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News for 29 November 2014

All the news for Saturday 29 November 2014

Govers and Aymar look to repeat past glories

On the eve of the opening matches in the women's Champions Trophy, we hear from two players who know the sweet taste of success

(Photo: FIH)

Two years ago, Australia's all-conquering men's team and the blue and white Las Leonas of Argentina walked away as winners of the men's and women's Champions Trophy. That time around, the Kookaburras beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Melbourne, while the Argentine women beat Great Britain in a tense 1-0 match in Rosario.

Kieran Govers was one of the goal scorers for the Australian men's team that day. He says: "It was an unreal feeling as it meant so much to win in front of our home crowd. I played the previous two Champions Trophies but had been unable to play in the final so it was a great moment stepping onto that field at the start."

Talking about his goal, Govers said: "Eddie Ockenden did some dazzle dazzle down the sideline for about 50 metres then turned and crossed it to Tristan White who quickly pushed it to me. I was shaping up to run in and smash it on my fore stick but at the last minute decided to hang it and spin around and crack it on my tomahawk. I couldn’t see it go in, I only heard the sound of the backboard then suddenly I saw Knowlesy's (Mark Knowles) stick fly passed my head in celebration."

Govers is hoping he and his team can make it five Champions Trophies in a row, but says the Kookaburras are fielding one of the most inexperienced teams they have picked at this level. "I wouldn’t say it's a problem but there are a few new faces in this Champions Trophy team. This isn’t an excuse as they are all capable of playing at this level."

This edition of the Champions Trophy will be Australia's first major international with a new head coach at the helm. Graham Reid took charge after the retirement of legendary coach Ric Charlesworth in July. True to his promise to bring new players into the fold, Reid has brought youngsters Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson and Flynn Ogilvie into the Champions Trophy squad. However, the new coach has been careful to balance youth with experience. Speaking ahead of the tournament Reid said: "We have increased our depth of experience with the addition of Fergus Kavanagh and Russell Ford, who have been playing in Europe.

“As I said when we announced the initial training group back in October, we are using the Champions Trophy as another opportunity to expose our younger players to the rigours of international competition. I think we have a good balance of youth and experience, however we still do have a lot of work to do before the tournament starts on 6 December and the team is well aware of this."

Meanwhile, the women's competition is likely to be dwarfed by one person. Whether the home nation wins or loses, the fact that this is going to be Luciana Aymar's final international competition will add spice every time the eight-times FIH Player of the Year steps on the pitch.

"After much discussion, I decided to say goodbye in Argentina, playing in front of all my people. It was a difficult decision, like a divorce. I was married to the sport for 20 years and now, slowly, i am separating from my sporting life and the dream is over."

With five Champions Trophy gold medals to her name already, Lucha – as she is known throughout the hockey world – will be hoping this edition will add a sixth. "I'm happy because it will be a party, but otherwise the sadness is taking over. Nothing will replace my sport, playing in a stadium, hearing the anthem and being with my teammates."

#BestoftheBest #CT2014

FIH site

Slattery settled in

New Hockeyroos forward has grown in confidence ahead of Champions Trophy

New Hockeyroos forward Kathryn Slattery (pictured above celebrating with Emily Smith) says the experience of getting her first two goals in the recent series against the New Zealand Black Sticks has given her great confidence going into the Champions Trophy this weekend.

The 21 year-old from South Stirling, WA, boasts two goals from her three senior international appearances to date and speaking exclusively to Hockey.org.au, she said, “I was pretty happy to score against New Zealand. It’s a monkey off the back early and gives me the confidence to know I can score at international level.”

Slatts, as she is known to her teammates, is one of four in the Champions Trophy squad that made their debuts earlier this month but guidance from some of the more experienced girls is always on hand. Slattery is rooming with Georgia Nanscawen, who despite being just over a year older, has more than 140 appearances for the Hockeyroos, including an Olympic Games and two World Cups.

“She’s pretty tidy and organised,” says Slattery of Nanscawen. “She’s keeping me in check, too. She’s all over the schedule so we’ve not been late for any meetings yet.”

Two uncapped practice matches against England and the Netherlands earlier in the week helped the Hockeyroos blow out the cobwebs after a long journey, and despite narrow defeats in both (2-0 and 3-2), Slattery says the team is confident they can hit the ground running when the competition begins.

“We’re happy enough. We had lots of goal shots and opportunities, which is pretty exciting as a striker. England play a different style to Australia and New Zealand – it’s a bit more defensive – and we didn’t play as well [in the practice match] as we might have wanted. But we’ve got Casey [Sablowski] and Flanno [Anna Flanagan] back and we’re confident.”

The Hockeyroos take on England in their opening match at 6:30am AEDT / 5:30am AEST / 3:30am AWST on Sunday 30 November.

The match is live on ABC in ACT, NSW, TAS and VIC. The match is shown on delay on ABC at 6:30am local time in all other states.

Viewers in those states can still watch live by heading to youtube.com/fihockey at the match start time.

Hockey Australia media release

Danson excited by up and coming players

Alex Danson celebrates another goal

England’s opening game of the Champions Trophy is almost upon us, and with familiar rivals in Australia, Germany and Argentina looming large on the horizon it is a familiar face who weighs up England’s chances in the tournament.

Alex Danson is one of four survivors of the 2012 Champions Trophy campaign which resulted in a silver medal for Great Britain. It is a tournament she remembers vividly:

“It was a great tournament with some great memories. The level of competition was very high and Argentina is a great place to play, they put on a good show on and off the field. It’s amazing and very special. It was different to London because we were welcomed as the home team at the Olympics, whereas everyone in the stadium was cheering against us in Rosario. We’ve done plenty of work on shutting that out in preparation. It’s about proving we’ve done the work in training to ensure we put in a good display for our country.”

The Reading striker, set to line up in her fifth Champions Trophy has seen it all before in a superb career that has had her competing in every major tournament there is. Despite her experience, she is keen to stress that even now, she is developing all the time:

“We’re always learning and evolving. Although we’ve worked with Danny Kerry previously there are always new things that come up each day. We’ve all thoroughly enjoyed that and the intensity has been great in the group. Replicating the efforts on the training field in the tournament should stand us in good stead.”

Hard work is a recurring theme amongst the squad and the coach, but Danson knows that although important, hard work needs talent to go alongside it, something she feels this group is not lacking. With several new faces in the squad, you would be forgiven for assuming these players will look to the experienced No15 for guidance. However Danson plays down her role, explaining that each player has their part to play:

“We have some phenomenally talented young players and I wish I was a few years younger. I can see the depth of the talent in the group which means they will achieve great results in the future. I see my role as no different to normal, which is a mark of how good these players are: We live by our values as a team and every individual leads by example. I’m just one of the team who tries to do that.”

Danson shows her skills against Germany at the World Cup

Inevitably, the subject turns to a roller coaster summer in which England endured a difficult World Cup campaign, followed by the agony of missing out on a Commonwealth gold medal in dramatic fashion. The 29-year-old is characteristically philosophical about the experience, saying:

“The summer was emotional but sport is like that. You get the lows and the highs. It’s part and parcel of what we do. We’ve learned some lessons from it. We’ve been looking at the final periods of games and we’ve worked hard on the physical aspects, too. We’re very tight as a unit and you can see that around the squad on and off the pitch.”

There is a determination about Danson’s words but she is not getting carried away. Every team in the competition is capable of world class hockey on their day  and aware of the strengths of some of the big hitters in the competition, her approach is simply to take the competition one game at a time:

“It’s going to be interesting. Argentina at home always turn it on. Australia are in great form, the Netherlands are fantastic, anyone could get top spot. I’m not going to predict how we’ll do but what I will say is the work is done at training and we can hand on heart say we have given our all to get ready for this competition. We know what we need to do, we have a performance focus and game by game we need to do our jobs. We’ll then see where that leaves us.”

England Hockey Board Media release

Laura Unsworth highlights England's fitness as hockey path to Rio Olympics begins in Argentina

Ahead of England Hockey women's Champions Trophy campaign in Mendoza, defender Laura Unsworth discusses England's fitness regime, colourful scrunchies and the inspirational Jane Sixsmith

By Rod Gilmour

Spring in their step: Laura Unsworth, complete with scrunchie, says England have never been fitter Photo: ADY KERRY

We will be able to gauge how well England are progressing at the Champions Trophy in Argentina by the colour of Laura Unsworth’s scrunchies. If they stay the same colour for more than one game we are doing OK. If not, we are in trouble. “I changed them at the World Cup but kept the same one at the Commonwealth Games as we were doing alright,” says the England defender.

According to those in the know, the hair accessory is back after several decades out of fashion. Meanwhile, England women continue their road to redemption after a rollercoaster year: from a dismal 11th at the World Cup to the agony of being 17 seconds away from Commonwealth Games gold before falling to Australia. The two rivals meet each other on Saturday evening in their opening match of the eight-team tournament in Mendoza.

Since returning to centralised training after their summer break, England have been working overtime under newly-installed coach, Danny Kerry, appointed in a dual-role capacity until Rio 2016 given his duties as England Hockey’s performance director.

“We have improved dramatically and we are now the fittest we have ever been,” admits Unsworth, who made her England debut in 2008, post-Beijing.

The improvements started after their terrible World Cup experiences in the Hague. England slipped three places to world No 6 and a period of soul-searching ensued, as well as a frank team meeting days after their return where players laid out the squad’s problems in front of then-head coach, Jason Lee.

“If someone then said that we would get a silver at the Commonwealth Games, I would have taken that,” says the Holcombe defender.

“We did perform well against Australia and it is a confidence we have taken through to this training block.

Laura Unsworth leaves the field after another poor World Cup display by England

"We realised that if we want to be up there with one of the best teams in the world then we can use our fitness so much more. We can cause teams absolute havoc by constantly running and getting into low positions. We want to be that fittest team.

“On the pitch, we have implemented our tactics, grooving our short corners and are excited to go out in Argentina competing against the best.”

Unsworth’s first major tournament came at the 2009 Champions Trophy in Australia where England finished sixth. It wasn’t until September that year and the start of the centralised programme that Unsworth admits that she was finally able to adjust to the rigours of international hockey. “I knew then that I could fit in,” she says.

Unsworth originally started out her hockey career as a forward for her hometown club, Sutton Coldfield. She attended coaching sessions with Jane Sixsmith, aged 11, and broke into the first team four years later (Great Britain's greatest women’s player had done the same aged 15).

The 26-year-old admits she then tried to “cause some havoc upfront” before moving back to defence, a position she has cemented at international level, along with a move to premier division newcomers, Holcombe, last year.

“Jasper [Sixsmith’s nickname] taught me what it took to become an international athlete,” she says. “There would be times where I would be taking a session at a local school and I would see Jasper training on the athletics track. It is those extra little things that make you into a really good international.”

Unsworth's consistency means she is one of our world-class players, says Kerry

Of her defensive duties, she says: “I just love to be part of it. My job probably goes unnoticed but I know it is important for the team. As long as I am delivering that then I know the team can perform.”

Her world-class qualities may go largely undetected at the back - nothing to do with her 5' 1'' height - but her scrunchies will still be the litmus test as to England’s success.

However, after a change of coach and with half an eye on next year’s Olympic qualifiers, there is a hint of scepticism over England’s chances in Argentina. “Perhaps it isn’t about where we finish, but how we perform,” Unsworth says.

England coach Danny Kerry on Unsworth

“She reads the game is quite deceptive at her physicalities. She can keep on going and she can cover a lot of ground and make a lot of tackles. At that to her game understanding, she can make good tackles and passing under pressure. You see that game in, game out. Her consistency means she is one of our world-class players. In saying that, she can be overlooked because she plays in an area which isn’t as sexy as the forward players.”

The Telegraph

Swift rise for Sam Charlton in the Black Sticks' ranks


FIERCE: Sam Charlton has been a major mover in the Black Sticks over the past two years. Fairfax NZ

Sam Charlton has quickly become one of the first names on the list when coach Mark Hager is scribbling down a Black Sticks squad.

Charlton will be an integral figure at the Champions Trophy tournament in Mendoza, Argentina, which begins tomorrow morning (NZ time) against Japan.

With the experienced Kayla Whitelock and Emily Naylor both taking a break from the game, Gemma Flynn unavailable, and Katie Glynn injured, the 22-year-old Charlton has developed into a senior member of the side.

With 110 tests to her name, she is the third most capped player in New Zealand's squad for the Champions Trophy, behind captain Anita Punt (179) and Stacey Michelsen (154).

International hockey has not always come easy for the Midlands defender.

Two years ago, Charlton was rated a long shot to make the Black Sticks team for the London Olympics.

Leading into the tournament, she had been overlooked for several tours and was struggling with her form and fitness.

Charlton attended the Champions Trophy in January 2012 - her first major international tournament - and said it was a major wake-up call.

She struggled for playing time and felt out of place against the world's best players.

Rather than get despondent, she went away and worked hard in the gym and regained her confidence at a national under-21 tournament.

Charlton ended up making the Olympic team and was a key performer for the Black Sticks, who missed out on a place in the gold medal game after losing to the Netherlands on penalties.

"The London Olympics was when I felt at the level I should be to play international hockey and it's gone since then.

"I still find it really challenging. Now, I've started to feel a little bit more comfortable playing at that level."

The pace of the game only seems to be getting quicker in international hockey. Charlton said she had begun to appreciate how pivotal conditioning was.

"You don't realise how important it is when you first come in.

"It's something that's really under-rated by young players. Being fit is massively important. It adds so much value to your game."

Charlton co-captained the Black Sticks with Punt during their home series against the United States last month. Her maturity as a player has been recognised, being named in the team's senior leadership group.

Hager said Charlton was a natural leader and had grown into a vital member of the Black Sticks.

"Her fitness is the key for her. She's super fit, which enables her to stay in the game. She makes good tackles and is able to get forward at the ball and create numerous attacks for us as well."

The Black Sticks might be missing several of their established stars for the Champions Trophy, but Charlton said expectations were still high.

They were disappointed with their third place finish at the Commonwealth Games and wanted to finish the year on a high note.

"We want to win a medal. That's kind of been a downfall of ours in recent times. Making the top four and walking away with fourth.

"Everyone has the enthusiasm and the work rate and the want to be up there with the best."

New Zealand have been grouped with World No 1, the Netherlands, China and Japan.

The Black Sticks beat China and Japan at the World Cup in June and Charlton said they needed to bank victories over them in pool play.

"They're games we should expect to win. They'll both be really tough games. The Asian teams play a different style to the other teams around the world. We have to adapt to the way they play."

Black Sticks squad:

Georgia Barnett, Michaela Curtis (Central), Sam Charlton, Shiloh Gloyn, Rose Keddell, Sally Rutherford (Midlands), Sophie Cocks, Jordan Grant, Pippa Hayward, Olivia Merry (Canterbury), Ella Gunson, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal (Northland), Julia King, Liz Thompson (Auckland), Anita Punt, Aniwaka Roberts (Capital), Petrea Webster (North Harbour)

Pool A: (world ranking)

Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), China (5), Japan (10)

Pool B:

Australia (2), Argentina (3), England (6), Germany (7)

Black Sticks schedule: (NZT)

v Japan, 6am tomorrow
v Netherlands, 3.30am Monday
v China, 10am Wednesday
Friday, Dec 5: Quarterfinals
Sunday, Dec 7: Semifinals
Monday, Dec 8: Final


Budgeon replaces Zalewski

Western Australian World Cup winner ruled out with injury

Nick Budgeon (pictured) has replaced the injured Aran Zalewski in the Kookaburras’ squad to compete at the Champions Trophy, beginning Saturday 6 December.

Western Australian Zalewski – a World Cup and Commonwealth Games winner - was withdrawn late on Friday, ahead of today’s (Saturday) departure for Bhubaneswar, after suffering a torn hip flexor in a practice match.

Tasmanian defender Budgeon, 26, has made 21 appearances for the Kookaburras, scoring 11 goals – eight of which came during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March. Budgeon was a part of the Kookaburras squad at the World League Finals in New Delhi in January.

Revised Kookaburras squad for Champions Trophy
Bhubaneswar (IND), 6-14 December 2014
Name (Hometown/State) Caps/Goals
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 38/7
Nick Budgeon (Hobart, TAS) 21/11
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 149/95
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 78/0
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 3/1
Matthew Dawson (Central Coast, NSW) 4/0
Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS) 94/4
Russell Ford (Melbourne, VIC) 152/72
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 104/31
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 21/7
Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA) 191/14
Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA) 31/0
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 225/56
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW) 4/0
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 157/49
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 112/21
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 72/30
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 38/3

Kookaburras’ Champions Trophy fixtures
Saturday 6 December – Champions Trophy v England – Bhubaneswar – 5:30pm AEDT
Sunday 7 December – Champions Trophy v Belgium – Bhubaneswar – 5:30pm AEDT
Tuesday 9 December – Champions Trophy v Pakistan – Bhubaneswar – 11pm AEDT
Thursday 11 December – Champions Trophy quarter finals – Bhubaneswar
Saturday 13 December – Champions Trophy semi finals/playoffs
Sunday 14 December – Champions Trophy medal matches/playoffs

ABC Broadcast Schedule*, Champions Trophy
Saturday 6 December – Kookaburras v England – ABC 2, 10:30pm (on delay)
Sunday 7 December – Kookaburras v Belgium – ABC 2, 8:20pm (on delay)
Tuesday 9 December – Kookaburras v Pakistan – ABC 2, 11pm (live AEDT states)
Thursday 11 December – quarter final – arrangements to be confirmed
Saturday 13 December – semi final/playoff - arrangements to be confirmed
Sunday 14 December – medal match/playoff - arrangements to be confirmed
*All times subject to change. Times are local to your state. Check local TV listings.

All matches are available live on the FIH YouTube channel at youtube.com/fihockey.

Champions Trophy competing teams
Australia (World ranking #1) – Pool A
Netherlands (#2) – Pool B
Germany (#3) – Pool B
Belgium (#4) – Pool A
England (#5) – Pool A
Argentina (#7) – Pool B
India (#9) – Pool B
Pakistan (#11) – Pool A

Hockey Australia media release

We'll take one game at a time: Dutch captain Robert Horst

NEW DELHI: Netherlands skipper Robert Horst said the reigning silver medallist and eight-time champion's present focus is on its tournament opener against Argentina and would like to take one game at a time in the eight-nation event.

"We can feel that the tournament is going to be quite interesting and entertaining here in India. The challenge will be a tough one with all good teams competing. For the time being, our focus is on the first match which will help us to take lessons for the remaining games," Horst said after a training session at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Friday.

"However, we have been preparing ourselves for the tournament. We have a strong team with experienced as well as young players, who will bring a difference to the game."

The eight-nation Champions Trophy will be held in Bhubaneswar from December 6-14.

Speaking on the preparations of the team, chief coach Max Caldas said: "We have to focus on the approach and have to figure out the changes required. We all as a team have to adapt to the changes. Also, there has to be an understanding and we are working to develop it. I am trying to understand each player well about their individual skills and strengths.

"Our focus is to build up as a team and prepare ourselves strong enough to compete in the tournament."

Meanwhile, Aran Zalewski of Australia has been ruled out of the Champions Trophy after sustaining an injury during the team's prepration. He will be replaced by Nicholas Budgeon.

The Times of India

Players miss Walsh, but say won't let it affect CT performance

NEW DELHI: Terry Walsh's sudden exit as Indian hockey team's chief coach seems to have left a long lasting effect on the players, who said they were missing the Australian's services ahead of the FIH Champions Trophy.

The players were univocal in their praise for Walsh but said they won't let his departure affect their performance in the December 6-14 event to be held in Bhubaneswar.

"Walsh was a very good coach. The recent results have proved that. The combination of Walsh and Roelant Oltmans (High Performance Director) was good too. Oltmans is still with us and we are training accordingly to the plans drawn by them (Walsh and Oltmans) since last year," striker Ramandeep Singh said.

"However, I don't know much about what the authorities are planning."

Walsh, who replaced fellow Australian Michael Nobbs in October last year, had expressed his desire to return to India after he left the country unceremoniously following breakdown in his contractual talks with Sports Authority of India and Hockey India.

Hockey India, however, has shut the door on him and accused the Australian of financial irregularities during his stint with USA Hockey. HI President Narinder Batra made it clear that the federation no longer require his services.

"Walsh is a much better coach than Nobbs in every aspect. The way he looked after the team, communicated with us, did the planning and hardwork. Eventually, these are the things that count. He was very happy with us and we were very happy with him," added Ramandeep.

But the Indian players are slowly getting to terms with the reality that Walsh, who recently guided them to the Asian Games gold after 16 years and a rare 3-1 series win over world champions Australia in their own backyard, is no longer with the team.

India captain Sardar Singh opined with Ramandeep that Walsh was good coach but he chose to look at the positives ahead of Champions Trophy, saying the team's morale remains high despite the Australian's absence.

"There is no doubt that he (Walsh) was a very good coach. All I know is that his one year contract was over and he left. SAI and Hockey India would know more on the subject," he said.

"The team atmosphere has been good and we are training the same way as we did under Walsh. Oltmans has also been around for a longtime and that is helping us," said Sardar.

India take on Germany in their opening match of the eight-nation tournament and Sardar said the home team aims to maintain its level of performance which it demonstrated in the Asian Games and Australia.

"We will try to maintain the level we have shown of late. It is the last tournament of the year so we want to give it whatever we have. The win over world champions Australia gave us a big boost but we still have a long way to go in becoming one of the top teams," the ace midfielder said.

He insisted the team has been able to prepare well despite the off-field issues.

"We have been busy in training. There has hardly been any time to read the newspapers. We are basically working on how to be consistent through out 60 minutes. You must have seen we did not make the mistakes of the World Cup in the Asian Games and Australia, mainly conceding last minute goals," Sardar said.

"Having said that, technically we have a long way to. We can't be our 50 per cent one day and 90 the next day. There is still lot of time before Olympics so the boys are determined to improve. Little things like how to hold the ball right before the hooter, how to create scoring opportunities. These things make a lot of difference," he said.

The Times of India

CT 2014: Indian practice on Kalinga Turf

Tazeen Qureshy

The India team which arrived in Bhubaneswar late yesterday evening wasted no time and started its practice at Kalinga Stadium from today.

Under coach Roelant Oltmans, the 18-member squad took early to the ground and kept practicing almost until noon.

After the warm-up session, the team practiced in two separate groups and the goalkeepers P.R. Sreejesh and Harjot Singh took specific goalkeeping practice.

Later, the team practiced the basics of defense, trapping and penalty corner as a unit.

An interesting bit of the whole session was mid-fielder Manpreet Singh, who trained separately for almost the entire duration, joining his team mates only towards the end of the session.

As the team started its practice, Manpreet was seen warming up all by himself. However, it was merely a part of the training program.

“Manpreet was made to practice alone just like that. There is no injury or anything. It was a part of the training program,” said an official.

There is another practice session scheduled in the evening.


Belgium in free-scoring form against Poland

Belgium’s preparations for the Champions Trophy which begins in Bhubaneswar next week are in rude health following 17 goals in two games against Poland earlier this week.

They defeated the Poles 8-1 on Tuesday evening before Jeroen Delmee’s side thumped them again on Wednesday 9-1.

They were without Thomas Briels, Arthur van Doren and Amaury Keusters but still raced into a big lead with five goals in eight minutes between the 12th and 20th minute.

Bloemendaal’s Tom Boon started the run before Dragons’ Felix Denayer, Kampong’s Loick Luypaert and Sebastian Dockier with Boon getting his second for 5-0.

Waterloo Ducks’ Gauthier Boccard completed the half-time scoring before Florent van Aubel made it seven. Grunwald Poznan’s Mateusz Poltaszewski got one back.

Van Aubel and Dockier concluded the win. Belgium begin their Champions Trophy campaign on December 6 against Pakistan, concluding their preparations against Germany next Thursday.

For Poland, they will face Ireland a couple of times before Christmas as they continue their build-up for the World League round two in Singapore in January.

Euro Hockey League media release

Martin ruled out of Champions Trophy

Harry Martin celebrates scoring against Ireland at the ILC

Beeston's Harry Martin has withdrawn from the Champions Trophy squad due to injury. The 22-year-old has suffered bone brusing to his foot and will be sidelined for around two weeks. His place in the squad will be taken by Beeston teammate Sam Ward.

Ward, who will make his England debut at the Champions Trophy, has scored 13 league goals this season for the Bees. He is well known for both his goalscoring and his charitable exploits. During the #score4scan campaign last season he scored 21 goals and raised over £10,000 for charity.

The 23-year-old takes the Beeston contingent in the squad up to four, joining fellow Bees Adam Dixon, Ollie Willars and Tim Whiteman.

England kick off their Champions Trophy campaign with an Ashes clash against Australia on December 6. They then go toe to toe with Pakistan and European rivals Belgium on December 7 and 9, respectively.

England Hockey Board Media release

Hockey camp concludes

KARACHI: The month long national hockey camp that commenced at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium on Oct 28 in preparation for the Champions Trophy concluded after morning training session on Friday

The 18-member Pakistan hockey team, stand-byes, other camp trainees and officials left for their homes.

The members of the Pakistan team and officials will reassemble in Lahore on Monday and leave for India via Wagah border the next day.

Instituted by Pakistan in 1978, the Champions Trophy takes place in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar from Dec 6 to 14.


PAHF announces teams qualified for 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto

Following the conclusion of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Veracruz, Mexico, the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) can announce the teams qualified for the 2015 Pan American Games, to be held in Toronto, Canada, in July 2015.

In accordance with the Qualification Procedure published in January 2013, eight teams qualified for the men’s competition and eight teams qualified for the women’s competition.

The Teams that qualified for the men’s competition are:

    Canada (host)
    Argentina (1st at the 2014 South American Championship in Santiago)
    Chile (2nd at the 2014 South American Championship in Santiago)
    Cuba (1st at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz)
    Trinidad & Tobago (2nd at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz)
    USA (4th at the 2013 Pan American Cup in Brampton)
    Mexico (6th at the 2013 Pan American Cup in Brampton)
    Brazil (7th at the 2013 Pan American Cup in Brampton)

First reserve for the men’s competition is Uruguay (8th at the 2013 Pan American Cup in Brampton)

The Teams that qualified for the women’s competition are:

    Canada (host)
    Argentina (1st at the 2014 South American Championship in Santiago)
    Chile (2nd at the 2014 South American Championship in Santiago)
    Cuba (1st at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz)
    Dominican Republic (2nd at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz)
    USA (2nd 2013 Pan American Cup in Mendoza)
    Mexico (5th At the 2013 Pan American Cup in Mendoza)
    Uruguay (6th At the 2013 Pan American Cup in Mendoza)

First reserve for the women’s competition is Trinidad & Tobago (7th at the 2013 Pan American Cup in Mendoza)

The hockey competitions of the 2015 Pan American Games will be played on the new pitches opened earlier this year in University of Toronto, an excellent location at the core of downtown Toronto.

In both competitions, the winners will earn an automatic berth for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It should be noted that only the winners can qualify thought the Pan American Games: if a winner also qualifies for the Olympic Games through the World League, the runner up in the Pan American Games do not inherit the qualification berth.

PAHF is now finalizing the list of Technical Officials appointed for the 2015 Pan American Games. They will be announced on December 11.

For more information on the PAHF competitions and programs, please visit the Pan American Hockey Federation web site at www.panamhockey.org

The Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) is recognized by the FIH as the governing continental federation for all field hockey in the Pan American region. There are 26 member Nations of the PAHF.  For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pan American Hockey Federation

Toronto offers ticket to Rio

The final competitors have booked their places for the Pan American Games

(Photo: FIH)

The road to Rio is a step closer for the eight men's and eight women's teams who have qualified for the 2015 Pan American Games to be held in Toronto, Canada in July 2015.

Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, who finished first and second respectively at the Central American and Caribbean Games, held in Veracruz, Mexico, complete the line-up for the men's competition. They join hosts Canada; the South American Championship winners Argentina; Chile, who came runners-up at the same event; the USA, Mexico and Brazil. The latter three teams all qualify by virtue of their placings at the 2013 Pan American Cup. Should any team drop out of the competition then Uruguay are first reserve to take their place.

In the women's competition, Canada automatically qualify as the host nation; Argentina and Chile finished first and second at the 2014 South American Championship; Cuba join their men's team as winners at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games; while the Dominican Republic qualify after finishing second in the same competition.

The USA also qualify due to their second place finish at the Pan American Cup, along with Mexico and Uruguay. Trinidad and Tobago will be ready to step in if any team withdraws from the competition.

The hockey competitions of the 2015 Pan American Games will be played on the new pitches opened earlier this year in University of Toronto.

In both competitions, the winners will earn an automatic berth for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It should be noted that only the winners can qualify through the Pan American Games: if a winner also qualifies for the Olympic Games through the World League, the runner up in the Pan American Games do not inherit the qualification berth.

FIH site

All-Egyptian match ends in 1-1 draw

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Ghana player Isaac Cofie(l) and Egypt Amr Ibrahim fight for the ball when they played at World League at Citypark, Nairobi. Egypt won 3-2. ON 06/09/14 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Hockey match between defending champions Egypt Police and compatriots Sharkia ended in a one-all draw. Shakia are determined to regain the continental crown they lost to Police following a 2-1 loss in the finals of last year's tournament at Lugogo Hockey Stadium in Kampala, Uganda. Sharkia boast 22 continental titles and they are confident of bagging a 23rd title. The African giants are yet to lose a match in the ongoing Africa tourney. Mohsen Ahmed scored for Sharkia in the 50th minute through a short corner. Six minutes later, Elshahat Sayed equalised.

LESSONS: HAZ coaching clinic huge success

Eradicators Hockey Club, with the help of Hockey Association of Zimbabwe, held a successful coaching clinic aimed at introducing the sport to school-going children. According to HAZ Vice President Humphrey Chigwedere, the main objective is to take hockey to as many schools as possible and see to it that many people play it. "In Zimbabwe, hockey is more of an elitist sport, but we want to change that because it is a good game that can be played by all," he said. The event was targeting children as young as seven years.

The Standard Online

Police, Simba clash in semis


Kenya Police celebrate a goal against USIU-A during their Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier League match at City park stadium on November 1, 2014. Kenya Police will take on Nairobi Simba on November 30, 2014 in the semi-finals. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

After the completion of pool matches in the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier League, action now moves to the semi-finals with teams fighting for slots in the final this weekend.

Defending champions Kenya Police, who finished second in Pool B, will take on arch-rivals Nairobi Simba Sunday in one of the semi-final matches while the other game will see Butali Sugar Warriors (formerly Kisumu Simba) play Wazalendo.

The match between Police and Nairobi Simba is certainly the pick of the weekend, with both teams expected to parade an array of talent in the match.

Police sealed a place in the semi-finals last weekend after beating Western Jaguars 6-1 and will look to build on that result going into Sunday’s game.

The last clash between the two sides was in the Sana Cup at the Coast last month, with Police thrashing Simba 6-0 in the semi-finals of the event.


However Simba have been in ominous form this season, winning all their pool games and is the only team in the semis to have maintained a 100 per cent record.

The 2012 champions Nairobi Simba will hand out starting slots to their two new acquisitions, Manmeet Raj and Manimeet Jeet Singh who signed from Indian Hockey League (IHL) Indian Whales early this month.

“The duo will make their debut and I am confident they will make a mark for us in the remaining games. We go into this game in top form and if we can keep that form up we might just make it to the finals,” Simba team manager Kalpesh Solanki.

Simba will also welcome Kenyan internationals Davies Wanangwe and George Mutira from suspension.


Champions Kenya Police on the other hand appear to have hit form at the right time after a stuttering start to the season.

Police will be boosted by the return of Moses Cheplaiti and Willis Okeyo.

Police coach Ken Kaunda said his team has been consistent throughout the season and will prove their worth in the match.

“We have been training hard all week and we will be out to win this match and play the final next weekend,” Kaunda said.

Butali Sugar Warriors will start as favourites in the other semi-final match against Wazalendo.

Daily Nation

Classy Terengganu


UniKL's Baljit Singh Charun Singh (centre) tries to dribble past Maybank's defenders in their MHL match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday. Pic by Hasriyasyah Subudin.

TERENGGANU Hockey Team (THT) demolished champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) 5-1 yesterday to re-ignite their chances of winning a first Malaysia Hockey League Premier Division title. - 29 November 2014 @ 8:08 AM

The match in Kuala Terengganu was supposed to be a close affair but THT now have a nine-goal advantage over the double champions, and their last match is against Sapura tomorrow.

KLHC are in a difficult situation as even a big win over UniKL tomorrow may not be enough.

“It was a magical moment for us, as my players went onto the pitch motivated to win. Credit goes to the players for playing their best hockey ever, and now we will be looking for three more points from Sapura,” said THT coach Sarjit Singh.

There was a heavy downpour before the match, but the pitch dried up fast on one side while heavy on the other.

“The pitch was a little heavy, but my players mastered it early to score quick goals to douse the fight in KLHC. The crowd was really fantastic as about 4,000 turned up to cheer the team,” added Sarjit.

“We need a miracle now to win the title as it is out of our hands. We have to hope for Sapura to draw or win against THT, while we play our normal game aganst UniKL.

“The pitch played a big role in our defeat as it was heavy and a little water-logged on our side in the first half and THT took good advantage of dead balls to score early goals. Anyway, there is still one match to go and anything can happen,” said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.

THT’s Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin started the goal count in the eighth minute, while the others were scored by Korean imports Seo Jong Ho (17th, 31st) and Jang Jong Hyun (22nd, 38th).

Syamim Yusof scored the KLHC consolation in the 45th minute.

RESULTS: Terengganu 5 KLHC 1; UniKL 0 Maybank 0; Sapura 0 Tenaga 2.

TOMORROW: KLHC v UniKL (6pm, National Hockey Stadium); Maybank v Tenaga (6pm, National Hockey Stadium); Terengganu v Sapura (5pm, Kuala Terengganu).

New Straits Times

Terengganu in hot pursuit of MHL title

By Joseph Kaos jr

Terengganu's Mohd Shahrun Nabil (left) fighting for the ball with Muhammad Imran of KLHC at Kuala Terengganu Hockey Stadium. - ZABIDI TUSIN/The Star

KUALA TERENGGANU: Terengganu leap-frogged into the driver’s seat for the Premier Division title in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) with a resounding 5-1 win over arch-rivals Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) at the Kuala Terengganu Hockey Stadium.

Despite the heavy rain, Terengganu responded to the support of their vociferous home crowd, with forward Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin drawing first blood against leaders KLHC as early as the eighth minute.

South Korean Seo Jong-ho added the second in the 17th minute and compatriot and penalty corner specialist Jang Jong-hyun made it 3-0 for the home side in the 22nd minute.

The Korean duo then doubled their personal tally in the 31st and 38th minutes to send the home fans into a frenzy.

KLHC managed to find a consolation goal through Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof in the 45th minute but that was all they could muster as Terengganu took over at the top of the standings with the same 24 points as KLHC.

Given Terengganu’s better goal difference, the title is theirs for the taking if they beat Sapura in their last match in front of their home fans.

Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh, however, insists that the title is still not in the bag as “there’s still one match to go”.

“We did our job here today, but we still must take home three points against Sapura to be champions. They are not an easy team to play against.

“Today, we were equal with KLHC but the difference is we took our chances well. The fans also played a big part as they produced a fantastic atmosphere for the match,” said Sarjit.

KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj said the wet conditions hindered their game.

“The wet pitch affected our passing and Terengganu were quick to punish us. However, credit to them as they are a very good side and deserved to win,” said Dharmaraj.

The Star of Malaysia

Drag-flick in hockey a threat to player's life, says Ric Charlesworth

Narain Swamy

BENGALURU: Phil Hughes' death on the cricket field is a grim realization that hockey too has a potentially dangerous weapon that can maim or kill its players.

The drag-flick, for long a subject of debate, comes under scrutiny not only for the speed at which it is delivered but also the hapless men who bravely attempt to thwart it in a penalty corner with hardly any protective gear.

Former Australia coach Ric Charlesworth, who has for long argued for the elimination of the drag-flick and the dilution of the penalty corner, feels the hockey world is waiting for a disaster to happen on the field.

"The penalty corner has to go as it gives too much importance to power at the expense of skill. There are many other power play options available that can fill the void. Our game has had many rule changes that have improved it and we should consider this," he told TOI.

One of Charlesworth's power play ideas was used in an international hockey 9s tournament that India figured in three years ago. It pits four attackers on the 23-metre line against two defenders and the goalkeeper. Action begins with the ball being pushed into play from the backline. It is field play and the attackers have to use their hockey skills to score a goal within 25 seconds.

The tournament was recognized by the FIH but with a majority of the teams in Europe reluctant to let go of the drag-flick, Charlesworth's idea did not make much headway.

Charlesworth called for an open mind to address the issue of penalty corners.

"There are other options too that the FIH can experiment with. FIH is well aware of my advocacy but my entreaties have so far gone unheard. I have always believed in protecting a skilfull player. But some of the hockey rules do not help in this cause. Let us face facts. In cricket, 22 yards separate the bowler and a well protected batsman. In a penalty corner, the distance comes down to a mere 12-13 yards. The runner, with nothing more than a mask and abdomen guards for protection, is asked to fend off a ball travelling at almost the same speed as in cricket. Isn't that dangerous?" he asked.

The mask is another irksome factor that Charlesworth feels needs quick attention. Here again, he is unhappy that the FIH did not heed his point of view.

"The mask used at present gives insufficient protection and poor vision. I have long advocated the baseball catcher mask featuring a grille which affords better protection and vision and also some protection for the trachea. The Australian national team used these masks four years ago but the FIH banned them arguing that the grille can injure players in close contact situations. What about goalkeepers then? Their helmets too have grilles?" he said.

The Aussie legend also pointed to an incident two years ago when a Western Australian player Lizzie Watkins died in Perth after being struck on the head off a deflection. "It is recent and we ought to be vigilant about these matters," he said, arguing that if a deflection can be fatal, a pre-meditated flick can be doubly so.

Ric used skull cap while facing Lillee, Thomson

A doctor by profession, Ric Charlesworth has always believed that prevention is better than cure. During his days as a first-class cricketer, he was one of the pioneers in designing and using a skull cap in the 1970s.

"During the 70s, I faced Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson on a weekly basis. They were genuinely quick and I did not want to take any chances against them. I designed my own skull cap and used it when I played against them. Using headgear was seen as a bit soft those days. Tough guys didn't need helmets, I was told. But I was adamant and used it. Now my skull cap is on display at the Western Australian Museum," said Charlesworth.

The Times of India

Phil Hughes - a wake up call to the FIH?

By George Brink

As the sports world is reeling from the tragic death of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes after being struck on the head by a bouncer, the question is, could this happen in Hockey and what are the FIH doing about it?

The answer to could this happening in Hockey is a resounding yes. You need look no further than the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Men's game between South Africa and Australia on the 29th of July where both Tim Drummond and Andrew Cronje of South Africa were struck on the head from raised drag flicks from Chris Cirello and Keiran Govers respectively. Both players were taken off the field and both returned to the game, but Cronje later spent 30 hours in hospital being monitored for the concussion he received.

So what are the FIH doing about this. The shocking truth is they are actively and frequently encouraging this kind of lethally dangerous play contrary to the Rules of Hockey! Looking at the two instances above in Tim Drummond's case a penalty stroke was awarded as Drummond was deemed to have been standing in front of goal while the ball was deemed to have been missing the goal in Cronje's case and a hit was awarded to South Africa. Where is the consistency we all demand from umpires if the same shot can get two vastly different decisions? What would be the decison if the same shot was played in the outfield? Certainly not a free hit to the player who raised the ball!

I have made a serious accusation against the FIH that they actively encourage lethally dangerous play contrary to the Rules of Hockey and that accusation needs justification. By awarding a penalty stroke when the ball strikes a player's body, and especially the head, they are providing no incentive for a striker to try and miss a player standing on the line defending his goal. They are in fact encouraging a striker to try and hit the defender in the body. I have heard drag flick coach Toon Siepman actually say "I encourage drag flickers to aim for the player on the post. If you miss the player you get a goal. If you hit the player you get a stroke." I can't blame him for coaching this way, because it is the FIH that is allowing that situation to arise as long as a penalty stroke gets awarded when a player gets struck in the upper body while defending their goal.

Why is this decision contrary to the Rules of Hockey

On page 2 of the Rule book under responsibilities and liability, before we even get to the Rules themselves, you read

"Emphasis is placed on safety. Everyone involved in the game must act with consideration for the safety of others."

I have to question why, if there is such an emphasis placed on safety, a player is rewarded for actually striking a player on the head by being awarded a penalty stroke. Surely the striker was not playing with any consideration for the safety of the player on the line and neither was the umpire when he awarded the stroke. I have asked several World Panel umpires why they don't award a hit to the defence and the answer is invariably boils down to "because I would never umpire another international if I did".

But let's say that this "empasis on safety" does not form part of the Rules (though I am certain in a Court of Law it would be) why else is this contrary to the Rules of Hockey?

Rule 9 Conduct of play : players
Players are expected to act responsibly at all times.

Is the drag flick specialist acting responsibly at all times. Certainly not if they are aiming at the player on the line in order to gain a penalty stroke if the strike him in the upper body and certainly is acting contrary to Rule 9.4 Players must not intimidate or impede another player. Their shot is certainly intimidatory but that goes completely unpunished.

9.8 Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.
A ball is considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players.

The penalty is awarded where the action causing the danger took place.

This Rule seems to be ignored completely when a raised drag flick is played at a penalty corner, especially when a player is struck in the upper body or head.

9.9 Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal.
A raised hit must be judged explicitly on whether or not it is raised intentionally. It is not an offence to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit, anywhere on the field unless it is dangerous. If the ball is raised over an opponent’s stick or body on the ground, even within the circle, it is permitted unless judged to be dangerous.

Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop provided it is not dangerous. A flick or scoop towards an opponent within 5 metres is considered dangerous. If an opponent is clearly running into the shot or into the attacker without attempting to play the ball with their stick, they should be penalised for dangerous play.

This is the Rule that is used to justify the raised shot at goal. The Rules do allow it without any shadow of doubt, But have a close look at the guidance. "Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop PROVIDED IT IS NOT DANGEROUS". SO how do you judge the aspect of danger? Anywhere else on the pitch it is generally considered as anything above knee height. We have already seen that Rule 9.8 defines it as players "taking legitimate evasive action". I guess ducking under the ball is counts as legitimate evasive action, but what if there is no time to duck under it? Does it suddenly become "not dangerous"?

Some people advocate that as the shot comes from over 5 m away the player on the line has more than enough time to see the ball and get out of the way. Firstly, why should they when the ball has been played dangerously and contrary to the Rules of Hockey. Secondly in a recent FIH video Tom Boon, Martjie Paumen and Anna Flanagan's shots were times at 150 km/h, 134 km/h and 117 km/h or 41.6 m/s, 37.2 m/s and 32.5 m/s. This really doesn't give the player enough time to genuinely react and protect themselves adequately when the time is mere fractions of a second when you consider most PC shots come from 12-13 m and not the full 14 m of the circle.

Returning to the Rules under 13.3 Taking a Penalty Corner l) for second and subsequent hits at the goal and for flicks, deflections and scoops, it is permitted to raise the ball to any height but this must not be dangerous.

Sorry, but those words "BUT THIS MUST NOT BE DANGEROUS" have cropped up again in the Rules (not the guidance this time) and are completely ignored by all when it comes to the ball actually striking the player. The guidance for this rule is:

A defender who is clearly running into the shot or into the taker without attempting to play the ball with their stick must be penalised for dangerous play.

Otherwise, if a defender is within five metres of the first shot at goal during the taking of a penalty corner and is struck by the ball below the knee, another penalty corner must be awarded or is struck on or above the knee in a normal stance, the shot is judged to be dangerous and a free hit must be awarded to the defending team.

There is that absurd 5m again that some people think is the end of dangerous play. If a player gets felled by a shot, go ask him  he thought the shot was dangerous or not. I'm guessing he is going to go with the "dangerous" option rather than "no, I was stupid enough to get in the way" that some people think should be the correct answer.

Back to the Rules again.

13.7. e for any other offence by attackers : a free hit is awarded to the defence.
Except as specified above, a free hit, penalty corner or penalty stroke is awarded as specified elsewhere in the Rules.

I hope by now that most readers are wondering why when Tim Drummond got hit on the head by a drag flick that a Penalty Stroke was awarded. After all, the instant before the ball actually hit his head the ball had been played without consideration for the safety of others; the striker had not acted responsibly at all times; the ball had been played dangerously or in a manner that could lead to dangerous play; it had been raised intentionally and dangerously (albeit as a shot on goal); The flick had been raised dangerously at Penalty Corner. That is 5 different Rules broken by the striker the instant before the ball actually strikes the defender. Where on earth is the justification for a Penalty Stroke?

9.11 Field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body.
It is not always an offence if the ball hits the foot, hand or body of a field player. The player only commits an offence if they voluntarily use their hand, foot or body to play the ball or if they position themselves with the intention of stopping the ball in this way.

Ah, he stopped the ball with his head preventing a goal from being scored. The most forgotten bit of guidance in the entire Rule Book, especially for a foot in the circle, says it is NOT always an offence unless they VOLUNTARILY use a body part to play the ball. What makes this using a body part so important that the 5 Rules previously broken by the striker are now irrelevant and the shot is now rewarded with the award of a Penalty Stroke? In normal play break 5 Rules in quick succession and you would expect a card, but no, you get rewarded with the most extreme penalty play in the game that will almost certainly lead to a goal being scored.

So what is the justification for the Penalty Stroke? None in my book, but ideas advanced are the player had enough time to avoid being hit (if you have the reactions of Superman). If a stroke was not awarded there is incentive to stand in the way of the shot and not move. All animals including humans are instinctively "programmed" to instantly avoid danger that could injure them. Only humans can deliberately override this natural instinct but it happens first and then the override kicks in. Given the speed of the ball this override happens too late to make standing in the way deliberate. A far more common justification is the Defender chose to stand on the line and is therefore fair game/ creating the danger - sorry, where is that in the Rules, or did you just suck that one out of thin air? Definition of a defender according to the Rules is

Defence (Defender) The team (player) which (who) is trying to prevent a goal being scored.

which gives them the defined right to stand on the line as you cannot prevent a goal from being scored if you don't directly protect the goal line. And moving on to the patently absurd, if you didn't award a penalty stroke players would line up on the line to fill the goal entirely preventing a raised shot at goal. I am sure Tom Boon would love this as he could freely advance the ball to the penalty spot or closer and then blast a 150 km/h shot along the ground. Body parts will break.

Where in the Rules does it say "all Rules on safety and danger don't apply when the player is standing in front of the goal"? I have challenged many people, including the late Graham Nash who at the time was Chairman of the FIH Umpires Committee, to justify the decision to award a stroke when a player is struck in the upper body or head by using the Rule Book. Nobody has taken me up on the challenge. I wonder why? Perhaps they know there is no justification or that the Rules actually outlaw the shot before it hits the defender.

In an increasingly litigeous society you have to expect that sometime soon someone is going to turn to the Courts for relief from suffering a serious head injury in a game of Hockey - especially if it happens at a PC. So what would be the outcome?

There is no precedent involving Hockey yet, thank goodness, but there is plenty of Rugby related case law, the most famous being Smoldon v Whitworth and Another(a summary of the Appeal Court ruling is provided at http://oxcheps.new.ox.ac.uk/new/casebook/cases/Cases%20Chapter%2025/Smoldon%20v%20Whitworth%20and%20Another.doc). The referee did not follow the Rules to the letter in regard to collapsed scrums and eventually Ben Smoldon broke his neck and was paralysed. He claimed £1 million damages from the Referee. The Appeal Court found the Referee to have been negligent in not applying the Rules properly and was held liable for the damages claimed. An important part of the case was the question of a player willingly consenting to take part in a game that he knew to be dangerous (the legal term is Volenti non fit injuria). The Appeal Court's view was that a player willingly consents to taking part in a game to which the Rules are rigourously applied and not to taking part in a game where the Rules are not properly applied. It is also important to note that the entire contents of the Rule Book were considered, Rules, accompanying instructions and notes for guidance of players and referees.

Vowles v Evans is another case in which the Welsh Rugby Union was also held accountable. In this case the Rules state a Prop must be properly trained to play in this position. After an injury to the normal prop an replacement player offered to play in the position although he had not received the proper training. The referee and opposing captain allowed the substitution to take place and when he got badly injured he sued. The Rules of Rugby had not been followed to the letter and the injured player won the case. Importantly the referee owed the players a duty of care and by not applying the Rules did not exercise that duty of care.

Now you go figure what the outcome would be if say Andrew Cronje had sued the Umpires, the FIH and Chris Cirello. The umpires by awarding a Stroke when the ball hit Tim Drummond would be seen as encouraging the dangerous play that as I have shown is against the letter of the Rules. The FIH through it's Umpire Managers encourage that incorrect interpretation of the Rules and video evidence of countless penalty corners will show they repeatedly allow this kind of dangerous play to go unpunished. Chris Cirello did not play with consideration for the safety of others or act responsibly at all times. Given the above rugby cases, in my opinion, game, set and match to Andrew Cronje.

There is another aspect of this and that goes to the subject of concussion. Tucked away in an obscure corner of the FIH site under Events and Tournament Regulations is the IOC guidance on concussion. In that it is recommended that "no further play on the day" be the accepted norm and a minimum of 6 days before play with a doctor's clearance certificate is allowed. Okay, so the FIH appointed doctor on duty on the 29th of July could also join the growing list of people opening themselves up to being sued because he allowed both players to return to the game even though Cronje later had to go to hospital for observation. It is interesting to note here that the FA will adopt the "no futher play on the day" mantra from next season in all cases of a head injury. Although some National Associations already have this in action, should the FIH not stipulate it in the Rules if they are so concerned about all aspects of safety?

There is one big difference between the Phil Hughes tragedy and the Tim Drummond and Andrew Cornje head injuries. The bouncer is permitted in Cricket although in a very limited sense, but the dangerous drag flick is specifically banned in the Rules of Hockey although widely accepted, incorrectly, as being allowed.

Wake up, FIH, and take action to enforce the Rules of Hockey properly before Hockey suffers a tragedy like cricket has. Immediate action would be to not award a penalty stroke when a player on the line is struck in the upper body or head. It is already within the Rules so no change would be needed except for scrapping an incorrect interpretation. Later action would be to look at the whole conduct of a Penalty Corner and create a safer alternative.


Revival of club hockey: IPC sends summary for domestic restructuring

KARACHI: The future of hockey in Pakistan may take a turn for the better if the government approves the summary for the revival of club hockey in the country sent by the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC).

The summary was earlier presented by Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Rana Mujahid to the IPC, explaining the domestic restructuring necessary for club hockey’s revival.

“If the summary gets approved, no department or club will have to adhere to its policies,” said Mujahid. “The clubs and departments will have to recruit youngsters and organise local tournaments, inter-regional events and league games.”

The official further stated that the PHF requires Rs500 million per year to rearrange the entire domestic structure, with the amount and other details provided in the report.

Meanwhile, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh said this plan will help players get jobs and more talent will emerge from the junior level. “Karachi, which was once the hub of national heroes, will be revived after the implementation of this structure,” said Sheikh.

The Express Tribune

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