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News 28 January 2014

All the news for Tuesday 28 January 2014

Belgium sure to come hard at Investec SA women's hockey team in Tuesday's second Test


Consistent performance: Investec SA midfielder Shelley Russell. Photo: MATTHEW WITHERS (Action Pix)

Given the set of generally close scores in recent years, few would have predicted a win by six clear goals but that was the case when the Investec South Africa women’s hockey beat world number 12 Belgium 6-0 in the first Test of the six-Test series at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Sunday.

The world’s 11th-ranked South Africans were smarting from Saturday’s 4-1 defeat that dashed their chances of a rare series victory over world number four Australia - and less than 24 hours later they erased that disappointment in emphatic fashion with one of the most fluid performances seen from the side in a number of years.

SA captain Marsha Cox said after the 6-0 drubbing of the Belgians that a feature of the win was the quality of the combination play, and indeed the cohesiveness between the three lines - defenders, midfielders and forwards – was quite remarkable.

Yet the twice World All Stars selection was quick to point out that the Belgians were sure to be a more competitive unit in the second Test, which kicks off at 8pm Tuesday at Hartleyvale.

In head coach Pascal Kina the Europeans have a man who knows his stuff and he will come up with some ideas on how the reds can close the South Africans down and limit their freedom of expression, which was such a hallmark of the winners’ play on Sunday.

Belgium have a host of experienced players in their camp - and quality in the likes of captain Charlotte de Vos, Stephanie de Groof, Lieselotte van Lindt, Erica Coppey and Jill Boon- and the side hasn’t changed all that match over the last while so now that they have settled down in Cape Town the remaining five Test matches are probably going to be tighter, closer affairs.

That said, the SA camp will be looking to reproduce another quality performance, as the mark of a top side is the ability to churn out high-level performances more often than not.

Virtually the entire SA team stepped up their game on Sunday and now it is not only class acts like Cox and Shelley Russell who are putting in great contributions match in and match out, while it was also gratifying to see a player like Celia Evans put her hand up with two fine field goals.

The 8pm second Test will be preceded by a 6pm international men’s match between a Western Province Invitation team and leading Dutch Hoofdklasse club, Amsterdam HC.

(all at Hartleyvale)
Tuesday - men’s friendly: WP Invitation vs Amsterdam (6pm); 2nd Test SA vs Belgium (8pm)
3rd Test Wednesday  (7pm)
4th Test Friday (7pm)
5th Test Sunday 4 pm;
Monday 3rd Feb (7 pm).

SA Hockey Association media release

Scotland take European bronze in Lithuania

Scotland Bronze

Scotland Senior Women took the bronze medal at the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Championship after finishing third behind Ukraine and Belgium.

Unfortunately the Scots narrowly missed out on promotion to the Championship in 2016, and the FIH Indoor World Cup, but there were numerous positives for Scotland Senior Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd to take away from the competition, particularly with six players having only just picked up their first indoor caps against England recently.

"I'm delighted with the entire squad performance this weekend", said Shepherd. "The competition was about development opportunities for a number of players, and we achieved that whilst also retaining our place in the division.

"The development of youngsters in this squad has been tremendous and the future looks good. We were unlucky against Belgium and on another day, we could have ended up looking at promotion."

The Scots demolished Slovakia 12-1 on Saturday, with Heather Elder scoring yet another hat-trick, and doubles for Vikki Bunce, Becky Ward and Mairi Drummond. Jennifer Eadie, Amy Brodie and Sarah Robertson also scored a goal each.

The crunch match was against Belgium in the first promotion pool match, and despite peppering the Belgian goal numerous shots on target, only Elder registered on the scoresheet, Scotland being edged out 2-1.

Despite the fact that the national side were out of contention for promotion, they responded excellently in the final match against Switzerland, running out 4-2 winners. Vikki Bunce recorded another two goals, while Brodie and Louise Campbell notched one goal apiece.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Ranchi Rhinos edges past Delhi Waveriders

S. Sabanayakan

A Delhi Waveriders player tries to avoid this hit by Birendra Lakra of Ranchi Rhinos. Photo: Manob Chowdhury

Defending champion Ranchi Rhinos earned its first win of the Hero Hockey India League 2014 at the Astro-Turf hockey stadium here defeating Delhi Waveriders by a solitary goal on Monday.

Having lost its opening match to Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Sunday, it was a good comeback by the host.

The win gave full six points to Rhinos.

The goal came in the final quarter where the supremacy of Rhinos was never in doubt. Early on Hamish McGreger was called upon to save a shot from Amit Rohidas. Waveriders replied strongly with repeated attacks but on all three occasions Ranchi custodian Francisco Cortes brought off brilliant saves. His performance won him the man-of-the-match award. The match-winner was a fine drag-flick by Ashley Jackson to the left of the goalkeeper.

Waveriders got the third penalty corner of the game but Andres Mir’s push was wide dashing all the hopes of the visitors to equalise.

Though Rhinos enjoyed ball possession early on, it was Waveriders who made the impact with incisive raids. The team, led ably by Sardar Singh, was compact in the defence and relied more on counters.

The Delhi outfit gave its star forward Simon Child his first game and he made a lot of difference upfront with his positional play. The Rhinos defence too stood the test well and though it conceded two penalty corners, the Waveriders failed to capitalise on it.

The first penalty corner at the fag end of the first half was brilliantly palmed away by Francisco Cortes off a Rupinder Pal Singh flick and in the second, earned in the second quarter, was wasted as Talwinder Singh’s push was weak.

As the game progressed to the halftime, Rhinos saw the ball more but lacked the sharpness inside the striking circle. Waveriders’ goalkeeper Hamish McGreger was called upon to save the team only once in this half.

Six minutes after the resumption, Waveriders almost conceded a goal but for a goalline save by Gurbaj Singh.

With eight minutes to go for the third quarter, Rhinos earned its first penalty corner. Ashley Jackson’s flick was just wide off the left post.

Thereabouts one of the floodlights stopped delaying the game for five minutes.

When play resumed, Rhinos were on the attack again but no goals ensued.

The result:

Ranchi Rhinos 1 (Ashley Jackson 62) bt Delhi Waveriders 0.

The Hindu

In the clash of titans, Ranchi emerge winners

Tazeen Qureshy

Home team Ranchi Rhinos woke up in time after suffering a humiliating defeat yesterday, registering a 1-0 win against visitors Delhi Waveriders here in Ranchi today.

The Rhinos, who had defeated the 'invincible' Waveriders in the final last year, waged a grim battle today swimming against full throat home crowd.

Rhinos were on attack from the beginning when Barry Middleton entered the rival D, but his attempts proved futile as there were no players to take his cross. Kothajit and Austin Smith too tried to tumble Waveriders’ defense but lack of co-ordination resulted in no goal.

Delhi Waveriders on the other hand, managed a Penalty Corner at the end of the first quarter. However, drag-flick expert Rupinder Pal Singh failed to convert as the ball was palmed away by the ultimate man of the match, goalie Franscisco Cortes. The second Penalty Corner of Delhi also fizzled out as Talwinder Singh, could not push the ball to the stopper. It was rank bad push.

The Rhinos were not impressive either as their continuous attack failed to yield any results. Their first Penalty Corner was wasted as Ashley Jackson hit the ball a few inches wide from the goalpost.

The match went on in the same pace as attack by both teams hardly impressed the scoreboard.

However, the turning point was the Penalty Corner in the 63rd minute which Ashley Jackson took and flicked the ball into the nets to the goalie’s right side.

As the clocked ticked closer to the final minutes of the game, Delhi looked desperate and managed to get their third Penalty Corner. This time, Andreas Mir Bel took the task but he too missed the nets as his shot would go wide.


Hard-fought win for champions Rhinos

Arnab Lall Seal

RANCHI: After losing their first match, Ranchi Rhinos showed why they are the defending champions on Monday, as they defeated last year's finalists Delhi Waveriders 1-0 in a nail-biting tie at Astroturf Hockey Stadium here on Monday. English drag flicker Ashley Jackson scored the lone goal of the match, converting their second penalty corner with only seven minutes remaining.

When a goalless draw seemed inevitable, Amon Tirkey was brought down just inside the D and the umpires did not think twice before awarding Rhinos the penalty corner.

Even though the defending champions failed to convert their first penalty corner, they did not make any mistake on the second occasion. Usually it's Justin Reid Ross who takes the penalty corners for Rhinos but this time around it was Jackson who slotted it home.

But the Man of the Match was Rhinos' goalkeeper Francisco Cortes, who made a string of saves at the fag end of the match to ensure full points fro his team. He denied Simon Child twice and then dived full stretch to keep Talwinder Singh's shot out.

On Sunday, the defending champions' campaign got off to a disappointing start when they lost 2-3 to Uttar Pradesh Wizards.

The Times of India

Ranchi Rhinos beat Delhi Waveriders 1-0

RANCHI: Ashley Jackson helped Ranchi Rhinos beat Delhi Waveriders 1-0 in their second outing in the Hockey India League here today.

Jackson sounded the board in the dying minutes to give Rhinos the victory after they narrowly lost to Uttar Pradesh Wizards 2-3 on Sunday.

Custodian Francisco Cortes, who won the man-of-the-match award came up with three stupendous saves, including two back-to-back saves, to thwart Waveriders from scoring as the match was deadlocked till the last minutes before the final hooter.

In the evenly contested match, Rhinos got two penalty corners while the Waveriders failed on all their three chances.

The Times of India

David Condon set for Wembley date with fate

By Graham Wilson

Condon feels he learnt a lot in India Condon feels he learnt a lot in India [GETTY]

ENGLAND’S David Condon, fresh from a bronze medal win in the World League in Delhi, will be out to lead East Grinstead to a sixth national indoor title in the Maxinutrition 5s championship at Wembley Arena on Sunday.

Then the striker has another special indoor date to come when the East Grinstead club host the European championship at the K2 Crawley, starting on Friday, February 14.

The 22-year-old striker says he and the England squad are getting stronger with every tournament.

“We were a bit worried when we went out to Delhi,” said Condon.

“We had done a lot of individual core skill work and not a lot of team work but then it was all down to hard work in winning those games on the pitch. We still feel there is room to improve, and the next step up is for us to win those games by outclassing opponents.”

He added: “Delhi was completely different to anything I had experienced before, besides the tournament with all the fans, noise traffic and food. And I was only ill when I got back!

“I feel I am improving with every tournament. Obviously, we all have the World Cup and Commonwealth Games in mind but the club is taking no chances with the indoor title on Sunday.”

They obviously want to go into the Crawley eight-team tournament as champions but East Grinstead will be without their star Ashley Jackson and Mark Gleghorne, who with Iain Lewers, has stayed in Delhi for the India League.

At Wembley they play Kent side Holcombe, who  have their England captain Barry Middleton also committed out in Delhi. Reading play Canterbury in the other semi-final while Reading’s women take on Bowdon Hightown in their final.

Both England men’s and women’s teams have just been relegated from the top tier of European indoor competition but they put out young inexperienced sides.

East Grinstead manager Matt Jones said: “I don’t think we can be faulted here. We are just trying to shoehorn it all in. We are all committed to the outdoor programme and the men went so close in the indoor losing by the odd goal. It has been an absolutely hockey fest, which is great for the spectators but a nightmare for us organisers.”

He added: “We cannot underestimate Holcombe at Wembley. And Canterbury have put together a strong team to challenge Reading and us. Wembley brings together the hockey family and then we have absolutely the top players in Europe coming to Crawley.”

Maddie Hinch was always determined to become England’s best.

She won three goalkeeper of the tournament awards for England last year and at the Hockey Writers’ Club awards at the Royal Yacht Club in Knightsbridge she made a point of turning up to receive its player of the year award.

Maddie was recognised by the Hockey Writers as an Under-18 Higgins Group youth winner in 2006 and she said: “I remember the senior players receiving their awards then. And look at me now, I am just so proud to be standing here.”

Adam Dixon, captain of English champions Beeston, took the honours in the men’s category. Defender Dixon was “devastated” at missing out on the 2012 London Olympics.

“I went surfing in France and didn’t watch a game,” he said. But his time has come.

He is playing a key role in England’s squad. He scored two goals out in India where England took the bronze medal in the World League and is still out there competing in the India League. 

Daily Express

UniKL flub their corners

OFF TARGET: Inability to convert penalty corners a concern for coach Rodhanizam


UNIKL young guns lost the Junior Hockey League Milo Cup title to Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts 1-0 last season.

Back then, SSTMI dominated play but UniKL were awarded nine penalty corners and wasted them all -- and there is cause for worry about penalty corners again this season.

UniKL, who have only played two matches in Division One of the JHL, beat Malacca High School 5-0, but in the process failed to score a single goal from the 10 penalty corners awarded to them in the match.

However, UniKL coach Rodhanizam Radzi is not pressing the panic button yet.

"After two wins, I believe the team are clicking well even though sometimes the players don't use the opportunities like the many penalty corners won, as well as make mistakes in the semi-circle.

"But I believe that it normal in any team early in the season," said Rodhanizam, a former national player.

On his take on SSTMI Thunderbolts who are gunning for their fourth straight Milo Cup, he said: "SSTMI are the team to beat again this season, no doubt about it.

"However, we are prepared to give them a good fight, but before that, we need to focus on SSTMI Juniors first (Feb 7 match)," said Rodhanizam.

Thunderbolts have nine points from three matches, and will play UniKL on Feb 8, which could be the day of reckoning for JHL Division One title aspirants.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical committee yesterday threw out Old La Sallian Association of Klang's (OLAK-PKT) protest over poor umpiring and the appointment of officials during their match against 1Mas Perak in Division Two B of the JHL on Saturday.

The MHC technical committee decided on the stand because JHL tournament rules stipulate no team can question umpires, or the appointment of officials for matches.

However Olak-PKT, who won the match 2-1, were refunded the RM500 deposit paid for the protest.

New Straits Times

South Africa yet to confirm participation in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

By S. Ramaguru

Indian players try to get the ball away from a German in their Hockey World League Final 2014 match earlier this month. This year, India will not be participating in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time since it was introduced in 1983. – EPA Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will remain a seven-nation affair.

So far, the teams that have confirmed they are taking part in the March 13-23 tournament in Ipoh are Australia, Canada, France, South Korea and Pakistan. The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are waiting for South Africa to confirm their invitation.

The MHC had tried to get India to change their mind but to no avail. India will miss the tournament for the first time since it was introduced in 1983. The Indians have decided to go on a playing tour of Europe to prepare for the World Cup in May.

“We have sent a reminder to South Africa yesterday and we hope they will respond quickly, If not, we will invite another team as our aim is to have seven teams,” said MHC secretary general Datuk Johari Abdul Aziz.

“China are interested in playing in the tournament, but it all depends on whether the organisers are willing to include them,” added Johari.

Meanwhile, Canada will arrive in Malaysia on March 5 to acclimatise themselves. They are likely to play three matches with the national team.

The Star of Malaysia

Demonstration in Capital demanding Bharat Ratna for Dhayan Chand

NEW DELHI: Demanding Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand, former hockey player Rajesh Chauhan will lead a peaceful demonstration of hockey lovers at the Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Wednesday. "Major Dhyan Chand deserved it (Bharat Ratna) more than anyone else as he brought lot of pride and glory to the nation in difficult times," Chauhan said in a release. "Denying him this just honor will be detrimental to the spirit of meritocracy in the country."

Chauhan said the demonstration, to be held under the banner of Rashtra Sammaan Abhiyaan, will be held at 3 pm and asked former hockey players and the public to join it in large numbers to support the call for the top honour for the hockey legend.

The Times of India

Death Notice of Carson Clarke

It is with deep regret that the Irish Hockey Association have been been advised of the death of Carson Clarke on Saturday afternoon.

Carson was a Past President and Hon. Secretary of the Ulster Branch IHA and made a valuable and much appreciated contribution to our Sport.

An International Umpire Carson also served Irish Hockey as a Council member on the Irish Hockey Union.

Carson will be sadly missed and our thoughts and sympathies are with Betty and the family circle.

Please note; all are welcome to a Service of Thanksgiving which will take place on:

Date: Wednesday 29th January 2014
Time: 1pm
Venue: McCracken Memorial Church, Malone Road (between Newforge and House of Sport)

Irish Hockey Association media release

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