All the news for Monday 23 March 2015
Connery shoots Ireland to HWL R2 Dublin title
Brave Canada defeated in shoot-out while Chile take Bronze medal at UDG Healthcare PLC Hockey World League Round 2 in Dublin
Ireland captain Megan Frazer receives the HWL Round 2 Dublin winners trophy from Michael D Higgins, the President of Ireland. (Photo: FIH / Adrian Boehm)
A nerveless shoot-out effort from Aine Connery saw home favourites Ireland (FIH World Ranking: 14) land the UDG Healthcare PLC Hockey World League Round 2 title, completing a perfect week with a victory over Canada (WR: 22).
It came at the end of a pulsating final that finished with the scores locked at 1-1, with Ireland’s Nikki Evans and Holly Stewart of Canada netting close range goals from penalty corners in the third quarter.
The sides were inseparable thereafter, leading to the shoot-out in which Connery was the heroine, scoring the vital goal in the final round to give the Green Army a 4-3 win. Ireland shot-stopper Ayeisha McFerran, still just 19 years old, played a huge role in the success, saving Canada’s fifth penalty with a superb display of agility.
Played out in front of a capacity crowd that included Irish President Michael D Higgins, it provided a fitting finale for a week in which Ireland also progressed their Olympic hopes.
Speaking afterwards, Ireland coach Darren Smith said it was a superb way to finish what had been a wonderful week for his team.
“A fantastic crowd, the President of Ireland, friends and family all here and a chance to win a tournament. The girls were really excited for the final and it was good spectacle. Canada did a good job but we got the result in the end. World League 2, from my perspective, was a great advertisement for hockey and a lot of fun.”
Although Ireland emerged victorious, Canada can look back on a their tournament performances with great pride. The side finished above higher-ranked Belarus (WR: 18) and Chile (WR: 20) in the final standings, and by reaching the final they join Ireland in qualifying for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals (Round 3).
The Bronze medal went the way of Chile, who defeated Belarus 3-2 to deny their European opponents the chance of competing in the Olympic qualifier phase of the Hockey World League. The Belarusians came into the game knowing that a win would be enough to see them qualify for Round 3 as the highest ranked third place finisher, something that Chile could not achieve due to their lower ranking than Azerbaijan (WR: 19), who finished third at the event in Montevideo earlier this year. However, the Chileans ensured that they ended their brilliant tournament on a high, with competition top scorer Daniela Caram getting what proved to be the decisive goal just after half time.
Earlier in the day, Austria beat Lithuania 2-1 to take fifth place with Ukraine recording the same score in their victory over Turkey to claim seventh.
In the women’s Hockey World League, a total of seven qualification places for the HWL Semi-Finals were available from the Round 2 events that took place in Montevideo (URU), New Delhi (IND) and Dublin (IRL). The reason for seven rather nine qualifiers is because both Spain and Belgium, two nations ranked between 12-19 at the time of seeking entries, are hosting Semi-Final tournaments later this year and have therefore already qualified.
The top two finishers from Montevideo, New Delhi and Dublin were all certain to qualify for the Semi-Finals, being joined by the highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events. Italy and Uruguay confirmed their places in the Semi-Finals with a top two finish at the event in Montevideo, being joined in Round 3 by New Delhi finalists India and Poland and Dublin finalists Ireland and Canada. Azerbaijan (WR: 19) are the seventh and final team to qualify from Round 2 to Round 3 due to being higher ranked than fellow third place finishers Chile (WR: 20 – 3rd in Dublin) and Malaysia (WR: 21 – 3rd in New Delhi).
To learn more about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, click here.
You can catch up on all of the action from the tournament in Dublin by visiting the official tournament microsite.
UDG Healthcare PLC Hockey World League Round 2 – Women – Dublin, Ireland
1: Ireland – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
2: Canada – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
Player of the Tournament: Megan Frazer (IRL)
Top Scorer: Daniela Caram (CHI) - 9 goals
Young Player of the Tournament: Hannah Haughn (CAN)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Kaitlyn Williams (CAN)
Ireland Win World League 2
Aine Connery’s nerveless penalty saw Ireland land the UDG Healthcare World League Round 2 title at Belfield, completing a perfect week with a final victory over Canada.
It came at the end of a pulsating final that ended 1-1, Nikki Evans and Holly Stewart netting close range goals from penalty corners in the third quarter.
The sides were inseparable thereafter, leading to the shoot-out with Connery scoring the vital goal in the final round, winning out 4-3. Ayeisha McFerran, still just 19 years old, played a huge part, too, saving Canada’s fifth penalty with a superb display of agility.
Played out in front of a capacity crowd that included President Michael D Higgins, it provided a fitting finale for a week in which Ireland also progressed their Olympic hopes.
By reaching the final, Ireland earned one of two spots to World League Round 3 in June which acts as the final Olympic qualifying tournament.
Ireland burst out of the blocks in the final with Emma Smyth winning an early penalty corner that Katie Mullan squeezed through the defences of Kaitlynn Williams only for Abigail Raye to scoop the ball off the line.
Nikki Evans was next to try her luck with a vicious high shot that Williams – later named goalkeeper of the tournament – did well to palm away. Kate Dillon volleyed another just past the post before Canada found their feet in the second quarter with Natalie Sourisseau at the heart of their good work.
Emma Gray needed to be alert to deny Alex Thicke from close range, ensuring the sides went into half time scoreless.
Within 35 seconds of the restart, the deadlock was broken as Chloe Watkins, one of Ireland’s key players on the day, jinked into the circle to win a corner. Cliodhna Sargent’s bash was saved by Williams but only as far as Evans who snapped up the rebound with relish.
Canada levelled, though, in the 37th minute with a very smart move, picking out Stewart on the right post and she applied the right level of elevation to equalise.
From there, both sides had chances to win it with Gray saving from Brienne Stairs with her helmet, a fantastic stop at close quarters in the second last minute.
Ireland also had a corner chance denied on the final hooter but the chance went awry, leading to the shoot-out.
McFerran was swapped into goal for the one-on-ones and duly did enough to put off Stephanie Norlander in the first round. Ireland converted their first three efforts, from Megan Frazer, Anna O’Flanagan and Emma Smyth but the tie was locked at 3-3 going into the final round after Katie Mullan slipped her shot wide.
No matter, McFerran saved from Raye before Connery held her cool to slip home the winner as Belfield erupted.
Speaking afterwards, coach Darren Smith said it was a superb end to a great week for the Irish team.
“Fantastic crowd, the President of Ireland, friends and family all here and a chance to win a tournament. The girls were really excited for the final and, in the end, it was good spectacle. Canada did a good job but we got the result in the end.
“World League 2, from my perspective, was a great advertisement for hockey and a lot of fun.”
Key defender Shirley McCay added: “The level of our general play and our basics has improved hugely and I think we are very clear in our jobs which allows us to play with freedom and flow. It’s really enjoyable to play this way and we’re looking to build something special.”
UDG Healthcare World League Round 2 final
Ireland 1 (N Evans) Canada 1 (H Stewart), Ireland win 4-3 in a shoot-out
Ireland: E Gray, C Sargent, E Smyth, N Evans, S McCay, M Frazer, N Daly, H Matthews, K Mullan, A O’Flanagan, G Pinder
Subs: N Carroll, A Connery, C Watkins, L Colvin, K Dillon, A Meeke, A McFerran
Canada: K Williams, K Gillis, D Hennig, T Culley, H Haughn, K Johansen, A Raye, N Sourisseau, S McManus, M Secco, B Stairs
Subs: H Stewart, A Woodcroft, S Johnston, S Norlander, A Thicke, R Beale, A Frisch
Irish Hockey Association media release
Canada finishes second at World League 2 after shootout loss to Ireland
Canadian women advance to World League 3, olympic qualifier in June
The Canadian Women's National Field Hockey Team finished second at Women's World League 2 after a shootout loss (1-1 / 5-4 SO) in the tournament final Sunday in Dublin, Ireland.
The game, not surprisingly, began with Ireland taking advantage of home field, feeding off the energy of the crowd and owning a lot of possession early.
In the second minute, Canada was called for deliberate back stick, which resulted in an Irish penalty corner. The corner was fed into the left post to Kathryn Mullan, who put the ball through the goal mouth, but Canada took over possession on the goal line and cleared.
Ireland's second best chance of the first half came on a Nicola Evans solo dash down the left side, when she stopped up for a shot at the top of the circle. The heavy hit was palmed away by Canadian keeper Kaitlyn Williams.
Canada settled in well after that, controlling the midfield and slowly pushing back. The play stayed level through the end of the first quarter ends with the teams tied nil-nil.
In the second quarter, Canada began to mount the offensive as strong play in the midfield from Natalie Sourisseau began to push the Irish defense back.
Their first good chance came after Abigail Raye made a nice flip along the right line, fed the ball to the top of the circle where it was heavily played into the middle and Alex Thicke deflected it on goal. Irish keeper Emma Gray was in perfect position, however, to turn the redirect aside.
Canada's best chance of the first half was in the dying seconds of the first half.
Brienne Stairs and Stephanie Norlander found themselves on a 2-on-1 off the counter. Stairs played the ball to Norlander who was charged by Gray, resulting in a penalty corner. The drag flick was put wide and the half ended scoreless.
The second half began like the first did, with Ireland earning penalty corner in the first minute after a strong challenge in the circle. A heavy hit from Cliodhna Sargent was quicked out my Williams, but Evans was quick on the rebound and put it by the Canadian keeper to give Ireland the 1-0 lead in the thirty-first minute.
Minutes later, Canada's went back on the front foot, once again thanks to Sourisseau who navigated her way through the circle and earned a penalty corner for Canada.
On the ensuing corner, the ball was played to Holly Stewart who, while sliding on her knees into the back post, deflected it past Gray for Canada's first goal and to tie the game at one in the thirty-seventh minute.
The pace of the game picked up after the first two goals, as both teams wanted the go-ahead goal with time dwindling.
Ireland had the best chance to take the lead before the third quarter was over when, on a penalty corner, Williams had to make a lunging save to her right to stop the quick shot from the side of the net.
With less than a minute to go, the team's exchanged penalty corners. A goal from either side would have surely been the winning tally, but on the Irish end keeper Emma Gray made a strong save, and on the Canadian side Canada defended well to earn a free out.
For the second straight match, with the game still tied 1-1 after sixty minutes, the game went to a penalty shootout.
Ireland took an early lead scoring the only goal in the first round. Both teams scored in the second and third rounds, before Brienne Stairs scored and Williams forced the Irish shooter wide in the fourth round to level the score.
In the fifth and final round, Abigail Raye was stopped by Gray and Aine Connery made good on her opportunity to win the match and to crown Ireland champions of World League Round 2.
With their top two finishes, both Canada and Ireland advance to World League Round 3, or the World League 3 Semifinals, in Valencia, Spain in June. The top three finishers from each of the World League Semifinals will advance to the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Canada's Kaitlyn Williams took home honours as the tournament's top goalkeeper, while Hannah Haughn earned the acolade as the tournament's best young player.
Field Hockey Canada media release
Reading women deny Holcombe hockey play-off berth as Surbiton earn invincible tag
Last play-off berth in Investec women's premier division goes to the wire as Reading hold off Leicester while Surbiton women remain unbeaten both indoors and out
By Rod Gilmour
Invincibles: Surbiton's Georgie Twigg celebrates as her side confirmed unbeaten status over the season Photo: MATT HENDERSON
From “rock bottom” to a place in next month’s four-team play-offs, Reading confirmed their status as comeback queens to deny Holcombe on the last day of the season.
Holcombe, fourth for so long, had to overcome leaders Surbiton to secure a place at the Olympic Park, but a gallant 0-0 draw proved insufficient after Reading beat Leicester 3-1 at home.
In a fast-paced game, Reading had fallen behind to a Liz George goal in the sixth minute, but goals from Susie Gilbert, Helen Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Jones left them one point ahead of Holcombe.
No way through: Susie Gilbert stops a Leicester attack (RAVI GHOWRY)
"I always felt that Surbiton would do enough,” said Merijn van Willigen, Reading’s coach. “It was a nervy first 10 minutes but their goal helped to focus our minds. We were relatively in control after that.”
Jones made sure with six minutes’ left. Gilbert and Richardson-Walsh combined in the lead-up before the 24-year-old feigned right and struck on the left of the D.
“She gives us energy in midfield,” van Willigen said of Jones, into her third season at Reading. “She closes down defensive spaces and is increasingly becoming a threat going forward. Her goal is testament to how she has fitted into the side.”
Reading went into pre-season largely training with their second team, with a proportion of the squad having been at the World Cup or Commonwealth Games.
Helen Richardson-Walsh celebrates Reading's second (RAVI GHOWRY)
Added to that, Sam Quek and Susannah Townsend departed the club, while talisman Alex Danson only played three times all season.
Van Willigen pointed to a “horrendous” away defeat at Leicester as the turning point – "we should have lost more than 3-0, we were rock bottom” – before Reading rallied and went unbeaten over the last month.
Emma Thomas, their captain, admitted: “We are consistently a second half of the season team and seem to thrive on it. We always seem to be slow to start.”
Holcombe, meanwhile, rued too many drawn games – seven – as they fell agonisingly short in a frenetic ending to their regular season.
With time ticking, Holcombe took off the “exceptional” Maddie Hinch in goal for a kicking back. Moments later controversy ensued as Surbiton claimed the ball had crossed the line, but were denied after an umpire referral.
In the dying minutes, Holcombe’s Tamsyn Naylor then flashed a shot across goal and went inches wide. It meant Surbiton became only the third women’s team - and first London side - to go undefeated all season since 1989.
Level pegging: Holcombe drew for the seventh time this season (MATT HENDERSON)
Leigh Maasdorp, the Holcombe captain, said: “I would never have thought we would finish in the top five three years ago, so this has all been about learning.”
Second-placed Canterbury’s home game against third-placed Clifton was a dress rehearsal ahead of finals’ weekend on April 18/19.
There were three goals in the space of five minutes as Bristol took a 2-1 lead. But Canterbury scored twice in six second-half minutes through Grace Balsdon and Jen Wilson to take bragging rights.
Starting the day in sixth, University of Birmingham had slim hopes of a play-off place. Opponents Buckingham, meanwhile, had to win to avoid a relegation play-off.
It proved too much as Birmingham prevailed 4-0, Buckingham now set to play the three Conference winners: East Grinstead (East), Wakefield (North) and Slough (West).
Canberra to host Masters World Cup
Hockey Australia, Hockey ACT and ACT Government agree partnership
Canberra will host hockey’s FIH Masters World Cup in 2016 thanks to a partnership between Hockey Australia, Hockey ACT and the ACT Government, it was announced today.
More than 70 international Masters hockey teams from around the globe will descend on the National Hockey Centre in Lyneham, ACT, for the 12-day event, from 29 March to 9 April 2016.
The FIH Masters World Cup in Canberra will feature men’s and women’s teams in the Over 35, Over 40, Over 45, Over 50 and Over 55 age groups. The women’s Over 60 competition will also take place as part of the Canberra hosted tournament.
Today’s announcement means that Canberra joins Newcastle in NSW as a host of one of the largest international hockey tournaments in the world. With the support of Destination NSW, Newcastle was recently announced as the host of the 2016 FIH Grand Masters Hockey World Cup, the tournament contested by Masters teams in categories for players aged 60 and above.
Cam Vale, Chief Executive of Hockey Australia, said: “To host the Masters World Cup in Canberra and the Grand Masters World Cup in Newcastle really cements Australia’s position as a leading country in Masters hockey globally. With around 70 teams expected in both Canberra and Newcastle, the events give us an opportunity to show off these two cities, our wonderful country and Australian hockey to the growing international Masters community.”
Australia is one of the world’s most successful nations when it comes to Masters hockey, enjoying a number of outstanding accomplishments in recent years. At the Masters World Cup in Rotterdam in 2014, Australia’s women took home gold in the Over 40 and Over 60 age groups, and silver in the Over 50s. Australia’s men also enjoyed considerable success, winning gold in the Over 40 and Over 45 age groups, and bronze in the Over 50 and Over 55 competitions.
Hockey Australia’s Masters Advisory Panel will oversee the organisation of both events on behalf of Hockey Australia, working closely with two local organising committees that will be confirmed shortly. The Masters Hockey World Cup and Grand Masters Hockey World Cup are the officially recognised World Cups of the International Hockey Federation.
Stay Oz has been appointed as the exclusive preferred supplier of accommodation for the Masters World Cup in Canberra and is a preferred supplier for the Grand Masters World Cup in Newcastle.
Hockey Australia media release
Pakistan hockey coach wants new Astroturf at Naseer Bunda Stadium
By Abdul Jabbar Faisal
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hockey head coach Shahnaz Sheikh has demanded to change the Astroturf of the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium, Pakistan Sports Complex, terming the pitch outdated and slippery. Talking to Daily Times here on Sunday, the former Olympian added that there was an excellent atmosphere in Islamabad for Olympic Qualifiers training camp that started from March 16 at the above-mentioned venue. "The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) are providing all crunch facilities for the camp. But it is very important to change the Astroturf. This pitch is very slippery and dangerous," he added.
He said three national players - Mohammad Arsalan, Mohammad Rizwan Junior and Mohammad Umair Rana - had been injured during the camp and the doctor had advised them for a week rest. "The PHF has invited 33 players for the ongoing hockey camp and three are yet to report here. Mohammad Irfan, Rashid Mehmood and Mohammad Rizwan Senior are busy abroad and did not join the camp," he said.
Responding to a question, the former Olympian said the basic aim of the camp was to prepare the guys for Olympic qualifying round that would be take place in Belgium in June this year 2015. "Before competing for the qualifying fixture, the team will also visit Australia and South Korea for international competitions. "The greenshirts will play a four-nation tournament in Australia, which will be held from May 2 to 11 this year at Hobart. Besides hosts two teams, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Korea will fight for the top position."
After playing the four-nation the team will tour South Korea for a five match bilateral rubber. "We will back home and resume our training camp from May 26 at the same venue before leaving for Belgium. After a short camp, the team will leave for Belgium on June 5 and take part in a 10-nation fixture to get berth in the Rio Olympic 2016,"
Attacking hockey will help Pakistan reach Rio Games:
Shahnaz vowed to play attacking hockey - with a '9/11' strategy - to help the greenshirts qualify for next year's Olympics. The strategy, which was misinterpreted and linked to the 9/11 tragedy during the Champions Trophy last year, is what Shahnaz believes will help Pakistan win games at the Hockey World League (HWL) semi-finals, which act as qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Games. The semi-finals in Antwerp are one of two which will have six berths for the Olympics on offer. "The 9/11 strategy sees the team attack with nine players while as far as defending is concerned, all 11 take part in it," Shahnaz said. He added that it was the same strategy which helped Pakistan beat India in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in December last year and hoped it would come good again. Pakistan lost to Germany in the final of that tournament but Shahnaz's 9/11 strategy was linked to the 9/11 tragedy by Indian media. "It's all about sports so I don't want people to misinterpret my words ... I profusely condemn all kind of terrorism anywhere in the world," he said.
At the HWL semi-finals, Pakistan have been drawn in Pool 'A' alongside Australia, India, France and Austria. India have already qualified for the Olympics courtesy their gold medal at the Asian Games last year. Pakistan need to finish amongst the top three in their HWL semi-final to earn a berth at the Olympics. The top three teams from the other semi-final in Buenos Aires will make up for the six places available from the HWL. The hockey tournament at the Olympics will see 12 teams take part, including the hosts.
The Daily Times
PHF’s financial problems continue as meeting with PM cancelled
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hockey Federation's (PHF) bailout dream was shattered last Thursday as its scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who happens to be the PHF patron was once again postponed. It was the fourth scheduled meeting which has been cancelled. The much-awaited meeting was supposed to take place on Friday (March 20) but the Prime Minister office citing preoccupation of the premier postponed the meeting on the eleventh hour for indefinite period putting the cash-strapped PHF in further trouble.
"The PHF and all players are disappointed, for we were expecting that during the meeting the premier will order for immediate release of funds for our preparation for the upcoming international events. But now we have no idea about our participations in these events," PHF secretary Rana Mujahid said. "The entire team has been looking forward to the meeting with prime minister with the hope that the PHF patron would play his due role in keeping the national game alive," maintained Mujahid.
"Currently, we don't have a single penny for running the affairs of the federation. We are running the day-to-day affairs on borrowed money as a result of which the game of hockey is dying slow death," stated the PHF secretary while saying that despite minimum resources, the team produced brilliant performance in the last edition of the Asian Games as well as the Champions Trophy. He said that for the last several months the PHF had been trying to meet the patron but to no avail.
The Daily Times
Tengku Abdullah endorses Subahan
By Jugjet Singh
THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) went smoothly yesterday, and the only big news was that the secretary general will be replaced by a Chief Executive Officer.
Elections have been set for May 13, and the delegates amicably voted minor changes to tighten up their constitution in the EOGM.
The amended constitution followed International Hockey Federation (FIH) guidelines, and there will be two deputy presidents' -- one a woman and the other a man.
MHC were embroiled in a constitutional crisis with the FIH when their earlier amended constitution was rejected because it was not gender friendly.
"The EOGM went smoothly and there will be two deputy presidents' (one woman and one man) and the person which receives the highest vote will be known as the senior deputy president," said MHC outgoing president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Tengku Abdullah will not seek re-election on May 13: "In the earlier nomination, only Subahan (Datuk Sri Subahan Kamal) was nominated for the president's post and I believe it will be the same when nominations closed."
When asked if Tengku Abdullah endorsed Subahan as president: "Well I endorse him as he was the only candidate earlier and the best person to replace me. However, if the delegates feel otherwise and nominate a challenger, may the ballot decide who is the best."
The front-runner to be elected as the men's deputy is Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad, while incumbent deputy president Raja Puan Sri Noora Ashikin Raja Abdullah is set to take charge of the women's section.
On another issue, controversial national striker Faizal Saari will return to training today, after boycotting it due to unsolved bonus payments. If Faizal does show up, it will be his first day of training since he went missing right after the Singapore World League Round Two.
"Faizal is a good player, but his destiny is in his own hands. It is what he wants in life, and nobody should force him to return because then he will not give his best. If he feels he does not wan't to represent the country any more, lets move on and concentrate on the players who show up for training," said Tengku Abdullah.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
All is well with MHC… at last
By S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) finally resolved their constitutional issues and are now set to hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 13.
The MHC held their extraordinary meeting here on Sunday and unanimously approved the new constitution after a short discussion.
The meeting was chaired by outgoing president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
In his address to the delegates when opening the meeting, Tengku Abdullah said he had spent time with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to fine-tune the constitution’s draft, which the MHC council had agreed to on Feb 28.
“There are some changes, but nothing drastic,” said Tengku Abdullah.
Under the new constitution, the MHC’s governing council will be reduced from the present 29 to 14 members. And the affiliates will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the MHC. Instead, a new executive committee comprising the president, two deputy presidents, seven vice-presidents and four independent members will take charge.
The secretary’s post is also abolished and a chief executive officer (CEO) appointed instead. The president will also appoint the treasurer.
The CEO and the treasurer, however, have no voting rights in the council.
The Star of Malaysia