All the news for Thursday 16 December 2010
SA Hockey Women so close in third test vs World Champions
SA goalscorer Shelley Russell. Photo: KENNETH JOOSTE
DRIVING rain was the order of the evening as the third Test between the Investec South Africa women's hockey team and world champions Las Leonas (The Lionesses) of Argentina unfolded at the University of Free State hockey centre in Bloemfontein Wednesday.
SA were 1-0 up at half-time after failing to get on the scoreboard in the consecutive 2-0 defeats to the 2010 world champs, Shelley Russell netting a fine field goal in the 16th minute.
Argentina finally drew level in the 42nd minute when the South Americans' player of the match Josefina Sruoga took advantage of a hesitant SA defence to net a screamer past the outstanding Sanani Mangisa in goal.
The match swung from end to end in the persistent rain and it was a wet debut for Free State striker Hettie Oosthuizen who threw herself around the turf in a bid to support her team-mates.
The home supporters who braved the biting cold and wet conditions roared their team on in the quest for what would have been a surprise result to the hockey world, but agony was evident in their faces as the Argentineans worked their way through with neat passing to set up Julieta Alonso for the winner with one minute left on the clock.
SA left out Pietie Coetzee, the world-class striker and goalscorer from set pieces who was given a rest, and head coach Giles Bonnet backed his youngsters in a bold move that nearly paid off.
With SA now out of the series rubber, their task is to take a test match off the tourists, who go into the fourth Test on Thursday and Friday's fifth Test match with an unassailable 3-0 series lead.
SA Hockey Association media release
Argentina takes Game 2 from USA Senior Men
Though a win in game one was sweet for the men’s senior team from the United States they knew it was not something to dwell on when they took the pitch yesterday for Game 2 of their four-game set with Argentina.
Argentina came out ready to avenge the loss and quickly controlled the game from the outset. However, the US was not to be overpowered and quickly equalized the tempo of the game as both teams settled in to the match. It would be the Argentineans who would strike first in the 9th minute as a quick outlet pass was sent up field a waiting forward who quickly passed the ball into the offensive circle that was deflected in for the early 1-0 lead.
As play continued back and forth between the teams Argentina would take a two-goal advantage in the 25th minute when they earned a penalty corner. After the push out pass the first shooter faked a swing while a second shooter swung through and sent the ball past a diving Tom Sheridan to put the Argentineans up by two goals. However, the US would answer as the half wound down when they earned a penalty corner of their own. When the horn sounded during the penalty corner preparations the US sent their entire team to the offensive circle but it would be unneeded as a hard drag flick from Pat Harris found the net to leave the score at 2-1 heading into the break.
The second half saw a much more quality bit of play from the United States yet they still found if difficult to convert in the offensive zone. Yet it would be Argentina that would convert again as a penalty corner score in the 50th minute gave them a 3-1 lead and, ultimately, the victory. Though not satisfied with losing, the US can walk away with confidence that when they execute their game plan, they can definitely compete with some of the best.
Taking a break from their 4-game series with Argentina, the men’s senior team plays against the Chilean National Team tomorrow at 11:00am local time.
Enjoy the great photos from game 2 and GO USA!
USFHA media release
ACCC Tournament Day Six
The seven competing teams at the African Cup for Club Championship have produced fifty-seven goals from six rounds of matches played so far in the men’s competition.
As a testament to the attacking prowess of the Egyptian clubs, two Egyptians are in the hunt for the top scorer award.
Sharkia’s penalty corner expert Ahmed Metwally has got five goals all through penalty corners and shares top spot with Faruk Yohanna of Nigeria’s Niger Flickers who has scored four field goals and one from a penalty corner. Three players, Police Union’s Sayeed Adnan, Salya Nsalbini and David Ghablah both of Ghana’s Trustees trail the duo with four goals each.
The ladies have a total goal haul of twenty-seven with Heartland’s Justina Onyadum scoring four of them. Rachael Bamfo of Extinguishers has three field goals to her name and Kenyan Jacqueline Wangechi has scored twice for Telkom Orange.
Trustees were involved in a grueling clash with Niger Flickers who earned a well deserved point in the 69th minute for perseverance.
Nsalbini Salya grabbed a brace for Trustees and this was replicated by tireless goal poacher Yohanna Faruk in attack for Flickers. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.
The match between Egyptian clubs Sharkia and Police Union became laborious as an obvious clash of styles prevented either side from making any headway in the final third. The game ended in a 1-1 deadlock when Amr Mohamed finally broke the back of Sharkia in classic fashion in a last-gasp effort on the 70th minute mark. The defending champions had been guarding a 19th minute lead jealously all evening and looked to be cruising to a win when they tripped.
Golden Sticks were unlucky to walk away without a point after so much exertion in a difficult duel with Strathmore of Kenya. Strathmore were 1-0 victors Bramwel Lijoodi’s field goal.
Ghana Hockey media release
Trustees produce Class Act to sail into ACCC Finals
Pushed to their teetering limit, Trustees produced their most sublime display to put their berth in the final match beyond a shred of doubt.
On the back foot at the end of the first period, Trustees staged a remarkable comeback with four breathtaking goals from penalty corners to take the pressure off their backs as they await their opponents for the final match on Saturday.
The Ghanaian champions were pitched against sworn adversaries in the last of their round-robin matches on Wednesday when they needed a win to make a final berth assured.
And in a rather stunning twist to their campaign, they found Golden Sticks who had been shiftless at this Championship at their utmost best and poised to deny them a place in the final roll.
Trustees scored the opening goal through Robert Aryeetey’s drag flick from a penalty corner. However, against all odds Golden Sticks surged into the lead through a penalty corner by Richard Adjei after Joseph Appiah’s equalizer evened the score.
The goal threw fans at the National Hockey Stadium into a frenzy and left many sitting at the edge of their seat, notably players of Egyptian club Police Union who were hoping for a favour from Golden Sticks to earn a final place.
Trustees were then overly anxious as they exerted every ounce of energy in search of a quick riposte. But they had come too close to balk. They came from recess with new ideas to cut out the play of their opponents in the middle of the pitch and scored three unanswered goals.
Coach of the side, Edmund Ayertey said he anticipated the stiff opposition from Golden Sticks and revised his strategy to outdo them in the second period.
“I realized that they were dominating the midfield. So I brought on players to cut out the ball supply in the middle. That’s what won the day for us”.
Nsalbini Salya and Joseph Blankson put clinical finishes to two of the several penalty corners awarded Trustees while David Ghablah’s field goal made the victory more resounding.
Captain of the side, Aryeetey puts the victory down to hard work. “It was a tough match but we knew we would win and we worked very hard for it,” he acknowledged.
With the title now in sight the skipper is more upbeat that they have what it takes to stand whichever team they face in the finals.
“We will be the Championship here for the first time. We are likely to play Sharkia but we are not bothered. We promise Ghanaians we will win, he declared.
Police Union who were looking to play in the men’s final match, were perhaps the worse for the defeat inflicted on Golden Sticks. The Egyptians beat Strathmore 3-2 earlier on Wednesday to increase their point accrued to nine and were hoping for a Trustees slip up as they have one more game left to play at the pool stage.
In other men’s matches played on Match Day Seven, Sharkia of Egypt dealt Yobe Rollers of Nigeria a 3-0 thrashing to take their points haul to eleven with a game in hand.
Reformers drew 1-1 with Telkom Orange in the Ladies contest while Yobe Queens Sharkia triumphed over Sharkia by a 2-1 score line. Extinguishers and Heartland firmed up their participation in the women’s finals with a 2-2 draw in a dress rehearsal to Saturday’s clash.
The competition resumes with some interesting fixtures in the men’s category with the battles being fought to determine who challenges Police Union of Egypt for the Bronze medal.
Ghana Hockey media release
Quiet and unassuming. Those are the best ways to describe Wallace Tan who takes charge of Maybank in the Malaysian Hockey League after a break of two years.
His international career was cut short due to an injury just a week before the 1984 Los Angles Olympics and try as he did to make a comeback the next year, the Malacca born had to throw in the towel with 65 international caps to show.
Wallace is a shrewd tactician and the knack of turning average players into national stars, something he attributes to his character.
"I observe the players and spend a lot of time off the field talking to them, gaining their confidence so that they will be able to accept the advice given," said Wallace.
"The younger players want to succeed but at times are not given the correct advice. Its a learning process they go through and at times they to tend to make mistakes. We all went through the process so its vital for the young to be given confidence rather then shattering it."
As a matter of fact, Wallace, now 52, is the longest serving coach in the MHL, having first taken charge of the bankers in 1990. And it was akin to a Midas touch as he steered Maybank to the overall title that year.
Wallace was a member of the Maybank team that won the overall title in 1988. But that was not the moment he cherishes in MHL for it was the 1994 season that Wallace remembers fondly.
"We won the double that year, the league and overall title, with me coaching the side. It was a tough season that went down to the wire and that makes it all the more special."
Maybank, besides TNB, are the only two teams that have played in the MHL since its inception. However Maybank has not made much headway since the mid 90's as the titles have dried up. And Wallace feels that it will not be easy this year to land silverware as well.
"We are a young team with some players making their debut in the MHL. It will be tough to even make the last four as the competition is much keener this year as teams have gone to great lengths to prepare," said Wallace who was the national coach from 2005-2006.
"KLHC, TNB and Sapura are the teams that will vie for honours, but I believe that YNS and UniKL have the foreign flavour that could cause some upsets along the way.
"It will be an interesting league and we look forward to our match against YNS this Saturday. It will be good to start off with a win but they have signed up some world class players. So getting three points will take some effort."
UNOFFICIAL MHL site
Bring them on - says Azlan
Azlan Misron has been playing in the Malaysian Hockey League for the last decade. And despite winning titles in the MHL, Azlan has yet to win any personal award, be it the best player, man of the match nor the top scorer award. Infact he has not won any such awards in his international career.
But things could change for the better for Azlan in the MHL that commences tomorrow with the Charity Shield being contested by defending league champions KL Hockey Club and defending overall champions Tenaga Nasional Berhad.
The midfielder turned forward who will skipper KLHC for the second successive year is looking forward to the league with renewed enthusiasm, especially after his remarkable performances at the Asian Games in China last month where Malaysia won the silver, a first since participating in the Asiad.
And Azlan hopes to carry his good form into the MHL as he and his teammates strive to deliver yet another piece of silverware to the club.
"It cannot be a a more explosive start then this. Surely the match between us and TNB is the perfect stage to show our worth in the MHL this year," said Azlan.
"Winning the match is vital as it is not just the Charity Shield at stake but more importantly there are also the three points to fight for. No doubt the match can go either way as TNB have a good side but we too are ready for them."
For the record, it was all square between the two teams in the league last season as both won a match each in the league. While TNB went on to reach the final and win the Overall title, KLHC were stopped in their tracks by Sapura in what was the shock of last season.
"Contrary to what others think, I doubt it that the match will be decided through penalty corners. While we respect the fact that they have Mohd Amin Rahim to finish off the penalty corners, we too have Mohd Razie Rahim," contends Azlan.
"The battle in actual fact will be won and lost in midfield as both teams have creative players that can provide openings for their forwards to finish off.
"It will be a tactical battle and I foresee many field goals instead of just penalty corners as both teams like to play free flowing hockey."
UNOFFICIAL MHL site
UniKL-TRC bank on youth and experience
By Ajitpal Singh
S. Selvaraju will lead UniKL-TRC against UITM on Saturday.
UNIVERSITI Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) TRC, who made their debut in the Malaysian Hockey League last season, are counting on a mix of experience and youth to win honours when the new Premier League season starts tomorrow.
The team, who have hired New Zealand assistant coach Darren Smith and four foreign players to boost their chances, have been training hard since last month in preparation for the tournament. UniKL-TRC will have the services of two New Zealand players -- goalkeeper Steve Graham and defender Richard Patrick -- as well as Germany's Philip Stahr and Kevin Lim, whose father is Malaysian.
They, together with local senior players S. Selvaraju (captain), Robert Alcantara and Herwan Pami, and several members of the Project 2013 squad, are expected make it tough for front-runners Sapura, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in the league.
"There are some intelligent and skillful youngsters in the squad and my aim is to build their confidence so that they can take on the more experienced opponents without fear," said Darren yesterday.
"My immediate aim is to forge an understanding between the youngsters and some of the more experienced players in the squad. "Hence the past month has been spent correcting mistakes and building on our strengths."
On the team's target, the coach said he was confident his side could spring a surprise or two.
"KLHC, TNB. Sapura and Maybank are still the league favourites but I believe my side have the ability to upset the form book," Darren added.
However, UniKL-TRC must do without the services of Stahr for six weeks after the German suffered a broken rib in a friendly against TNB on Tuesday.
Team manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim said Stahr is receiving treatment at Pantai Medical Hospital.
"His absence will affect the team's strategies but we have other capable replacements," said Amir.
UniKL-TRC take on UiTM in their opening match on Saturday.
New Straits Times
Amin aims to win MHL top scorer award for third time
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Penalty corner specialist Mohd Amin Rahim was in his element in the Asian Games last month.
And the defender, who scored five goals in six matches in the Guangzhou Games, is eyeing the top scorer’s award in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) for a third time.
Amin, who made his debut in the MHL in 2000, first won the award for Ernst and Young in 2006 with 30 goals.
He joined Tenaga Nasional in 2007 and was also the top scorer last season with 15 goals.
The 30-year-old Amin said that he was happy with his conversion rate in the Guangzhou Asiad and believed that he would strike it hot again in the MHL.
“I scored two important goals against India in the semi-finals and Malaysia made it to the final for the first time in Asian Games hockey history,” he said.
India were leading 3-2 with five minutes remaining on the clock when Amin converted a penalty corner that took the match into extra time. He was the toast of the team, scoring the golden goal after five minutes of play to send Malaysia into a final.
“It was the best achievement for me in the Games. However, it was disappointing that I did not score in the final match against Pakistan,” said Amin.
Pakistan beat Malaysia 2-0 and besides taking the gold medal also took a direct ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.
Amin added that he would now focus his attention on helping Tenaga Nasional retain the overall title.
“I have been working on the drag flicks since returning from Guangzhou last month,” he said.
Tenaga will open their campaign against defending league champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the Charity Shield match, which will also count as a Premier League fixture, at the Tun Razak Stadium tomorrow. Amin said that they expected a tough match against KLHC, who have the services of seven internationals.
“We played them twice last year. We lost the first match (2-3) before winning the second (4-3),” he said.
The national players in the KLHC side are goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, midfielders Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib, Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor and forwards Azlan Misron and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin.
The Star of Malaysia
UniKL lose services of their Stahr
KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) were dealt a big blow as they lost the services of German international Philipp Stahr before the start of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division competition.
The midfielder suffered broken ribs in a friendly match against Tenaga Nasional at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium on Tuesday and had to be rushed to the Pantai Medical Centre.
“Stahr will be out of action for six weeks. It’s unfortunate that we lost a player before the start of the league (on Friday),” said team manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim.
UniKL made their debut in the MHL last season and they finished at the bottom of the six-team Premier Division.
Amir added that to boost their challenge this time, UniKL roped in three other foreign players – German midfielder Kevin Lim and two New Zealanders, goalkeeper Stephen Graham and defender Richard Patrick.
UniKL have also hired New Zealand national assistant coach Darren Smith to chart their fortunes.
Amir added that they were happy with the team’s progress since coming under the guidance of Smith last month.
“In just over a month, there has been marked improvement made by the junior players, who are combining well with the seniors,” he said.
The average age of the squad is 21 years. There are 13 players below the age of 20 and 11 of them are from the team who emerged as the overall champions in the 2010 Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).
The youngest players in the squad are Mohd Taufik Abdul Hamid, Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam and Mohd Nor Aqmal Abdul Gaffar, who are all 17-years-old. The senior players in the team are S. Selvaraju, Robert Alcantra and Herwan Pami.
UniKL have secured a deal with Trans Resources Corporation Sdn Bhd (TRC) as their main sponsors for the 2010-11 season.
“The team for this season will be known as UniKL-TRC. We have also secured Tulip Resources Sdn Bhd as co-sponsors and Prodigy as our attire sponsors,” said Amir.
UniKL-TRC will open their campaign against UiTM on Saturday at the Tun Razak Stadium.
The other teams in the Premier League are Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), Sapura, Maybank, Nur Insafi, Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS) and Armed Forces Airod.
The Star of Malaysia
Kevinder prefers positive outlook
KUALA LUMPUR: It's not been a memorable year for national player Kevinder Singh. Nevertheless the product of the Royal Military College is not too perturbed about it.
"Instead of looking at 2010 as the year that didn't go my way, I'll just Iook at it as the year that I took a break from hockey," said Kevinder, who now plays for the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC).
"I prefer to have a positive outlook as the New Year is approaching and the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) is starting. I believe being negative and bitter won't help me in achieving my targets for next year."
The University Malaya Sports Science undergraduate had a torrid year due to a lengthy recovery from knee surgery.
This affected his fitness which forced him out of the Commonwealth and Asian Games squads.
"The league will provide me with the much needed opportunity to focus on my hockey and get back my touches," added Kevinder, 24.
"At the moment, I'm 30 percent off my best but I'm confident that I'll be back to my best soon if I start to play regularly."
Kevinder will play alongside brother Harvinder Singh. They both hope a good showing in the league would help them reclaim their spot in the national set up.
"KLHC looks better and we have prepared well compared with last year. We have several national players who have performed well at the Asian Games and I believe we can perform better this season," said Kevinder.
Defending champions KLHC will start off their campaign against Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in the Charity Shield match on Friday.
Bashed for no reason
Following the disclosure of the assault on the five Bukit Jalil Sports School junior players by their seniors, a press conference was held this morning where copies of the police report were distributed. More on that later as see the pictures below to make your conclusions before facts are deliberated. Suffice to say another police report was lodged at 5.00am this morning on the same incident. More later...
Read The Malay Mail reports below....
Bashed up in Bukit Jalil
Victims' parents alleged senior coach ordered attack
by: K. Rajan & Deborah Chow
KUALA LUMPUR: They were only doing what they loved best — playing hockey.
But for that, five students of the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) were assaulted, allegedly by their own seniors yesterday.
The boys' parents claimed that the senior players were instigated by a BJSS coach, who was not happy with the younger players training outside of BJSS.
The assault allegedly took place twice after the five returned from a training session at National Sports Council (NSC) field yesterday.
Around 10 seniors were said to have assaulted the boys with hockey sticks and rubber hose in a dorm room, resulting in the younger players sustaining several bruises.
The victims — Athitsha Tamilchelvam, Zizi Azwan Harun Basri, Muhd Fitri Jasni, Hashim Harun and Ahmad Ashraf Alias, all 15, were later taken to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) for treatment by their parents, who later lodged a report at the Sungai Besi police station.
Speaking during a Press conference at the Pantai Hockey Stadium this morning, S. Tamilchelvam, whose son was allegedly one of the victims, claimed the attacks were instigated by a BJSS hockey coach.
"We want the coach to be taken out of the school. This is the third time we've had problems with the coach.
"He had previously threatened the junior players," the distraught father claimed.
Tamilchelvam claimed he was informed of the coach's supposed involvement by some of the attackers known to the father.
"The boys who attacked my son are not bad boys. I cannot accept the fact that these boys I know well could hurt my son."
Tamilchelvam called for strict action by the relevant authorities against all parties involved in the incident.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Ashraf's father, Alias Desa, claimed that BJSS teachers were not aware of the beatings until he talked to one them.
He alleged: "I was shocked to see the condition of the beaten-up boys. Some of them were shivering and could not even walk properly due to the beating.
"The boys were too shaken up to inform us of the beating. We were notified about the incident by one of the Fifth formers, who called Tamilchelvam. If we, the parents, had not gone to the school, our sons might not have received treatment as the teachers were not aware of the incident."
BJSS investigating claims, says principal
Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) principal Marina Chin brushed off public intrusion over the assault of five students from the school.
"This is an internal issue and should not concern (the public) especially the Press," Chin told The Malay Mail today. "We are in the process (of looking into the matter) and have taken the necessary action."
Chin, however, declined to elaborate on the type of action taken by the school on the alleged culprits.
When asked about the allegations by one of the victim's parent that a BJSS coach was responsible for ordering the assault to be carried out, Chin replied: "I have no comment on that. Let's just leave it until investigations have been done. There is already a police report. The parent can report anything to the Press or the police but he'd better have proof of what he's saying."
When approached by The Paper That Cares yesterday, the coach who allegedly sparked off the assault brushed the incident off saying that it was "just a fight between school kids".
A blog post on malaysianhockey.blogspot.com yesterday reported five BJSS hockey players who represented Kuala Lumpur in the National Under-16 Tournament were beaten up by their seniors with hockey sticks.
The incident occurred after the five, all under 16, returned from a training session at the KLHA stadium alongside the KL Hockey Club team.
Around 10 seniors, according to the blog, did not like this and took matters into their own hands.
The blog reported that "the school is expected to come down hard on the said culprits and the players also could face expulsion for their action and that this incident may cause BJSS to pull out from the Malaysian Hockey League 2010".
BJSS Sports Senior Assistant Kon Chen Choong and the Student Affairs Senior Assistant Suhaimi Sun Abdullah declined comment.
BJSS issue: 'We were beaten for an hour'
One of the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) trainees, Muhd Fitri Jasni, recalled the horror of being beaten up twice by his seniors.
"It all started after we finished our training at the National Sports Council (NSC) field. Our batch was called by one of our seniors to a room around 9am," said the Form Three student.
"As soon we stepped into the room, I was punched in the stomach by a senior and the five of us were their main targets. Ahmad Asyraf Alias and I received most of the beating. We were punched, kicked, stepped on and hit with a rubber hose and hockey sticks in the back, thighs and legs," he claimed, adding that the beating went on for an hour.
"We were spared at 10am as we had a scheduled meeting with a teacher. We were afraid to reveal the beating to the teacher as we knew that we needed to return to the hostel eventually."
He claimed that upon returning, the beating resumed. They were eventually let go around 1.30pm yesterday as they had a match the following day.
It was alleged that the five Form Three students were assaulted by their senior under the orders of the BJSS hockey head coach. The coach, it was alleged, was not happy that the five had joining the training session with the Kuala Lumpur Hockey association.
The boys' parents had claimed that the boys had received the consent from BJSS principal Marina Chin to train on their own during the school break and on weekends.
Malaysian Hockey blogspot
More reports lodged
In the aftermath of the assault on the five junior players of the Bukit Jalil Sports School by their seven seniors on Tuesday, another three police reports are said to have been lodged in the wee hours of Wednesday.
One of the reports was lodged by two of the alleged assailants who claim that they were slapped by one of the parents of the five junior players.
The second report, it is learnt, was lodged by the school authorities on the conduct and intrusion by the same parent while the third report was by the coach who stated that the report was lodged as he feared for his safety.
On Tuesday, one of the five players lodged a report against seven of his seniors, who incidentally were questioned by the police when they went to lodge their reports.
With continued silence from the school authorities and the Ministry of Education, it has been difficult to gain more information, but it is believed that all the students involved have been sent home for 10 days pending investigations.
Malaysian Hockey blogspot
Inverleith bandwagon to roll on
It was mission accomplished for coach Stuart Neave, Inverleith sit resplendent at the top of the Subway national indoor league after the first round of matches, and his charges will strive to maintain the momentum going by seeing off Greaves Clydesdale and AMN Hillhead this weekend.
“Three wins from three potentially awkward games last Saturday was a good effort and we managed to play some good hockey, especially against Western, but the games also highlighted some areas for improvement which we intend to work on,” said Neave.
But Neave is wary of complacency. “This weekend is about giving the opposition the respect they deserve, and a side like Clydesdale who can hold Menzieshill to 6-3 cannot be taken lightly,” he said. Neave will be hoping that his strike force of Stephen Dick and Chris Grassick, who scored twelve goals between them last weekend, will show similar sharpness in front of goal this Saturday.
Ironically, city rivals Grange could do Neave a massive favour if they can take something from their opening fixture with seven times champions Grove Menzieshill. Over the years Grange may have lacked consistency of performance, but they have produced the odd rogue result against the Taysiders.
“We will certainly be trying hard to cause an upset against Menzieshill, but it`ll be a very difficult challenge against a very strong indoor side,” remarked David Knipe, Grange`s coach.
Last weekend Knipe`s charges saw off VWS Dundee Wanderers 4-1 and Hillhead 9-5, but failed to maintain that winning run against Inverleith, finally losing 6-3. “We were reasonably happy to pick up two victories, but the level of performance was not as high as we`d hoped,” said Knipe. “To improve we have to be more patient and keep the ball for longer periods of a game.” After the Menzieshill confrontation, Grange play Glynhill Kelburne with the prospect of picking up the three points from the young Paisley outfit.
After Grange, Menzieshill have two further matches against Western Wildcats and local rivals Dundee Wanderers. “Three games in one day is always difficult, but we have a big squad which will benefit us this year,” said Billy McPherson. In the not so distant past, the Tayside derby frequently decided the destiny of the title, but Wanderers are a pale shadow of their former selves. Last weekend Wanderers fell to both Grange and Western, but more worrying for coach Allan Law was the fact that his charges only managed to find the net twice.
Western Wildcats had an up and down day last Saturday, losing to Inverleith and then beating Wanderers, so this weekend`s fixtures against Kelburne, Menzieshill and then Clydesdale could go a long way to deciding the nature of their indoor season.
The young Clydesdale outfit under the experienced eye of Alistair Bleach may find Inverleith too hot to handle, but should feel more confident to taking something from their other fixtures against Wanderers and Western, if they can maintain the concentration that took three points from their encounter with Kelburne last weekend.
It is a strange sight to see four times champion Dundee Wanderers sitting at the foot of the table after the opening round of games, this weekend they face Hillhead, also without a point, Clydesdale and traditional rivals Menzieshill. Some point here would lift the frustration in the Wanderers` management.
In the women`s league, if Grove have any aspirations to regain the title they lost to city rivals Dundee Wanderers last season, Audrey Sime`s side will have to put the shackles on Vikki Bunce. The Wanderers` playmaker scored no fewer than 16 goals in the defeat of Kelburne and Clydesdale.
“Although last weekend`s results provided us with high scores, we were not firing on all cylinders,” said Iain Strachan, Wanderers` coach. “We had as many chances missed as we scored, either from set pieces or open play, and we have still some work to do to iron out our movement.”
Before the Grove encounter, Strachan`s squad will take on Waverley and CALA Edinburgh, and full points here are crucial. But Strachan remarked: “I saw CALA play against Grove last weekend, they were very organised and worked the ball around very fluently, so they will be a real challenge. But if we play the game as we set out to do it, I think our strength going forward might be enough to shade it.”
After Strachan`s complimentary remarks, CALA will strive to climb the table with wins over Grove`s second string and Clydesdale, although the third match against Strachan`s charges might be beyond them. That being the case, the dogfight at the foot of the table could be between Grove A, Clydesdale and newly promoted Waverley Inveresk Trinity.
Both Milne Craig Western and Grove have games against Kelburne and Clydesdale, and form should dictate that full points should go to the title challengers.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
USA Field Hockey Announces Strategic Plan
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – USA Field Hockey’s 2011-2020 Long Term Strategic Plan was announced today. Developed by the Board of Directors, the Strategic Plan will help guide USA Field Hockey over the next nine years and place USA Field Hockey in a position of prominence, innovation and influence. Final approval of the plan was given at the Board of Directors meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona over Thanksgiving weekend.
Through member surveys and a series of Town Hall meetings attended by members, athletes, parents, coaches and officials, the apparent needs and wants of the Association were consistently communicated. Considering the mission of USA Field Hockey, the ambitious direction of the long-term strategic plan prioritizes three fundamental objectives: Supporting the Promise for High Performance excellence, cultivating infinite Possibility within our sport, culturally and financially, and sustaining our Future with an investment in developing umpires and coaches.
With 2020 in mind, USA Field Hockey will concentrate on the following strategic goals:
1.Improve and maintain competitive excellence on the international stage.
2. Foster a presence in the international community.
3. Enhance sport development with increased playing opportunities for all participants in all disciplines.
4. Increase membership within all age groups and both genders.
5. Generate awareness of our sport.
6. Operate as a self-sustaining and responsible National Governing Body.
7. Preparation and education of umpires and coaches at all levels.
“The strategic plan process used by USA Field Hockey focused on inclusion of all hockey constituencies. The result is a document legitimately identifying a path that will guide the organization through 2020. It is a living document and will be subject to annual review and adjustments as we move the organization forward. I especially want to thank Heather Lewis for her hard work and leadership in preparing this important document,” said Jim Johnson, Chair of USA Field Hockey’s Board of Directors.
The 2011-2020 Long Term Strategic Plan can be viewed on our website at www.usafieldhockey.com under USAFH, corporate documents.
USFHA media release
Sandeep Singh, Rajpal Singh back Dhanraj Pillay
By Moulin Parikh
Ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh has thrown his weight behind former captain Dhanraj Pillay, who has shown interest in coaching India. With Hockey India not extending the contract of Spaniard Jose Brasa, the national team is without a coach at the moment.
Sandeep said he motivated himself to do well after a poor outing at the World Cup earlier this year. “I had a dry run at the World Cup. My confidence level was down and it affected my game. Many criticised my performance, but I was determined and worked hard during the CWG and Asiad. I am happy to have delivered for the team,” said the drag-flicker, who was in Ahmedabad to take part in a felicitation function.
He felt that despite not having major coaching experience, Pillay’s appointment will help the team. “We all know that he was a terrific player. He was manager at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and also the Asia Cup and was very helpful. I feel we will benefit if he is made the coach,” he said.
While the focus has been around the appointment of Brasa’s successor, what has missed the public glare is that the Indian team is also without a captain. Rajpal Singh had quit immediately after the team’s return from Guangzhou citing ‘humiliation’ from Brasa.
However, he said he would rethink about his decision if Hockey India approaches him.
“I have no problem now. If I am made captain, I am willing to lead India again,” he told DNA. Acknowledging that the team flourished under Brasa’s guidance, Rajpal said that ego issues marred Brasa’s tenure.
“He worked hard and the results are there for everyone to see, but he could not shake off his ego problems and that overshadowed everything else.”
Shanghai hosts National Umpires Seminar
Prior to the Chinese National Championships starting on December 10th, 2010, a 3-day seminar for the National Umpires Panel was conducted by Australia's former World Cup and Olympic umpire Jan Hadfield, one of FIH's most experienced Umpire Managers.
The seminar was held in the excellent conference facility at the ‘Minhang Hockey Stadium’, Shanghai, the venue for the Championships. A total of 20 umpires & Umpire Managers were in attendance.
Each Provincial Government in China has residential “Sports Schools” with 1st-class playing facilities for each sport, dining facilities, conference rooms & accommodation for scholarship holders. At the Minhang complex 14 sports are accommodated with hockey being classified as a “1st Tier” sport.
Two sessions per day were held covering a range of topics, including the 2011 Rules, and focussing on the key issues which had arisen at the 2010 Champions Trophy & World Cup. The “Dartfish Player” video clips were a valuable asset and provided excellent examples of the various incidents being discussed.
The Chinese Hockey Association is both progressive & pro-active in its umpire development programs – no expense is being spared in preparing Chinese umpires for careers in International hockey. Their National Championships have highly efficient professional administration while their umpires have earned great recognition both within China and around the world.