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News 27 April 2014

All the news for Sunday 27 April 2014

Japan bounce back to defeat Poland in pool A - New Zealand beat Ireland

Japan lead pool A after Day 1 in Kuantan. (Photo: FIH)

Japan are top of pool A after the first day of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, Malaysia. The Asians celebrated a 3-2 victory over Poland in the second match of the day. Earlier, New Zealand had won the opening game 2-1 against Ireland. Tomorrow, Japan will face the Black Sticks with Ireland’s Green Machine taking on Poland.

New Zealand v Ireland 2-1 (1-1)

Tournament favourites New Zealand won the opening match at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan defeating Ireland 2-1 (1-1) in pool A. Because of the hot weather conditions here in Malaysia, this encounter was played in four quarters of 17.5 minutes each.

Steve Edwards (11’) opened the scoring from open play, before Alan Sothern (16’) equalised with a solo run. The intensive match saw both goalkeepers, Ireland’s David Harte and New Zealand’s Devon Manchester, called into action for the remainder of the first 35 minutes but scores remained level at the break.  

“We expected that sort of match but we are very pleased with the win”, said Colin Batch. The Black Sticks coach also gave credit to the Irish goalkeeper: “David Harte had a very good game today.” Irish coach Craig Fulton added: “I have a very young team. David gives a lot of confidence to them.”

Batch’s Black Sticks started the second half with another early goal when Hugo Inglis (42’) converted the rebound of a Markus Child shot. Despite enjoying slightly more ball possession in the third quarter, the Green Machine could not fight their way back into the contest. The last quarter saw New Zealand pushing for a third goal, but the Irish defence held firm.

“This was a nice mental challenge to get through”, Fulton said. “I’m happy with our first match.”

Japan v Poland 3-2 (1-2)

Japan bounced back in Saturday’s second match to beat Poland 3-2. The winner came off a Hiroki Sakamoto penalty corner goal on nine minutes remaining. Earlier, Poland had given away a 1-0 and 2-1 lead.

The match started with high intensity from both sides. After Michal Raciniewski (7’) has taken the lead for Poland, his team started dancing on the pitch. However, the lead did not last long as Japan struck back one minute later. Team captain Koji Kayukawa (8’) was unmarked in the circle and made no mistake of slotting the ball past goalkeeper Arkadiusz Matuszak.

Poland got on the scoreboard before halftime when Adrian Krokosz (29’) added another goal from open play. The third quarter saw Japan’s Ippei Fujimoto (50’) scoring a stunning goal when he took the ball reverse-stick-side to fire it underneath the crossbar. The score now was tied 2-2.

In the last quarter both teams went for the winner with both having chances to seal it. However, the winner was eventually scored by Sakamoto converting Japan’s only penalty corner in the 61st minute.

FIH site

Canada surprise by drawing with Korea in pool B – France defeat Malaysia

Canada drew with Korea 3-3. (Photo: FIH)

Host nation Malaysia suffered a 3-2 defeat to France in pool B in Saturday’s last match of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. Earlier, Canada had drawn 3-3 with Korea bouncing back after being 3-1 behind. Tomorrow, Canada play France with Korea facing Malaysia.

Korea v Canada 3-3 (2-1)

Canada achieved a 3-3 draw against pool B favourites Korea in Saturday’s third match at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, Malaysia. The Asian champions had given away a 3-1 lead and failed to find a winner in the remaining seven minutes. Man of the match was Canada’s Matthew Guest (63’) who scored the equalising goal.

Canada made the better start to the game and were close to scoring when Adam Froese’s penalty corner flick (10’) hit the crossbar. However, Korea were first to score, taking the lead through Cho Suk Hoon (13’).

Korea, who are also qualified for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, doubled their lead in the 24th minute when Nam Hyun flicked home a penalty corner. The Canada offense struck back immediately with a Gabriel Ho-Garcia goal. The match went into halftime with a score of 2-1 in favour of Korea.

Korea extended their lead to 3-1 at the beginning of the second half thanks to Kim Seong Kyu (39’) getting his name on the scoreboard. Canada however did not give up, fought back strongly beating Korean goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho twice within three minutes. First, Taylor Curran (60’) fired a shot into the Korean goal, then, Matthew Guest (63’) scored the equalizer. 

Malaysia v France 2-3 (0-1)

France walked away with a 3-2 victory over Malaysia thanks to a late penalty stroke goal from Hugo Genestet in today's second match in pool B.

The crowd at the Stadium Hockey Wisma Belia enjoyed an entertaining encounter as Malaysia created many promising scoring opportunities in the first half but failed to capitalize on them. France’s first circle penetration came 10 minutes before halftime.

Against the run of play, it was France who won the first penalty corner of the match, although the shot went wide. Malaysia tried hard to get on the scoreboard, creating several chances, but the French goalkeeper Edgar Reynaud was always in control.

The hosts dominated play throughout the first half but it were France who opened the scoring against the run of play. Olivier Sanchez linked well with Gaspard Baumgarten to take the lead for the Tricolores.

The hosts eventually got on the scoreboard in the second half, as Ahmad Jalil (41’) tipped the ball into the goal after excellent work by the Malaysian attackers. With 20 minutes remaining, Malaysia star Faizal Saari took the lead, much to the delight of the home support.

However, France didn’t need much time to level the score to 2-2 as Victor Charlet (53’) converted a penalty corner. Six minutes before the end of the game Malaysia goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam was sent off with a yellow card after tackling a French attacker. The umpires also awarded a penalty stroke to France which was successfully taken by Hugo Genestet (64’) securing the victory. 

FIH site

Pitch Side Ponderings with Matthew Guest

A few words from Canada's hero of the day

Matthew Guest was chosen as Man of the Match. (Photo: FIH)

Here our daily 'pitch side ponderings' with Canada’s Matthew Guest after his side's surprising 3-3 against Korea.

Matthew, congratulations on being selected as Man of the Match! You scored the equaliser in today’s 3-3 match with Korea. That result was a bit of a shock as Malaysia came into the tournament as hot favourites, so how do you feel right now?
It’s huge for us as we have played them three times in the last year and a half and now coming back from 3-1 down is huge. This is fantastic because this is a really important tournament for us as we build towards qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

What do you want to achieve in particular here at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1?
Our goal is to punch every match as it comes. The approach today was good because it gave us a point. Now we turn our attention to France tomorrow night, to hopefully give ourselves a better crossover when it gets to the final qualification rounds.

What is so special about Team Canada?
There is a lot special about us. We are a good group of guys, our country has a proud history of achieving a higher ranking perhaps than the participation levels in this sport in our country suggest we should. We don’t have a lot of people and not a lot of support either, it’s a small community. I think this makes it pretty special that we can qualify to play at World Cups or Olympic Games.

FIH site

Malaysia robbed...

THE National team were robbed of a penalty stroke as they went down 3-2 to France in the Champions Challenge 1 tournament in Kuantan, Pahang yesterday.

The score stood at 3-2 in favour of France, when a clear infringement was made by the French defender in the 67th minute, but the umpire blew in the different dirrection to the chargin of the fans, as well as Malaysian players.

Malaysia were in a hurry to claim an early lead but in the process made too many mistakes and by half-time, it was the French who held the lead off a counter-attack.

There was a good build-up from midfield from Malaysia, but lacking was the finishing touch from the forward-line as the strikers were easily stopped by French defenders.

Malaysia's No1 goalkeeper S. Kumar brought out two consecutive saves in the 25th minute to keep the match alive for coach K. Dharmaraj's men, as the French soaked in the attacks but never gave away a single penalty corner in the first half.

France had one penalty corner, but shot wide in the 30th minute. However, a solo run from Oliver Sanchez in the 34th minute finally beat Kumar one-on-one and they trooped into the dressing room looking dangerous.

But it was Malaysia who again went searching for the elusive penalty corner or goal, and were rewarded when Faizal Saari made a darting run in the 40th minute and sent in a cross for seasoned striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin to make a diving connection for the equaliser.

Faizal then took it upon himself to score a classy back-stick flick which sailed high and went crashing into the net for the lead in the 50th minute but Victor Charlet drew level for France in the 53rd minute off their second penalty corner with a low push.

Malaysia lost the match in the 63rd minute when Kumar tackled a French player outside the semi-circle and the umpire awarded a penalty stroke and also flashed Kumar with a yellow card.

Second goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman came in but was beaten by Hugo Genestet from the spot to make it 3-2.

World No 7 South Korea took a comfortable 3-1 lead yesterday but collapsed in the last 10 minutes of the match toshare the spoils at 3-3 with World No 16 Canada in Group B.

And this was a worrying factor for their consultant Paul Lissek: "My players just failed to hold onto a comfortable lead, even though the pressure was not on them. And this is a worrying factor leading to the Malaysian match tomorrow (today) where we will face many young and speedy legs."

Lissek, a former Malaysian coach, said Korea were looking for a winning start as they wanted too top the group and have a 'better' cross-over opponents in the quarter-finals.

"Now we will have to work even harder against Malaysia, as we wanted a win against Canada and top the group, but it did not happen. I believe Malaysia are doing the right thing by mixing many young players into the squad as it did make them better in the Azlan Shah Cup.

"I think Malaysia are looking for the best combination for the World Cup, and it is good that they are trying out players," said Lissek.

The German, who took Malaysia to the 1998 Commonwealth Games silver medal, also believes that Korea will face a tough time against Malaysia who have showed good form for the last 12 months at the junior and senior level.

"It will be our toughest match at the group stage, but then again, all eight teams play in the quarter-finals, and that one match will be the most important one in this tournament," said Lissek.


Team P W D L F A PTS
JAPAN 1 1 0 0 3 2 3
N ZEALAND 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
POLAND 1 0 0 1 2 3 0
IRELAND 1 0 0 1 1 2 0


Team P W D L F A PTS
FRANCE 1 1 0 0 3 2 3
S KOREA 1 0 1 0 3 3 1
CANADA 1 0 1 0 3 3 1
MALAYSIA 1 0 0 1 2 3 0

RESULTS -- Group A: New Zealand 2 Ireland 1, Japan 3 Poland 2.
Group B: South Korea 3 Canada 3, Malaysia 2 France 3.
TODAY: Group A: Japan v New Zealand (3pm), Ireland v Poland (5pm)
Group B: Canada v France (7pm), Malaysia v South Korea (9pm).
April 28: REST DAY.
April 29: Group A: Ireland v Japan (3pm), New Zealand v Poland (5pm).
Group B: South Korea v France (7pm), Canada v Malaysia (9pm).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Malaysia get a French lesson in Champions opener

By S. Ramaguru

Malaysian players attacking the French goal in their opening match of the Champions Challenge I in Kuantan on Saturday. Malaysia lost 2-3. - BERNAMA

KUANTAN: Malaysia went into the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament with the target of winning it.

But, yesterday, they left the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium with their tails between their legs after losing 3-2 to debutants France in their opening Group B match.

France took the lead through an Olivier Sanchez field goal in the 34th minute.

Malaysia needed just six minutes after the break to hit back. Faizal Saari took the ball from the middle of the pitch and raced into the D with two French defenders in tow. Faizal’s attempt across the face of the goalmouth was well connected by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin for the equaliser.

Faizal then turned scorer when he put Malaysia 2-1 up in the 50th minute off a quick counter attack.

Undeterred, France hit back three minutes later with a penalty corner goal by Victor Charlet.

Then came the howler by goalkeeper S. Kumar in the 63rd minute, which handed all three points to France. Kumar brought down a French player and the umpire blew for a penalty stroke. Hugo Genestet easily converted to give the French a famous win.

In an earlier Group B match, world No. 7 South Korea blew a 3-1 lead to end up drawing 3-3 with Canada.

The Koreans, preparing for the World Cup along with Malaysia and New Zealand, were in total control of the match but somehow fell apart in the last 10 minutes.

Cho Suk-hoon (13th minute) and Nam-hyun (24th) put South Korea 2-0 up before Gabriel Ho-Garcia reduced the deficit for Canada in the 25th minute.

A Kim Seong-kyu field goal in the 39th minute made it look like it was going to be an easy win for the Koreans.

But it all changed when Taylor Curran capitalised on a defensive slip-up to slot home a soft goal in the 60th minute and three minutes later Mathew Guest slotted home the equaliser.

South Korea will play Malaysia today while Canada will meet France.

South Korea’s technical consultant Paul Lissek attended the post-match press conference instead of the coach as the Koreans were upset with the result.

“We wanted to win the match and our target was to top the group. But we played badly in the second half and threw away a good lead. That should not have happened. It was two silly goals that we gave away,” he said.

Lissek described the match against Malaysia today as crucial for them to achieve their target.

“Malaysia are good side with a balanced team. They have been improving consistently over the last one year ... so we expect a tough match,” he said.

Malaysia and South Korea last met in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup last month and the teams drew 2-2.

The Star of Malaysia

Black Sticks open with win at Champs Challenge

The Black Sticks Men have opened their tournament with a hard fought 2-1 win over Ireland at the Champions Challenge in Kuantan, Malaysia.

Due to soaring temperatures around 34 degrees Celsius, the game was split into four 17.5 minute quarters for player welfare.

Steve Edwards opened the scoring for New Zealand in the 11th minute before the Irish responded through Alan Sothern to lock the game up 1-1 at halftime.

Southern striker Hugo Inglis then broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half, hitting home the game winning goal from a deflection in the circle.

Ireland goalkeeper David Harte played a stunning game, denying the Kiwis time after time and keeping his side in the game.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was pleasing to come away with a win first up under trying circumstances.

“Conditions were certainly very tough today in the extreme heat but the guys handled it well and we are pleased to start the tournament with a win,” he said.

“Ireland played well and I thought their goalkeeper was outstanding in denying us a lot of scoring opportunities.

“Japan next up for us tomorrow will be another tough game. We played them at home recently and I think they only have one change from that team so we know what we’re up against.”

The Black Sticks play their second pool game of the tournament against Japan at 7pm tomorrow night (NZ time).

The Champions Challenge doubles as a qualifier for the 2016 Champions Trophy with the winner earning an automatic berth, and is also important preparation for the Hockey World Cup from 31 May – 15 June in The Hague, Netherlands.

BLACK STICKS 2: (Steve Edwards, Hugo Inglis)
IRELAND 1: (Alan Sothern)
Halftime: 1-1

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Kiwis open Champions campaign with win

By S. Ramaguru

Hockey action between New Zealand (in black) and Ireland in the Champions Challenge I in Kuantan on Saturday. Kiwis won 2-1. - BERNAMA

KUANTAN: Favourites New Zealand got their Group A campaign in the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament off to a winning start – edging Ireland 2-1 – at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) had agreed for the first two Group A matches to be played in four quarters. The match time remains at 70 minutes as each quarter is played over 17.5 minutes.

Only matches at 3pm and 5pm are affected for now while the other matches at night will remain as two halves.

FIH are in the midst of introducing four quarters for international matches from September. The Asian Games from Sept 19 to Oct 4 in Incheon, South Korea, will be the first hockey tournament to use the new format.

The format for the early matches were changed due to the severe humidity in Kuantan. The FIH are monitoring the temperature and may even play the night matches in four quarters if necessary.

The Kiwis opened their scoring with a field goal by Steve Edwards in the 11th minute but Alan Sothern equalised for Ireland five minutes later – running into the D to turn a cross in.

The Black Sticks made sure of victory when Hugo Inglis deflected a long cross into the D by Markus Child into goal in the 42nd minute.

In the other Group A match, Japan came back from 1-0 down to edge Poland 3-2.

Poland took the lead in the seventh minute through a Michal Raciniewski Michal field goal.

But Japan restored parity a minute late when Koji Kayukawa netted from close range.

Poland then made it 2-1 in the 29th minute through an Adrian Krokosz field goal.

Japan, however, upped the tempo in the second-half and began to take control of the match with their speed.

And it was through one such quick move that Japan found the equaliser in the 50th minute through man-of-the-match Ippei Fujimoto.

Hiroki Sakamoto then netted the winning goal in the 61st minute off a penalty corner drag flick.

The Star of Malaysia

CC1 Match 1 Ireland 1-2 New Zealand

Ireland' men took on New Zealand this morning 8am Irish time in the opening match of the Champions Challenge I taking place in Kuantan Malaysia closing out the game with a narrow 2-1 loss against the world number 6's.

Ireland opened with intent Maurice Elliott on the occasion of his first cap leading the attacking mode in the 8th minute drawing saves from the Blacksticks keeper. But it was the world number 6's who opened the scoring in the 11th minute with Steve Edwards converting from open play.

Ireland equalised 4 minutes later after a beautiful conversion from Alan Sothern to level the sides to 1 a piece.

In the 18th minute New Zealand secured the first penalty corner of the match drawing out top class keeper David Harte to pull off a save. The game ensued both sides attacking Bruce McCandless nearly netting in the 19th minute but an on form Blacksticks keeper kept the attempt out.

Half time saw both sides level pegging at one all.

New Zealand came out seeking a second goal and were rewarded in the 41st minute thanks to Hugo Inglis pouncing on M Child's initial penalty corner attempt to convert the rebound and take the lead for his side at 2-1.

Despite seeking the equaliser Ireland finished the match after a tight encounter and a 2-1 scoreline.

Commenting after the match Coach Ned was proud of his team saying "I am proud of the effort put in by my players today. Tough conditions and the players came through well. We are looking for continuous improvement and this was a positive start"

IRELAND Alan Sothern (fg) 15m
NEW ZEALAND Steve Edwards (fg) 6m; Hugo Inglis 41m (pc)

Irish Hockey Association media release

South Africa looking to top pool in Champions Challenge

Set up in 2001 and organised every two years, the Hockey Champions Challenge 1 will set the stage for one qualification spot at the illustrious Champions Trophy in 2016.

We preview the teams playing in Pool B of the competition starting tomorrow at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

South Africa (World Ranking: 11)

South Africa will be among the favourites in Glasgow and Head coach Giles Bonnet has made his title intentions clear by naming a squad that contains no fewer than 13 players who have made over 100 senior appearances for their country, ensuring that the African champions are more than capable of mixing it with the best teams at this tournament.

That being said, the team will have to do it without two key players, with world record goal-scorer Piete Coetzee and midfielder Jade Mayne both absent through injury. The Champions Challenge 1 in Glasgow is the first of three major international tournaments on European soil for South Africa, with the Rabobank Hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games also on the horizon.

One to watch: Marsha Cox. A true icon of South African hockey and one of the most popular players in the game. This 31 year old midfielder is a triple Olympian, having represented her country at the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games.

Spain (World Ranking 14)

Spain have been going through something of a transitional phase recently, with head coach Adrian Lock very much looking to the future following their failure to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Maria Gomez (25) Spain

The fresh faced team managed to grab a fifth place finish at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships, suggesting that this inexperienced but gifted group is making big strides in the right direction. Lock will be looking for further improvement at the Champions Challenge 1, a tournament where they have achieved fourth place finishes on two occasions (2009 in Cape Town, South Africa & 2011 in Dublin, Ireland).

One to watch: Berta Bonastre. A young player with a massive future ahead of her. Bonastre was captain of the Spain team that claimed a fifth place finish at last year’s Ergo Junior World Cup. She is the younger sister of Silvia Bonastre, who represented Spain at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Ireland (World Ranking 15)

Despite being the second lowest ranked team in the tournament, Ireland are certainly not a side to be taken lightly. They have competed in the last two editions of the Champions Challenge 1, finishing 6th at the 2011 event in Dublin before claiming the bronze medal in 2012, which also took place in the Irish capital.

Mo McLellan v Ire

They have improved massively in recent years and will be determined to continue that progression in Glasgow. Earlier this year, head coach Darren Smith took a largely experimental side to Terrassa for a training camp and four matches against Spain. It proved to a very successful exercise, with Ireland winning the series against their marginally higher ranked opponents by two games to one.

Many of the players involved in that series victory have been given their chance to shine in the Champions Challenge 1 tournament, including 18 year old goalkeeper Ayeisha O’Flynn and Emily Beatty, 20.

These young guns have plenty of experienced players to look up to, with Michelle Harvey (120+ caps), Cliodhna Sargent (130+), Shirley McCay (150+) and Audrey O’Flynn (100+) all having reached the 100 cap landmark.

Looking forward to the competition, Ireland Head Coach Darren Smith said, “Several of the group that won the series against Spain in January are being rewarded with the opportunity to play against India and then Champions Challenge in Glasgow. The tournament is going to be extremely tough with initially pool games against South Africa, Spain and USA before a knock out match to decide placings. The challenge facing us as a young group will be difficult but the team is determined.”

One to watch: Megan Frazer. A player described by team coach Darren Smith as someone “who loves the challenges that hockey brings”, Frazer’s recent high quality performances have resulted in her being given the huge honour of captaining her country. The 23 year old midfielder is likely to make her 50th senior international appearance at the Champions Challenge 1.

USA (World Ranking 10)

USA have a strong reputation in the Champions Challenge 1, having claimed the silver medal at the two most recent editions of the competition and they will be hoping to make it third time lucky at the 2014 tournament in Glasgow.

Vikki Bunce vs. USA

They have produced some fine form in coming into this competition, having recently recorded a 4-0 series win against North American neighbours Canada.

Their squad is packed full of experience. Eight players have represented the USA senior side over 100 times, with ace midfielder Rachel Dawson and team captain Lauren Crandall having also surpassed the 200 cap mark. Dawson, defender Katie Reinprecht and attacking midfielder Kathleen Sharkey are all world class talents, a fact proven by the trio’s inclusion in the 2013 Pan American Elite Team, which recognises the finest players in the Pan Am region.

The team is coached by Englishman Craig Parnham, with former Dutch international Janneke Schopman joining the staff in the role of assistant coach. Schopman, a double Olympic medallist, brings masses of world level experience to the table, being able to pass on her knowledge to a group that is aiming to achieve big things both here in Glasgow and at this summer’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.

One to watch: Rachel Dawson. This 28 year old midfield powerhouse has been a fixture in the USA team for the best part of a decade, having represented her country at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Investec SA hockey women tackle the Irish in Champs Challenge opener


South Africa's Nicolene Terblanche and her team-mates have the energy that enables high octane hockey. Photo: MATT WITHERS

THE hard-fought battles between the world’s 11th ranked Investec South Africa women’s hockey team and world 15 Ireland over the last four years are not expected to let up when the two countries meet on day one of the Champions Challenge in Glasgow at 1pm SA time Sunday.

All the Champions Challenge matches will be broadcast live via the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/fihockey while you can go to http://events.fih.ch/new/competition/284 for all the fixtures.

The South Africans are favoured to get off to a good start but the Irish are sure to have other ideas and SA head coach Giles Bonnet and his management team have been working tirelessly with their charges in the weeks leading up to the event, which takes place at the specially built venue that will host the Commonwealth Games hockey in July.

“We wish to place pressure on ourselves to win every game we play,” Bonnet said at the team hotel Saturday.

Bonnet introduced a new style of play in January and in warm-up matches the evidence was there that progress has been made.

“It’s direct, using speed and a high-risk approach in the final third,” said the Amsterdam-based former SA men’s captain and then head coach.

“We spent a week in Holland, acclimatising to The Hague [the 2014 World Cup city) and the environment for the World Cup [from May 31 to June 15] and then came through to Scotland via London, where we played training games against [world number three] England at Bisham Abbey.”

As a group, the Investec SA players showed high energy levels during these trainings and the likes of Nicolene Terblanche will again be leading from the front when the kilometres travelled in the 70 minutes are tallied up after the match.

After Ireland, SA’s next Pool B opponents are world number 10 the USA on Monday before the meet World 14 Spain in their final group match on Wednesday.

Thursday heralds the quarter-finals with the semi-finals and bottom four playoffs next Saturday and the medal matches and lower classification encounters next Sunday.

SA’s world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee and Jade Mayne are injured and unavailable. Otherwise the team of 18 is at full-strength.

Pool A features world number eight Korea, world 12 Belgium, world 13 India and world 16 Scotland.

(at SA time)

April (Three Pool B matches)

Sunday, 27th: SA vs Ireland (1pm)

Monday, 28th: SA vs USA (3pm)

Wednesday, 30th: SA vs Spain (10.30am)

May (Three playoff matches)

Thursday 1st: SA in 1 of 4 quarter-finals - start times from 2pm to 9.15pm

Saturday, 3rd: SA in playoff match (may be a semi-final, start times 10am to 5.15pm)

Sunday, 4th: SA in classification match (may be a medal match - start times 11.30am to 6.45pm).

Anelle van Deventer, Sanani Mangisa, Quanita Bobbs, Lisa Deetlefs, Lenise Marais, Marcelle Manson, Shelly Russell, Tarryn Bright, Marsha Cox, Bernie Coston, Kathleen Taylor, Nicolene Terblanche, Illse Davids, Sulette Damons, Celia Evans, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lilian du Plessis, Kelly Madsen.

SA Hockey Association media release

India women's hockey team prepared for Champions Challenge 1

India start their Pool A campaign against South Korea before facing Scotland and Belgium.

Glasgow: After the 2-0 series win against Ireland, the Indian women's hockey team is all set and prepared for the eighth Champions Challenge 1 which commences here from Sunday.

India start their Pool A campaign against South Korea on Sunday before facing Scotland (Monday) and Belgium (Wednesday).

The team boasts of seven players - Deep Grace Ekka, Monika, Lily Chanu, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Namita Toppo and P. Sushila Chanu - from the Under-21 squad that bagged the bronze medal at the 2013 Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach.

Along with the experience of captain Ritu Rani and Deepika, who have played more than 100 international matches, the team is looking at putting up a good show in Germany.

"We are fully prepared for the Champions Challenge 1 which will be an exciting tournament with challenges while playing against top ranked countries of the world. Korea is a tough team but the girls are confident of doing well. We will go by our planned strategies game-by-game," said Ritu.

Coach Neil Hawgood said that South Korea will present a tough challenge to them and they can't afford to take anyone lightly.

"We can't take anyone lightly. Korea will be challenging as they are coming off a six-nation tournament played in New Zealand against the top teams in the world. We had good preparations before the tournament, playing three matches against Ireland," said Hawgood.


Prepared for opponents with planned strategies: Ritu Rani

NEW DELHI: Gearing up for the Women's Champions Challenge after a successful build-up campaign in their recent tour of Europe, Indian women's hockey captain Ritu Rani said the team is well-prepared to face the toughest of oppositions in the big event starting on Sunday in Glasgow.

India will be playing their first match against Korea in Pool A and the team boasts of seven players -- Deep Grace Ekka, Monika, Lily Chanu, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Namita Toppo and P Sushila Chanu -- from the U-21 squad that bagged bronze in the Junior World Cup in Germany last year.

With experienced Ritu and Deepika, who have played more than 100 international matches, the team is looking to put up a great show during the tournament.

Speaking on the expectations, Ritu said, "We are fully prepared for the Champions Challenge 1, it will be an exciting tournament with challenges while playing against top ranked countries of the world. Korea is a tough team but girls are fully confident of doing well. We will go by our planned strategies game by game."

With the world's top teams competing to lift the title at the eighth Women's Champions Challenge 1, India, currently ranked 13th in the world, will have a tough task against 8th ranked Korea.

Speaking on the tournament and opening game against Korea, coach Neil Hawgood said, "We can't take anything lightly in this tournament. First game against Korea will be challenging as the opponents are coming off a 6 nations tournament against the top teams of the World in New Zealand.

"We also had good preparation before this tournament, playing three matches against Ireland. As we prepare for Asian Games to be held later this year, this is a test of what we need to do to be able to directly qualify for 2016 Olympics in October."

India will face Scotland in their second match on April 28, followed by Belgium on April 30.

The Times of India

Scotland lose out to England in Men's 4 Nations

Scotland's players celebrate after Chris Nelson's equalising goal. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Scotland’s Men’s 4 Nations campaign suffered a blow today after a 3-1 defeat by England at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

Despite an equalising goal from midfielder Chris Nelson shortly before half-time, field goals from Barry Middleton, Tom Carson and Simon Mantell ensured England left with the three points.

Reflecting on his side’s performance, Scotland Head Coach Derek Forsyth said, “Defensively at times we were excellent, but when we’re playing teams at this level we need to keep the ball longer so we can control the game a bit more. Every time we defended well, we made life hard for ourselves by turning the ball over too quickly.

“We were right in it for the whole game, yet we only had one corner. If we’d scored that corner to make it 2-2 that changes everything. The second England shouldn’t have stood so the contest was a lot closer than the result suggests.

“That said, England are a good team about to head to the World Cup. Another great experience for the players and we move onto Monday against Argentina.”

Chris Nelson, left, was on target for Scotland against England. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray.

Following a tight opening period with no significant chances for either side, it was Scotland who fashioned the first chance of the game. Nicky Parkes found space on the right flank and the Surbiton forward’s dangerous cross was met by Gareth Hall, whose dive and slender deflection went narrowly wide of the left hand post.

England retorted in the 17th minute, winning a penalty corner after good play from Barry Middleton. However, the Scottish defence was alert to the threat of Ashley Jackson, Kenny Bain getting a stick to the East Grinstead midfielder’s shot to ensure the ball was diverted over bar.

Three minutes later, Dan Fox threatened the home side’s goal, working a one-two pass with Simon Mantell, but his weak shot rolled past the far post.

Nevertheless, the visitors found the opening goal in the 22nd minute. Excellent wing play from Mantell enabled the Reading midfielder’s cross to find Middleton in space inside the circle, and the England captain made no mistake with a low drive past Scotland goalkeeper Jamie Cachia.

Cachia had to be on his toes shortly after, the Sheffield shot-stopper getting down low to repel Phil Roper’s effort.

England's Ali Brogdon battles hard for possession. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Further frustration came for the home side in the 31st minute when Gary Cameron’s challenge on Middleton led to the award of a penalty stroke, but Jackson’s option to hit the stroke high proved ill-judged, the ball coming back off the crossbar.

England were left to rue the missed chance two minutes before the half-time interval, Kelburne midfielder Chris Nelson latching onto Dan Coultas’ hit into the circle to send the ball past English ‘keeper George Pinner.

Confusion then abound in the 43rd minute when it appeared that a foul had been committed during an England foray into the circle, but Tom Carson was credited with the away side’s second goal, restoring their advantage.

Cachia was again Scotland’s saviour midway through the second half, making a fantastic double save to deny Mark Gleghorne’s penalty corner strike and then Middleton’s follow-up from the resulting re-bound.

The home side had an opportunity to find a second equaliser in the 55th minute following the award of a penalty corner, but Coultas’ effort fizzed wide of the left hand post to the angst of the Scots.

Five minutes from time, England sealed victory following great skill by Jackson to find Mantell sliding in at the near post to make it 3-1.

Scotland team thanks their supporters after the match. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

FT: Scotland (Chris Nelson 33') 1-3 England (Barry Middleton 22, Tom Carson 43', Simon Mantell 65')

Scotland Senior Men: Jamie Cachia (Sheffield), Gareth Hall (Beeston), Michael Bremner (Kelburne), Dan Coultas (Holcombe), Alan Forsyth (Surbiton), Chris Grassick (Surbiton), Ian Moodie (Edinburgh University), Ross Stott (East Grinstead), Chris Nelson (Kelburne), Kenny Bain (Hurley), William Marshall (Sheffield), Iain Scholefield (Qui Vive), Niall Stott (East Grinstead),David Forsyth (Qui Vive), Nick Parkes (Surbiton), Gavin Byers (Sheffield), Gary Cameron (Grange), Gavin Sommerville (Western Wildcats)

England Senior Men: James Bailey (Reading) Alastair Brogdon (Wimbledon) Tom Carson (Reading) Nick Catlin (Reading) David Condon (East Grinstead) Dan Fox (Holcombe) Mark Gleghorne (East Grinstead) Michael Hoare (Wimbledon) Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Simon Mantell (Reading) Harry Martin (Beeston) Barry Middleton (Holcombe) George Pinner (Beeston) Phil Roper (Wimbledon) Dan Shingles (Reading) Tim Whiteman (Beeston) Ollie Willars (Beeston)
FT: Belgium (Tanguy Dosyns 9', 55') 2-1 Argentina (Facundo Callioni 33')

Meanwhile, Belgium surged to the top of the Men's 4 Nations Pool Standings with a 2-1 win over Argentina.

Belgium's Tom Boon in action for Belgium against Argentina. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Tanguy Dosyns opened the scoring in the ninth minute from a penalty corner, but Facundo Callioni pulled Argentina level shortly before the half-time interval after brilliant play from Matias Paredes.

However, Dosyns ensured the win for the world number five team, finishing off from close range.

Pool Standings

BEL P2 W2 D0 L0 GF6 GA4 GD +2 Pts 6
ENG P2 W1 D1 L0 GF5 GA3 GD +2 Pts 4
ARG P2 W0 D1 L1 GF3 GA4 GD -1 Pts 1
SCO P2 W0 D0 L2 GF4 GA7 GD -3 Pts 0

Scottish Hockey Union media release

England men beat hosts Scotland

Barry Middleton, England v Scotland Men, Apr 26 2014

ENGLAND Men beat hosts Scotland 3-1 in their second match of the Four Nations campaign in Glasgow on Saturday.

Drawing with Scotland at half time following captain Barry Middleton’s 22nd minute goal, England chipped in with two second half goals from Tom Carson and Simon Mantell to register their first victory of the tournament and keep on track for victory.

“It was a far more positive performance today. We dominated possession for long periods but couldn’t break down a resilient Scottish defence until the last quarter of the game,” said Head Coach Bobby Crutchley. “There are still areas we need to improve, we look forward to the challenge that Belgium will present on Monday.”

Barry Middleton’s 22nd minute goal was England’s only score of a first half which presented them with several chances on goal. They had been building the pressure on Scotland, and found space down the right baseline. Simon Mantell managed to find Middleton in front of goal with the goalkeeper struggling to cover, and the Holcombe ace tapped in an easy opening goal.

But Scotland continued to press and – after Ashley Jackson hadput a 31st minute penalty stroke onto the crossbar – the hosts levelled shortly before half time. Dan Coultas put the ball into the D from a free hit on the 25 yard line, and a narrow deflection by Chris Nelson was enough to ensure the ball went between George Pinner’s legs for the equaliser.

Both sides began the second period in lively fashion, but it was England who broke through. England broke down the right side and looped round the baseline before the cross was deflected in by Tom Carson. The umpire reviewed the goal after Scottish claims that it had come off a defender, but the goal stood.

Both sides had penalty corner chances in the following few minutes, but all were well defended. But the breakthrough came with five minutes remaining. Ashley Jackson edged along the right baseline with great skill before crossing for Simon Mantell to score.

England take on Belgium on Monday in their final pool game (11am), before the placement matches on Tuesday.

England 3 (1)
Barry Middleton 22 (F)
Tom Carson 43 (F)
Simon Mantell 65 (F)

Scotland 1 (1)
Chris Nelson 33 (F)

England Hockey Board Media release

Surbiton Secure League & Cup Double

Investec Women's Cup Final - Surbiton Team Photo

Surbiton ended a remarkable season by adding the Investec Women’s Cup to their League title in a comfortable 7-1 victory against a battling Hampstead & Westminster side

The League Champions got off to a flying start with Jenna Woolven lifting the ball over the advancing keeper after good work from Georgie Twigg on just two minutes. The lead was doubled shortly after when Rebecca Hertbert was on hand to deflect the ball in from close range from Surbiton’s first Penalty Corner. The Hampstead & Westminster defence, with an inspired Sophia Perowne in goal did a good job at keeping the score to just 2-0 with Surbiton’s Twigg, Sarah Page, Giselle Ansley and Jenna Woolven all going close. Surbiton did however find that third goal on 20 minutes through Ansley who dragged a Penalty Corner high into the net.

Hampstead & Westminster’s first real chance of the game came on 22 minutes which saw Emma Stockings close range shot saved after good work from the lively Kike Lawal. Hampstead then enjoyed a good five minute spell of possession but were unable to create any real chances against a well organised Surbiton defence as the teams went into halt time at 3-0.

Surbiton began the second half as they started the first, with Georgie Twigg getting her name on the score sheet with a Penalty Stroke on 38 minutes. On 41 minutes, Hampstead received their first Penalty Corner of the match which led to their only goal, with Annebeth Witjenburg converting after a double save from Surbiton keeper Vicky Hewett. This forced Surbiton to raise their game, adding a further two goals to their tally in as many minutes through a second Georgie Twigg stroke and Vanessa Roberts strike. As fatigue set in, a scrappy ten minutes followed which saw three yellow cards. With five minutes remaining, Surbiton put the icing on the cake with a seventh goal through Sophie Fisher-Norton to end their season in style.

At the final whistle, Surbiton’s captain Sarah Haycroft put her teams league and cup double success down to teamwork. Haycroft added “It’s a fantastic feeling to add the Investec Women’s Cup to our League Title and qualification to Europe. It’s been a great season which we put down to a squad with strength in depth, not just the 16 players that played in the League and Cup Finals. We are so happy to win the double”

Jenna Woolven 2 (F)
Rebecca Herbert 4 (PC)
Giselle Ansley 20 (PC)
Georgie Twigg 38, 47 (PS,PS)
Vanessa Roberts 49 (FG)
Sophie Fisher-Norton 65 (FG)

Annebeth Witjenburg 42 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release

SECR to face SAI Sundergarh in All India hockey final

Suhas Nayse

NAGPUR: City giants South East Central Railway (SECR) will clash with Sports Authority of India, Sundergarh in the final of the 1st All India VHA-Nagpur Gold Cup Hockey tournament, organized by Vidarbha Hockey Association under the auspices of Hockey India, at the VHA ground on Friday.

VHA Senior Division champions SECR thrashed Sports Hostel, Rourkela 4-1 to keep alive the hopes of the local supporters.

Rourkela began well and threatened SECR custodian on few occasions but could not score.

However, the railmen fought back gallantly and fired four goals in the second half to enter the final in style. Karan Kushwaha broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute. A couple of minutes later, Irshad Mirza helped SECR take lead when he slammed a brilliant field goal. The talented youngster converted penalty stroke in the 57th minute to increase the lead.

Shadab Khan sealed the fate of the visitors by sounding the board in the 66th minute.

For Rourkela, Alok Barla struck a consolation goal in the 18th minute.

Earlier in the first semifinal, SAI, Sundergarh pipped Maharashtra XI by a solitary goal which was scored by Sushil Ekka in the 63rd minute.

The final will be played at 3.30 pm on Saturday after the third place match between Maharashtra XI and Sports Hostel Rourkela which will be played at 2 pm.

Three-time Olympian and 1975 World Cup winning player Ashok Kumar will grace the prize distribution function. Shyam Wardhane, Municipal Commissioner, Nagpur will be the chief guest of the final.


SAI Sundergarh 1 (Sushil Ekka 63rd min) bt Maharashtra XI 0. SECR 4 (Karan Kushwaha 42nd, Irshad Mirza 44th, 57th PS, Shadab Khan 66) bt Sports Hostel, Pomposh, Rourkela 1 (18th Alok Barla). Today's matches Third place play-off: Maharashtra XI vs Sports Hostel, Rourkela (2 pm) Final: SECR vs SAI Sudargarh (3.30 pm).

The Times of India

POA finalises contingent for South Korea: Pakistan hockey misses deadline for Incheon Asian Games

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has missed the deadline (April 26) of participating in the Asian Games 2014 by not sending its entries to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)-backed Pakistan Olympic Association (POA). "Around 200 players and officials will represent Pakistan in 24 different disciplines of the Asian Games except hockey as they did not make any contact with us till the end of the deadline of April 26," POA president Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan told media after chairing a meeting that finalised the contingent here on Saturday. The Asian Games are scheduled to be held in Incheon, South Korea from September 19 to October 4. "Our doors for the Pakistan Hockey Federation are open, but still we want to receive the expression of interest from them," added the POA president.

"Though the number of athletes and officials are 200, it may be reduced in case any federation changes its programme in future," he said. Besides hockey, no official from the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) attended the meeting. Arif, however, said the PTF, had already sent their list of players and officials for the accreditation. He said there was a report that the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) had given the permission to the PHF to take part in the Asian Games. "The PHF should have sent the entries till April 26 as it will not be easy to entertain their request for participation after that date." Arif said though the POA had to finish the task of sending the entries till April 30, it has set April 26 as deadline because some days were required to send the entries.

He admitted that the issue of parallel and unlawful POA should be resolved at the earliest as the sports were being damaged. He said his POA would take four steps forward to solve it in response to the government's single one, but keeping the principles above all. He said the Inter Provincial Ministry had also invited the legitimate National Olympic Committee (NOC) for consultation sometime next month, before presenting the Pakistan case of suspension before the IOC on May 21. It may be mentioned that if the Pakistan Government fails to present its case strongly, the IOC will suspend Pakistan membership in July this year.

Arif said the POA had also written a letter to the PSB to set up training camps for the Asian Games, but no reply was received as yet. "In the last Asian Games in 2010 in China, the performance of Pakistan was improved after many years with three gold, two silver and three bronze medals. To maintain it, best kind of coaching and training facilities should be provided to the athletes."

He said a contingent of 53 players and officials had also been finalised, which would feature in the Commonwealth Games 2014 to be held in Glasgow in July-August. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan hockey will not be taking part in the Glasgow Games because the Inter Provincial Ministry refused to give the PHF permission to send entries through Arif Hasa-led POA. The POA has finalised the following games for participation in the Incheon Asian Games: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Baseball, Boxing, Cricket (Women), Cycling, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Kabaddi, Karate, Rowing, Rugby, Shooting, Swimming, Squash, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling and Wushu.

The Daily Times

‘Hockey should be promoted in schools’

By Nabil Tahir

KARACHI: The ongoing Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) open trials are facing strong criticism by certain senior players of the national game.

Legendary Hanif Khan criticised the PHF’s approach to promote the game and the poor turnout in Karachi.

“Talent cannot come up until hockey is not promoted in schools and colleges, which is making hockey a less interesting sport among our youth,” said Hanif, who has performed the duties of selector and coach of the team in the past.

“They should first correct the domestic structure. If 10 teams participate in zonal hockey matches it makes 160 players, which would be better than 44.”

Meanwhile, the national team captain Muhammad Imran said that the goal set by national team coach Shahnaz Sheikh to take his new team to the Asian Games does not seem to be a good decision.

“Only six months are left for the Asian Games which is not enough to train new players,” said Imran.

“These Games are really important. The winning team directly qualifies for the Olympics.”

Former captain Rehan Butt expressed concern over the participation of a relatively younger and inexperienced team in the Asian Games.

“The current experienced team should participate in the Asian Games,” said Rehan.

“However, the idea of open trials is good. It will give younger players a chance that they often complain about.”

The Express Tribune

The state of the nation

Why are team sports so important in the 'Land of the Long White Cloud'?

When we think of New Zealand and its people, the first thing that springs to mind is invariably sports related. Whether it is the majestic sailing boats that grace Auckland Harbour, the mountains that produce some of the world's best climbers or the powerful and intimidating All Blacks rugby team. Sport has always played a vital role in defining New Zealand as a nation, and most Kiwis highly value an active, sporting lifestyle, whether competitive or recreational.

While the climate and geography make the country a natural arena for adventurous sporting pursuits – fishing, hunting, kayaking, horse riding, skiing, snowboarding and much more, Kiwis are also very big on team sports – rugby, netball, rugby league, cricket and, of course, hockey.

So what is it about this island with a population of 4.43 million people that makes it able to produce top-class sports players in so many sporting activities? It could be the fact that so ingrained is sport, that many babies are sporting black shirts with the silver fern before they can walk, and toddlers often learn to kick, throw or hit a ball before they can talk.

For many New Zealanders, sport is so much a part of their life that its almost a barometer of the health of the nation. And while that is usually good news if you are a rugby union fan, for hockey things have only been buzzing recently.

In an interview with the Otago Daily Times, the Black Sticks captain, Dean Couzins, spoke about the Black Sticks improvement over the past few years: "It's fantastic. It's great for our team and for New Zealand hockey. The girls have really been improving, too. Hopefully, we can build on that and get some really good results in the forthcoming major tournaments."

Much of the credit for the New Zealander's excellence in sport goes to strong grass roots systems and players' loyalty to their community clubs. Young players are nurtured through the club system and there are good structures in place to support player development. And then there is that unwavering desire to represent New Zealand. Motivation and support are key elements here.

That motivation has been tapped into by the Black Sticks coach Mark Hager, who constantly reinforces the need for hard work. Kayla Sharland, who was part of the Black Sticks team that came fourth in the London 2012 Olympics, says not only does Mark impress on his group the importance of hard work, he also ensures that competition for places is always stiff and the players know they cannot afford complacency. "There have been lots of changes to the team since the Olympics so it is pleasing to see that they have been progressing so well – it's just good to see a bunch of players wanting to put their stamp on hockey in New Zealand," she said.

Mark Hager added: "We have a strong squad and some good young talent coming through - that means we can develop depth in the squad. We want players to really work hard to earn a spot in the team."

Both the men's and women's hockey teams are in for a busy few months. The men, who are currently ranked sixth in the world, are playing in the Pahang Champions Challenge 1 in a bid to qualify for the 2016 Champions Trophy, then both teams will be competing in the Rabobank Hockey World Cup and just a month later in the Commonwealth Games. The fifth-ranked women then have a trip to Argentina to contest the Champions Trophy.

Does Dean feel that hockey players are short-changed when it comes to comparisons with the other team sports? "I don't think it bugs me too much. It would be really nice if we got a bit more publicity. It would make life easier. But that's not why we play. We've got a lot of guys who are just really passionate about playing for New Zealand. The best thing we can do is get good results."

FIH site

Overwhelming support for the inaugural West kaji hockey clinic

Zanzeer Singh

Lautoka Primary schools hockey players who attended the inaugural western kaji hockey clinic held in Lautoka, Fiji yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE inaugural kaji clinic organised by the Western Hockey Association at the Nadovu grounds in Lautoka yesterday received overwhelming response.

A total of 52 primary school students participated in the event.

The clinic was conducted by hockey enthusiasts Fergus Underwood, Taka Newton and Andrea Manueli Lal.

Underwood said the school holidays was an opportune time to start the kaji clinics.

"We had initially registered 63 students for the program but 52 turned up which is a good number," he said.

"It was through our initiatives that we got an overwhelming response. We are desperate to build a good platform for hockey in the West and are targeting the grassroots level."

The participants were taught basics of the sport like stick handling, passing and body positioning.

Fergus said the Fiji Hockey Federation had supplied them with playing and training equipment last year.

"On the grass turf the ball control is a bit difficult but this is a learning curve for them. We are teaching them the various skills of ball control, body positioning, passing. As we go on we anticipate more support from the national body.

"This is only the start and we hope to stage it weekly. We are gearing up for the inaugural primary schools competition in Suva next year. So expect strong performances from our schools in the West."

Students from Saint Thomas Primary, Jasper Williams Primary, Lautoka Arya Samaj Primary, Lautoka Muslim Primary, Lautoka Primary and Lautoka Mission participated.

The Fiji TImes

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