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News 24 March 2014

All the news for Monday 24 March 2014

Australia lift eighth title with eight goals

Australia outclassed Malaysia 8-3 to lift their eigth title at the Azlan Shah Cup tonight. It was short of a master class performance but Australia punished Malaysia in the penalty corner department with Chris Cirello netting four of the goals.

Malaysia were at sea in the opening first quarter as the Aussies ran rings around them. It could however be attributed to final jitters as most players were playing in a major final for the first time.

Chris Cirello opened scoring off a penalty corner in the 6th minute before Eddie Okenden doubled the advantage in the 11th minute. Cirello then made it 3-0 in the 17th minute before Malaysia woke up to play hockey.

and Malaysia reduced the deficit as Ahmad Kazamiril shot was saved by keeper Andrew Charter but Shahril Saabah slammed home the rebound.

The Aussies were then given anxious moments by the Malaysians but both teams could not find the mark despite being awarded penalty corners.

Malaysia got their second in the 42nd minute via a Rashid bahrom deflection but Cirelo scored two minutes later to make it 4-2.

Nicholas Budgeon made it 5-2 in the 46th minute before Cirello scored his fourth and Australia's sixth in the 53rd minute.

Matt Ghodes made it 7-2 in the 65th minute before Fitri Saaari made it 7-3 two minutes later.

tristan White scored his first senior international goal in the 68th minute to make it 8-3, a most one sided final in recent times.

Ealier in the bronze medal playoff Korea scored a penalty corner seconds from time to register a 3-2 win over China while Canada took fifth after a 2-0 win over South Africa

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site

Ciriello seals cup

Chris Ciriello steals the show with four goals in Azlan Shah Cup Final

Photo Source: Tim Myers – Sportsmedia Group

Set piece supremo Chris Ciriello’s four goals helped the Kookaburras to an unprecedented eighth Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title on Sunday night as Australia ran out 8-3 winners over hosts Malaysia.

Played at a frenetic tempo in front of a capacity partisan crowd, the match burst into life in the sixth minute when Victorian Ciriello powered home the game’s first penalty corner. Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden doubled the Kookaburras’ advantage shortly afterwards and by midway through the first half Australia were three goals up, Ciriello having netted his second.

Goals either side of half time saw Malaysia fight their way back into contention as first Shahril Saabah and then, somewhat controversially, Rashid Baharom got the 12,000 strong crowd on its feet. Baharom’s goal was initially disallowed but after consultation between the two umpires was eventually awarded.

No sooner, however, had Malaysia got to within one goal than the Kookaburras responded. Ciriello completed his hat-trick with his 75th international strike, extending the Kookaburras’ lead to 4-2. And just four minutes later, Nick Budgeon maintained his impressive record of scoring in every Australian match in the competition firing home low into the goal for 5-2. It was his eighth of the tournament and ensured he walked away with the award for top goal scorer.

As the match entered its final stages the Kookaburras’ piled on yet more pressure. Ciriello bagged a fourth penalty corner goal with Matt Gohdes and Tristan White adding to the Australian tally either side of Fitri Saari’s late strike. It was Gohdes’ 25th international goal and White’s second. 

Afterwards, Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth said, “We played pretty well today, we were solid all the way through. I felt that we controlled the game despite a period in the second half when it got pretty tense. Their first goal came against the run of play and their second was a bit controversial.”

Charlesworth himself played in the inaugural edition of the prestigious invitational tournament back in 1983, the first time Australia lifted the trophy. Explaining his motivation to return each year he said, “You only have to look at tonight. Tonight we played in a full stadium with so much noise you couldn’t hear one another. It’s good practice for the World Cup.”

With the World Cup in The Hague now 69 days away Charlesworth said there is still plenty of opportunity for athletes to book their place on the plane to Europe, adding, “We’ve got a dozen or so players at home who are still very much in contention. We’ve got seven weeks of hard training and it’s very competitive for places.”

The Kookaburras will face New Zealand’s Black Sticks in two Test matches in Perth on 17 and 19 April. The matches will form the final stage of selection to the World Cup squad, which will be announced at the end of April.

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Ipoh, Malaysia

Chris Ciriello 6,17,42,52 (PC,PC,PC,PC)
Eddie Ockenden 11 (F)
Nick Budgeon 46 (PC)
Matt Gohdes 65 (F)
Tristan White 68 (F)

Shahril Sabbah 24 (PC)
Rashid Baharom 40 (F)
Fitri Saari 67 (F)

Kookaburras squad v Malaysia
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 26/7
Nick Budgeon (Hobart, TAS) 20/11
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 60/0
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 130/76
Liam De Young (Brisbane, QLD) 302/34
Russell Ford (Melbourne, VIC) 149/72
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 85/25
Mark Knowles (c) (Rockhampton, QLD) 230/19
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 205/52
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 15/1
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 105/20

Used substitute
Rob Hammond (Townsville, QLD) 245/28
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 6/3
Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA) 20/0
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 54/17
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 52/21
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 27/2

Did not play
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 312/203

Final Standings
1. Australia
2. Malaysia
3. Korea
4. China
5. Canada
6. South Africa

Kookaburras' Upcoming Fixtures
17-19 April – Kookaburras v New Zealand (Two Tests) (Perth, Australia)
24-25 May – Kookaburras v England (Two Tests) (England)
31 May – 15 June – Men’s World Cup (The Hague, Netherlands)
23 July – 3 Aug – Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, Scotland)
13-21 December – Men’s Champions Trophy (Bhubaneswar, India)

Hockey Australia media release

Kookaburras signal World Cup intent

Australia remain unbeaten and win unprecedented eighth title at Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

The final day of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2014 saw Australia confirm their position as number 1 ranked team in the world. After getting through the round robin games without losing a game and only conceding 3 goals – while scoring 31 goals – the Kookaburras finished their campaign with an 8-3 victory over fellow World Cup nation Malaysia.

Hero for the Australian team was Chris Ciriello, who scored four goals, with Eddie Ockenden, Nick Budgeon, Matt Gohdes and Tristan White all getting on the scoresheet. Malaysia's goal-scorers were Shahril Saabah, Rashid Baharom and Fitri Saari.

Although there is still more than two and a half months to the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, the tournament results will have sent a signal through the hockey world as to Australia's intent.

While the team sheet for the Hague is slowly filling up, coach Ric Charlesworth said there is still plenty of opportunity for athletes to book their place on the plane. "We've got a dozen or so players at home who are still very much in contention. We've got seven weeks of hard training and it's very competitive for places."

In the other games to decide final placings, Korea beat China in an exciting 3-2 match; while Canada defeated South Africa 2-0.

FIH site

Australia just too good

AZLAN SHAH CUP: Malaysia thumped in one-sided final


Australia players celebrate with the Azlan Shah Cup after beating Malaysia in the final in Ipoh yesterday. Pic by Supian Ahmad

MALAYSIA gave away a total of 11 penalty corners and went down 8-3 to World No 1 Australia in the final of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.

Five of the Aussie goals were off penalty corners, with Chris Ciriello scoring four, to claim their eighth gold medal.

However, coach K. Dharmaraj's men deserve credit, as from the six goals that Australia let in throughout the tournament, Malaysia scored five. The other one belonged to South Korea.

It was a mismatch from the start as World No 1 Australia went for an early kill, and it was only 11 minutes into the match when they took a 2-0 lead.

The first penalty corner saw Ciriello scoring off a low push to the board in the fifth minute, and like synchronised clockwork to their jersey numbers, No 11 Eddie Ockenden scored a field goal in the 11th minute.

By the 17th minute, Australia had almost sealed the match when Ciriello scored his brace off a penalty corner, for his fifth goal of the tournament.

Malaysia could only defend for the next five minutes, as even the task of taking the ball out of their own semi-circle started to look like an impossible task.

However, they got a break in the 23rd minute when Firhan Ashaari was brought down, and the first penalty corner was awarded. Faizal Saari took the flick, and when it bounced off goalkeeper Andrew Charter, Shahril Saabah hammered home the rebound which narrowed the gap.

Australia went on a rampage again, but goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman was better prepared this time, and at the break, Australia only had a two-goal lead.

Malaysia started aggressively looking to narrow the gap, and found their second penalty corner in the 37th minute, but Faizal's shot was easily stopped.

The second goal did come their way with Izzat Hakimi taking a free hit from outside the semi-circle, and Rashid Baharom connecting home in the 40th minute, after which the crowd went wild with celebrations.

But two minutes later, Ciriello broke their hearts for the third time, as he nailed a hat-trick of penalty corner goals.

Again, Australia took the lead at 4-2, but there was still 26 minutes to play, with Malaysia being very generous in giving away penalty corners.

It was penalty corner number nine, when another low flick saw Nicholas Budgeon's ball trickle and gently slam onto the board to make it 5-2.

The 10th penalty corner saw Ciriello score his fourth goal in the 52nd minute, while Matt Ghodes scored No 7 in the 65th minute.

Fitri Saari made the score respectable with a field goal in the 67th minute, but Tristen White made it 8-3 in the 68th minute.

RESULTS -- Final: Australia 8 Malaysia 3; Third-Fourth: South Korea 3 China 2; Fifth-Sixth: Canada 2 South Africa 0.

ROLL OF HONOUR -- Player-of-the-tournament: Mark Knowles (Aus, Captain); Fairplay: South Korea; Man-of-the-Match: Chris Ciriello (Aus); Best Goalkeeper: Lee Myung Ho (Kor); Top Goalscorer: Nicholas Budgeon (Aus, 8 goals).

New Straits Times

Australia win Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

By Aftar Singh

Malaysia's Mohd Fitri Saari is challenged for the ball by Australian Robert Hammond in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final. Australia won 8-3.

IPOH: Malaysia’s hopes of a high-five finish ended in tears as they again played second fiddle to world champions Australia in the 23rd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament.

Malaysia were a huge letdown in the final, conceding 11 penalty corners, en route to being outplayed 8-3 by Australia in the final at the Azlan Shah Stadium on Sunday.

It was Australia’s eighth title since the tournament’s inception in 1983. They were also champions in 1983, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013.

For Malaysia, it was their fifth silver medal in the tournament. They finished runners-up in 1985, 2007, 2009 and 2013.

In Sunday’s final was a nightmare for goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman, who made his debut in the tournament, as he let in five penalty corners.

Defender Chris Ciriello was the hero for Australia, netting four penalty corner goals in the fifth, 17th, 42nd and 52nd minutes. He was also named man-of-the-match in the final.

Eddie Ockenden (11th), Nicholas Budgeon (46th), Matt Gohdes (65th) and Tristan White (68th) netted the other goals for Australia. Budgeon was also named top scorer in the tournament with eight goals.

Malaysia’s goals were scored by Mohd Shahril Saabah (24th), Mohd Rashid Baharom (40th) and Mohd Fitri Saari (67th).

Malaysia’s coach K. Dharmaraj was annoyed with his players, especially the defenders.

“Our defence was shaky and it resulted in us conceding five goals from penalty corner attempts,” he said.

His Australian counterpart Ric Charlesworth was delighted with his team’s performance.

“Our penalty corner conversion rate was quite good. It was a good final. I’m happy to win our eighth title here,” he said.

The defeat showed the huge gulf in class between Malaysia and Australia. This is worrying indeed as Malaysia will face Australia in their opening Group A match of the World Cup Finals in The Hague, Holland, on May 31.

On Sunday night, more than 12,000 fans turned up to cheer the national team on but Malaysia, who lost 6-2 to Australia in their round-robin match on Saturday, were simply out of their depth.

Malaysia last beat Australia in the tournament back in 1996, winning 3-1 when it was held in Penang.

Meanwhile, Asia Cup champions South Korea edged China 3-2 in a closely contested match to finish third in the tournament.

Jang Jung-hyun was the toast for South Korea as he took his goal tally to seven with a brace in the 24th and 70th minutes.

Kim Young-jin had earlier given South Korea the lead in the 20th minute.

China’s goals came through Du Talake (31st) and Sung Long (39th).

In the fifth placing playoff, Canada came alive in the last eight minutes to beat South Africa 2-0.

Adam Froese put Canada ahead in the 62nd minute off a penalty corner before Taylor Curran added the second off a field attempt four minutes later.

The Star of Malaysia

Australia claim eighth title in Malaysia

IPOH: Australia triumphed in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Sunday, claiming their eighth title by smashing home team Malaysia 8-3.

Both teams are World Cup-bound, and this tournament signals their preparations for the event to be held from late May.

But there was no question that the Australians -- defending champions and two-time World Cup winners -- were far superior to all the other teams in this year's meet.

The world number one was in fiery form from the start in the final as they took a 3-1 first-half lead against the world number 13.

Chris Ciriello slammed in two penalty corners in the fifth and 17th minutes to set the pace. Eddie Ockenden was also on target in the 11th minute of the match, which often had the Malaysians backpedalling in defence.

Late in the first-half the Malaysians hit a purple patch, which saw them earn three penalty corners.

The effort in the 24th minute bore fruit with Shahril Saabah scoring from close range.

Malaysia, who have made it to four cup finals but never won, then started off the second-half strongly with a goal in the 40th minute through Rashid Baharom.

But Ciriello was on target for his hat-trick in the 42nd minute to keep his team in control. Nick Budgeon scored in the 46th minute before Ciriello hit home his fourth goal in the 53rd minute.

In the 65th minute Matt Gohdes scored the seventh goal, while Fitri Saari reduced the deficit with a field goal two minutes later.

Tristan White earned the final goal for the Australians in the 68th minute to cap their triumph.

Besides Australia and Malaysia, among this cup's teams, South Korea and South Africa have also qualified for the World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.

South Korea grabbed the tournament's third spot Sunday with Jang Jong-Hyun's last gasp penalty corner conversion, which allowed them to edge out China 3-2.

Jang scored a brace in the match, and it was his second with just three seconds on the clock that allowed South Korea to take the match.

Earlier, Canada beat a fast tiring South African side 2-0 for fifth place.

Canada, who were beaten 2-3 by the South Africans in the preliminary round match, were aided by the wasteful South African forward line.

For the first time this year, India and Pakistan did not participate in the annual event.

India had opted out saying that it will affect their World Cup preparations, while the Pakistanis cited lack of funds for declining the invitation.

Pakistan failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time ever and will also miss the Commonwealth Games later this year.

The Times of India

Aussies retain Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

JONATHAN COOK in Ipoh, Malaysia

Despite the tireless support of their fervent fans, world number 13 Malaysia were unable to stop world number one Australia from retaining the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia Sunday night.

At a Stadium Sultan Azlan Shah packed to the rafters and beyond, the relentless total hockey of reigning World Cup and Commonwealth Games champions Australia was simply too much for the gallant Malaysians to handle, the score reading 3-1 at half-time and 8-3 at the final whistle, the host nation having to accept the silver medal for the second successive year.

In the first half Australia led through goals by penalty corner drag-flick ace Chris Ciriello (2) and Eddie Ockendon to a lone strike from Malaysia's Shahril Saabah.

After the break, Australia scored via the big gun of Ciriello (2), Nicholas Budgeon, Matt Gohdes and Tristan White, while the home crowd favourites found the back of the net off the sticks of Rashid Baharom and Fitri Saari.

SA Hockey Association media release

SA hockey men rue missed chances in Azlan Shah playoff with Canada

JONATHAN COOK in Ipoh, Malaysia

South Africa's Owen Mvimbi prepares to block Sukhpal Panesar's pass during Canada's 2-0 win in the playoff for fifth place at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia Sunday. Photo: TIM MYERS (SPORTSMEDIAGROUP.COM.AU)

The South Africa men’s hockey team did most things right except score and the outcome was a 2-0 win for a dogged Canada after the score was 0-0 at half-time in the playoff for fifth and sixth places at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia Sunday.

SA were left to reflect on a host of missed goalscoring opportunities while it was the Canadians who made the most of theirs, Adam Froese and Taylor Curran striking in the 62nd and 66th minutes respectively. Four days ago it was SA who had won the round-robin match 3-2 against their fellow Commonwealth Games country.

Welcoming the return of the fit-again London 2012 Olympian Jonty Robinson on the right, captain Wade Paton’s South Africans began at a fast pace, immediately making inroads into the attacking third, the hugely talented Ignatuis Malgraff seemingly eliminating defenders at will with his sublime skills on the ball.

Canada looked to make use of the aerial pass from deep, a trademark of their tournament, and they came back into the game at stages in the first half but the SA defence stood firm, Rhett Halkett a key player.

Taking their free-hits quickly, SA frequently had Canada under pressure and a superb one-two between Brandon Panther and Tim Drummond saw the rangy Panther get in a shot that keeper Antoni Kindler kept out.

In the 22nd minute Owen Mvimbi fed Panther, who forced the first penalty corner, but it amounted to nothing. Promising attacks that saw a Canada stick get in the way in the strike zone kept South Africa from scoring but a neat piece of play three minutes from half-time saw Julian Hykes get into position to fire a shot at Kindler, which the keeper turned away for a long corner. Then an Mvimbi backhand slid past the far post before a Hykes snapshot flew high over the crossbar.

Turning around at 0-0, South Africa replaced Pieterse with number two keeper Jacques le Roux but it was at the other end where much of the action played out with the Africans enjoying a number of chances, one being an excellent Clint Panther reverse-stick effort from under the muscular midfielder’s shoulder that came agonisingly close.

Halkett made two crucial tackles to stem rare Canada sorties but Keegan Pereira should have made more of a very good chance for the red shirts. The North Americans were eventually rewarded for their endeavour by winning their first PC with 15 minutes left, but the opportunity wasn’t capitalised on.

Another PC followed three minutes later and Le Roux saved consecutive shots from Canada skipper Scott Tupper. Enjoying a new lease on life Canada won a third PC with nine minutes left and Tupper’s pass back to the corner injector was converted at the near post by Player of the Match Adam Froese for 1-0 after 62 minutes.

SA earned two consecutive PCs after the re-start, but neither reaped reward and Canada made it 2-0 just four minutes from the end (66th minute) when Taylor Curran’s shot went evaded the defence.

The late games saw South Korea beat China 3-2 for third place and world number one Australia looking to defend their title against last year’s finalists Malaysia in front of what is sure to be a capacity crowd of singing, chanting, horn-blowing fans ready to light up the sky with their ever-present flares.

Canada (0) 2 (Adam Froese 62nd minute, Taylor Curran 66th minute)
South Africa 0

SOUTH AFRICA: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng, goalkeeper), Jethro Eustice (SG), Rhett Halkett (Western Province), Jonty Robinson (Northern Blues), Dylan Swanepoel (WP), Wade Paton (WP, capt), Tim Drummond (KZN Coastal Raiders), Clint Panther (SG), Lungi Tsolekile (WP), Ignatuis Malgraff (Eastern Province), Julian Hykes (SG). Rolling substitutes: Robin Jones (KZN Inland), Francois Pretorius (NB), Taylor Dart (SG), Owen Mvimbi (SG), Pierre de Voux (WP), Brandon Panther (SG), Jacques le Roux (WP, goalkeeper).

SA Hockey Association media release

Canada Men Shut-Out South Africa

2-0 Win to Finish Strong in Malaysia

After defeating China two days earlier and narrowly missing out on the bronze medal game based on goals for and against differential, Canada was on a mission to finsih strong at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Canada's quest for a 5th spot finish saw them face FIH 12th ranked, South Africa.  On March 19th earlier in the tournament, Canada suffered a dissapointing loss to South Africa by a score of 3-2, a game the men felt they should have won.  Their chance to avenge the loss presented itself in the last game of the tournament and the Canadian Men were up for the challenge.

With goal keepers Antoni Kindler and David Carter sharing the shut-out, Taylor Curran and Adam Froese provided the scoring punch Canada needed to secure the 2-0 win.  Froese was named Man of the Match.

With the win Canada finish the tournament with a 2-4 record, but more importantly the experience of playing together and against nations ranked #1, #7, #12 and #13.  Canada is currently ranked #16 in the world and the experience at the famous Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will serve them well when they head back to Malaysi next month for teh FIH Champions Challenge.

Canadian Men’s National Roster for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup:

Adam Froese (Abbotsford, BC)

Antoni Kindler (Vancouver, BC)

Benjamin Martin (Vancouver, BC)

David Carter (Vancouver, BC)

Gabriel Ho-Garcia (Burnaby, BC)
Gordon Johnston (Vancouver, BC)

Hudson Stewart (Vancouver, BC)

Jagdish Gill (Toronto, ON)
James Kirkpatrick (Victoria, BC)
Iain Smythe (Vancouver, BC)

Keegan Pereira (Ajax, ON)
Mark Pearson (Tsawwassen, BC)

Matt Guest (Calgary, AB)
Paul Wharton (Vancouver, BC)

Philip Wright (Vancouver, BC)
Scott Tupper (Vancouver, BC)

Sukhi Panesar (Surrey, BC)

Taylor Curran (North Vancouver, BC)

For a fan-friendly in-depth look  at Field Hockey Canada Men’s National Team in Malaysia follow:


Twitter: ‪@FHC_MNT

Instagram: fhc_mnt

Field Hockey Canada media release

Gaganpreet ‘tricks as Air India retains title

It lives up to its reputation in outsmarting the young CAG side 4-1 in the final

Y.B. Sarangi

Runaway favourite Air India did not have to sweat much in the final against CAG. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury   

Rookie drag-flicker Gaganpreet Singh scored a brilliant hat-trick as Air India outsmarted Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) 4-1 to win the title in the National ‘A’ division hockey championship at the Dhyan Chand Stadium here on Sunday.

Defending champion Air India was the runaway favourite against the young CAG team in the title clash. Air India, packed with Olympians and World Cuppers, lived up to its reputation as CAG, which had some injury worries, struggled to cope with the pressure of playing in the big match.

Air India controlled the ball and pace of the match to deny CAG any early advantage. Vikram Pillay, Ajmer Singh, Arjun Halappa and Girish Pimpale were in command in the midfield and created lot of opportunities for their colleagues upfront.

Constant threat

The seasoned Sameer Dad remained a constant threat on the left and provided some of the finest passes for Shivendra Singh. Young probationer Armaan Qureshi showed glimpses of his worth in the forward line.

Air India’s repeated efforts paid off when Gaganpreet hit low to CAG custodian Mrinal Choube’s left to convert his team’s fourth penalty corner in the 14th minute.

Air India maintained its stranglehold with some tight marking as CAG opted for long hits and scoops to release the pressure. The title holder got a significant edge when Gaganpreet struck again, this time to the right of the CAG ‘keeper, six minutes before the first hooter.

The story remained unchanged even after the break. Gaganpreet, playing his first top level tournament for Air India, launched another low drag-flick to complete his hat-trick minutes after resumption. He was later declared the player of the tournament.

The result was a foregone conclusion by this time. Led by the busy Sarvjeet Singh, CAG, which had showed no urgency so far, improved its circle penetration and was able to reduce the margin.

CAG’s second short corner resulted in a penalty stroke and Dhyan Singh managed to beat Adrian D’Souza to make it 3-1 in the 58th minute.

Solid performance

D’Souza, however, again gave a solid performance and stopped at least two dangerous shots. He was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the event for the second consecutive year.

Osaf-ur-Rehman slammed home a rebound to restore Air India’s lead.

“We knew CAG was an inexperienced side and did not have too many combinations. So we maintained pressure from the start and scored timely goals,” said Air India captain Prabodh Tirkey.

UP finishes third

Uttar Pradesh fought back to beat Railways 4-2 and take the third place on home turf. Diwakar Ram scored a brace, while Tushar Khandker and Amir Khan contributed one goal each. Belsajar Horo hit both the goals for Railways.

The results:

Final: Air India 4 (Gaganpreet Singh 14, 29, 39, Osaf-ur-Rehman 65) bt CAG 1 (Dhyan Singh 58).

Third place: Uttar Pradesh Hockey 4 (Diwakar Ram 41 & 60, Tushar Khandker 24, Amir Khan 51) bt Railways 2 (Belsajar Horo 12 & 65).

Individual awards: Best goalkeeper: Adrain D’Souza (Air India); Best defender: Diwakar Ram (UP); Best midfielder: M.B. Aiyappa (CAG); Best forward: Shivendra Singh (Air India); Player of the tournament: Gagandeep Singh (Air India).

The Hindu

Gaganpreet pilots Air India's title defence

Asheem Mukerji

LUCKNOW: Gaganpreet Singh piloted Air India's title defence with a hat-trick as they flew past Comptroller and Auditor General of India XI (CAG) 4-1 in the final of the 4th Hockey India men's National Championship on Sunday.

After having stunned Railways in the semifinals on Saturday, much was expected from CAG but they failed to get a measure of the Air India forwards who kept probing them all through the game.

There was some good news for the hosts as Uttar Pradesh edged out Railways 4-2 in the hardline match to register their best-ever finish (third) at the senior Nationals. It was a creditable performance by the home team as they were the only state association team in the last-four, the other three being institutional sides.

The CAG side never looked settled against an opposition which was mostly on the attack with their four-pronged forwardline of Shivendra Singh, Arjun Halappa, Sameer Dad and Armaan Qureshi always on the move. The CAG side looked weary after a tough semifinal against Railways on Saturday and didn't look like posing any challenge in the opening half.

That was the time when Air India earned their first two short corners, and Ganganpreet displayed his utility by pumping them home either side of the goalkeeper with low and hard drag-flicks. He was again in the act, cleanly forcing the third penalty corner the side earned four minutes in the second-half, with again a low push past Mrinal Choubey's outstretched pads to complete his hat-trick.

With the game going just one way, the CAG forwards drew on the reserves to make some forays upfront. And this finally bore some fruit for them as they earned a penalty stroke which was duly converted by Dhyan Singh in the 58th minute.

But their travails were not over as Osaf-ur-Rehman added salt to their injury by rounding off the tally with a fine flick to send the ball into the net with five minutes left in the game.

In the match for the third place, it was yet again the prowess of Diwakar Ram with penalty corners which helped UP overcome tough rivals. Ram scored twice on Sunday to take his tally to 11 from six games. After Railways opened the account through Belsajar Horo in the 12th minute, UP got the equaliser before the half-time with Tushar Khandkar getting the goal for them.

Best Goalkeeper: Adrain D'Souza (AI); Best fullback: Diwakar Ram (Uttar Pradesh); Best halfback: MB Aiyappa (CAG); Best forward: Shivendra Singh (AI); Player of the tournament: Gaganpreet Singh (AI) gets a Yamha Alfa bike.

The Times of India

Air India defends title in Senior Men National C'ship

LUCKNOW: Defending champions Air India Sports Promotion Board retained their title after beating Comptroller & Auditor General of India 4-1 in an exciting final of the fourth Hockey India Senior Men National Championship 2014 (Division A) on Sunday.

Air India was high on confidence from the start as Gaganpreet Singh, bagging a penalty corner opportunity in the 14th minute, pounded the ball to the net for the first goal of the match.

The second goal was yet again a penalty corner which was again converted by Gaganpreet in the 29th minute. Going in the break the team was leading 2-0 at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium here.

In the second half, Air India kept its momentum and did not give Comptoller & Auditor General of India any opportunity to take over. In the 39th minute, Air India pounded their third goal with Gaganpreet notching his hattrict of goals to give his team a 3-0 lead.

In the 59th minute Comptoller & Auditor General of India got a penalty strike which was taken by Dhyan Sungh and successfully converted. Air India then added one more goal to complete a well deserved win.

Earlier, hosts Uttar Pradesh overcame Railway Sports Promotion Board 4-2 to claim the third position in the championship.

It was Belsajar Horo of Railway Promotion Board, who opened the score with the help of a field goal in the 12th minute to give his team a 1-0 lead.

Uttar Pradesh went on the attack immediately and in the 24th minute Tushar Khandekar hit the equalizer. At the end of first half the score card read 1-1.

In the second half, Uttar Pradesh continued its attack and in the 41st minute, the team got a penalty corner opportunity which was easily converted by Diwarkar Ram.

The team did not stop here and added two more goals in the 51st and 60th minute, giving themselves a lead of 4-1.

Trying to make a comeback in the game, Railway Sport Promotion Board hit their second goal in the 65th minute and it was again Belsajar Horo who successfully converted the penalty corner opportunity.

They continued their attack and looked for opportunities even in the last few minutes but were unable to score further as the tournament ended with them taking the 4th position and Uttar Pradesh the 3rd position.

Air India Coach, Dhanraj Pillay said: "I am satisfied with the players and their performance today. They are good players and deserve to enter bigger platforms."

Harendra Singh, Comptroller & Auditor General Of India Coach said: "While the team played good throughout the tournament but they were under pressure in the finals. Today the boys did not showcase a good game but in the second half they gave their best."

The Times of India

Railways blanks Haryana, claims title

Uthra Ganesan

Vandana Katariya celebrates after scoring her second goal against Punjab on Sunday. Photo: A. M. Faruqui   

Railways avenged last year’s defeat to Haryana with a 4-0 win in the final of the 4th Hockey India women’s National Championships here on Sunday. The star-studded favourite was clearly committed to reclaim the title.

Railways got its first chance in the third minute through a penalty corner, but failed to convert it. Shackled by some tight marking, Railways was unable to find the gaps.

Haryana, with more than 70 per cent of its players drawn from various Railways units, knew its opposition well and was content with the occasional counter-attack. The waiting game suited Haryana.

One of the counter-attacks almost gave Haryana the lead in the 22nd minute, but Ritu Rani’s back pass on the run went wide.

It took an angular shot from Vandana Katariya in a goalmouth melee in the 25th minute to break the deadlock. Railways went into break with a 2-0 lead, Chanchan scoring from a deflection.

Post break, Railways played with more purpose and planning. The defence tightened up with Kirandeep Kaur falling back and Jasjeet changing to a supporting role as right half. The team changed its game plan and started attacking from the flanks. It paid off.

Shaky defence

Haryana’s defence became shaky and the superior skills of Railways players helped them play a short-passing game to elude their markers.

Railways added two more goals in the second half through Vandana and Poonam Rani.

“I told them they were India players but it wasn’t visible in their performance.

“There was early pressure but I am glad they were able to lift their game,” said Railways coach Pritam Siwach.

In the third place playoff, a dominant Jharkhand beat Punjab 5-0 .

The results: Final: Railways 4 (Vandana Katariya 2, Chanchan, Poonam Rani) bt Haryana 0.

Third-place playoff: Jharkhand 5 (Kabita Maurya 2, Poonam Barla, Birsi Mundu, Binita Xess) bt Punjab 0.

Player of the tournament: Monika (Haryana); Best forward: Poonam Barla (Jharkhand); Best defender: Deepika (Railways); Best goalkeeper: Savita (Haryana); Top-scorer: Navneet Kaur (Haryana).

The Hindu

RSPB lift senior women hockey national title

BHOPAL: Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) shocked defending Champions Haryana 4-0 to clinch the 4th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship (Division A) on Sunday.

Coming into the match as the favorite for the title, Haryana could not live upto the expectations and allowed the pressure to seep in.

Taking advantage of this, RSPB players kept the attack on the opponents in the entire first session. Their consistency saw results in the 25th minute when Vandana Katariya scored a field goal for the team.

Just before going into the break RSPB scored their 2nd goal in the 34th minute when Captain TH Chanchan pounded the ball past the goalkeeper and converted a field goal.

In the second half, while Haryana tried making a comeback but somehow failed to convert the chances they got. RSPB on the other hand within two minutes into the second half scored their 3rd goal when Poonam Rani scored through a field goal.

In the 42nd minute of the game Vanadana Katariya scored her 2nd goal and the 4th for the team, which saw Haryana loosing the finals.

In a one-sided match Jharkhand ruled the entire session of the match playing for the 3rd position against Punjab. The team opened their score card when Poonam Balra scored through a field goal in the 8th minute.

The team continued its attack during the rest of the session, but was unable to convert the chances that they got. Just before going into the break, Birsi Mundu in the 34th minute pounded the ball past the goalkeeper and taking the team to a lead of 2-0.

The second session was no different and Jharkhand continued their onslaught when in the 40th minute Binita Xess scored the 3rd field goal for the team. Kabita Mourya scored 2 back to back goals in the 64th and 69th minute helping the team to take the win with a huge margin of 5-0. With this Jharkhand is placed in the 3rd position and Punjab in the 4th position.

The Times of India

Haryana retains ‘A’ division title

The triumphant Haryana women's hockey team which retained the 'A' division title in Mysore on Sunday. Photo: M. A. Sriram   

Defending champion Haryana, playing true to its form, retained the title by beating Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy (MPHA) 2-0 in the final of the ‘A’ division in the fourth Hockey India junior women’s national championship, played at the Chamundivihar astro-turf grounds here on Sunday.

The Haryana eves dominated proceedings from the start and went into an early lead in the eighth minute through centre-forward Narinder Kaur, who deflected the ball into goal off a cross from the right flank.

Rakhi Prajapathi of MPHA got a good chance to equalise in the 12th minute, but shot wide with an empty goal in front of her.

Narinder Kaur, Neha Goyal, Jyoti Gupta and Navpreet Kaur impressed for Haryana and moved in tandem to take control of the game.

Haryana skipper Neha scored an excellent field goal in the 40th minute to make it 2-0. The MPHA girls tried hard to make a comeback and forced two penalty corners, but both went begging. Haryana held on to the lead and retained the title in style.

In the playoff for third place, Jharkhand beat Odisha 3-1 (via penalty shoot-out) after being tied 0-0 at full-time. Kanti Pradhan, Sitamani Topno and Rajini Soreng scored for Jharkhand, while Sarojini Ekka scored for Odisha.

The prizes were given away by MLC M.C. Naniah and K Govindaraju, president, Karnataka Olympic Association.

The results: Final: Haryana bt Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 2-0; Third place playoff: Jharkhand bt Odisha 3-1 on penalties (FT: 0-0).

Special Prizes: Player of the tournament: Jyoti Gupta (Haryana); Best forward: Priyanka Wankhade (MP Hockey Academy); Best midfielder: Rajini Soreng (Jharkhand); Best defender: Rashmita Minz (Odisha); Best goalkeeper: Nisha (Karnataka).

The Hindu

Haryana defeat Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 2-0

MYSORE: Defending champions Haryana scored a hat-trick of titles as they defeated Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 2-0 in the summit clash of the 4th Hockey India Junior Women National Championship (Division A) at Chamundi Vihar Astro turf Ground on Sunday.

This is the third time in a row that Harayana have won Junior Women National Championship.

Harayna started the finale by scoring just 8 minutes into the game when Narinder Kaur scored through a field goal. This was the only goal for the session as both the teams kept the attack on each other during the entire session.

Going into the second half with 1-0 lead Haryana again started the session with a quick goal which came in the 40th minute. This time it was Neha Goyal the Captain who scored for the team. The two goals helped Harayna win the title championship and the team won the tournament in succession.

Meanwhile, Jharkhand defeated Hockey Odisha 3-1 via penalty shoot out to finish third in the championship. Both the teams kept the attack in the entire match but failed to score any goal in the regulation time, after which match went to Penalty Shootout round.

While Jharkhand failed to convert the first two penalty shootout they finally came back in the game by scoring the past 3 shootout. It was Rajni Soreng, Kanti Pradhan and Sitamani Topno who finally went past the goalkeeper and pounded the ball in the goal post giving them the much required win and 3rd position in the tournament.

On the other hand Hockey Odisha were unable to keep their nerves and they failed to score in the 1st three shootouts. It was Sarojini Ekka who scored the lone goal in the shootout and which was not enough for the win.

The Times of India

Hockey team may pull out of CWG

Organisers deny accreditation to Harbir Singh Sandhu, a Sardar * Hockey India's Narinder Batra slams IOA bosses, threatens not to send team to Glasgow.

Rutvick Mehta

Not for the first time, Hockey India (HI) is at loggerheads with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). And this time, the outcome could be a shameful one.

HI secretary general Narinder Batra has threatened to withdraw the men's hockey team from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, after Harbir Singh Sandhu, who is among the 28 probables shortlisted for the event, was refused accreditation by the organisers without rhyme or reason.

What has left Batra fuming is that the newly-elected IOA president, N Ramachandran, and secretary general Rajiv Mehta were intimated on February 5, but the duo has done precious little, according to Batra.

"They only care about getting accreditation for their own officials. They are not bothered about the players," Batra told dna on Saturday. "They are behaving like postmen, just receiving letters, sitting on it and not doing anything about it."

The event's associations relations manager, Robert Vergouw, had written a letter to the IOA, informing them about the refusal to give Harbir accreditation "due to a UK Home Office Background Check result".

Now, Batra has taken it upon himself to protest the decision, and if he gets the required backing in HI's executive committee meeting on March 29, India may not field its team in the mega event in July.

"You cannot refuse an athlete accreditation for such events. You need to prove that he is a terrorist or a criminal. Just on the basis of a name, and without any proper check of his background, you cannot reach a conclusion. I feel insulted. I know the IOA will not do anything about this, but I will ensure the protest reaches a logical conclusion. And if my executive committee members support my stand, we will withdraw our team from the event," Batra added.

Harbir, 24, is a full-back from Punjab. He has been part of the Indian team on many of its recent international tours but is unlikely to make it to the final squad travelling to Glasgow.

Batra, in his letter to Ramachandran and Mehta, wrote that despite Harbir's place not being guaranteed in the final 16, the IOA should not take it lying down.

"One of our shortlisted athletes for CWG in Glasgow has been denied accreditation. No reason is being given. He is a young budding athlete and our prospect for 2016 Olympics... I feel the IOA needs to push and take this matter forcefully with CWG otherwise it (is) my personal opinion that IOA as a matter of protest should withdraw the men's hockey team from CWG," Batra wrote in the letter.


Relegation battles go down to the wire

Sheffield's Gavin Byers lifts the ball past Wimbledon's Ben Dando

THE battle to avoid automatic relegation went right down to the wire as the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey Premier Division reached a nail-biting finale on Sunday.

Sheffield Hallam knew that only victory over Wimbledon could save them from automatic relegation and with two minutes to go, they were 4-3 down. But two late goals from Liam Ansell and Mike Shaw lifted them to the relegation play-off spot.

But Loughborough Students’ game against Reading had been delayed due to heavy traffic and so Hallam had to await the result of that to find out if they had – at least for now – avoided the drop.

Loughborough went into the game knowing that a win or a draw was needed to keep them up - and they were drawing 2-2 after Ian Sloan tucked away a penalty stroke in the 43rd minute.

But they couldn’t hold on and Reading went on to beat them 4-2, condemning them to automatic relegation.

Sheffield Hallam will now face Southgate, Cardiff and Brooklands Manchester University to battle for a spot in the Premier Division next season.

Elsewhere, East Grinstead secured a European spot for next season with a 6-5 victory over Surbiton.

Mark Gleghorne, Ashley Jackson and Mark Pearn all bagged two goals each for East Grinstead and James Tindall hit a hat-trick for Surbiton. East Grinstead top the division on goal difference, equal on points with Beeston.

Beeston could only have pipped East Grinstead to the top if they had beat Cannock by 22 goals – an extremely unlikely result that would have sent Cannock into relegation play-offs. Beeston did get the three points though – Sam Ward and Richard Lawrence on target in a 2-1 win.

Canterbury lost out 4-3 to Hampstead and Westminster with Oliver Didham scoring two of the goals for the winning side.

Southgate couldn’t afford to lose if they were to win the NOW: Hockey Conference East title and then got the point they needed with a 1-1 draw against Bromley and Beckenham. Timmy Smyth scored the goal they need to go up. Meanwhile, St Albans are relegated and Brighton and Hove face relegation play-offs.

Cardiff and Met struggled to a 1-0 win over struggling Havant which meant they took the title while Havant are relegated from the NOW: Pensions Conference West.

Brooklands Manchester University were already crowned champions of the NOW: Pensions Conference North before facing bottom club West Bridgford. But it will still come as a shock that West Bridgford beat them 5-2 on the last day of the season. They are relegated but have restored some pride.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League and the Investec Women’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

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 23 2014):

NOW: Pensions Premier Division: Reading 4, Loughborough Students 2; Surbiton 5, East Grinstead 6; Wimbledon 4, Sheffield Hallam 5; Beeston 2, Cannock 1; Canterbury 3, Hampstead and Westminster 4.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference East: Richmond 0, Holcombe 4; Bromley and Beckenham 1, Southgate 1; Old Loughtonians 4, Teddington 2; Oxted 2, Brighton and Hove 2; St Albans 2, Cambridge City 8.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference North: Deeside Ramblers 6, Olton and West Warwickshire 2; Belper 2, Khalsa 1; Leek 2, Wakefield 2; West Bridgford 5, Brooklands Manchester University 2; Bowdon 2, University of Durham 1.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference West: Isca 2, Fareham 3; University of Birmingham 3, University of Exeter 4; Team Bath Buccaneers 2, Guildford 0; Indian Gymkhana 1, Cheltenham 2; Havant 0, Cardiff and Met 1.

England Hockey Board Media release

Grange overcome Hillhead with Wildcats waiting in the wings

Grange will meet Western Wildcats next Saturday for a place in the Aberdeen Asset Management National League Grand Final after a 2-1 win over Hillhead at Peffermill today.

Rob Barr was the hero for the Edinburgh side, scoring from two penalty corner attempts. Hillhead’s reply came from Andrew Hilton, a brilliant finish from the top of the circle.

Hillhead can reflect on an excellent season with a fourth place finish in the top division.

In Pool A, Grove Menzieshill responded strongly to yesterday’s draw against AAM Gordonians with a dominant 6-0 win over Watsonians at Peffermill.

Ben Cosgrove gave the Taysiders at 1-0 advantage at half-time, before two goals from Adam Fallis, another Cosgrove strike, plus goals from Oliver James and Paul Martin, put the Edinburgh side away.

AAM Gordonians have put themselves in a good position going into next week’s matches after defeating Edinburgh University 2-1.

The Aberdonians struck early, with Dwayne Rowsell scoring a great goal in the second minute, before Joel Evans added another sixty seconds later.  Alistair Wood scored the University side’s goal from the penalty corner in the 45th minute.

In Pool B, Inverleith are safe after a 5-2 win over Dundee Wanderers. Adam MacKenzie rifled home four penalty corners in addition to a Phil Hall goal from open play. Wanderers’ goals came from Mark Walker and Fergus Sandison.

PSL Team Sport Clydesdale dented Uddingston’s promotion challenge with an excellent 4-1 win.

Laurie McKelvie put Uddingston in front in the tenth minute, but goals from Ewan Fraser and Murray Collins, plus a late double from Ciaran Crawford ensured John McKnight’s side sit in a good position before the final pool match next Saturday.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Clydesdale Western defeat Dundee Wanderers to set up University rematch

Milne Craig Clydesdale Western overcame Dundee Wanderers 5-4 on running penalties to book another clash with Edinburgh University next Saturday for a place in the Aberdeen Asset Management National League Grand Final.

Cat Ralph opened the scoring for the Glasgow side before a brilliant Vikki Bunce solo effort pulled Wanderers back on level terms.

Holly Cram put Clydesdale Western back in front following a penalty corner set-piece, only for Bunce to take the tie into the penalty decider after she deflected Sam Sangster’s attempt on goal with only five seconds of regulation time remaining.

The two sides went to sudden death after four penalties had been scored, and it was Cram who was the match winner for Clydesdale Western after Sangster had her attempt saved.

Dundee Wanderers finish fourth in the division after today’s result.

In Pool A, Glynhill Kelburne are assured of safety after a convincing 5-0 win over AAM Merlins Gordonians.

Four of the goals came from penalty corner set-plays, with Drew Berry scoring twice, while Frances McKeown and Clare Laverty also netted for the Paisley side.

Meanwhile, Western Wildcats let a two goal lead slip against local rivals GHK Ladies, with the match finishing in a 2-2 draw.

Ellie Hutcheson scored twice for the Auchenhowie outfit, but two late goals from captain Fiona Donald, one from a penalty corner, ensures that her side have a good chance of avoiding the relegation play-off next weekend.

Hillhead Ladies took a large step towards promotion with a hard fought 2-2 draw against CALA Edinburgh in Glasgow.

The Glasgow side came back from two goals down courtesy of a Kathy McCandless field goal and a penalty corner strike from Carla McNiven. Both CALA goals came from Millie Brown.

Grange EL are destined for the relegation play-off after an 8-0 defeat at the hands of capital rivals Watsonians. Hat-tricks for Cathryn Pollock and Lucy Ramsey, added to strikes from Nicki Black and Kirsty Hill ensured Watsonians have an excellent chance of survival going into next weekend.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

UniKL, slowly but surely

UniKL bounced back from an opening match disappointing draw to hammer Selangor Sukma 6-0 in their second Division One match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil last Friday.

It was a far better performance from the UniKL side that boasts of some of the more talented junior players in their ranks. And it showed that the players are capable of playing decent hockey if they put their minds to it.

Having Arul Selvaraj, Rodhanizam Radzi and Nashinin Nubli as coaches, the team is blessed with coaches who have attained a name for themselves at higher levels and it is for the players to start playing hockey on the pitch rather then depend on individual reputations.

In the match against UiTM that UniKL drew 2-2, they were guilty of over individualistic play and hiding on to the ball too long. But most glaring was their lack of urgency as they expected the unfenced UiTM to yield.

However against Selangor Sukma, all of that was gone as they played as a team, running rings around their opponents and making use of the chances that came their way.

"Against UiTM was our first match and frankly the players did not play up to expectations. Perhaps they were overconfident and nearly paid the price for their lacklustre display," said UniKL team manager Mohd Faiz Isa.

"It was a marked improvement in performance in the second match as the players showed commitment, perhaps to justify that they were able to play good hockey, which I have no doubt about.

"We have to be sharp in taking the chances that we create and not make things difficult for ourselves. The league will help develop characters amongst the younger players and they should take advantage of getting a chance to feature themselves in matches.

:We at UniKl take development of players seriously and are targeting making the final of the Division One at the very least. However teams like TNB, Sapura and Armed Forces are good sides and will be difficult to overcome."


TNB on a roll

Tenaga Nasional Berhad have recorded two wins in as many outings in the Division One of the Malaysian Hockey League. But they have their feet firmly on the ground as its still early days.

After defeating Selangor Sukma in their opening match 6-0, TNB defeated Nur Insafi Penang 4-1. But despite the scoreline that looked impressive, TNB had struggled in large parts of the match and only their superior fitness pulled them through to prevail on a defensive minded Nur Insafi.

"It is still early days and it will take time for the players to settle down. At the end of the day its three points that matter but we need to be consistent in the matches and not play well in patches," said TNB coach K. Rajan.

"We are moving in the right direction and I believe the team will play to their true potential. I am happy with the results but we need to convert the chances that come our way.

"The league will be interesting as there are no easy matches and teams are equally strong as national players are not featuring in the Division One this time around. So its a level playing field with no outright favourites for the title."

TNB have some experienced players in their squad, notably Mohd Amin Rahim, Mohd Sallehin Ghani, Mohammad azammi Abadi,, Mahinder Sigh and Mohd Fairus Ramli, all of whom had a stint with the national team in the past.

Last Friday, TNB took the lead via Azammi who netted a brace in the 3rd and 39th minutes only for Nur Insafi to reduce the deficit in the 46th minute through Nur Hriskesa Thaitchana Murthi.

But their superior fitness level paid dividends as TNB netted two late goals via Azammi (55th minute) and Sallehin ( 58th minute) to take all three points.


KL edge Johor in opener

By Fadhli Ishak

KUALA Lumpur overcame a series of early setbacks to open their Milo-MHC National Under-16 campaign with a 2-1 win over Johor in Perlis yesterday.

The five-time winners got on the scoresheet through second-half field goals from Mohd Fadhzil Ashraff in the 47th minute and Wan Haziq Hisyamuddin three minutes later at the Kangar Stadium.

Johor managed a solitary goal in the Group B encounter via  Muhammad Ramdan Arifin (penalty corner) in the 63rd minute.

The game was initially scheduled to be played on Saturday but was postponed as the southerners had arrived late.  KL coach K. Embaraj said his side will have to regroup mentally if they are to do well against Sabah today.

"The (newly laid) pitch is a bit bumpy and the boys had trouble converting. After they had missed a lot of opportunities our structure collapsed and the team started to play as individuals," said Embaraj.

"This is something we have to improve on tomorrow (today) if we are to do well. Being mentally strong will be very important for us."

Embaraj added that he will rotate players today to keep his charges fresh.

KL have their work cut our for them as the delayed Johor game means they will have to play three matches in as many days. The team are scheduled to play Penang tomorrow.

"We were courteous enough to agree to playing Johor a day later but it has made things a lot tougher for us as today (yesterday) is supposed to be a rest day for the team.

"We have no choice but to rotate the players. It will, however, be a good chance for our younger players to compete.

"The fact that we play Sabah at 7.15am will also make things tricky as we have to warm up in the dark as the stadium has no lights."

Perak, who had also struggled with the bumpy pitch in their opener against Perlis on Saturday, bagged their second win defeating Pahang 3-1.

Results -- Boys' Group A: Selangor 3 Perlis 1, Perak 3 Pahang 1, Negri Sembilan 3 Kedah 0; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 2 Johor 1, Terengganu 2 Kelantan 1.

Girls' Group A: Pahang 2 Kedah 2, Penang 3 Terengganu 1; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 3 Negri Sembilan 1, Kelantan 3 Selangor 0.

Today's fixtures (Kangar Stadium) -- Boys' Group A: Pahang v Negri Sembilan (3.15pm), Selangor v Perak (5pm); Group B: Kuala Lumpur v Sabah (7.15am), Johor v Penang (9am).

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

New Straits Times

Perak struggle for win again

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Perak had to stage a second come-from-behind victory in as many days in the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championships at the Kangar Hockey Stadium in Perlis.

On Saturday, they edged hosts Perlis 2-1 after going a goal down. It was the same on Sunday as they needed three second-half goals to beat Pahang 3-1.

Mohd Ikmal Hafiz put Pahang ahead with a field goal after just two minutes.

It wasn’t until the 41st minute that Perak managed to find the equaliser, through a Mohd Nur Asyraff’s field goal.

Mohd Nur Aslan then put Perak ahead in the 53rd minute off another field goal before Mohd Nursyamme scored with a direct drag flick in the 69th minute off a penalty corner move to give them a convincing win.

In two other Group A matches, Selangor chalked up their second win in as many days with a 3-1 triumph over hosts Perlis while Negri Sembilan beat Kedah 3-0.

Selangor got their goals through Iqbal Mursaputra, Mohd Syazwan and Mohd Fahmi while Kamaruddin Kodir Beraneng replied for Perlis.

Selangor and Perak will meet on Monday, with the winners taking a big step forward towards the semi-finals.

Former champions Kuala Lumpur got their delayed Group B campaign off to a nervous 2-1 win over Johor.

KL went ahead with two field goals – by Mohd Fadhzil Ashraff (47th minute) and Mohd Syahir Syah (56th) – before Johor hit back in the 63rd minute through Mohd Ramadan Ariffin.

KL coach K. Embaraj was just pleased with the three points.

“It was a nervous performance all around. But the boys did well to get off to a winning start. The pitch here in Kangar is new and a little bumpy ... the players had problems getting used to it. Still, we’ll have to keep improving. The target remains the same – make the final,” he said.

KL, who are five-time champions from 2008, lost the title to Perak last year. They ended up third.

In the girls’ competition, 2012 champions Selangor found the going tough as they lost 3-0 to Kelantan in Group B.

It was Kelantan’s second win, having beaten KL 4-2 on Saturday.

KL, meanwhile, bounced back with a 3-1 win over Negri Sembilan.

The Star of Malaysia

Telkom wipe floor with Mt Kenya

By Ayumba Ayodi

Mvita Hockey Club’s Kevin Chiwani (left) vies with Green Sharks Frank Okumu during their Premier Men Hockey league match at the City Park Stadium on March 23, 2014. Green Sharks won 4-0. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO

Champions Telkom Orange stretched their women’s hockey league lead to 33 points when they crushed Mount Kenya University 13-0 in a lop-sided match at the City Park Stadium on Sunday.

Telkom’s victory came a day after the varsity students also lost 0-8 to Strathmore University at the same grounds.

Third-placed Sliders squandered an opportunity to pile pressure on leaders Telkom and United States International University (USIU) when they drew Mombasa Sports Club 1-1 in Mombasa.

Telkom, who have played 11 matches, winning all of them have 33 points and are followed by USIU-A, who have claimed nine wins and a draw for 27 points from 10 outings.

The victory against Mount Kenya saw Strathmore dislodge Sliders from third place with 24 points. Sliders dropped to fourth with 23 points.

Jackline Mwangi Jow once again was the star in Telkom’s victory, scoring a hat trick in the 37th, 47th and 60th minutes respectively.

Margaret Rotich, Audrey Omaido and Caroline Guchu scored a brace apiece for Telkom, who are targeting their 16th consecutive league victory. Terry Juma and Judith Opiyo were other Telkom scorers.

Jow who has made a habit of scoring not less than three goals a match said she believes in good training throughout the week and listening to the instructions of the coach.

“In fact, I forget having scored in a previous match and focus on the assignment at hand,” said Jow.

“But it is all about great teamwork since I believe my clinical work and good execution is after equally awesome lay from my colleagues.”

However, Jow cautioned her team mates of getting carried away saying the league is far from over with the likes of USIU-A still threatening.

“We can’t afford to sleep on our laurels since our lead margin is slim unlike the other seasons when we were home and dry at this stage,’ said Jow. Gilly Okumo snapped a double for Strathmore in the 49th and 55th minutes. Also to score were Lilain Aura, Carol Njoki, Rachel Ousa, Damaris Namulanda and Lucy Wanjiku.

Daily Nation

Tough day in Paradise for Paragon

Nigel Simon

Paragon’s rough start to this year’s T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship continued when it suffered a third loss in five matches, 1-2 to host Paradise at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Training Field, Bacolet, Tobago, yesterday.

Coming off a 5-5 draw with Notre Dame, which followed a 3-3 deadlock with defending champions Petrotrin, Paragon was confident of securing the first win of the season.

Akim Toussaint enhanced those ambitions when he fired last year’s league runner-up into a 23rd minute lead which it took into the interval, before Vernelle Rivers drew Paradise level in the 43rd followed by Jarel Thompson’s winner in the 57th.

It was the second win from as many matches for Paradise, which won by default from Petrotrin eight days ago.

Up at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, Notre Dame also added to the early struggles of Petrotrin with a 2-0 win over the title-holders.

National youngsters, Ishmael Campbell (49th) and Shaquille Daniel (54th) scored from field goal and a penalty-corner conversion for the Dames after a 0-0 first-half to improve to ten points from five matches, one more than Queen’s Park which has only played three matches.

With the loss, Petrotrin which had only 11 players suited up for the match stayed on four points from as many matches, two behind Courts Malvern and one ahead of Fatima.

Paradise also registered a 2-0 win over Paragon with first-half goals from Omari Brathwaite (12th) and Nave Roach (29th) in the Trinity Men’s Division, and 6-1 over the same opponents, in the Boys Under-19 category led by a hat-trick from Omari Brathwaite, while their Trinity Women’s encounter, ended 0-0.

T&T Hockey Board results


Men’s Championship:

Paradise 2 (Vernelle Rivers 43rd, Jarel Thompson 57th) vs Paragon 1 (Akim Toussaint 23rd)
Notre Dame 2 ( Ishmael Campbell 49th, Shaquille Daniel 54th) vs Petrotrin 0

Trinity Women:

Paragon 0 vs Paradise 0
Ventures 1 (Amanda Tang Nian 28th) vs Notre Dame 0

Trinity Men:

Paradise 2 (Omari Brathwaite 12th, Nave Roach 29th) vs Paragon 0
Shape 3 vs Petrotrin 0 - By Default

Under-19 Boys:

Paradise 6 (Omari Brathwaite 29th, 54th, 67th, Nave Roach 19th, 46th, Jabari Trim 47th) vs Paragon 1 (Jabari Perez 37th)

Under-19 Girls:

Notre Dame 3 (Nicole Whiteman 14th, 67th, Tamia Roach 49th) vs Ventures 1 (Karissa Wyke 68th)


Trinity Women:

Notre Dame 1 (Deborah Aqui 9th) vs Police 0


QPCC 5 (Gary Chin 18th, 63rd, Azad Ali 21st, Andre Attale 31st, Raphael Govia 60th) vs Police 0

The Trinidad Guardian

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