All the news for Friday 28 April 2017
Kookaburras set sights on 10th title at Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
World famous international invitational competition begins this Saturday
Australia, winners of the 2016 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Credit: Tim Myers / SportsMediaGroup.com.au
The 26th edition of the revered Sultan Azlan Shah Cup international invitational competition gets underway in Ipoh, Malaysia this weekend with six men’s nations fighting for the chance lift the trophy.
With title holders Australia, India, Great Britain and New Zealand all placed inside the top ten of the FIH Hero World Rankings and fellow competitors Malaysia and Japan both being recent winners of Hockey World League Round 2 events, the competition at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium is certain to be fierce.
Australia’s Kookaburras (FIH Hero World Ranking: 2) claimed a record ninth Sultan Azlan Shah title in 2016, and will be seen by many as favourites once again. Although the squad selected by head coach Colin Batch has seen an injection of new talent, there are still plenty of world class experience on show including midfielder Eddie Ockenden and defender Matthew Swann. However, legendary defender and regular team captain Mark Knowles misses out due to a stress injury in his foot.
“We still believe we’re taking a highly capable team over to contest in the Azlan Shah Cup”, said Batch following Knowles’ withdrawal. ‘We will decide who will captain for the series once we have assembled in Malaysia.”
India (WR: 6) took the silver medal in 2016 and will arrive in Ipoh determined to go one better this time around. Like Australia, the Indian team contains a balance of youth and experience, with captain and ace shot-stopper PR Sreejesh hoping that his talented side can exhibit mental resilience at the Sultan Azlan Shah competition. “We have improved a lot mentally over the past year”, said Sreejesh. “In tough situations, in quarter-finals, we have beaten big teams and moved to semis. We need to show consistent improvement in tough matches and we need to raise the bar and perform well.”
With his sights set firmly on achieving Hockey World Cup 2018 qualification at this summer’s Hockey World League Semi-Final competition in London, Great Britain (WR: 7) head coach Bobby Crutchley has selected a side that features a good sprinkling of new players who will be looking to impress. Established stars such as team captain Barry Middleton, Mark Gleghorne and prolific Scotland striker Alan Forsyth are joined by a host of young talent including England U-21 captain James Gall and Wales international Dan Kyriakides. Regular goalkeeper George Pinner misses the event due to his upcoming marriage to GB women’s team’s Jo Hunter.
New Zealand (WR: 8) head coach Darren Smith has also favoured youth for the event, with the vast majority of the team being under the age of 23. At just 27 years of age, experienced team captain Arun Panchia is now an elder statesman of the Black Sticks squad, with teenagers Sam Lane and Hayden Phillips – playing in his first international competition since his hugely impressive Olympic debut at Rio 2016 – being the youngest members of a team missing injured trio Simon Child, Nick Haig and Brad Read. They suffered a heavy 8-2 defeat at the hands of Malaysia in the first of two warm-up matches against the host nation. However, the Black Sticks were much improved in the second fixture, holding the home favourites to a 3-3 draw.
Malaysia (WR: 14) will fancy their chances of making a big impression on home soil, especially after their recent first place finish at the Hockey World League Round 2 event in Dhaka, Bangladesh where they defeated China in the competition final. Star attacker Faizal Saari missed that competition through injury, but has since returned to action and could play a key role at the as his side bid to win a first Azlan Shah title having finished runner-up on five occasions.
Japan (WR: 16) may be the lowest ranked team in the competition but, like Malaysia, come into this event full of confidence following their brilliant, event-winning performances at the Hockey World League Round 2 tournament in Tacarigua, Trinidad and Tobago. Striker Kenta Tanaka scored nine goals from open play at that event to finish as competition top scorer, ensuring that he is a player to watch in Ipoh. The team will be hoping to continue their fine form as they continue their preparations for the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg, South Africa where they will be aiming to book a ticket to the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 in India.
The action begins on Saturday 29th April with Great Britain facing India in the competition opener at 16:05 (local time – GMT/UTC +8) before New Zealand and Australia contest an Oceania derby match at 18:05. Host nation Malaysia play Japan in the final match of the day, scheduled for 20:35.
About the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup has been an annual feature in the FIH calendar since 1998, although it initially started life in 1983 as a biennial event. The event is named after legendary hockey fan and former FIH Executive Board Member HRH Sultan Azlan Shah, the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia, who sadly passed away in 2014. Although the man known as “the father of Malaysian Hockey” is no longer with us, both his name and legacy lives on in this ever-entertaining competition.
To keep up to speed on all the action from the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, click the links below.
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Coach Stephen wants his men to be competitive in Ipoh
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey coach Stephen van Huizen (pic) has called on his players to raise their game when they face higher-ranked teams in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which begins in Ipoh tomorrow.
The other sides in the six-team competition are world No. 2 and defending champions Australia, world No. 6 India, world No. 7 Britain, world No. 8 New Zealand and world No. 16 Japan.
Only Japan are ranked lower than Malaysia (world No. 14).
“We need to be competitive ... after the Asian Champions Trophy last year, we are playing teams ranked higher than us. It’s a chance for us to gauge where we stand in our preparations for World Hockey League Round Semi-Finals.
“All the teams will try to do well and boost their confidence. If we can get good results, then the team will have good dose of confidence as well,” said Stephen, who agreed that Australia and India will start as the early favourites for the title.
“Australia and India have a good pool of players, so they can try out any combinations they want.
“As hosts of the World Cup, India do not need to worry too much about the World Hockey League Semi-Finals.
“They are automatic qualifiers (for the World Cup). They can experiment ... but their squad, even the juniors, are very well exposed.
“They are Junior World Cup winners. Holding the Indian Premier League (IPL) has also helped the younger players to gain confidence.”
The Star of Malaysia
India Gear up for 'Season Opener' in Malaysia
Ipoh: It rains almost everyday here, so much so that it's a given that it will pour in the evening. Thursday was no different; in fact, it was a little stormy - just two days before one of the region's most celebrated sports event, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, begins to bring hockey lovers together.
A tropical nature of the climate, with tree-laden mountains surrounding Ipoh, makes rain and humidity part of the lifestyle. People are used to it and carry umbrellas as a habit. In short, it never scares or dampens their spirits to have a week-long hockey party.
In absolute contrast with the sleepy nature of the town, the Azlan Shah Stadium brims with energy during it's showpiece event. But while people in the stands bob up and down, it's business as usual on the pitch.
For India, the tournament marks the beginning of a new season that will lead to the Asia Cup and then the FIH Hockey World League finals in India this December. That 2018 will bring with it the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World Cup — preparations begin now for all six nations participating in the tournament.
Historically, the tournament has served as breeding ground to test the skills of future stars. The objective remains the same for this 26th edition of the event — especially for developing hockey nations like Japan — who will be a part of the tournament as the lowest ranked (16th) team.
Meanwhile, India possess six youngsters and three debutants in their squad. The 18-member party will have the adrenaline rush provided by Junior Hockey World Cup Winners Harjeet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh, as well as new to the senior team Sumit, Manpreet Singh Junior and Gurinder Singh. Skipper Sreejesh's goal-keeping deputy, Suraj Karkera, would have been the fourth debutant to complete the list but he got injured just before team's departure and couldn't be a part of the squad. In his place, Akash Chikte is travelling with the team now.
But coach Roelant Oltmans is not putting any pressure by comparing Indian rookies to the youngsters in the squads of Australia, New Zealand or Great Britain.
"I know New Zealand are bringing some six players from junior squad but to compare them (with India's) does not make sense for me right now," Oltmans said.
Skipper Sreejesh toes his coach's line but with clear instructions that these young legs will be closely watched.
"It is an important year for us with the Asia Cup and HWL final, which will be held later this year. We start with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, where we will get to see how well our juniors can live up to the billing,"
Seasoned defender VR Raghunath wasn't even selected in the probables' list for the national camp, which sends a clear signal that players will be judged only on the basis of their performances and not from the names of the back of their jerseys.
On that note, Sardar Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh can consider themselves lucky to be travelling with the team.
"Though this year's HIL didn't go as planned for Punjab, I have worked hard in the 40-day camp and put in that extra hour or two of workout to ensure I am at the top of my game," Sardar said.
At the national camp in Bengaluru, Jugraj Singh and Bharat Chhetri were also present in the capacity of coaches. Jugraj as the drag-flicking coach while Chhetri was helping out the goalkeepers. And Oltmans stressed on the importance of having specialist coaches for the team.
"It's good to get more personal attention than what we can give because we have to deal with everyone. We have created a training atmosphere for goalkeepers where Bharat can work for a certain period and the response is very good," Oltmans explained.
Of the debutants, Sumit has been the most about young player to have broken on to the scene in recent time. With ability to switch roles swiftly, he is one peg who can fit in any hole and an absolute delight for a captain and coach.
Harmanpreet and Harjeet have already made their senior debuts sometime back. But at Azlan Shah, they can expect more match time than usual as Oltmans will like to throw them into the line of fire for longer duration now.
Akashdeep Singh had a good HIL for Uttar Paradesh Wizards, which helped him retain his spot. But Sunil can thank his stars after an average show with Punjab Warriors. He will need to deliver the goods now, with the likes of Sumit closing in on his heels.
On Friday, all teams will like to run a check-list before the tournament proper begins the following day.
Great Britain and New Zealand are missing key players, including Ashley Jackson and Simon Child respectively, either due to injury on league duties overseas. But none of the hockey nations mind that as they have always wanted youngsters to be the focus of attention in Azlan Shah.
However, nine-time champions Australia have recalled a few of the past stars like veteran midfielder Eddie Ockenden and defender Mathew Swann, giving them a chance to prove themselves for a possible place in HWL semifinals this June.
Ranked No. 6 in the world, India will also be part of the HWL semis in London, making it even more prudent for Oltmans to be clear about his choices. That will only keep players on their toes in Ipoh to win the trophy for the sixth time, seven years after they last did it in 2010.
Young Black Sticks encouraged to step up at Azlan Shah Cup with World Cup qualifier looming
Darren Smith, who played more than 200 tests for the New Zealand men's hockey team, is now in charge of them for the first time at an international tournament. ZAHID HUSSEIN/REUTERS
The young members of the New Zealand men's hockey squad are being asked to prove they belong at the elite level by new coach Darren Smith.
One of six nations in action, New Zealand get their campaign at the annual Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia underway against Australia in Ipoh on Saturday.
The tournament is the team's last official hit-out before the World League Semifinal in Johannesburg, South Africa in July, where qualification for next year's World Cup in India is up for grabs.
Young midfielder/striker Mac Wilcox made his senior international debut for New Zealand in last month's home series against Pakistan. GRANT DOWN/PHOTOSPORT
With eight experienced players still completing club commitments in Europe and four others unavailable through injury or work, Smith has taken a youthful group to face Australia, India, Great Britain, Malaysia and Japan over the next eight days.
The 18-strong squad have an average age of just 23, with captain Arun Panchia, Devon Manchester, Alex Shaw (27) and Nick Ross and Stephen Jenness (26) the only players older than 25.
Given so much experience would soon be back in contention, Smith said it was vital the younger players pushed their case for inclusion at an eight-day camp on the Gold Coast in June, from which the squad for South Africa would be chosen.
"If you're getting an opportunity you want to make sure you're on to it because if are you, you start to be entrenched in the squad leading into a World Cup and Tokyo [Olympic Games].
"Numerous guys are in that boat with us right now, it's their time to push hard and show they are international hockey players.
"If you don't it can quickly move away from you and others get picked. Selection starts to narrow and quite quickly the best are being chosen, you want to be one of them."
While interested to see how the young players would step up, Smith admitted that would not be easy against some of their Azlan Shah Cup opposition.
In contrast to the squad eighth-ranked New Zealand had sent, his assessment of the squads their first two opponents, world No 2 Australia and world No 6 India, was strong.
Although he wanted his team to perform well throughout, their prospects were better against seventh-ranked Great Britain, Malaysia (14) and Japan (16) and he admitted they had targeted "some games" they wanted maximum points from.
The Black Sticks won this tournament in 2015 and were third last year, a repeat of which would go some way to leaving the coach satisfied.
"If we statistically compete well and progress I'll be pretty happy but we want to be in the medal games and avoid fifth and sixth," Smith said.
"If we play for gold we would have done a really good job because there are some smart teams here. If we play for third then I'd be happy and if we play for fifth it just depends what has happened in the tournament."
The New Zealand side, who lost a five-match series 2-1 to Pakistan at home in March a few weeks after Smith took charge, arrived in Malaysia last Saturday, giving them plenty of time to acclimatise to the sweltering temperatures and stifling humidity.
After an 8-2 thrashing by the hosts in a warm-up game the following day as they were still adjusting to the conditions, the young Kiwi outfit bounced back with a 3-3 draw in a rematch on Tuesday and had an informal hit-out against Great Britain on Thursday.
They had also been boosted by the arrival of experienced defender Kane Russell from his Belgian club.
The drag-flick exponent had replaced Kim Kingstone in the squad after the striker was knocked out in the second warm-up clash with Malaysia and was sent home a couple of days later to continue his recovery.
Having played around "80 to 90" of his 212 tests in Malaysia, more than he predicted he played in New Zealand, Smith said he was throughout enjoying and looking forward to what was to come in his first trip away in his dream job.
"Even if the team is more experienced there are always a few nerves. I just want the team to do a good job, play well and win internationally.
"I'm lucky I get a front row seat and get to live the game with the boys, which is something I've been keen to do for a few years now."
AT A GLANCE
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Ipoh, Malaysia
New Zealand squad: Cory Bennett (age 25), David Brydon (20), Robert Creffier (24), Stephen Jenness (26), Richard Joyce (24), Jonty Keaney (21), Kane Russell (25), Sam Lane (19), Devon Manchester (27), Leo Mitai-Wells (21), Harry Miskimmin (22), George Muir (22), Dominic Newman (20), Arun Panchia (27), Hayden Phillips (18), Nick Rosss (26), Alex Shaw (27), Mac Wilcox (20).
New Zealand schedule (NZ times):
Sat, April 29: vs Australia, 10pm
Sun, April 30: vs India, 8pm
Tue, May 2: vs Japan, 10pm
Thu, May 4: vs Malaysia, 12.30am
Fri, May 5: vs Great Britain, 8pm
Sat, May 6: Playoff matches
When India won the first Azlan crown
Chief Coach Jhamanlal Sharma is no more, so also captain Mohammad Shahid. But the feat the two big names in Uttar Pradesh hockey created in 1985 evokes emotion and entails reminiscence. When their crack team won the Second Raja Azlan Shah Invitation Tournament, as present day’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup was known then, in the last outing of the year, it came after a five year long gloom that almost put a question mark over the survival of Indian hockey.
Since won the Moscow Olympics, India took part in every tournament that the world saw till Dec 1985, including Olympics, World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asian Games, Asia Cup and what not, but could not lift any crown, giving fodder to perennial pessimists in the sub-continent.
On December 3, 1985. A brief relief.
India showed symptoms of revival. Won the Azlan Cup comprehensively beating home side Malaysia. The scoreline of the final match stood as 4-2. It was sweet revenge against the host who defeated them in the earlier edition in the opening match.
But they were an exhausted side in the final in 1985.
Perhaps, they were all drained out as they would play a non-stop 100 minutes of hockey a day early before moved into tie-break to emerge winner against Spain in the semis.
By showing the doors to Spain, the hosts also did a favour to India.
India lost to Spain in the opener. Spain could repeat the Moscow form (3-4 final score) but with a win in Ipoh. It was prevented from the final entry by the crueling 100-minutes energy sapper of game.
India went on to outplay Malaysia in the final, Mohammad Shahid weaving cobweb around Malaysian forwards.
The captain breathed his last last year.
What about the other Ipoh achievers?
Winger Jalalludin Rizwi is top official in State Bank of India.
Another winger Thoiba Singh is at present Selector, doing his work in Bengaluru Sub-Junior Nationals.
Tikken Singh and Neelkamal Singh lives happily in Manipur
Centre-forwards Mohd Naeem and Balwinder Singh continue in Indian Railways.
Joaquim Carvalho lives in Mumbai, challenges present Bombay Hockey Association in electoral battle.
MM Somaya is a top official in Bharat Petroleum Ltd
Mohinder Pal Singh, the defender, enjoys golf, gets accolades in Corporate Gulf tournaments.
Jude Felix, among other things, runs a hockey academy in an orphan school in Bengaluru, till recently was with the Senior National team.
Abdul Aziz is another of Railways stalwart, posted at Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.
Pargat Singh dabbles in politics successfully, retained his MLA seat from Jalandhar cantonment in the Punjab State Assembly election recently.
India went on to win the Azlan crown thrice more, each having its own significance. We will deal those in the coming days, as the 26th edition will unfurl in a couple of days.
Iran indoor hockey team trounces Oman 10-3 in Asian cup
The Iranian men’s national indoor field hockey team (file photo)
The Iranian men’s national indoor field hockey team has recorded its third victory at the 7th edition of the Asian Cup in Qatar, and outplayed the Omani side at the preliminary round of the continental sports event.
On Wednesday evening, the Iranian squad truly dominated much of the match played at the world's largest indoor multi-purpose dome – Aspire Dome – in the Qatari capital city of Doha, and had the majority of the possession.
The Iranians could thrash the national Omani team 10-3 and progress to the next level of the tournament.
The Iranian indoor field hockey players edged past the Qatari side 9-3 on Tuesday.
They demonstrated remarkable skills in their opening match on Monday, and earned an emphatic 11-0 victory over Malaysia.
The 7th edition of Indoor Hockey Asia Cup kicked off in Qatar on April 24, and will run through April 28, 2017.
The men's event comprises of eight teams drawn into two pools. Iran has been drawn in Group A along with Qatar, Malaysia and Oman. Kazakhstan is in Pool B with Uzbekistan, Taiwan and Thailand.
The top two teams from each group will play in the cross-over semi-finals, while the finalists will automatically qualify for the 2018 Hockey Indoor World Cup, which is scheduled to be held between February 7 and 11 next year in the German capital city of Berlin.
The Iranian squad comprises Yaghoub Bahrami, Amir Aruei, Nima Heydari, Behnam Sa’di, Hamid Nouraniyan, Abbas Aruei, Mohsen Bohlouli, Seyed Mohammad Ghorayshi, Navid Taherirad, Alireza Chezani Sharahi, Behdad Biranvand and Vahid Samadi.
The team is led by Esfandiar Safaei as the head couch. Masoud Bohlouli and Abolfazl Yousefi assist Safaei as coaches.
Iran is the most decorated Asian team, winning six previous editions.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, China and North Korea are competing in the women's category of the Indoor Hockey Asia Cup. They are meeting each other in a round-robin format, with the top two teams meeting in the final.
South African Mens and Womens Senior Inter-Provincial Tournament 2017
Quarterfinal results and classification playoff fixtures
2017 Inter-Provincial Mens A
|SPAR KZN - EASTERN PROVINCE||Quarter Final||3 - 1|
|WESTERN PROVINCE - WP PENS||Quarter Final||4 - 1|
|SOUTHERN GAUTENG - WITSIES||Quarter Final||2 - 2 (3 - 4 SO)|
|NORTHERN BLUES - FREE STATE||Quarter Final||1 - 1 (3 - 2 SO)|
|12:00||SOUTHERN GAUTENG - FREE STATE||5-8|
|13:45||WP PENS - EASTERN PROVINCE||5-8|
|13:45||WITSIES - NORTHERN BLUES||Semi Final|
|17:15||WESTERN PROVINCE - SPAR KZN||Semi Final|
2017 Inter-Provincial Mens B
|NORTHWEST - EASTERN GAUTENG||Quarter Final||7 - 1|
|SACD - BORDER||Quarter Final||3 - 3 (2 - 0 SO)|
|SG NUGGETS - MPUMALANGA||Quarter Final||8 - 1|
|KZN MYNAHS - NORTHDAIS||Quarter Final||4 - 0|
|10:15||NORTHDAIS - EASTERN GAUTENG||5-8|
|10:15||KZN MYNAHS - NORTHWEST||Semi Final|
|10:15||SG NUGGETS - SACD||Semi Final|
|13:45||MPUMALANGA - BORDER||5-8|
2017 Inter-Provincial Womens A
|WESTERN PROVINCE - WITSIES||Quarter Final||3 - 0|
|SPAR KZN - FREE STATE||Quarter Final||4 - 0|
|SOUTHERN GAUTENG - NORTHWEST||Quarter Final||1 - 0|
|NORTHERN BLUES - WP PENS||Quarter Final||2 - 0|
|12:00||WITSIES - FREE STATE||5-8|
|15:30||WESTERN PROVINCE - SPAR KZN||Semi Final|
|15:30||WP PENS - NORTHWEST||5-8|
|19:00||NORTHERN BLUES - SOUTHERN GAUTENG||Semi Final|
2017 Inter-Provincial Womens B
|BORDER - EASTERN PROVINCE||Quarter Final||0 - 1|
|KZN MYNAHS - NUGGETS||Quarter Final||3 - 2|
|MPUMALANGA - SACD||Quarter Final||0 - 0 (3 - 1 SO)|
|NORTHERN DASIES - SACD B||Quarter Final||4 - 0|
|08:30||NUGGETS - SACD||5-8|
|08:30||SACD B - BORDER||5-8|
|08:30||NORTHERN DASIES - EASTERN PROVINCE||Semi Final|
|12:00||KZN MYNAHS - MPUMALANGA||Semi Final|
Scottish Cup finals weekend
National Hockey Centre drone above
Its Scottish Cup finals weekend this Saturday and Sunday at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, and it’s set to be a great weekend of top-class hockey. There are ten fantastic finals to be played over the weekend, and some of the best players in Scotland will take to the pitch.
We are delighted to announce the full weekend on pitch 1 will be live-streamed by Scottish Hockey with the Scottish Cup final matches, Grange v Bromac Kelburne and Milne Craig Clydesdale Western v Edinburgh University, streamed live on the BBC Sport Scotland website as part of the Team Scotland Series.
This is the first time live hockey has been broadcast by the BBC in any form since the Rio Olympics.
BBC Radio Orkney will also be delivering a live radio broadcast of the women’s District Cup Final between Orkney and Shetland.
The Team Scotland Series brings together multiple Scottish Championship events across 13 Commonwealth Games sports throughout the year, with athletes competing for the honour of being crowned Scotland’s best.
Acting as a launch pad towards representing Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, the Scottish Cup finals play a key part in athletes’ sporting journeys. So when watching the Scottish Cup finals you are also watching future Team Scotland athletes.
It’s a great opportunity to see future Commonwealth Games athletes up close and playing for silverware in Glasgow.
The finals are set to be a great festival of hockey at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, with entertainment including interactive on-pitch challenges with Scotland men’s internationalist Dan Coultas, an open bar, and food to accompany all the action on the pitch.
Tickets can be purchased at the gate and cost £5 for adults and £3 for concessions each day.
The full schedule for the weekend is as follows:
Saturday 29 April 2017
16:00 - Men’s Scottish Cup Final
Grange v Bromac Kelburne
14:00 - Men’s Scottish Plate Final
Western Wildcats v Watsonians
12:00 - Men’s District Cup Final
Watsonians 2s v Grange 2s
12:00 - Men’s District Plate Final (Pitch 2)
Edinburgh University 2s v Erskine Stewart’s Melville FP 2s
10:00 - Men’s Reserve Cup Final
Hillhead 3s v Grange 3s
10:00 - Men’s Reserve Plate Final (Pitch 2)
Watsonians 3s v Grove Menzieshill 3s
Sunday 30 April 2017
16:00 - Women’s Scottish Cup Final
Milne Craig Clydesdale Western v Edinburgh University
14:00 - Women’s Scottish Plate Final
Glasgow University v CALA Edinburgh
12:00 - Women’s District Cup Final
Orkney v Shetland
10:00 - Women’s District Plate Final
Granite City Wanderers 2s v Glasgow Academicals
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Division One leaders feeling the heat as Thunderbolt teams close in
Hard at work: The national players training yesterday at Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium in preparation for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: The two Division One pace-setters – MBPJ and SMKDBL Johor Juniors – will be hard-pressed to maintain their positions in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League this weekend with two Thunderbolt teams breathing down their necks.
MBPJ have won all their four matches and lead the 10-team Division One standings with 12 points.
The Johor Juniors are second with 11 points, but have played a game more.
Defending league champions SSTMI Thunderbolt are third with 10 points while defending overall champions BJSS Thundertbolt are fourth with nine points.
As such, it is an important weekend for all four teams.
MBPJ will play Olak Nurinsafi today while Johor Juniors will meet Anderson Thunderbolt.
MBPJ will then meet Johor Juniors on Sunday.
“None of the games are going to be easy ... especially when playing the Thunderbolt outfits,” said Johor Juniors team manager Shahbuddin Royani.
“But we have come this far with our determination and the players are committed and focused on the task at hand.
“We’ll just take it one match at a time and move forward.
“Anderson are aiming for a top-four finish but they have not had a good outing thus far. They have one win, one draw and two losses.
“They need the points as well.
“We have an advantage and we can build on it. The players need to take their chances and make their chances count.”
As for table-toppers MBPJ, coach Mohd Harfizi Baharom admitted that it would be tough to stay at the top as “the chasing pask have tremendous experience”.
“I feel that the results have not gone the way the Thunderbolt teams expected,” he said.
“They will definitely want to get it right. So, we have to plug away and grind out result any which way we can.”
The Star of Malaysia
7th Junior Women's Hockey C'ship- Andhra Pradesh beat Bengal 9-2
Hockey Andhra Pradesh trounced Bengal Hockey Association 9-2 in the opening match of the 7th Junior National Hockey Championship 2017 (Women) ?
Hockey Andhra Pradesh trounced Bengal Hockey Association 9-2 in the opening match of the 7th Junior National Hockey Championship 2017 (Women) ?B? Division here at the Aishbagh Stadium last evening.
In the first match of the Day 1, the star of the show was Jyothi Pilligoila, who scored seven goals (4?, 9?, 16?, 31?, 51?, 55?, 63?) in Andhra Pradesh's victory.
Hockey Puducherry edged past Vidarbha Hockey Association 1-0 in another Pool A clash. The lone goal of the toughly-fought contest was scored by S Subasri in the 48th minute.
Meanwhile, Hockey Mizoram hammered Hockey Jammu and Kashmir 10-0 in Pool B. Lalrindiki was the star of the game, scoring five goals (10?, 21?, 25?, 53?, 67?) in her side?s thumping victory.
In Pool C encounter, Assam Hockey beat Hockey Bihar 2-0 . Assam Hockey opened the scoring with Boby Karmakar in the 20th minute, and held on to that lead for most of the game. In the final minute of regulation time, Milka Surin put away a second goal to guarantee the victory and three points.
Hockey Madhya Bharat and Hockey Bengaluru played out a 3-3 draw in their Pool D encounter. Hockey Bengaluru?s S Yuktha opened the scoring, with two quick goals (6?, 22?) that looked to have opened up a gap.
Hockey Madhya Bharat?s two quick fire goals,by Kajal Malviya (31?, 35?) meant the scores were level at half time. In the second half, Nandini Sikarwar?s 45th minute penalty corner conversion was cancelled out by Hockey Bengaluru?s BY Ganavi in the 68th minute, as the two teams split the points.
Coorg keeps winning
Hockey Coorg made it three out of three with a 9-0 thrashing of Telangana Hockey in a Pool C encounter of the Hockey India sub-junior men's Nationals here on Thursday.
Hat-tricks by N.T. Tarun and Ashik Uthappa ensured that Coorg is yet to drop a point while all the other teams in the pool have.
Elswhere, Namdhari XI followed up its 20-0 win on Tuesday against Goa with another huge win — 15-0 over Hockey Puducherry.
The results: Pool B: Namdhari XI 15 (Hanspal Singh 4, 22, 29, 35, 44, 45, 59; Hardeep Singh 41, 49, 58; Princepal Singh 34, 69; Jaskaran Singh 63, 65; Surpreet Singh 8) bt Hockey Puducherry 0.
SAG, Gujarat 5 (Nikhil Jamboktkar 33, 52; Sahil Katiyar 46, 51; Sunny Ubre 34) bt Mumbai Hockey Association 1 (Mohd. Tauseef Qureshi 4).
Hockey Madhya Bharat 5 (Abhishek Yadav 9, 68; Mohit Tatawat 6; Irbaz Khan 65; Mudassar Qureshi 69) bt Goans Hockey 2 (Sunil Chari 32, 63).
Pool C: Bengal HA 1 (Lorik Pal 15) drew with Citizen XI 1 (Zainul Samar 58).
Hockey Coorg 9 (N.T. Tarun 23, 25, 33; Ashik Uthappa 47, 66, 70; K.M. Yaswan 53, 59; Rakshi Kariappa 62) bt Telangana Hockey 0.
Hockey Himachal 5 (Pankaj 28, 66, 68; Suraj Singh 24; Charanjit Singh 51) bt Vidarbha HA 2 (Rehan Khan 54; Shiv Borkar 62).
Focus on Rot-Weiss defence crucial for Rühr and co
With an array of stars in attack, Rot-Weiss Köln’s Christopher Rühr says his club focused on making sure they kept things tight at the back, knowing they could grab goals at the other end.
They beat reigning champions SV Kampong in the KO16 before holding off Real Club de Polo – both on 2-1 scorelines – to reach the FINAL4 for just the second time.
In Eindhoven, Marco Miltkau scored his 33rd EHL goal while Christopher Zeller boosted his total to 27 in the competition, meaning the side have two of the top-four all-time scorers in the competition in their ranks.
With Mats Grambusch, Rühr and Jonas Gomoll – among others – Rot-Weiss have enough talent to know they will score if they get their defensive platform right.
“We played powerfully in defence; that’s what we wanted to do and did it quite well against both teams, conceding just one goal each time,” Rühr told the EHL website.
“We knew about Kampong and Polo’s strengths offensively so it was key. What we have in our team in offence is probably better than anything else in Europe so goals comes naturally.”
Indeed, he said that knowing they have such lethal players like Miltkau and Zeller means that the pressure is taken off him and Grambusch to finish off moves, leaving them to act in creative roles.
“I can just set them up and they score the goals; it worked quite well! We had a target of reaching the FINAL4 for just the second time in our club history. The EHL has often not been our best competition in the past so it is great to go through to play Dragons at Dragons.”
And he expects a great experience in Brasschaat.
“We want to win the tournament and there’s nothing better than playing against Dragons at their place. The atmosphere of their fans is amazing – ours were good in Eindhoven – and so it will be an awesome match in June.”
uro Hockey League media release
Bromac Kelburne’s lucky 13th title as they overhaul Grange on final day
Picture by Duncan Gray
Bromac Kelburne snatched the Scottish National League Division 1 title last Saturday on the final day of the season, overhauling Grange in dramatic fashion.
While they have dominated the league for the last dozen years, this was an unexpected success as they trailed going into the final round of matches.
But a shock 3-2 loss for Grange against Western Wildcats opened the door and Kelburne took full advantage with a 2-0 win over Edinburgh University.
Grange`s demise was certainly unexpected as the Wildcats had an up and down season, but two penalty corner strikes by Adam McKenzie set the scene for the unexpected. A further open play strike by Roshan Anderson after the break set the seal on a shock result.
While Grange were the losers, Wildcats' big victory confirmed their fourth place position in the table and a shot at the European play-offs against Kelburne in a couple of weeks.
Kelburne then faced Edinburgh University with the chance to gain their 13th title and, in a first half of few chances, it was left to a penalty corner strike by Ben Peterson that gave the Paisley side a single goal lead at the interval.
The second half was a mirror of the first, but Kelburne’s retention of the title was confirmed by a cross from Lee Morton that was turned into his own net by an Edinburgh defender.
The students had their chances to rescue the game at penalty corners but a triple save by Kelburne goalkeeper Rory Kerr kept the scoresheet blank. It was then confirmed that Kelburne were crowned champions in a sensational turn of events on the final day of the league season.
Grange have an almost instant chance for revenge next weekend when they play Kelburne in the Scottish Cup final. The final will be live streamed by Scottish Hockey on the BBC Sport Scotland website as part of the Team Scotland Series. This is the first time live hockey has been broadcast by the BBC in any form since the Rio Olympics.
The men’s final is at 4pm on Saturday while the women’s final between Milne Craig Clydesdale Western and Edinburgh University will take place on Sunday.
uro Hockey League media release
Millions of hockey fans enjoy EHL KO16/KO8 in Eindhoven
The Euro Hockey League KO16/KO8 event proved another festival of hockey both in the stadium and in people’s living rooms with fans around the world enjoying the world’s premier club hockey competition.
On social media, over 1.2 million hockey fans were reached on Facebook with the most popular highlight clip proving Christopher Zeller’s goal for Rot-Weiss Köln against Real Club de Polo, owing much to Jonas Gomoll’s brilliant one-handed chip pass.
The second most popular clip was Wimbledon’s Phil Ball as his successful shoot-out ended England’s six-year wait for a FINAL4 spot.
For the first time, the EHL worked with clubs to directly to post almost live clips of their key KO16/KO8 moments. This produced a further 73,000 views of videos, helping the clubs directly show off their exploits in the EHL.
On Twitter, there were 1.4 million impressions generated and over 100,000 profile visits.
At the stadium, 20,000 fans made their way to Eindhoven to watch the matches live, resulting in two sold out crowds of 5,500 people, one on Saturday, April 15 and one on Monday, April 17.
Those dates also drew huge audiences on Dutch channel NOS with 260,000 watching the Monday games and 100,000 taking in the Saturday live game of HC Oranje-Rood vs AH&BC Amsterdam.
On the EHL website, there were 236,000 views of the live stream with 40,000 different users logging onto the site each day.
It has led to all of the EHL’s social media audiences growing considerably with the Instagram following growing over 10% to over 20,000 while the Facebook following has surpassed 100,000 likes.
We would like to thank all our fans for helping to make it such a special event and we look forward to all of you rejoining us on June 3 and 4 for the FINAL4 in Brasschaat of the world’s best club hockey competition!
uro Hockey League media release
Hockey stars step up to the national stage
Meg Read, David Wareham, Indee Elphick, Tom Harvie, Emma Tinley, Megan Roberts, Emma Barrett and Ella Du Preez, along with Lawrie Tylor as an assistant coach, have all earned positions in State teams this year.
The South West tradition of producing quality hockey players has continued, with a long list of South West Academy of Sport athletes achieving selection to State teams.
A whopping 13 young sports men and women from the academy have either recently played for West Australian sides over east or are competing on the national stage.
Eight players wore the black and gold colours of WA earlier this month when they competed in under-15 teams at the Australian championships in New South Wales.
Meanwhile, a further five players are contesting the under-18 championships under way in Tasmania.
Adding to the strong South West presence in State teams is the inclusion of SWAS hockey assistant coach Lawrie Tylor to the under-18 women’s coaching team.
SWAS hockey head coach Russell Harvie said the South West had produced a lot of State hockey players over the years, so it was not surprising that the names of locals were again appearing on State team lists.
“Exposure to playing senior hockey earlier and to strong levels of coaching across the region combined with about 10 previous years of ongoing development programs via SWAS and regional programs are contributing factors,” he said.
Harvie said the athletes had spent time in the lead-up to the tournaments fine-tuning team play, tactics and game practice.
“They will be facing strong, robust competition which is much quicker than previous age groups,” he said.
“The work ethic required and concentration levels needed are much higher than club hockey.”
The under-15 national championships ran from April 5 to 13, while the under-18 tournament kicked off on April 19 and conclude on April 29.
The West Australian
New Great Britain Hockey President appointed
Great Britain Hockey are delighted to announce the appointment of Sheila Morrow as new President.
Sheila has been a Director of Great Britain Hockey for five years, as well as a member of the Hockey Wales Board since 2008. As a player she won 136 caps for Great Britain and Wales, playing in five World Championships and captaining both teams.
She was Head of Governing Body Services for Sport England for 13 years, and has been a Tournament Director, Technical Officer and umpire at countless international hockey events including both the Beijing and London Olympic Games. She takes over from Richard Leman, who has completed his ten-year term with great success, helping achieve Olympic gold and bronze medals during his tenure.
Sheila said, "I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as President of Great Britain Hockey and am looking forward to the challenge of leading the organisation for the next four years. For any hockey player, the ultimate achievement is to represent their country at an Olympic Games and I see the role of the GB Board as ensuring that our world class players and staff are provided with the level of support they need to build on our recent success, so that both the men's and the women's squads can be equally successful in Tokyo.
“With standards of performance worldwide improving all the time, we cannot afford to be complacent and, if we are to stay ahead of the game, an important part of my role along with the members of the GB Board, will be to ensure there continues to be a coordinated approach to the delivery of the performance programme across the UK.”
Outgoing President Richard Leman commented, “Having completed my term, I am delighted to pass on the Chairmanship to Sheila. I am very confident Sheila and the GB Board will continue to give the athletes and Home Nations the best chance of future success.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving hockey during my term and I am confident the sport has developed and progressed in so many ways over that time. It has been a huge honour and privilege to have been a small part of that journey and I would like to thank all the athletes, volunteers and staff for the commitment they give to our sport, it is very much appreciated and I look forward to watching hockey continue to grow further over the coming years."
England Hockey Board Media release