All the news for Thursday 7 January 2016
PIA, NBP score contrasting wins to enter National Hockey semis
KARACHI: Reigning champions PIA and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) registered contrasting victories over their respective opponents to cruise into semifinals of the 62nd National Hockey Championship at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium on Wednesday.
The national carrier, having nine Pakistan players in their fold, outplayed Pakistan Television (PTV) 8-1 after leading 2-1 at half time.
Earlier, the bankers survived a scare by getting the better of Sui Souther Gas Company (SSGC) 4-2 on penalty shootout after being tied two-all in the regulation time.
The PHF brought forward the first two quarter-
finals from floodlit to day light after at least fifty percent of the bulbs were fused during testing on Tuesday night.
“We have checked and repaired all lights before the commencement of the event besides removing nets of birds but the bulbs started fusing again one after the other when they were checked on Tuesday which compelled us to shift the matches,” director administration of the PHF camp office Waseeq Ahmed told Dawn.
The official added that two generators of 500 kv apiece have been arranged in addition to search lights and the electricians were busy to repair faults.
According to revised programme, Thursday’s quarter-finals will also be played under day light at 1pm and 3.30pm. Friday is the rest day in the event.
However, the two semi-finals and final slated for Saturday and Sunday will be played under floodlit.
Though the airlines won 8-1 but were kept at bay by the PTV in the first two quarters enjoying a slender 2-1 lead. They, however added half-a-dozen goals to their tally in the remaining two quarters to turn the match into one-sided affair.
At the outset, Rana Sohail drew blood scoring a field goal in the sixth minute while penalty corner striker Ihsanullah consolidated it off first PC in the 18th minute. They forced second PC in 22nd minute but could not succeed.
Playing their first quarter-final of the country’s premier event of the game, the PTV cashed the team’s first PC through Ijaz Ahmed in the 29th minute to reduce the deficit (1-2). Earlier, outside right Nabeel missed a chance in the 24th minute.
PIA put their act together which is evident from their goal scoring spree in the next two quarters.
Ihsan slammed two more goals, both off PC’s in the 36th and 58th minutes, to complete hat-trick.
Capt M. Irfan (PC), Abu Bakar (PC) Awais-ur-Rehman and Atif Mushtaq added one goal apiece to complete the rout.
The PTV replaced their goalkeeper Sajid with Waseem in the 40th minute but the change proved ineffective as the latter too, conceded four goals.
As regards first quarter-final, the SSGC should curse themselves for not capitalising penalty strokes after holding the bankers to a two-all draw in regulation time.
The bankers were the first to open their account through Faisal Qadir who slammed a field goal in
the third minute. The SSGC had to wait long for drawing level through Ali Shan who beat the opponent’s custodian Amjad Ali off team’s third PC in the 45th minute.
However, three minutes after resumption of the fourth quarter, Atiq Arshad forged bankers ahead 2-1 through a field goal.
But never say die SSGC again neutralised it through Rizwan Ali in the 51st minute.
Dilber Hassan, Arsalan Qadir, Atiq Arshad and Shan Irshad availed penalty strokes after Ammad Shakil missed the first.
Zeeshan Bukhari and M. Rizwan scored for the SSGC while Ali Shan and Abbas Haider missed the chances. Toufeeq could not get the chance.
Wapda v Port Qasim Authority (PQA) at 1pm; Army v Navy at 3.30pm
Ihsanullah hat-trick takes PIA to semi-final
KARACHI: Ihsanullah struck thrice to guide PIA into the semi-final by thrashing PTV 8-1 in the first quarter-final of the 62nd National Hockey Championship at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium in Karachi on Wednesday.
Rana Sohail opened the scoring in the sixth minute while Ihsanullah extended the lead by scoring in the 18th and 36th minutes to make it 3-0. Mohammad Irfan and Abu Bakar then successfully converted penalty corners in the 37th and 50th minute to pile further misery on their opposition while Awaisur Rahman, Atif Mushtaq and Ihsanullah scored in the 52nd, 55th and 58th minute to complete the rout.
In the second quarter-final, NBP edged SSGC 6-4 on penalties after the match ended 2-2 in normal time.
The match started on a frantic pace as the bankers drew first blood in the third minute when their captain Tousiq Arshad’s attempted shot was stopped by the goalkeeper but seasoned Akhtar Ali netted on a rebound.
SSGC bounced back with an equaliser when Ali Shan found the net in the 45th minute through a well-worked field goal but NBP managed to get in front once again when Atiq Arshad slotted a spectacular field goal in the 48th minute to make it 2-1.
The bankers’ jubilation lasted only three minutes before SSGC’s Rizwan Ali found the net in the 51st minute to make it 2-2 and with both teams unable to find the winner, the match went on penalties, which NBP won 6-4.
“It was a tough match and the opponents did not let us win easily,” Tousiq told The Express Tribune. “While we were heavily aided by the experience of the national team players in our team, the youngsters from both teams played pivotal roles in the match.”
He further added, “The nature of the tie led to some players engaging themselves in a couple of skirmishes but, as a whole, the match was played in the best spirit. I am sure that the fans enjoyed this contest.”
The Express Tribune
National Bank, PIA move into semifinals
KARACHI: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) cruised into the semifinals of the 62nd National Hockey Championship after winning their respective quarterfinals at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium here on Wednesday. NBP edged out Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) 6-4 in a penalty shootout stage after a 2-2 draw in the regulation time of the first quarterfinal while PIA downed Pakistan Television 8-1 in the second quarterfinal.
The first quarterfinal provided a real entertainment to the spectators. They watched and thoroughly enjoyed an exciting match which was decided on the penalty shootout. The players also engaged themselves into a couple of skirmishes as well, but, as a whole, the match was played in the best spirit and the fans enjoyed good contest which was missing amid a number of one sided matches in the pool stage.
The match started on a fast pace and both teams maintained the tempo till the final whistle. The bankers stunned their opponents amid an immediate attack in the third minute. Their captain Tousiq Arshad who led the attack attempted a hit which was stopped by the goalkeeper but on rebound seasoned Akhtar Ali netted the first goal. SSGC bounced back and earned a penalty corner which was wasted. SSGC again exerted pressure, made a fine move through Mohammad Rizwan, Adnan Maqsood and Toufeeq and got another penalty corner in the 45th minute. The goalkeeper stopped but Ali Shan succeeded to level the score after some anxious moments. The Bankers went for an immediate referral which didn’t favour them.
The match entered into a very exciting stage in the last quarter which produced a barrage of attacks from both the teams. Their forwards fought hard to outshine each other. The defenders also guarded their respective citadels effectively. The bankers earned a penalty corner which was smartly tackled and cleared by Adnan Maqsood. Atiq Arshad scored the second goal for the bankers in the 48th minute. Rizwan Ali netted a beautiful field goal in the 51stminute to level the score once again. Dilbar Hassan, Arslan Qadir, Ateeq Arshed and Shah Irshad scored for the bankers while Zeeshan Bukhari and Mohammed Rizwan dodged goalkeeper in the penalty shootouts stage to score goals. Haroon and Waqas Butt supervised the match.
Though the second quarterfinal was a one-sided affair yet the PTV forwards played well. Despite lack of experience and skill, they surprised their superior opponents with some fine moves. Their only goal was scored by Ijaz Ahmed on penalty corner. Hat-trick by Ihsanullah played a pivotal role in PIA’s win against PTV. He slammed goals on penalty corners in the 18th, 36thand 58th minutes. Rana Sohail, Awais-ur-Rahman and Atif Mushtaq scored field goals in the 6th, 52nd and 55th minutes. Mohammed Irfan and Abu Bakr converted penalty corners in 37th and 50th minutes. Kamran Sharif and Shahid Pervaiz were the field umpires.
Today’s quarterfinals: Pakistan WAPDA vs Port Qasim Authority Pakistan Army vs Pakistan Navy.
The Daily Times
Veteran Pearson selected to play for Hockey India League’s Delhi Waveriders
(Image by Yan Huckendubler)
When Canadian midfielder Mark Pearson was playing at the Hockey World League Final in Raipur, India in December, he knew he was being watched.
After all, the World League Final was one of the biggest tournaments of the year in field hockey and broadcast to an international audience.
But with the beginning of the Hockey India League (HIL) – a one month, six team series – right around the corner, it was also an opportunity for the league’s coaches – like Cedric D’Souza, a commentator in Raipur and coach of the HIL’s Delhi Waveriders – a to get a last look at players for their teams.
“[Goalkeeper David] Carter got spoken to a little bit when we were in Raipur and so I thought okay if I don’t hear anything here the dream is dead,” says Pearson.
The dream was to be selected for one the exclusive 48 foreign spots in the Indian league, which features many of the world’s top players. Pearson, Carter, and defender Adam Froese entered the auction for the HIL last September but were not drafted.
And while Pearson didn’t get picked up when he was in India in December, he received pleasant news shortly after he returned home to Vancouver.
“I woke up to an email on Christmas eve from the head coach of the Delhi Waveriders franchise just sort of gauging my interest,” he says.
Austin Smith, captain of the South African’s national team and one of the eight players chosen for the Waverider’s foreign roster spots, was injured and the Waveriders needed a replacement.
Pearson, after a stellar performance at World League in which he led the Canadian team in goals, got the call and was quick to accept.
“Certainly it’s a great personal achievement,” Pearson says. “In the same vein as Sukhi (Panesar) and Carter being nominated (for the 2015 Hockey Stars awards), it’s a reflection of our team’s performance over the last 16-18 months. People are starting to take notice of Canadian field hockey players.”
For Canadian head coach Anthony Farry, the decision to let Pearson go to India and play was an easy one, despite the Canadian team heading to South Africa to begin its Olympic training later this month.
“The biggest thing for us is that he would get to train and play with some of the best players in the world,” Farry says.
Not only will Pearson individually benefit from the level of play, the financial reward, and the cultural experience, but his participation in the Indian series is a coup of sorts for the Canadian men’s program, which – after an eventful and successful 2015 – has qualified for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil and is increasingly becoming recognized internationally.
“When we look at it from that perspective, it is a bit of a reward,” Farry adds. “We’re starting to get noticed a bit more, and should we have a really good Olympics as we plan to, it certainly opens the doors for more players to go and do this type of thing.”
The Waveriders’ first game of the series is on January 23rd in Lucknow against the Uttar Pradesh Wizards. They will play ten games in just less than a month. The top four teams move on to the tournament Semifinals in Delhi on February 21st.
For more details, schedules, and to follow along visit the Hockey India League website and stay tuned to Field Hockey Canada’s digital platforms for updates on Pearson’s progress.
Follow Mark Pearson on Twitter and Instagram to see his experience first hand.
Field Hockey Canada media release
Women hockey coach Dharmaraj found the missing piece in team
by Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: The first thing coach K. Dharmaraj found missing from the national women’s hockey team was a penalty corner specialist.
Luckily for him, he may have just found a potential candidate in 19-year-old Najjah Farhani Abdul Rashid.
“All the top teams in the world have capable drag flickers, and we need one to win matches,” said Dharmaraj, who guided Malaysia to a creditable fourth placing in the men’s Junior World Cup in New Delhi in 2013.
“Najjah fits the bill. She showed her ability to execute the drag flicks well in the National Women’s League (last November).”
Najjah, from Terengganu, is among 30 players called up for national training, which will begin on Jan 18.
With this being her first call-up, Najjah is surprised to learn that coach Dharmaraj has faith in her to be a top penalty corner specialist.
“I want to thank coach Dharmaraj for having faith in me. I promise I’ll train hard to become the country’s top penalty corner drag flicker.
“This is the biggest break in my hockey career ... I want to prove my worth in the national team,” said Najjah, who was a member of the National Under-16 squad in 2013.
Besides Najjah, 18-year-old J. Priyangga, the best goalkeeper in the National Women’s League last November of Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt, has also been called up.
Dharmaraj will trim the squad to 25 players by the end on February. The team will then head for Beijing, China, to play six friendlies against club sides from March 3-15.
The team will also feature in the Australia Hockey League from Sept 29 to Oct 9.
Dharmaraj is preparing the team for next year’s World League Round Two and to defend the gold medal in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
The Star of Malaysia
England women short of practice with hectic schedule before EuroHockey Indoor Championship
By Mike Haymonds
England head coach Andy Halliday is looking for an immediate return to the EuroHockey top flight. HockeyImages.co.uk
ENGLAND women will have limited preparation in their bid to gain an immediate return to the top flight at the second tier EuroHockey Indoor Championship in France later this month.
The 12-strong squad, which contains four players – Giselle Ansley, Grace Balsdon, Sarah Haycroft and Zoe Shipperley – from the team which finished seventh (of eight) in Prague in 2014, will have a two-day training camp in Canterbury on 19-20 January immediately before the tournament in Cambrai which starts two days later.
Five others – Steph Elliott, Susie Gilbert, Sabbie Heesh, Holly Payne and Lucy Wood – are also from the GB/England outdoor centralised training squad but have previous indoor experience at club level, as have Emily Defroand, Hannah Martin, and Amy Tennant.
All those selected are expected to be playing in the domestic Super 6s Indoor League in Telford this weekend.
England’s Pool B opponents in Europe are France, Russia and Wales while Pool A contains Scotland, Switzerland, Lithuania and Croatia.
England’s head coach is Andy Halliday, who is also coaching the men’s indoor squad in Portugal from January 15 – 17.
Halliday said: “For the women’s programme this year the demands of international outdoor hockey prevent the opportunities for many of the athletes to participate in good quality indoor hockey.
“However, the indoor version of the game provides a perfect opportunity to experience the pressures of international hockey in the smaller-sided format. Some of the natural skills can be transferred to the outdoor game.
“Hence we are using the opportunity of the European Championships to the benefit of the outdoor skills of the chosen athletes.”
England squad: Heesh, Payne (both Leicester), Defroand, Martin (Birmingham University), Elliott, Wood (Holcombe), Ansley, Haycroft (Surbiton), Gilbert (Reading), Balsdon (Canterbury), Tennant (Bowdon Hightown), Shipperley (Buckingham).
Scotland captain Leigh Fawcett announces international hockey retirement
Captain Leigh Fawcett led Scotland to retaining their European Championship status last summer. Photo Credit: Ady Kerry
Scotland captain Leigh Fawcett has announced her retirement from international hockey.
The 29 year-old made her international debut in 2009 and won 132 caps for the national side, including 18 as captain.
She led Scotland to retaining its place at the EuroHockey Nations Championship last summer with a 6th place finish in London and also competed in two Commonwealth Games (2010, 2014) for Team Scotland.
Following her decision to step down from international commitments, Fawcett said, “Retiring from international hockey was a difficult decision to make but I feel now is the right time for me personally and also for the squad moving forward.
“We have a lot of exciting new talent coming through the age groups and this next year will be important for the development of the squad looking to compete in 2017.
“I have been fortunate and proud to represent Scotland and to travel the world competing with not only team mates, but with many of my closest friends. Not many people get these opportunities and I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way.”
“It was an honour to captain Scotland for the 2015 programme leading up to the Europeans in London. Without a doubt it was one of my most enjoyable summers and it was great to retain our ‘A’ division status.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with Scottish Hockey and I look forward to supporting the team in the future.”
Leigh Fawcett in action at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Photo Credit: Ian Steele
Scotland Senior Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd added, “The first thing I should really say is that she will be missed. She was great to work with and it was great to see how dedicated she was to become a better player every year. She is most certainly stopping while at her best.
“In her last year she was captain of the team and was a fantastic captain both on and off the field.
“Finding the right words is never easy but I would like to thank her for all her time, commitment and effort over the years and wish her all the best with whatever she decides to do in the future.”
The Grove Menzieshill star will continue to compete domestically in the Women’s National League, with the club in contention for both league and cup honours in 2016
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Chasing the Dream: Meet the USWNT
This roster is made up of rebels. Athletes who aren’t afraid or timid to reach for things labeled as impossible.
This roster is made up of jokesters. Quick with playful banter, the team is left with endless laughter and inside jokes.
This roster is made up of animal lovers, artists, yoga instructors and video gamers.
Meet your U.S. Women’s National Team. As part of our Chasing the Dream campaign, every Wednesday until the opening ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games we’re spotlighting a USWNT player on our social media accounts so you can learn a little more about them. Get inspired, learn a fun fact or two and Chase the Dream with us!
Who's up first? Meet fiery forward and Cherry Hill, N.J. native Michelle Vittese. Vittese has proven her staying power as an aggressive attacker for Team USA.
In a strategic move displaying her dedication and determination to make the London 2012 Olympic Squad, Vittese put her academic pursuits on pause at the University of Virginia to focus entirely on making the National Team. Her decision paid off and as a result she was selected to participate in the pinnacle of sport competitions.
"The Olympic experience has shaped who I am and the person I want to be in the future," said Vittese. "To know you’re playing in the Olympics makes you feel alive – it gives you unparalleled drive and purpose. People ask me it all the time and I cannot put together in a clear sentence the kind of emotions you feel when you hear your national anthem on a world stage like that. It’s indescribable."
Her past experiences with the five rings add extra fuel to Vittese's training. Known on the team as someone who pulls her weight and then some, Vittese is a lifting machine with the muscles to prove it. But there's a deeper reason as to why she challenges herself with heavy lifting than just hitting a new personal record.
"I’m exhausting all of this energy under the bar to push up 100 kg and for what?" asked Vittese. "It’s literally to be the best I can be at every moment. It pushes you to a place where you can break through a wall of fatigue and your mind telling you, 'you’re too tired to go on.' Once you master the mind like that, you're able to do really incredible things."
Keep up with our #ChasingTheDream weekly Wednesday posts to find out the other incredible things the USWNT athletes are up to as they prepare for Rio.
USFHA media release