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News 04 May 2014

All the news for Sunday

Who will be competing in the Champions Trophy in 2016?

Canada and Korea face-off in Kuantan, while the USA and Ireland have a re-match in Glasgow

(Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo)

Korea and Canada will contest the Pahang Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, while the USA will have a re-match against Ireland in the women's competition in Glasgow.

Korea and Canada set up the final of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. The Asian champions walked away with a 2-1 victory over Ireland in the second semi-final to remain unbeaten in this competition. Earlier, Canada had won a dramatic shoot-out 5-4 against host nation Malaysia. The Speedy Tigers will now face Ireland’s Green Machine in the bronze medal match.

“This was a difficult game but I’m happy that we won it”, says Korea coach Shin Seok Kyo. “Ireland have a good team with a great goalkeeper, they were defending really well.”

Korea forced their first penalty corner after 56 seconds. The Irish goalkeeper David Harte was called into action early parrying three shots in a row. However, eventually Korea’s top scorer Jang Jong Hyun got the dragflick away, firing it underneath the crossbar to give his team the lead. The second goal was a variation with Hyun Hye Sung (53’) flicking the ball into the net.

In the other semi-final, Canada defeated host nation Malaysia 5-4 in a dramatic shoot-out competition. After regulation time the score was tied at 2-2. Earlier, Canada had come back after being 2-0 behind. The shoot-out was a dramatic affair as the score was tied at 2-2 after each team had had five attempts. The shoot-out continued as a one-on-one competition with the 16th shot making the difference. While Fitri Saari was denied on the Malaysian side, Adam Froese scored for Canada to lift his team into the goal medal match.

"I am proud of my players, they played well, but unfortunately we lost in the shoot-outs", said Malaysia coach Muhammad Dhaarma Raj. "We will do our best in the bronze medal match as we want to finish as high as possible.“

In the other matches in Kuantan, Japan will play Poland for seventh place, while New Zealand will face France to decide who finishes in fifth place.

The two semi-finals in the Champions Challenge 1 in Glasgow couldn't have been more contrasting in style. On the one hand, Ireland battled to a hard-fought, energy-sapping 2-1 win over a South Africa team that was desperate to make the finals. In the second semi-final, the USA took control of their match against Spain in the opening minutes and never relinquished their grip on the game. 

In the first semi-final, Tarryn Bright was left rueing a late saved penalty corner that would have equalised against an Ireland team that played with belief and bravery in equal amounts.

This was a match that saw the initiative bounce continuously between the two teams. Although the first-half finished 1-1, courtesy of goals from Celia Evans (8') and Megan Frazer (16'), South Africa were definitely in the ascendancy, while in the early stages of the second half Ireland looked the more likely to take control.

South Africa's goal came after a lovely ball from captain Marsha Cox found its way through the Irish defence and Evans slotted it home. In response, Megan Frazer slammed the ball home from a penalty corner. The second Irish goal came from Nicola Evans (46') after the South Africa defence simply seemed to have switched off for a second. With just a few minutes left, South Africa were awarded a penalty stroke, but Tarryn Bright's effort was saved by Emma Gray.

In the final match to decide the finalists, the USA made a strong start to this game, and although Spain scored in the second half, the Red Sticks never really looked as if they were going to trouble the strong, well-organised USA defence. The USA had a 3-0 lead going into half-time, and Katie O'Donnell moved to the top of the goal-scoring leaders' board on four goals for the tournament.

In the second half Spain put a temporary halt to the USA steamroller but, with the exception of a penalty corner from Lola Riera, which flew past Jackie Kintzer into the USA goal, the Red Sticks were always playing second fiddle in this match.

The final will see Ireland take on the USA. Bronze medal will be contested between Spain and South Africa; Korea will hope to beat Belgium for bronze medal and Scotland will face India in the battle for seventh place.

For more information about the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan and the Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Glasgow, please visit our official tournament event pages. The microsites will bring you all of the news coming from the event, including written match reports, action photos, official match documents, goal scoring statistics and much more. Click here to get to the event page

FIH site

Korea face Canada in Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 final

Ireland and Malaysia play off in the bronze medal match

Korea made the final in Kuantan. (Photo: FIH)

Korea and Canada set up the final of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. The Asian champions walked away with a 2-1 victory over Ireland in the second semi-final to remain unbeaten in this competition. Earlier, Canada had won a dramatic shoot-out 5-4 against host nation Malaysia. The Speedy Tigers will now face Ireland’s Green Machine in the bronze medal match.

“This was a difficult game but I’m happy that we won it”, says Korea coach Shin Seok Kyo. “Ireland have a good team with a great goalkeeper, they were defending really well.”

Korea were on fire from the start of the match and forced their first penalty corner after 56 seconds. The Irish goalkeeper David Harte was called into action early parrying three shots in a row. However, this penalty corner resulted in another one. This time Korea’s top scorer Jang Jong Hyun got the dragflick away, firing it underneath the crossbar to give his team the lead.

Afterwards the crowd saw both teams fighting it out in midfield with no chances created for either side. The Green Machine forced a penalty corner on 16 minutes but Stephen Dowds flick was wide.

Ireland’s Eugene Magee made his 168th appearance in the senior team today making him the most-capped player in the Irish Men’s hockey team.

Korea kept good control of the match throughout the second half. Just before the end of the third quarter they forced their third penalty corner to double their lead. This time they showed a variation with Hyun Hye Sung (53’) flicking the ball into the net.

Chris Cargo’s (64’) late consolation goal gave hope back to Ireland but Korea managed to run the clock down. “I cannot say how proud I am”, says Ireland coach Craig Fulton. “We played really well but we scored a bit too late.”

Now Fulton is looking forward to face Malaysia in the bronze medal match. Commenting on the final, Korea coach Shin says: “Canada have good individual skills. We want to win tomorrow because we want to play the 2016 Champions Trophy.”

FIH site

Canada defeat Malaysia in a penalty shoot-out to grab a spot in the final

Malaysia will play off for the bronze medal

Canada defeated Malaysia in a penalty shootout. (Photo: FIH)

Canada are the first team to qualify for the final of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. They defeated host nation Malaysia 5-4 in a dramatic shoot-out competition. After regulation time the score was tied at 2-2. Earlier, Canada had come back after being 2-0 behind.

"I am proud of my players, they played well, but unfortunately we lost in the shoot-outs", said Malaysia coach Muhammad Dhaarma Raj. "We will do our best in the bronze medal match as we want to finish as high as possible.“

Malaysia forced an early penalty corner when Fitri Saari found a Canadian foot in the circle. The corner was neatly taken by his brother Faizal Saari (3’) firing the ball home to bring the Speedy Tigers ahead. Canada had slightly more ball possession throughout the following 12 minutes but they struggled to create promising chances.

While being forced to defend, Malaysia focused on counter-attacking. One breakaway led to a second goal when Ismail Abu (15’) shot from close range. The home team nearly added a third goal but Ahmad Nasruddin was unable to control the ball in front of the empty goal. “We started the match under immense pressure. Full credit to our guys to hold on”, admits Canada coach Anthony Farry.

Canada struck back in the second quarter through team-captain Scott Tupper (21’) who scored his fourth goal in this tournament. After Canada had got on the scoreboard, the big crowd in the Stadium Wisma Belia felt that the host nation need vocal support and cheered even louder. The Speedy Tigers pushed for another goal but they could not get any shots away that really troubled the Canadian goalkeeper David Carter. “We tried to stop Malaysia’s individual brilliance”, added Farry.

Canada found themselves under pressure in the third quarter but the defence held firm. Then, the crowd witnessed three penalty corners being awarded within three minutes. First, Tupper’s attempt was denied, then, Malaysia failed to convert before Canada managed to win their third penalty corner at the other end. This time, Tupper’s flick was brilliantly parried by Malaysia goalie Kumar Subramiam.

Team Canada, having one man less in the squad because of Sukhi Panesar’s red card suspension, eventually equalised from their fourth penalty corner when Tupper’s (60’) flick found its way into the net with just 10 minutes remaining. Both teams created enough chances to finish the game but were unable to score. 

The shoot-out was a dramatic affair as the score was tied at 2-2 after each team had had five attempts. The shoot-out continued as a one-on-one competition with the 16th shot making the difference. While Fitri Saari was denied on the Malaysian side, Adam Froese scored for Canada to lift his team into the goal medal match.

FIH site

Canada books ticket to Champions Challenge final with shootout win over Malaysia

Kuantan, Malaysia - It was another night of high-drama for national coach K. Dharmaraj’s Malaysia in the semi-finals of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 against Canada before going down 5-4 in penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw in regulation time at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan.

The Canadians, who lost 4-3 against Malaysia in the preliminary round, will meet Korea in tomorrow’s final. The Koreans edged the Irish ‘Green Machine’ 2-1 in the second semi-finals. This is the first time in history that Canada reached the Champions Challenge 1 final as their best finish before this was a sixth place in Quilmes, Argentina in 2012.

As for Malaysia, they will have to contend playing in the third-fourth placing playoff against the Irish. Malaysia’s best finish in the Champions Challenge 1 was a fourth placing in 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, and again in Argentina in 2012.

Faizal Saari and Faiz Helmi Jali got Malaysia to a great start in the early stage of the penalty shoot-outs for a 2-1 lead after Matthew Guest failed in his attempt and Mark Person was on target. All that Malaysia need was one more goal to make it 3-1 and storm into the final. That, however, never materialised as Firhan Ashari, Shahril Saabah and Fitri Saari got their acts wrong much to the dismay of the estimated 7,000 fans that came in full force to support the hosts.

The Canadian also had a bad day in the process as only Gordon Johnston could make it count to level at 2-2 following team captain Scott Tupper and Adam Froese failure as goalkeeper S. Kumar produced another scintillating performance.

However, the sudden-death turned into an agonising episode for all Malaysian, including Malaysian Hockey Confederation President, Prince Abdullah Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. Though Faizal and Fitri kept the Malaysian flag flying, Faiz blow it away this time. Mark, Pearson and Adam cleverly tucked the ball into goal to give Canada a 5-4 victory.

The Malaysia-Canada semi-finals tie had earlier got off to a promise of a Malaysian victory after Fitri earned Malaysia’s first penalty corner in the very first minute of play and Faizal made it count with a well-placed low shot to the left of goalkeeper Antoni Kindler to send wild celebration in the 8,000-capacity Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.

There was no turning back for the host as they piled on the pressure and by the 15th minute surprised the Canadians, ranked at world No. 16, to go 2-0 up through Ismail Abu. The fans simply loved what they saw tonight!

However, if the deafening sounds of the drums had motivated the Malaysian players, it also did the same for the Canadians who clawed back into the game just when skipper Azlan Misron and his band of warriors allowed complacency to drain in.

Canada skipper Tupper got his players into motion and dominated play for a brief moment. It was Tupper himself who got his side on the scoreboard with a penalty corner conversion in the 21st minute.

However, there was more drama after this as the Malaysian forward line scrambled to build on the lead but fell to near misses while on the opposite end the Canadians also had their fair share of misses against a cracked defence. In one of Canada’s raid inside the Malaysian semicircle, Faiz was struck on the face by David Jameson in his attempt to clear the ball away and had to be treated. The first half ended in Malaysia’s favour 2-1.

The second half turned into a bullish fight between both teams. Canada almost came close to searching for the equaliser in the 38th minute but goalkeeper Kumar was once again in his element, denying Tupper of a chance by parrying the ball over.

But Canada were back to shackle the Malaysian defence in no time and it was Tupper who proved to be a bane when he sent a powerful drag-flick to Kumar’s left in only Canada’s third penalty corner of the night, beating the keeper all the way to level score at 2-2.

Firhan Asaari tried all he could with just three minutes remaining in the match in search of the winner. He bulldozed through two defenders but shot straight into Kindler’s pads.

The Canadians, clearly desperate and frustrated, mounted a last attack on the Malaysian post and were rewarded when New Zealand umpire David Tomlinson awarded two consecutive penalty corners with seconds into the final whistle – giving the Canadians more hope of searching the winning goal. But Tupper failed in both attempts as Kumar stood his ground, forcing the match into a penalty shoot-out.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Canada the better team...

MALAYSIA had the final ticket in their hands but gave it away to Canada after a 2-2 draw in regulation time and bowing out 5-4 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in the Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, Pahang yesterday.

After taking a 2-0 lead, they allowed Canada to claw back into the match and nail the equaliser in the 70th minute. And after five shoot-outs, the score stood at 2-2, but Canada sailed into the final on a 5-4 win after the shoot-out went into sudden-death.

It was only one minute and 30 seconds when Fitri Saari decided to make a solo run from the 25, and win Malaysia's first penalty corner of the match, with his brother completing his move a minute later.

Faizal Saari scored his second goal of the tournament with a low push which went crashing onto the board to beat Canadian goalkeeper Antoni Kindler for the lead.

The Malaysian team were more composed after that early lead but missed many sitters until the 14th minute when local hero Ismail Abu found his scoring touch from an acute angle.

Ismail, from Felda Jengka 22, also took it upon himself to dribble a fed Canadian defenders before unleashing a powerful shot from almost the sidelines, but still managed to find the small gap between the post and Kindler was beaten again.

The match was played over four quarters of 17.5 seconds and the crowd took the many breaks in play to dance and enjoy themselves as Malaysia moved closer to the final.

But Canada had other plans as off their first penalty corner in the 20th minute their skipper Scott Tupper scored to narrow the gap.

And with Faiz Helmi stretchered out in the 31st minute, the fragile Malaysian defense suffered another big blow with another half remaining in the match.

Malaysia loved dangerously after the restart, as they kept missing sitters and started to give away too many chances to the Canadian strikers, and  even missed a penalty corner in the 43rd minute, which could have sealed their spot in the final.

Coach K. Dharmaraj's men started missing too many sitters and they paid a heavy price for it in the 59th minute when Tuppper again scored from a penalty corner attempt to make it 2-2.

In the remaining 20 minutes, Canada were the more dangerous side but Malaysia got their chance to nail the final spot when they won a 68th minute penalty corner.

But they bungled, and Canada won two back-to-back penalty corners in the 70th minute, but failed to score and the match went into shoot-out.

For the second time Malaysia are in a shoot-out and they use the same players who beat New Zealand 3-2. Firhan Ashari, Faiz Helmi, Shahril Saabah, Fitri Saari and Faizal Saari were give the task to take Malaysia into the final, with S. Kumar the guardian.

The penalty shoot out stood at 2-2 after the first round, and Canada went into the final on a 5-4 shoot-out score.

RESULTS-- Semi-finals: Malaysia 2 Canada 2 (Canada win shoot-out 5-4); Ireland 1 South Korea 2.

Classification -- Fifth-Eighth: New Zealand 6 Poland 1; France 3 Japan 2.

TODAY -- Final -- Canada  v South Korea (9.30pm); Third-Fourth: Malaysia v Ireland (7.15pm); Fifth-Sixth: New Zealand v France (5pm); Seventh-Eighth: Japan v Poland (2.45pm).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Malaysia crash out of Champions Challenge semis

By S. Ramaguru

Malaysian players watch in disbelief as they lose to Canada in the Champions Challenge I semi-final match. The game ended 2-2 in regulation time and went to a sudden-death penalty shootout which Canada won 5-4. – Bernama Photo

KUANTAN: Malaysia squandered a 2-0 lead to end up on the losing side in their semi-final battle with Canada in the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.

Heartbreak for the Malaysians and the 9,000 fans, who packed the stadium to the brim, came in a sudden-death penalty shootout which Canada won 5-4 after the game had ended 2-2 in regulation time on Saturday.

Malaysia got off to the best of starts when Faizal Saari scored in the third minute from a penalty corner attempt in a match played over four quarters.

And in the 15th minute local boy Ismail Abu’s solo run into the Canadian D resulted in a second goal.

Malaysia’s then took their foot off the metal and it allowed Canada to wrest control to reduce the deficit in the 20th minute when Canadian skipper Scott Tupper made no mistakes with his penalty corner flick.

Malaysia suffered a minor blow in the 31st minute when hardworking defender Faiz Helmi Jali was stretchered out after being fouled by Canada’s David Jameson, who was yellow-carded for the offence. Faiz returned to the field with a bandage over his eye.

Action swung from end to end with Canada and Malaysia squandering their penalty corner attempts five and seven minutes into the second half respectively.

Still it was the Canadians who were the aggressors and their relentless attacks forced Malaysia to concede several penalty corners which resulted in Tupper scoring the equaliser from one in the 60th minute to make it 2-2.

In the shootout, Malaysia took the early lead when Faizal and Faiz Helmi scored with the first two attempts. Malaysia, however, missed the next three attempts.

Benjamin Martin and Gordon Johnston netted for Canada to make it 2-2 after the fifth mandatory attempt.

Then it was down to the dramatic sudden-death shootout. Faizal and Fitri Saari scored their attempts while Mark Pearson and Gordon Johnson matched it.

In the third sudden-death attempt, Mohd Firhan Azhaari missed while Adam Froese scored to put Canada through to their first-ever final against South Korea.

The South Koreans, ranked seventh in the world, were a shade better than the Irish and scored a goal in each half to win 2-1.

The South Koreans will now start as the favourites to lift the title and earn a Champions Trophy place.

The Star of Malaysia

Canada hoping for one more magical match in Champions Challenge final

Shaheed Devji

Just when you thought they had used everything in their bag of tricks, the Canadian Men’s National Team proved there was some magic left yet with a come from behind victory over host Malaysia (ranked no.13) Saturday at the 2014 Champions Challenge in Kuantan.

With the 3-2 victory (5-4 in the shootout), Canada (ranked no.16) advances to the Champions Challenge final for the first time in its history and the timing couldn’t be better.

“Confidence and belief,” says Canadian head coach Anthony Farry of the team’s mentality heading into the final match versus no.7 ranked Korea.

“Korea is a hugely talented side full of experience. They are fast, skillful and well drilled but we have showed in our last two games against them that we can match them.”

Canada tied Korea 3-3 in the first game of the tournament, which set off a run of games in which, each night, a different hero emerged for Canada.

In Saturday’s semi final there were plenty of candidates to choose from. After going down 2-0, it was team captain Scott Tupper (Vancouver, B.C.) who provided the offense, scoring two goals – his fourth and fifth of the tournament – to level the score.

“The performance from the guys today was immense,” adds Farry. “To be a player down for the match, 2-nil down after fifteen minutes, and also lose a player for ten minutes during the game makes it a substantial effort.”

“There's a huge amount of fight in this group and that was evident tonight.”

It was evident not only during regulation time, when Canada once again came from behind, but also in the penalty shootout where Canada extended the game multiple times on goals from Gordon Johnston (Vancouver, B.C.) and Mark Pearson (Vancouver, B.C.), who each scored twice.

It was then up to Adam Froese (Abbotsford, B.C.) to score for the win and a berth in the tournament final.

“It was a combination of goals and saves from the other boys that set up that opportunity,” says Froese. “I was extremely nervous but managed to focus and shut out everything else as I lined up for the shot.”

“It's not everyday you get to take opportunities like that in front of so many people.”

Froese’s goal was the highlight of a determined effort from the Canadians, who will undoubtedly be comfortable playing the Koreans, who downed Ireland (ranked no.15) 2-1 in the other semi final.

“The boys have showed all tournament that we are ready and determined,” continues Froese. “It is not going to be easy but we are going to give it everything we've got.”

And so far, what they have had has been magical.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Black Sticks to play off for fifth in Malaysia

The Black Sticks Men will play off for fifth place at the Champions Challenge in Malaysia after dominating Poland 6-1 in the classification qualifying round.

In a rematch of their pool game earlier at the tournament, the Black Sticks were in control from start to finish in searing heat climbing above 40 degrees Celsius.

The Kiwis led 5-0 at halftime thanks to doubles from Andy Hayward and Phil Burrows, while Arun Panchia and Simon Child also got onto the score sheet.

Southern defender Blair Tarrant played his 100th test for New Zealand in victory.

The Black Sticks will play the winner of the France vs Japan game in the 5th/6th playoff at 9pm tomorrow night (NZ time).

Head coach Colin Batch said it was a good result from his players given the extremely tough conditions.

“It was yet another game for us playing in temperatures over 40 degrees which our guys coped with brilliantly,” he said.

“We were up 5-0 at halftime so our plan was to play smartly in the second half to try and conserve some energy for the wellbeing of the players.

“Tomorrow we will be looking to finish on a positive note before heading home to complete our build up for the World Cup.”

Andy Hayward opened the scoring for the Black Sticks from a penalty corner inside the first 10 minutes of the match.

Phil Burrows then got in on the action, sending two perfectly timed deflections into the back of the net to put New Zealand up 3-0.

Hayward delivered from the penalty stroke spot midway through the period before Arun Panchia went on a brilliant solo run to score just inside halftime.

Simon Child scored New Zealand’s sixth goal in the second half, while Poland managed a consolation goal through Adam Chwalisz.

The full tournament schedule and results are available at www.fih.ch

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 6: (Andy Hayward 2, Phil Burrows 2, Arun Panchia, Simon Child)
POLAND 1: (Adam Chwalisz)
Halftime: Black Sticks 5-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks and Les Bleus reach the 5th place playoff match

Poland and Japan will compete for the 7th place in Kuantan

Phil Burrows scored twice against Poland. (Photo: FIH)

New Zealand and France will play off for 5th place at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. The Black Sticks took a big 6-1 victory over Poland in Saturday’s 5-8 classification match while France walked a away with a narrow 3-2 victory over Japan. Poland and Japan will compete in Sunday’s 7th place playoff match.

New Zealand v Poland 6-1 (5-0)

New Zealand will play off for 5th place at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. The Black Sticks took a big 6-1 victory over Poland in Saturday’s 5-8 classification match. Poland will compete in Sunday’s 7th place playoff match.

New Zealand were considered by many as the top seeds in this tournament, but after they lost their quarter-final in a penalty shootout to Malaysia, they found themselves in the 5-8 classification round. The Black Sticks dominated the match from the first whistle. They were quick to get on the scoreboard as Andy Hayward (8’) put his team ahead from a penalty corner.

Phil Burrows (20’) doubled the lead when he tipped in a backhand stroke from Stephen Jenness. Burrows (24’), the most capped player in Hockey NZ history, added another goal just four minutes later when he deflected another shot into the net.

Then, Hayward (26’) converted a penalty stroke to extend the lead to 4-0. This was Hayward’s sixth goal in this tournament making him top of the scorer list. Before half-time, Jared Panchia (30’) finished an outstanding solo-run by lifting the ball over Poland’s reserve goalkeeper Lukasz Domachowski.

The second half saw Simon Child (43’) scoring from open play to give the Black Sticks a 6-0 lead before Adam Chwalisz (50’) pulled one back for Poland. Enjoying a comfortable lead, the Black Sticks slowed down the pace of the game. As Child has also scored six goals in this competition, he joins Hayward on top of the scorer list. Having more space now, Poland fought hard to get on the scoreboard but another goal did not come. 

France v Japan 3-2 (2-1)

Jean-Laurent Kieffer struck late to secure France’s 3-2 win over Japan in the 5-8 classification round. France will now face New Zealand in the 5th place play-off match, while Poland and Japan will compete for a 7th place finish.

The match started with high intensity and both teams enjoying possession. Japan created the first promising scoring opportunity after a couple of minutes but the French defence was able to block the penalty corner shot. However, Gaspard Baumgarten (6’) opened the scoring when France had a break-away.

The Samurais forced a penalty stroke after Hiroki Sakamoto was tackled by the French goalkeeper Corentin Saunier. Team-captain Koji Kayukawa (24’) took responsibility and converted without any problems. Les Bleus bounced back quickly when Victor Charlet (26’) fired home a penalty corner. This was his fourth goal in this tournament. The match went into half-time with the score 2-1 in favour of France.

Japan were the better side at the beginning of the second half but struggled to create promising attacks. Their best chance to equalise came on 49 minutes when Sakamoto defeated the French goalie in a one-on-one but Tishiro Tachibana failed to deflect the ball into the empty goal. The Japanese effort eventually paid off when Manabu Hatakeyama (51’) equalized from a penalty corner. The score was tied at 2-2 at the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter saw both teams playing with urgency as they wanted to avoid a penalty shoot-out competition. France has already lost a shoot-out when Ireland beat them 3-0 in the quarter-final. Japan were beaten by Korea 5-1 within regulation time.

With four minutes remaining, Jean-Laurent Kieffer (66’) scored from open play to put France ahead. For the last two minutes of the game, Japan substituted their goalkeeper to attack with 11 field players. The created one more promising chance but Katsuyoshi Nagasawa’s shot was saved by the French keeper.

FIH site

IRELAND 1; KOREA 2 - Ireland march on to 3rd / 4th play off

Ireland’s men were in the semi-final of the Champions Challenge against Korea in Malaysia this afternoon where they were defeated by a narrow 2-1 score line. Ireland will have it all to play for again tomorrow taking on hosts Malaysia in the 3rd/4th play-off at 12.15 Irish time.

Ireland trailed early on when Korea converted on the drag flick thanks to Jang Jong Hyun’s handiwork in just the 3rd minute. Ireland had a great equalising opportunity in the 15th minute when their initial goal ward bound shot secured them a penalty corner but the strong Korean defence was up to the task.

 Ireland’s defence were tested at times in the 31st minute keeper David Harte had to work hard to keep another goal out.

After the break Korea almost doubled their lead in the 47th minute but great Irish defending plucked the ball off the line to relieve the pressure. Korea took it to 2-0 in the 53rd minute Hyun Sung the converter this time and although Ireland pulled one back thanks to Chris Cargo’s efforts in the 63rd minute the clock ticked on and Ireland couldn’t pull an equaliser out of the bag in time.

Ireland won’t have much recovery time as they will face Malaysia in the 3rd / 4th play-off for the all-important world ranking points.

Commenting Coach Ned Fulton was proud " I am really proud of the efforts but we are disappointed at the same time. It was a tight game we finished stronger than Korea in the last quarter but just too little too late. We are looking forward to the play off tomorrow."

IRELAND (0) Chris Cargo 63m pc
KOREA (1) Jang Jong Hyun 3m pc; Huyn Sung 53m PC

Irish Hockey Association media release

Ireland women in Champions Challenge clover, but this was no lucky break

A gutsy performance by the Green Army earns place in Champions Challenge final

Ireland and South Africa battle for a place in the Champions Challenge 1 final (Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo)

"This was not down to luck", said Ireland captain Megan Frazer after her Green Army put in a gutsy, never-say-die performance that prompted Marsha Cox, the South Africa captain, to praise them for their teamwork and attitude. "All week they have just come out and played with such guts and heart that they deserve to win," said Cox as Ireland defeated South Africa 2-1 in a hard-fought contest.

This was a match that saw the initiative bounce continuously between the two teams. Although the first-half finished 1-1, courtesy of goals from Celia Evans (8') and Megan Frazer (16'), South Africa were definitely in the ascendancy, while in the early stages of the second half Ireland looked the more likely to take control.

Evan's goal came after a lovely ball from captain Marsha Cox found its way through the Irish defence and Evans slotted it home. In response, Megan Frazer slammed the ball home from a penalty corner. The second Irish goal came from Nicola Evans (46') after the South Africa defence simply seemed to have switched off for a second.

Celebrating her 100th cap was Ireland defender Emma Smyth, and from the performance she put in to keep the South Africa team from equalising, her importance to the team was evident. With the clock counting down, South Africa really piled on the pressure. A penalty corner struck an Irish defender on the foot, but Tarryn Bright's penalty stroke was saved by Emma Gray. This is the second penalty stroke that South Africa have failed to convert against Ireland during the competition.

Celia Evans nearly scored her second but it hit the crossbar, before ricocheting back into play. The ensuing penalty corner was saved, but this was just one in a number of sallies into the Irish defence as the South Africa team continued to pile on the pressure.

After the game, Frazer paid tribute to her team: "Saying I am proud is an understatement. We have developed into more than a team, we are a family. We will get ready for the final tomorrow, but these are a busy few months for us, we have to do well in World League II because ultimately our long-term goal is to qualify for the Olympics."

FIH site

Unlucky Investec SA hockey women edged by Ireland in semi-finals

JONATHAN COOK at Glasgow Green

Celia Evans runs towards captain Marsha Cox (8) after her goal during the Champions Challenge semi-final won 2-1 by Ireland at Glasgow Green in Scotland Saturday. Photo: RODRIGO JARAMILLO

The Investec South Africa women's hockey team were edged 2-1 by Ireland after the scores were locked 1-1 at half-time in the semi-finals of the Champions Challenge at Glasgow Green in Scotland Saturday.

There was drama in the 14th minute when USA umpire Maggie Giddens disallowed what action replays suggested was a great goal by Sulette Damons from just inside the strike zone, while SA had reason to feel aggrieved that two extra penalty corner decisions did not go their way either.

SA had opened the scoring in the ninth minute when striker Celia Evans smashed her shot into the backboard past goalkeeper Emma Gray after good build-up play by Kathleen Taylor and captain Marsh Cox.

Two minutes (16th) after Damons' disappointment, Ireland hit back when a variation right of the castle from their first and only penalty corner saw captain Megan Frazer's well-struck shot ricochet off goalkeeper Anelle van Deventer's pads into the roof of the net.

In the second half Van Deventer made two fine saves from Chloe Watkins and Emma Smyth but the winner came in the 46th minute when Katie Mullan stole along the right-hand baseline with little room in which to manoeuvre and Nicola Evans took advantage to score from close.

SA fought valiantly for the equaliser, with three more penalty corners to add to the pair in the first half. The first of which, in the 58th minute, led to a penalty stroke after Lisa Deetlefs' slap shot had hit a defender's foot near the goalline, but Tarryn Bright's flick was saved by Gray to her right.

Gray made a number of good saves in the second half, including from Damons, while an Evans reverse-stick rocket with eight minutes left cannoned into the crossbar and stayed out. But it was not to be South Africa's day and the only team of eight that had yet to be beaten were left to contemplate Sunday's bronze medal match.

SA head coach Giles Bonnet's summation was precise: "It you want to win at this level, you must score, it's as simple as that. Ireland had very few chances; we had enough chances, penalty corners, a penalty stroke. We have had a good tournament, I am not unhappy with the way we are playing, our game is good, but we must make the goals, we must make the chances, that's it."

The second semi-final between the USA and Spain was due to start at 5.15pm.

SA will meet the losers at 4.30pm SA time Sunday for the bronze medal. The final is at 6.45pm SA time Sunday.

South Africa (1) 1 (Celia Evans 9th minute)
Ireland (1) 2 (Megan Frazer 16th minute, Nicola Evans 46th)


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


World number 15 Ireland won the bronze medal at the last Champions Challenge, in Dublin in 2012, while world number 11 SA ended sixth.

SA last won a medal at the CC in Cape Town in 2009 - a silver medal after they lost to New Zealand in the final.

The other two semi-finalists are the USA and Spain, one of whom SA will now play at 4.30pm SA time Sunday for the bronze medal; SA drew 2-2 with Spain and beat the USA 2-1 in Pool B action during the past week.

SA have gained invaluable experience ahead of the Commonwealth Games, the Champions Challenge being played at the same venue as the four-yearly showpiece, which starts in July.

SA Hockey Association media release


IRELAND have made the final of the Champions Challenge I beating South Africa in a fast paced and exciting match 2-1. Ireland will play in the final tomorrow, Sunday 4th may at 5.45pm against either Spain or the USA.

Ireland took a difficult route to the final having to knock out the number one seeds in this tournament (world no 8) Korea in the quarter finals in a tournament that contains four world cup teams.

Ireland went behind in the 8th minute of today’s game when Celia Evans capitalised on great work between Taylor and Cox to get an open shot away to make it 1-0 to South Africa.

Ireland rallied well Megan Frazer levelling the sides from a cracking penalty corner strike which took a deflection high into the net in the 15th minute.

Both teams worked hard in the remaining minutes of the first half but they could not be separated in the first 35 and the sides broke at one a piece.

Ireland started the second half very well enjoying periods of pressure and possession but South Africa were never far away from their own chances testing the Irish defence. Ireland got a deserved lead in the 45th minute when super work by Katie Mullan along the baseline saw her drop the ball back to a waiting Nikki Evans who made no mistake from the close range shot to make it 2-1.

Ireland continued to goal hunt some fantastic team work creating chances, man of the match Shirley McCay showing great form with the long ball and aerial efforts out the back to set up midfield and forwards.

South Africa looked sure to equalise in the 59th minute when Tarryn Bright stepped up to take a stroke but an on form Emma Gray in goals saved well to keep her sides lead intact.

The game finished off in end to end fashion but Ireland protected their 2-1 lead well and closed out with a spot in the final tomorrow at 5.45pm against the winners of Spain v USA.

Commenting after the match Coach Darren Smith was rightly proud of his team’s efforts “I thought we did really well, defensively we were pretty sound I thought for patches of the game we played extremely well. Once we went up 2-1 we absorbed a bit of pressure including Emma Gray saving a stroke and the cross bar keeping a South African shot out so a couple of things went in our favour.”

Talking about pulling back after going 1-0 down he continued “The team carried on playing, an early goal is never the way you want things to unfold but it was very good we got into the game pulling back with a cracking penalty corner. We started the second half very well and closed the game out. This is a group of young girls that work so hard who want to play good international hockey and to be in the final is fantastic.”

Irish Hockey Association media release

Pitch-side ponderings with Emily Smyth

On beating South Africa, winning 100 caps and taking an ice-bath

(Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo)

Pitch-side ponderings with Emma Smyth, who celebrated her 100th cap with a win over South Africa in the semi-final of Champions Challenge 1

How did you feel winning your 100th cap in such an important game?

"I was really trying not to let the occasion get to me, but it was difficult as it was such an exciting game. We were 2-2 in the pool game and there was a penalty stroke in both games, but we always thought we had a chance so long as we kept pressing them. The first time we played them we had the right tactics, we just didn't play them properly. We knew we had to be particularly wary of the midfielders Marsha Cox, Tarryn Bright, and Shelley Russell – she just never stops running."

What makes your team so successful?

"We really believe in ourselves, that helps. Also a lot of us have played a lot of games together so we have become a really close group of people. We are very united. We have also been playing a lot more internationals, our coach is really insistent that we get as much international experience as we can."

How will you prepare for the final tomorrow?

"A lot of rest, an ice bath (which I am trying to avoid by talking to you) and eating quite a lot to replenish our energy levels. We have had a really busy few weeks, so it is important that we look after ourselves and recover as well as possible. We will also do some video analysis on whichever team wins the other semi-final."

FIH site

The 2014 Champions Challenge Thickens with Intensity as Team USA Wins Semifinals

U.S. Women’s National Team defeats Spain 3-1

GLASGOW, Scotland – The U.S. Women’s National Team remained poised and present in the face of Spain’s opposition during their semifinal match at the 2014 Champions Challenge. From the backfield to the forward line, Team USA showcased a unified presence on the pitch with several attack opportunities. Despite Spain’s efforts to contain the aggressive play, the U.S. Women’s National Team won 3-1, sealing USA’s seat in tomorrow’s final. The winner of tomorrow’s match will qualify for the prized 2016 Champions Trophy event.

“It was a good game for us today,” said Head Coach Craig Parnham. “We saw some very good periods of play in the first half by taking chances. The second half was much tighter. Spain continued to step up their game. Overall, it was a very good performance.”

Rapid back-to-back penalty corners permitted Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) to lock Team USA’s first goal of the match. Without hesitation, the U.S. National Team sped off of the starting line and back into their attacking end. In the 12th minute of the match, Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) fired off a reverse shot from the top right of the circle to loop past Spain’s goalkeeper. Feeding off of the forward energy, USA athlete Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) perfectly positioned herself on the right post to deflect a crossed ball into the cage creating a halftime report of 3-0.

“We had a really great team performance today,” said U.S athlete Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.). “Everyone contributed in a different way. In the second half we were just resilient in our defensive area keeping Spain out. It was a great team effort and it’s really great moving into the final. There’s an exciting buzz. We have our work cut out for us with Ireland. We know a little about them and how they play because they were in our pool. It will be a gritty match and we’re excited for it and we’re happy to be in the final.” 

Leadership and communication in the backfield kept the press high to cutoff Spain’s passes in the second half. Although Spain managed to grab a goal in the remaining 35 minutes the USA didn’t back down and maintained control of the game flow. The match concluded with a result of a 3-1 victory for the red, white and blue.

On the opening day of Champions Challenge, the U.S. defeated Spain 3-1 and the following day the squad fell to South Africa 1-2. Ireland was the final pool play match for Team USA where they concluded with a score of 3-0. The tournament continued on as the squad launched into the first match of crossovers against India with a score of 1- 0

Tomorrow Team USA will play against Ireland at 5:45 p.m. local time, 12:45 p.m. ET.

“It’s important that we prepare thoroughly for Ireland tomorrow,” said Parnham. “We’ll go over video and review our notes. We’re excited and ready for the finals.”

USFHA media release

Belgium set sights on revenge against Korea

India go to seventh place play-off with host nation Scotland

Emilia Sinia and Charlotte de Vos celebrate (Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo)

Two goals from birthday girl Emilie Sinia (28') and further goals from captain Charlotte de Vos (20') and Louise Versavel (45'), saw Belgium dispatch with India 4-2 in the second match on the penultimate day of the Champions Challenge 1.

India responded through goals from Poonam Rani (25') – a well-struck penalty corner – and Monika Monika (25') meaning Belgium didn't have it all their own way, but the Red Panthers always looked the more likely to win this match.

"We were still hurting from the loss to Spain in the quarter finals", explained captain de Vos, "That made us come out and play really determined hockey. It wasn't a good performance, but it was an aggressive performance and that is what won it for us."

The result means that Belgium will now face Korea in the match for fifth place. "It is really important to us that we win that game," said de Vos. "It will be revenge for the pool game, which we felt we should have won and it will also be a confidence boost going into the World Cup."

India will play host nation Scotland in the match for seventh place, with India coach Neil Hawgood hoping his young charges can regain the composure they showed in their earlier game against the USA – a match they only just lost in the dying seconds of the game.

FIH site

Indian women go down 2-4 against Belgium Champions Challenge 1

GLASGOW: Indian women hockey team fought well before losing 2-4 to Belgium in a classification match of the Champions Challenge 1 tournament on Saturday.

Belgium captain Charlotte de Vos scored the first goal for her team in the 20th minute. Five minutes later Poonam Rani drew parity for India by converting a penalty corner.

Belgium team came back well as Emilie Sinia found the net through a field goal in the 28th minute. Indian team defended well and did not let Belgium score any more goals till the end of the first half.

In the second half Indian eves came back strong. Monika neutralised the lead in the 44th minute through a field goal.

In the very next minute (45th Minute) Louise Versa Vel scored to yet again to put Belgium ahead. In the 60th minute, Sinia scored her second goal to take the game away from the Indians.

India next play hosts Scotland for seventh place.

The Times of India

India fall again, to play for 7th

Glasgow - The Indian women’s hockey team’s winless streak continued today as they lost 2-4 to Belgium in a classification match of the Champions Challenge 1 tournament on Saturday.

This was India’s third consecutive defeat in the tournament, after earlier losses to South Korea and Scotland.

Belgium captain Charlotte de Vos scored the first goal for her team in the 20th minute. Five minutes later Poonam Rani drew parity for India by converting a penalty corner.

The Belgians came back well as Emilie Sinia found the net through a field goal in the 28th minute. The Indian team defended well and did not let Belgium score any more goals till the end of the first half.

In the second half the Indian eves came back strong and Monika neutralised the lead in the 44th minute through a field goal, making it 2-2.

In the very next minute, Louise Versa Vel scored to yet again to put Belgium ahead. In the 60th minute, Sinia scored her second goal to take the game away from the Indians.

India next play hosts Scotland for a chance to finish at the seventh place in the eight-team event.

The Tribune

Korea and Scotland in tense basement battle

Catriona Ralph scores to celebrate 150th cap but Scotland will play for 7th/8th place

Catriona Ralph who won her 150th cap for Scotland (Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo)

Two quick goals at the start of the game and a flurry of activity in the final 20 minutes kept this game very much alive until the final whistle. Both Korea and Scotland battled to finish their Champions Challenge 1 campaign as high up the rankings as possible, but it was Korea who prevailed despite a late Scotland flourish. The day was bittersweet for Scotland's Catriona Ralph. She celebrated her 150th cap with a goal, but finished on the losing team.

The opening goal came from Seul Cheon (3') who scored with unerring precision from a penalty corner. However, just five minutes later Ailsa Wyllie (7') benefited from a great through ball from Emily Maguire and slotted the ball past the 'keeper Soo Ji Jang. The remainder of the half was end-to-end with both sides playing some nice flowing hockey, but interspersed with simple errors that gave away possession too easily.

In the second half Korea's goal-scoring machine, Mihyun Park (50') scored when she showed great composure to turn her close-marking defender and place the ball past Amy Gibson in the Scottish goal.

This goal was followed just three minutes later when Darae Kim received a ball from captain Jong Eun Kim and was able to slam the ball home. These two quick goals threatened to sink Scotland, but the host nation had other ideas and took the game to Korea. Catriona Ralph, who celebrated her 150th cap today, was able to capitalise on this pressure and scored from a penalty corner (65'). Unfortunately for Scotland, there was too little time for them to find the equaliser.

Speaking after the game, Ralph said. "We felt we had done our homework and were able to put them under pressure. We played with a real intensity, and felt that we had the ability to beat them. We are really disappointed with the result."

FIH site

Scotland frustrated by Korea in Champions Challenge

Scotland vice-captain Cat Ralph marked her 150th international cap with the second goal against Korea. Photo Credit: Rodrigo Jaramillo.

Scotland Senior Women were left frustrated after succumbing to a 3-2 defeat against Korea in their Women’s FIH Champions Challenge classification match this morning.

Despite Scotland controlling much of the possession, a clinical performance in front of goal by the Koreans, including strikes from Seul Cheon, Miyun Park and Jin Hye Cho, results in the Scots dropping into the 7th/8th place play-off against India tomorrow (10.30).

Striker Ailsa Wyllie and vice-captain Catriona Ralph, on the occasion of her 150th international cap, were the Scottish goal-scorers.

Scotland Senior Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd commented, “I said to the players that I felt they played better in today’s match against Korea than in the match they drew against the same opposition on Wednesday. I thought we pressurised them for fifteen minutes in the second half, with the play from defence to attack excellent. We just didn’t capitalise enough on our chances to put pressure on their goalkeeper.

“Then their ‘keeper takes an enforced break for a pad change, and that’s when you know you have a team rattled. But then for five minutes we weren’t switched on and a bit weak in our defence. But apart from those five minutes, I thought the players played excellent.

“They’ve not let themselves down, they’ve not let the country down, and they’ve not let anyone else down. They need to keep going with what they are trying to do because at the moment they are delivering great performances and just maybe not getting the results they deserve.”

Scotland found themselves behind inside the first minute of the match; Scotland goalkeeper Amy Gibson made a good save from Miyun Park but the umpire awarded a penalty corner for an illegal foot inside the circle from which Seul Cheon subsequently opened the scoring with a drag-flick low to the right corner, giving Gibson little chance.

Korea celebrate the opening goal. Photo Credit: Rodrigo Jaramillo

However, the Scots were back on level terms in the sixth minute after Ailsa Wyllie drilled an accurate strike past Korean goalkeeper Soo Ji Jang following excellent play from Sarah Robertson to set up the opportunity.

Ailsa Wyllie scored the equalising goal for the hosts. Photo Credit: Rodrigo Jaramillo

A stalemate then ensued however, with neither side threatening until late in the first half. In the 24th minute, Gibson made two quick-fire saves to deny shots from Eun Bi Cheon and Miyun Park, before Ali Bell’s swivel and shot brought the best out of Jang at the other end of the pitch only a minute later.

Miyun Park wasted a glorious opportunity in the 28th minute, ballooning her effort high over the bar, while a great run from Wyllie ended with Nicki Skrastin forcing another save from Jang in the 31st minute.

Gibson ensured the two sides remained level at 1-1 going into the half-time break, making stops from Sil Young Lee and Seul Cheon.

Scotland goalkeeper Amy Gibson made several vital saves. Photo Credit: Rodrigo Jaramillo.

Shortly after the re-start, Wyllie almost gave Scotland the lead, diving to flick Susan McGilveray’s pass on target but Jang was alert to parry the ball to safety.

Patient build-up play between Emily Maguire, Catriona Ralph and Morag McLellan led to the latter locating captain Linda Clement in front of goal, but the Scotland stalwart scooped her effort over the bar.

It was therefore to the huge frustration of the Scottish side that Korea regained the lead against the run of play, Miyun Park evading Gibson's dive to flick the ball into the net in the 50th minute.

Scotland’s shot-stopper was called back into action two minutes later, saving low to her right to prevent Seul Cheon claiming her second goal.

However, Korea extended their lead immediately after, Darae Kim surging into the circle, drawing Gibson out of her goal, and slipping the ball to Kyoung Cho to make it 3-1 to the visitors.

Robertson was denied by Jang in the 56th minute before Nikki Lloyd’s goal-bound effort was deflected wide off a Korean foot to give Scotland a penalty corner. A set-play switch to Ralph ended in Jang making a comfortable save following a shot from the right of the circle.

An outrageous flick by Eun Bi Cheon’s almost gave Korea a 4-1 lead in the 59th minute, but Gibson was alive to repel the attempt.

Five minutes from time, Ralph gave the hosts hope, firing an unstoppable shot past Jang from a penalty corner but it was little too late as Korea hung on to progress to the 5th/6th play-off with a slender win.

Women’s FIH Champions Challenge I, Classification Match Result, Glasgow National Hockey Centre, Scotland
Scotland (Ailsa Wyllie 6', Catriona Ralph 65') 2-3 Korea (Seul Cheon 1', Miyun Park 50', Jin Hye Cho 53')

Scotland Senior Women: Nicola Cochrane (Edinburgh University), Vikki Bunce (Dundee Wanderers), Morag McLellan (Clydesdale Western), Alison Bell (Grove Menzieshill), Rebecca Ward (Dundee Wanderers), Catriona Ralph (Clydesdale Western), Sarah Robertson (Edinburgh University), Linda Clement (Captain, Grove Menzieshill), Ailsa Wyllie (Grove Menzieshill), Leigh Fawcett (Grove Menzieshill), Rebecca Merchant (Edinburgh University), Nikki Kidd (Canterbury), Susan McGilveray (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Lloyd (Canterbury), Nicola Skrastin (Clydesdale Western), Emily Maguire (Reading), Aileen Davis (Clifton), Amy Gibson (Old Loughtonians).

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Resilient England men draw with Holland

Ashley Jackson scores his second goal against New Zealand at the Hero Hockey World League 2014

England Men’s Head Coach Bobby Crutchley hailed his side’s resilience after they battled back from behind to draw 3-3 with World Cup rivals Holland at Delft on Saturday.

Trailing three-nil with 20 minutes left, England hit back in style to salvage a draw against one of the teams tipped to challenge for World Cup honours.

The Netherlands had the best of the first half and England were on the back foot for long periods, but they hit back when it mattered and salvaged a draw.

“I felt we had a very sluggish first half, despite forcing a corner in the very first minute we were very second rate for the remainder of the half,” said Crutchley.

“However, I was pleased with the big improvement in our ball retention in the second half and the resilience that we showed to claw our way back into the game in the last ten minutes.”

Goalkeeper George Pinner made a couple of great saves from early penalty corners to keep England in the game, but Constantin Jonker finally managed to pull Holland level from open play on 22 minutes.

Two minutes after half time they doubled their lead with another field goal through Seve Van Ass, and a third followed ten minutes later from Valentine Verga as the Dutch piled on the pressure.

However, England kept their nerve and just three minutes later had narrowed the deficit with Simon Mantell scoring from close range after two shots had been batted out by the Dutch goalkeeper.

On 63 minutes Holland were defending a penalty corner with just three players back, and Ashley Jackson (pictured) was felled in possession before getting up to confidently smash home the resulting penalty stroke.

And with seconds remaining England broke down the right, and a Dutch foot ensured they were awarded a penalty corner which Jackson netted with the final flick of the game.

After an uncapped match against the Netherlands on Monday the men will travel back to England before heading out to Dusseldorf, Germany for another Four Nations invitational tournament. They’ll be facing the Netherlands again along with Belgium and Germany in their last tournament before the World Cup.

England 3 (0)
Simon Mantell 50 (F)
Ashley Jackson 63 70 (PS, PC)

Netherlands 3 (1)
Constantine Jonker 22 (F)
Seve Van Ass 37 (F)
Valentine Verga 47 (F)

England Hockey Board Media release

Cannock Champions of NOW: Pensions Men's Cup

NOW: Pensions Men's Cup - Cannock Team Photo with Cup

Cannock ended their season on a high to win the NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup for the first time since 2007 on Penalty Strokes against Brooklands MU.

The game started with a fast tempo and the score was already 1-1 after just three minutes. Cannock took the early initiative, with David Beckett on hand to steer the ball home after good play from Arjan Drayton Chana. This lead only lasted a minute as Brooklands MU bounced straight back. David Flanagan showed his initiative to take a sideline ball early and played a pinpoint ball across the area where Peter Cornell superbly slid the ball past Patrick Smith in the Cannock goal. Brooklands started to get a grip on the game and went close through two Penalty Corners, while Cannock’s Nick Bandurak just missed the target at the other end with a shot on the reverse. It was Cannock that were to score next as they retook the lead through Ben Edge, who was on hand to strike the ball home from a goalmouth scramble after good build up play. Brooklands then had the golden chance to level again when they were awarded a Penalty Stroke; with a defending stick preventing a clear goal scoring opportunity after a Penalty Corner was saved. However, Peter Flanagan’s Stroke came off the post as Cannock remained in the lead. Cannock’s Peter Jackson went close up the other end from another Penalty Corner but it was all square again on 32 minutes. Aidan Khares played the ball into David Flanagan who from a tight angle lifted the ball over Smith into the roof of the net.

The second half didn’t quite live up to the expectation of the first with little being created in the first ten minutes. Cannock’s Arjan Drayton Chana was put through on goal on 44 minutes but Chris Scott was alert in the Brooklands goal to prevent the danger. An even 10 minutes followed with neither team taking control before Cannock twice went close, first through a Penalty Corner that was well saved and then an Andrew Appleton strike that sailed over the bar. Kav Jabbal won Brooklands first Penalty Corner of the half on 59 minutes but the well organised Cannock defence prevented a shot. The match sprung to life in the remaining five minutes with both teams having chances to win the game. Patrick Smith saved well from a David Flanagan shot before Cannock broke and had three chances in quick succession, all kept out by the excellent Chris Scott. Cannock pushed for the winner but were unable to find one as the match went to Penalty Strokes.

In the Stroke competition, Cannock kept their nerve to convert all five of their flicks. When Aidan Khares saw his stroke go over the bar, it was down to David Beckett to win the Cup for Cannock. Beckett neatly slotted the ball away to start the Cannock celebrations as they lifted the cup for the fifth time.

Brooklands MU 2
Peter Cornell 3 (F)
David Flanagan 32 (F)

Cannock 2
David Beckett 2 (F)
Ben Edge 15 (F)

* Cannock win 5-4 after penalty strokes

England Hockey Board Media release

Hungry panthers seek success on big stage

But more international experience is needed by young Belgium side, says Pascal

Just over two years ago Pascal Kina took over the Red Panthers, the Belgium women's national hockey team, and the experienced coach has nothing but praise for the support he has received from the national federation since. He knows that he has some catching up to do with the national men's team – in his words "We are eight years behind, but we are catching up quickly," – but there are signs that the women's team is making healthy progress and growing in confidence.

"I would give the squad a six or seven out of 10 on all areas, tactical, technical and physical, there is some fine tuning to do, we need to get to eight," says Pascal. "To move up the world rankings we need to improve a little in all these areas. But look, this is a very young team, there is an average age of 22 and they are learning. We have other young girls coming through, but we can't bring too many young players in because we need maturity in the team as well."

When we spoke, Belgium had suffered a 2-1 loss to Korea, who are currently ranked five places above them. "We did well. We were physically better than them in the second half, and this is all international experience."

As the countdown to the World Cup continues, Belgium have a series of friendly games lined up, plus a camp. Pascal sees the team twice a week, every week, and has done so throughout the year.

"This is only our second world level tournament, we know we are in a tough pool (Belgium are in a pool with the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan) but I think we come into this at a level where we will make it difficult for any team we play. The biggest thing for the team is that they are hungry, that is the best thing about our team. We haven't won anything yet, so we want to win."

Pascal explains what has been happening in Belgium in the past few years to give both men's and women's hockey a boost. "We started to put a proper structure in place at all national age levels, so we start at u15, then move up and work with all the elite groups. It is a pyramid structure. The hockey federation is so well organised and structured that it is spreading through the clubs as well."

Pascal has a coaching team of nine people. Many of these people are also involved in coaching other teams within the federation. "The support I get from the federation is very professional and that is why we are doing so well. Whatever team it is, they are being coached by a top professional and it wasn't always like that."

The area that needs improvement now, according to the national coach, is the domestic league. "If we can improve our club structure then that will strengthen the national team. It is happening, particularly on the men's side, but it is taking time, too long for my liking."

FIH site

Meet... Luciana Aymar

Will the magician work her magic in The Hague?

When you think of the women's Hockey World Cup in 2010, one name springs to mind –  Luciana Aymar. Known as the magician or the Maradona of hockey, in her home country Argentina, Luciana is considered by many to be the greatest female hockey player of her generation.

Luciana is the only player in history to be awarded Player of the Year eight times, and among the medals and trophies she has won are two World Cup golds (2002, 2010), five Champions Trophy gold medals and two silver and two bronze medals from the Olympic Games.

Currently, Luciana has more than 350 international caps and in excess of 150 goals for her country. At 36, she knows that her glittering career is reaching the end, so what further motivation does this player need to ensure that she leaves The Hague with golden memories.

FIH site

Anwar Ahmed Khan — centre-half par excellence who did Pakistan proud with his feats

Anwar Zuberi

KARACHI: With the passing away of hockey icon Anwar Ahmed Khan at his residence on Friday, an era has come to an end. He was amongst those few heroes whose name will remain synonymous with the golden era of Pakistan hockey, particularly the Rome Olympics in 1960.

Affectionately known as Anu or Anu bhai in the sports circles, he was born to late Mohammad Hashim Khan and Noor Jehan begum in Bhopal in 1933. He was fourth amongst five brothers besides an elder sister. His two elder brothers Sultan and Aftab had died while Shamshad and Ansar are fit and healthy. The latter, who is settled in Bhopal, has arrived here recently and was at the bedside of his sibling at the time of his death.

Before migration to Pakistan sometime around 1950-51, he used to play hockey as centre half for Pak Wanders Club and had played with players like Major Shakoor, Habib-ur-Rehman and Latif-ur-Rehman amongst others. He also played in Aligarh for some time.

After coming to Pakistan he settled in Karachi and continued his hard work that eventually brought fruitful results when he was picked in the Pakistan team for pre-Olympic tour in 1954. From then onwards, he remained a regular member of Pakistan hockey team for a stretch of 12 years until he hung up his boots in 1966.

During his illustrious international career, he added many feathers to his cap – the 1960 Rome Olympics gold medal which was country’s first gold medal in Olympics since gaining independence, tops the list. He also had two Olympic silver medals to his name – in 1956 at Melbourne and 1964 at Tokyo – and two Asian Games gold medals in 1958 at Tokyo and 1962 at Jakarta to his credit.

The reputed center-half had a long innings in Customs (preventive) and retired as Assistant Collector in 1993 after serving it for 38 years. He was also a recipient of Tamgha-i-Imtiaz. Anwar also captained Customs hockey team and represented it for many years.

After retiring from international game, the hockey wizard repaid the debt and served the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) in different capacities including manager senior and junior teams and member selection committee.

Anwar managed the 1975 World Cup team that won the silver medal at Kuala Lumpur under the captaincy of Islahuddin. His next managerial assignment at the senior level was 1986 World Cup at Willesden where the greenshirts finished last but one (11th) out of 12 teams. He was also the coach in the 1974 Tehran Asian Games where Pakistan won the gold medal and again in 1986 Seoul Asiad where the team clinched silver after getting beaten by hosts South Korea in the final.

As far as junior team is concerned, Anwar managed the Pakistan team that secured bronze in the 1982 junior World Cup at Kuala Lumpur.

“We’re four players from Karachi who donned Pakistan colours in the 1960 Rome Olympics and three have passed away,” former spearhead Abdul Waheed Khan, whose association with Anwar Ahmed Khan spanned over six decades, told Dawn while mourning his friend’s death. Apart from Anwar, the other two being Habib Ali Kiddie and Khurshid Aslam.

Waheed recalled that it was after Rome Olympics victory that President Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan declared hockey as the national game of Pakistan.

Waheed, who managed the Buenos Aires World Cup gold medal winning team in 1978, termed his late colleague as one of the greatest center-halves ever to have played the game. Waheed, who returned from US after a private visit on Monday, met Anwar in hospital and both rejoiced their meeting. “He was waiting for me to come before leaving for eternal abode,” said Waheed with tears in his eyes.


‘Award to be instituted in Anwar’s name’

KARACHI: A Commissioner Karachi youth sports award will be dedicated to the legendary hockey player Anwar Ahmed Khan who expired on Friday, Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said on Saturday.

Paying glowing tributes to the former celebrated center-half of yore after attending his funeral prayers on Saturday, Shoaib termed Anwar’s death as a great loss to the game. “The world of hockey has not seen a center-half of the calibre of Anwar for decades,” he said.

“Anwar was an outstanding player, both as a defender and attacker, and has won many laurels for the nation besides carrying the national flag aloft across the world. An award will soon be instituted in his name,” he remarked.

The commissioner also assured to launch a hockey tournament in the memory of the late stalwart.


— laid to rest

KARACHI: Former hockey ace Anwar Ahmed Khan who breathed his last on Friday evening after protracted illness, was laid to rest at the Gizri graveyard here on Saturday.

Earlier, the funeral prayer of the deceased were offered at Uzma Mosque in KDA scheme No 1 and was attended by a large number of people including former Olympians, internationals, customs officials, eminent sports organisers, relatives and friends.

Prominent among them were Anwar’s contemporary Abdul Waheed Khan, former member Customs Mushtaq Kazmi, Islahuddin Siddiqui, Zafar Ahmed Khan, Hanif Khan, Iftikhar Syed, veteran athlete Mohammad Talib, former Test wicket-keeper Wasim Bari, former KCCA secretary, Siraj-ul-Islam Bokhari, Safdar Abbas, Shahid Ali Khan, Ayaz Mahmood, Qamar Ibrahim, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Jamshed Sultan, Pervaiz Iqbal, Khalid Paracha, Shoaib Rifat, Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) secretary Farooq Khan, Jawaid Iqbal and Ehtisham Warsi.

Fateha and Soyem of the deceased will be held at Uzma Mosque between Asr and Maghrib prayers on Sunday. Arrangements for ladies have been made at his residence.


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