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News 23 March 2014

All the news for Sunday 23 March 2014

Kookaburras’ 100% win record

6-2 win over Malaysia; strikes from Budgeon, Ciriello (2), Ford, Beale & Hayward

Sitting at the top of the standings with 15 points, Australia beat Malaysia 6-2 after a hard fought match at the Azlan Shah stadium Saturday evening. The pair will meet again in Sunday's final (11:35pm AEDT / 8:35pm AWST) after Malaysia squeezed into the final by virtue of a superior 'goals for' tally over Korea.

Speaking after the match, Kookaburras Head Coach Ric Charlesworth said, “In the first 50 minutes the team started off well with a 1-0 lead however, the last ten minutes became disappointing with the team structures starting to show gaps, our opponents kicked into gear picking up two easy goals. Large crowds attended tonight to support the hosts Malaysia bringing plenty of noise and cheering along with them. Digressions saw some of our players with yellow cards leaving the squad to a nine man team in the crucial final minutes, which was disappointing.”

Discussing the squad’s preparations for Sunday night’s final, Charlesworth added, “We now go on to watch Korea play South Africa tonight to analyse and prepare ourselves the best we can. The team’s in good spirits and will now head off to recovery and morning training ahead of tomorrow night’s tough match.”

After a slow first half due to Malaysia’s impermeable defence, Nick Budgeon broke the ice off the back of a penalty corner in the 17th minute. With a powerful drag flick that arrowed into the back board, Budgeon’s goal put the first point on the score board for the Kookaburras with a 1-0 lead.

The Kookaburras were unstoppable in the second half with Malaysia unable to shutdown their key forwards resulting in Australia adding another five goals to the score board. Two minutes into the second half Melbourne defender Chris Ciriello swept the ball into the top right of the net giving Australia breathing space with a 2-0 lead.

Russell Ford, Daniel Beale and Jeremy Hayward fired into gear in the 40th minute, scoring three goals four minutes apart pushing the Kookaburras well into the lead, 5-0.Malaysia, still fighting to keep up with the Kookaburras, attempted to keep their defence tight however, Australia’s pressure remained strong with Ciriello coming back for seconds scoring a hard, fast and low ball into the back board from a penalty corner in the 59th minute.

Carrying a 6-0 lead, the Kookaburras seemed to be out of danger however, that was not the case. Malaysia’s fired up striker, Faizal Saari, pushed for two penalty corners in the 61st and 70th minute closing the deficit to 6-2 on the siren.

Kookaburras’ athlete Jamie Dwyer sat the match out after suffering a hamstring injury in Thursday night’s match against Korea.

The result maintains the Kookaburras’ 100% win record. Proceeding through to Sunday night’s final, Australia will face either Malaysia or Korea depending on goal difference off the back of Korea’s Saturday night match against South Africa.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final between the Kookaburras and Malaysia will get underway at 11:35pm AEDT / 8:35pm AWST on Sunday 23 March.

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Ipoh, Malaysia

Nick Budgeon 17 (PC)
Chris Ciriello 38,59 (PC) (PC)
Russell Ford 42 (FG)
Daniel Beale 43 (FG)
Jeremy Hayward 46 (PC)     

Faizal Saari 61,70 (PC)     

Kookaburras squad v Korea
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 25/7
Nick Budgeon (Hobart, TAS) 19/10
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 59/0
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 84/24
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 5/3
Mark Knowles (c) (Rockhampton, QLD) 229/19
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 53/17
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 14/1
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 104/20
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 51/21
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 26/1

Used substitute
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 129/72
Liam De Young (Brisbane, QLD) 301/34
Russell Ford (Melbourne, VIC) 148/72
Rob Hammond (Townsville, QLD) 244/28
Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA) 19/0
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 204/51

Unused substitutes
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 312/203

Standings (correct at time of publication - updated here)
1. Australia (15 points, 5 matches)
2. Malaysia (10 points, 5 matches)
3. Korea (7 points, 4 matches)
4. China (3 points, 5 matches)
5. Canada (3 points, 5 matches)
6. South Africa (3 points, 4 matches)

Kookaburras' Fixtures, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
23 March: Kookaburras v Malaysia - 11.35pm AEDT/8.35pm AWST

Hockey Australia media release

South Korea beat brave SA hockey men in final Azlan Shah Cup round-robin

JONATHAN COOK in Ipoh, Malaysia

South Africa midfielder Tim Drummond retains possession despite the efforts of Byung Jin Jeon as Owen Mvimbi looks on during South Korea's 5-2 win at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia Saturday night. Photo: TIM MYERS (SPORTSMEDIAGROUP.COM.AU)

The South Africa men’s hockey team put up a brave fight Saturday night in the final round-robin match at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia in seeking the point they needed to qualify for Sunday’s bronze medal match but it was not to be as world number seven South Korea fought hard to win 5-2 after leading 2-1 at half-time.

SA will now play Canada, who they edged 3-2 in the round-robin phase, for fifth place at 9.30am (SA time) Sunday (live on SuperSport 7).

The knowledge that Australia had beaten a disappointing Malaysia 6-2 in front of a packed house of singing, chanting home fans meant that South Korea needed to beat SA by four clear goals to reach Sunday’s final – a bridge too far against the determined Africans.

Both Malaysia and Korea ended on the same goal difference and log points, but the host country had scored 17 goals in the round-robin phase to Korea’s 14 - and that was the clincher.

SA drew much praise from the Malaysian fans, who had stayed on in the hope that the men in green and gold would do their country a favour. Malaysia now meet world number one Australia in Sunday’s final (2.30pm SA time, live on SuperSport 6).

South Africa’s Jonty Robinson (ailment) did not play but is likely to be fit for Sunday. The London 2012 Olympian’s absence meaning SA had one less rolling sub on the bench.

Without actually creating tangible goalshot opportunities, Korea controlled much of the early territory and possession but Dylan Swanepoel and then Rhett Halkett made telling 60-metre passes from deep defence that weren’t capitalised on by the high-hanging SA forwards.

However, the game exploded in the 18th minute when Ignatuis Malgraff collected a ball, turned at pace to outwit the Korean defence by running an intelligent line before nailing the ball past keeper Ho Myung Lee (1-0).

With penalty corners a potent Korean weapon, SA could ill-afford to continue the trend of leaking too many soft opportunities. But Korea drew level in the 22nd minute via a textbook PC variation that saw the outstretched stick of Man Jae Jung on the end of it (1-1).

And in the 26th it was Moon Kweon Kang who made no mistake from a PC rebound after a fine initial save by SA keeper and Player of the Match Rassie Pieterse for Korea to go 2-1.

South Africa striker Ignatuis Malgraff takes on Moon Kyu Kang during South Korea's 5-2 win at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia Saturday night. Photo: TIM MYERS (SPORTSMEDIAGROUP.COM.AU)

Near the end of the half, Malgraff made another entry into the strike zone, as did Clint Panther, but their considerable skill in getting there earned no reward.

Soon after the changeover SA withstood consecutive Korean PCs including one excellent glove save from Pieterse but a third soon after (42nd minute) saw a superb variation that was completed by Hye Sung Hyun (3-1).

SA won their first PC in the 45th but it proved fruitless and Korea broke fast to get one at the other end, Jin Byung Jeon hitting the post before firing the next one wide.

In a thrilling final 25 minutes opportunities came and went at both ends, both sides seeking different outcomes – SA at least a draw and Korea victory by four clear goals – and the Asians had to wait until the 68th to get one, a Moon Kyu Kang field goal.

But SA hit back from the re-start and Brandon Panther made it 4-2 with a fine effort in the 69th. In a bid to find the two goals needed for the much-needed draw, SA subbed Pieterse with a field player.

Jong Hyun Jang got Korea’s fifth goal with 20 seconds left (70th) but in the end they needed six to reach the final.

Sunday’s final is live on SuperSport 6 at 2.30pm (SA time). The fifth/sixth place playoff and the third/fourth place playoff are on SuperSport 7 at 9.30am and 12 noon respectively.

South Africa (1) 2 (Ignatuis Malgraff 18th minute, Brandon Panther 69th)
South Korea (2) 5 (Man Jae Jung 22nd minute, Moon Kweon Kang 26th, Hye Sung Hyun 42nd, Moon Kyu Kang 68th, Jong Hyun Jang 70th).

FINAL LOG (all played 5, goal difference, points): 1. Australia GD29, 15pts; 2. Malaysia GD3, 10pts; 3. South Korea GD3, 10pts; 4. China GD-8, 3pts; 5. Canada GD-11, 3pts; 6. South Africa GD-15, 3pts.

SOUTH AFRICA: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng, goalkeeper), Jethro Eustice (SG), Rhett Halkett (Western Province), Robin Jones (KZN Inland), Dylan Swanepoel (WP), Wade Paton (WP, capt), Tim Drummond (KZN Coastal Raiders), Clint Panther (SG), Owen Mvimbi (SG), Lungi Tsolekile (WP), Julian Hykes (SG). Rolling substitutes: Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Taylor Dart (SG), Pierre de Voux (WP), Ignatuis Malgraff (Eastern Province), Brandon Panther (SG), Jacques le Roux (WP, goalkeeper).
Did not play (ailment): Jonty Robinson (NB).

SUNDAY’S PLAYOFF MATCHES PLUS TV - times and channels (all SA time): 5th/6th Canada vs South Africa (SuperSport 7 at 9.30am); 3rd/4th South Korea vs China (SS7 at 12 noon); Final Australia vs Malaysia (SS6 at 2.30pm).

SA Hockey Association media release

Malaysia in the final

AZLAN SHAH CUP: Despite being thrashed 6-2 by Australia

South Africa’s Julian Hykes (right) is blocked by South Korea’s Lee Seung Hoon during their match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday. Pic by Supian Ahmad

MALAYSIA qualified for the final of the Azlan Shah Cup and will meet mighty Australia in Ipoh today.

Even though Malaysia were whipped 6-2 by Australia in the last pool match yesterday, South Korea needed four clear goals against South Africa to pip Malaysia to the final but the Koreans could only win 5-2.

This will be the second consecutive final against Australia. Malaysia lost 3-2 last year.

Malaysia did well to hold Australia to only 1-0 going into the break, but a super effort form the World No 1 saw them score another five goals, before coach K. Dharmaraj's men woke up and narrowed the gap.

The stadium was packed and fans stood shoulder-to-shoulder supporting their men, and Faizal Saari was the toast of the match as his penalty corner brace in the 61st and 70th minute was unprecedented in the tournament.

Australia had whipped every team in Ipoh by averaging six goals per match, and only Malaysia scored two against them. The only other goal the Aussies let in was when they beat South Korea 5-1.

"Entering into the match, I knew there was a big possibility of being whipped by the Australians and I had two choices. One was to play cowardly by defending and moving up only on counter, or play our normal attacking style.

"I chose to let the players attack, and not play cowardly, as we are in this tournament to learn, and there is no use in holding back," said Dharmaraj.

"After today, I believe my players would be much more prepared when we play Australia in the final. This second sparring session (in the final) would also be very valuable against our opening World Cup opponents," said Dharmaraj.

Malaysia will meet the Australians first in the World Cup in the Netherlands.

After being down 1-5, the coach took out goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman and replaced him with Hazrul Sobri, who earned his first international cap against Australia.

"Hafizuddin played well, but I replaced him with Hazrul to give him also a chance to play against Australia and earn his first cap. And I believe he did very well, as the only goal he let in was an unstoppable world class flick to the net," said Dharmaraj.

The Australian goals were scored by Nicholas Budgeon (17th), Chris Ciriello (38th, 59th), Russell Ford (42nd), Daniel Beale (43rd), Jeremy Hayward (46th).

New Straits Times

Malaysia, Australia to meet again in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final

By Aftar Singh

Malaysia's Mohd Azri Hassan tussling for the ball with Australia's Liam de Young in their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match. Australia won 6-2. – RONNIE CHIN/The Star

IPOH: Malaysia qualified for Sunday’s final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament despite being outplayed 6-2 by defending champions Australia at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

It was Malaysia’s first defeat in the tournament but it hardly mattered as they pipped South Korea to the title playoff by scoring more goals, although both had the same goal difference. Both were tied on 10 points following Asia Cup champions South Korea’s 5-2 win over South Africa earlier in the day.

South Korea beat South Africa 5-2 in Saturday’s second match with Jung Man-jae (22nd), Kang Moon-kweon (26th), Hyun Hye-sung (42nd), Kang Moon-kyu (67th) and Jang Jong-hyun (70th) getting on the score sheet while Ignatius Malgraff (18th) and Brandon Panther (68th) replied for the Africans.

The Koreans needed to win by a four-goal margin to edge out Malaysia but the Asia Cup champions could only manage to beat the Africans by a three-goal margin to hand Malaysia a ticket to the final.

On Saturday night, Malaysia did well to concede only one goal to Australia in the first half with Nicholas Budgeon on target in the 17th minute.

But the Australians, who whipped Malaysia 9-0 in a friendly in Perth last month, caught fire after the breather.

The unbeaten Kookaburras were relentless and scored through Chris Ciriello (38th and 59th), Russell Ford (42nd), Daniel Beale (43rd) and Jeremy Hayward (46th).

Malaysia salvaged some pride by scoring two goals in the final nine minutes. Forward Faizal Saari, back in action after serving a one-match suspension, converted two penalty corners in the 61st and 70th minutes.

Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman, who conceded all the nine goals in the friendly, conceded five this time and he was replaced by Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri in the 48th minute. It was Mohd Hazrul’s first international cap.

National chief coach K. Dharmaraj said that they could have played a defensive game against Australia to earn a draw.

“But we did not want to play cowardly. We deployed an open game. Although we lost, I’m happy we managed to score two goals,” said Dharmaraj.

“It is a bonus to reach the final as the MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confederation) had set us a top-three target.

Despite the win, Australian coach Ric Charlesworth was unhappy with his team’s performance.

“We were sloppy in the first half and we also wasted a number of chances. I am also not happy with my defence for conceding two penalty corner goals in the last 10 minutes.”

The Star of Malaysia

Smith, Schulz on target

Hockeyroos take second victory in best of five series against Japan

The Hockeyroos have taken a two game lead in their best of five series against Japan after running out 3-1 winners in Saturday night’s Test in Kalgoorlie, WA. First half goals from Emily Smith and Jodie Schulz*, who found her range with a penalty corner double, gave the Hockeyroos what was ultimately an unassailable lead. Japan’s late consolation goal from Akane Shibata was deserved after a stronger second half showing from the visitors.

Before the match the Hockeyroos received a double boost with the news that National Coach Adam Commens has signed a contract extension that will see him lead the team until the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 and major partner Ausdrill has extended its association with the team.

Despite the victory, Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens believed his side could have enjoyed greater success had they made more of their chances. Afterwards, he said, “In the first half we really dominated the play, we had a lot of opportunities but we were not outstanding in the attacking circle and we could have been up by more at half time. [In the] Second half, I thought we needed to be smarter with how we built the ball into the circle, particularly early on in the second half when the Japanese left three forwards out. We had to take advantage of that and score more goals than we did.

“[It was] Pretty disappointing that we allowed them to score late in the game. We need to execute our basic skills a lot better than we did and I think we can definitely perform better than we showed tonight.

“We’re creating a lot of opportunities, we’re dominating possession and we’re dominating territory on the pitch but you need to convert to goals and whilst it converted to goals last night, tonight we found it a bit more difficult. I thought their ‘keeper played well, I thought we just took a bit too long on the ball inside the circle - that’s disappointing.”

Australia’s women threatened early on with a series of three penalty corners, all of which were defended well by the visiting Japanese. In the 15th minute, Ashleigh Nelson picked out Emily Smith with a quick pass across the face of goal and the Crookwell-born forward swept home emphatically to the give the Hockeyroos the lead. Two minutes later Schulz doubled the Hockeyroos’ advantage with a well-placed penalty corner strike into the bottom right of the goal.

Georgie Parker, playing in her 50th international match for Australia, and Georgia Nanscawen both came close before Schulz, from Wamuran in Queensland, doubled her tally with a powerful flick high into the net for 3-0.

The second half saw a more enterprising Japanese side create a few problems for the Australian defence, most notably midway through the half when goalkeeper Ashlee Wells pulled off a smart glove save to her right. At the other end Yuka Yoshikawa kept Japan in the contest with a string of blocks on the ground. Australia won three penalty corners in the final ten minutes but could not find a way beyond Yoshikawa before a late break upfield saw Akane Shibata slot home a consolation goal.

The teams return to Perth for the final three games of the series, which take place on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings.

Hockeyroos v Japan Test Series
Test 2 of 5

Emily Smith 15 (F)
Jodie Schulz* 17, 29 (PC, PC)

JAPAN: 1 (0)
Akane Shibata 70 (F)

* recently married Jodie Kenny is recorded as playing under her maiden name because, according to the rules of an official Test match, players play under the name in their passport.

Hockeyroos squad v Japan
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 269/64
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 27/1
Casey Eastham (South Coast, NSW) 190/44
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT) 111/18
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW) 83/1
Jodie Schulz* (now married, Jodie Kenny) (Wamuran, QLD) 94/48
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 27/3
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 135/60
Georgie Parker (Berri, SA) 50/12
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 74/29
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC) 25/0
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW) 63/21

Used Substitute
Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD) 188/10
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 28/3
Kirstin Johnson* (now married, Kirstin Dwyer) (Mackay, QLD) 35/2
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW) 83/1
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 111/20
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 20/5

Unused Substitute
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC) 97/0

Remaining Hockeyroos v Japan Fixtures
25 March – 7:30pm AWST / 10:30pm AEDT – Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth, WA
27 March – 5:30pm AWST / 8:30pm AEDT – Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth, WA
28 March – 7:30pm AWST / 10:30pm AEDT – Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth, WA

Hockey Australia media release

Hockey defender Harbir denied CWG accreditation

BANGALORE: Fresh controversy has surrounded the Indian men's hockey team's entry for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow later this year, with the organizers denying accreditation to defender Harbir Singh Sandhu without offering proper explanation.

Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) relations manager Robert Vergouw, in a March 10 communique to Indian Olympic Assocation (IOA) president N Ramachandran and secretary Rajeev Mehta, stated that the 23-year-old defender's request for accreditation had to be refused 'due to a UK Home Office Background Check result.' Harbir's name figured in the 28-member provisional list of men's hockey team for the event.

The IOA re-sent Sandhu's passport and driving licence details to Vergouw but were told that the information was the same as the one the CGA had got earlier. "... Mr Sandhu will not be able to be accredited for the XX Commonwealth Games due to reason more substantial than lack of the appropriate identification," Vergouw explained.

An incensed Hockey India (HI) is now contemplating asking IOA to withdraw the team from the Games as a sign of protest. "This is an insult to budding Indian athletes and should not be accepted quietly and as a routine matter," HI secretary general Narinder Batra said. "No reason is being given. He is a young budding athlete and a good prospect for the 2016 Olympics. He has travelled with the Indian team earlier on tours. I will take up this issue with the HI executive board on March 29."

A resident of Gumtala in Amritsar, Sandhu was a promising talent in the junior national squad and was a member of the team that won the Singapore International Hockey Challenge Cup in 2007. Five years later, the fullback made his debut as the youngest player in the Indian senior team in the 34th FIH Champions Trophy and the Lanco International Super Series against Australia held in Melbourne.

The Times of India

Glasgow CWG organisers denies accreditation to hockey player

NEW DELHI: A miffed Hockey India on Saturday asked the Indian Olympic Association to withdraw the men's hockey team from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games after it came to light that full-back Harbir Singh Sandhu has been denied accreditation by the organisers of the 2014 CWG.

Harbir, whose name featured in the 28-member provisional list of men's hockey team for the Glasgow Games, has been denied accreditation for the mega-event following a UK Home Office Background Check result.

But the decision did not go down well with the HI whose secretary general Narinder Batra on Saturday shot off a letter to newly-elected IOA president N Ramachandran and secretary general Rajiv Mehta and requested them to take up the matter with Glasgow Games organisers.

"One of our shortlisted athletes for CWG in Glasgow has been denied visa. No reason is being given. He is a young budding athlete and our prospect for 2016 Olympics. He has travelled with the Indian team earlier on international tours," Batra wrote in the letter.

"I feel the IOA needs to push and take this matter forcefully with CWG otherwise it my personal opinion that IOA as a matter of protest should withdraw the men's hockey team from CWG. I will take up the issue with HI Executive Board on March 29.

"There is no guarantee that Harbir Singh Sandhu would be in final 16 of CWG but we feel this is an insult for a budding Indian athlete and should not be accepted quietly," Batra said in his letter.

24-year-old Harbir is a promising full-back hailing from Punjab and has been part of the Indian team in many international tours.

The matter came to light after Commonwealth Games Associations Relations Manager, Robert Vergouw wrote a letter to Ramachandran and Mehta on March 10, informing them about the refusal of accreditation to Harbir.

"It is with great regret that I must inform you that one of your delegation members (Harbir Singh Sandhu) has had his request for a Glasgow 2014 accreditation refused due to a UK Home Office Background Check (BGC) result," Vergouw wrote in his communication.

The Times of India

AISPB, CAGI to clash in senior men's hockey final

LUCKNOW: Air India Sports Promotion Board (AISPB) and Comptroller and Auditor General Of India (CAGI) beat Uttar Pradesh and Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) respectively to set up a clash against each other in the summit clash of the fourth Hockey India Senior Men National Championship 2014 (Division A), on Saturday.

While AISPB eked out a hard-fought 2-1 win over UP in the first semi-final, CAGI defeated RSPB 3-2 in the other last four match at Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium here.

Gaganpreet Singh (13th) and Shivendra Singh (68th) were the goal-getters for AISPB, while UP's lone goal was scored by Amir Khan (43rd).

In the next semifinal, CAGI scored through Darshan D S (27th, 34th) and Chandan Singh (64th), while RSPB's both goals came from the sticks of Amit Rohidas (23rd, 55th).

Saturday's Result:

Semifinal 1: Air India Sports Promotion Board 2 Gaganpreet Singh (13th) and Shivendra Singh (68th) vs Uttar Pradesh 1 Amir Khan (43rd).

Semifinal 2: Comptroller and Auditor General Of India 3 Darshan D S (27th, 34th) and Chandan Singh (64th) vs Railway Sports Promotion Board 2 Amit Rohidas (23rd and 55th).

The Times of India

Railways to meet Haryana

Uthra Ganesan

Railways and Haryana will resume their rivalry for supremacy, playing their fourth final in as many years, after winning their respective semi-finals of the fourth Hockey India women’s National championships at the Aishbagh Stadium here on Saturday.

Railways started slow, struggling to break past a stubborn Punjab defence. But once the doors opened, it was a goal-fest, with Railways winning 11-1.

Captain Chanchan was the top-scorer with four goals. The Railways line-up can be mistaken for that of India and played like one.

For the first 27 minutes of the game it took shots at the goal, created penalty corners and restricted the game mainly to the Punjab half — everything except scoring goals.

Punjab goalkeeper Jagdeep Kaur was outstanding. Punjab managed a couple of shots, but half-chances that went waste.

Jasjeet Kaur’s sharp hit from the left just inside the circle in the 27th minute broke the deadlock. In the next eight minutes, Railways slammed in three more, taking control.

Post break, Punjab regrouped, taking advantage of a change of guard in the goal to strike in the 39th minute — the first goal against Railways in the tournament.

Punjab got a stroke 12 minutes later but Gurjit Kaur sent the ball over. Railways then stepped up, slamming in seven more goals to rout its hapless opponent and send a warning to Haryana, which beat Jharkhand 7-3 in the other semifinal.

That game turned around in the last 10 minutes. Jharkhand’s strength was defence and speedy counter-attacks but the team faltered in both.

Jharkhand opened the scoring when Poonam Barla shot to the far end from the left in the 10th minute.

But the defending champion levelled through a penalty corner immediately on counter.

India captain Ritu Rani, playing left out, was the fulcrum of Haryana attack.

The team’s first three goals were all created by her. Jharkhand realized she had to be stopped and thereafter, all its attempts came from the other flank.

Post break, Jharkhand went on attack straightaway, scoring its third goal. Haryana, in contrast, appeared lethargic and off target.

Ritu played a lone hand, attempting repeated shots at the goal but with no support, they mattered little.

Haryana’s fifth goal in the 60th minute changed the game. Ritu’s shot from just inside the striking circle was guided in by Jharkhand’s Poonam and that disintegrated the team.

Jharkhand simply withered away, opening gaps in the defence, losing possession and focus, as Haryana scored two more to complete the formalities.

The results (semifinals): Railways 11 (Chanchan 4, Jasjeet Kaur 2, Poonam Rani 2, Anupa Barla 2, Rani Rampal) bt Punjab 1 (Gurjit Kaur).

Haryana 7 (Navneet Kaur 3, Ritu Rani, Navjot Kaur, Bharti, Manjit Kaur) bt Jharkhand 3 (Poonam Barla 2, Binita Xess).

The Hindu

Haryana and MPHA in final

Defending champion Haryana and last year’s runner-up Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy (MPHA) won their respective semifinal matches against Jharkhand and Odisha and entered the A Division final of the Hockey India fourth junior National women’s championship here on Saturday.

In the first semifinal, Haryana women dominated the proceedings throughout to score a thumping 10-1 victory over an off-colour Jharkhand.

The second semifinal saw a keen tussle. MPHA had to give its best to put it across a fighting Odisha 3-2.

The results: A div.: Semifinals: Haryana 10 (Jyothi Gupta 3, Reet 3, Neha Goyal 2, Pooja Rani, Narender Kaur) bt Jharkhand 1(Anupam Horo); MPHA 3 (Rakhi Prajapati 2, Anuja Singh) bt Odisha 2 (Ambika Toppo 2).

The Hindu

Haryana face MPHA in jr women's national hockey final

MYSORE: Defending champions Haryana defeated Jharkhand while Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy (MPHA) overcame Hockey Odisha on Saturday to set up a clash against each other in the final of the fourth Hockey India Junior Women National Championship 2014 (Division A).

In the first semifinal played at Chamundi Vihar Hockey Ground, Haryana crushed Jharkhand 10-1.

For Haryana, Reet (19th, 40th, 53rd minutes) scored a hat-trick, Jyoti Gupta (5th, 61st) and Narinder Kaur (9th, 69th) score two goals each while the other three goals came from the sticks of Pooja Rani (14th), Neha goyal (49th) and Devika Sen (62nd). Jharkhand's lone goal was scored by Anupam Horo (30th).

Unlike the first semi-final, the second last-four match witnessed a tough fight between MPHA and Hockey Odisha with the former sneaking out a close 3-2 win.

Rakhi Prajapati (3rd, 47th) and Anuja Singh (12th) were the goal scorers for MPHA, while Ambika Toppo (6th, 69 min) struck twice for Hockey Odisha.

The final will played at the same ground tomorrow.

Today's Result: Semifinal 1: Haryana 10 Reet (19th, 40th, 53rd), Jyoti Gupta (5th, 61st), Narinder Kaur (9th, 69th), Pooja Rani (14th), Neha Goyal (49th) and Devika Sen (62nd) vs Jharkhand 1 Anupam Horo (30th).

Semifinal 2: Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 3 Rakhi Prajapati (3rd, 47th) and Anuja Singh (12th) vs Hockey Odisha 2 Ambika Toppo (6th, 69th).

The Times of India

Lalit Kumar Upadhyay: Will work hard to seal my place in the world cup

Suhrid Barua

One of the stars of the recently-held Hero Hockey India League, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay is now keen to build on that good run and put his best foot forward in the ongoing World Cup camp in New Delhi in a bid to seal a spot in the national team for the big-ticket event to be held in The Hague, Netherlands in May-June.

“The 2nd HIL was hugely benefiting for me in terms of gaining exposure playing against some of the big names of world hockey. I’m really chuffed to know that the selectors have taken note of my HIL showing and picked me in the national probables. I will strain every nerve not to let them down,” he says in an exclusive interview.

The 21-year-old Varanasi lad may have scored just one goal for debutants Kalinga Lancers in the 2nd HIL, but the manner in which he created scoring opportunities for his team -- array of passes to his team-mates, delightful and deceitful speed of him -- left nobody in doubt that he is a player who count. No doubt he is a long term material.

And the sprightly youngster attributes his decent HIL performance to Odisha franchise coach Terry Walsh, who is the also the national men’s team head coach.

“Obviously, I have learnt a lot from Terry Walsh having spent a month for so with me during the HIL. He is a great motivator and often emphasizes on how to make the best use of one’s skills. Since he is familiar with my game, I’m sure it will stand me in good stead in the World Cup camp,” he observes.

This is not Lalit’s first tryst with the national team. The youngster made his international debut at the 2008 Eight Nations Tourney in Malaysia before the ‘K Jyotikumaran bribe-taking sting operation’ landed him in a soup for no fault of his.

“To be honest, it was a tough phase for me. I wanted to shun hockey as it was being insinuated that I had greased the palms of people who matter to get myself picked in the national side. My mother kept urging me not to give up something I love the most (playing hockey) and today I owe her a lot for cajoling me to keep my chin up when the going got really difficult. I now just want to bury the past and look forward to the future with optimism,” he says with a tinge of emotion.

Lalit featured in the now-defunct World Series Hockey (WSH) for Bhopal Badshah. His performance in the WSH attracted encomiums from no less than Pakistan hockey legend Shahbaz Ahmed who famously said ‘Lalit plays like me’. “Getting a compliment from a legend like Shahbaz Ahmed makes you feel good, but I’m an extremely down-to-earth person and never got carried away with the praise and took it in my stride,” he puts things in perspective.

India are currently ranked eighth in the world and how does he assess his team’s chances at the 2014 World Cup? “It’s too early to talk about it as we still have more than two months for that. I never believe rankings really matter. Look how India nearly beat Germany twice in the Hockey World League Final in New Delhi or even a side like Argentina which stunned the Netherlands at the same event. It’s all about playing good hockey on any given day,” he puts forth his thoughts.

Lalit, who is on a scholarship contract with Air India, lavishes praise on his employers for backing him to the hilt. “I owe a lot to Air India. No praise can be high for them for the manner in which they kept supporting me all these years. Dhanraj bhai (Pillay) is my role model and I have learnt so much from him while playing for Air India; Sameer bhai (Dad), Arjun bhai (Halappa) have also contributed their bit in helping me grow as a player.

And the parting shot was about cornering glory for the Blueshirts. “I will work hard to seal a place in the final squad and hopefully play a big part for the country in The Hague.”


Tweaking will make hockey commercially viable

Every sport is getting a facelift to attract television audiences - and the latest to jump on the bandwagon is hockey by tweaking its rules to make it viewer-friendly.

The changes will be resisted by purists, but then, the market-driven sport has to survive. And even the paying fans and the pay-channel viewers want something more to make it worthwhile to compel one to watch any sporting encounter, be it between teams or individuals.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has, in the last couple of years, penciled in a few things to bring the fans to the stadium and at the same time make the TV-viewers sit up. It took experimental leagues in Europe and Asia to help FIH finally ring in the changes. Importantly, it is seeing India as a golden goose and is praying that Indian hockey, too, rises in a commensurate manner.

What FIH has come up now is more or less the tweaked rules introduced by the K.P.S. Gill-led Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for the Premier Hockey League (PHL) in concert with sports channel ESPN. They divided the 70-minute game into four quarters of 17.5 minutes each, with the teams getting two time-outs of two minutes each. The Euro Hockey League made it more attractive.

The IHF, in a desperate move to sustain itself, then worked out a World Series Hockey league, but it was naturally killed by the FIH-backed Hockey India League (HIL).

The leagues world over gave the sport the badly needed financial fillip, though money-wise the HIL is the most attractive. FIH saw merit in the exercise and by reducing the duration of the game to 60 minutes from 70 and dividing it into four quarters of 15 minutes each, it has now made hockey a truly TV sport, or so it thinks, by quickening the pace of the game.

The 60-minute game and the time-outs should be of some help to the Indians who are invariably found gasping for breath in the last 10 minutes and squandering advantages and handy margins of lead. But then, these things are more psychological than real. Ultimately, the team has to prove itself superior to its opponent, be it 60 minutes or 70.

Every time a rule was changed or a new one added, except when synthetic turf was introduced, the experts felt the changes would help teams like India which depend more on their skills than sheer speed.

India's coach Terry Walsh thinks that the 60-minute game will help sides to field their best players for a longer time whereas Hockey India's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans is more realistic in saying that the changes are effected for commercial purposes, in other words, to squeeze in more TV ads during the time-outs. That's the bottom-line and there is nothing to be apologetic about.

Sports administrators as well as TV channels have realised that they are in the business of entertainment and the viewers need to be pampered with something extra by way of discussions and statistics, without disturbing or diluting the excitement of the sport. The digital world and FM radio are pressuring TV. The Lady Gagas and Madonnas and the ubiquitous cheer girls are a must at any major sporting event.

Badminton, table tennis and volleyball have brought about changes in their formats and points system to make them TV viewer-friendly. Even tennis toyed with the idea of doing away with the second serve to quicken the pace of the game.

The tennis stalwarts have a grouse against slowing down of even surfaces; they feel the courts at the four Grand Slams have a similar look. If the hardcourts in Melbourne and New York are getting slower and slower, the grass at Wimbledon or the clay at Roland Garros are faring no better. A players' debate is on to rescue the sport. Gone are the days when baseliners used to skip Wimbledon and the volleyers the French Open. The authorities may reject the charge, but the long-drawn-out singles matches are a slow poison for the sport.

Even India's most popular sport, cricket, is unable to get the mix well. The purists detested the post-match jam sessions in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which forced players to stay awake well into the wee hours after a punishing night game - whatever be the outcome of the probe into betting and spot-fixing.

Surely, even players, say the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, might not have been comfortable with the nocturnal binges, which were essentially to entertain the franchise owners and their socialite clientele. For moneybags, sport and entertainment are two sides of the same coin.

The Times of India

Canterbury secure Europe spot

Canterbury celebrate. Photo by Peter Smith (Smifsports).

CANTERBURY finished top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division by a point and secured their place in Europe next season after beating Clifton 2-0, courtesy of goals from Nikki Lloyd and Kim Young.

Despite a resounding 5-1 win over Bowdon Hightown, Reading finish in second place and must now look to the play-offs to pick up a spot in Europe.

Reading knew that they needed to win to stand any chance of landing top spot and they got off to the worst possible start as Nat Wray put Bowdon ahead inside seven minutes.

But they soon got on top and drew level through Emma Thomas just before the half hour mark. Just two minutes later, Rebecca Halle put Reading in the lead and then a goal from Sam Quek and a brace from Jess Brooker wrapped up the victory.

Surbiton and Clifton had already made sure of their play-off berths but still wanted to end the league campaign with good results.

While Clifton lost to Canterbury, Emily Atkinson and Giselle Ansley got Surbiton’s goals in a 2-0 win over Beeston.

Olton and West Warwickshire lost 4-0 to Leicester as Hannah Fair found the net with two goals from penalty corners.

In the other game of the day, Sutton Coldfield went down 2-1 to University of Birmingham. Sutton Coldfield were already confirmed as the relegation play-off side but a double from Olivia Chilton inflicted their 15th defeat of the season.

Holcombe are runaway champions of the Investec Conference East and they ended with a 5-0 win over St Albans. Chelmsford avoid automatic relegation after beating Wimbledon 1-0, although they still have to go through relegation play-offs. Old Loughtonians are relegated.

Brooklands Poynton needed to win to ensure the Investec Conference North title and they did it in style as a Laura Evans brace helped them to a 4-1 win over Kendal. Boots go into the relegation play-offs and Doncaster are relegated.

Buckingham were crowned as Investec Conference West champions last week and they signed off with a 3-0 win over Gloucester City. Barnes must battle relegation and Exe go down automatically.

* Olton & West Warwicks were unable to fulfil the above fixture and therefore had to forfeit the game. The England Hockey League Committee have carefully considered this in line with league regulations 12 and 13.1.1 (see below). They have taken into account a statement issued by Olton and have also received representation from Canterbury.

The Committee agreed that the score line of the game should be recorded as Canterbury 12 – 0 Olton.

In doing so the Committee considered a range of points including, the previous score between the two teams, the highest number of goals that Olton had conceded in a match and the number of goals conceded by Olton during the season. Had Olton fulfilled the fixture they would not have been at full strength.

The Committee also agreed to defer discussion and imposition of any other penalties until they meet on 1 April.


If a team fails to honour a fixture or forfeits a game, it shall be deemed to have lost 0-3 and the opposing team shall be awarded three points and be deemed to have won the game 3-0. This is subject to any remission or further penalty which the EHLC may impose.


13.1.1 For breaches of any or all of these Regulations, the Player Code of Conduct, the Club Code of Conduct and/or the EHB Code of Ethics, the EHLC shall at its discretion have the right to impose any penalty, including, but not exclusively, the deduction of points, fines and suspension of players, and has power to make teams play matches away from their home venue.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the Investec Women’s Hockey League and the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available to purchase for both weekends, please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 22 2014):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Surbiton 2, Beeston 0; University of Birmingham 2, Sutton Coldfield 1; Olton and West Warwickshire 0, Leicester 4; Reading 5, Bowdon Hightown 1; Clifton 0, Canterbury 2.

Investec Women's Conference East: St Albans 0, Holcombe 5; Harleston Magpies 1, East Grinstead 1; Chelmsford 1, Wimbledon 0; Old Loughtonians 0, Ipswich 2; Horsham 1, Sevenoaks 1.

Investec Women's Conference North: Kendal 1, Brooklands Poynton 4; Loughborough Students 1, Boots 0; Ben Rhydding 2, Doncaster 2; Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1, Wakefield 3; University of Durham 2, Stourport 1.

Investec Women's Conference West: Buckingham 3, Gloucester City 0; Swansea Cith 0, Slough 1; Exe 2, Barnes 3; Trojans 2, Isca 1; Oxford Hawks 3, Bristol Firebrands 2.

England Hockey Board Media release

Kelburne on the march to Grand Final

Michael Bremner of Glynhill Kelburne battles for the ball. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Glynhill Kelburne have advanced to the Aberdeen Asset Management National League Grand Final courtesy of a 3-1 win over Grange at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

Matt Connor gave Grange the early advantage in the sixth minute after he fired the ball home after Glynhill Kelburne ‘keeper Mark Fulton had parried the initial penalty corner drag-flick.

However, the defending champions hit back immediately when Johnny Christie beat Sean Hadfield with an exquisite little dink over the Grange goalkeeper to make it 1-1.

In the 29th minute, Kelburne were awarded a penalty corner and Scott Sutherland stepped up to slam home the ball for a 2-1 lead.

Eight minutes into the second half, player-coach Mark Ralph gave his side a 3-1 lead, firing a drag-flick into the top right hand corner and sending Glynhill Kelburne to the Grand Final.

In the other Top 4 match, Western Wildcats defeated local rivals Hillhead with a 3-2 win.

Dougie Simpson and Gary Maitles gave Wildcats a 2-0 lead at the interval, before Alan Meikle dragged Hillhead back into the match two minutes after half-time.

Western Wildcats progress to the next round of the play-offs at the expense of Hillhead. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

However, Scott McCartney fired Wildcats back into a two goal lead three minutes later following a penalty corner to make it 3-1.

Andrew Hilton made it 3-2 with a penalty corner effort in the 49th minute, but it was Western Wildcats who hung on to progress.

Hillhead will now play Grange tomorrow in the ‘second bite’ fixture at Peffermill (3.30pm).

In Pool A of the Bottom 8 Play-Offs, Grove Menzieshill came back from being 3-1 down against AAM Gordonians to clinch a 3-3 draw.

Grove Menzieshill came back from 3-1 down to clinch a draw against AAM Gordonians. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Craig Falconer broke the deadlock for the Taysiders in the eight minute to give Chris Anderson’s side a 1-0 lead, before Gordonians hit back with three goals, including a double from Ian Coffey and a Martin Babicky strike.

However, captain Gavin Tomlinson pulled his side back into the contest from the penalty spot in the 60th minute before Paul Martin equalised in the 69th minute.

Edinburgh University were comfortable winners over Watsonians with a 5-2 success in Stirling.

Goals from Alastair Wood, Ian Moodie, Graham Moodie, Koen Waasdorp and Robbie Greenhalgh ensured the students got off to a good start in the play-offs. Watsonians’ strikes came from Thomas Swarbrick and Fraser Sands.

Meanwhile, in Pool B, Inverleith have started their play-off campaign strongly with a convincing 4-1 win over PSL Team Sport Clydesdale.

Stuart Hatton opened the scoring for the Edinburgh side shortly before half-time, netting from open play in the 30th minute.

However, the Titwood outfit responded in the 42nd minute courtesy of a penalty corner strike from Murray Collins to make it 1-1.

Inverleith were then awarded a penalty corner in the 50th minute, with Scotland international Adam MacKenzie stepping up to rattle home an expert drag-flick.

Five minutes later, Hatton grabbed his second of the match to make it 3-1 before MacKenzie wrapped up the scoring in the 63rd minute, again from the penalty corner set-piece to complete an excellent performance.

Equally, Division Two champions Uddingston have made an equally impressive start to their play-offs campaign, giving their promotion push a huge boost as they defeated Dundee Wanderers 4-1 at Forthbank.

Uddingston's Josh Cairns scored two goals to give his side a great start to the play-offs. Photo Credit: Andy Lovat

Josh Cairns completed a double, together with goals from Martin Lorimer and Johnny Roy. Bobby Ralph got the consolation goal for the Dundonians.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Grove Menzieshill ease into Grand Final spot

Grove Menzieshill reached the Grand Final after defeating Dundee Wanderers. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Grove Menzieshill defeated local rivals Dundee Wanderers to reach the Aberdeen Asset Management Women's National League Grand Final at Glasgow National Hockey Centre next Sunday.

The defending champions won 5-2 courtesy of a hat-trick from Ailsa Wylie, and goals from Ali Bell, Louise Carroll.

Jess Ross and Vikki Bunce scored the two goals for Wanderers.

Edinburgh University progress to the next stage of the play-offs after a heard fought 3-1 win over Milne Craig Clydesdale Western.

Louise Fleming got the students' opening goal in the 24th minute, before Fiona Bruce equalised two minutes from half-time to leave the teams level at the interval.

A close second half ensued, but it was the University side who prospered courtesy of two penalty set-pieces from Becky Dru; one a penalty corner in the 61st minute before she dispatched a penalty stroke two minutes from time.

Milne Craig Clydesdale Western now play Dundee Wanderers tomorrow at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

Edinburgh University striker Sam Judge in action at Glasgow National Hockey Centre. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

In Pool A, there was controversy right at the end of the game between Glynhill Kelburne and Western Wildcats as a penalty corner from Stevie McInally in the very last minute of the match secured a 1-0 win for the Paisley side.

Glynhill Kelburne celebrate their last minute winner against Western Wildcats. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

GHK Ladies ensured a solid start to their play-offs campaign courtesy of a 2-0 win over AAM Merlins Gordonians at Mayfield Sports Centre. Goals game from Fiona Donald and Lindsey Barlas.

CALA Edinburgh and Watsonians shared eight goals at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, with both sides taking a point apiece after a 1-1 draw in Pool B.

CALA v Watsonians

Captain Heather Tait scored the opener for Watsonians in the fifth minute, before goals from Emma McGregor and Amy Brodie gave CALA Edinburgh a 2-1 lead going into the half-time interval.

Nicki Black hit back for Watsonians shortly after the interval, only for Millie Brown to restore CALA’s lead at 3-2 in 47th minute.

Black grabbed her second of the match two minutes later to restore parity at 3-3, only for Amber McNeill to score from the penalty spot in the 56th minute.

With three minutes to go, Watsonians pulled themselves back on level terms for the third time in the game when Nikki Stobie made the final score 4-4.

Elsewhere, Grange EL narrowly lost out to Division Two champions Hillhead Ladies in Dundee. The goal came from the penalty spot, Shona Oliphant the scorer.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

IHL Round 4 Results

The penultimate round of the Irish Hockey League pool stage took place today as teams battle it out to secure a 1st / 2nd berth in the league pools to guarantee a spot in the semi finals on 5th / 6th April. Top of Men's Pool A is Pembroke Wanderers & Lisnagarvey; Pool B has Monkstown and Banbridge sitting pretty so far although Banbridge's round 4 match is fixed for tomorrow (Sun) against Annadale; Women's Pool A sees Railway Union & UCD occupying the top two spots while Pool B has Pegasus & Loreto in 1 & 2 all before the final league round of the IHL next weekend.

Pool A MEN

Saturday 22nd March

14.30 Cookstown 5-2 Instonians

Cookstown: S Smyth; E Butler x2; S Todd; R Miller

Instonians: J Corry; OG

14.45 Lisnagarvey 3-1 Three Rock Rovers

Lisnagarvey: A Williamson; D Buser; J Bell

TRR: M Darling

15.30 Pembroke W 5-2 Cork Harlequins

PW: S McKeever; A Sothern x2; M Elliott; C Harte

Cork HQ: J Hobbs; D Hobbs

Pool B MEN

Saturday 22nd March

15.00 Corinthian 3-9 Monkstown

16.15 UCD v Cork C of I

Sunday 23rd March

13.30 Annadale v Banbridge

Pool A.

Saturday 22nd March

13.00 Greenfields 0-6 Railway Union

RU: E Smyth x 3; S Dooley; E Lucey; S Hawkshaw

14.30 UCD 3-1 Lurgan

UCD: J Deacon; K Mullan; C Hill

Lurgan: Best

15.00 Hermes 5-0 Catholic Institute

Hermes: M cGilp; Quinlan; Horan; Connery; Twomey

Pool B

Saturday 22nd March

13.00 Pegasus 2-1 Ards

Pegasus; Ferris; Maguire

Ards: Brown

14.30 Ballymoney 0-2 Loreto

Loreto: R Keegan

14.30 Old Alex 1-2 Cork HQ

Old Alex; S Scott Nielsen

Cork HQ: L Mullins; C Sargent

The two top teams in each pool qualify for the semi finals (Saturday 5th April 2014) where the Winner from Pool A plays the Runner-up from Pool B and the Winner from Pool B plays the Runner-up from Pool A. The winners of which go onto play in the final (Sunday 6th April 2014)

SEMI FINALS Saturday 5th April
10.30am (Ladies) 12.30pm (Ladies)
15.00pm (Men’s) 17.00pm (Men’s)

FINALS Sunday 6th April
13.30 Women's Final
16.00 Men's Final

Irish Hockey Association media release

Defending champs Perak made to fight for win

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Perak had to fight back from a goal down to beat hosts Perlis 2-1 in the opening Group A match of the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championships in Kangar.

Perlis took the lead in the ninth minute through a field goal by Mohamed Faiz Basri. Mohamed Nursyamme equalised for Perak in the 53rd minute and Mohamed Najme netted the winner from a penalty corner flick in the 64th minute.

Perak assistant team manager Hairul Nizam Rani was naturally not happy with his team’s lacklustre show especially after getting 13 penalty corners and managing only to score one.

“We missed so many goalscoring chances. I hope to see better penalty corner executions in our next game. We have almost half of last year’s title-winning players in the present team so they should use their experience to keep up the winning momentum,” said Hairul.

In another Group A match, Selangor whipped Negri Sembilan 6-1.

Mohamed Kalis scored a brace while the other Selangor goals came from Umar Hakim Ahmad, Mohamed Fikri, Mohamed Syazwan and Mohamed Nurasyraf.

Mohamed Hilmi scored the consolation goal for Negri.

Earlier, Kedah and Pahang played to a 3-3 draw in another Group A match while in Group B, Terengganu defeated Sabah 5-2.

Meanwhile, the organisers were forced to postpone Johor’s opening matches in both the boys’ and girls’ competitions following their late arrival.

Johor were down to play former champions Kuala Lumpur and Pahang in the boys’ and girls’ category respectively on Saturday. The KL-Johor game will be played on Sunday while the girls’ match will be played on Tuesday.

The Star of Malaysia

Winning start for champs

By Fadhli Ishak

DESPITE struggling to adapt to the conditions, defending champions Perak opened their campaign at the Milo-MHC National Under-16 tournament with a deserved win over hosts' Perlis.

Perak, who were awarded 15 penalty corners in the group A encounter, went into the break trailing 1-0 to the home side but second-half strikes from Muhammad Najme Ahmad Hayazi (penalty corner) and Muhammad Nur Syahmi Zulkifli (field goal) were enough to give them a 2-1 win at the Kangar Stadium.

Coach Mohd Azlan Ahmad said his charges will have to improve on their finishing and mental focus before their next game against Pahang today.

"The boys took some time to adapt to playing on the newly laid turf here which was not really smooth but they did well to come back in the second-half," said Mohd Azlan.

Perak had broken Kuala Lumpur's domination of the event last year when they took the title with a 2-1 win over Malacca in the final.

KL did not take to the pitch yesterday as their opponents Johor arrived late for the competition.

They will open against Johor today but the reshuffle will make it physically tougher for the five-time champions as they now have to play three matches in as many days.

Results -- Boys' Group A: Kedah 3 Pahang 3, Selangor 6 Negri Sembilan 1, Perak 2 Perlis 1; Group B: Penang 3 Kelantan 1.

Girls' Group A: Terengganu 4 Kedah 1; Group B: Negri Sembilan 9 Perlis 1, Kelantan 4 Kuala Lumpur 2.

Today -- Boys' (Kangar Stadium): Group A: Kedah v Negri Sembilan (7.15am), Perak v Pahang (9am), Perlis v Selangor (3.15pm); Group B: Kuala Lumpur v Johor (2.15pm), Terengganu v Kelantan (5pm).

Girls' (SMK Kuala Perlis) -- Group A: Kedah v Pahang (3.15pm), Penang v Terengganu (5pm); Group B: Selangor v Kelantan (7.30am), Kuala Lumpur v Negri Sembilan (9am).

New Straits Times

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