All the news for Friday 3 August 2012
London 2012 Olympic Games - Hockey Competition Results
Thursday 2 August 2012
Pool Time Match Result
A 08:30 Korea vs. Japan 1-0
B 10:45 Australia vs. USA 1-0
A 13.45 China vs. Netherlands 0-1
B 16:00 South Africa vs. Germany 0-2
A 19:00 Belgium vs. Great Britain 0-3
B 21.15 New Zealand vs. Argentina 1-2
Third win for The Netherlands and Great Britain
Korea get off the mark with Japan win
2012 Olympic Games (women), London (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)
Cheun Seul Ki’s solitary strike handed Korea a deserved first victory of Group A, condemning Japan to a third straight loss, finally breaking through at penalty corner time – one successful effort from nine attempts.
That stat illustrated the Korean domination as Japan struggled to get a grip on the game after a good early spell.
The first half was a slow burner as the two evenly matched sides – Korea eighth and Japan ninth in the world rankings. – took their time to figure out the best plan of attack. For Japan, it was through swift moves down the flanks. From the pick of these, Izuki Tanaka almost jinked her way in from the right but Jang Soo Ji did well to block. Rika Komazawa was similarly threatening.
Korea, however, bounced back, surprisingly while Park Seon Mi – on her 30th birthday – served out a yellow card offence. During her absence, they won the first of their three corners, dragged inches wide by Lee Son Ok. Kim Da Rae also went close on the reverse as the tie opened up but no goals accrued before the interval.
A glut of second half corners should have seen them home and dry by a comfortable margin but, in the end, just the one sufficed as Cheon Seul Ki picked out the top corner in the 42nd minute.
It was just reward for their attacking intentions, controlling the play and picking off numerous interceptions in key areas as Japan struggled to make a mark.
Five further corners followed with Lee Seon Ok dragging just over, Cheon Seul Ki rattling the crossbar while Nagisa Hayashi was forced to save another off the line. Cheon had another batted away by Sakiyo Asano’s stick while Japan never truly threatened in the second period.
The result gets Korea off the mark and can now look upwards in the table for their battle with the Netherlands on Saturday while Japan meet Belgium hoping for a first result.
Belgium vs. Great Britain 0-3 (half-time 0-1)
Great Britain struggled during a period but ended with a third win despite a strong show from the Belgian team. Great Britain now join The Netherlands at the top of Pool A.
The match started in a Riverbank Arena filled to the brim and graced by the presence of Prince Edward and his wife Sophie of Wessex. Cheered enthusiastically by the home crowd, the British women immediately pushed forward but Belgium continued on the momentum of their excellent match against China and held tight, containing the British players, possibly too eager to score fast.
First real chance was for Nicola White receiving the ball alone in the circle, but she was prevented to shoot by a quick intervention of Belgian goalkeeper Aisling D'Hoogue, playing boldly on the big stage at the tender age of 17. Belgium were shaken around by Great Britain, ranked twelve spots above them in the world, but they were holding well. It is only with two minutes to go in the period that Ashleigh Ball managed to find the ball in a goalmouth scramble to open the scoring for Great Britain.
Great Britain were quick off the blocks in second period and immediately created havoc in the Belgian circle. In the 45th minute, Laura Bartlett received the ball in good position, turned quickly to eliminate three defenders and surprised the goalkeeper to score the second goal for a more comfortable British lead.
The first penalty-corner of the match only happened in the 55th minute after Alex Danson was taken down in the circle, but it was weakly executed and did not produce anything. Belgium were far from beaten though, and were close to score on a rocket from Emilie Sinia that nearly surprised Beth Storry in the British goal.
Great Britain added a last goal on penalty-corner by Crista Cullen and ended the day with a third win which put them on top of Pool A with The Netherlands.
For more information on BEL v GBR, click here.
China vs Netherlands 0-1 (0-1 half-time)
Maartje Goderie’s 11th minute strike saw the Netherlands maintain their perfect start to the campaign, running up a solid if unspectacular victory over China. Her excellent run and low shot capped a fine start to the game but, thereafter, a stalemate occurred as China remained compact in defence and the Dutch were unable to find a way through. Nine corners also went unconverted as Ren Ye ran down the barrel and Zhang Yimeng was a brick wall in the pads. But they created little on the counter-attack to threaten a shock result.
Early on, Netherlands threatened to run riot. Kelly Jonker’s sweep went inches wide a mere 30 seconds into the game while Zhang Yimeng did well to deny Kitty van Male. But China could do nothing to prevent Maartje Goderie from racing down the left baseline before cutting back and smashing home in the 11th minute.
The tie quietened down moving into the second quarter as China gained a foothold of sorts, stemming the flow of chances. And Zhao Yudiao had their best opening, getting two bites at a bouncing ball, Joyce Sombroek denying both efforts. It was as good as it got for the Asian side as they endured 17 minutes worth of second half suspensions with Xu Xiaoxu getting ten minutes while Gao Lihua and Song Qingling also took enforced rests.
It opened space for the Dutch to win six second half corners but Ye Ren kept getting in the way, taking a number of balls to the body, while switch moves did not produce the desired effect. From play, Kim Lammers’ near post deflection was the pick of the chances but she was unable to add to her tournament tally of four goals. It moves the Dutch to the edge of semi-final qualification while China will require favours elsewhere if they are to progress.
For more info on CHN vs NED, click here
Korea vs Japan 1-0 (half-time 0-0)
Cheun Seul Ki’s solitary strike handed Korea a deserved first victory of Group A, condemning Japan to a third straight loss, finally breaking through at penalty corner time – one successful effort from nine attmepts. That stat illustrated the Korean domination as Japan struggled to get a grip on the game after a good early spell.
The first half was a slow burner as the two evenly matched sides – Korea eighth and Japan ninth in the world rankings. – took their time to figure out the best plan of attack. For Japan, it was through swift moves down the flanks. From the pick of these, Izuki Tanaka almost jinked her way in from the right but Jang Soo Ji did well to block. Rika Komazawa was similarly threatening.
Korea, however, bounced back, surprisingly while Park Seon Mi – on her 30th birthday – served out a yellow card offence. During her absence, they won the first of their three corners, dragged inches wide by Lee Son Ok. Kim Da Rae also went close on the reverse as the tie opened up but no goals accrued before the interval. A glut of second half corners should have seen them home and dry by a comfortable margin but, in the end, just the one sufficed as Cheon Seul Ki picked out the top corner in the 42nd minute.
It was just reward for their attacking intentions, controlling the play and picking off numerous interceptions in key areas as Japan struggled to make a mark. Five further corners followed with Lee Seon Ok dragging just over, Cheon Seul Ki rattling the crossbar while Nagisa Hayashi was forced to save another off the line. Cheon had another batted away by Sakiyo Asano’s stick while Japan never truly threatened in the second period.
The result gets Korea off the mark and can now look upwards in the table for their battle with the Netherlands on Saturday while Japan meet Belgium hoping for a first result.
For more info on KOR vs JPN, click here
Complicated situation in Pool B
Four teams have 6 points (two wins)
2012 Olympic Games (women), London (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)
New Zealand vs. Argentina: 1-2 (half-time: 0-1)
Argentina redeemed themselves after losing to Pan American rivals of the USA two days ago. With their win over New Zealand, Pool B becomes complicated with four teams seating on 6 points (two wins and a loss).
Argentina started at full speed and earned two early penalty-corners. Noel Barrionuevo was not on target, but Carla Rebecchi managed to steal a ball between two defenders, rushed into the circle and left no chance to Bianca Russell in the Black Sticks’ goal to open the scoring in the 3rd minute of play.
New Zealand tried to settle down but stayed under intense pressure from Las Leonas, until the 20th minute when Krystal Forgesson forced a penalty-corner on one of their lone incursions in Argentinean territory. It generated three retakes: Clarissa Eshuis’ flick was blocked twice by the defense, then Katie Glynn’ powerful direct shot was deflected high by Florencia Mutio in the Argentinean goal.
The game was entertaining, flowing back and forth, with dangerous actions in both circles. The best chance was for Argentina with 3 minutes left in the period, on penalty-corner, but Barrionuevo’s flick was once again well defended by the Black Sticks and half-time was reached with a meagre lead for Argentina and the feeling that the match could go either way.
New Zealand pushed back Argentina on their heels at the beginning of second period and won a penalty-corner. They tried an option with Kayla Sharland but her low push was deflected by Florencia Mutio. The Black Sticks immediately created another golden opportunity by Gemma Flynn, then Cathryn Finlayson, doing the hardest part to split the whole Argentinean defense but unable to adjust a final shot alone in front of the keeper.
The scare was too much for Argentina and, on the counter-attack, Rosario Luchetti offered a gem to Carla Rebecchi, well positioned to score her second goal of the night and establish a more comfortable cushion for the World Champions. Play continued at high pace, probably the most exiting match of the day, and Charlotte Harrison reduced the gap to one goal with a spectacular diving deflection at the far post, setting up a torrid end of match.
The last five minutes of the match were intense, but no more goal were scored and the Argentinean fans were soon singing in the stands to celebrate the win for Las Leonas, which creates a complicated situation in Pool B with 4 teams (Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and Germany) having 6 points for their two wins and one loss.
For more information on NZL v ARG, click here.
South Africa vs. Germany 0-2 (half-time 0-1)
Germany earned their second win of the competition against a South African team that tried very hard, but could not convert the many chances they created.
Germany dominated the early stages of the match and had three penalty-corners in a row. Fanny Rinne hit the crossbar once but the other two attempts were well blocked by the South African runners. South Africa had a few counter-attacks, mostly through Marsha Marescia on the left, but could not penetrate dangerously in the German 25m.
Play became bogged down in midfield, with scarce circle action and little entertainment for the near capacity crowd. Shelley Russell and Sulette Damons combined well on the right wing to produce a golden opportunity for Jennifer Wilson arriving fast in the circle but she could not reach the crossed ball despite a spectacular dive. It was finally Marie Mävers who opened the scoring at the other end for Germany, deflecting from close range an excellent ball driven in the circle by Natascha Keller after a powerful run through the South African defenders.
With not much pace in the match, and unforced errors by both teams, the score did not evolve until half-time, reached with the lone goal for Germany.
South Africa were dangerous at the beginning of second period and Kathleen Taylor could have tied the game when she received the ball alone in front of Yvonne Frank but the German goalkeeper did well to prevent her to shoot. The Germans were on their heels, showing worrying defensive weaknesses, and Pietie Coetzee also had a good chance on goal. Germany somehow survived the storm and earned a penalty corner after a counter-attack. Fanny Rinne was able to run through the defenders and slam the ball in for the second German goal.
South Africa were however not down yet and shook dangerously the German defense a few more times with Jennifer Wilson at the conclusion of a swift counter-attack by Sulette Damons, then by Dirkie Chamberlain who stole a ball between two defenders but could not adjust a shot on target. South Africa also earned a penalty-corner, but Pietie Coetzee’s powerful flick was well handled by Yvonne Frank.
Germany managed to progressively turn the tide around and push the danger away from their circle. They controlled play in the final minutes of the match to earn in lacklustre manner their second win of the competition, leaving South Africa still pointless after three matches.
For more information on RSA v GER, click here.
Australia vs USA 1-0 (1-0 half-time)
Anna Flanagan provided the spectacular winner to keep Australia’s comeback on track and bring a semi-final berth very much into focus as they saw off USA in Pool B. The Americans will rue Lauren Crandall’s missed penalty stroke just before Flanagan netted her second goal of the tournament in the 33rd minute, the defining moments of a thoroughly entertaining tie.
A lively first period swung from end to end as Katie Reinprecht prompted the US attacks while Jade Close was a constant thorn down the right wing for Australia.Two Flanagan drag-flicks went close while Emily Smith and Megan Rivers were unable to pull the trigger after a delightful interchange into the circle.
Madonna Blyth was forced to pick off a diving tackle to deny Katie O’Donnell before Ashleigh Nelson was set free down the right but her shot skipped across the face of goal.USA’s big moment came when Rachel Dawson – on her birthday – cracked goalward only to his Jodie Schulz’s foot on the line. A stroke was awarded but Crandall’s effort – in the 28th minute – was brilliantly saved by Toni Cronk with the bottom of her glove onto the post. And they were duly punished as Flanagan set the radar for the top corner and this time was on the mark for a 33rd minute lead.
The second half was equally open but, despite some superb creative phases of play, Australia were unable to apply the finishing coat to their artwork while the US always had a spring in their step. Michelle Kasold’ rasping effort thudded into Cronk’s chest with the pick of their chances before Australia produced some glittering hockey. The move of the match saw Georgia Nanscawen twice involved to swivel and beat one player before finding Casey Eastham on the baseline. Her square ball was met with power by Kate Jenner but Amy Swensen got down low to deny the first time effort.
Soon after, Megan Rivers – in her 200th international match – slipped a chance wide from another swift move. The slender margin was put to the test late on when Michelle Gonzalez drew a save from Cronk with a powerful reverse. Despite the late pressure, Australia held on for a second win to add to the defeat of Germany, keeping their semi-final hopes in tact while majorly denting those of the US.
For more info on AUS vs USA, click here
Belgium no match as Great Britain make it three out of three
Great Britain's women brushed aside Belgium in their third game at the Riverbank Arena tonight. Two goals either side of half-time by Slough’s Ashleigh Ball and Reading’s Laura Bartlett and a last minute penalty corner from Leicester’s Crista Cullen gave Great Britain a comfortable 3-0 win against the side ranked sixteenth in the world.
This evening’s victory means the home nation now top the Pool A standings after three wins from three matches. A win or draw for Great Britain in their next match against China on Saturday will guarantee qualification for the semi-finals and the prospect of playing a medal match.
Despite the win, Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry indicated there is room for improvement, “We were nowhere near where we need to be in terms of executions for the amount of possession we had. We should have done more with that. That’s understandable given the nature of having to jig things a little bit with missing Kate. That’s two wins without one of the world’s best players and playing with 15 [players].
“I’ve learnt through the years that it’s not going to be brilliant hockey all the time. Sometimes you just find a way to win. Belgium have probably been the fastest improving side in international hockey over the past couple of years under Pascal [Kina, Coach]. Their draw with China was testimony to that.”
The evening was made even more special with the return of Captain Kate Walsh who watched her team from the bench following successful surgery on a fractured mandible. Commenting on Walsh’s progress, Kerry said, “We’ll fitness test her and look at toleration of pain because that goes up through the body. We need to look at that. If she comes through that we’ll put a stick in her hand and play the ball towards Kate. We’ll make her start to slap the ball and then we’ll make her try to tackle. And if she comes through those things in a positive way there’s a possibility she might [play against China] but at the moment it’s very difficult to say, it really is.”
With Reading’s Helen Richardson leading Great Britain out for a second match in a row, the women were hoping to make it three wins out of three and climb to the top of pool A. Their opponents, Belgium, were a relatively unknown force, as GB had only previously faced the side once, in 1978.
Great Britain started well with Reading’s Alex Danson looking lively, having recovered from her knock in the previous match. She danced her way through the defence and fired a reverse stick shot over the bar in the opening five minutes, giving an early warning to the Belgians. GB were pressing high in the final third and closing their opponents down, but the Belgium goalkeeper Aisling D’Hooghe was going to be hard to beat, having only conceded three goals in her previous two matches.
Slough’s Nicola White had the best chance in the opening twenty minutes when she found herself one on one with D’Hooghe. However, the goalkeeper was out quickly and smothered the ball before White had time to get her shot away. Great Britain started to create more attacking chances as the half went on. Sarah Thomas made a forceful run into the circle but some brave defending from the Belgian’s meant the shot at goal came to nothing.
Finally, Great Britain’s patience and determination was rewarded with a goal in the 33rd minute from Slough’s Ashleigh Ball. Sarah Thomas’ initial strike from the top of the circle was saved, but only as far as Leicester’s Chloe Rogers. From the base line Rogers’ pulled the ball back into the danger zone to find Ball who finished well under pressure from a few yards out to make it 1-0. That was the last piece of action in the first half and Great Britain went into the break with a goal advantage.
Great Britain came out quickly in the second half and doubled their lead in the 40th minute. Leicester’s Hannah Macleod sent a well-disguised pass to Reading’s Laura Bartlett, who turned on a sixpence and slotted the ball away on her reverse side to put her side two goals up. Within seconds of the re-start, the Belgians were down at the other end of the pitch, attacking GB’s goal. In her 40th appearance for Great Britain, Reading’s Beth Storry pulled off a strong save, having had little to do up until that point.
Great Britain had picked up the intensity and moved the ball around with purpose. The forwards and midfield were linking together well and Leicester teammates Crista Cullen and Anne Panter were distributing the ball effectively from defence. However, a rare mistake in the 61st minute from Loughborough Students’ Laura Unsworth gave GB a slight scare when she lost possession in the final third. Resultantly, the Belgians had a powerful strike at goal, but fortunately Storry was on hand to clear comfortably.
The packed Riverbank Arena was in full voice throughout the match and were urging Great Britain to get a third goal in the final ten minutes. Their wish was granted when two minutes from time GB were awarded their second penalty corner of the match for a foul on Ball. Cullen stepped up and drilled one of her trademark drag flicks, low into the bottom right hand corner, giving the flailing D’Hooghe no chance. With only a minute left, the final score remained at 3 – 0 and GB managed to keep their second clean sheet of the tournament.
Commenting on the win, Great Britain goal-scorer Laura Bartlett said after the match, “It’s what we’ve been aiming for. We’ve been getting a lot of goals. Confidence is high within the squad. We knew this game was going to be really difficult and it was going to be hard to break Belgium down. We wanted to win with a lot of energy within our press and counter attack really quickly. They were hard to break down but our fitness levels were there and eventually we did and Ash’s [Ashleigh Ball] goal injected that extra bit of energy. We knew we just had to be patient and not give up and not force passes and turn over easy ball.”
The women’s penultimate pool match is against China on Saturday 4th August at 16.00, where a draw will be enough to send Great Britain through to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, the men continue their Olympic campaign tomorrow (Friday 3rd August) at 16.00 with a match against Pakistan.
BELGIUM 0 (0)
GREAT BRITAIN 3 (1)
Ashleigh Ball 33’ (F)
Laura Bartlett 40’ (F)
Crista Cullen 69’ (PC)
GREAT BRITAIN WOMEN’S SQUAD v BELGIUM
Name (Club) [Position]
Beth Storry (Reading) [Goalkeeper]
Emily Maguire (Reading) [Defender]
Sally Walton (Bowdon Hightown) [Defender]
Crista Cullen (Leicester) [Defender]
Ashleigh Ball (Slough) [Midfielder]
Sarah Thomas (No Club) [Forward]
Laura Unsworth (Reading) [Defender]
Helen Richardson (Reading) [Midfielder]
Georgie Twigg (Clifton) [Midfielder/Forward]
Alex Danson (Reading) [Forward]
Hannah Macleod (Leicester) [Midfielder]
Anne Panter (Leicester) [Defender]
Chloe Rogers (Leicester) [Midfielder]
Laura Bartlett (Reading) [Midfielder]
Nicola White (Slough) [Forward]
Did Not Play
Kate Walsh (Reading) [Defender]
Great Britain Hockey media release
Bartlett`s first Olympic goal for GB
Scot Laura Bartlett scored her first goal for Great Britain in their 3-0 win over Belgium at Riverbank Arena yesterday, a result that leaves Team GB in pole position in the pool, just ahead of favourites Netherlands on goal difference.
After a rather stale opening with both sides unable to trouble the goalkeepers, GB finally took the lead three minutes before the interval, Sarah Thomas` shot rebounded to Chloe Rogers, she passed back to Ashleigh Ball who slipped the ball under the keeper.
Early in the second half Hannah Macleod stole the ball from the Belgians, she then released it to Bartlett whose reverse stick shot eluded the Belgian keeper. The Belgians had their best spell after that, and only a brilliant save from Beth Storry in the GB goal after Laura Unsworth had give the ball away kept the clean sheet in tact.
The result was sealed two minutes before the end at a penalty corner, Crista Cullen dispatched a low drag flick past the Belgian keeper for the third goal.
In an earlier game favourites Netherlands beat China 1-0, now GB only need a draw against the Asians on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals and give themselves a chance for a medal.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Great Britain women's hockey team close in on semi-finals with 3-0 victory over Belgium
By Jessica Winch
Victorious: Great Britain are now only a point away from semi-final qualification Photo: EPA
Great Britain women’s hockey team edged towards semi-final qualification on Thursday after a 3-0 victory over Belgium.
Ashleigh Ball, Laura Bartlett and Crista Cullen found the goal to secure a win and keep the team at the top of the pool alongside Holland.
The team were watched from the bench by their captain Kate Walsh, who was released from hospital on Wednesday after having a titanium plate fitted following a fractured jaw.
The Countess of Wessex, who is patron of the English Hockey Board, Prince Edward and Dame Kelly Holmes were also in attendance.
It was a disappointing first half from Great Britain, who were easily contained by the Belgian side, the youngest squad in the tournament and ranked well below the home side at 16 to Britain’s four.
Nicola White had a shot at goal but was stopped thanks to the quick intervention of Belgian goalkeeper Aisling D’Hooghe.
Finally, with three minutes to go in the first half, Ashleigh Ball scored her first goal of the Olympic tournament after a scramble around goal and a rebound shot off the goalkeeper.
Great Britain started the second half much more positively, with a pass from Hannah MacLeod finding Laura Bartlett who sent a reverse in from the left post in the 41st minute.
Belgium launched a late flurry of attempts at goal but Beth Storry managed to avert the danger, before a final penalty corner awarded to Britain was used to full effect with Crista Cullen firing home a low flick.
Cullen said: “We were able to grind out a win and that’s all that matters. We weren’t firing on all cylinders, we’ll hold our hands up and say it wasn’t our best game, but you can’t go through the whole pool stages always playing your best.”
She said it was “fantastic” to have Walsh back with the team. “She’s the talisman of our team, she’s a great character for us to have around,” Cullen said. “I’m holding my fingers crossed that she might be able to join us later on in the tournament.”
Hockeyroos Fire Back into Medal Contention
The Hockeyroos held on to a great win tonight as Megan Rivers celebrated her 200th cap! Toni Cronk was the stand out once again saving a stroke to inspire her team to victory!
AUSTRALIA 1 d USA 0
Goal: Anna Flanagan
Best Players: Toni Cronk, Casey Eastham, Anna Flanagan, Fiona Boyce
Australian goal keeper Toni Cronk saved a stroke and played an incredible match to lead the Hockeyroos to a hard fought 1-0 win over the USA at Riverbank Arena today.
They didn’t start as well as they did against Germany with the USA getting first look at the goal and Anna Flanagan missing two penalty corner drag flicks before their intensity started to improve.
Cronk inspired her team with scores locked at 0-0 in the first when the NSW veteran, at her second Olympics after playing at Athens in 2004, saved the stroke and changed the games momentum.
Both teams had lots of rotations keeping fresh legs on the field and neither was willing to give up as the game got more physical.
Casey Eastham led by example in midfield fighting hard for every possession and creating opportunities in front of goal.
USA also had their chances but things started to fall the Australians way when a penalty corner was overturned by the video umpire, deemed not to have hit Teneal Attard’s foot inside the circle.
Australia continued to press forcing numerous penalty corners but three times Jodie Schulz was off the field. In the end it was up to ACT defender Anna Flanagan to make something happen and she didn’t disappoint, firing home a superb drag flick.
The Australians went to the break 1-0 up minutes before half-time and were able to hold on to their lead for the entire second half.
The Hockeyroos dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard in the second half and held on for Megan Rives in her 200th international.
Australia peppered the goals and to USA goalie Amy Swensen’s credit she played a brilliant match, keeping her team within reach.
Rivers, Hope Munro, Emily Smith, Jade Close, Fiona Boyce and Ashleigh Nelson all had chances but could find the back of the net.
The Hockeyroos now face South Africa on August 4 at 5.20pm(AEST)
Hockey Australia media release
Aussies record second win over Team USA
LONDON - Australia’s Anna Flanagan scored on a penalty corner in the 33rd minute, to defeat the U.S. 1-0 this morning at Riverbank Arena in London’s Olympic Park.
“We are very disappointed with the outcome,” said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade in a post-game press conference. “This match was one we targeted as getting three points in and today we came up empty. We had chances, but unfortunately did not capitalize.”
Australia opened the first half with two penalty corners, but Flanagan sent both drag-flicks wide. Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) was consistent in creating scoring opportunities inside in the circle, but couldn’t knock one past Australia’s goalkeeper.
After much back and forth action, a penalty corner was awarded to the U.S. with seven minutes remaining in the first half. Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), who’s celebrating her 27th birthday today, fired a direct shot that was stopped by a defender’s foot and a penalty stroke was called. Lauren Crandall (Dolyestown, Pa.), a frequent stroker for the U.S., placed the ball exactly where she intended, to the low left corner of the cage. It was a good attempt, and Australia’s goalkeeper made a great save to keep a scoreless match.
Australia capitalized on the missed opportunity by the U.S. as Flanagan converted her third drag-flick attempt into a goal to take a 1-0 lead in the finals minutes of the first half.
The U.S. played solid defense in the second half and goalkeeper Amy Swensen (Grantville, Pa.) made critical saves to keep the U.S. in the game. Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) applied pressure and had some convincing scoring opportunities, but again, could not capitalize. Australia held on for a second win in the preliminary rounds, keeping their semi-final hopes intact.
“Australia got three points off of us today, and when every game is a must-win and you let points slip away, it hurts you in the end,” said Crandall. “We have two more games left so we're definitely looking to get three points out of the New Zealand and South Africa games. We’ve got to refocus and get back to how we know how to play.”
The U.S. is hopeful to get back on track in the match against New Zealand on Saturday, August 4. The U.S. vs. New Zealand matchup will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET. New Zealand currently has two wins in the tournament and will face Argentina this evening at 9:15 p.m for their third Olympic match.
USFHA media release
Tough loss for USA against Australia
By Jawwad Qamar
USA lost a very tough pool B encounter against Australia 1-0 on a penalty corner goal by Anna Flanagan in the 32nd minute thus putting a big blow to its chances of finishing in the top two and advance to the medal round.
After missing wide on Australia’s earlier two penalty corners, Flanagan sent her third drag flick perfectly, up into the far left corner, over the outstretched arms of American goalkeeper Amy Swensen as Julia Reinprecht was a little hesitant in challenging Flanagan with her rush.
Earlier, after a tentative start by both sides playing mostly a midfield game for the first nine minutes the pace picked up and following a few missed attempts on both ends, USA earned a penalty corner thanks to a fine run and a pass from the left by Katie O’Donnell to Melissa Gonzalez rushing in at center at the 27 minute mark. Gonzalez got a foot called on Flanagan inside the circle. Rachel Dawson’s ensuing penalty corner attempt directly hit Australia’s Jodie Schulz’s foot and the Americans received a penalty stroke. Captain Lauren Crandall stepped up and sent her flick low to the left of the goal but Aussie keeper Toni Cronk dove right to make a stick hand glove save sending the ball out. A golden chance for team USA to go up a goal wasted.
In the second half both teams played strong defense, especially the Americans and Swensen. USA had a number of good scoring opportunities with Michelle Kasold, Gonzalez and O’Donnell on attack but were unable to capitalize. O’Donnell did everything right except put the ball in the net as Australia held on for its second win.
USA did well on defense but the offense needs more focus and cohesion to get the job done especially when opportunities to score against teams like Australia don’t come too often. The Aussies may be ranked 7th in the world but they’re a very experience outfit and will not give opponents too many chances. Forget about what happened to them in their opening match against New Zealand – they know how to win and have an experienced goalkeeper – they’re a far better team than their ranking indicates.
This is going to be a tough loss for USA and Crandle to swallow. A tie and a point would have been a good result for the Americans. However, they have to move past this and focus on New Zealand, their next opponent on Saturday evening, taking it one game at a time. They cannot control the outcome of their pool B opponents but only their remaining two matches.
In the last match of the day, Argentina defeated New Zealand 2-1. This makes for an interesting scenario in pool B as four teams now have 6 point with two games left for each. For USA to have any chance to reach the medal round it needs to beat both New Zealand and South Africa in its last two matches and hope that Germany and Argentina play to a draw on Saturday (a South Africa tie or win against Australia will help also but that’s asking for too much) and then on Monday New Zealand and Germany play a tie and Australia beat Argentina. Yes, it’s complicated but this is what it will take for USA to move on – in other words a miracle is needed.
As that great American philosopher Yogi Berra once said: "It ain’t over till it’s over!"
Argentina get the better of the Black Sticks
The Black Sticks Women have gone down 2-1 to number two ranked Argentina in the third pool play match at the Riverbank Arena in London tonight.
National coach Mark Hager was not disappointed with the performance, saying his side had given it 100 per cent.
“I’m really proud of the team. In the first half we were probably a little bit apprehensive but in the second half I felt we took it to them and created enough opportunities,” said Hager.
“If you had have told me we’d be on six points after three games I’d have been happy. Sometimes it doesn’t fall your way, and I think tonight was one of those nights. There are now four teams sitting on six points [in Pool B], so this next game against the US is a must win for us.”
It was decided later this afternoon that co-captain Emily Naylor, who was due to play her 200th international test, was not going to play due to a back niggle.
Hager said the decision was more a precautionary measure and that the focus was to get her better for the next games, rather than risk further injury.
“I think not having her in the middle threw us out a little bit, it took its toll in the first half and we were struggling to get combinations together,” said Hager.
Argentinean player Carla Rebecchi got an early goal in the third minute when she found clear space and was able to get it passed Black Sticks goalkeeper Bianca Russell and find the back of the net.
New Zealand and Argentina had equal shots on goal in the first half with the Kiwis being awarded four penalty corners. But it was Las Leonas that held possession for longer periods of time and attacked with confidence creating more opportunities.
The Black Sticks came out stronger at the start of the second half, but it was not the Black Sticks night and Rebecchi stretched the lead to 2-0.
With the crowd cheering New Zealand on, the Kiwis got what they were looking for with 14 minutes left in the game when Gemma Flynn passed to Charlotte Harrison who was waiting, as she often does, on the corner of the goal to deflect it in.
The goal gave the Kiwi’s the lift they were after and they worked hard for the rest of the game to equalise, but to no avail.
Overall, the statistics were very equal with New Zealand having nine shots on goal and Argentina taking ten.
The Black Sticks Women will play the United States at 6am on Sunday before their final pool game against Germany at 7.30pm on Monday.
“We definitely want to come away with the three points. They're going to be a tough team, they've played really, really well throughout the tournament so far,” says Harrison.
Other results from today saw Korea beat Japan 1-0, Australia beat USA 1-0, Netherlands beat China 1-0, Germany beat South Africa 2-0 and Great Britain beat Belgium 3-0.
New Zealand 1 (Charlotte Harrison) Argentina 2 (Carla Rebecchi x2). HT: 0-1
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Black Sticks lose first game at Olympics
JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
New Zealand's Gemma Flynn has a crack at goal during their women's hockey match against Argentina at the London Olympics. LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
The Black Sticks remain upbeat despite suffering their first loss of the Olympic women's hockey tournament, 2-1 to Argentina this morning.
Down 2-0 late in the game, the Black Sticks did score with seven minutes remaining but try as they might they could not find the equaliser against the world's No 2 ranked side.
Click on photo at left for some great action shots from the game.
The result brings the Black Sticks back to the pack and into a four way tie for first place on six points with Germany, Australia, and Argentina.
New Zealand's remaining games are against United States on Sunday and world No 3 Germany on Tuesday.
"I'm proud of the girls, I thought the performance was pretty good apart from the first half when we were stand-offish and apprehensive," coach Mark Hager said.
"In the second half we took it to them so I'm not disappointed at all, they gave it 100 per cent.
"It is only one loss, we have to win the next game simple as that to give.
"If you had of told me we would only have one loss after three games I'd have taken it quite comfortably. The disappointing thing is we blew a chance to kick away from the group but that is life."
The Black Sticks suffered a setback five hours before the game when Emily Naylor was ruled out because of a back injury. Naylor was down to play her 200th game.
Hager felt her presence in the midfield was missed and disrupted combinations.
Naylor has a bulging disc in her back, which flares up from time to time, but Hager was confident she would be fit to play against the United States.
There were two crucial moments in the game and both resulted in goals for Argentina.
After two minutes Kayla Sharland failed to trap a pass in defence and Carla Rebeechi seized on the mistake cut into the circle and smoked the ball past goalkeeper Bianca Russell.
Then in the 45th minute, Black Sticks striker Cathryn Finlayson fluffed a clear shot on goal and play instantly swept down field and Rebeechi finished off some good work by Rosario Luchetti.
Sharland was mortified by her mistake, blaming "just bad basics".
"I made a missed trap and they pounced on it and got a good shot away."
Sharland said the 9.15pm start was not an excuse for their slow beginning. Their previous two games have been early morning affairs, resulting in victories.
"We have practised it before. It was just a very long day waiting around," she said.
To the Black Sticks credit they mounted a comeback and Charlotte Harrison had her second goal in as many matches when she tapped in a goal bound shot by Gemma Flynn with seven minutes left. However, that was where it ended.
Anita Punt took a painful blow on an elbow late in the game but Hager did not believe it was serious.
Argentina win keeps qualifying hopes alive
Argentina's Carla Rebecchi (C) celebrates with her teammates Daniela Sruoga (L) and Rocio Sanchez Moccia after scoring against New Zealand during their women's Group B hockey match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Riverbank Arena on the Olympic Park August 2, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
LONDON - Argentina's 2-1 win over New Zealand in the women's hockey event on Thursday kept the world's number two team in contention to qualify from the group stages after a mixed start to the tournament.
The result leaves four sides tied on six points at the top of pool B with two games left to play. Only two out of Germany, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand will progress to the semi-finals.
Knowing that victory would put them at the top of the table New Zealand made the worst possible start when sloppy play from a defensive hit-out let in Argentina's Carla Rebecchi to slot home a shot that Kiwi keeper Bianca Russel should have stopped.
New Zealand slowly found their footing in the match but Argentina added another goal early in the second half when Rebecchi turned in a sharp cross from the byline.
Charlotte Harrison tapped in to give the Kiwi team hope with eight minutes to go but the Argentines held on to put themselves back in with a chance of progressing after a surprise defeat to the U.S. earlier in the tournament.
"After the USA game, we forgot about the loss and went into this game differently. We were more concentrated from the beginning of the game and more aggressive in both defence and attack," Rebecchi said.
In the other qualifying pool, Britain extended their unbeaten run at the Games, beating Belgium 3-0 and taking a huge step towards qualification for the next round. The home team are tied with the world number one Netherlands side, with both looking likely to progress.
British captain Kate Walsh returned to sit on the bench as an unused substitute after breaking her jaw in the opening game. Team coach Danny Kerry said her fitness would be tested on Friday with a view to returning to the pitch against China on Saturday.
Germans beat brave South Africa 2-0 in women’s hockey
By Mark Etheridge in London
A brave second-half fightback wasn’t enough to prevent South Africa going down 2-0 to Germany in their Olympic Games Group B women’s hockey match at the Riverbank Arena on Thursday.
It took 20 minutes into their third Games match, for the Germans to draw first blood but shortly after halftime they doubled their lead.
The first goal came from open play by No23 Marie Maevers who dived in to deflect home from inches out with just 10 minutes to play in the first half of their Group B match.
The world’s third-ranked women’s side went 2-0 up nine minutes into the second half through their fourth penalty corner when captain Fanny Rinne fired in a shot that ‘keeper Mariette Rix got a right pad to but could only deflect over the line.
Earlier two penalty corners in quick succession in the sixth and seventh minutes saw the Germans threatening early on but a great save from Rix kept out the threat from the second of these.
Ten minutes in the half, skipper Marsha Marescia made great inroads down the left channel but her reverse-stick shot didn’t trouble German keeper Yvonne Frank.
Shortly afterwards it was again down the left that the South Africans found some hope as Sulette Damons put in a great run.
There was hope for South Africans with Nicolene Terblanche and Bernie Coston both showing good touches.
With world-leading javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen and Team SA Chef de Misson Patience Shikwambana watching in the stands and supporting their Team SA mates, the first half saw Germany awarded three penalty corners while SA were still awaiting their first.
The second half started promisingly for South Africa with Kate Woods finding world record Test goalscorer Pietie Coetzee in space and she, in turn releasing Damons who just coudn’t get enough on the shot.
Then Kathleen Taylor went close but ‘keeper Frank stood tall to keep the danger out.
The South Africans continued to attack and Coetzee had probably the best chance of the match in the eighth minute when she found herself in the D but her shot was saved by Frank.
Showing the fighting spirit that South Africans are famous for despite being the lowest ranked side at these Olympics, coach Giles Bonnet’s girls continued to press forward and Jen Wilson flung herself face first into the blue astro-turf in an attempt to get the girls on the board.
Lesle-Ann George had the ball in the Germany goal with about 20 minutes to go but the shot came from outside the D and didn’t count.
South Africa got their first penalty corner with 12 minutes to go but Coetzee’s blistering shot was well blocked by Frank to her right.
South Africa’s next match is against Australia on Saturday.
SASCOC Road to London
Bonnet happy at hockey girls’ improvement
By Mark Etheridge
South African coach Giles Bonnet praised his charges after the women’s hockey side managed to restrict Germany to a 2-0 win in their Group B match at the Riverbank Arena on Thursday.
A goal in each half saw the girls suffer their third defeat on the trot.
But they were the lowest ranked side (12th) to make the Olympics after a long and gruelling campaign trail and their results have got better as the tournament goes on.
They lost 7-1 to Argentina and then 4-1 to New Zealand before Thursday’s 2-0 defeat.
And they can hold their heads high after an extremely plucky performance.
“They played a lot better today,” said coach Bonnet. “The one goal was a bit unlucky but I’m really happy with the improvement.
“We had a good few shots at goal and although the finishing could have been better it was about the team effort today.”
“This group just doesn’t get easier. As I said earlier this week it would have been great to be in the other group but that’s life.
“The thing is although we got better the quality of the teams in this group is that they are able to get more innovative under pressure etc.
“But this will all help us get better, playing teams this quality. I think our result against New Zealand was disappointing but we just need to concentrate on the next game.’
Goalkeeper Mariette Rix explained the change in Team SA’s mindset.
“Today was kind of different. There was no fear.. we had plenty of power/energy and pressure and it showed.
“I think our second half was really good. We stopped focusing on the result and decided to rather enjoy ourselves and just play to our best ability.”
SASCOC Road to London
SA hockey men need to find form
Coach Gregg Clark says that the South African men's hockey team are still in search of their best form at the London Olympic Games.
London – The South African men's hockey team are still in search of their best form at the London Olympic Games, after their 2-2 draw with Great Britain on Wednesday, according to coach Gregg Clark.
“I think we are far off our best, and you need to be at a tournament like this,” Clark said.
“You have to be at your best to go far in the tournament.
“That's almost encouraging because I know we've still got quite a way to go from a performance point of view.”
The South Africans came back strongly after they had trailed by one goal for almost 60 minutes.
They took the lead in the 64th minute and then saw it slip away when the British scored a controversial goal to level the scores once again.
Clark said he had mixed feelings after his side earned their first point of the Games.
“It is obviously nice to get our first point in the tournament but we didn't really get out of the block very well,” he said.
“We didn't play with a lot of fluency today. Part of that was because GB were very well organised defensively and we haven't played our best hockey in this tournament.
“So I guess I'm both happy with the point but also sad that we let it slip in the end.”
The draw was a marked improvement for the side after their 6-0 defeat to Australia in their opening match on Monday.
“I think there were patches in the Australia game that we played same decent hockey,” Clark said.
“I think we chased a bit too much in that game which you tend to do against Australia.”
Great Britain was awarded a penalty corner at the death.
South African goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse made an excellent save after the hooter to keep the scores level.
“We were pumped out there and we really wanted to fight for that point,” Pieterse said.
“We are the lowest ranked team here and if we can take points off teams that are ranked fourth in the world we will take it any day.
“Of course we would have liked the win today.”
The SA men face Spain in their next match on Friday
Kookaburras Determined to Have Last Laugh in London....
Photo: Getty Images
The Kookaburras journey towards gold continues today when the mighty Australians take on Argentina...
Game: Friday 3 August, LIVE 5.20pm(AEST) Foxtel and Nine(Limited)
AUSTRALIA V ARGENTINA
Players to Watch: Jamie Dwyer, Simon Orchard, Glenn Turner
After the disappointment of finishing with bronze in Beijing the Kookaburras are determined to have the last laugh in London.
With 11 goals and seven individual goal scorers from their opening two matches, Australia has sent a warning to its opposition that all their guns can fire and it’s anyone’s guess where the next bullet will come from.
Goalie Nathan Burgers is also another outstanding link in a seemingly unbreakable chain and is yet to concede a goal.
With so much versatility all over the park, Ric Charlesworth has the ability to play many different hands when it comes to devising strategies to win.
After Jamie Dwyer scored a hat-trick in Australia’s 6-0 win over South Africa, it was five different athletes that got on the scoresheet against Spain in its second match.
So the depth in Charlesworth’s ranks is unquestioned and to beat this champion team, Argentina, ranked ninth in the world will have to bring down the Great Wall of China!
In saying that however, in sport everyone has a puncher’s chance and the temperamental South Americans will always go down fighting.
Argentina has a strong penalty corner set up and has some very talented players within its outfit.
Captain Matias Vila and his brothers Rodrigo and Luke will be gunning for the world number one team, hoping for the greatest upset in hockey at these Games to date.
The mighty Kookaburras are on song so far though and they will settle for nothing less than gold from these Games.
The whole team has contributed to their success and every athlete in this Australian outfit will have a special moment that they will treasure forever.
Jamie Dwyer’s will surely be breaking Mark Hager’s record as the Kookaburras greatest goal scorer and hopefully surpassing the record tonight.
The Queenslander has scored 179 goals in 280 matches.
Hockey Australia media release
Black Sticks go Dutch for cash in London
SIMON PLUMB IN LONDON
STRONG SHOWING: Blair Hopping in action for the Black Sticks in their win over India. Getty Images
One of New Zealand's best-funded team sports will be thrust under an Olympic-sized microscope tonight.
The men's Black Sticks face the Netherlands, the world's third-ranked hockey team, in a match which could nudge the Kiwis on to the brink of London 2012 obscurity.
Despite yesterday's 3-1 win over India, the effects of a poor 2-0 opening defeat to Korea haven't gone away.
With three pool games remaining, coach Shane McLeod, who last week had “high hopes for the semifinals”, reckons his side needs at least two wins to have a chance of qualifying.
Belgium, ranked 11th in the world compared with the Black Sticks at seventh, should be no problem. But the other win must come against either the Dutch or, even more difficult, world No 2 Germany.
McLeod has talked up the chance of beating the Netherlands tonight, suggesting stronger players were overlooked for their Olympic squad, and that they've “squeaked through” their first two wins in London.
McLeod's captain, Dean Couzins, is similarly optimistic about beating the men in orange - despite having not done so since 2010 - and losing seven of their past 10 encounters.
“They certainly are beatable,” Couzins said. But the pressure's on. At stake is their future high-performance funding.
This year $2,951,641 of public money was spread across the men's and women's national teams. Against other Olympic sports that's more than athletics ($2.16m), triathlon ($1.79m), canoeing ($1.64m) and equestrian ($2.01m).
In the four-year Olympic cycle since Beijing, Sport New Zealand's investment weighs in at $7,144,571.
Pool match: NZ v The Netherlands, 9.45pm
Day 6 Olympic Preview - GB v Pakistan
London Olympics 2012 Jonty Clarke jumps on Richard Smith as they celebrate his goal against Argentina
Great Britain will be looking to get back to winning ways against Pakistan, having drawn with South Africa in their last pool match.
Fixture: Great Britain v Pakistan
Date and time: Friday 3rd August - 16.00
Location: Riverbank Arena
Watch live on BBC: Olympics 10 (red button on Sky, Virgin and Freesat)
Great Britain #4
Head to Head Record
Goals for: 76
Goals against: 126
Great Britain has played Pakistan an impressive 48 times, and their first ever encounter coincidently was at the London 1948 Olympic Games. Great Britain won this 2 - 0. More recently in June 2012, Great Britain came from behind to beat Pakistan 2 – 1 in Malaysia at the Sultan Aslan Shah Cup. Barry Middleton and Ashley Jackson were the two goal scorers in a second half which GB dominated.
Player to watch: Great Britain
Olympics 2012 Ashley Jackson
Ashley made his debut when he was 19 years old and has since been one of the star players in the GB line-up with 133 international caps and 75 goals to his name. Renowned for his drag flicking Ashley has been acknowledged by his peers as one of the best players in the world. An accolade which has been reinforced twice following his inclusion in the FIH World All Stars Team in 2009 and 2010 and being named the FIH World Young Player of the Year in 2009. Ashley has been in sparkling form lately, scoring four goals in three games at the Olympic Test Event and a further six goals at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. So far at the 2012 games he has scored twice, including a superb drag flick against South Africa. He is definitely an exciting talent to watch at this summer’s Olympic Games.
Players to watch: Pakistan
We asked the GB team who they considered the players to watch are
Name: Sohail Abbas
Captain of the Pakistan side, Abbas is the top goal-scorer in the history of hockey. He is also their penalty-corner specialist and is highly likely to be a goal scoring threat at the Games.
Name: Rehan Butt
Position: Centre forward
A very talented and experienced centre forward, Butt has made appearances in 2008 and 2010 for the FIH All-Star Team. His experience will be invaluable, particularly for the younger members of the Pakistan squad.
Great Britain Hockey media release
‘Pakistan should opt for a triangular attack against GBR’
Pakistan were unable to hold on to the ball for longer periods and gave away possession very easily. -Photo by Reuters
Salman Akbar is a veteran goal-keeper who made his debut for Pakistan’s hockey team in 2001. Termed by Olympian Shahid Ali Khan as one of the most hard-working players in the game, Akbar has won the 2005 Rabo Trophy and the 2010 Asian Games gold medal with Pakistan. He was adjudged the ‘best keeper’ in both events. Here, he talks about Pakistan’s performance against Argentina and previews the next match against hosts Great Britain which will be played on Friday at 20:00 (PST).
Great team work and a well-deserved victory for Pakistan over Argentina.
Although Pakistan started the game on a slow pace, they gradually managed to speed it up and were rewarded in the 30th minute with an angular drag-flick from Muhammad Imran after winning their first penalty corner.
Once again, the performance from the midfield was commendable. Young players like Rizwan Junior and Muhammad Rashid played an excellent game. It was great to see rookie Rizwan taking the attack to the opponents without any fear and with some great skills. Rashid was equally solid on the left side.
It was heartening to see the players get together in numbers every time they had to defend. Umar Bhutta, especially, worked really hard at the back, which was a great sign for the team.
Possession is key
Pakistan were unable to hold on to the ball for longer periods and gave away possession very easily. They seemed to struggle in creating build-ups and for me, this was a worrying sign. Another area of concern was a complete lack of field-goal attempts, not even half-chances. While it was good that the Greenshirts created four penalty corners, the strikers still have to do their job of making serious goal-attempts in the remaining matches.
There is an urgent need to show more aggression while putting pressure on the ball-carriers and the players need to communicate better while defending. Imran Shah managed to make some easy, but important saves and this performance will do his confidence a world of good. Pakistan’s 50 per cent conversion rate from penalty corners is a big improvement from the previous performances and I credit our defence and penalty-corner attempts with getting the team all three points in this must-win game. An empty goals-against column is an apt depiction of the quality of our defence.
Do or Die
Rehan Butt has termed tomorrow’s match a “do-or-die encounter” for Pakistan and he is not wrong. Great Britain are ranked fourth in the world and while their Olympic berth was secured on the basis of hosting the event, they have come out as strong contenders for the podium by finishing third in the European Championship, where they beat Belgium in the bronze-medal game.
Expect a physical game
Great Britain have played on the new blue turf more than any other team at London 2012 and it is bound to have helped their preparations for the big showdown. Apart from that, they also hold an advantage of playing at home and having an unmatched crowd support. Here, I would like to add that it was nice to see a good number of Pakistani fans and flags in the match against Argentina. Going back to the hosts, they have now been playing under the same coach for almost five years. Still, they faced mixed results in the run up to the Games. They finished fourth at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and ended last year’s Champion’s Trophy at the same position. Nevertheless, I expect them to be fully prepared to give Pakistan a tough challenge tomorrow.
Players like Barry Middleton, Ashley Jackson, James Tindal and Jonathan Clarke are top quality and form the core of their team. Great Britain like to keep their opponents under constant pressure, with high-speed attacks. A peculiar GB tactic is to smash the ball from the sides in front of the goal to make connections for goal-attempts. In addition to that, they play with a lot of short passes to beat the opponent’s defence and the combination of Middleton and Jackson is key to their attacks. In turn, this means that Pakistan’s defence has to be very alert and to play a more physical game than they usually do. For GB, penalty corners are a key component of attacks. Ashley Jackson is their go-to man for drag-flicks and his favorite angle would be from the left and high of Imran Shah, but they like to vary their attacks on the top of the circle. British players are particularly good on penalty-corner rebounds and Pakistan have to plan well and in great detail to defend penalty corners – something we are already doing quite well. Having drawn against South Africa, Great Britain will count on their fighting spirit and attack Pakistan with full power in this match to get all the three points and Pakistan have to be fully prepared.
First real test
This match will be a tough test for Pakistan and it will highlight their strengths and weaknesses. The Greenshirts will have to do give more than what have been doing so far and show some fighting spirit to get a favourable result. No individual player should try and change the game on his own. Pakistan will have to rely on teamwork and all the boys will have to count on one another.
Pakistan should play with more courage. They need to start the game with half-court press. Putting pressure on the ball-carrier will be a good tactic but we should go for attacks from the side pockets so that Great Britain also have to work hard to get the ball out of the press. Pakistan’s defence is already playing really well with great support from the midfield and strikers, and this practice needs to continue in a more dedicated manner.
In order to improve an already well-knit midfield, we need our strikers to show moments of inspiration to create gaps and then come out of with a full-press on the opponents. Pakistan should avoid giving away penalty corners as Great Britain are always on the lookout for chances to create PCs.
Goal-keeper Imran Shah’s performance may eventually dictate the result for Pakistan and the 23-year-old is likely to come out of this battle a much more mature man. Pakistani defenders have to watch the movements of their strikers carefully and should mark the British to the man instead of playing a zonal game.
Pakistan should once again start with three strikers and maintain a triangular shape to their attack with one man high up and two on the flanks. This will not only help in keeping the pressure up on GBR’s defenders when holding possession but also allow the Greenshirts to start their attack from the flanks and move in centrally. GBR defenders are most often than not found guilty of ball-watching and this formation will utilize the space they tend to leave in the back effectively. Pakistan should also try to create plays in the front that create the maximum number of PCs to keep the hosts’ defense occupied and weary.
Three midfielders and four defenders will serve well against GBR. Muhammad Imran should be deep in defense and Sohail Abbas should be playing as a right half. Abbas, as I mentioned earlier, could prove extremely useful in that position. Rizwan Junior should be the replacement on the right side. Shakeel Abbasi should be in the starting line up and should be on the pitch for maximum time. He is in the mould of Italian footballer Andrea Pirlo, and can not only hold the ball but also orchestrate plays in addition to making great runs. With him on, Pakistan will be strong in offense and defense. Veteran Waseem Ahmed should lead the midfield as he has been doing consistently so far. Waseem, ideally, should help in building up his replacement now as Pakistan have quite a few guys with 4-5 years of experience under their belts.
Sohail and Mohammad Imran did well in the last match and it will l be great to see them getting on the score-sheet once again. But surprise variations are a must to get the most out of PCs.
Communication will be vital as it will be a high-paced game and Pakistan will need to show great fighting spirit until the last second to ensure a good result against GBR.
Both teams are with the same points on the table so the winner of this match will be very close to get the entry in the half finals.
Players to watch
Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmed and Rizwan Junior will be the players to watch.
Crunch game as Pakistan clash with Britain today
By Muhammad Ali
LONDON: Pakistan face a potentially huge game against hosts Britain in the London Olympics 2012 Men’s Field Hockey Tournament at Riverbank Arena, Olympic Park here on Friday (today). Both sides are currently tied on four points in the Pool A after two games. It is a must win contest for the greenshirts ahead of their encounters against South Africa on Sunday and Australia on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the raw power of Muhammad Imran and Sohail Abbas’ drag-flicks saw Pakistan pick up their first win of the Olympics, condemning Argentina to a second successive defeat. They fired home a corner in each half to see off the South American side. Pakistan drew their first game against Spain 1-1 on last Monday.
Pakistan coach Khawaja Muhammad Junaid told Daily Times on Thursday that Britain were strong opponents and the match would be exciting. “Britain are playing good hockey in the tournament. We want to play best hockey against Britain. This is a very crucial match for us. This will determine our fate in the tournament,” he added.
Though the Pakistan forwards displayed occasional cohesion and short passes, overall they featured at an individual level, making fast runs whenever finding spaces and attempting to pierce the Argentina defence with individual stick work. During the game, the forwards missed quite a few scoring chances, and it were the penalty corner strikers who saved the day. The big question is whether this strategy of individual play by the Pakistan forward line will prove to be effective against packed defences of stronger sides like Britain and Australia. “We have to play as one unit. Individual play can not win matches. We did miss chances during the game against Argentina. There were mistakes. I hope those would not be repeated in the crunch game against Britain,” stated Junaid.
While many would view the disparity between the tournament fourth ranked side and the eighth would lead to an inevitable result, any thoughts of ‘damage limitation’ from Pakistanwere quickly dismissed. “They are ranked fourth and we are ranked eighth. But no one should underestimate Pakistan against Britain. I knowBritain defeated us in the Sultan Shah Azlan Shah Cup in May this year. But the Olympics are different. We are prepared to take on them with full force. We are feeling very confident,” said Junaid, a former Olympian.
Three times Olympic champions and four times world champions Pakistan have slumped at international level after poor planning and with talent becoming increasingly scarce. The greenshirts finished at their worst-ever eighth position in the last Olympics in Beijing four years ago. Pakistan won Olympic gold medals in Rome 1960, Mexico 1968 and Los Angeles1984 but their last Olympic medal was in Barcelona 1992 when they picked up bronze. Pakistan have not stepped on the podium for quite some time and they are trying to rectify it this year.
Britain’s Ashley Jackson, who scored twice to spare Britain’s blushes in a 2-2 draw with unfancied South Africa, said the tie againstPakistan was a must-win game ahead of their Sunday night’s massive encounter with favourites Australia. “We must beat Pakistan.Australia are the team that are going to steamroller quite a lot of the rest of the teams, and we have got to go toe-to-toe with them,” he maintained.
Today’s matches :
1:Australia vs Argentina (12:30 pm PST)
2:Netherlands vs New Zealand (02:45 pm PST)
3:Germany vs India (05:45 pm PST)
4:Pakistan vs Britain
(08:00 pm PST)
5:South Africa vs Spain (11:00 pm PST)
6:Belgium vs South Korea (01:15 am PST)
The Daily Times
Pakistan look to tame GB
KARACHI: Great Britain may be ranked better and enjoying home advantage but the Pakistan players are motivated and have enough ability to beat the hosts termed favourites for the crucial clash today, according to team coach Khwaja Junaid.
Both Group A sides will take on each other at the Riverbank Arena in London in their Pool A match. While Britain defeated Argentina 4-1 before being held 2-2 by South Africa, Pakistan, ranked eighth in the world, played out a 1-1 draw with Spain before registering a 2-0 win over Argentina. A win will strengthen the team's chance to qualify for the semi-finals and Pakistan are aware of the opportunity.
“Pakistan will go all out for the win,” Junaid told Our Sources from London on the eve of important clash. “We want to capitalise on the good start and now we are eyeing the semi-finals.”
'Motivation level unprecedented'
The coach said his team was not under pressure of playing against the hosts.
“We are aware that Great Britain are better than us on paper. They will enjoy home advantage and know the conditions well. But what I feel is that it will be an even contest as our players are motivated enough to counter them. I have never seen this level of motivation among our players in recent times. They are playing good hockey and are focused on the job which is giving me confidence ahead of crucial matches.”
The Olympian, however, said the team will have to avoid costly blunders.
“There'll be errors and what should be avoided are blunders which may cost us dearly. The team that converts opportunities will win.”
Teamwork behind positive start: captain
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Sohail Abbas credited a disciplined effort for an impressive start.
“Teamwork is the key for us,” said the captain. “We are playing as a unit which is the reason behind our good start. We are looking to carry on the momentum in the remaining matches. The nation's prayers are behind us and hopefully we will not let them down. The team is working very hard and giving its best.
“The match against the hosts will be tough but we are optimistic of our chances.”
“Teamwork is the key for us. We are playing as a unit which is the reason behind our good start. The nation's prayers are behind us and hopefully we will not let them down. The team is working very hard.”
Pakistan in early do-or-die clash against Great Britain
By Raheel Hanif
LAHORE - With a draw against Spain hockey and now a victory against Argentina, Pakistan are now left with a single real hurdle when they faces host Great Britain today (Friday) to qualify for the knock-out stage.
The current form of the team has made the hockey fans hopeful and interest has started developing among fans to see the positive outcome of the event. Pakistan are in a do-or-die clash against Great Britain, who thrashed Argentina 4-1 in the opener but were held by low-ranked South African side 2-2. With Australia blazing their all guns right on the target, it is really a must win situation for both Pakistan and Great Britain to have a realistic chance for getting a shot at the podium.
Pakistan’s remaining features after Friday’s clash include next match against South Africa on August 5 and they will conclude their group phase run against Australia. The recent form of the team suggests that they are quite able to beat South Africa and their chances will be very high to reach semis if they beat Great Britain today. They should not take into account the opportunity of the match against Australia and do what they could in the next two matches against Great Britain and South Africa.
Australia were leading the world of hockey for nearly eight years and nowadays they are proving to be invincible. So Pakistan have to go all out to win their matches against Great Britain and South Africa to qualify for the semi-finals as they need two victories to straight away qualify for the semi-finals stage. Pakistan’s star strike Rehan butt also echoed the same thinking as he termed Pakistan-GB match a d o or die clash for both teams. "We just needed three points. It doesn't matter if it's with a two goal difference or one goal. We are now together with Great Britain who we play next. I think for Pakistan and for Great Britain, we have the same feelings because there's a do-or-die match for the second place," he said.
On playing defensively, particularly in the first half: "We are just focusing on our defence so that we do not concede early goals. Forcing the attack, it's not good for our team. We are just playing a normal game. We try to win short corners and maybe one or two tries. We are not focusing on every time attack, attack, attack we are just focusing on the plan." Overall, the green shirts played well and their performance against Argentine was better than the first match against Spain, but a misfiring forward line is still a matter of concern. Pakistan defenders played superbly for keeping the Argentinian attackers at bay and often saving the team in the last moments.
But the lack of a field goal is what that should bother the team management as all the modern teams now focussing more on saving the penalty corners rather than getting a goal from it. So that is a main reason that with proper homework, many teams are able now to stop the specialists’ hits into the goal and goals on corners may be soon become a rarity again as it were before. Pakistan played quite an attacking hockey and the strategy of mid field filled with more players work by giving backup support to the forward strikers. Pakistan must create more moves and play as a team to conquer top teams in the tournament.
Former Olympians scent a medal
By Mohsin Ali
ISLAMABAD - Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh termed Pakistan victory against Argentina as one of the bests in nearly two-years saying the boys put up a great show and played like one unit.
Talking to The Nation on Thursday, Shahnaz said the green shirts body language was very positive as they were looking hungry and wanted to prove a point which they managed and provide their team a well-deserving victory. “Sohail Abbas must not take the starting short corner instead Imran must be tried or direct effort should be made on opponent goal. Sohail had struck a wonderful goal against Argentina by changing his angle to 160 degree and he must keep on repeating the same against England,” he said.
He said if Pakistan managed to beat England, they would be almost 70 percent guaranteed a place in the semi-final. “The three-three formation is good tactic. Forwards must also engage midfield players while launching attack on the opponents’ goal which will help the team a lot in scoring more goals,”he concluded.
When this scribe contacted Olympian Samiullah, he said: “It was a delightful scene to watch our players giving such a wonderful performance after a very long time. It is very encouraging that our team had played two matches and earned four points without losing a match which showed the boys were coordinating well.”
He said that it was very a good sign that finally Sohail Abbas managed to score a goal on short corner. He must try to score at least one goal on plenty corners while forwards must coordinate better with deep defence and midfield players against tough opponents. Sami wished best of luck to green shirts in the reminder of matches. When this scribe contacted Pakistan hockey great former captain Shehbaz Ahmed Senior, who is currently in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, he termed the victory against Argentina a significant one and hoped that such great performances would surely take Pakistan to the victory stand.
"I still remember the days when our boys use to play with dedication and true heart and after a long time I just feel the boys were gel up and wanted to do something", he said.
"The forwards, the defenders and the goal keeper, everyone was up to the mark against Argentina," he said. "If we really want to reach the podium then our boys should continue their good play as after this match teams like Great Britain, Australia and others would not underestimate the green shirts," he added.
Players are simply forgetting the game-plan: Nobbs
LONDON: Indian hockey team coach Michael Nobbs is nonplussed as to why the senior players are not adhering to the game plan as he struggles to prepare the side for Friday's tough match against reigning Olympic champions Germany.
After suffering two successive defeats, Nobbs had a one to one session separately with his players and asked why the game plan was consigned to the dustbin by some players.
Nobbs said the attitude of some players is disrupting India's game, and he cannot figure out why these players are not able to follow the strategy that has repeatedly been explained to them and often practiced in the field.
"When you play top teams you have to adapt and see which pattern works, but here we have a situation where some players are just going on to the pitch and doing their own thing," said Nobbs.
"The game plan gets chucked into the bin. The boys have for months been practicing the way we need to play and adapt to situations, but coming here they are trying to change everything on the floor," said Nobbs.
After two dismal performances that saw India lose 2-3 to Netherlands and 1-3 to New Zealand, clear instructions have gone to the players to 'please follow the game plan' to help the team's cause.
"The boys say that have understood what is required of them. In practice, they execute everything properly. But going into the game they seem to put all that out of their mind," he said.
Nobbs said in both the matches, the Indian team came into the contest only in the second session, but the failure to capitalise on the openings they created yesterday against New Zealand has left them with zero point from two matches.
Nobbs has told the players that a similar show against Germany could be disastrous.
"We're going into a game against the second highest-ranked team in the world, and we do not want to get exposed. The players need to stay focused on the plan for the game," he said.
"I have watched the New Zealand game five times. We got into the circle 43 times and we could not force any penalty corners between the second and 57th minutes. Not that says a lot about the way we played," said the coach, who seemed upset with some of the strikers who yesterday seemed 'a complete waste of space'.
"These boys are playing international hockey and fully understand that when we are not getting anything from crossing the ball, then look for penalty corners," said Nobbs.
India are back in the Olympic arena after eight years, having failed to qualify for the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Nobbs said India were still way behind the top quality teams.
"The occasion should get the team going, but they got overawed when we went into the match against Netherlands. We're making no bones. We are not good enough yet to get a medal, but at least we can play well and to our strengths," Nobbs said.
"We've got the basics and we're getting into the circle, but the finishing is poor and we continue to conceding soft goals."
India and Belgium are the only teams not to have earned a point after two outings in Pool B of the men's hockey competition.
Netherlands and Germany lead the table with six points each from two successive wins, while South Korea and New Zealand are both on three points after one victory and a loss.
The Times of India
A test of character for India
London: India find themselves in an all-too-familiar situation wherein they not only need to win all their matches, but also pray for favourable results in other games as they take on defending champions Germany in a Group B fixture of the Olympic men's hockey competition here Friday.
With two defeats, India are precariously placed in the context of qualifying for the medal rounds and another loss or a draw in the remaining three league matches will certainly take them out of contention.
In contrast, unbeaten Germany, who have not lost to India in the Olympics since 1968 Games in Mexico, are on six points, though both their victories were far from convincing as they struggled to get past Belgium (2-1) and Korea (1-0).
The Germans are known to step up their pace and level of play as the tournament progresses and this is what the Indians need to be wary of, for they will be punished for any slip-ups. India's performance, thus far, has been anything but inspirational.
Though they lost narrowly to the Netherlands (1-2), who are in the midst of a rebuilding process, in their opening game, India had no answer to the organised New Zealand who won 3-1.
All the hype and hoopla in the wake of India's qualification to the Olympics after an eight-year break in New Delhi, where they had no worthwhile opposition, projected a highly exaggerated picture of the team while triggering unrealistic expectations.
The two defeats so far have only served to put India's medal prospects in perspective. On the morrow, India's chances hinge on the ability of the players to bounce back from two defeats.
Theoretically, India can still make it to the medal rounds, but in reality, they face uphill task. The first step would be to beat Germany, something they have not since Mexico Olympics where India fell out of the top two slots for the first time. Indians scalped the Germans twice, 2-1 in the league and by the same score-line in the bronze medal play-off.
Thus, history is very much against India who will have to raise their game like never before if they hope to put it across an experienced Germany. India's problems in the two games so far have been plentiful, not the least the inability of the forwards to convert scoring opportunities into goals.
Their over-dependence on penalty corner experts Sandeep Singh and Ramachandra Raghunath has also been their undoing in terms of exploring other goal-scoring avenues.
Further, India's organisation in deep defence and midfield has left a lot to be desired considering that they have let in six goals and is in sharp contrast to Germany, who symbolise efficiency if not flair.
Boasting of quality and experience in their line-up, Germany still seem to have a lot in reserve and if the Indians provide space like they did to the Kiwis Wednesday, it will be another open invitation to disaster.
While for Germany it is a matter of keeping the hands steady on the wheels, for India, it is a question of showing character to get out of quicksand that they find themselves in.
By Kate West
Photo: Grant Treeby
Aussie pride was in full force at the picturesque Riverbank Arena in Olympic Park this morning during the Australian Women’s Hockey Team defeat of the USA 1-0.
With victory vital to keeping either countries medal hopes alive, the patches of green and gold that littered the stands like spot fires ensured the Aussies felt at home.
The carnival atmosphere that is a feature of the Olympics guaranteed a fun mood despite the morning fixture.
With a particularly boisterous section of the green and gold army geeing up the crowd it became apparent that of all the chants Australia has in it’s repertoire it is “Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi” that gets the most reaction.
Perhaps it’s because it’s the Olympics or maybe this chant that has the ability to divide a nation is in fact our guilty pleasure.
The Australian British rivalry has never been stronger and the locals in the crowd seemed a little lost on which team to support until one audacious Aussie decided to take action when he stood to face the crowd behind.
“We carry your flag on our flag so how about you join us in our song?” He bellowed.
As if only needing a gentle push that it’s ok to support Australia, the predominantly British crowd joined in song and stamped their feet.
After getting the desired result the grateful Aussie ringleader showed his appreciation.
“There’s a reason why they call it Great Britain” he said.
The beauty of the Olympics is that it introduces spectators to sports they wouldn’t usually attend. Credit to LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) that they had a ground announcer explaining the rules where necessary.
Whilst there was only one goal scored there is no doubt that Australia and the USA did not disappoint any newcomers.
While in London Freelance Journalist Kate West is sharing her journey with Hockey Australia....today she watched the Hockeyroos down the USA and she says it was awesome to be in the crowd....
Hockey Australia media release
Q & A with Yan Huckendubler in London
Learn what it’s like to be an FIH Media Officer
Canadian FIH Media Officer Yan Huckendubler in London
Canadian Yan Huckendubler is currently in London at the 2012 Olympic Games as a Media Officer for the International Hockey Federation (FIH). We were able to connect with Yan to learn more about his Olympic experience!
FHC: What is your role at the 2012 Olympic Games in London?
Yan: I am updating the FIH web site (www.fih.ch/en/London2012) with all the info on the men’s and women’s competitions (scores, reports, game sheets, pictures, etc…). We are also tweeting during the matches (@FIH_Hockey). We have a team of three (from Ireland, the USA and myself from Canada), three photographers (from Australia, France and the Netherlands), and of course Hari Kant (also from Canada) for technical support on the website he designed. We have established a shift system, and we are now in charge of three matches a day, support for the other three, with the odd half day off here and there.
FHC: What are you enjoying most about the Games?
Yan: It is always a treat to watch top level hockey in a packed venue. The atmosphere when the British teams are playing is incredible, but the Dutch and Aussie fans are also very good at creating a warm supportive atmosphere behind their team! The difference with a regular world level hockey tournament is the huge razzmatazz created by the Olympic Games. When you leave the hockey venue, there are thousands of people hanging around the Olympic Park (where many sports are happening, including athletics, swimming, basketball, handball and track cycling), before, after or in-between events, watching events on the giant screens, picnicking, etc… A lot of families enjoying an “Olympic day” together.
FHC: Any message to Canadian field hockey fans back home?
Yan: Playing in the Olympic Games is the pinnacle for an athlete. But watching the Games on-site or volunteering are also very special experiences. I hope our teams qualify for the next Olympic Games and many Canadian fans make the trip to Rio to support them!
Field Hockey Canada media release
United colours of hockey
Rohit Mahajan in London
London: The first sight of the Riverbank Arena, the venue of the hockey events, can make you reel back and take involuntary evasive action to protect your eyes. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the hockey turf is not green. It's rather bright and dazzling, and it makes no apologies about this.
The turf is cobalt blue, but it's the bright pink apron that borders it that jumps to the eye. The ball is yellow, and the colour scheme of the turf has been chosen to optimise its visibility for the spectators and the TV audience. The International Hockey Federation had requested the Olympics organisers to take steps to raise the sport's visibility and popularity, and to make it more telegenic.
The end product is quite eye-catching, and the spectator seating has been made suitably colourful: Stripes of yellow stairs cutting through blue and black seats in an abstract pattern.
It all looks good, but the players and coaches aren't delighted with it. The blue turf has behaved differently in different locations. "Each turf has different character depending on the climatic conditions," Indian coach Michael Nobbs says.
The players say that the turf is slow, the ball can jump up inconsistently and it's difficult to trap it when it's running against the grain.
James treble ends Parkites’ hopes
Marcus James scored a hat-trick as Defence Force stayed alive in the hunt for the T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship Division title with a 5-3 whipping of Queen’sPark at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Monday night. James, a national team midfielder, got his goals in the ninth, 40th and 60th minutes after national forward Mickell Pierre opened the scoring in the 18th minute while Gerrard Ferguson added the fifth item in the 66th. For the Parkites, which needed a win to keep alive its slim title hopes, Guyana’s Jerry Bell netted two goals in the 27th and 45th minute, and Evan Farrell, the other in the 62nd minute.
With the win Defence Force carried its points tally to 24 from 11 matches and three left to play, while the Parkites remained on 24 points, with only one match left. At the top of the eight-team table is Paragon with 30 points from 13 matches, three more than defending champion Petrotrin which has two matches in hand. On Saturday, Paragon used goals from Akim Toussaint (29th), Kiel Murray (33rd) and Christopher Scipio (49th) to secure a come-from-behind 3-2 triumph over Queen’s Park, which got it goals from Sean Lee Quay, in the fifth minute and Bell, in the 34th.
Defence Force 5 (Marcus James 9th, 40th, 60th, Mickell Pierre 18th, Gerrard Ferguson 66th) vs QPCC 3 (Jerry Bell 27th, 45th, Evan Farrell 62nd).
Paragon 3 (Akim Toussaint 29th, Kiel Murray 33rd, Christopher Scipio 49th) vs QPCC 2 (Sean Lee Quay 5th, Jerry Bell 34th).
Teams P W D L F A Pts
Paragon 13 10 0 3 57 23 30
Petrotrin 11 9 0 2 58 21 27
QPCC 13 8 0 5 59 35 24
D/Force 11 8 0 3 33 22 24
Notre Dame 11 5 1 5 21 25 16
Fatima 11 2 1 8 33 58 7
Paradise 12 1 3 8 19 69 6
Malvern 12 1 1 10 16 46 4
Notre Dame 11 9 1 1 48 10 28
Malvern 12 7 2 3 37 23 23
Paragon 11 7 1 3 34 14 22
Checkers 10 6 1 3 16 7 19
Magnolias 9 4 3 2 23 13 15
Ventures 11 3 1 7 19 30 10
D/Force 8 1 0 7 4 36 3
Paradise 12 0 1 11 4 46 1
The Trinidad Guardian
Women's Training Panel Announced.
Interim National Coach, Denis Pritchard has announced the training panel for the senior women up to beginning of October.
Commenting on his selection of 28 athletes Pritchard said "Following the success of the U21 program during the summer, I am including six of the European winning squad, along with some of the Ireland ‘A' players who competed against England and showed well in the final stages of the domestic season. We have a limited preparation duration, which now includes 8 warm up matches, giving all a chance to win a place on the Electric Ireland Champions Challenge I squad. It is encouraging to see young talent coming through to mix it with the senior group, competition for places will add to the intensity of our training. There will also be development opportunities for some individuals outside of this group"
National Women's Training Panel
Emma Gray Hermes
Pamela Smithwick Old Alex
Grace O'Flanagan Railway Union
Sammy-Jo Greer Ballymoney
Sinead McCarthy Hermes
Steph Quin Pegasus
Sarah Greene U.C.D.
Audrey O'Flynn Hermes
Cliodhna Sargant Cork Harlequins
Michelle Harvey Pegasus
Niamh Acheler U.C.D.
Brenda Flannery U.C.D.
Nicola Gray U.C.D
Nikki Symmons Loreto
Leah Ewart U.C.D.
Chloe Watkins U.C.D.
Ali Meeke Loreto
Emma Smyth Railway Union
Alex Speers Railway Union
Aine Connery Hermes
Miriam Crowley Hermes
Anna O'Flanagan U.C.D.
Nikki Evans Railway Union
Naomi Carroll Catholic Institute
Niamh Small Loreto
Lisa Jacob Hermes
Zara Delany Railway Union
Katie Mullan (t.b.c.)
The Electric Ireland Champions Challenge I tournament will take place in UCD from September 29th through to October 7th (more information click here)
Not Available for selection
Shirley McCay Travelling
Lizzie Colvin Travelling
Deirdre Duke College in U.S.A
Gillian Pinder College in U.S.A
Kerri McDonald College in U.SA.
Emma Clarke Work Commitments
Nicci Daly College in England
Irish Hockey Association media release
Canterbury appoint first Community Hockey Manager
Canterbury Hockey has appointed Jon O’Haire as the Canterbury Community Hockey Manager for the Canterbury Region. Jon will be responsible for leading the development of hockey throughout the five associations making up the Canterbury region: Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, Malvern and West Coast.
Jon has a background in hockey from both New Zealand and overseas.
Jon comes to Canterbury Hockey from the United States. Originally from New York, Jon and his wife, Beth, moved to New Zealand in February 2012. A former goalkeeper for the US (1983-1995), he has been active as a coach and administrator with a wide array of hockey programs over the last twenty years in the US.
Jon’s last position was as the Associate Head Coach at the Ohio State University. In addition to his job at Ohio State, he has also served as the Regional Coaching Director for US Field Hockey Futures (Junior Development) Program as well as working with keepers in a number of the National programs. A lover of all things hockey, he is extremely excited to be joining a vibrant hockey community in Canterbury.
Outside of hockey, Jon is a keen fan of all sport though still learning the nuances of rugby and cricket. He and his wife are enjoying exploring Canterbury and the South Island as they get settled.
Hockey New Zealand national participation and development manager Ian Francis states that he is excited about the appointment of Jon to the Community Hockey team, “Jon brings a wealth of experience both in hockey and from overseas. His is the first of eight new appointments that will be implemented over the next year or so, and we welcome Jon into the national hockey community team.”
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Norhizzat and Izzat to join Tenaga National
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional have roped in two Junior Asia Cup players – midfielders Norhizzat Sumantri and Mohd Izzat Hakimi Jamaluddin – for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which begins on Sept 1.
Norhizzat made his debut in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in May while Izzat is the younger brother of national goalkeeper Roslan.
Norhizzat and Izzat were in the team that won the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca in May.
The 21-year-old Norhizzat from Klang played for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) for three years since 2009.
“Izzat and I were offered jobs by Tenaga as technicians early this year and it was an offer we couldn’t refuse. I need a job to make a living as I cannot be playing hockey for the rest of my life,” said Norhizzat.
“I am happy working with Tenaga as I get time off to play hockey in the MHL as well as with the national team.
“Tenaga also have a good team and I hope to give my best to help them win the league title.”
This year’s MHL will be only for five weeks and will end on Oct 10.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have scrapped the overall title competition for this year because of the Razak Cup tournament, which will be held in Kuantan from Oct 14-21.
Six teams will feature in the Premier Division of the MHL. Besides Tenaga Nasional and UniKL, the other teams are Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), Sapura, Maybank and Nur Insafi.
Last year, Tenaga finished third in the seven-team league behind champions KLHC and Sapura. In the final for the overall title, Tenaga lost 3-2 to KLHC.
Norhizzat picked double champions KLHC, powered by a number of national players, as the team to beat in the league.
The Star of Malaysia
Now, broadcasters vie for the hockey pie
India losing to the Netherlands in hockey at the Olympics may have disappointed fans, but not the broadcasters. A new battle seems to be emerging to grab broadcasting rights of the game back home, with ESPN Star Sports signing on for rights for the soon-to-be-launched Hockey India League.
This follows on the heels of the joint initiative between the Indian Hockey Federation and Nimbus Sport, who have teamed up for World Series Hockey.
Ten Sports, too, has entered into a long-term partnership with the International Hockey Federation to acquire broadcasting rights for the major FIH Championships (Champions Challenge and Champions Trophy) till 2014. As part of the deal, Ten Sports will broadcast over 50 India-playing matches for the next four years, from major men’s hockey tournaments from around the world.
Incidentally, in Olympics history, hockey alone has provided 11 medals (eight Gold, one Silver and two Bronze). India bagged its last gold medal in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, but has not won any major title in the last 32 years.
With sports broadcasters vying with each other to grab rights, hockey might just get the much-needed boost. Though all the three sport channels (Ten Sports, Nimbus and ESPN) aim to drive the popularity of India’s national sport in a country where cricket is almost a religion, World Series Hockey and Nimbus appear to have the first-mover advantage.
Nimbus has been promoting cricket in the country for several years. Over two years ago, it decided to focus on other games like hockey and golf. So did ESPN.
With the new deal, ESPN has renewed its association with hockey. In 2005, the sports channel was associated with Premier League Hockey, which died a premature death without the right business model. This time round, Hockey India League (HIL) is set to kick-off its first edition in January 2013.
For ESPN, it “makes the bouquet more complete. There is traction for hockey”, said a spokesperson. The channel now has cricket, motor sports, golf, soccer and hockey.
The deal envisages that ESPN Star Sports will cover all international hockey test matches under HIL to be played in India for the next five years.
Narinder Batra, Secretary General of Hockey India and Chairman of HIL, said, “We have a clear vision, to revive the glory days of hockey in India and drive the game’s popularity across the country.”
Though a certain amount of rivalry exists between the sports channels, with observers noting that the existence of two hockey leagues may result in fragmentation, some have termed the rivalry as “healthy, since it will grow the sport”.
The Hindu Businessonline
Is hockey National Game of India? Is Gandhi Father of the Nation?
A freak inquiry by a student with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, has opened the India’s worst kept secret, and with that opened a wound that had been bleeding hockey and paining the Indian society.
Is hockey our national game? If so, what is the proof? This was the question. Government has said that there is no proof.
What could be the proof to state the obvious.
Mahatma Gandhi, the face and spirit of India’s freedom movement, is’ Father of the Nation’. If tomorrow a student files query under Right to Information with the Home Ministry and ask for proof, the ministry would have said exactly what the Sports ministry said.
There is no proof, legality as to Gandhi is our father of nation.
What the Ministry has said is what is known to us. India has National Animal, National Bird and many more on the lines. These are mentioned in the Constitution of India which it adopted in 1952. Hockey is not certainly in the book of constitution.
This has been a flaw. When Dhanukodi Adithan, then sports minister, came to Constitution Club to release my book ‘Great Indian Olympians’ (co-author Gulu Ezekiel), I gave him an appeal letter as to make efforts to declare officially hockey our national game. It was in 2000.
Two years later, Umar Bharti, who succeeded Adithan, came to the same club to release my first international hockey year book, ‘Castrol Hockey Year book 2002’.
The then IHF President KPS Gill, Women Hockey player Sita Gossein and World cup hero Ajit Pal Singh were present on the occasion. During my speech I mentioned the lacunae that hockey is not legally a national game and as such it should be declared following all codal formalities. I also submitted a detailed 3-page memorandum, seeking legal sanction.
She, in her reply speech, she took my Memorandum seriously, and wondered why it is not done so far. She even queried whether brought this to the notice of any other ministers in the past.
Quoting her effort to rename National stadium into Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, she said: “I will take up this issue with Arjun Jaitley Ji. I don’t know how many years I will be minister, but I assure you which ever ministry I will be, I will pursue this issue".
She also instructed her Personal Secretary to speed up the process to do so.
Nothing happened thereafter. The point I wish to drive home is, this was one aspect which was never pursued by the Federation, Society or Government to legally declare Hockey Is our National sport.
Malfeance at its best.
So, now at a time that Indian hockey is at a bad shape with two consecutive defeats, the debate on hockey its legal status could not have come in a wrong time. Raking up the issue now even send a wrong message, as if to relate it to hockey’s dwindling popularity.
We, Indians have a habit of messing up issues. Now various claimants will come up for getting the ‘vacant’ spot of National Game.
Not long ago, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi wanted to change the national game from hockey to cricket, and a public demonstration at Amritsar was held to protest such views.
A country that goes any extent to please cricketers – Rajya Sabha seat to active player Sachin Tendulkar for instance – anything can happen.
But what should not be lost sight of is why and how hockey came to be indentified as our national game and the historicity that goes behind it.
Its popular choice of a nation. It’s a well-entrenched emotion of a country. It has been evolved over time and phase, not an instant feeling or a sweeping step.
Gandhi is father of the Nation. Constitution or any legal body need not say so, endorse so.
Hockey is India's national game, notwithstanding what's its legal standing in any book.