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News 31 August 2014

All the news for Sunday 31 August 2014

WP “B” side Pens rewrite SA hockey history

JONATHAN COOK at Queensmead

Western Province Peninsula's (from left) Max Bissolati (16), Adrian Abrahams (4), Steve Evans (arm aloft), Matthew Anderson (5) and Gregg Drake (background) celebrate while Southern Gauteng's Nic Spooner (13) reflects. Photo: GAVIN NEL

Western Province Peninsula (Pens) made history when they beat hockey heavyweights Fedex Southern Gauteng 2-1 after leading 1-0 at half-time in the final of the Greenfields Men’s Interprovincial at Queensmead in Durban Saturday to become the first provincial "B" team to win the premier domestic trophy in South African hockey

Superb Pens’ player/coach Steve Evans scored in the 15th minute and Dave Agar added his side’s second in the 48th while Nic Spooner got on the scoresheet for Southerns in the 57th.

Pens, the Western Province ‘B” side, had already caused the biggest upset in years the day before when they beat their senior side, defending champs Western Province, in a magnificent semi-final display - and they did it gain in Saturday’s gold medal, title match.

Pens had never qualified for the semi-finals before and then became the first “B” team to reach the final since South Gauteng Wits in 1996. Pens have now secured their own, unique place in SA hockey history.

WP’s second stringers started very well and opened the scoring in the 15th minute, following their third penalty corner, when outstanding player/coach Steve Evans, the Athens 2004 Olympian, shovelled the ball over the goalline; this was while Southerns captain Tommy Hammond, the Beijing 2008 Olympian, was off the field with a shoulder injury.

Earlier, Gregg Drake had brought out a save from Rassie Pieterse at a PC while Southerns, with 14 SA-capped players, also had their moments in the opening half, notably from striker Julian Hykes.

There was some neat interplay on the part of both sides and Pens could have gone 2-0 and then 3-0 up in the 26th and 30th minutes respectively when Ryan Julius did everything right but score. Miguel da Graca got in a shot at the other end that was comfortably saved by Mark Turner and on the half-time hooter the keeper was again on-song to stop Southerns first PC.

Hammond failed to return after the half-time break, a massive blow, but Southerns started well and Turner was forced to make another good save, this time from Brandon Panther on the turn, but Evans was a steadying influence for the rank underdogs.

Southerns striker Nic Spooner had a good opportunity soon after but pulled his shot wide and in the 48th young Pens striker Keenan Horne, in the form of his life, won a PC which former Durbanite Dave Agar rifled into the backboard to stretch the Capetonians’ lead.

Then an exquisite piece of skill by Pens’ Robert Edwards might have brought more reward but in the 57th Hykes crossed from the left and Spooner finished clinically to bring Southerns right back into the game with 13 minutes left.

Southerns surged forward but Pens held firm, Drake making a crucial clearance, but with two minutes left Southerns won a PC and again it was Turner who repelled the threat - and with seconds left the keeper was on hand once again and the national title belonged to the Western Province “B” side, who played like absolute champions.

The final was also a fond farewell to one of South Africa’s most celebrated umpires, Gary Simmonds of Durban, who wielded the whistle for the last time before drawing the curtain on a career that included Olympic Games and World Cups.

Last year’s champions Tuffy Western Province won the bronze medal with a 3-0 win over Northern Blues, the goals coming from Lloyd Norris-Jones, Matt Botha and Craig Haley.

KZN Inland, who finished eighth and last in the A Section, have been relegated to next year’s B section event.

In the B Section, or promotion division final, KZN Coastal Mynahs beat Free State 3-1. Mynahs scored superb goals all week and the final was no different, the successful strikes going to Mondli Dlamini (31st minute), Matt Fairweather (37th) and Cameron Mackay (40th) while Berne Burger pulled one back for Free State in the 44th minute.


A Section: (7/8) Eastern Province 2 (Natius Malgraff, Dalan Phillips) KZN Inland 0; (5/6) KZN Coastal Raiders 8 (Ross Hetem 3, Greg Last, Taine Paton 2, Geoff Abbott, Gavin Jelley) South Gauteng Wits 2 (Cole Milton, Lloyd Nicholson); (3/4) Western Province 3 (Lloyd Norris-Jones, Matt Botha, Craig Haley) Northern Blues 0; (1/2) Western Province Peninsula 2 (Steve Evans, Dave Agar) Southern Gauteng 1 (Nic Spooner).

A Section- Top goalscorer: Pierre de Voux (Western Province). Most Promising Player: Keenan Horner (WP Peninsula). Player of IPT: Tim Drummond (KZN Coastal Raiders).

B Section: (7/8) EP Settlers 2 (Kyle Boggenpoel, Jeremy Hart) Namibia 1 (Kave Tjikuniva); (5/6) Border 4 (Hayden Marcus, Callan Hansen, Jason van Zyl 2) SA Country Districts 3 (Etienne Blatt, Warren van der Merwe, Antony Rimbault); (3/4) KZN Coastal Robins 1 (Ryan Lees) North West 1 (Tjoff van Staden), Robins won penalty shootout 4-3; (1/2) KZN Coastal Mynahs 3 (Mondli Dlamini, Matt Fairweather, Cameron Mackay Free State 1 (Berne Burger).

B Section - Top goalscorer: Jason van Zyl (Border). Player of IPT: Mondli Dlamini (KZN Coastal Raiders).

SA Hockey Association media release

SA men's hockey squad named

A South Africa men’s hockey squad of 32 was selected from those players who played at the Greenfields Men’s Interprovincial.


Goalkeepers: Rassie Pieterse, Jason Briggs (both Southern Gauteng); Gowan Jones, Richard Curtis (both KZN Coastal Raiders); Jacques le Roux (Western Province), Chad Durrheim (North West).

Defenders: Jethro Eustice, Gareth Heyns, Lance Louw (all Southern Gauteng); Mohamed Mea, Leneal Jackson (both KZN Coastal Raiders); Daniel Bell, Rhett Halkett (both Western Province); Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues).

Midfielders: Tim Drummond, Dan Sibbald, Ross Hetem (all KZN Coastal Raiders); Chad Cairncross (Eastern Province); Clint Panther, Taylor Dart (both Southern Gauteng); Wade Paton (Western Province); Marc Fourie (WP Peninsula).

Forwards: Natius Malgraff (Eastern Province); Pierre de Voux, Matt Botha (both Western Province); Taine Paton, Damian Kimfley (both KZN Coastal Raiders); Keenan Horne (WP Peninsula); Mondli Dlamini, Cam Mackay (both KZN Coastal Mynahs); Richard Pautz (Northern Blues); Brandon Panther (Southern Gauteng).

SA Hockey Association media release

HWL R1 Preview: Ghana, Kenya & Tanzania women to meet in Nairobi

Road to Rio: Hockey World League R1 - Women - Nairobi (KEN)

Tanzania women, pictured in 2013. (Photo: Hockey Tanzania)

The Hockey World League, the tournament that makes the dream of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games a possibility for every hockey playing nation, returns to action this September. In this preview we look at the women’s Round 1 competition in Nairobi, where host nation Kenya (FIH World Ranking: 44) will take on Ghana (WR: 31) and Tanzania (WR: 46).

Ghana are certainly the team to beat in the all-African nation tournament, with the team sitting 13 places above nearest rivals Kenya and 15 ahead of the Tanzania.

Ghana have long been one of the strongest sides in the African continent, but their Silver medal at the 2013 African Cup for Nations marked a new high. They produced an incredible performance in the tournament final to give all-conquering South Africa a real scare before eventually losing 3-2. Although it was not the first time that Ghana has won Silver at the African Continental Championships - they also achieved the same feat in 2005 and 2009 - the narrow margin of defeat gives a strong indication that they could be the team to end South Africa’s 20 year period of dominance.

Tournament hosts Kenya also had a very successful African Cup for Nations in 2013, claiming the Bronze medal by defeating HWL Round 1 rivals Tanzania and also giving Ghana and South Africa serious problems before falling to narrow defeats in the competition. The home favourites are likely to be Ghana’s biggest rivals in the bid to finish top of the pile.

Tanzania may be the least experienced nation in the competition, but that does not stop them from believing that they are capable of making a big noise in Nairobi. Their participation in this event is another milestone for a hockey nation that is on a remarkable journey of development. Their appearance in the 2013 African Cup for Nations was their first ever at such a high profile event, and was only made possible thanks to a hugely successful fundraising drive that generated the money needed for transport and accommodation. Thanks to the incredible efforts of Valentina Quaranta and the Hockey Tanzania project, Tanzania will be taking part in a second international competition, giving valuable tournament experience to an enthusiastic group whilst also adding extra momentum to the development of hockey in the country. To learn more about the Hockey Tanzania project, click here.

Ghana reached Round 2 of the inaugural edition of the Hockey World League in 2012-13, Kenya and Tanzania will be making their tournament debuts.

The women’s HWL event in Kenya takes place from 5-7 September, running alongside the men’s Round 1 event which features Egypt, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania. You can keep track of the results from Nairobi on the official tournament microsite, with FIH.CH bringing a full summary of the action upon the completion of the event.

The second edition of the Hockey World League got underway earlier this year, with the women’s teams of Malaysia and Belarus emerging triumphant at respective Round 1 events in Singapore and Lithuania before Russia men stormed to victory in Croatia in August.

The September return will see no fewer than nine different Round 1 tournaments will take place over 13 action-packed days, with Czech Republic, Kenya, Bangladesh, Oman and Mexico playing host to the various men’s and women’s events. The remaining Round 1 competitions will be played in Jamaica (30 September - 5 October 2014) and Fiji (6-13 December 2014), both of which will feature men’s and women’s tournaments.

The winning team at each event is guaranteed a place in Round 2 of the Hockey World League, where they will be joined by a number of the highest-placed finishers from the Round 1 tournaments. Round 2 will also see the introduction of the teams placed from 12 to 19 in the FIH World Rankings with the sides ranked 1 to 11 starting their journey in Round 3, where tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as qualification for the Finals tournament are up for grabs. 

FIH site

Spanish legend Freixa retires from national team

Spanish hero Santi Freixa announced his retirement from international hockey on Saturday, feeling his body would not be able to withstand the rigours of another Olympic campaign towards Rio de Janeiro.

During his career, he earned almost 200 caps in a career that dates back to 2000 and coincided with a golden era in Spanish hockey, landing the 2008 Olympic silver medal in Beijing, bronze in the World Cup and gold from the 2005 European Championships and the 2004 Champions Trophy.

He started his career with Atletic Terrassa, winning the Spanish national title five times before moving on to Amsterdam. He played in the Euro Hockey League with both clubs while he was also voted on the World Hockey All Stars Team for three years in succession - 2006, 2007 and 2008.

A series of injury issues in recent years and the increased demands of the international schedule saw Freixa make an honest assessment of his ability to reach full fitness and duly made the decision to step back following the recent World Cup in The Hague.

He paid tribute to Toni Forrellat, Mauritz Hendrickx, Dani Martin and Salva Indurain and their respective coaching staffs for helping him grow as a player and person.

In turn, the player also highlighted the importance of team mate Juan Escarré, Ramon Alegre and Rodrigo Garza, who, over the years, have always been very close to him, acting as a confidant for the EHF Hall of Famer.

Euro Hockey League media release

Tengku Abdullah to usher new era for Asian hockey

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is all set to usher in a new era in the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president will take over the helm at AHF on Sunday after winning the post unopposed. He replaces the late Sultan Azlan Shah, who had been the president since 1990.

With Tengku Abdullah at the helm, the AHF academy is set to stay in Ipoh.

The AHF Congress, to be held at a leading hotel here on Sunday, will see elections conducted for the posts of vice-presidents (five) and council members (10).

There are four other Malaysians in the fray and it will be interesting to see if they can make the cut.

MHC vice-presidents Dr S. Shamala and Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad are vying for posts as either a vice-president or a council member.

Shamala is an incumbent council member and is likely to keep her seat while Nur Azmi is a virtual unknown.

Two other Malaysians eyeing a council post are incumbent Datuk Abdul Rahim Ariff and newcomer Manjit Majid Abdullah, who is also a vice-president with MHC.

Rahim is expected to make the cut but it will be tough for Manjit, being a newcomer.

There are 12 contestants for the vice-presidents’ posts and 18 vying for the council members’ seats.

FIH president Leandro Negre will be attending the Congress.

It will be interesting to hear what Tengku Abdullah has in store for the Asian region when he holds his first press conference later in the evening.

Tengku Abdullah has already indicated that he will relinquish his post as MHC president by December.

But, with his additional duties as the president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), Tengku Abdullah may be taking on more than he can handle, especially since he is also a vice-president of the FIH and vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The Star of Malaysia

Battle for AHF posts

By Jugjet Singh

FOUR Malaysians will face tough challenges today in their bid for posts in the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).

While Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah won unopposed as AHF president when nominations closed on Aug 21, MHC vice presidents Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad, S. Shamala, Manjit Majid Abdullah and Datuk Rahim Ariff will have to face the electorate.

The only other unopposed winner is incumbent treasurer Fumio Ogura of Japan.

Tengku Abdullah is an International Hockey Federation (FIH) executive board member as well as president of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF).

Twelve candidates will battle for the five vice-presidents posts, while the elections for council members, 10 in total, will see 18 individuals vying for positions.

“We have been doing our rounds to garner support, and the feedback has been good for all four Malaysians,” said Manjit.

Nur Azmi and Shamala have also been nominated for council positions along with Rahim.

Shamala and Rahim are incumbent council members.

Tan Sri P. Alagendra, who has been AHF secretary general for 16 years, will vacate his post as it has been replaced by a CEO position which will be helmed by Tayyab Ikram of Macau.

Alagendra is expected to be honoured for his contributions today.

New Straits Times

Hockey blood drive

Arin Kumar

MORE than 30 pints of blood was collected during the Marist Hockey Club Blood Drive in Suva yesterday.

The drive is a community activity as part of their buildup towards their 20th anniversary Marist Hockey Tournament to be held next month at the National Hockey Centre in Suva.

Club vice-president Paul Fraser said the response from the players in the Suva Hockey League and the supporters was overwhelming.

"As you know, there is a shortage of blood in the blood bank and the patients in the hospitals need blood," he said.

"So we are really glad that we hosted this blood drive and even the guys from the blood bank were really happy with the response shown.

"The players, the club officials, friends and families of the players and some of their workmates showed up to show their support."

Fraser said they would engage in more community activities as part of their buildup towards the Geotech Drilling International-sponsored tournament.

"This is the first of many community activities that we will engage in and we will see the areas that need our support and we will act accordingly.

"So I would like to thank all those who contributed towards this worthy cause and I hope they will support us again in our other community activities."

The Fiji Times

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