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News for 05 March 2015

All the news for Thursday 5 March 2015

Ireland & Russia top the Pools ahead of quarter-finals

Russians surprise as Pool phase ends in California

(Photo: Paul Winstanley)

Ireland and Russia have marked themselves as the teams to beat at the men’s Hockey World League Round 2 event in San Diego, with both nations making it three wins from three to top the Pool tables ahead of Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Ireland (FIH World Ranking: 15) came into this event as one of the tournament favourites and have so far more than justified that tag with a trio of high quality performances. A Mitch Darling hat-trick helped the Green Machine record an 8-0 win over Chile (WR: 25) on the opening day before victories over European rivals Austria (WR: 22 – 3-1) and Italy (WR: 32 – 2-0) ensured that they topped Pool A with a 100 percent win record.

Feared goal-scorer Michael Körper helped Austria claim second place in Pool A by netting crucial goals in victories over Italy and Chile. Körper, Alexander Bele and Dominic Uher were all on target in both the 3-1 win over the Italians and the 5-1 triumph against Chile, with penalty corner ace Körper grabbing a double against the South Americans.

In Pool B, the performances of Russia (WR: 19) have really caught the eye. The team qualified for the event in San Diego by winning the HWL R1 tournament in Sveti Ivan Zelina (Croatia) and started Pool B as the second ranked team behind highly-rated Canada (WR: 14). However, impressive wins over Trinidad & Tobago (WR: 30 - 8-0), Canada (2-1) and USA (WR: 27 - 4-2) confirmed a first place finish in the Pool for a team that is clearly riding high on a wave of confidence. The triumph over higher-ranked Canada was certainly their most significant result, with the Russians fighting back from a goal down to emerge victorious thanks to second half strikes from Nikolay Komarov and Alexander Palyanitsa.

Wins over USA (5-2) and Trinidad & Tobago (3-0) gave Canada a second place finish in the Pool, with USA taking third place ahead of the Caribbean islanders.  USA star Pat Harris currently leads the scoring chart with four goals to his name, having marked his 100th international appearance with a goal against Canada on the opening day before netting a hat-trick in a 7-1 victory over Trinidad & Tobago.

In the quarter-final phase, the two Pool winners will face the sides that finished bottom of the other Pool, with Ireland going head-to-head with Trinidad & Tobago while Russia face Chile. Canada versus Italy and Austria versus host nation USA completes Thursday’s QF line-up.

The three highest finishers in the eight-team men’s tournament, which started on Saturday 28th February and concludes on Sunday 8th Mach, will each be guaranteed a place in the semi-final of the competition, where coveted berths at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are up for grabs. 

A total of nine qualification places for the HWL Semi-Finals are available in Round 2, with the top three finishers at each of the tournaments in Singapore (SIN), San Diego (USA) and Cape Town (RSA) all being certain to compete in the next phase. Malaysia, Poland and Japan all qualified for the HWL Semi-Finals thanks to top three finishes at the event in Singapore (SIN) earlier this year. To learn about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, click here.

You can keep track of all of the action from San Diego on the official tournament microsite.

FIH site

Canada confident heading into men’s World League 2 quarterfinal

Quarterfinal versus Italy scheduled for 10:45am Thursday

Shaheed Devji,

After finishing second in their group, the Canadian Men’s National Field Hockey team is set to take on Italy in a World League Round 2 quarterfinal match Thursday in Chula Vista, California.

Canada managed two wins and one loss through pool play and narrowly missed out on running the table and first place in its group after falling 2-1 to Russia in a game which the Canadians led 1-0 for the majority of the match.

Despite the disappointment of dropping a game they feel should have resulted in a victory, Canada is confident heading into Thursday’s playoff round.

“We’re playing well,” says Canadian head coach Anthony Farry. “Our process is going well. We’re able to execute and we are able to create a lot of chances and from that perspective that gives us a lot of confidence."

The confidence for Canada – the tournament’s top ranked team – also comes for the knowledge that they have put on a clinical display of ball control and offensive creativity.

And while the scores haven’t quite reflected their dominance on the field, Farry believes his team is in a good spot as the tournament stakes now ramp up.

“We’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at,” Farry adds. “We’ve had a good look at Italy and we’ve had a good look at ourselves.”

“Despite the fact that we’re not putting fifteen goals in with the amount of opportunities we’ve had, I’m pleased with how the forwards are going.”

Goals have come from a variety of sources and positions for Canada throughout the first few games.

Forward Matthew Sarmento leads the team in goals with three, while defender and team captain Scott Tupper has tallied twice, and veteran midfielders Mark Pearson (1) and Iain Smythe (2) have scored as well. Brendan Bissett (1) also managed to get his name of the score sheet.

Most importantly for Canada, ranked fourteenth in the world, the team is playing well headed into the most important match of the tournament against Italy (world no. 32).

“I think we just continue to build on what we’ve been doing,” says Farry. “Tomorrow is going to be no different for us. We’ll step up, we’ll put Italy under a lot of pressure, we’ll make sure that we’re moving the ball quickly and trying to get them to move around a lot.”

If they do and come out with the victory, Canada will face the winner of the quarterfinal match between Ireland and Trinidad and Tobago. Ireland is the second ranked team in the tournament and at fifteen is one spot behind Canada in the FIH World Rankings.

Canada and Italy play Thursday at 10:45am in Chula, Vista California.

The top three teams at the end of the tournament advance to World League Round 3 in June, where teams will battle for six qualification spots to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Field Hockey Canada media release

WL2 Ireland 2 vs 0 Italy

World League round two (San Diego, USA)

Ireland topped their World League round two group with a third straight win in San Diego, seeing off Italy 2-0 despite being slightly wasteful with their many chances.

Eugene Magee’s early goal and a Shane O’Donoghue strike in the closing ten minutes saw Craig Fulton’s side home as they dominated the possession and territory stakes against the tournament’s lowest-ranked side.

They did get off to a dream start when Magee, in the fifth minute, deflecting in a cross from captain for the day Mitch Darling.

From there, Ireland overwhelmed Italy for the most part but could not add more goals to go with their superiority with the final ball sometimes too forced to create clear cut chances.

Italian goalkeeper Francesco Padovani, meanwhile, kept out what openings did come while O’Donoghue trimmed the top of the bar from one of four first half penalty corners.

Magee had another goal ruled out early in the second half and, without the comfort of a larger lead, Italy’s fleeting attacks threatened to wipe out the advantage.

O’Donoghue, though, eased any latent nerves with ten minutes to go when he put together a strong run and a smart low reverse-stick finish for 2-0.

Peter Caruth and Alan Sothern both flashed shots just across the face of goal while Padovani made one last save from Mikey Watt.

The victory sets up a quarter-final date with Trinidad and Tobago, the second lowest ranked side in the tournament at number 30, early on Thursday at 8.30am locally (4.30pm Irish time).

That is Ireland’s first must-win game of the competition. Defeat will end their bid for an Olympic ticket while a victory against the Caribbean side means Ireland will get two shots at finishing in the top three in this competition and advancing to World League round three where the tickets to Rio 2016 will be doled out.

Speaking about the win, Mitch Darling said afterwards that Ireland were content to get over a tricky hurdle.

“We are happy enough. Italy made things very difficult to be fair to them but we are happy to top the pool and the tournament really starts in earnest on Thursday.

“The Italians played really well and any team in this tournament can take a win off you so we expected a tough game and it was exactly that."

Ireland 2 (E Magee, S O’Donoghue) Italy 0

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, M Watt, C Cargo, S Dowds, E Magee, M Darling, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S O’Donoghue
Subs: J Bell, A Sothern, P Caruth, B McCandless, D Carlisle, K Shimmins

Italy: F Padovani, L Dussi, D Malta, A Nunez, A Vargiu, M Zalatel, T Kennan, G de Vivo, Julian Montone, Juan Montone, N Chiesa
Subs: G Ferrini, L Ferrini, M Rossi, D Cioli, L da Gai, A Corsi

Irish Hockey Association media release

Calypso Stickmen tackle Irish in quarters

Nigel Simon

Nicholas Triston Grant, left, of T&T goes past the tackle of USA’s Aki Kaeppeler during their FIH World Hockey League Men’s Round Two qualifiers Pool B match at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Centre, San Diego, California, on Sunday. USA won 7-1.

T&T men’s hockey team will be out to pull off a major upset when they come up against Ireland in the first quarterfinal of the FIH World Hockey League Men’s Round Two qualifiers at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Centre, San Diego, California, from 12.30 pm today.

The Solomon Eccles-captain 30th ranked “Calypso Stickmen” will enter the match as underdogs after ending their four-team Pool B round-robin play bottom of the table without a point.

This follows a 3-0 loss to 14th ranked Canada in their final Pool B match on Tuesday, on the heels of losses to Russia (1-6) on Saturday, and USA (1-7), a day later.

For Canada, Mark Pearson opened the scoring in the 18th minute while Iain Smythe (53rd) and Matthew Sarmento (55th) added late items.

However, in the loss to the Canadians, the Glen “Fido” Francis-coached T&T squad which was boosted by the arrival of England-based Kwandwane Browne, had a much better showing defensively than in its previous two matches, and will need more of the same against the Irish as it has only scored twice, through youngsters, Shaquille Daniel and Tariq Marcano.

Irleand, meanwhile, ranked 15th in the world came into the qualifiers as one of the favourites and have so far more than justified that tag with a trio of high quality performances. A Mitch Darling hat-trick helped the Ireland “Green Machine” record an 8-0 win over 25th ranked on the opening day before victories over European rivals, 22nd ranked Austria (3-1) and 32nd ranked Italy (2-0) to ensured that they topped Pool A with a 100 per cent win record and nine points .

Ireland has scored the most goals in the tournament to date, 13 led by Darling (three) and Shane O’Donoghue and Alan Sothern, with two each and six other players with a goal each, making it a very threatening line-up against a T&T team which has conceded the most goals to date, 16.

In the other quarterfinals, Canada which ended second in Pool B with six points faces Pool A third placed finisher Italy from 2.45pm followed by Pool A runner-up Austria against USA, third in Pool B from 5 pm, and Pool B winners, Russia versus fourth placed Pool A team, Chile, at 7.15 pm

Following today’s match, the winners will advance to Saturday’s main draw semifinal while the losers meet in fifth to eighth playoffs. The finals and other playoff matches are carded for Sunday at the end of which the top three teams will qualify to the Hockey World League semi-finals (Round Three), where coveted berths at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are up for grabs.

Malaysia, Poland and Japan all qualified for the HWL Semi-Finals thanks to top three finishes at the event in Singapore (SIN) earlier this year while the remaining qualifiers involving host South Africa, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France and Switzerland takes place in Cape Town from Saturday until March 15.

Tuesday’s results

Pool A:

Ireland 2 (Eugene Magee 5th, Shane O’Donoghue 52nd) vs Italy 0

Austria 5 (Michael Korper 14th, 38th, Alexander Bele 26th, Dominic Uher 29th, Robert Bele 30th) vs Chile 1 (Nicolas Renz 6th)

Pool B:

Canada 3 (Mark Pearson 18th, Iain Smythe 53rd, Matthew Sarmento 55th) vs T&T 0

Russia 4 (Denis Shchipachev 22nd, 24th, Anton Kornilov 8th, Pavel Golubev 27th) vs USA 2 (Christian Linney 37th, Alex Cunningham 42nd)

Final round robin standings

Pool A:

Teams P W D L F A Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 13 1 9
Austria 3 2 0 1 9 5 6
Italy 3 1 0 2 3 6 3
Chile 3 0 0 3 2 15 0

Pool B:

Russia 3 3 0 0 12 4 9
Canada 3 2 0 1 9 4 6
USA 3 1 0 2 11 10 3
T&T 3 0 0 3 2 16 0

Today’s quarterfinals:

Ireland vs T&T, 12.30pm
Canada vs Italy, 2.45pm
Austria vs USA, 5pm
Russia vs Chile, 7.15pm

The Trinidad Guardian

SA men’s hockey team selected for World League


Striker Keenan Horne of Western Province will play for SA in WLR2

The South African Hockey Association released the names of the 18 players selected to represent the South Africa men’s hockey team during the World League Round 2 (WLR2) tournament that takes place at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium in Cape Town from Saturday, March 7 to next Sunday, March 15.

Head coach Fabian Gregory said that choosing the 18 presented a tough task for the selection panel.

“We have just finished a very long training camp in Cape Town [from February 19] and indicated to the group from the outset that selection [for WLR2] would be based on form,” said Gregory Tuesday.

“Everyone put their hands up and performed, so choosing the final 18 was really difficult, but the selection panel is confident that we have the players and combinations to do well at this World League tournament.”

Several players selected for WLR2 were unable to attend camp due to playing commitments overseas.

Gregory said the players not chosen have every reason to believe that they can break back into the team in the future.

The coach said that a top three finish in Cape Town would qualify South Africa for one of the two World League Semi-Final tournaments due to take place later this year.

SA are in Pool A in Cape Town alongside Egypt, China and Switzerland, while Pool B comprises France, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Czech Republic.

The SA team to be captained by Austin Smith meet China this Saturday at 4.15pm followed by Egypt at the same time on Sunday. SA tackle Switzerland at 6.30pm next Tuesday before next Thursday’s quarter-finals, next Saturday’s elimination matches and next Sunday’s classification matches.

“The mood within the 18-player group and management staff is very positive and we are going all-out to win this event in front of our fans,” Gregory added.

Goalkeepers: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders)
Defenders: Daniel Bell, Rhett Halkett, Austin Smith (capt), Dylan Swanepoel (all Western Province), Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues), Robin Jones (Eastern Province)
Midfielders: Dan Sibbald, Tim Drummond (both KZN Coastal Raiders), Clint Panther, Jethro Eustice (both Southern Gauteng)
Strikers: Natius Malgraff (Eastern Province), Keenan Horne, Shannon Boucher, Pierre de Voux (all Western Province), Taine Paton (KZN Coastal Raiders), Julian Hykes (Southern Gauteng)

SA Hockey Association media release

SA Women's team head coach named

Sheldon Rostron in the dugout during RSA v SCO Champions Challenge 1 2014 Quarter-final. Photo: FIH

The South African Hockey Association have released the name of the new head coach of the South Africa women's hockey team.

South African Sheldon Rostron, who has been with the team in coaching and management positions through major tournaments such as the Olympic Games, and the 2014 World Cup and Commonwealth Games, has been appointed as head coach.

"It is a great honour and a wonderful opportunity," said Rostron on Tuesday.

SA Hockey Association media release

Indian girls have improved a lot: Roelant Oltmans

Ritu Sejwal

NEW DELHI: "They need a bit of polishing," Roelant Oltmans, interim coach of the Indian men's and women's hockey teams, said after an extended, high-intensity training session at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Tuesday.

The Indian women will take on Ghana in the opening match of the Hockey World League Round 2 starting from March 7.

When asked about the level of the women's team as compared to the best in the world, Hockey India's high-performance director Oltmans said his experience of coaching the women's teams in the past has come in handy.

"I have coached women before in my life. I know there are a lot of physical differences. These girls are very eager to learn. They work hard and try to improve every moment we are on the ground. I see a lot of progress. They are getting better and better. Our aim is to qualify for the Olympic Games," Oltmans said.

The men's team qualified for the Rio Olympics after winning gold at the Incheon Asian Games. The women's team had finished fourth in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the only time they have played in the Olympic Games.

Talking about the upcoming tournament, Oltmans said: "For this tournament, our aim is to be in top-2 to make sure that the next step can be taken. I will step back then as the coach. Anthony Thornton will be here next week and start his work with the women," he added.

New Zealand's Thornton will replace Neil Hawgood as coach of the senior women's team. Hockey India has roped in men's physical trainer Matthew Eyles for better preparation of the host team.

"Mathew is working with the women's team since the men's team does not have any assignments now and I can see the results. We had a meeting today and in a month's time the girls will have their own physical trainer," he said.

Talking highly of the improvement made by the women's team, Oltmans said the girls are in a good form. "If you look at Asian Games, the girls performed quite well. And at the moment they are better than what they were at the Asian Games. We tested them two days back and compared to the last five tests this was by far the best we have done," he pointed.

"These girls are very competitive. They have improved throughout the year. They didn't start well in the Champions Trophy but finished the year on a high with Asian Games," he said.

The Times of India

Not ideal preparations for national women’s hockey team in Delhi

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Things have not been going well for the national women’s team since arriving in New Delhi on Tuesday for the World League Round Two.

Teenage forward Nur Aisyah Yaacob, who will be making her debut, has been ill since arriving in the Indian capital.

And the team could not train at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Wednesday because it was fully booked.

National coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli said in a telephone interview that he is concerned with the 18-year-old’s condition.

“She was having stomach ache before she boarded the plane to New Delhi. The doctor said she needs a few days’ rest before she can start training. I hope she will recover in time for the opening match against Kazakhstan on Saturday as she is our second penalty corner drag flicker,” added the former international.

Nasihin added that the players would only get a chance to train at the competition venue on Friday.

“We need to train in the afternoon as all our three group matches will be held during that time. The weather is a bit chilly and it is the perfect condition for our matches,” said Nasihin.

Eight teams will feature in the tournament and Malaysia, ranked 21st in the world, are the second seed to favourites and world No. 13 India.

Malaysia will play a friendly against Poland on Friday before opening their Group B campaign against the Kazakhs.

Malaysia’s other matches are against Russia on March 8 and Singapore on March 10.

India are drawn in Group A with Poland, Ghana and Thailand.

The top two teams will qualify for the World League Semi-finals in Belgium and Argentina in June.

The World League is the qualifying tournament for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The Star of Malaysia

Perlis team won’t fear Thunderbolt in Milo Cup

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: The odds may be heavily stacked against 1Mas Perlis but they remain optimistic ahead of their clash against favourites and defending champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt in the quarter-finals of the Milo Cup.

1MAS Perlis coach Wira Osman admitted they face an uphill battle despite having home ground advantage.

“We are not going to bow out without a fight. My boys must keep their heads up and show no fear against them,” said Wira.

The first-leg and return leg quarter-finals will be played in Kangar on Friday and Sunday respectively.

On paper it should be easy pickings for Thunderbolt who are gunning for a record fourth double title.

But their coach Wan Roslan Abdul Rahman is not taking their opponents lightly.

“At this stage we can’t take any team for granted. We may be the fancied team but anything can happen and I want my players to give more than 100% in both matches.

Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) will be looking to redeem themselves when they go up against SMKDBL PH Johor in the other quarter-final match.

MBPJ started off their campaign strong but failed to maintain the momentum and crumbled towards the end of the season to finish third in Division One.

“Consistency was our biggest problem in the league. The boys want to make amends and are now more focused on making the final of the Milo Cup,” said MBPJ coach Azlansaufi Ahmad Sufian.

The Star of Malaysia

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