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News for 07 May 2017

All the news for Sunday 7 May 2017

Britain champs after 23 years

David Goodfield scored a brace as Great Britain enthralled fans to defeat World champions Australia 4-3 in the final of the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to lift the title for the second time in 23 years.

Great Britain, mesmerised World No 2 Australia with an attacking game in the first quarter, not giving the Kookaburras room to orchestrate and in the process charted their own progress towards the coveted trophy.

And the Britons, playing in only their fourth Sultan Azlan Shah Cup since winning the gold medal the last time in 1994 and bronze medals in 1987 and 2011, were in dramatic form in this epic final in front of an estimated 3,000 fans including the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-lah and invited dignitaries.

Alan Forsyth broke the deadlock for Great Britain in the 8th minute with a field goal beyond the reach of goalkeeper Andrew Charter and David Goodfield plugged in the second via a penalty corner three minutes later.

The Australians, who won 2-1 against the Britons in the group stage earlier, picked up five penalty corners in total but could not find the space to close the gap until a 28th minute Eddie Ockenden goal from open play brought great relief to the world champions - eying their 10th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title since 1983.

The second quarter, however, ended with the Britons leading 2-1.

There was more to come from the Britons and Australians in the third quarter and the fans loved every part of it.

In a sudden move, Great Britain went 3-1 up in the 33rd minute with a Ollie Willars strike but the Kookaburras were back on track to close the gap in the very next minute.

Dylan Wotherspoon weaves his way into Britain’s penalty circle, relays a perfect pass to Joshua Pollard who strikes with a clinical touch to go 3-2.

However, in one of the most enthralling matches fans here had seen in the last six days of top action, Great Britain clawed their more illustrious opponents with the fourth goal in the 43rd minute through Goodfield’s double of the night and third in the tournament.

The fourth quarter was evenly contested as both sides had a fair share of ball possession before Australia closed in 4-3 from a Wotherspoon goal in 48th minute.

The match progressed at a fast pace in the last seven minutes of play and at the final hooter, it was Great Britain that won the accolades to lift the title once again after a lapse of 23 years.

Unofficial tournament site

India take bronze

India blew away New Zealand with two goals from Rupinder Pal Singh en route to a 4-0 victory to claim their seventh bronze medal in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

India and New Zealand played for the bronze medal after a disastrous performance from Roelant Oltmans’s side against Malaysia on Friday in a group match that cost them a place in the final.

The Indians won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup five times, the last being in 2010, and finished second in 2008 and 2016 while New Zealand emerged champions in 2012 and 2015.

However, a tale of near misses in the first quarter greeted both teams and it was only in the 17th minute that India broke the deadlock.

Watched by an estimated 2,000 fans, India earned a first penalty corner and the towering Rupinder Pal Singh stepped up with a low drag-flick that was fast enough to beat a diving Richard Joyce for the first goal.

Though the Black Sticks threw everything they could on the opposite end they were simply locked out from making clear goal chances and in a quick counter attack India picked up three more penalty corners in the second quarter.

Rupinder once again made it count in the fourth with another low drive to the right of Joyce to give the Asian champions a comfortable two-goal lead going into the third quarter.

The Black sticks were further pressured by India with the third goal in the 48th minute.

The goal started from a cleverly orchestrated move from Chinglensana Kangujam who relayed the ball to Mandeep Singh. With two Black Sticks defenders lurking in front, Mandeep placed the ball to the direction of Sunil Sowmarpet who gathered it and rolled past Joyce.

India led 3-0 by now and it was another day of sorrow for New Zealand.

With four minutes remaining to the end, the Indians were clearly sitting on top of the Kiwis and Talwinder Singh increased the lead to 4-0 with a field goal.

And at the final hooter, India prided itself with a great performance here in preparation for the World League Semi-finals in June.

Unofficial tournament site

Malaysia finish fifth

Malaysia registered a 3-1 victory over Japan to finish in fifth position.

The result was a complete reverse of the 1-1 draw against the Japanese in the tournament’s opening day match played last Saturday.

Both teams came into this fifth-sixth placing encounter with polished performances against India and Australia respectively 24 hours earlie

The Malaysians dented Asian Games gold medallist and World No 6 India’s hopes of making the final with a 1-0 win whilst the Japanese did what others failed – smothering World champions Australia 3-2 for their first ever win over the World No 2 side in Japan’s hockey history.

Malaysia won silver medals five times (1985, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014) and a bronze in 1999.

They finished sixth in 2015 but showed some improvement last season with a fourth placing following a 3-3 draw in regulation time against New Zealand before going on to win 5-4 on penalties.

Japan, who has yet to win a medal in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, started off on a slow pace and allowed the host to dominate the first half and the Malaysians reciprocated by taking a 2-0 lead.

Haziq Samsul scored the opening goal in the eighth minute from a reverse stick drive that caught goalkeeper Suguru Shimmoto off guard and Goal No 2 came three minutes later via Firhan Ashaari who picked a pass from Fitri Saari at the top D and moved in virtually unchallenged before unleashing a powerful shot from an acute angle.

The Japanese regrouped after this setback and reduced the deficit through Kaito Tanaka in the 28th minute but the host continued the pressure on Japan to go 3-1 ahead from their sixth penalty corner, courtesy of a Faizal Saari drag-flick.

However, a heavy downpour greeted the match one minute and three seconds before the end of the third quarter that forced match officials to stop play until the weather situation returns to normal.

The fourth quarter resumed after an hour and 20 minutes wait due to rain and it was Malaysia that came close to scoring.

Faizal Saari, however, miscued a pass from Shahril Saabah when Suguru came out of his line to stop the duo.

As the score remained the same after the hooter, Japan finished at the bottom of the six-team tournament, just as they did in the seven-team 2016 edition.

Unofficial tournament site

Great Britain win the Azlan Shah Cup

GB celebrate a goal against Australia

Great Britain’s men lifted the Azlan Shah Cup after beating Australia in a seven-goal thriller in Malaysia.

No side from the British Isles had won the title since England in 1994 and GB saw off the nine-time champions in an incredible final.

Goals from Alan Forsyth and David Goodfield put GB into an early lead before Eddie Ockenden pegged one bag, but Ollie Willars was on hand to extend the lead once again.

Joshua Pollard and Dylan Wotherspoon netted either side of Goodfield’s second goal of the game to make for a tense finale but GB held firm to ensure a memorable victory.

The opening exchanges were understandably tense as both sides felt their way into the contest, but after ten minutes GB found another gear and were soon ahead.

Alan Forsyth was found all alone at the top of the circle and fired home his fourth goal of the tournament and just minutes later the lead was doubled. A clever penalty corner move freed up David Goodfield who taped into an empty goal.

Australia responded strongly but found Harry Gibson at his very best in the GB goal to deny them at three penalty corners before the end of the first quarter.

Just before half-time the Kookaburras pulled one back through Eddie Ockenden second goal of the tournament. A hit from half way was deflected into Ockenden’s path and he kept his cool before turning the ball home.

Three minutes after the break and GB had their third goal. Barry Middleton was able to find Ollie Willars who found himself high up the pitch and he slammed firmly past the on rushing keeper.

Once again though Australia fought back instantly as Dylan Wotherspoon broke into the GB circle, his perfect pass found Pollard who pushed in from close distance.

However the scoring wasn’t finished for the third quarter. With two minutes remaining Sam Ward and Forsyth combined to find Goodfield who smartly lifted past the keeper.

With just over ten minutes to go the seventh goal of the game was scored. Australia ensured it would be a nail biting finish as Dylan Wotherspoon tapped past Gibson following a goalmouth scramble.

The Kookaburras piled on some late pressure but some dogged defending from GB kept them at bay and the final whistle sparked joyous scenes.

The victory provides a perfect spring board for the players ahead of the World Hockey League Semi finals in London this summer. Both England and Scotland will be competing at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in June. More info here.

Great Britain 4 (Forsyth 8, Goodfield 11 & 43, Willars 33)

Australia 3 (Ockenden 28, Pollard 34, Wotherspoon 48)

Great Britain: Harry Gibson (GK), Ollie Willars, Henry Weir, Ian Sloan (C), Brendan Creed, Dan Kyriakides, Liam Sanford, David Goodfield, Barry Middleton, Sam Ward, Mark Gleghorne

Subs (Used): Alan Forsyth, Phil Roper, Tom Carson, James Gall, Jonty Griffiths
Subs (Not used): Chris Wyver (GK), Chris Griffiths

England Hockey Board Media release

Great Britain defeat Kookaburras in Azlan Shah Final

Final Score AUS 3 - 4 GBR

Holly MacNeil

Photo courtesy of: T. Myers sportsmediagroup.com.au

The Kookaburras and Great Britain took part in the final of the Azlan Shah Cup tonight, with Great Britain too good for the defending champions, defeating Australia 4 – 3.

The first goal came to Great Britain in the eighth minute of play during their first circle penetration of the match. Alan Forsyth scored a field goal from the top of the circle following a pass from Jonty Keaney.

Great Britain continued to hold on to control of the game, with a penalty corner goal from David Goodfield in the 11th minute of play, doubling their score to 2 – nil. The Kookaburras forced three penalty corner opportunities in the last minutes of the first quarter, but goalkeeper Harry Gibson managed to foil every set piece attempt.

After two more unsuccessful attempts at penalty corners, it was Eddie Ockenden who finally made a break for the Kookaburras, scoring a field goal and taking the score to AUS 1 – 2 GBR going into half time.

Within four minutes of the second half both Great Britain and Australia had added to their goal tally. First, Great Britain at 33 minutes with a field goal from Ollie Willars, followed closely at 34 minutes by a field goal from Australia’s Josh Pollard.

David Goodfield and Alan Forsyth were back in action with two minutes to go in the third quarter. Forsyth passing to Goodfield inside the Great Britain circle, resulting in a second goal for Goodfield and leaving the Brits with a 2-goal advantage going into the final 15 minutes.

The Kookaburras were the first to score in the final quarter; Dylan Wotherspoon nailing a field goal after a scramble in front of the net leaving the Kookaburras trailing by just one goal.

Both teams had a further penalty corner attempts, but with neither Great Britain or Australia managing to convert the game finished with Great Britain beating the defending champions to take out the 2017 Azlan Shah Cup.

Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “Again we were able to control large parts of the game and generate good opportunity. We scored three goals which is normally enough to win, not tonight however as our defence of the circle needs improving as do our penalty corner attempts.

“Great Britain were very successful from limited opportunity -  we have to look at that and prevent it from happening. They were quick to generate counter attacks and also scored very quickly.

“From here we have a break, then we re-group and start our preparation for the World League. We have some players coming back to the squad, and over the next 7 or 8 weeks we will select out World League three team, so we’ll have a nice bit of time to prepare. It’s been a great learning tournament for us here and the learnings will be key to our preparation for World League three.”

Earlier in the evening India defeated New Zealand 4 – 0 to take out third place, while Malaysia were victorious over Japan in taking out fifth place.

Eddie Ockenden 28 (FG)
Josh Pollard 34 (FG)
Dylan Wotherspoon 48 (FG)

Alan Forsyth 8 (FG) 
David Goodfield 11, 43 (PC, FG)
Ollie Willars 33 (FG)

Kookaburras squad v Great Britain
Athlete (Hometown/State)
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT) 128/0
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 34/14
Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW) 72/10
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS) 18/1
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 79/26
Edward Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 290/67
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 35/1
Joshua Pollard (Melbourne, VIC) 19/1
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD) 152/6
Tom Wickham (Morgan, SA) *plays for WA 12/3
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *plays for QLD 36/8

Used Substitutes
Ben Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 18/2
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC) 19/6
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 85/0
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 112/49
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 124/48
Matthew Willis (Tamworth, NSW) 26/2

Unused Substitutes
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW) 51/13

Hockey Australia media release

Black Sticks finish fourth at Azlan Shah

Photo: Megat Firdaus

The Vantage Black Sticks Men have finished fourth at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after being defeated 4-0 by India in the bronze medal match.

With a point to prove after missing out on the final, the Indians played an outstanding game of hockey and troubled the Kiwis on both sides of the ball.

The Black Sticks struggled to create chances in the attacking circle but did show flashes of class, although none were converted into goals.

The result sees New Zealand conclude the tournament with two wins, one draw and three losses.

Head coach Darren Smith said while the end result wasn’t what they were after, it had been a great few weeks of hockey for a young and evolving group.

“We couldn’t hold possession of the ball tonight and this made India even more of a threat. For us to be effective against any team denying time, space and applying pressure is critical,” he said.

“We also need to ensure that our basic skills are sharp and we take sound options. Overall it’s been a good two weeks, we’ve played nine games in 14 days with a team that has relished the opportunity to compete.

“Along the way there have been moments of quality and opportunities displayed of where we can improve. Now it’s time to narrow our focus onto the World League Semi Final.”

India controlled much of the play in the first half and poured the pressure on New Zealand through some dangerous phases of attacking play.

Rupinder Pal Singh made the Black Sticks pay in the 17th minute when put a powerful penalty corner drag flick into the goal.

It was almost an instant replay 10 minutes later with Rupinder scoring in the same spot from another drag flick to send India into halftime with a 2-0 advantage.

Strong defence had the Kiwis frustrated in the second half while India opened a 3-0 buffer early in the fourth quarter through a Sunil Sowmarpet field goal.

Talwinder Singh rubbed salt into the wounds with his side’s fourth goal of the match in the dying seconds before the fulltime hooter.

Earlier in the day hosts Malaysia secured fifth place following a 3-1 win over Japan, while Great Britain beat out Australia 4-3 to win the gold medal match.

INDIA 4: (Rupinder Pal Singh 2, Sunil Sowmarpet, Talwinder Singh)
Halftime: India 2-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

GB upset the odds to win the Azlan Shah Cup

By Mike Haymonds


GREAT BRITAIN upset the odds by beating the world No 2 side Australia 4-3 in a thrilling final at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

It came 33 years since GB’s last victory in this tournament and denied nine-time champions Australia a fifth successive title. GB were the first European winners since The  Netherlands in 2006.

GB have made an encouraging start to the new Olympic cycle leading up to Tokyo 2020 after a successful tour to South Africa in March when they won a two-test series with the hosts and shared another against Germany 1-1. Since Rio coach Bobby Crutchley has introduced 12 new players into the central training squad, including Dan Kyriakides the first Wales representative in recent years, and six of the newcomers  were in Malaysia.

GB had lost their only game in the round-robin stage to Australia by 2-1 but they never looked likely to suffer a similar fate in the final when goals from Surbiton duo Alan Forsyth and David Goodfield  put them ahead after 11 minutes. Unmarked at the top of the circle, Forsyth fired home his fourth goal of the tournament and three minutes later a smart penalty corner move set up Goodfield to tap into an empty net.

Eddie Ockenden reduced the deficit just before half time but three  minutes after the break Barry Middleton found Beeston’s Ollie Willars upfield and he fired past the outrushing goalkeeper. A minute later Dylan Wotherspoon’s pass  to Tom Pollard put the Aussies just a goal behind again but Sam Ward and Forsyth combined  to set up Goodfield for his second goal.

Australia took off their goalkeeper twice in the latter stages but the moves only yielded one further goal by Wotherspoon from close range with twelve minutes to go and GB held off strong pressure to earn the historic victory.


FIFTH: Malaysia 3 Japan 1

By Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIA finaly found their rhythm to finish fifth by beating Japan 3-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Saturday.

Japan, after surprising Australia 3-2 on Friday, were heavy footed while Malaysia still had fitness and speed on their side after edging India 1-0.

Haziq Shamsul (eigtht), Firhan Ashaari (11th) and Faizal Shaari (34th) scored for Malaysia while Kaito Tanaka scored for Japan in the 28th minute.

The match was stopped with one minute from the end of the third quarter due to torrential rain and only resumed after obe hour and 20 minutes, but Malaysia held on to win.

However, Malaysia bungled six penalty corers out of eight, with Haziq scoring off a set-piece while Faizal's was a direct flick.

On the defensive side, Malaysia were super efficient as they stopped Japan in all the five penalty corners with good run-outs.

"We recovered fast after the India match and it is good that we ended the tournament with a win even though we could not improve on our fourth placing last year.

"Penalty corners were a big problem in this tournament for us and that is one area we need to work on before the World League semi-finals in London (June 15-25).

"However, we defender penalty corners very well in this tournament and that was among the positive elements we will take away from this tournament," said national coach Stephen van Huizen.

Japan coach Yamabori Takahiko said his team's main problem is consistency.

"My players failed because they are not mentally strong to ride on the win against Australia and this is our main problem.

"After this, we will hold a two-week camp to get ready for the World League semifinals and I might hold another selection to give a chance to some of the players who are right now training in Japan," said Yamabori.

RESULTS: Final: Australia 3 Britain 4; Third-Fourth: New Zealand 0 India 4; Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia 3 Japan 1.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Great day for Britain

by S. Ramaguru

Worthy winners: Britain players celebrate with the gold medals and trophy after beating Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday. Britain won 4-3. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

IPOH: Britain won the Sultan Azlan Cup hockey title for just the second time when they defeated defending champions Australia 4-3 in an exciting final.

It was world No. 7 Britain, who were the winners in 1994 when they played as England, who started strongly with Alan Forsyth scoring from close range in the eighth minute.

And three minutes later the Britons shocked nine-time champions Australia again with David Goodfield slotting home a rebound after the initial penalty corner shot was saved by goalkeeper Andrew Charter.

The second half saw both sides involved in some brilliant attacking moves.

Eddie Ockenden then pulled a goal back for world No. 2 Australia in the 28th minute.

But in a 10-minute spell, Britain, who lost 2-1 to Australia in the group match, increased their lead to 4-1. Ollie Willards was on target in the 33rd minute and Goodfield scored his second goal of the match in the 43rd minute.

Still, Australia refused to give up with Joshua Pollard on target followed by Dylan Woo­therspoon.

Despite pressure from Australia, Britain managed to hold on for victory.

India claimed the bronze when they whipped New Zealand 4-0. Defender Rupinder Pal Singh (17th and 27th minutes), Sunil Somwarpet (48th) and Telvinder Singh (60th) were the scorers.

Malaysia ended up fifth after a 3-1 win over Japan in the six-team tournament. It was the hosts’ second win in the tournament, having beaten India 1-0 in their final group match on Friday.

National coach Stephen van Huizen was happy with the fifth-place finish although they were fourth in last year’s seven-nation affair.

“Overall we had some very good matches despite the results not going our way in the earlier match. There is a lot to take away from this tournament and we’re happy with the quality of the matches.

“Today we took our chances well. Even against teams like Australia, Britain and New Zealand we had some very good chances,” said Stephen.

It was refreshing to see the Malaysians starting off earnestly and taking the fight to the Japanese.

They earned their first penalty corner in the eighth minute and it resulted in a goal. Mohamed Razie Rahim almost blew the execution but Mohamed Haziq Shamsul was quick to react. He collected the ball and let fly a reverse hit to beat the Japanese defence.

Three minutes later, Malaysia were two-up with Mohamed Firhan Azhaari scoring a field goal. The Malaysians, however, let their guard down and the Japanese took advantage to reduce the deficit through Kaito Tanaka’s field goal in the 28th minute.

After the first-half break, Malaysia continued to attack. And from their fourth penalty corner in the 34th minute, Malaysia increased the lead to 3-1 through Faizal Saari’s strike.

A heavy downpour in the 44th minute saw the match being stopped for an hour. On resumption, the Japanese were in attack mode but Malaysia held on to secure

The Star of Malaysia

Great Britain beat Australia in a thrilling final to lift maiden title

Great britain beat Australia in a thriller to win the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title. AFP

Ipoh: Great Britain won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time ever on Saturday by defeating defending champions Australia 4-3 in Malaysia.

With the victory, Britain became the first European team to win the cup since the Netherlands in 2006.

Alan Forsyth was first to score for the team in the eighth minute with a reverse stick field goal beyond the reach of goalkeeper Andrew Charter. David Goodfield plugged in the second via a penalty corner three minutes later.

In the 28th minute Eddie Ockenden's goal from open play brought temporary relief to Australia, who were eyeing their 10th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title since the tournament was established in 1983.

Britain were forced onto the defensive to maintain their narrow 2-1 lead.

Britain went 3-1 up in the 33rd minute with a strike from Ollie Willars, but the Kookaburras were back on track to close the gap within a minute.

Dylan Wotherspoon weaved his way into Britain’s penalty circle, relaying a perfect pass to Joshua Pollard whose clinical strike set the score 3-2.

But Britain overpowered their opponents with a fourth goal in the 43rd minute -- Goodfield's second of the night and third of the tournament.

The fourth quarter was evenly contested before Australia closed in 4-3 from a Wotherspoon goal in 48th minute.

In their earlier league match, Australia had beaten Britain 2-1.


Great Britain dethrone Australia to reclaim Azlan Shah Cup after 23 years

IPOH (Malaysia): Great Britain won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title after a gap of 23 years with a rousing 4-3 victory in the final against defending champions Australia here on Saturday.

Entering the final for the first time since their lone title win in 1994, Great Britain led all the way after securing an early lead in the eighth minute.

Nine-time champions Australia fought back to take the encounter to the wire, but the British team defended their citadel well and banked on brisk counters to assert pressure on the rivals.

Leading the British challenge was David Goodfield, who scored two goals in the title encounter.

Great Britain's way into the final was paved by India's lackluster show in their last league outing against Malaysian yesterday.

Needing a two-goal win to overtake Great Britain on the league table, India crashed to a one-goal defeat against hosts Malaysia.

India today outplayed New Zealand 4-0 to claim the bronze medal, while Malaysia beat Japan 3-1 in the playoff for the fifth spot.

Great Britain scored two goals in the space of four minutes to surge into the 2-0 lead with unmarked Alan Forsyth sending a rasping reverse shot into the net in the eighth minute and Goodfield capitalising on a rebound from the custodian in a set piece penalty corner attempt in the 11th minute.

Stung by the reverse, Australia forced three successive penalty corners in the 15th minute before the ball was successfully deflected out by the goalkeeper.

Australia wasted two more penalty corners in the second quarter before Eddie Okkenden scored their first goal in the 28th minute with his second shot. After picking a pass inside the circle, Okkenden's first shy was palmed by the British goalkeeper Harry Gibson, but he picked the rebound on the move and made no mistake this time.

Great Britain again stretched their lead in the 33rd minute as Ollie Willars picked a pass from Phil Roper on the right flank and sounded the boards with a measured shot from just inside the circle for their third goal.

At the other end, Australian striker Joshua Pollard managed to place a shot past a crowd of defenders in the 34th minute to narrow the lead to 2-3.

Great Britain went 4-2 ahead in the 43rd minute through Goodfield's second goal of the final. Goodfield collected a pass from Forsyth on the right, turned around and sent a rising flick into the net.

Great Britain were down to 10 players in the very next minute as Mark Gleghorne had the green card flashed at him for tripping an Australian player in the midfield when an attack was building up.

Trying to capitalise on the advantage in number, Australia took off their goalkeeper to bring in a kicker-back in the last minute of the third quarter, but the strikers could not get a touch on the long shots into the circle that rolled over the goal-line.

Dylan Wotherspoon scored the third goal for Australia in the 48th minute, bringing them back into the game as he flicked home in goalmouth scrimmage.

However, Australia's efforts to find the equaliser were thwarted by a resolute British defence. The last Australian effort came with barely 30 seconds remaining when a long diagonal ball was sent into the goalmouth, but British goalkeeper Gibson took a step forward to pad it away before any striker could reach it.

The Times of India

India clinch Bronze at Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2017, defeating New Zealand 4-0

s2h team

India ended their Sultan Azlan Shah 2017 campaign defeating New Zealand 4-0 to claim the third spot. It was double penalty corners converted by Rupinder Pal Singh (17 and 27’) and splendid fields goal by S.V Sunil (48’), Talwinder Singh (60’) that helped India find success against the dangerous Black Sticks.

India made a dominating start, creating plenty of opportunities in the first quarter putting New Zealand on the backfoot. Only a minute into the game, India earned their first PC when forward SV Sunil found Kane Russell’s foot in the circle but Harmanpreet Singh’s flick hit New Zealand’s first rusher giving India another opportunity at a PC.

The Black Sticks’ defence, however, denied India an early lead. Another chance was lost when an impulsive Mandeep Singh on the counter attack raced into the striking circle and took a shot on goal but was saved by an alert Richard Joyce. With three minutes to go for the first hooter, Manpreet Singh set-up a perfect shot on goal with Mandeep perfectly poised to take the shot but unfortunately the youngster couldn’t connect the ball to get a deflection.

Going into the second quarter in a stalemate, Akashdeep Singh was quick to win India their third PC with some good dribbling skills in the circle. Rupinder Pal Singh ensured this chance didn’t go begging with a well-timed flick sending it low on the right to beat Joyce and give India a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

India kept the Malaysian spectators entertained with a thrilling charge made by Mandeep Singh who raced into the striking circle only to assist Akashdeep with a square pass, though they couldn’t convert a field goal, the attempt helped India win their fourth PC. Joyce made a good attempt to save Rupinder’s flick but the umpire awarded India another PC due to dangerous play. This time Rupinder used similar tactic of sending the ball low on the right that worked like magic, beating Joyce yet again, clinching India a splendid 2-0 lead in the 27th minute. This was Rupinder Pal Singh’s third goal in the tournament.

New Zealand made desperate attempts at coming back into the game in the third quarter but India continued to impress with their attack trying to find space for a third goal. The defenders too put up a spirited performance to ensure India held on to the lead.

India scored their third goal of the match in the 48th minute when Mandeep Singh after tackling two New Zealand defenders at the baseline set-up Sunil with a brilliant square pass. Sunil was impressive as he beat defender Cory Bennett to the convert a sensational goal taking India’s lead to a comfortable 3-0.

A video referral was upheld in favour of New Zealand when Affan Yousuf assisted skipper Manpreet Singh who took a successful shot on goal in the dying minutes of the match. But since it came off the back stick, the goal was denied. But Manpreet was involved in winning India their fourth goal when he made a baseline pass to Talwinder Singh who was spot on with his strike taking India’ tally to a comprehensive 4-0.


Bronze-winning India have quality but they need to be stronger and more resilient

Sundeep Misra

Indian players congratulate Rupinder Pal Singh after he scored against New Zealand. Image courtesy: Twitter/ @HockeyIndia

Sport can at times be an epitome of absurdity. And it was evident here at the Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium in Ipoh on a cloudy, drizzly Saturday. A day before, on Friday, India looked lost, jaded and played like a team that preferred the beach to the synthetic turf. They didn’t lose; they were humiliated 0-1 by Malaysia. With nothing but pride at stake, India turned out against New Zealand, a bronze medal match, and played like a poker player who knew his opponent’s cards inside out. Incisive, intelligent, skillful, this changed India dismantled New Zealand 4-0. Maybe, when they look at their medals, the team would wonder at the contrast of their play within a span of 24 hours.

The absurdity continued later in the evening when Great Britain who had won the title 23 years back in Penang and through the tournament never seemed inclined to be rated as favourites, decided ‘let’s play hockey’. They played three forwards up front, a packed midfield and a defence that looked as solid as the Alcatraz.

The British played at a level which even the world champions Australians couldn’t match. They did come back into the game and were constantly a threat but the British wanted to win badly on this Saturday Ipoh night. The scoreline of 4-3 in favour of Great Britain hopefully taught India a lesson in desire, ambition and the need to prepare and play for a win.

Against New Zealand, India started like always — confident, rotating the ball. They were clearly not fluid enough in the early stages but rather than give the initiative to the Kiwis, they kept the ball ensuring that the build-up was to their advantage. No loose balls were seen as the Kiwis, starved of space, disintegrated. India took a firm grip on the match.

Yet in moments, they seemed not as one unit but different parts of the same team. Harjeet Singh, Sardar Singh and Manpreet Singh played well but when the substitutions kicked in, it took the team a while to get started. Surender Kumar was steady on Saturday not the jittery mess he was against Malaysia. But the man who should have got the man-of-the-match was the youngster Sunil. He was the engine of the team. Driving forward, falling back, playing as an extended right half, he mesmerised the Kiwis with his sharp pace cutting into the New Zealand striking circle with the ease of an orchestra conductor.

Rupinder Pal Singh came back into form scoring off India’s 1st and 4th penalty corners. On the flick for the 4th goal, he was falling yet held himself to ensure the ball beat Kiwi goalkeeper Richard Joyce. Leading 2-0, India were in the driver’s seat. Except for a few mis-passes, Sardar played a good game, especially in the 3rd and 4th quarter where his presence in the central midfield stretched the game on the flanks.

Harjeet was a good foil and Manpreet, captain of the day, time and again entered the Kiwi striking circle. In the last few matches, Akashdeep Singh had looked tired. On Saturday, the classical action was back and he did a few deft turns ensuring a couple of penalty corners. In the second quarter, he dribbled past the same defender thrice; a victim of vertigo.

New Zealand did try and make a compelling 3rd quarter. India had to defend and they did well. In the 4th quarter, SV Sunil, finally found space in the middle of the Kiwi striking circle. Mandeep Singh sped in from the right flank, crossed and on the run Sunil deflected it in for the third goal.

India led 3-0 and fans wished it had happened a day earlier. Talwinder Singh desperately searching for goals and form found it in the 60th minute when his reverse hit sped past Richard Joyce in the Kiwi goal. India had won 4-0. Earlier in the league, the Kiwis had been beaten 3-0.

India coach Roelant Oltmans, slightly on the defensive after the defeat against Malaysia, now seemed satisfied. “Our defence was very good today,” he said. “We did not give away any penalty corners to New Zealand. But there are lessons we learnt and one of them according to our statistics is that we should have scored more goals in this tournament.”

Asked about the areas of improvement, Oltmans, said, “I don’t believe in negatives. I look at positives such as how we can improve in executions of penalty corners and in other areas to move forward. We tried out some variables.” The Indian coach who has a mandate till the Tokyo 2020 Olympics also emphasised that India was playing in tournaments in Germany and Holland and that they would be used to prepare for the World League Semi-Finals and Final.

Finals are usually torturous affairs. Especially if a team decides that playing a packed defence would yield results and swift counter-attacks. But Great Britain were different. The British brought a flair that hasn’t been seen in a while; Bob Crutchley, himself, would have been surprised. They attacked in waves, defended solidly and ran on the flanks like Olympic sprinters doing the bend.

Australia had players like Tom Craig and Trent Mitton, both on five goals each. But the ones who impressed were Alan Forsyth and David Goodfield. It was Crutchley’s innovativeness that made GB take their first penalty corner as an indirect conversion. The speed of the encounter was enthralling. In the middle, Britain, more as a tactical weapon, slowed the pace to eat up vital seconds and give their guys a breather.

It’s one of those remarkable happenings that Australia lost two matches on consecutive days; one to Japan ranked 16th and the other to Britain ranked 7th. GB coach, Bob Crutchley, said, “It was just a fantastic win for us tonight. I could not have asked for a better deal than this as we head towards the World League Semi-Finals in June. I think the turning point was who is going to score first after we took the 2-1 lead.”

Bob also pointed towards the increase in the work rate of the team. “In the last four to five weeks we had increased our work rate for the Azlan Shah Cup as we faced top rated teams. Tonight was just memorable and a great day for Great Britain.”

Australia had even pulled out their goalkeeper in the 3rd quarter when they lost a player to a green card. But these are days when the ace comes out in the opposing team’s pack. Australian coach Colin Batch was disappointed. “We created enough chances against Great Britain and had a couple of penalty corners. GB played a good game today, so did we. They plucked the goals early and we were not far behind in chasing those goals. I am a little disappointed but we will look into this and get back.”

Watching Great Britain win the title, the Indians must have given it a thought about how they imploded against Malaysia. It’s the start of a long season with the culmination of the World League and the World Cup happening at home. Under those pressures, India must find a way to be stronger and more resilient. The team doesn’t lack quality but building character and self-belief would ensure a podium.


Rupinderpal’s brace seals bronze for India

Malaysia defeated Japan 3-1 in the playoff to decide the fifth place in the tournament standings.

Manpreet fights for the ball with New Zealand's Nick Elder during the third place match at the Azlan Shah field hockey tournament in Ipoh on Saturday. 

Rupinderpal Singh converted two penalty corners as India outclassed New Zealand 4-0 to clinch a bronze medal in the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, in Ipoh on Saturday.

Rupinderpal sent identical ground drag-flicks into the corner past New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce’s outstretched right hand in the 17th and 27th minutes.

SV Sunil then scored his first goal of the tournament in the 48th minute as he captitalised on a cross from Mandeep Singh into the goalmouth, while Talwinder Singh rounded off India’s scoring in the last minute.

Earlier, Malaysia defeated Japan 3-1 in the playoff to decide the fifth place in the tournament standings.

Having failed to earn a place in the final after a listless show in the last preliminary league encounter against Malaysia yesterday, India gave an improved display to clinch the bronze medal — a shade below their silver medal behind Australia in the tournament last year.

Combining well, the Indian strikers showed purpose when they moved into the rival territory, but India missed three sitters in the first quarter that ended goalless.

India started with two successive penalty corners in the second minute of play, but the rushers denied Harmanpreet Singh a good look at the goal.

In the next minute, a soft error by the Black Sticks defenders saw Mandeep gain possession of the ball and move into the scoring area, but his reverse drive from the top of the circle was deflected by the goalkeeper.

Captain Manpreet Singh’s brilliant flair in the fifth minute saw him break into the circle down the right flank and feed a cross to Mandeep, who failed to deflect the ball toward the goal.

India’s best chance in the first quarter came in the 12th minute when Manpreet sent a cross parallel to the goalline for Mandeep, stationed near the far post, but Mandeep erred in his effort to tap the ball in.

Rupinderpal opened the scoring on India’s third penalty corner, his stinging grounder leaving the defenders gasping.

In the 27th minute, Mandeep had a good run on the left flank.

After charging into the circle, his cross found no takers, but an obstruction on Mandeep earned India a penalty corner. Rupinderpal’s shot on the fourth penalty corner struck a defender’s foot and another penalty corner was awarded, which he duly converted with a fine low shot.

After failing to feature in goal-scoring action in the entire tournament, Sunil finally made en entry on the score-sheet by deflecting in Mandeep’s cross from right in the 48th minute.

Talwinder Singh also got among the goal scorers for the first time in the last minute of play after picking a pass from Manpreet in the circle. Talwinder created some space for himself and sent a reverse shot into the boards.

The Hindu

Black Sticks finish fourth at Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with loss to India

Kane Russell and the Black Sticks lost 4-0 to India in the bronze medal match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Chris Symes

A young Black Sticks team were outclassed in the bronze medal match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, going down 4-0 to India early Sunday (NZT).

India had missed out on a spot in the final after losing their final round robin match to hosts Malaysia, so had a point to prove, and troubled the New Zealand men on both sides of the ball throughout.

They controlled the game from the outset, and made their domination count in the 17th minute, when Rupinder Pal Singh sent a drag flick into goal from a penalty corner.

Ten minutes later, he did the same thing again to give his side a 2-0 lead, but it wasn't until early in the fourth quarter that they added a third, when Sunil Sowmarpet scored from open play.

Talwinder Singh then put the icing on the cake, making it 4-0 in the dying seconds.

Black Sticks coach Darren Smith said that while the final result had been disappointing, it had been a great few weeks for his squad, which included plenty of fresh faces.

"We couldn't hold possession of the ball tonight and this made India even more of a threat. For us to be effective against any team denying time, space and applying pressure is critical," he said.

"We also need to ensure that our basic skills are sharp and we take sound options. Overall it's been a good two weeks, we've played nine games in 14 days with a team that has relished the opportunity to compete.

"Along the way there have been moments of quality and opportunities displayed of where we can improve. Now it's time to narrow our focus onto the World League Semi Final."

Great Britain took out the title, beating Australia 4-3 in the final, while Malaysia claimed fifth with a 3-1 win over Japan.


We could have scored more goals, says coach Oltmans

IPOH (Malaysia): India coach Roelant Oltmans praised his players for not conceding a single corner in the bronze-medal match of the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which the team won 4-0 against New Zealand here on Saturday.

"I don't think New Zealand had one serious shot on the goal in the whole game. We did not concede a single corner," said Oltmans, expressing satisfaction at the manner in which India turned around their game after Friday's disappointing 0-1 loss to Malaysia.

India needed a two-goal victory over Malaysia to secure their second consecutive entry into the final of this tournament, but played an erratic match to end up losing to the hosts, who had lost three previous matches.

Against the Black Sticks, India rode on two penalty corner conversions by Rupinderpal Singh (17th and 27th minutes) besides field goals from S V Sunil (48th) and Talwinder Singh (60th) to assert their supremacy.

"Our defence was really well organised today. They kept the structure really well," said Oltmans.

"We also managed to create a lot of goal-scoring opportunities. If one wants to be critical, we didn't score as many goals from the opportunities that we created. The way we finished that off is not good enough yet. That is something we need to work hard on.

"We were also unlucky at times as the ball rebounded off bar on one instance," the coach added.

The Times of India

Pakistan Seniors defeat Whites 5-2 in  Triangular Hockey

In the Pakistan Hockey Federation's triangular home series, Pakistan Seniors had an easy 5-2 win over Pakistan Whites at the Johar Town Hockey Stadium, Lahore.

It was senior string's third win in as many matches.

They displayed superiority throughout, striking the first goal within three minutes of the start and remained ahead throughout.

It was 3-1 at the half time.

Pakistan Seniors: Umar Bhutta (2), Ali Shan,  Abubakr, Ammad Butt
Pakistan Whites: Umar Hamdi & Awaisur Rahman

PHF Media release

Hendrickx looking forward to business end of Belgian season

KHC Dragons Alexander Hendrickx is looking forward to a memorable end of season as the Brasschaat club begin their Belgian playoff bid on Sunday while their hosting of the EHL FINAL4 moves ever closer.

The defender top scored this term with 24 goals, all from corners, and is looking forward to the business end of the season, starting with their playoff games against Waterloo Ducks on Sunday before their return leg a week later.

He told the Hockey Belgium website that it will be a big step up from their regular season matches in Belgium, saying: “The playoffs are obviously special and require more commitment as teams manage to surpass themselves and sometimes show a different style to the championship. We are looking forward to this final sprint."

"Our duels against the WatDucks are always exciting. It will, therefore, be two games played at a very high level."

Asked whether his side can claim a Belgian championship and EHL double, he is not counting any chickens before they hatch.

"As far as the EHL is concerned, it is simply outstanding to be able to organise the FINAL4 of the competition in Brasschaat. Everyone in the club will do everything to make this event a true hockey celebration.

“We will have home advantage and the D-Side will be behind us to push us towards the target. But we have to careful; it is straight knock-out where we have to be perfectly sharp. It will therefore be necessary to approach the matches one after the other, similar to the playoffs."

Euro Hockey League media release

Goals and drama expected as Scottish Grand Finals matches are confirmed

Kelburne v Grange final 2017

The teams that have qualified for Europe next season have now been established - the men will be Bromac Kelburne and Grange, the women Edinburgh University and Milne Craig Western; what has still to be decided is who will play in the top events, and that will be resolved at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre tomorrow.

Bromac Kelburne faced a challenging contest in disposing of a plucky Western Wildcats pack, normal time finished 2-2 and the champions only progressed after a 3-1 win in a penalty shoot-out.

It opened well enough for the Paisley side, at a penalty corner Josh Cairns cleverly switched the ball to Ben Peterson who found the net with a low shot.

But the Wildcats then dug their claws in, slackness in the Kelburne defence resulted in the loose ball falling to Joe McConnell, he took full advantage and fired the ball into the net.

Soon after it was the Wildcats who took the lead, a penalty corner strike by Adam McKenzie flew into the net off a Kelburne defender.

But by the interval Kelburne were back level, they were awarded a penalty and Cairns converted from the spot with a flick into the roof of the net.

The Paisley side dominated proceedings in the second half but contrived to squander a myriad of chances; early doors Gary Maitles, Johnny Christie and Jonas Nommensen missed the target from open play while four penalty corner opportunities also came to nothing.

Ironically, Wildcats could have taken advantage of Kelburne`s profligation but Rob Harwood narrowly failed to make contact with a dangerous cross.

Kelburne had further set piece chances but Chris Nelson`s effort was blocked by the lively Gavin Sommerville in the Western goal while another Cairns shot went wide of the target.

However, Kelburne were undoubtedly the more clinical side in the resulting penalty shoot-out with Nelson along with Craig and Lee Morton finding the net while only Wildcats` McKenzie was on target.

Grange managed to progress to the final in normal time with a 2-1 win over Grove Menzieshill in a very tight contest. It was the Taysiders who took the lead with a penalty corner conversion by Aidan McQuade.

But within a couple of minutes the Edinburgh side were level, Todd Mills managed to flick the ball past the goalkeeper from a narrow angle.

In a closely contested second half the outcome could have gone either way, but the breakthrough came with eight minutes to go, Mills stole the ball and advanced into the circle only to be blocked by Gavin Byers. Up stepped the ever-reliable Callum Milne to score from the spot.

Grove Menzieshill then mounted a lot of pressure on the Grange goal to salvage the tie but the home defence held out despite having a couple of players visiting the sin bin.

In the play-off competition to stay in the top flight, Clydesdale preserved their status with a convincing 4-1 victory over Watsonians.

The Titwood side were two up inside six minutes with a double strike by teenager Struan Walker.

Although Tom Kemsley pulled one back for the Edinburgh side, Clydesdale secured the tie with further strikes by John Joe Lonergan and Walker again for his hat-trick.

Hillhead v Inverness men celebrate

Hillhead seemed to have their first division survival well in hand with a 4-1 lead over Inverleith, Callum Duke scored a hat-trick of set pieces while Craig Paterson got another from open play, Murray Fotheringham got the consolation for the Edinburgh side.

Inverleith then created a bit of panic in the Hillhead ranks with further goals from Ewen Mackie and Joe Drake with six minutes left, but the Old Anniesland side survived to win 4-3 in the end.

In the women`s European play-offs champions Edinburgh University strolled into the final after a six goal victory over Western Wildcats.

Grove v Edinburgh women Amy Brodie in action

Scotland striker Amy Brodie was the catalyst with four, the other goals came from Sophie Maunder and Annie Arthur.

The students will face Milne Craig Western in the final after they defeated Grove Menzieshill 2-1 in the other tie. Scotland striker Fiona Bruce gave Western the lead only for Katie Robertson to reply for the Taysiders.

As the contest seemed to be drifting to a penalty shoot-out Millie Brown struck to put the Glasgow side into the final. The results mean a re-run of last week’s closely battled Scottish Cup final, which saw Edinburgh run out eventual winners.

Clydesdale women celebrate

Kelburne women retained their National League 1 status with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Grange from the second division. In 19 minutes Maddie Cleat gave the Paisley side the lead from a penalty corner.

Beth Dodds levelled the score ten minutes into the second half and that is how the score stood until the final minute when Stevie McInally notched the belated winner from open play.

Hillhead finished second bottom in the first division but retained their status with a 4-1 win over Erskine Stewart`s Melville FP. The latter will now face Grange for the right to play in the top flight next season. It’s a contest that is sure to be a cracker.

Photos by Andy Lovat and Duncan Gray

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Tuks thrash UKZN 15-0

By Andre Huisamen

Catherine Morris of TUKKIES celebrates her goal with teammate Chane Hill of TUKKIES during the 2017 Varsity Hockey, presented by Steinhoff and FNB, Monday 06 May 2017, at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, Western Cape. Photo by: Halden Krog/SASPA

Newcomers, UKZN, got a proper hiding on Saturday afternoon in Stellenbosch, when powerhouse, Tuks, blew them off the park with a massive 15-0 victory.

Tuks were quick out of the blocks when Catherine Morris scored a field goal in the seventh minute to open their account for the day. Two more field goals by Claire Gibbings and Mabongi Nyalungu for Tuks before the half time break meant they held a strong 6-0 lead midway through the encounter.

It was more of the same for Tuks in the second half when Chane Hill scored her side’s fourth field goal of the match to make it 8-0 early in the third chukka. The 2017 Varsity Hockey rule of field goals counting two doubling the scoreboard pressure. Anel Luus, Amy Etherington and captain Natalie Esteves added to UKZN’s misery when they also found the back of the net during a period of ill-discipline by UKZN, leading to a number of penalty corners.

Mabongi Nyalungu scored her second field goal in the final chukka before captain Natalie Esteves scored a sixth field goal for Tuks to seal the 15-0 hammering.

Mugg & Bean Star Saver: Robin Ashton (UKZN)
FNB Player of the match: Natalie Esteves (Tuks)


Tuks: 15
Goals: Catherine Morris (Field Goal), Claire Gibbings (Field Goal), Mabongi Nyalungu (Field Goal X2), Chane Hill (Field Goal), Anel Luus (Penalty Corner), Amy Etherington (Penalty Corner), Natalie Esteves (Penalty Corner during Powerplay, Penalty Corner)

UJ: 0


Tuks: 1 Marlise van Tonder (GK), 4 Marissa Poolma, 6 Chane Hill, 10 Anel Luus, 11 Catherine Morris, 14 Izelle Verster, 15 Natalie Esteves ©, 19 Claire Gibbings, 21 Amy Etherington, 27 Thandokazi Chithi, 32 Mabongi Nyalungu
Subs: 2 Melicia van Loggerenberg, 8 Jenica De Encarnacao, 12 Meeghan Sheffer, 18 Levolwethu Nkole, 22 Amone Mouton, 23 Balni Ayanga, 28 Kelsey Langley

UKZN: 1 Robin Ashton (GK), 4 Jamie Chisholm, 5 Sinethemba Zungu, 6 Chardinay Penniston, 7 Chiree Coetzee, 8 Nolwazi Mkize, 10 Tiffany Jones, 11 Shange Hqobile, 12 Zulu Nomzamo, 21 Mlabo Nonthando, 22 Mnguni Thandazile
Subs: 2 Nonqaba Bengu, 3 Janine Ndlovu, 9 Manele Noxolo (GK), 13 Vanessa Atkinson, 14 Anessa Patel, 16 Tanner van den Bergh, 17 Megan Hargreaves

Varsity Sports media release

Witsies launch impressive comeback to clinch victory against Madibaz

By Reginald Hufkie

Wits celebrate a goal against Pukke during the opening game of the 2017 Varsity Hockey, presented by Steinhoff and FNB, Monday 05 May 2017, at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, Western Cape. WITS vs NMMU Photo by: Halden Krog/SASPA

Despite trailing at the start of the second half, Pietie Coetzee’s Witsies managed to clinch a 7-3 victory against the Madibaz in Stellenbosh on Saturday night.

In what was predicted to at least be a tough fixture in the first half, the side from Port Elizabeth, Madibaz, made their intensions clear with a goal as early as the third miinute by the in-form Caitlin Gouws. Despite Madibaz’s impact pressure, Wits’ defence remained rock solid, thus ending the first chukka 2-0 in favour of the Madibaz.

Running was the name of the game at the start of the second chukka as both teams showed keen interest in having the ball in their possession. With two Witsies green-carded on the 25th and 26th minute, the Madibaz side could still not work their way through Wits’ defence despite making use of their Powerplay advantage which saw an extra two Wits players sidelined for two minutes. Their break, however, came when Captain Nina Lauren scored an impressive goal from a penalty corner at the end of the first half, making it 3-0 for the ladies from the Eastern Cape.

Madibaz started the second half like a house on fire, but Vicky Jonker turned the game on its head by scoring two impressive goals from a penalty corner and field goal attempt in less than five minutes, equalling the game in fine style. Taking advantage of their goal-scoring momentum, the ladies from Johannesburg worked their way through Madibaz’s defence and ensured Nicole Smith was in the perfect position to bag goal number three: 5-3 for Witsies at the end of the third chukka.

The fourth chukka remained goalless until Vicky Jonker hammered the nail into the coffin by scoring her third goal of the game with thirty seconds left on the clock: 7-3 for Wits the final score.

Mugg & Bean Star Saver: Kerryn Frost (Madibaz)
FNB Player of the match: Kelly Wrensch (Wits)

Madibaz: 3
Goals: Caitlin Gouws, Lauren Nina

Wits: 7
Goals: Vicky Jonker (penalty corner), Vicky Jonker (field goal), Nicole Smith (field goal), Vicky Jonker (field goal)

Madibaz: 6 Sequeira Van Niekerk, 7 Caitlin Gouws, 10 Jenna-Lee Meyer, 12 Aimee Pohlmann, 13 Jamie-Leigh Banks, 14 Simone Dolley, 15 Kirsty Tonks, 17 Carly Redcliffe, 18 Meri Janse van Rensburg, 21 Luzaan Potgieter, 24 Cassandra Lister
Subs: 1 Kerryn Frost, 3 Hannah Knott, 4 Lauren Nina, 8 Kanyisa Gwata, 16 Malikah Potgieter, 20 Robyn Thomson, 22 Lindre Van den Berg

Wits: 1 Petro Stofberg, 5 Gillian Robertson, 8 Ash Redhead, 9 Londeka Dlamini, 10 Nompilo Thenjwayo, 12 Nicole Smith, 13 Amber Dry, 14 Kelly Wrensch, 15 Robyn Fyrie, 17 Lezaan Janse van Vuuren, 18 Vicky Jonker
Subs: 2 Jureya Dildar, 3 Nolwazi Ngubane, 4 Lelethu Ndakisa, 6 Sissy Pieterse, 7 Nicky Veto, 16 Mandisa Sigudla, 19 Tamsin Copeland

Varsity Sports media release

Amira Sailors whip sorry UoN at City Park


Amira Sailors' Lorraine Nondi (left) tussles for the ball with Pamela Wamocho of University of Nairobi during their Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League match at City Park Stadium on May 6, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Footballer-cum-hockey player Pauline Naise on Saturday scored four times as Amira Sailors thrashed newcomers University of Nairobi (UON) 6-0 in a lop-sided Kenya Hockey Union women’s Premier League match at the City Park Stadium.

Leah Omwandho and Susan Oketch were also on target as Amira piled more misery on the students who have now lost six matches. 

In another match, former holders Sikh Union Nairobi played out a goalless draw with Kenya College of Accountancy University in a men’s Premier League encounter.

Amira coach Linnet Onyango was pleased with the result praising her forwards for making their chances count.

“I think it was one of our best performances of the season and we totally deserved the win after an an all-round impressive display,” Onyango told Sunday Nation Sport.

Naise, who joined Amira at the beginning of the season, underlined her importance to her team with another match winning display.

Last Monday, she scored a last minute equaliser to salvage a point against Strathmore University Scorpions.

Against the students, Amira needed only nine minutes to take the lead as Omwandho sounded the board after finishing off Lorraine Nondi’s penalty corner. Amira, playing in their second season in the top-flight, had gone close in the opening minutes with a couple of short corners.

The second quarter saw Amira intensify attacks with Naise linking up well with Omwandho and Oketch upfront. The trio combined to score their team’s second goal with Naise finishing past UoN keeper Quinter Okoreh in the 29th minute.

Ten minutes later, it was three as a UoN move was thwarted and Amira broke at the other end and Oketch fired past Okoreh.

The last quarter saw Naise score thrice in 11 minutes. First, Naise reacted quickly to finish off a rebound after Oketch’s initial shot was saved.


Two minutes later, the former USIU player brilliantly flicked Nondi’s cross to make it five.

The students had a rare chance but forward Sharon Atieno’s shot was saved by Amira keeper Rachel Kerubo.

Naise capped off a brilliant display with a goal a minute to full-time to lift her side to second place.

“We showed them too much respect and got punished for our lapses. We will improve with time,” UoN coach Collins Asimba said.

Daily Nation

Sailors drown poor UoN

Hockey Naise scores four times as Amira teach university students some hockey lessons

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Chase Amira Pauline Naise(front) with the ball as Orange Lilian Aura blocks her when they played Ladies National League at City Park yesterday. Orange won 3-0. ON 11/03/2017 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Pauline Naise was on fire as Amira Sailors thrashed debutantes University of Nairobi (UoN) 6-0 in a Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League match yesterday at City Park.

The multi-talented forward netted four times as Amira subjected the winless students to their sixth loss in the league.

Leah Omwandho and Susan Oketch were also on target for Amira, who are seeking a top two finish this season.

Amira coach Linnet Onyango was pleased with the result praising her forwards for a job well done.

"I think it was one of our best performances this season and we totally deserved the victory. We had an all-round impressive display," Onyango said.

Naise, who is a hockey-cum-football player and joined Amira this season, proved her worth with a superb display.

Last Monday, she scored a last-minute equaliser to salvage a point against Strathmore University's Scorpions.

Determined to secure their third win of the season, nine minutes is all Amira needed to take the lead against the students.

Omwandho sounded the boards from a Lorraine Nondi' s pushed short corner.

Amira, hoping to improve on their third-place finish last season, intensified their hunt for goals in the second quarter. The trio of Naise, Omwandho and Oketch coordinated well as they launched several unsuccessful attacks inside the UoN territory.

Their combined efforts finally paid off as Sailors scored their second goal. When the chance fell on her shoulders, Naise did not falter as she sent the ball past UoN goalkeeper, Quinter Okoreh, in the 29th minute.

Ten minutes later, Oketch fired past Okoreh after a lapse in the UoN defence to make it 3-0 for Amira.

Naise ruled the final quarter as she scored three times in 11 minutes. First, she reacted quickly to finish off a rebound after Oketch's saved shot.

Two minutes later, the former USIU player superbly deflected Nondi's cross to make it five.

The students created their only chance of the match in this quarter, but forward Sharon Atieno's shot was saved by Amira custodian Rachel Kerubo. Naise crowned her sterling performance with a goal one minute to the whistle.

The Standard Online

Hockey Him girls win title

Chandigarh: Hockey Him put up an emphatic display to be crowned champions of the junior women’s hockey National Championship (Division B) here today.

Hockey Him beat Mizoram 5-0 to take the title. Ankita scored in the 14th minute to give them the lead. Six minutes later, Ekta Kaushik doubled their lead.

Just before halftime, Ankita added a second to her tally to give Hockey Him a 3-0 lead. Manju Chorasiya (39th minute) and Umra (66th) also scored.

The Tribune

MBPJ aim to clinch Division One title for the first time

by Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) hope to be the new force in the Malay­sian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

With that aim in mind, they want to win the Division One title and end the Thunderbolt teams’ domination.

Last year, Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt won their fifth straight Division One title while Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS)-Thunderbolt bagged the overall crown.

But this season MBPJ are set to lift their maiden league title as they lead the 10-team standings with 21 points from eight matches. They will wrap up their fixtures against BJSS-Thunderbolt at the MBPJ Stadium today.

SSTMI-Thunderbolt are second with 19 points while BJSS-Thunderbolt are third on 18 points. SSTMI-Thunderbolt’s last match is against SMK Datuk Bentara Luar in Batu Pahat.

Having beaten three of the Thunderbolt teams, MBPJ coach Mohd Harfizi Baharom (pic) said they would go all out to get the better of the fourth side – BJSS Thunderbolt.

Earlier, MBPJ were victorious over Ander­son-Thunderbolt (3-1), SSTMI-Thunder­bolt (3-2) and Pahang Hockey Academy (AHP)-MSP-Thunderbolt (3-2).

“We want to create a new chapter in the MJHL. We have won the overall title once in 2006 but we have yet to win the league title since the inaugural MJHL in 1995. This is our best chance to do so as my players are playing exceptionally well.

“My players have vowed to give their best. I have faith in my players that they will rise to the occasion,” said Harfizi.

BJSS-Thunderbolt coach Lokman Yahya, however, has not given up hopes of winning the title.

“We also have a fighting chance if we beat MPBJ. It will also depend on the outcome of the SSTMI-SMK Datuk Bentara Luar match.

“We want to make sure the title remains with one of the Thunderbolt teams,” said Lokman.

The Star of Malaysia

A stick, a ball and a shot at life

Girls run barefoot, holding up their hockey sticks like swords. It’s an intense match under the blazing sun in a remote Jharkhand village

Y.B. Sarangi

Scores of children from tribal families across Jharkhand battle it out at a school-level hockey tournament. Photo Credit: Manob Chowdhury

They don’t have any uniforms, and many don’t have shoes or shin pads. After a lunch of dry, flattened rice, jaggery and soaked gram, they have come rushing to the dusty grounds to play in the finals of a hockey match. We are sitting under a colourful shamiana, a barely adequate shield against a blazing April sun.

Gathered around us are 200 children who have come from remote villages in Jharkhand’s Khunti district. Dressed in dust-stained clothes, these bright-eyed kids aged between 12 and 16 shoot questions at former Indian women’s hockey team captain Sumrai Tete, who is visiting Khunti for the finals of this school-level hockey tournament: “How do I become a player like you?” asks one child. “How do we deal with rival players?” “What if an umpire makes a wrong decision, one that goes against our team?”

Tete is pleased. “When you speak out, half your battle is won,” she says. The children, from poor tribal families scattered across Khunti district, are clearly serious about getting their lessons in hockey. They listen with rapt attention to Tete, who shares the dais with some other renowned hockey players and coaches from India and the Netherlands.

We are in the Birsa Munda College, 35 km from Ranchi. The premises are plastered with handmade posters of local hockey heroes—Jaipal Singh Munda, Manohar Topno, Michael Kindo, Sumrai Tete and Asunta Lakra.

The tournament, an attempt to bring hockey to the grassroots, is part of a programme by Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (CInI), an associate organisation of Tata Trusts that collaborates with One Million Hockey Legs, a project initiated by the Dutch and Indian governments. Dutch hockey great Floris Jan Bovelander is closely associated with the initiative. The programme hopes to reach 50,000 children and create 200 quality players within the next three years.

Kick it like Kiki

“My father (a farmer) bought me this hockey stick,” says Juhi Kumari, a Class VIII student of Government Middle English School of Malu village. Her aspiration is to “be like Kiki madam,” one of the coaches working with Bovelander. Every child here has a dream. Nothing dampens their spirit: neither the intense heat nor the lack of facilities.

Manpreet Gudia of Ganolaya village wants “to play well and get a good job.” Soma Dhotra, who is wearing a pair of worn-out white shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt, grins widely when I ask him about his life and the role that hockey plays in it now.

His answers are monosyllabic, but according to his master trainer, Nauri Munda, the well-built Soma, a Class VIII student and son of a small-time farmer from a remote village in Murhu block, is really good with the hockey stick, in his favourite position, which is right out. “My father is a farmer but he encourages us to play hockey. My younger brother also plays. We enjoy playing. We hope hockey will help us get a job somewhere,” says Soma.

Munda has had an interesting journey himself. He was pursuing athletics before switching to hockey and playing for Bihar in the 1994 national hockey championship. His hockey career made no headway, and he decided to teach students from primary classes at a school near his village Mahil.

“Earlier, there was no sports in our school. Now students are learning hockey. Initially they did not know how to hold a stick. So I taught them how to hold it, how to hit a ball and dribble. Now they can play matches,” says Munda with visible pride.

As for Bovelander, the hockey initiative in this region, enmeshed in deep socio-cultural and economic challenges, has been an eye-opener. “I see a big gap between life in Holland and life here in this part of India. But I see a lot of connection too. Children everywhere like similar things. I see a lot of similarity in the joy they derive from the team work,” he says. Bovelander observes that the children are bubbling with questions. “Especially about how to cope with emotions and other stuff like that. The benefit of hockey is you learn these skills as well. Only one or two can get to the top. But they develop as people everyday and become stronger.”

So what led to this initiative in an underdeveloped area, which used to be a Naxal hotbed and is still affected by gang wars between splinter groups, police encounters, human (including child) trafficking and mining?

Livelihood, life skills and hockey, say spokespersons of CInI and Tata Trusts, will give the tribal community new direction. For instance, agriculture, pig farming and handicraft work, with the help of the internet, have improved the quality of life of many villagers.

The Tata Hockey Academy, which will start functioning in Jamshedpur by the year end, will help fulfil the aspirations of these children too. Olympian Sandeep Singh has been roped in.

An old hockey ground has been taken over and a used AstroTurflaid there to create a regional development centre in Khunti. “We have sent a proposal to the State Government to develop this facility. We want the children to get used to playing on AstroTurf as opposed to dusty grounds,” says Singh. “They are hard working, they play in this heat. The end clearly does not matter.”
Raising dust and hopes

Several former competitive hockey players have been brought in to act as master trainers for a monthly stipend. Jasmani Devi, in her mid-30s, for instance did not make it to the national camp by a whisker. A dejected Jasmani burnt her certificates and citations. Now, tasked with the job of teaching hockey to the kids, she says she is extremely pleased. “I could not achieve my dream, but through this programme I want to help the children achieve theirs.”

At the Birsa Munda College, the finals have begun. Defying the searing heat and wielding their hockey sticks, the children chase the ball on a bald pitch raising columns of dust as they try to raid the opponent team’s goal post. The lack of order in the game is more than made up for by the single-mindedness of the young teams fighting against great adversity.

They are dressed in ill-fitting clothes—boys in shirts and shorts and girls in tops and skirts of various colours. Bovelander, who has keenly captured all the action-packed moments in his camera, notices that “the boys have shoes, the girls don’t. The boys have shin pads, the girls don’t.”

Indeed, the boys are curiously better equipped with shoes and shin guards while the girls are running barefoot, many of them physically frail, holding up their hockey sticks like swords. Clearly, while the initiative has taken off, it needs to pay attention to details such as providing basic safety equipment and medical facilities for the hockey-playing children.

As the children battle it out, their energy is electric. Finally, Girls Government Middle School (Pelol) defeats Upgraded High School (Ganaloya) 4-3 for the girls’ crown, and St. John School (Murhu) beats Lutheran Middle School (Bichna) 2-0 to win the boys’ title. The cheering in the small makeshift stadium is deafening.

The Hindu

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