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News 28 June 2014

All the news for Saturday 28 June 2014

Ireland 2-0 Wales Ireland Secure the Tri Nations in Italy

Ireland’s National Women’s team sponsored by Electric Ireland secured the Tri Nations title taking place this weekend in Mori Italy, with a 2-0 win over Wales thanks to the handy work of Gillian Pinder and Nikki Evans in the last 5 minutes of the match.

Ireland secured the win with two late goals, the first coming from striker Nikki Evans after midfielder Chloe Watkins set up the opportunity weaving through to the circle. Just moments later it was Aine Connery showing her determination setting up Gillian Pinder from a left hand side baseline attack to make it 2-0.

Commenting after the game Coach Smith said "We created a number of chances in the first half and because we were not able to convert any of them the Welsh team started to gain confidence, as a result they became harder and harder to break down."

"It is not a game where we would be happy with the quality of our play but what I thought we did do well was to continue to pressure, work hard and create opportunities. Eventually, this told and we scored two good goals in the second half. In the defensive end we were tidy and Wales didn't have any opportunities on goal. We now look forward to paying against Italy on Sunday in an additional practice match and finishing the trip on a positive note."

The Green Army will continue the intense period with a four nations in Dublin from Saturday 12th - Wednesday 16th July at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD against New Zealand, Chile and Canada for which the schedule has just been confirmed (see below).

IRELAND 2 (0) Nikki Evans; Gillian Pinder

WALES 0 (0)

Starting XI: Stella Davis GK; Cliodhna Sargent; Megan Frazer (Capt); Naomi Carroll; Aine Connery; Chloe Watkins; Nicci Daly; Hannah Matthews; Anna O'Flanagan; Gillian Pinder; Yvonne O'Byrne.

Reserves: Emma Gray; Nikki Evans; Alex Speers; Vanessa Surgeoner; Deirdre Duke; Kate Dillon; Ali Meeke.

4 Nations Dublin - New Zealand, Chile, Canada, Dublin

12th - 16th July,  UCD.

Saturday 12th July
13.00 Canada v Chile
15.15 Ireland v New Zealand
  Sunday 13th July
13.00 New Zealand v Chile
15.15 Ireland v Canada
Monday 14th – REST DAY
 Tuesday 15th July
17.00 New Zealand v Canada
19.15 Ireland v Chile
Wednesday 16th July
 17.00 3rd v 4th
 19.30 1st v 2nd

Irish Hockey Association media release

World League Round One win left officials impressed

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are overwhelmed with the national women’s team performance in the World League Round One, which ended in Singapore on Thursday.

And they have set a target for the national team to finish among the top six for next month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

In Singapore, Malaysia won the tournament by winning all their four matches by netting a whopping 37 goals and not conceding any goals.

Forward Nuraini Abdul Rashid was the top scorer with eight goals.

By winning the tournament, Malaysia also qualified for the World League Second Round, which is scheduled to be played in New Delhi in December.

The World League Second Round is the qualifying meet for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

MHC senior vice-president S. Shamala said that they are impressed with the team’s performance in Singapore.

“Our players are in high spirits after winning the tournament and qualifying for the World League Second Round.

“We have set a target for the national team to finish among the top six for next month’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games,” said Shamala.

A total of 10 teams will feature in the Commonwealth Games and Malaysia will open their Group A campaign against defending champions Australia on July 24.

Their other matches are against Scotland (July 25), England (July 27) and Wales (July 30).

Canada, India, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, and South Africa are drawn in Group B.

Shamala said that although the 18 players performed well in Singapore, they should not take their places for granted for the Commonwealth Games.

“We have 25 players in the training squad and all of them have a fighting chance to be named for the Games. We will select the best possible team as we will be facing top contenders like Australia and England,” said Shamala.

Malaysia’s best ever finish at the Commonwealth Games was a sixth placing in the 2006 Melbourne Games.

At the last Games in New Delhi four years ago, Malaysia finished a disappointing last in the 10-team competition.

The Star of Malaysia

Commonwealth Games: Golden glint in clinical veteran's eye

Naylor looking ahead after 10 years with Sticks but first, the Games

By David Leggat

Emily Naylor says the 250 cap milestone which she will reach at the Commonwealth Games has crept up on her. Photo / Greg Bowker

A New Zealand women's hockey team without Emily Naylor doesn't quite seem right.

She's been part of the furniture of the Black Sticks since making her debut in 2004 and remains an integral part of the squad which sets off for Glasgow on July 9 with high hopes of at least matching, if not going one better than, the silver medal of Delhi four years ago.

National coach Mark Hager calls her "the rock of our defence".

Emily Naylor
Age: 28
Lives: Kereru, Hawkes Bay
Debut: 2004
Caps 246 (most capped New Zealand woman)

Actually take a step further: a Black Sticks side without Naylor and her good friend Kayla Whitelock doesn't look right.

Talk about the ties that bind. The pair first crossed each other's paths at intermediate school, and attended Palmerston North Girls High together.

Captain Whitelock graduated to the national team in her final year at school. Naylor followed a year later.

Naylor was Whitelock's maid of honour at her recent wedding to Canterbury and Crusaders flanker George Whitelock.

Both are in impressive form and if New Zealand are to be a threat for gold in Glasgow, they will be important cogs in the process.

Where Whitelock is a central midfielder, Naylor oversees the defensive operation. Or as Hager put it: "she cleans up behind Kayla. When she's playing well I'm not getting so many headaches".

In April, Naylor eclipsed Susie Muirhead's 238 caps and became New Zealand's most capped women's international. She should pass 250 in Glasgow.

"I guess it's one of those things that kind of crept up on me pretty quickly," Naylor said.

"It was never a goal of mind but it was pretty neat because I played with Susie when I first made the team, she's someone I respected and she was there presenting it to me. I thought 'wow, this is pretty special'."

Naylor isn't one of the flashier players in the team.

She goes about her work almost unobtrusively. Effectiveness could be her byword.

Her debut came in an Olympic qualifying tournament in Auckland; shortly after she was jetting off to Athens for the 2004 Olympics, the first of her three trips to the biggest show.

"That first trip I remember being so excited. I'd never been to a big tournament, or even past Australia."

Few sports travel as frequently as hockey, so Naylor has racked up the air miles, 30 countries at last count.

She admits some of the travelling has become a bit of a chore, but her enthusiasm for being part of the Black Sticks hasn't dimmed.

So how has the game changed in her decade at the top?

"I watched an old game a couple of months ago and it seemed so much slower than now.

"Some of the new rules have definitely helped that, and people have become fitter and faster. I remember when I first made the team I was one of the fastest, or possibly one of the fittest. Now I'm middle of the road."

Naylor has a soft spot for the Athens squad, but if pushed, she will plump for the London Olympic team of 2012 as the best she's been involved in.

A large part of that, she believes, was down to the ethos and camaraderie within the group.

"We had a fantastic culture. The attitude within the group was that everyone believed we could win.

"We just got on so well. It got to the point where everyone was honest with each other and it just gelled once we got to London."

The hurt came at the end with New Zealand losing a penalty shootout to the Dutch which cost a place in the final; they then fell over against Britain in the bronze medal match.

Right now, things are looking good.

Naylor has been impressed with the younger players coming in.

Naylor, who lives on a deer farm at Kereru, west of Hastings with partner Harry Gaddum, is facing the same dilemma as Whitelock. Time catches up and priorities do change.

The skipper is taking a break after Glasgow, heading to Japan for several months and about to embark on some serious soul-searching over her hockey future.

Naylor admits she is in a similar situation.

"There are a few decisions to be made. I feel I am towards the end of my career but I still enjoy it and being part of the group."

Unlike Whitelock, who admitted the Rio Olympics in 2016 was a strong lure to carry on, Naylor keeps her own counsel on that.

"I won't make any decisions until later in the year. I'll see how it goes at the Commonwealth Games."

The New Zealand Herald

Raye surpasses century mark

Abigail Raye. Photo Andy Smith

2014 is turning out to a be a very special year for Abigail Raye.

Donning the maple leaf is an honour only a few Canadian athletes earn. To be able to represent your nation 100 times is an incredible feat in any sport. Being the youngest to achieve the feat is even more impressive.

On April 28, Raye reached the century mark in field hockey international senior caps at the age of 22.

“I feel honoured to represent Canada every game I play, but playing for the 100th time was definitely special,” said Raye, now 23. “To be the youngest player to reach this milestone further motivates me to continue to improve and really make the most of the experience I’ve gained at a young age.”

Raye surpassed Sue Tingley as the fastest player in Canadian women’s field hockey history to appear in 100 games internationally. Tingley reached the century mark in caps at the age of 25. Raye now has 104 senior caps and will continue to add to that this summer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Raye will be one of four returning players from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The roster for the July 23-Aug. 3 tournament was named on Tuesday.

The Kelowna native, who is a defender for the team, achieved the century milestone in a test-match in England, the nation she was born in.

“It’s always a great accomplishment to reach such a milestone. But when someone like Abi reaches it, you feel good, “ said John De Souza, Raye’s former assistant coach with the national team. “I really haven’t been a huge part of her development because she was so good and always an impact player. I think it was even more special in the fact that it happened against England.”

Raye, who was born in Epsom, England, moved to Kelowna with her family in December 2005.

“My first tour with the national program was her first tour,” recalled Paul Bundy, another former assistant coach for Canada. “We brought her on the pre Pan-Am games tour; she was a 17-year old centre back and very talented for her age. She had obviously grown up in England and played there. The provincial coach had nominated her for the national team, and she came out and did very well.”

Former women’s national team head coach Louis Mendonca discovered Raye when she was playing high-school hockey in B.C.

“If I wanted to know how many games I coached on the women’s team, I would follow how many times she played for Canada,” said Mendonca. “When I started coaching, I picked this kid; she was only 17 with a tremendous amount of potential, I think she’s grown leaps and bounds.”

Mendonca coached the national women’s program, including Raye from 2008-2012, and is now the coach for the men’s indoor national team and the director of the indoor program in Toronto.

Raye, a UBC kinesiology student also plays CIS field hockey for the Thunderbirds. She has competed in various international tournaments for Canada in addition 2010 in Delhi. She also participated at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. However, her most memorable achievement is more recent.

“My most memorable moment with Team Canada is winning bronze at the 2013 Pan American Cup,” said the 5-foot-6 Raye. “The team played so well in the game, and having that kind of composure and control in a final match was a great feeling.”

Canada beat Chile 2-1 for the bronze medal at the tournament, which took place in Mendoza, Argentina.

Raye will be a key player for Canada in Glasgow, as she has the second most caps of any player on the roster. Teammate Thea Culley has 106 while Captain Kate Gillis has 103. The 2015 Pan Am games in Toronto will be the next major tournament on the docket for the 23rd-ranked Canadian squad.

“The Commonwealth Games will be a great test for our team,” Raye said. “Performing against top teams in a competition setting is invaluable preparation for Pan Am Games. It will show us where we stand against highly ranked teams, and what we need to improve in our game”

Raye has come a long way since her first cap in 2009, and will be relied up on heavily in Scotland.

“Abi must continue to lead from the front. She has established herself as an international player and one of the best in Canada,” said De Souza. “She has been to a major games competition including a Commonwealth games and her experience will be invaluable. Abi is fun to watch and an exciting player and I know she will do well.”

Since she is now a veteran of the team, Raye’s leadership and competitiveness will be important.

“Abi brought youth and a maturity that allowed her to play at the intensity level at such a young age,” said De Souza. “She’s learning now to be leader and how to make everyone around her better. The program is asking a lot of a very young athlete, but she is capable of doing it, and I see how demanding she has become of her teammates.”

As is common with many athletes, Raye was introduced to field hockey by her parents.

“Both of my parents played field hockey. They actually met on a field hockey pitch,“ Raye said. “ So they were keen to get me into the sport.

“I was I very keen sportswoman growing up, playing every sport under the sun, but I always loved field hockey. I started playing competitively at age 13 when I began training with Surbiton Hockey Club.”

Raye has almost completed the transition to being fully Canadian, as she has recently begun trying to play ice hockey. She is also a fan of tennis and golf. When she isn’t playing sports, her hobbies include playing guitar and sketching.

She looks up to Argentinian Luciana Aymar, who many consider to be the best woman to ever play the sport. Aymar has won the International Field Hockey award for best player in the world eight times. She also has had idols on her own team.

“When I first joined the Canadian team, I always looked up to a senior player on the team, Katie Baker, who later became our team captain,” Raye said.

Raye will undoubtedly carry more weight on her shoulders than in the past, but all signs point to the century-capped veteran being ready for the challenge.

The Daily Courier

Nichols and Taylor Announce National Team Retirement

USA Field Hockey commends two National Team athletes for their tenure

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey celebrates the careers of U.S. Women’s National Team athletes Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.) as they announce their decision to retire from the program.


A pivotal piece of Team USA’s backfield and a two-time Olympic Games veteran, Nichols will transition away from the squad  with a total of 165 impressive caps to her name. A solid force on penalty corners and penalty strokes, Nichols’ skillset was greatly utilized most recently at the 2014 Champions Challenge and Hockey World Cup where the United States made impressive finishes. Nichols is a 2007 Old Dominion University graduate and became part of the National Team that same year.

“Caroline has had a terrific international career having competed on the world stage,” said U.S. Head Coach Craig Parnham. “Her diligence to training is evident and Caroline’s career was capped by her final tournament at the World Cup in Holland during which she had an outstanding series of matches. Like many other players on the Women’s National Team, Caroline will have inspired many younger players to take up the game. As Caroline moves on to a new phase in her life, we wish her every success.”

Nichols extends her sincere thanks to USA Field Hockey for creating a second family and a second home during her time with the National Team by noting it has been truly amazing to work with a top-caliber coaching staff and to share the field with so many talented and dedicated teammates. “I will forever miss wearing the red, white and blue and representing my country as a player, but look forward to supporting and cheering for Team USA at every possible opportunity,” said Nichols. 

She continued on to say USA Field Hockey has helped shape the person she is today and looks forward to sharing all of the experiences she has been so lucky to have. Nichols gives her gratitude to USA Field Hockey, the dedicated fans, friends and family, Dad, Mom, Chris and Elke for their never ending support.

Following her retirement, Nichols will  be pursuing her Masters degree in Applied Physiology at Columbia University and puts on the coaching hat for the Columbia Lions. Nichols leaves fellow athletes and fans from across the country with words of positive self-discovery as she begins her next chapter. “Never forget, ‘find out who you are and do it on purpose!’”


An esteemed 2012 Olympian, the 2008 Syracuse University graduate joined the National Team in 2010. In 2011, Taylor was part of the squad that led the USA to a Pan American Cup victory in Guadalajara, Mexico. Prior to her National Team career, the standout striker collected a myriad of awards including being named as a finalist for the Honda Sports Award and her selection to the Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-American First Team. Taylor rounds out her National Team journey with a remarkable total of 111 caps.

“It has been a great pleasure to work with Shannon over the last 18 months,” said Parnham. “Shannon has competed at the highest level and represented USA at the London Olympics in 2012. Shannon has always had a professional attitude to training and has proven a committed and highly valuable member of the women’s national squad. We all wish her the greatest success in her new career."

“I would like to say a special thank you to my family for supporting me and my journey with the National Team since day one,” said Taylor. “They have been there for me through the good times and bad and I will forever be grateful for them.”

Taylor also expressed her gratitude to her teammates stating that the team is a close knit family and she will continue to stay in touch and be their number one fan. Acknowledging the hockey community for all of their support throughout the years, Taylor says it is amazing to feel the appreciation and love for the game through the community. “It is truly a driving force for all of us players representing you in the world stage,” said Taylor.

Taylor will now be coaching for the University of Massachusetts alongside of Head Coach Carla Tagliente.

She explains that she’ll always remember her time with USA Field Hockey and cherish the memories and experiences that were made throughout her career. Being an Olympian and a Pan American Gold Medalist are times Taylor holds close to her heart and can only thank USA Field Hockey for giving her the chance to contend at the highest level of play.

USA Field Hockey would like to wish these tremendous athletes the very best going forward on their desired paths and thank them for their service to the team.

USFHA media release

Indian hockey: No method in this madness

Batra calls up nine players, coaches kept away

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

What is wrong with Indian hockey? This is a question that every hockey follower asks year after year, tournament after tournament.

A lot has changed in Indian hockey over the last few years, be it players, coaches or even administration.

But despite all this, there has been no real progress.

Thursday morning marked the opening day of the national squad’s preparations in New Delhi, for the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

But instead nine players -- of the 18 those who participated in the recent World Cup in Holland where the team finished ninth -- were sitting in Hockey India secretary Narinder Batra’s office, who wanted to know why India’s penalty corner conversion rate had been so poor at the quadrennial event.

Surprisingly, none of the coaches were present, nor was high performance director Roelant Oltmans, a man brought to put in place a system to take the country’s hockey ahead, involved.

In a week’s time, an 11-member committee will gather in the capital to evaluate the team’s performance at the Hague event, and also that of coach Terry Walsh who was roped in eight months ago. But the lack of transparency in how Hockey India functions was clear from Thursday’s incident. Nor was there any clarity on Batra’s qualifications in the matter.

Said a player, "Everyone is confused. All the nine players were called upon individually and were asked questions about how they missed so many corners, training methods, what went wrong, etc. No one knows what the other was asked or told.

"If the exercise was all about finding what went wrong with penalty corner drills, the players should have at least sat together and expressed their views."

Given the nature of the closed door meetings -- which went on for three hours -- it was only logical to involve the high-profile coaching unit to work towards a collective solution, but Batra’s decision to bypass them all and involve the players directly sends out mixed signals.

It also brought into question the role of Oltmans, who has spent close to two decades coaching top teams and is considered an expert in modern hockey.

This is not the first time that short term goals have been expected of top coaches. The legendary Ric Charlesworth left India after only six months in the job, while Spain’s Jose Brasa -- who helped India land medals in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in a single year -- was not retained because he was vocal about the practice of favouritism and lack of transparency in the Indian system.

While a review is always welcome, how can 11 people most of whom are far removed from modern hockey be better judges than those appointed for the job -- and are being paid in lakhs -- is open to question.

Oltmans was the first one to point this out. In an interview to a website during the World Cup, he had questioned the formation of the committee and even its timing.

"What is really surprising is that some people do not know or see what is going on here (at the Hague in Holland). Comments from all corners, especially from our own administration, are really inappropriate," Oltmans had said.

And even though he now reckons that he will speak only after the review committee meeting and is "open to the idea of many heads evaluating" India’s performance, it is apparent that the Dutchman is not too pleased with the idea.

The committee to be chaired by Batra had initially sought independent reports on India’s below-par performance from the coaching staff, including Oltmans, Walsh and India coaches M.K. Kaushik and Sandeep Sangwan.

It is now learnt that Batra has asked both Kaushik and Sangwan to stay away from the meeting beginning July 3, following the duo’s comments to the media where they backed Walsh and Oltmans. Sangwan has further been asked to work only with the junior team.

Oltmans’s view during an interview in Holland sums up the situation aptly. "If I tell you something... And we all make a big circle where people keep passing the message. In the end, it’s coming back to me, your word is completely changed. And that’s what is exactly happening in this country. We need to stop that.

"We should understand that if you appoint people and give them their roles, you should give them the mandate to do their job properly," the Dutchman had said.

Is Batra listening?

The Asian Age

HI owes explanation to hockey aficionados

Saurabh Duggal

Hockey India (HI) secretary-general Narinder Batra’s outburst that it would be difficult to send the team to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Asian Games at Incheon if the sports ministry didn’t release money to the ‘cash-strapped’ federation promptly, would have caught quite a few aficionados off-guard.

Hockey is one of the most pampered disciplines in India, perhaps even more than shooting or wrestling, which have brought India more medals and popularity in recent times. But despite hockey’s slide, it continues to get a sizeable chunk of the grants from the ministry.

So, HI’s missives to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) that its coffers are running dry — it has only Rs. 31 lakh left out of a total allocation of Rs. 10.5 crore to manage the CWG and Asian Games assignments — sent alarm bells ringing.

HI is one of the country’s few national federations, which have attracted decent sponsorships. With Sahara and Cairn India on board and guaranteed annual sponsorship amounts of Rs. 8.5 crore, it is strange that HI has raised the red flag.

Sponsorship money is one of the grey areas in Indian sports where federations don’t disclose how they expend corporate money. There is no player-welfare scheme or graded system of contract in place, as in cricket, which could be eating into HI’s profits.

In fact, the non-implementation of the graded system of payment and match fees were the main reasons for players going on strike before the 2010 World Cup.


At that time, assurances were given, and players mollified. But nothing happened for two years. After India qualified for the London Olympics, HI set up a committee to fix the graded system as per international caps. Again, two years elapsed and nothing concrete has come out of the exercise.

What HI did, though, was it started giving a monthly stipend of Rs. 10,000 each to the junior players. But, for the seniors, who should have received a minimum annual package of Rs. 10 lakh each, nothing has been done.

With vote politics supposedly high on the agenda, HI started doling out Rs. 5 lakh each to its affiliated state units for the “promotion of sport”. Some units continue to receive grants even though they have failed to field players or teams in the nationals, or have shown little or no improvement in the quality of hockey.

It is a known fact that the expenditure incurred on training national teams, their international exposure trips, salaries to foreign experts, etc are borne by the government. So, where is the money allocated to HI going? Ever if a situation arises where HI is running low on funds, it does have corporate money to fall back upon. Shocking statements, like the team might have to be withdrawn from the Commonwealth or Asian Games will only accentuate the crisis.

For now, Batra might have clarified that the “Commonwealth Games issue has been resolved and that the preparatory camp has started”, but what about the more pressing questions on sponsorship money, about the Rs. 10.5 crore government grant?

“Right now, I cannot comment on this. Once I return to India, I will talk on the issue,” he told HT.

Hindustan Times

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