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News for 26 April 2015

All the news for Sunday 26 April 2015

Invincible Surbiton edge out Clifton in dramatic final

Surbiton celebrate the Investec Women's Cup

Goals from Jenna Woolven, Abi Robinson and Rebecca Herbert were enough to give Surbiton the Investec Women’s Cup, ensuring in the process they remained undefeated over the whole season. Clifton ran them close and levelled the scores with goals from Aileen Davis and Harriet Pearce but Herbert’s late struck settled matters in Surbiton’s favour.

The holders got off to a perfect start as Jenna Woolven snapped up the first chance to fire into the back of the net after just two minutes. Caitlin Jeffries was called into action in the eighth minute making a good save to her right to repel a bullet form Natalie McLean’s penalty corner. At the other end, Dawn Mitchell-Williams got Clifton's first sight of goal but her shot from the right of the circle was pulled wide of the far post.
It wasn't long before Clifton pulled level and it came from a penalty corner. Captain Aileen Davis stepped up and smashed her shot past Vicky Hewett to tie the scores up. McLean tried her luck at the other end but her penalty corner was saved by Jeffries with the rebound flying over the top from the same player. Sarah Page stepped up for the next penalty corner but she could not find the target and it was honours even at the break.

Surbiton made a strong start to the second period, Page set up Robinson but Jeffries made another fine save. The Clifton goalkeeper was at her best moments later when another break involving Page almost let in Robinson again. On 49 minutes Surbiton edged back in front. Page stole the ball just outside the circle broke to the baseline before she squared the ball to Robinson who lashed the it home.

Claire Thomas almost pulled one back but she couldn’t get her defelction on target. With 58 minutes on the clock, Pearce beat Vicky Hewett with a low penbalty corner and it looked like the two sides were going to go to penalties.

However, three minutes from time Clifton hearts were broken. Herbert played in Sandra Frankland on the right who reached the baseline before cutting back to the No17 who slammed home the winner to retain the cup for the Sugden Road side. 

England Hockey Board Media release

Investec Women's Knockout Finals: Round Up

Investec Women's Knockout Finals weekend got underway today with no fewer than five trophies up for grabs.

Women’s 2nd XI Plate Final: Bromley and Beckenham 0-1 Oxford.

Oxford picked up the first silverware of the day in a tight encounter with Bromley and Beckenham. Amy Mobley’s goal on the stroke of half time was enough to settle the match but it was the narrowest of wins.

Oxford settled the quicker of the two sides in the first half breaking forwards with pace and numbers as they searched for the opening goal. Their first chance came from a hard hit ball into the circle that was deflected just wide by Cathy Thorn. It took the Kent side a while to get going but Sarah Bluett’s direct run and pass set up Jo Read who was well denied by the onrushing Phil Swindell in the Oxford goal. As Bromley’s territorial advantage grew, Oxford’s pace on the break became a threat and a magnificent run from Annabelle Denly almost gave them the opener. With moments to go before the break, the first goal arrived. Oxford’s penalty corner was not cleared properly and Mobley pounced to lift the ball in and send the Oxford fans wild.

The second half settled into a pattern with Bromley pushing numbers forwards in search of the equaliser and Oxford aiming to hit them on the counter using the pace of their strikers. Oxford’s No107 lived up to her name by being a constant Thorn in the side of the Kent outfit’s defence with some superb driving runs and it was her who almost doubled the lead, only to be denied by a sprawling save from the goalkeeper. Bromley’s best chance came from a Jo Read deflection but Swindell showed her reactions and pulled off a brilliant save. Thorn had a chance to settle it late on but her shot flashed wide and Oxford had to see off a late barrage from Bromley to take the title.

A delighted Oxford Captain Ruth Bedford told England Hockey: “It’s a fantastic end to a hard season. We’re really thrilled to get some silverware. It’s so inspiring to play on the pitch that a lot of our heroes play on and we really enjoyed it. Our youngsters really stepped up and everyone proved their worth.”

Women’s Vase Final Oxted 3-1 Amersham and Chalfont.

Oxted picked up the Investec Women‘s Vase with an excellent attacking display to see of the challenge of a spirited Amersham and Chalfont.

Oxted made a dream start to the game, taking the lead from their first attack. Amelia Lewis picked up the ball in the circle and swivelled to fire the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs to make it 1-0. Amersham struggled to cope with the pace and movement of the Oxted attack and Catherine Ledesma set up Lewis whose backhand shot fizzed wide of the far post. Liz Williamson made a string of splendid saves to keep her side in the game but on 24 minutes there was nothing she could do as her save from Mariana Ledesma’s shot fell for Smith who made no mistake to make it 2-0. Emma Hewitt had Amersham’s best chance of the opening half as her diving deflection from Alice Keddy’s cross flashed just wide, ensuring it stayed 2-0 at the break.

The Buckinghamshire outfit forced a series of penalty corners and in the 43rd minute they got their reward as Alice Keddy slotted home from a well-worked routine. Despite a spell of pressure from Amersham, Oxted re-established their two-goal cushion in the 53rd minute as Mariana Ledesma kept her cool to flick in a penalty corner rebound. Amersham withdrew their goalkeeper with 5 minutes to go in an attempt to salvage the game but it ultimately proved in vain as Oxted saw the game out for a well earned win.

Sam Dobson, the victorious captain told England Hockey: “It feels fantastic to win. We settled well and got ourselves in front which was really important going into the second half. The support was amazing and we’re really happy.”

Investec Women’s Trophy Final: Newent 0-1 Newcastle.

A defensive masterclass from Newcastle ensured they picked up the Investec Women’s Trophy after a narrow 1-0 win over Newent.

A fairly even first half was separated by Helen Hodgson’s penalty corner strike in the 7th minute. The No35’s initial shot was saved by the goalkeeper but the rebound fell back to her and she made no mistake with the second attempt to put Newcastle in front. Newent played some neat and tidy attacking play as they pressed for an equaliser but the Newcastle back line of Vicky Johnstone, Emma Dovey, Hodgson and Lisa Edwards-Clay defended superbly to keep them at bay, preserving the lead at the break.

Newent thought they’d equalised shortly after the interval but their penalty corner strike was too high and was ruled out. Emma Williams’ pace proved to be a threat in the second period and it was from one of her runs that Newent came closest to an equaliser, as her run and pass just evaded Libby Timney in front of the goalkeeper. Despite plenty of territory and possession Newent were kept at arm’s length by Newcastle who picked up the win and the trophy.

Captain Laura Armstrong told England Hockey: “It feels amazing. We believed in ourselves and we’ve done it. Our target was to win in normal time and we’re really pleased to get it done. We’ve got the best defensive record in the league this season and we showed why that is today with a great performance.”

Women's 2nd XI Cup Final: Beeston 2-2 Surbiton (3-0 APS)

The final game of the day pitted Beeston against Surbiton for the Women’s 2nd XI Cup. Both sides had recently been runners up in this competition with Surbiton losing out in the finals in 2010-11 and Beeston in 2012-13, so both sides were desperate to get their hands on the trophy this time out.

Surbiton almost struck first with Sian Craze going close with a shot over the top in the early exchanges. At the other end, Alice Huddlestone who was a threat throughout signalled her intent, turning the defender inside out before firing into the side netting.

Surbiton took the lead on 17 minutes as Vanessa Roberts’s fierce penalty corner found the net to break the deadlock. Emma Russell almost increased the lead but her shot flashed wide of the post. Beeston turned the game on its head in the second half with two strikes in quick succession from Hannah Farr, one a penalty corner and the other set up by a superb run and pass from Huddlestone.

Surbiton rallied and clawed back an equaliser through another penalty corner, this time from Russell and although Huddlestone continued to terrorize the Sugden Road team’s defence there was to be no winner in normal time and so to a penalty shootout.

Sylvia Rose shot wide for Beeston but Emmie Le Marchand and Saffron Martineau both saw their efforts saved by Brooke Butler. With Katy Hart and Annie Dalton scoring for Beeston it meant that when Emma Batten’s effort missed Heather Morris scored to win the cup for Beeston.

Sophie Glover, Beeston Captain told England Hockey: “It feels amazing. We’ve had a challenging season so I’m really proud of the girls. We had a bad start but we rode it out and stuck at it. We calmed and came together second half and showed what we can do. Our young players really stepped up, like Alice Huddlestone and Brooke Butler but it was a great team effort overall.”

Tomorrow the finals of the Women's Masters Competitions take place, followed by Great Britain's women taking on Japan in the Investec Private Banking International.

England Hockey Board Media release

PHF retains Mohammad Imran as captain, inducts Faisal, Rizwan

Mohammad Yaqoob

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) while announcing the 18-member squad on Saturday for the upcoming four-nation tournament scheduled to be held in Hobart, Australia from May 2 to 10 retained Mohammad Imran as captain in addition to inducting Faisal Qadir and Rizwan Ali into the national team.

Faisal and Rizwan have succeeded in replacing Rashid Mahmood and Rizwan Senior who, as per the PHF press release, were asked to join the national training camp but both did not do so in that the duo had been engaged in a German league.

Principally, both Rashid and Rizwan Senior should have joined the training camp in that national duty comes first but the PHF, Dawn has learnt, is no more in a position to properly take care of players due to severe financial problems.

“The team has been selected purely on merit and is capable of earning favourable results in Hobart where strong teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are competing,” said chief selector Islahuddin who was accompanied by head coach Shahnaz Sheikh and one of the selectors during a news conference.

The former Olympian said some junior players were spotted in the recently-concluded national junior championship in Karachi but they needed time to replace seniors.

“The great achievement of Pakistan in the last Champions Trophy held in India where Pakistan earned silver medal has boost my hopes for a better future of the game,” maintained Islah while stating that they could definitely qualify for the next year’s Rio Olympics, if the team pressed ahead with the same zeal.

The chief selector said the tour was important in that before flying to Belgium for qualifiers, the greenshirts would only have to play five Test matches in South Korea against the hosts.

The PHF while keeping in view its financial constraints has decided to send only players and officials to Australia, said the chief selector, adding that the Punjab government was kind in helping the PHF make possible the Australia tour.

Notwithstanding, he clarified the hockey federation had succeeded in managing cash amount for half of the expenditures while the rest of the amount had been borrowed.

It may be mentioned that the federation is facing acute shortage of funds, for the federal government has decided to conduct PHF audit before releasing grants.

However, the PHF audit by the government is yet to be conducted despite a lapse of over two weeks when Finance Minister Ishaq Dar revealed that the government would conduct audit of the PHF before releasing funds.

On the other hand, the country’s hockey governing body has time and again expressed willingness to cooperate with auditors.

Head coach Shahnaz Sheikh, meanwhile, said that his input was taken in finalising the squad while stating that the only target he had set for the tournament was to get maximum positive results.

“Tough teams are featuring in the tournament but it will provide Pakistan the best opportunity which will make the team strong for the Olympic qualifiers,” maintained the head coach who said he was expecting a spot in the top three of the qualifiers.

The coach said he had earlier planned to get 35 international matches before the Olympic qualifiers but he could make do with just 15 matches hoping that the players would take full advantage of available opportunity.

The team would leave for Australia on April 28 from Lahore via Karachi, said Shahnaz, adding that all probables would continue their training at the camp with the selected squad.

Only Ayaz Mahmood and Musaddiq Hussain along with Islah observed the trials before finalising the squad, said an official statement of the PHF which also stated that due to ailment Arshad Ali Chaudhry was not able to observe the trials while another selector Khalid Bashir was also absent.


Goalkeepers: Imran Butt and Amjad Ali; fullbacks: Mohammad Imran (captain), Mohammad Irfan, Syed Kashif Shah; halves: Tasawar Abbas, Zohaib Ashraf, Muhammad Rizwan Junior, Mohammad Tousiq, Ammad Shakeel Butt and Faisal Qadir; forwards: Mohammad Waqas Sharif, Arslan Qadir, Shafqat Rasool, Mohammad Umar Bhutta, Mohammad Dilber, Ali Shan and Rizwan Ali.

Officials: Shahnaz Sheikh (manager/head coach), Nasir Ali, Mohammad Shafqat, Syed Sameer Hussain, Syed Abu Zar Umrao (coaches), Tahir Zaman (coaching consultant), Asad Abbas Shah (doctor).


Returning Kate Richardson-Walsh has united backing as Great Britain women's hockey captain

Women's national captain since 2003, Kate Richardson-Walsh is aiming for Olympic qualification this summer, starting with one-off Test against Japan at Olympic Park
By Rod Gilmour

Back in the groove: GB and England captain Kate Richardson-Walsh Photo: ADY KERRY

Twelve months ago, Great Britain women were looking to life beyond Kate Richardson-Walsh, their captain since 2003. They will now aim to reach Rio 2016 with her services, despite admitting to Telegraph Sport last May that she was "certain I will retire this year."

Following a disastrous 2014 World Cup – 11th in The Hague – Richardson-Walsh, 35 next month, had a change of heart during the Commonwealth Games as England came to within 17 seconds from clinching gold against rivals Australia.

“The Commonwealths ignited my passion for hockey,” she said ahead of GB’s clash with Japan on Sunday at the Olympic Park's Lee Valley venue. “The medal made all the difference and I felt that it would be a waste if I stopped now. I was still fit enough and I still wanted to achieve more.

“I felt that the 18 months after London was really tough. It led me to ask the question ‘do you love it or not?’

An extended break saw Kate Richardson-Walh fight for her place back (ADY KERRY)

“If you speak to people at the highest level of sport they say ‘you just know’. Perhaps I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had before.”

She still needed an extended break away from the sport to make sure. Richardson-Walsh travelled to Hong Kong to coach some juniors, and Japan, where she found out there was a domestic league. Wherever she went, there was a "hockey element".

As far as UK Sport, the elite funding body, was concerned, Richardson-Walsh had quit and a retirement fund was already in place to pursue life after hockey.

Following her U-turn, the defender who has racked up nearly 350 caps had to undertake development squad training in December to earn her place back. The same month, she was awarded an MBE for services to hockey. “It was a big surprise and a major honour,” she admits.

However, she still had to receive the backing from the centralised squad. Ever since Richardson-Walsh became captain there has been a review of the leadership squad – currently Richardson-Walsh, Ashleigh Ball, Alex Danson, Emily Maquire and Kate’s wife, Helen Richardson-Walsh - but this was less a ‘dreaded vote of confidence’, more a unanimous decision to reinstall her ahead of June’s Olympic qualifiers in Valencia.

Richardson-Walsh has also been spurred on by another Olympian, 39-year-old Katherine Grainger, who returned to rowing ahead of Rio 2016 last year and uses the elite gym at England Hockey’s Bisham Abbey headquarters.

“She felt similarly and didn’t feel 100 per cent that it was quite time,” Richardson-Walsh said of Grainger. “She knew physically that she still could compete and go beyond the limits.

“We both felt as if we could and it’s great to see her and ask if our bodies are hurting that little bit more. It’s nice to have the support with someone who is going through a similar phase.”

One thing’s for sure: the GB captain is adamant that she doesn’t want to return to the horrors of The Hague last summer.

Richardson-Walsh will lead youthful GB side featuring likes of Sophie Bray, middle

“There have been lots of ups and downs in my career,” she said. “We didn’t qualify for the 2004 Olympics and it’s never down to one thing, it’s a number of things over a longer space of time.

“We weren’t performing in the build-up [in 2014] and off the pitch there was the culture where cracks can appear in the squad. It’s perhaps what we saw under a massive microscope of the World Cup.

“We had come from a place of such depth and we believed we could medal. It capitulated and it was devastating.

“What’s so intriguing for me in hockey is the short period between games and mentally it’s a massive aspect that we work on. When it’s going wrong it’s hard to get yourself back to that point.

Now the world No 8 side after being third last year, Richardson-Walsh admits that women’s hockey is “getting strength in depth” at a growing rate.

“But I still believe we can beat the Dutch and the Argentinians. I’ll still believe we can do it if I’m playing over-50s. I’m competitive, I just want to win.”

The Telegraph

Nairobi Simba exert sweet Vaisakhi revenge on GRA


Old horse of Kenyan hockey Inderjit Matharu (right) of Sikh Union Nairobi, shows he has still got it, as he glides past Lawrence Nartcy of Ghana Revenue Authority during their Vaisakhi men’s semi-final match on April 25, 2015 at City Park Stadium. Simba won 3-2. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU

Nairobi Simba beat visiting Ghana Revenue Authority 3-2 at City Park Stadium to book their place in the final of the 2015 Vaisakhi Hockey tournament in a semi final match played at City Park Stadium on Saturday.

The semi-final win was a measure of revenge for Simba who lost to GRA in last year’s semi final.

Simba will play the winner of the second semi-final between Kenya Police and Chase Sailors that scheduled to be played later Saturday night.

Simba took a half time lead through Shabaz Shah’s 32nd minute field goal despite the visitors dominating the first half.

They doubled the lead after the break when former Kenyan International  Inderjit Matharu slotted home the second in the 51st minute after been set up by Asif Shan who beat three GRA defenders on the left side.

The Ghanaians pulled a goal back three minutes later through Nick Hanson’s field goal after been put through by winger Kwasi Assah to get his team back in the game.

However, Simba went further ahead in the 59th minute with Jaspreet Kalsi shot that beat GRA keeper Emmanuel Arokrful to score his team’s third.


GRA scored their second of the game through a penalty flick that was converted by Charles Moses after Eden Frimpong was fouled by Haggai Pepela but Simba held on for a place in the final.

“We fought for every ball, pushed them (GRA) and they were unable to cope with our pressure. We are ready for any team and we believe we can win the event,” said Simba skipper Amit Rajput.

The defeat means the west African side, who were making their third appearance at the event, will have to wait for at least another year to win their maiden Vaisakhi title.

Last year they lost out to Tanzanian outfit Moshi CCL in the final while in 2013 they were placed third. GRA coach James Manson complained about the officiating.

Daily Nation

SIMBA ROAR: Kenyan side edge Ghana Revenue Authority to book a finals slot

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Ghana Revenue Authority Customs goal Keeper Emmanuel Arorful blocks the ball as Sikh Union Nairobi player Victor Sowah strugles to score when they played Vaisakhi International Tournament at City Park. Sikh won 3-2. ON 25/04/15 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Nairobi Simba sealed their place in the finals of the 2015 Vaisakhi Hockey tournament after a hard fought 3-2 win over Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in a semi final match played at City Park Stadium yesterday.

It was sweet revenge for the Kenyan club who lost to GRA 2-1 at the same stage in last year's edition. Simba skipper Amit Rajput told FeverPitch that his team played well and they are ready to take on any side in the final in their quest for the crown.

"It was a tough game but we played well and gave them (GRA) a run for their money. It was important for us to get the win after they bundled us out in last year's event," Rajput said.

The defeat means the West African side, who were making their third appearance at the event, will have to wait for at least another year to win their maiden Vaisakhi title. Last year, they lost out to Tanzanian outfit Moshi CCL in the final.

GRA, which was the only foreign side at this year' event, will today take on the loser of the second semi-final which was played later yesterday between Kenya Police and Chase Sailors in the third place playoff.

GRA coach James Manson complained of poor officiating.

"It is shocking that we have been subjected to such levels of officiating, my players gave their all but were frustrated by the officials. We suffered the same fate last year and it is discouraging to the players and our sponsors," he said.

Simba took the lead in the 32nd minute through Shabaz Shah's field goal. They doubled the lead after the break when veteran player Inderjit Matharu fired home the second in the 51st minute after being set up by Asif Shan who beat three GRA defenders.

GRA pulled a goal three minutes later through Nick Hanson's field goal after been put through by winger Kwasi Assah to get his team back in the game. However, Simba went further ahead in the 59th minute with Jaspreet Kalsi shot that beat GRA keeper Emmanuel Arokrful.

The visitors scored their second of the game through a penalty flick that was converted by Charles Moses after Eden Frimpong was fouled by Haggai Pepela. GRA were unable to get the equaliser as Simba held out to seal a place in today's final.

The women's final will be between bitter rivals Telkom Orange, the tournament's defending champions and Strathmore Scorpions. Orange, who beat Scorpions 7-0 in last year's final to claim the title, will be out to retain the crown.

The two sides qualified for the final after routing the national under 16 women's team, Simbarettes 10-0 and 5-0 respectively. The women's competition attracted only three teams. The winners of both the men and women's final will receive Sh35,000 while the runners up will pocket Sh15,000.

The Standard Online

WP win tough Men’s U21 IPT final against Northern Blues

JONATHAN COOK at the AB Jackson

Victorious SA U21 men's IPT champs Western Province in celebratory mood. Photo: SEAN BURKE

They were given little chance, if any, but Northern Blues came out swinging and caught out-and-out favourites Western Province with some heavy body blows before the defending champs regrouped and ultimately prevailed in the Greenfields SA U21 Men’s Interprovincial Tournament final at AB Jackson Greenfields Turf Saturday.

WP came back from a 2-0 deficit, then a 3-1 half-time deficit, to draw level with 19 minutes left before running in three goals in the fourth and final chukka for a deserved 6-3 victory.

Two penalty corner strikes by Blues captain Tim Guise-Brown, the top IPT goalscorer, put the fired-up Pretoria lads into a shock 2-0 lead after just nine minutes. The opening goal, in the third minute of the final, was the first WP had conceded in just over four hours’ playing time.

Stephen Cant, so strong on the ball and so skilled with stick and ball in confined spaces, earned the first PC and the lively Tim Halle the second, both in and around the right-hand baseline.

During this time, Blues defender Michael Marki made an outstanding save on the goalline from a James Drummond PC bullet and then Guise-Brown did the same from WP captain Dan Bell. WP eventually pulled one back when Bili Ntuli steered home an accurate cross from Tulani Mnani.

The first chukka ended with Blues 2-1 up. Into the second chukka, it was the underdogs’ brave keeper Hendrik Kriek who made a double save from WP’s sixth PC. Blues’ PC defence had been out of the top drawer, the strong WP attack not being allowed to capitalise on six penalty corners in the opening 22 minutes.

Both sides had excellent opportunities from open play to add to the scoresheet and the half-time whistle reflected the score unchanged with Blues still 2-1 up. Cant earned Blues a penalty stroke two minutes after the re-start and Guise-Brown netted his hat-trick goal from the spot.

At 3-1 after 32 minutes, Blues were just 28 minutes’ playing time away from creating a massive upset, but WP were too good a side not to come back and they were awarded a penalty stroke after their eighth PC. Bell made no error and there was now only one goal in it after 35 minutes.

WP piled on the pressure and in the 41st minute Alex Stewart was adjudged to have been interfered with, which brought yet another penalty corner for the favourites and Ntuli, coming in from the right, deflected home Bell’s disguised shot/pass with aplomb. It had taken WP 41 minutes to draw level, which is great credit to Blues.

The fourth chukka saw WP in rampant mood, adding three goals without reply to run out 6-3 winners. Blues played into their hands somewhat by continually attacking down the left, when it had been the right flank that had brought reward. Cant was served far less ball and WP revelled, just as they did in their relentless march through the Pool stage of IPT.

WP took the lead for the first time in the final after 47 minutes when Ryan Crowe scored a goal that the Blues team hotly disputed. In the 53rd minute Jordan Turnbull’s skilful finish put WP 5-3 up and Ntuli delivered the 6-3 knockout punch four minutes from the end (56th) when he intercepted a ball on halfway and effected a one-two with Drummond before sliding the ball home.

Final classification
(1/2) Western Province 6 Northern Blues 3
(3/4) Southern Gauteng 3 WP Peninsula 2
(5/6) KZN Coastal Raiders 4 Free State 1
(7/8) KZN Inland 6 North West 1
(9/10) Eastern Province 2 South Gauteng Witsies 1.

Most Valuable Player & MV Defender of IPT: Dan Bell (WP).
MV Forward: Bili Ntuli (WP).
MV Midfielder: Ryan Julius & Matt de Souza (WP).
MV Goalkeeper: Siya Nolutshungu (KZN Coastal Raiders
Top Goalscorer (9): Tim Guise-Brown (Northern Blues).

SA Hockey Association media release

Northern Blues beat Free State in SA U21 Women’s IPT final

Northern Blues won the SA U21 Women’s IPT in Bloemfontein Saturday when they beat Free State 1-0 in the final.

Southern Gauteng finished third when they beat North West 5-4 on penalty shootout after the scores were 1-1 at full-time.

(11/12) Free State B 2 KZN Inland 0
(9/10) Namibia 3 South Gauteng Witsies 1
(7/8) KZN Coastal Raiders 0 WP Peninsula 0 (Raiders win penalty shootout 5-4)
(5/6) Western Province 5 Eastern Province 3
(3/4) Southern Gauteng 1 North West 1 (Southerns win penalty shootout 5-4)
(1/2) Northern Blues 1 Free State 0

Fair Play: Free State B
Save of IPT: Kerryn Frost (Eastern Province)
Top Goalscorer: Marguerite van Wyk (12) (Northern Blues)
Best Goalkeeper: Beatrix Westdyk (Free State)
Best Defender: Jessica de Bruyn Smith (North West)
Most Promising Player: Teagan Fourie (KZN Coastal Raiders)
Players of IPT: Nicole Walraven (Free State) and Izelle Verster (Northern Blues)

SA Hockey Association media release

Indian hockey needs to prioritise goal-keeping: Sreejesh

Snigdha Choudhury

Sreejesh called for more training and exposure to ensure that Indian goal-keepers are the best in the world. (Getty Images)

Known as one of the best hockey goal-keepers in the world, Sreejesh Ravindran has come up the ranks like a mountaineer trying to seize the summit of a mountain. The young goal-keeper has often come to the rescue of the Indian team and was behind the team's success in the Commonwealth Games as well as the Champions Trophy.

Sreejesh called for more training and exposure to ensure that Indian goal-keepers are the best in the world. "We should give more importance to goal-keeping. Right from the beginning they should get more training and exposure and by training I mean scientific training, like what I got last year. The training that I received from Dave Staniforth and Martin Drijver, one of South Africa and one from Holland has changed a lot in me," he said while speaking to IBNLive.com. "For the time being we are taking only one goal-keeper that is Harjot for the Japan Test series and I think by the end of the nationals and the upcoming matches we will get the new core group for the Olympics."

Favouring more stress on goal keeping, Sreejesh went on to add, "This kind of training should be given to the goal-keepers at the base level and the only way forward is to prioritise goal-keeping at the junior level that is an important aspect of the game. It is a serious matter. Generally we don't give so much importance to goal-keeping and we need to work in that area."
Indian hockey needs to prioritise goal-keeping: Sreejesh

Sreejesh also spoke about India's new coach Paul van Ass. "It has only been three or four weeks that he has taken over but his interactions with the players have been very fruitful. He talks about simple little things that are very effective for us and it works. Everybody is enjoying his company and he is pretty good," he said.

Sreejesh was also nominated for the Best Male Goalkeeper award following his impressive performance in the 2014 season, but eventually lost to Jaap Stockmann of the Netherlands.

IBNLive Sports

SAI Centre to get blue and green turfs

Narain Swamy

BENGALURU: The Sports Authority of India, South Centre, will soon have two artificial surfaces for hockey -one green and another blue.

Initially, SAI had planned an expenditure of Rs 5.71 crore to upgrade its hockey facility with a green turf from Greenfields of Netherlands, belonging to the same variety used at last year's FIH World Cup at The Hague.

But it changed its mind at Hockey India's behest, allowing for a blue pitch too at the adjacent piece of land which was earlier used for archery. With all facilities to be either installed or constructed afresh on the second pitch, the allocation has been pegged at Rs 8.6 crore. "Hockey India wanted a blue pitch similar to the type planned at the 2016 Rio Olympics. We decided that both surfaces with all facilities should be located in Bengaluru. Hence a fresh budget had to be prepared and sanctioned," top SAI sources told STOI.

The green turf is likely to be ready by June and will host the national camps from the subsequent months. "We are on course now. The turf will land in a week. Our deadline is May 31. Even if we run into unexpected problems, we should have the facility ready by mid June," the sources said.

The blue pitch will take a few more months to be installed, it is learnt. "We are keen on completing the work by the end of this year," the sources added.

Both pitches come with bigger run-off areas on the sides and behind the goal posts, veritably enlarging the area occupied by them. Other upgrades include an automated sprinkler system, new floodlights with the illumination enhanced to 600 lux, renovated changing rooms and a tower for the team videographer to capture all the action during practice.

All these facilities will be replicated for the blue pitch. Hockey camps return to the city two years after the centre's wornout Polytan pitch was found too 'unsuitable' for high-intensity training. In 2012 too, the camp was shifted abruptly to Pune for similar reasons.

Procedural delays despite dire warning signs during the Olympic year stalled the turf's arrival but apparently, the authorities had big plans for Bengaluru.

The Times of India

FIH and PAHF Presidents visit Paraguay

Dra Monica Seifart de Martinez (Directora de Gabinete Secretaria Nacional de Deporte), Leandro Negre (FIH President). Asociación Paraguaya de Hockey

Both, the President of the FIH Leandro Negre and the President of the PAHF Alberto Coco Budeisky visited Paraguay from February 16th to 18th of this year. The objective of their visit was to give the development of Hockey in Paraguay a boost. With this objective in mind they joined the President of APH Norma Fernández de Caballero as well as Vice-President Patricia Niella for meetings with national authorities involved in the subject matter. These included the Minister of Sport Victor Manuel Pecci and Vice-Minister Mónica Seifart as well as members of the Paraguayan Olympic Committee Camilo Pérez Lopez Moreira (President), Ramón González Daher and  Roberto Escobar (Vice-Presidents) and Juan Carlos Orihuela (Secretary).

The above mentioned authorities also participated in an Honor Session of the Board of Directors of the Paraguayan Hockey Association during which all members were present, as well as the presentation of the new web page of the APH, two friendly matches amongst select women´s and men´s teams and the awards ceremony of the 2014 champions. This was truly a memorable event for hockey in Paraguay.

The Paraguayan Hockey Association is very proud to have received these visitors and trusts that the objective was achieved and therefore more development of hockey will happen in Paraguay and that their teams will be more competitive.

Pan American Hockey Federation Media release

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