. The RPI poll has had us within the top-25 for the past several years. It’s arbitrary and it doesn’t have an effect on the way I look at this team.”

Indeed, the rankings do not have an effect on how Fink looks at other teams either.

“We try to prepare for every team the same," she said. "We always have full scouts on every opponent. Minor tweaks and adjustments to our game plan are possible, but for the most part we generally prepare the same for each team and try to play to our strengths and individual style."

The Quakers believe their strengths and style are good enough not just to compete with elite teams, but to beat them. That belief means they are confident that they can live up to the high expectations they have set for themselves.

“Everyone from our coaches to our freshmen have really high expectations for the season and are focused on holding ourselves accountable and staying disciplined during practices and games — I wouldn’t bet against us for the Ivies," Rosati said.

Coach Fink is thinking a little bigger than Ivies.

“I’m not one to make predictions, but in the big picture, we want to be top 15 in the country. That puts us in a good position to get an NCAA tournament bid and, in that case, would put us in a good standing in the Ivy League as well.”

While the team has done little this season to back up these predictions, Penn's performance in past years under Fink suggests good reason for optimism. Last season, the only Ivy teams Penn lost to — Princeton and Harvard — were both ranked, and both losses were by a single goal. Had a couple bounces gone a bit differently, the Quakers may well have gone dancing last season.

Things may not have started on the right foot for Penn this season, but with the team's difficult schedule, the Quakers will have plenty of opportunities to turn things around and achieve their lofty ambitions.

The Daily Pennsylvanian

Custodian Zakir Hussain's Incredible Saga

By Ijaz Chaudhry

Zakir Hussain in action for Pakistan

During the early years of country’s existence, Pakistan hockey possessed great talent with more than one world class player at every position barring one. Goal Keeper was considered the weakest spot.

The first Pakistani net minder to be acknowledged as among the best in the world was Zakir Hussain who recently passed away.

The man from district Attock of Rawalpindi division was an army soldier. Sports are a compulsory part of the army’s routine life. Zakir put on the hockey goalkeeping pads.  Army team was among the strongest on the domestic circuit in those days.

Zakir first appeared at the national championships in 1953. Next year, he helped army won the coveted title for the first time. December 1954 saw Zakir making his international debut against the visiting West Germany.

At their first two Olympic appearances in 1948 and 1952, Pakistan had failed to win medal, finishing fourth each time.

After some serious soul searching, a strong and well-knit Pakistan team was sent to the 1956 Olympics. Zakir Hussain was the first choice goal keeper of the side which fetched country’s first ever Olympic medal, silver, in any sport. The green shirts were unlucky to lose the final 0-1 to India

Next, Pakistan won gold at the 1958 Asian Games. It was the first time that India were relegated to the second position in an international event. Zakir was one of the stars- didn’t concede a single goal in the event.

But he also sustained an injury when a ball hit him on the chest. He soon regained fitness and performed well on the domestic circuit. Yet, he was controversially dropped for the 1960 Olympics; not fully fit.   New Zealand’s team on its way home from the 1960 Olympics played two matches in Karachi against a Pakistan Hockey Federation XI. Zakir not only guarded the goal but was also the captain of that side, indicating his ouster from the Olympics team was unjust. The simple soldier took it in stride.

The selectors soon recalled him. He was at his brilliant best when Pakistan regained the Asiad gold in 1962 beating India 2-0 in the final.  Only one goal was scored against Pakistan.

It seemed Zakir would now be a regular in the team. Fate again thought otherwise.   At the 1963 Pre-Olympic tournament in France, he was again hit on the chest by a ball. After the investigations, he was labeled a case of TB. Now, a junior commissioned officer with the rank of naib subedar, Army retired him on the medical grounds and he went home on pension.

However, Zakir maintained that he was still fit enough to play at the highest level. Though dejected, he continued his passion and made appearances for the Attock district and occasionally Rawalpindi zone on the domestic circuit.


Air Marshal Nur Khan became the President of the PHF in 1967. He promised the nation to bring back the Olympics hockey gold. Since 1962, the team’s graph was going downwards. Pakistan had lost both the titles: Olympics and Asiad, losing the finals, in 1964 and 1966 respectively.

Nur Khan brought Brig (then Lt Col) Manzoor Hussain Atif as the manager of the team. This was Atif’s first major assignment although he had been manager in 1965 and 1966 in minor tournaments.

He made courageous decisions.

During his previous tenure, he had unearthed a brilliant right-in Ashfaq. But he had been side lined. Ashfaq was brought back.

Saeed Anwar had been playing as a centre-half since the departure of Anwaar Ahmad Khan.  Atif brought him back to his original right-half position. Riaz, who had been a reserve, was made the number one centre-half.

Young Abdul Rasheed Junior was a right-in but Atif switched him to centre-forward and trained him to be a poacher availing even half chances.

Fazal-ur-Rahman was a fine left-half and unlike conventional left-halves, an attacking one. On the other hand, Gulraiz Akhtar was not flashy and only adhered to the prime task of defence. It was a bold move to prefer Gulraiz over the popular Fazal, who was taken as a reserve.

All these changes/readjustments involved players already on the radar and had played for Pakistan during that period.

But Atif couldn’t find any suitable goalkeeper from those active on the national scene.

Holland’s national team had toured Pakistan in early 1967. Apart from tests against Pakistan’s national team, they also played the zonal sides.

Zakir was visiting Rawalpindi for some personal task when he came across the president of the Rawalpindi zone hockey association. He requested Zakir to play for the Rawalpindi zone against Holland. Zakir reluctantly agreed. In the match played at the Army stadium Rawalpindi in front of a full house, he displayed the form of the years gone by and didn’t let the Dutch find the target in a 0-0 draw.

Atif sent a messenger to Zakir’s village with a letter requesting him to join the national team’s camp. Zakir had had a long association with Atif. They had played together not only for the national team but also in the army colours. The soldier couldn’t say no to the officer.  

Many laughed at the choice, “old man”.

Though, the skill was intact, Zakir had gone physically very weak. Atif paid special attention to his health and handed him Rs 10,000, a huge sum at the time, ‘whenever you feel hungry, eat a roasted chicken and when thirsty, drink a jug of milk’. He was also administered vitamins injections regularly.    

For the preparation, Pakistan team toured abroad and also hosted teams apart from holding a seven-nation tournament in Lahore.

By the time, the 1968 Mexico Olympics arrived, Zakir was in an excellent condition: physically, mentally and technically.   He was appearing at the Olympics after 12 years- longest gap for a Pakistani between two Olympics appearances. Pakistan won the Olympic gold the second time, winning all their nine matches. Only five goals were conceded and Zakir kept clean sheet in five matches.   

The fairy tale couldn’t have a better ending.

Zakir defended the goal in an era when the goal keeper’s outfit consisted only of leg pads and gloves. His forte was courage. The brave soldier was ever ready to take the ball even on his face or head. 

Four appearances in the only two title tournaments of that time: 1956 Olympics: Silver (his country’s first Olympic medal), 1958 Asian Games: Gold, 1962 Asian Games: Gold. 1968 Olympics: Gold.

Even a fiction writer couldn’t have thought of the remarkable comeback leading to the glory at the 1968 Olympics.

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


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