All the news for Saturday 25 October 2014
Black Sticks Women in position to win the series
Sophie Cocks in full flight
The Black Sticks Women have won 1-0 against the USA, setting up a series decider in the final test tomorrow at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey turf in Clareville.
Today’s game was the first time an international hockey test has been held in the Wairarapa, and the win in front of an excited and enthusiastic local crowd, was exactly what the Black Sticks were hoping for.
It was co-captain Anita Punt who got the team over the line in the 47th minute, with her side managing to defend the counter-attack from the USA in the final minutes of the game.
“A win is good, I thought we played really well in the first two quarters. In the third one I thought we fell away a little bit and let them back into the game - we definitely lost some structure in that 15 minutes,” said head coach Mark Hager.
“Our nemesis at the moment is scoring goals. We have plenty of opportunities, but hopefully the girls will understand they have to work harder at their goal scoring and circle entries. It does take time at this level to get used to the pressure, to realise how quickly you have to shoot,” said Hager.
With a number of senior Black Sticks unavailable for this series, there have been eight changes to the Kiwi side since the Commonwealth Games with only three changes to the American side since their team played to fourth at the FIH World Cup in June.
“One of the goals today was to not let them score and so to achieve that is very, very pleasing. When you hold an opposition team to zero, you have done pretty well.”
In the first half, the Black Sticks were the dominant side and had ample opportunities, the closest shot coming from Olivia Merry in the first quarter when it bounced off the cross bar. The experienced USA side were superb in defence, marking well and putting pressure on the Kiwis every time they entered the circle.
New Zealand continued to hold the lion’s share of possession in the second half, and showed much better vision and speed giving themselves every opportunity. They couldn’t get it through the final line of the USA defence until the fourth quarter, when co-captain Sam Charlton passed to Punt at the top of the circle who smacked it home.
The final game of the series is tomorrow afternoon at Clareville at 2pm.
Tickets are cheaper online at www.dashtickets.co.nz with family, student and child discounts available. Gate sales also available.
All games are live streamed here on the Hockey NZ website - http://bit.ly/1qLD3LR
Full time: 1-0
Half time: 0-0
NZ goal scorers: Anita Punt
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Black Sticks edge United States 1-0 to level series
MATCH-WINNER: New Zealand’s Anita Punt scored the only goal of the game in her side’s 1-0 win over the United States in Clareville today. Photosport
The Black Sticks and their visiting American opponents will fight out a series decider in the Wairarapa tomorrow after New Zealand beat the tourists 1-0 in Clareville today in the fifth test.
Co-captain Anita Punt's winning goal came in the 47th minute and both teams now have two wins apiece over the six-game series.
"A win is good, I thought we played really well in the first two quarters. In the third one I thought we fell away a little bit and let them back into the game - we definitely lost some structure in that 15 minutes," said head coach Mark Hager.
"Our nemesis at the moment is scoring goals. We have plenty of opportunities, but hopefully the girls will understand they have to work harder at their goal scoring and circle entries. It does take time at this level to get used to the pressure, to realise how quickly you have to shoot."
With a number of senior Black Sticks unavailable for this series, there have been eight changes to the Kiwi side since the Commonwealth Games with only three changes to the American side since their team finished fourth at the World Cup in June.
"One of the goals today was to not let them score and so to achieve that is very, very pleasing. When you hold an opposition team to zero, you have done pretty well."
In the first half, the Black Sticks were the dominant side and had ample opportunities but the experienced US side were superb in defence.
New Zealand continued to hold the lion's share of possession in the second half, and showed much better vision and speed giving themselves every opportunity. They couldn't get it through the final line of the US defence until the fourth quarter, when co-captain Sam Charlton passed to Punt at the top of the circle who smacked it home.
The final game of the series is tomorrow at Clareville at 2pm.
Crossing the line
An unexpected sixth place in the 2014 Hockey World Cup set alarm bells ringing in the German camp but the coach remains calmness personified.
The German men’s team won gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic, regaining the title they had won in 2008. Since then however, things have not all gone the German team’s way - sixth place in the Champions Trophy and a sixth place finish in the 2014 World Cup, combined with conceding their top-place ranking to Australia in January 2014.
A few months on from a poor World Cup and coach Markus Weise still refuses to panic: “There is no need to change a lot, it is more about a couple of minor factors that we will soon fix.”
With Olympic gold medals as both the men’s and women’s coach on his curriculum vitae, Weise is widely-recognised as one of the most cerebral coaches in the world of sport, let alone hockey. His calmness whether winning or losing is legendary, and his philosophy includes the belief that there is a very thin line between winning and losing.
He spoke to FIH ahead of this year’s Champions Trophy.
“In the months following the World Cup there has been a thorough analysis of our current situation,” said Weise. “I have spoken to all the key players about their next career steps. This process is still running and it will be interesting to see where it takes us.”
Where it takes the team in the short term is to this year’s Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar, India. Weise is setting high goals for his team, saying the competition will be a top priority.
For the other teams that are preparing to face Germany in India this December, there is always the thought in the back of their minds that Germany save their best performances for the big stage. When pushed on why Germany didn’t deliver at the World Cup in the Netherlands, Weise remains defiantly upbeat: “Some of our players were obviously disappointed with the result, but we weren’t that bad. To say that is disrespectful to the other teams. In high performance sports there is such a thin line that divides winners from losers.”
Whether Germany end up the preferred side of the thin line remains to be seen, but Weise clearly has high expectations. “I want all of my players to be a driving force at the Champions Trophy. I expect them to work hard in each of the games, no matter if it is a group game or in the play-off phase.”
Indian hockey squad for Australia tour announced
Almost the entire Indian men’s hockey team that bagged gold at the Incheon Asian Games has been retained for the tour of Australia next month. The 10-day tour, from October 30-November 10, is part of India’s preparations for the upcoming Champions Trophy, to be hosted in Bhubaneswar from December 6-14.
The Indian squad, announced by Hockey India on Thursday, would be led by Sardar Singh and includes 15 of the 16 members at the Asiad. Only Chinglensana Singh has been omitted. Young drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh has been included in the squad along with defender Harbir Singh and striker Lalit Upadhyay.
India would play four matches against the Australian national side at Perth and one against the Australian ‘A’ team
The squad: Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, Harjot Singh; defenders: Gurbaj Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, V.R. Raghunath, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Gurjinder Singh, Harbir Singh Sandhu; midfielders: Manpreet Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Sardar Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Satbir Singh; forwards: Nikkin Thimmaiah, S.V. Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay.
India name 21-member hockey squad for Australia Test tour
NEW DELHI: Sardar Singh will lead a 21-member Indian men's hockey squad for the four-match Test tour of Australia to be held in Perth from November 4 to 9.
Post bagging the gold medal at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, the tour of Australia is being organised as part of preparation for the upcoming FIH Champions Trophy 2014, to be held in Bhubaneswar December 6-14.
The Indian squad is set to depart for Perth on October 29 October 2014,.
Besides the four Tests, India will also play a training game against Australia A on November 1 at the Perth Hockey Stadium.
The 21-member squad was selected by Hockey India selectors B P Govinda, Harbinder Singh and Arjun Halappa alongwith chief coach Terry Walsh, coach Jude Felix and physiotherapist Jince Thomas Mathew on the basis of their performance in the recently-concluded selection trials at at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Goalkeeper P R Sreejesh has been named Sardar's deputy for the tour. Harjot Singh has been named as the second custodian in the squad.
The first Test between India and Australia will be played on November 4, followed by matches on November 5, 8 and 9.
"Playing against Australia will be an exciting clash and I am sure both the teams will strive to put on their best efforts and will display an excellent show against each other," Hockey India president Narinder Batra said in a statement.
"What will go in our benefit will be the performance that the team showcased both in the Commonwealth Games as well as the Asian Games and which will be a huge motivation for the boys when they face Australia."
Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh, Harjot Singh
Defenders: Gurbaj Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, V R Raghunath, Briendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Gurjinder Singh, Harbir Singh Sandhu
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, S K Uthappa, Sardar Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Satbir Singh
Forwards: Nikkin Thimmaiah, S V Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay.
The Times of India
I go back a happy man: Terry Walsh
Terry Walsh. File photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
The system left him frustrated, but the desire to propel Indian hockey forward made Terry Walsh continue. However, it was not long before he, like many of his predecessors, succumbed to the system.
Walsh’s resignation is irrevocable because he has solid reasons behind his decision. He, however, insists, “I go back a happy man. I was so privileged to coach the Indian hockey team. I have always held India’s hockey culture in high esteem.
“When I came I did not know where the problem was. Was it the players, the administration, the coaching…? We succeeded in isolating the problems even though there were issues initially. I am ecstatic about what we have been able to achieve. I am really proud, pleased and very happy. If someone said to me right know you are not coming back, I’ll be really happy with that because we have achieved a huge amount. The question is, can you get to the next stage of happiness by winning a medal?
Frank and forthright
The genial and frank Aussie continues. “Can we beat the top three teams (Australia, Germany, Holland) consistently in the world today? No, we are not going to, quite frankly. Twelve months ago, would we have beaten the top six teams in the world consistently? No. We have now moved to a level where we can really compete against the top three. India’s position is growing… learning modern pieces, things like the specifics of pressing and interchange. Take the Asian Games final for instance. Pakistan made around 40 interchanges and India made 70-plus! Was that the reason we won? No. But, it is a clear indication of India’s acceptance of the modern game,” he says.
The recent Asian Games gold medal at Incheon was a step in that direction, the process he had identified. But, work remains. The difference between India and the rest has grown. Where does the problem lie? “In the development programme…,” stresses Walsh.
“There is not enough in the transition period from the sub-junior to senior category, the knowledge that is required to take the player to the next level. So, when you move to the top stage, you discover you have got so much to learn, you carry so many habits from your junior programme you find it tough against the top teams,” says Walsh.
Good times ahead
The Australian coach is convinced good times are in store for India. “The wheel is turning, slowly, but turning. Many of the players possess skills others in the world just don’t have. I am seeing the transition in power and belief that has now begun to come back to Indian hockey. It’s a fantastic group. We have created a trust within the team in all spheres… medical and coaching staff as well as the main group. Everybody works very closely, very harmoniously. Yes, there have been tough times — during the selection process and while training in difficult circumstances — but the group has accepted the decisions that have been made.”
The team has learnt the lessons fast, especially in terms of “understanding the concept of play and being able to implement them. Some of these concepts have been foreign to these guys. Some of them have been playing hockey for more than 15 years. They have dealt with different concepts at various times and been able to develop in the right direction. The part I have taken away from them, unknowingly, because of the discipline needed for these concepts, is the Indian ‘masala’, the fluidity, the creativity, the stuff the Indian people love culturally… the artistic flow of the game. The next challenge is to bring that back without sacrificing the modern concepts.”
Looking ahead, Walsh is brutally frank. “If you continue the same way, you stand no chance. You have to put in place a programme that will give you an opportunity. We are the first one to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. But, the other nations have been implementing high-quality programmes for a long time. If we do things properly, there is a chance.
“We will have a better chance if we make the changes that have been asked for. Without those changes, there is no chance. You can look to get into the top-six by that time. Personally, I have this burning feeling that we have a chance of a medal if things are done properly. That is the excitement. There is a flicker in the distance. Is that flicker growing? That’s the real question...”
For all the good work he has done for Indian hockey in a year’s time, Walsh’s future remains uncertain. “Not sure if I’ll be the coach,” he signs off.
Ugandan National Hockey Champions to be crowned this weekend
by Michael Mugote Bryson
The 2014 National Hockey league kicked off in April with nine clubs and climaxed late September.
Five team competed in the men league and Wanaichi claimed the top seat while Weatherhead A clinched the ladies league that had four teams.
The winning teams will be crowned on Sunday at Lugogo at 4PM shortly after Kampala Hockey Club have entertained Weatherhead A and Wanaichi taking on KHC.
According to the Uganda Hockey Association (UHA), this year, the league was more competitive and clubs managed to honour all their league games; unlike previously.
Wanaichi topped the men's league with 19 points, Rockets followed with 16 points while Kampala Hockey Club who got 11 points settled for 3rd.
Weatherhead and new comers Simba hockey team are the other clubs that participated in the 2014 league, the former ended 4th with nine points while the latter managed to collect three points and came last.
In the ladies' side, Weatherhead A topped the log with 16 points, four points above second placed Wanaichi. Weatherhead B was third with 7 points while Kampala Hockey Club ended at the bottom with only four points.
UGANDA HOCKEY LEAGUE PREVIOUS WINNERS:
2014 Wanaichi (men), Weatherhead (women)
2013 (not held)
2012 Wanaichi (men), Weatherhead A (women)
2011 Weatherhead (men), Weatherhead A (women)
2010 Wanaichi (men), Weatherhead (women)
2009 Wanaichi (men), Weatherhead (women)
2008 Wanaichi (men), Weatherhead (women)
Boys Playing Opportunity at 2014 US National Hockey Festival
Calling All Boys! This Thanksgiving holiday, join us at the 2014 National Hockey Festival in Indio, California for a 7v7 boys playing opportunity. Enjoy turkey with a side of fun competition over the course of the weekend.
"The opportunity to play and compete is something we all strive for, be sure to take up the opportunity at the Festival this year,” says U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Chris Clements. “Our Hockey Festival is second to none and we are aiming to increase the number of players and teams. Be a part of the action this Thanksgiving.”
USFHA media release