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News for 03 May 2021

All the news for Monday 3 May 2021

2021 Test matches RSA v NAM (M) - 3 May

Johannesburg (RSA)

1 May 2021     RSA v NAM   7 - 0 (Watch the match replay here)
2 May 2021     RSA v NAM.  2 - 1
4 May 2021 19:00 (GMT +2)     RSA v NAM
5 May 2021 19:00 (GMT +2)     RSA v NAM
7 May 2021 19:00 (GMT +2)     RSA v NAM

No Spectators allowed due to COVID restrictions
All matches to be streamed live on the Watch Hockey App

FIH Match Centre

Namibia fights back in second test, but SA prevail.

Photo – Marcel Sigg, Run, Ride, Dive

The South African and Namibian Hockey Men locked horns for the second time in 24 hours after the first test on Saturday, an unfamiliar feeling after the coronavirus pandemic enforced break in action. The hosts were looking to raise the intensity from the impressive first game, while Namibia were desperate to show an improved performance for their watching supporters at home.

South Africa were a bit sloppy in the opening exchanges, losing ball fairly regularly, while Namibia had definitely come into the game with added intensity and were causing the favourites a number of frustrating moments. The South Africans, playing in their Black Simunye Limited edition kit to stand together against gender-based violence, were able to open the scoring.

A penalty corner was won by the South Africans and when Chad Futcher pulled off a well-executed German, Mustapha Cassiem managed his fourth international goal through the legs of DJ Strauss. You could see the management team were delighted with the well-executed variation.

After the one way show on Saturday, many would have expected the South Africans to take that initiative and strike home the advantage. However, it was not to be as the few forays into the Namibian D offered very little and the ball was turned over on numerous occasions much to the frustration of the coaching staff.

Namibia began to build momentum and eventually were rewarded with a penalty corner. The shot was well hit by Ernest Jacobs, but Estiaan Kriek made the save, unfortunately the rebounding ball struck Jethro Eustice on the line and Brynn Cleak, the man of the match on the day, stood up and finished superbly. South Africa would have their own penalty corner on the verge of half time but were unable to convert and found themselves level at the break.

The African champions came out with renewed vigour in the second half and got an early reward as the early possession created a shooting opportunity for Sam Mvimbi, who put his finish into the bottom corner for his first international goal. There was not much that DJ Strauss could do with the ball flying through a group of players leaving him unsighted.

Once again, the thought would have been that the South Africans would tighten the noose and go for the jugular, but credit to the Namibians who refused to back down and created nuisance consistently. In the final minute of the game trailing by just 1 Namibia were awarded a penalty corner. The resultant penalty corner produced the most dramatic moment of the game.

The push was mis-trapped, but eventually the ball worked its way back to Cleak. The Namibian fired the ball into the D and after a deflection Estiaan Kriek was caught in two minds and got a pad to the ball. The ball fell to Percy Bartham just 4 metres from goal and he looked to tap into an empty net, but somehow the ball struck the crossbar and South Africa held on to a victory.

The third game of the series takes place on Tuesday night at 19:00. The game will be live streamed on FIH Watch Hockey as well as the SA Hockey Association Facebook page.

SA Hockey Association media release

World’s top goal-scorer claims consecutive Player of the Year awards

It’s been two years of records and awards for Vantage Black Sticks striker Olivia Merry.

The 29-year-old was named Black Sticks Women’s 2020 Player of the Year at the Hockey New Zealand Awards on Friday in recognition of her phenomenal goal-scoring form. It was her second Player of the Year accolade after collecting the 2019 award.

In the interrupted 2020 FIH Pro League, Merry claimed 10 goals – including two four-goal efforts – to sit on top of the goal-scoring table for the second year in a row.

Her fourth goal in a 4-1 victory over Belgium on 2 February 2020 took Merry past Anita McLaren for the all-time record of 106 goals for the Black Sticks. The Canterbury striker now sits on 112 goals for her country.

Vantage Black Sticks Head Coach Graham Shaw said Merry had hit incredible heights in the last two years.

“Olivia is one of the hardest working athletes I’ve had the pleasure to work with … and she represents that jersey with such pride.”

“I firmly rate her as the best striker in the world right now.”

Merry was also in scintillating form in 2019 as she again led the FIH Pro League in goals with a whopping 15 to her name. She also had an outstanding Oceania Cup to ensure the Vantage Black Sticks qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

To cap off her 2019 season, Merry was nominated for the FIH Player of the Year award alongside captain Stacey Michelsen.

Under-21 Player of the Year

Meanwhile fellow Black Sticks striker Olivia Shannon followed in Merry’s footsteps winning the Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Under-21 Player of the Year award for the second year in a row.

The Manawatu 19-year-old scored her first goals for her country in 2020, grabbing a double to help the Black Sticks draw with Great Britain 2-2 at the new National Hockey Centre in early February.

Shannon was also in fine form in the new Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League helping her Central Falcons to the inaugural title.

Shaw said that Shannon’s performances in 2019 and 2020 hinted at the sort of the player she was going to be in the future.

“Olivia has a mindset and a work ethic way beyond her years, and an exceptional attitude to get better every day. We look forward to watching her progress.”

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Dragons to face WatDucks in Belgian men’s final next weekend

Both KHC Dragons and Waterloo Ducks lost their second legs of the Belgian men’s semi-finals but won shoot-outs to advance to the final of the season.

For Dragons, they won the first leg a week ago and were taking on an Orée side shy the services of Manu Stockbroekx and Louis Willems.

But the Brussels-side took the lead in the 14th minute via a piece of John-John Dohmen opportunism, picking up the pieces after a save from Tobias Walter.

At the far end, Arthur Thieffry was in great form to keep Dragons at bay but he could not stop Nicolas Della Torre from equalising in the 41st minute with a powerful shot to the roof of the net.

Timothée Clément put Orée back in front following a penalty corner for a 2-1 result. It means a shoot-out in which Thieffry made two early saves but Orée could not see out the result as Walter stepped up, crucially saving in the final round from Tomi Domene to win it for Dragons.

They will try to annex a 10th title against the Waterloo Ducks, next weekend, in Antwerp on May 7 and 8.

The WatDucks won their first leg but were undone 3-2 in the second leg due to two goals from Arthur Verdussen and one from Max Plennevaux for Royal Leopold.

But Dragons steadied themselves to score all four of the shoot-outs they took while Simon Vandenbroucke kept out two of Leo’s efforts to carry the day.

Euro Hockey League media release

Den Bosch secure EHL Women’s ticket and men’s Hoofdklasse playoff place

Den Bosch guaranteed they will have a chance to defend their EHL Women’s title as they topped the Hoofdklasse’s regular season title, taking one of the European tickets on offer for the Netherlands.

It meant they got the win they needed to stay ahead of AH&BC Amsterdam on goal difference after 22 rounds of competition as they beat Laren 6-0.

Before the game, Laren needed a miracle win at Oosterplas to avoid relegation after 32 seasons in succession in the top flight.

And they gave it a good shot in the first half which ended scoreless but Den Bosch swept clear in the second half as Frédérique Matla’s squeeze shot into the top corner set the ball rolling.

Maartje Krekelaar turned in the second and Pleun van der Plas coolly scored the third in the 48th minute. Matla got her second with another assured finish, controlling in mid-circle and pushing into the bottom corner.

Teuntje de Wit and Lidewij Welten completed the win in the closing ten minutes.

Amsterdam, for their part, beat hdm 2-0 with goals from Fay van der Elst and Michelle Fillet. SCHC finished third with a 2-1 win against Victoria with striker GInella Zerbo and Pien Dicke on the mark.

Den Bosch will play hdm while Amsterdam meet SCHC on Thursday in the first leg of the semi-finals with return meetings two days later.

In the men’s competition, Den Bosch completed the semi-final line-up with their 3-0 win over Hurley on home turf. Austin Smith’s penalty corner drag-flick and a typical Jelle Galema striker’s goal making it 2-0 at half-time.

Koen Bijen then powered home the crucial third to keep them out of range of Pinoké in the chase for a playoff place, despite their 8-1 win over Tilburg.

Their reward for their efforts is a semi-final playoff series against Bloemendaal on Wednesday and Saturday with a potential third leg on Sunday.

Third place HC Rotterdam come up against SV Kampong in the other semi-final.

Bloemendaal closed out the regular season with a 2-2 draw against Rotterdam to finish six points clear while Kampong defeated Amsterdam 6-3.

Euro Hockey League media release

German semi-finals take shape after quarter-final thrillers

Mannheimer HC and Rot-Weiss Köln both were taken to a third leg decider but ultimately emerged from the quarter-finals to take their place in the German women’s final four.

For Mannheim, a shoot-out loss to Uhlenhorst Mülheim on Saturday sent their series to a Sunday decider but they were not about to let slip again.

Verena Neumann’s first half goal had them in food shape and second half efforts from Isabella Schmidt, Lucina van der Heyde and Stine Kurz won the day 4-0.

Mannheim coach Niklas Benecke said his side “were more aggressive and had an absolutle will. The girls did much better than they day before and we are looking forward to the final four.”

There, they will meet Rot-Weiss who won twice away from home at UHC Hamburg over the weekend to reach the semi-finals. Saturday’s levelling game was a shoot-out success and they won on Sunday thanks to a 3-2 result.

They trailed 2-1 after 27 minutes but Emma Boermans ensured it was level at half-time and Rebecca Grote’s penalty stroke in the 52nd minute was the weekend’s defining moment.

For their coach Markus Lonnes, he said: “That was a great series and was a lot of fun but an unhappy end for UHC of course. Both teams deserved a finals place. There is no longer any major tweaking to our squad, it is more about recovering and preparing for the semi-finals now.”

The other side of the draw, meanwhile, will see old rivals Düsseldorfer HC meet Club an der Alster. Both finished off their quarter-finals in two legs, beating Harvestehuder THC and Berliner HC on Saturday, respectively.

In the men’s competition, the semi-finalists largely went to the form book. Mannheim eliminated Harvestehuder THC with a 4-2 win; Uhlenhorst Mülheim recorded a 6-4 success against Polo Club and Rot-Weiss Köln were 4-1 victors over Alster having all won their first legs a week earlier.

Berliner HC were the one surprise package as they backed up last week’s first leg win over UHC Hamburg with a shoot-out victory in game two after normal time ended 1-1.

The semi-finals on Saturday pit Rot-Weiss Köln against Berlin and Mülheim face Mannheim.

Euro Hockey League media release

Campo do the Spanish double with both men’s and women’s title

Club de Campo did the Spanish double and secured the top European seeding for next season as their men saw off Atlètic Terrassa 6-3 while the women beat Junior FC 2-1 in their respective finals.

For the men, it was their first ever MGC league title as José Basterra playing a starring role. Atlèti, however, did go in front in the 15th minute via Marc Escudé

Former Polo man Mario Garin kept Campo in the running with a number of great saves and his side then took advantage of that effort to draw level in the 32nd minute via Álvaro Tello.

Pau Cunill, however, got the Terrassa club back in front by half-time from a corner. Basterra replied early in the second half from a corner to make it 2-2 and he repeated the trick to give Pablo Usoz’s side the lead for the first time.

And a dream third quarter continue when Alejandro De Frutos increased the gap after a cross from the right flank, 4-2.

A brilliant fifth goal followed soon after courtesy of Ricardo Sánchez. Cunill did keep their hopes alive with yet another corner with 11 minutes to go but the victory was sealed with an outrageous two-touch goal from Basterra, batting into an open goal from a long overhead from a Campo free-out.

Basterra got the player of the tournament award with Garin the best goalkeeper and Atlètic’s Jordi Bonastre the best Under-23 player.

In the women’s competition, Campo completed their outstanding season by retaining their title with a 2-1 success against Junior.

Begoña Garcia picked off a rebound to lead 1-0 in the sixth minute and they remained just ahead until 17 minutes from the end when Maria López’s second corner goal of the weekend from the corner doubled the difference.

Junior got one back through Laia Vidosa but Campo held on for their double delight. Begoña Garcia took both the best player and top scorer awards.

Junior goalkeeper Jana Martinez and Under-23 player Laia Vidosa won the other awards.

Euro Hockey League media release

Iowa field hockey gets revenge in NCAA Tournament, advances to Final Four

After being swept by Northwestern during the regular season, the Hawkeyes came to play in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Ben Palya

Iowa goalkeeper Grace McGuire practices before the Big Ten field hockey tournament semifinals against No. 1 Michigan on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Wolverines, 0-2. Michigan will go on to play against No. 7 Ohio State in the championships on Saturday. Hannah Kinson

Winning is something Iowa field hockey has been accustomed to throughout this season, but Northwestern was one team Iowa could not get the upper hand on during the regular season.

That all changed in North Carolina Sunday, as the Hawkeyes ousted the Wildcats out of the NCAA Tournament with a 3-1 win.

Making it to their first Final Four since 2008 and 12th in program history was exciting for the team but getting revenge over Northwestern was even sweeter.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times, and I think Northwestern had that pressure on them,” Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “We finally put a full game plan together against them.”

It was a more open game than usual for Iowa, with there being 31 shots between the two sides. Both teams created quality chances throughout and Northwestern looked likely to score several times, but junior goalkeeper Grace McGuire came up with many big saves. Her save in the middle of the fourth quarter to deny Northwestern’s Ana Garcia was huge in preserving the Iowa lead late.

McGuire’s eight saves were a career high and huge in getting Iowa over the hump and into the next round.

“She’s a gamer, and in some of the biggest games she’s showed up,” Cellucci said. “She made a couple of multi-save situations early in the first half, and that set the tone for her.”

Although Iowa gave up more chances than usual, the offense created plenty. Iowa had 18 shots on the day and directed seven of those on target.

The Hawkeyes got off to a quick start thanks to a slick finish from Ciara Smith inside seven minutes. Smith’s goal was her first of the season and a huge confidence boost for the team.

Northwestern forward Bente Beckers responded minutes later, scoring her fourth goal of the season on Iowa. Senior forward Maddy Murphy had a quick response for the Hawkeyes. She notched her fourth of the season on an unassisted goal, giving Iowa a huge 2-1 lead going into the half. The goal was her eighth of the season.

The Hawkeyes came out strong in the second half and were quickly rewarded for their strong start. Murphy and senior midfielder Ellie Holley combined to assist Lokke Stribos off a penalty corner and extend the lead to two goals.

After missing Iowa’s last game due to a non-COVID-19 related illness, Murphy’s presence in the lineup was a welcome addition.

“She’s important in all facets,” Cellucci said. “It’s hard for us to play without Maddy Murphy, so we were glad she was back.”

Iowa held firm in the second half. Even after Northwestern pulled out its goalkeeper late in the fourth quarter, Iowa held firmly onto the 3-1 lead to advance to its first Final Four since 2008.

Iowa will play No. 1 North Carolina in the Final Four Friday. The two sides last met in last year’s NCAA Tournament in the quarterfinals. North Carolina got the 1-0 victory over the Hawkeyes in that match.

The Daily Iowan

Bucknell Field Hockey Falls to No. 2 Michigan in NCAA Quarterfinals

Courtesy of Bucknell Athletics Communications

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Bucknell field hockey team's remarkable season came to an end in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, falling 2-0 to second-seeded Michigan. The Wolverines scored goals in the second and third quarters, and the Bison were unable to recreate their come-from-behind magic from Friday's victory in the first round. Bucknell reached the quarterfinal round after defeating VCU 2-1 in double-overtime two days prior.

Bucknell concludes the spring season 6-4 after beginning the year 0-3. It was a season of firsts for the field hockey program, which captured its first Patriot League Championship, made its first appearance in an NCAA tournament, and collected its first NCAA tournament victory in the team's first spring season.

"I was so proud of this group and so happy for them. They put together a great performance today, and I couldn't have asked for anything more," said head coach Jeremy Cook.

Bucknell held Michigan off the scoreboard for nearly the entire first half as sophomore goalkeeper Clara McCormick turned away two of the Wolverines' six shot attempts. With just over a minute remaining in the second quarter, Michigan's Katie Anderson shot from the top of circle and made it a 1-0 deficit heading into halftime.

The Wolverines were on the board again early in the third quarter. 2:22 into the second half, the Wolverines were awarded a penalty corner, and after an initial diving save by McCormick, junior Kathryn Peterson scored on the second chance shot to make it a 2-0 Michigan lead.

Bucknell applied some solid pressure in the second half and earned a pair of third-quarter penalty corners. The first resulted in a hard shot from Long that required a tough save by the Michigan keeper. Long attempted a shot on the second corner as well, but this time it was blocked.

Bucknell finished with four total shot attempts to Michigan's 10. Michigan led 3-2 in penalty corner opportunities, and McCormick finished with four saves in the cage. Peyton Fischer also saw six minutes in goal.

Leah Fogelsanger, Emily Doyle and Rachel Apa joined Long with one shot apiece.

"We're so close to Bucknell and we had a lot of support from a lot of people at the game. It just felt great to have so many different Bucknell folks standing behind us and on the far side. It really felt a little bit like home," said Cook.

Michigan will move on to face either No. 3 Louisville or UConn in the NCAA semifinals next weekend.

"It's such an abbreviated year. It's spring. We only have about three months before we're coming back and playing this fall," said Cook. "Obviously, our normal springs aren't quite this competitive. To have this kind of competitive success and to have this many competitive opportunities is just an absolute joy."

Looking ahead for the Bison, the team will lose five valuable seniors to graduation before next season, however, the Bison saw plenty of contribution from its younger classes this season and will welcome a talented group of rookies in the fall.

 "In a normal season we would hope to play a team of Michigan's caliber in the first few weeks of the season to get our students an idea of what a real awesome, fast-paced, aggressive, skillful hockey team looks like," said Cook. "To have success is one thing, but to be on the field and to prove to ourselves we can compete with teams like Michigan, VCU, American and Boston is an absolute joy."

Patriot League media release

Louisville field hockey advances to program-first Final Four after win against UConn

Shannon Russell

Louisville's field hockey team is headed to the Final Four for the first time in program history.

The Cardinals shut out Connecticut 1-0 in Sunday's NCAA Field Hockey Championship quarterfinals at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex in College Park, Pa. The victory vaulted them into the national semifinals of a pared-down tournament that started with 12 teams due to the pandemic.

Third-seeded U of L (14-5) faces No. 2 seed Michigan (14-2) Friday at 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The other two semifinalists, No. 1 seed North Carolina and No. 4 seed Iowa, play in Friday's other time slot at the same location.

The national championship is at 7 p.m. Saturday in Chapel Hill.

Louisville Courier Journal

UNC field hockey reaches Final Four for twelfth year in a row

Chapel Hill, N.C. — North Carolina earned a 2-0 win over Stanford Sunday in NCAA Tournament play to earn a spot in the sport's final four for the 12th year in a row and the 25th time in program history.

On their home turf at Karen Shelton Stadium, the Tar Heels (17-1) got goals from juniors Cassie Sumfest and Erin Matson in the win.

They'll resume play on Friday at Shelton Stadium two wins away from a third consecutive NCAA title.

WRAL Sportsfan

'It's going to be a very lonely Games'

By Jugjet Singh

Mirnawan Nawawi

TRIPLE Malaysian Hockey Olympian Mirnawan Nawawi, who has seen it all from Barcelona to Atlanta to Sydney, is feeling sad about Tokyo 2020.

He lamented that the so-called Greatest Show on Earth is going to be eerie, empty and atmosphere-less.

Life will be restricted to a bio-secure bubble, ubiquitous quarantines, endless testing and stringent SOPs.

No Olympic atmosphere and no foreign fans. Even local supporters are not expected to be around, No public places will be open to sports tourists, and for competitors, it's straight from their hotel to venues and back.

That's the price of humanity's long and frustrating war against Covid-19.

"Japan was ready for the Olympics years ago, and everybody was waiting to watch the pinnacle of sporting excellence, organised by a well-known and tested host either on TV on in person at the stadia.

"But right now, it looks like it's going to be a 'lonely' Games for athletes who thrive on cheering crowds to go faster, higher and stronger," lamented former hockey star Mirnawan who played in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

Japan has barred foreign fans from the Tokyo Games, and will decide next month whether to allow local fans into venues.

Athletes must do two Covid-19 tests before boarding their flights to Tokyo. And then there will be a daily drilling of the nostril before training or competition.

"Over the years, some Olympic athletes have gone on to break records with the backing of a cheering crowd, but this time around, there is expected to be total silence at the venues.

"Athletics is one sport which thrives on fan support at the stadium and even hockey is the same. I remember that cheering crowds made me much stronger and determined while rushing into the semi-circle, and the end result was a goal for the nation, " said Mirnawan, who was one of Malaysia's most prolific scorers.

With many countries overwhelmed by the pandemic, there could be athletes not getting the chance to travel to Tokyo due to restrictions beyond their control.

"There are athletes training for years to qualify for the Olympics, priming themselves for the big day. But it looks like with Covid-19 making a comeback, some athletes might never reach Tokyo due to flight restrictions," said Mirnawan.

"This is really sad, and it's no fault of the organisers who have put in all the measures to make sure athletes, officials and volunteers are safe."

Japan has announced a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas in a bid to curb rising Covid numbers, just three months before the Olympics.

For now, 12 athletes and 14 para athletes from Malaysia have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with the total number expected to be 68 athletes, with 35 competing in the Para Games.

They can expect a tough time just to reach their hotel rooms, and there will be isolation. They will miss the Olympic fanfare and the pulsating pulse of the Games.

Mirnawan said: "Without fans and the carnival-like atmosphere associated with such a big sporting event, Tokyo 2020 is going to be a very lonely Games and my heart goes out to the athletes and the hosts."

New Straits Times

The driving force behind our new National Hockey Centre

2019 Pakistan Trophy winner – Sharon Williamson

The Pakistan Trophy is awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the administration of hockey in New Zealand in the previous 12 months.

At this year’s Hockey New Zealand awards on Friday, we acknowledged two Pakistan Trophy winners – both the 2019 and 2020 recipients of this prestigious award due to last year’s ceremony being cancelled.

Sharon Williamson was the driving force behind the delivery of our new premier hockey venue – the National Hockey Centre.

The North Harbour stalwart volunteered thousands of hours of her time across seven years to ensure this world-class facility opened in time for the first 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League matches.

Williamson has had a lifelong involvement in hockey but it is her leadership of the new National Hockey Centre in Albany that is unquestionably her most significant achievement.

This fit-for-purpose facility with five turfs is the home of North Harbour’s growing 8000-strong hockey community, our Vantage Black Sticks squads and top-tier international events.

As Chair of the centre’s Governance Group, many have commented that the centre would not be a reality today without her input, drive and commitment.

Building and maintaining relationships is where Williamson comes into her own, and the strength of the many complex relationships within this project ensured some incredibly tight timeframes were able to be met.

In any conversation about North Harbour Hockey, our 2019 Pakistan Trophy winner would be one of the first mentioned. Her involvement with Harbour has spanned a lifetime as a player, coach, manager, donor, acting Chief Executive, Board member and Harbour Hockey Charitable Trustee.

Quite simply, North Harbour Hockey is Williamson’s second home.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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